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Banister Slide

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Just a spoonful of sugar helps the nanny and kids go down, the nanny and kids go down...

"It is the fate of all banisters worth sliding down that there is something nasty waiting at the far end."

Any comedy whose set includes an elaborate winding staircase with a long, swooping banister will inevitably require someone to slide down, or up, that banister. Such slides are always rear-end first.

Half of the time, the slider will not realize until it's too late that there's a mounted knob, known as a finial, at the very bottom just waiting to hit them in the crotch. The other half of the time, either there is no finial (as is the case in the opening to Wait Till Your Father Gets Home) or it will break off harmlessly when the slider hits it. In either of these cases, the slider then ends up sprawled on the floor. More often than not, they'll be more concerned about embarrassment than injury. Basically, it all depends on the sturdiness of the banister.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yotsuba&!: Yotsuba does this while racing her dad down the stairs to a shrine.

    Comic Books 
  • MAD's spoof of the 1991 The Addams Family movie had, in one panel, a disembodied bum sliding down a banister.
  • In Volume 5 of Scott Pilgrim, the hero does this, ending with a flying kick to the face of his own brother, whom he had mistaken for Gideon. The panel even features the word "BUTT-SLIDE" in large text.
  • One Doctor Who comic features the Twelfth Doctor trying this. Naturally, he ends up landing on his head.

    Films — Animated 
  • Shrek does this in the first film facing forward, and has to deal with the finial problem the hard way. Fortunately, ogres are tough.
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure: Ann and Andy do this in Looney Land.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler: Tack and the Thief go down the banister of a labyrinthine staircase in the Sultan's palace.
  • Toy Story: As Andy is playing with Woody near the beginning, he sends Woody sliding on a banister. He must have done this before, as he catches Woody after the latter's bonk into the end of the banister sends him flying.
  • Disney's Make Mine Music segment "All The Cats Join In". After the teenage girl walks down the stairs to her house, the animator draws a railing. The girl's Annoying Younger Sibling younger sister jumps up on the railing and slides down it.
  • In Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, Cinderella and two of her mouse friends do this at the palace.
  • Maria does it a couple of times in The Book of Life, most notably when she meets Manolo after his serenade.
  • In Frozen, Anna slides down the rail of a spiral staircase at the start of "For the First Time in Forever".
  • Beauty and the Beast: To rescue Lumiere from being melted by LeFou, Cogsworth slides down the stair banister and jabs LeFou in the butt with a pair of scissors.
  • The Care Bears Adventurein Wonderland: Has a brief scene in which Tweedledum and Tweedledim join to ride down the banisters while their master the evil Wizard thinks they are right near to him when he is talking to them.
  • The Wrong Trousers: Feathers the penguin slides down the banister, at the start of the climactic chase.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins does this effectively. Being a Magical Nanny, she also goes up the banister this way.
  • Magenta does this in The Rocky Horror Picture Show causing the famous Audience Participation line —
  • Utilised by multiple fraternity boys (admittedly, most likely drunk and stoned at the time) during a musical number in Across the Universe (2007).
  • James Bond:
    • Octopussy: Bond slides down a banister while firing a Kalashnikov rifle, sees the newel post at the end, and blows it off just in time to avoid a ballistic groin impairment.
    • In Skyfall, he and Silva slide down the separator between escalators in the London subway system during their chase sequence. Needless to say the producers removed the barriers put there to stop people from doing this.
    • In the Bond parody Casino Royale (1967), a small army of soldiers go charging up a staircase at Mata Bond, so she sprays them with a fire extinguisher causing them to slip and fall down. To avoid a Slippery Skid herself, she then slides past them on the banister.
  • Chow Yun-Fat's Tequila does a banister slide of his own with Guns Akimbo in a classic shot from the first shootout of John Woo's Hard Boiled.
  • Sister Act II: Whoopi Goldberg does this dressed as a nun.
  • The Avengers (1998). Mrs. Peel does a short one during her sword duel with Steed.
  • Spaceballs. Colonel Sanders, Dark Helmet and President Skroob do this to get to the Self-Destruct Mechanism's cancellation button.
  • In Starship Troopers, Carmen Ibanez does a short one while running to a shuttle.
  • In the 1982 film Annie, some of the orphan ensemble do this during "It's a Hard Knock Life". Later, Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily slide down a bannister during the "Easy Street" number, with Lily and Miss Hannigan sliding down forward and Rooster sliding while standing up.
  • Provides an important plot point in 13 Ghosts, as it is the place where Cyrus's money is hidden.
  • The Bourne Legacy. Aaron Cross does this on a motorcycle during the final chase scene, because the stairway is blocked by pedestrians.
  • Carry On Constable: a policeman slides down the banister to get to the bottom of the stairs more quickly, to catch a criminal.
  • Bullshot. Comedic Hero Bullshot Crummond does this backwards — thus he misses seeing the newel and ends up limping away in great pain.
    "Captain Crummond, are you shot?!"
  • Mary attempts one in All About Steve, but painfully slows to a halt due to too much friction.
  • Done by Shirley Temple in her 1936 film Dimples.
  • In Mickey, Mickey the tomboy has a habit of doing this when she's supposed to be sweeping the floors of the Drake mansion.
  • In Father of the Bride (1991) the titular bride's little brother pretends he's going to do this, much to the horror of his parents and the wedding coordinator, as the banister has been decked out for the wedding. Earlier in the film, Annie had done this as her father came home, and a flashback of his establishes that she's been doing this since childhood.
  • Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?: Aunt Roo's daughter Katharine was killed when she fell off a banister. When Katy slides down the same banister, Aunt Roo screams in horror, but she reaches the bottom safely.
  • Black Widow (2021). Natasha and Yelena flee Taskmaster by sliding down the separator between escalators at a Budapest train station. However, this trope is made more perilous than usual by Taskmaster throwing a Vibranium shield after them; they slide off the end just in time, so the shield flies over their heads.

