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Balcony Escape

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When a character needs to get from one room to another and the door is not an option, they will climb out the window and either shimmy along the ledge or jump from balcony to balcony until they can enter another window. Hotels and office buildings are common settings for this kind of stunt. It's also used a lot in stealth missions. The act adds an element of danger without actually requiring the character to be super fit or agile.

A sub trope of The Precarious Ledge. Compare Bathroom Break-Out and Lover's Ledge.


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    Fan Works 
  • Best of My Love opens with one of these, as Meng Yao is escaping a date. His internal monologue suggests he's gotten good at escaping like this.
  • In What About Witch Queen?, Hans' escape from Koenigsberg starts with him exiting his room through the window and climbing down the castle wall.

    Film — Animated 
  • In April and the Extraordinary World, April's parents attempt to escape from the secret police by climbing off the balcony and clambering across the outside of the cable car.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Charade, Cary Grant's character follows an assailant out the window and across a few balconies.
  • Silverstein does this in Tiempo De Valientes (an argentine film) to get into the restricted area of SIDE (the argentine intelligence agency).
  • Indy does this in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  • Joe in Looper tries this and ends up falling a couple stories.
  • Subverted in The Matrix. Neo is told to do this to escape the Agents looking for him near the beginning, but chokes when he sees the skinny ledge and great height.
  • Maggie Carpenter does this in Runaway Bride to try and avoid getting caught snooping around the reporter's room.
  • In The Naked Gun, Frank Drebin does this. He needs to grab hold of the carvings of naked men and women to maintain his balance.
  • A segment of the film Cat's Eye is based on Stephen King's "The Ledge" (listed below).
  • In The Man Who Knew Too Little, Lori escapes from Boris' hotel room this way. Wallace asks why they just don't use the hallway.
  • Attempted in 1408. The protagonist attempts to escape from the cursed room by climbing out the window and going to an adjacent room. Unfortunately for him all the other rooms disappear from the wall of the hotel.
  • In That Man from Rio, Adrian tracks his kidnapped girlfriend Agnes to a hotel, where she's kept in one room in a suite with a gunman in the front room. Adrian gets around him by climbing out a corridor window and creeping along a high, narrow ledge to her room.
  • In Wicker Park, Lisa escapes from her upset lover across balconies and ends up meeting Alex.
  • In Salt, the title character escapes persecution by climbing from the window of her apartment to a neighbor's.
  • In Grand Hotel, the Baron burgles a hotel room by climbing from balcony to balcony — then finds his return path blocked when someone emerges onto an adjoining balcony, trapping him in the room at a plot-critical moment.
  • In Murder Mystery, Nick and Audrey are forced to do this to exit Sergei's room, allowing them to rule out three of the suspects of his death by witnessing them in passing.

  • Alex Rider does this in Stormbreaker
  • In The Lady in the Lake, Marlowe is knocked out in a hotel room and recovers consciousness to find himself sharing the room with a dead body and police knocking on the door. He buys time by climbing out the window and in through the window of the next hotel room.
    I looked sideways and saw that the bathroom window of the next apartment was not more than three feet away. A well-nourished mountain goat could make it without any trouble at all. The question was whether a battered private detective could make it, and if so, what the harvest would be.
  • The Stephen King short story "The Ledge" is a very slight variation on this, as the protagonist is forced to circumnavigate the building and return to the same window.
  • Variation happens twice in the Losing Christina series. Book One Christina needs it to get out the Manor to rescue Anya. In Book three she and Val have to use the balcony to escape the fire.
  • Nastily subverted in the short story "The Midnight Visitor" by Robert Arthur. Secret agent Ausable and reporter Fowler are confronted in Ausable's apartment by enemy agent Max. Ausable promptly complains about how Max must have gotten into the place via the balcony. (In fact, Max used a passkey.) When there's a knock at the door, Max keeps his eyes and his gun on Ausable while he retreats out the window to wait on the balcony. The last line of the story is Ausable saying casually that there is no balcony.
  • In Wyatt by Garry Disher, Wyatt escape from his safe house of the upper floors of an apartment building by putting a ladder from his balcony to the balcony of the apartment next door, breaking in through neighbour's balcony doors, and sneaking out through the apartment while the occupant is in the bedroom with headphones on.
  • In the 1990s action series Soldiers of Barrabas, the SOBs stay in a hotel full of students who do this as a lark despite the dangers. When the Villain of the Week decides to make his escape via this trope, the SOBs pursue and are joined by other students who think they're playing this game. Inevitably they have to stop and save one who misses the jump and nearly falls.
  • Graceling Realm: After using the winter's ball to interrogate and kill two visiting rebelling nobles in the king's palace, Brigan and Fire escape the murder scene by climbing up from their balcony to the one one story higher.

    Video Games 
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, the survivors are forced to go out on the ledges of the Vannah Hotel to get around the fires.
  • In Year One of Grim Fandango, Manny has to climb out the window of his office to get into his rival Domino's office next door.
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent. You have to smash a window, then hop across balconies to reach an otherwise blocked-off room.
  • In Paper Mario, to get one of the badges, Mario has to enter one building, climb the stairs, exit through a window onto a ledge, go to the end of that ledge, hop to the next ledge, then enter through a ledge on that building... which has no visible street-level doors, even blocked or locked ones.
  • Required frequently in Splinter Cell.
  • In Assassin's Creed the only way to get into the local offices of the Assassins is to enter from the rooftop. Getting to that rooftop will often mandate some unconventional approaches.
  • James Bond can sneak across a ledge to bypass most of the second mission in NightFire. Unfortunately, there are windows on the wall with guards on the other side, so he has to be careful.
  • This is a common way to escape in the Hitman series.

    Western Animation 
  • In Arcane, Vi leads her gang on a rooftop escape during the first act.