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.
Classic Balcony Scene
- Asterix and the Great Divide, which basically combined Romeo and Juliet with the Berlin Wall, of course featured a scene where handsome young Histrionix climbs up to the beautiful Melodrama's balcony. Interestingly, the original reason she invited him there was just to warn him about her father's nefarious plan to conquer the village with Roman assistance rather than for any romantic reasons, but the mood gets the better of them and after quoting "Histrionix, Histrionix wherefore art thou Histrionix" she kisses him. Then the villainous Codfix raises the alarm and a startled Histrionix falls off the balcony and lands on him.
- 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.
- In By the Book, Apple reads in a textbook on advanced wooing that this is the way to begin a courtship. She throws a bouquet through Darling's window and attempts to sing to her with Woodland Creatures as backup, but Darling gets nervous and makes an excuse to leave.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spoofed in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Romeo climbs up to Juliet's balcony for the famous scene... only for the nurse to appear instead. Romeo quickly ducks out of sight, but then Juliet exits an elevator on the ground floor, so he doesn't have to climb anywhere. When Romeo tries to introduce himself, he startles her so much they both fall into the pool.
- Blackadder III: In "Amy and Amiability", the Playing Cyrano variant is used, with Amy on the balcony and the Prince Regent below, with Blackadder to feed him lines.
- Doctor Who: "The Shakespeare Code" opens with Lilith being serenaded from her balcony by a lute-playing swain on the street. She beckons him in, where she and her witch accomplices proceed to feast on him.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- "Pilot": After Ted's first date with Robin falls flat, he steals the blue French horn that Robin commented on in the restaurant during their date, rings up to her apartment, and when she sticks her head out the window, Ted offers it up to her as a grand romantic gesture. This receives a Call-Back in the series finale, when future Ted realizes he still loves Robin and shows up at her balcony with the blue French horn again.
- "Come On": Ted shows up at Robin's apartment, calls out to her, and she opens her window. They start a conversation and when she asks why he was there, Ted replies, "Because I made it rain!" He had spent half a day performing a rain dance so she wouldn't go camping with a potential love rival.
- Attempted during the Historical Re Creation Regency House Party, but unfortunately the would-be Romeo is too drunk, being unused to the excessive alcohol consumption of the period he's acting in. A professional singer they've called as a guest character makes a better impression, being sober.
- 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.
- In the updated version of Marie Antoinette, there is one between Axel von Fersen and Marie Antoinette near the beginning of the musical, as they reunite after Fersen returns to France after fighting in the American Revolution.
- 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 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. A bonus addendum has the woman asking to join in.
- 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.
'Say Anything' Shoutouts
- 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.
- 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.
- In the Series/9ss episode"Buck, Actually", a woman feeling ignored by her husband goes to great extremes on top of a freeway overpass to get his attention. When the husband showed up to prove his love to his wife he plays the song "In Your Eyes" by holding his phone above his head next to a cop cars' speaker system.
- The video for "I Don't Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore" by The Menzingers features a Hockey Mask And Chain Saw-type serial killer holding a boombox over his head in an attempt to make up with his lady outside her house.
- 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.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda has an e-mail mentioning a krogan trying to do this (krogan haven't really got the whole idea of romance, but have got a lot of human movies they've been researching). Sadly, we don't see it, just hearing that the unfortunate sap somehow managed to get his ass zapped by lightning. On a planet with no weather.
- 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".
- In Sym-Bionic Titan, after Octus is forced to leave Kimmy at homecoming to fight the Monster of the Week, he travels to her house and throws several pebbles at the window before using the boom-box. But instead of using a song, Octus plays a commercial for mattresses.