A would-be lover calling up to his desired paramour's bedroom window or balcony, in order to win her attention/affection. Often the scene will begin with the lover on the ground throwing pebbles at the window of the paramour inside. The device is used to convey a distance between the two parties, either imposed or due to lack of interest on the recipient's end.
This scene demonstrates despair of the caller as normal channels of communication are either not working or out of reach. This often occurs with teenage characters whose movements are restricted. When this trope is employed, the couple's chances are doubtful as there are usually significant obstacles to their being together. May double as an Anguished Declaration of Love if it occurs at a climactic point in their relationship. If the lover on the ground's performance is especially elaborate, or if he went through hell just to get to the balcony, it's also a Grand Romantic Gesture.
This trope may have its origins in the ideal of Courtly Love, which idealized chaste courtship from afar. However, this is often subverted by having the lover on the ground climb in through the window, allowing a less chaste relationship. Because of this history, in most cases the character in the window is female and the one on the ground is male, though other gender combinations are possible.
Often overlaps with Serenade Your Lover if the caller sings or performs a song. Many modern executions instead have the lover on the ground holding a boombox over his head, as a Stock Shout Out to Say Anything....
This is an Undead Horse Trope.
- The cover of the Random House-published Smurfs book "Romeo And Smurfette" features a Smurf wooing Smurfette while she stands on a low balcony of her house.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: In combination with Serenade Your Lover, one of the things General Jadeite learned from reading romance novels, and a discarded plan to get Mercury to fall more in love with him, as said in Beryl's Plan:
Somehow, he didn't think she would be impressed if he serenaded her from below a balcony. Not that she had a balcony in this dungeon.
Film — Animated
- In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, when the Prince first comes into the castle courtyard, Snow White is afraid and runs inside, but then she comes out onto a balcony and smiles down at the Prince as he sings the romantic "One Song" below.
Film — Live-Action
- The Adventures of Robin Hood: Robin climbs up to Marian's window for a romantic meeting where he hangs on the outside of the building and she leans out to kiss him.
- In Animal House, Pinto tries to get his girl's attention by chucking pebbles at her window. He breaks the glass.
- In Braveheart, the hero is at odds with his love interest's parents so he has to resort to throwing stones at her window to catch her attention. Played for laughs as he doesn't recognize that she already opened the window, thus his third stone almost hits her.
- Played for laughs in Bringing Up Baby, where the lead couple starts singing a song in front of a house in order to get a leopard coming down from the roof. The house owner opens the window and thinks he is dealing with lunatics.
- Naomi Watts in Diana when she calls for Hasnat to come to the window of his apartment, but he does not because he is not comfortable with the public exposure.
- Ethan Hawke in Great Expectations when he yells "Everything I have ever does has been for you!" from the street-level. The receiving Estella is aloof to his affection.
- Hackensacker in The Palm Beach Story performs the serenade "Goodnight Sweetheart" with complete orchestra beneath Gerry's balcony, though producing the opposite of the desired effect.
- Mike Myers in So I Married an Axe Murderer when he recites his poetry outside Harriet's kitchen window in order to win back her affection.
- "Love Story" by Taylor Swift has the protagonist standing on her balcony and her lover throwing pebbles in a Star-Crossed Lovers scenario.
- The Trope Codifier is the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Romeo woos Juliet from the ground, while she is at her window. Both families object, but Juliet is quite receptive to his advances. The term "Balcony Scene" is actually a case of Beam Me Up, Scotty!, as the word "balcony" did not exist during Shakespeare's time, but early modern theaters had onstage balconies (used for musicians, high-paying spectators, and scenes set at windows or on castle walls), which is where Juliet's actor would have stood during the scene.
- Another iconic and often-parodied example is in Cyrano de Bergerac, when Christian reads romantic lines from the garden to his love interest Roxanne who is up on the balcony, while Cyrano hides and feeds him lines. Eventually, Cyrano takes over and starts wooing Roxanne directly, while pretending to be Christian.
- In some productions of Les Misérables, Marius approaches Cosette by throwing a pebble at her window before she steps out onto the balcony to investigate.
- West Side Story, being an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, has a "Balcony Scene" for Tony and Maria. Due to the urban Setting Update, Maria's balcony is actually a window opening onto the fire escape. He climbs up, they begin a duet, and the world fades away.
- The whole first act of The Barber of Seville takes place under Rosinas balcony, with Count Almaviva there to woo her. Due to Dr. Bartolos jealous guarding it never becomes a full-blown love scene, but the Count does serenade Rosina twice and she manages to toss a letter down to him.
- The Demented Cartoon Movie has several scenes of a theater production of Romeo and Juliet doing the balcony scene. It never goes correctly, mainly because Juliet is Ax-Crazy and throws bombs at Romeo.
- The Oglaf strip called "balcony scene" (NSFW) features a man delivering lines of love to a woman on a balcony, in a Playing Cyrano scenario where another man hiding in the bushes feeds him lines. This being Oglaf, the two men end up together instead.
- Tommy from the NSFW Furry Webcomic Better Days flees his home after the Shipping Torpedo Rachel vilifies Lucy to Tommy's parents. Tommy resorts to lobbing pebbles at Lucy's upstairs window in the Monday 23 October 2006 strip. The window is open, so one pebble bips off Lucy's shoulder. This leads to a face-to-face discussion that furthers their relationship.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: One flashback to when they were teenagers courting has Richard standing on a ladder to serenade Nicole outside her bedroom window.
- In The Fairly OddParents! episode "Love Struck", Timmy sings a broadway-esque serenade in front of Trixie's balcony, in hopes of becoming her Valentine. It didn't work.
- In the Sonic Boom episode, "Tails' Crush", after Sonic and Knuckles' advice on how to impress women fails to win him the heart of Zooey, Tails turns to Amy, who says he should be romantic and chivalrous. Tails dresses like the title character from The Phantom of the Opera, calls Zooey from her balcony and tries to recite some flowery poetry for her, but messes up his lines, and Zooey, who has become sick of Tails' odd behavior, shuts him out.
- John Cusack with the boombox in Say Anything.... He is trying to win back the affection/attention of the female lead, substituting his own calling with music. The parent who objects to the romance ends up with bigger problems.
- Another shoutout to Say Anything... can be found in Deadpool 2, when Deadpool tries to make up with Colossus and does the stereo-under-your-window thing.
- The epilogue of Arrested Development's episode "Whistler's Mother" parodies the scene from Say Anything... when George's Sr.'s brother is holding up his boombox in front of Lucille's window to get her attention.
- In the That's So Raven episode "Blue In The Face", Devon pulls a boombox over his head to bring his girlfriend, Raven, the concert that she was forbidden to attend due to poor grades and a chemical explosion in her school's science lab.
- The Ninja Sex Party video for "Three Minutes of Ecstasy" Danny and Brian get a woman's attention by throwing roses through her window and standing outside with a boombox. Danny then manages to throw himself through her window, much to her displeasure, so they can have their "three minutes of ecstasy".
- The Homestuck music "How Do I Live (D8 Night Version)" has a track art showing John holding a stereo over his head.
- Another Say Anything... spoof in Family Guy episode "Once Bitten" where Neil stands under Chris' window holding an old boom box up. It's his way of apologizing for sacrificing their friendship for a fling with Chris's sister Meg. Funny enough, Neil doesn't play a tape but the radio news because he doesn't own any cassettes. Then he asks if he can put the boom box down because the D batteries make it so heavy.
- In the The Simpsons episode "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", Otto holds up a boombox and plays a song for his girlfriend at a drive-in.
- Parodied on South Park. In one episode, Stan is trying to get Wendy back, and one of Wendy's friends suggests he stand outside her window and play a Peter Gabriel song as a romantic gesture, in a reference to Say Anything.... But Stan, rather than choosing "In Your Eyes", chooses the decidedly unromantic "Shock the Monkey".