  • In Bryony and Roses by Ursula Vernon, Bryony notes that the staircase in the Beast's mansion has a banister that looks perfect for sliding down — and a spiky bit at the end that looks perfect for impaling anybody who tried.
  • In Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon, Molly slides down the banister of the castle's main staircase at one point when she's in a hurry to answer the door.
  • In Ella Enchanted, Ella's father and new step mother walk in on her and the prince enjoying themselves sliding down the giant banister in the castle in which the wedding has just taken place. Her new family members are not amused.
  • In Fire Engine By Mistake, the young fireman Jim Price always wanted to slide down banisters at home, telling his mother that it was quicker than coming down the stairs, but she would never allow it.
  • A much milder version shows up in the first novel of The Malloreon. Eriond and Prince Kheva set up piles of pillows at the end of their banisters ... but Polgara walks in on their game just as one pillow burst and sent feathers all over. Having had some two thousand years of experience raising little boys, all she does is laugh and tell them they need to clean up the feathers.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Miles Vorkosigan does one near the beginning of The Warrior's Apprentice because he's got two broken legs, and is supposed to stay off his feet. Fortunately his father was at the bottom of the stairs, and managed to catch him.
    • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan mentions that some earlier point in his life, Miles ended up breaking a leg doing something similar.
  • In Starfighters of Adumar, the banister slide is weaponized in a fight, when one character uses it to gain momentum before launching himself at their foes.
  • The Queen's Museum and Other Fanciful Tales, short story "The Christmas Truants". The boy Tomtit does one of these while the title characters are trying to escape the castle of a band of robbers.
  • In Helen Wells' Cherry Ames: Private Duty Nurse, the heroine does this, causing her mother to jokingly remark, "Shocking behavior for a graduate nurse!" Cherry says her brother Charlie used to do it without using his hands.
  • A throwaway detail in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is that when the tour group reaches a flight of stairs that leads to the Nut Room, Willy Wonka chooses to slide down the banister and the three remaining kids in the tour group follow suit.
  • Animorphs has a variation: Marco, Ax and Tobias slide down several stories of banister as cockroaches. From their perspective, it's like bobsledding with rockets strapped to your back. Once it's over, they spend a few seconds exulting in how awesome it was before declaring they will never be doing it again.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The 10th Kingdom, the false Prince Wendell enters his coronation party by jumping on a banister and sliding down into the crowd.
  • In the opening scene of Dog with a Blog, Stan the dog slides down the banister during a family photo, essentially ruining it for everyone.
  • Home Improvement: when Tim's mother moves out of the house Tim grew up in, Tim reminisces about sliding down the bannister. His brothers comment that Tim was the only one brave enough to go down facing forward, to which Tim replies that he was able to have kids anyway. Later, he takes a "slide down memory lane," and answers the door with a falsetto voice.
  • In Have I Got News for You, Paul Merton claimed that "sliding down the banister" was the appropriate method before toilet paper was invented. When it was pointed out that this would make the bannister unusable for its intended purpose, he retorted that "of course you had your shit bannister and then you had your hand bannister. You don't see them nowadays because they were all melted down during World War II to make Spitfires".
  • Red Skelton told a story about his son Richard sliding down the banister. Richard says, "You know that vase with 'Whistler's Mother' on it? The old girl just had a nervous breakdown!" Red goes on to say that Richard told him he wouldn't do that again- "I was going south and I met a splinter going north!"
  • On Gilmore Girls, Lorelai pretends to try/actually tries to persuade Rory to slide down the banister at her debutante ball. Rory doesn't do it.
  • Discussed on QI of course. And, of course, plenty of buzzers went off on the mention of the word 'bannister'. Apparently, the correct term is 'balustrade' for the top part, and 'baluster' for the uprights.
    Jo Brand: When I was in college I slid down a barrister.
    Phill Jupitus: Did you hit yourself on the knob at the end?

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Otto Soglow's The Little King once showed the title character doing this, taking care to have his servants place a cushion in front of the sharp-pointed finial sculpture.
  • Nemo and Flip slide down a very long and winding banister in Little Nemo in Slumberland, which ends up going in zig-zags, wavy bumps, and cork screws. It was later also done in the movie. It would have also been in the arcade game, but this level was cut.
  • In this Sunday page with Mickey Mouse his nephews keep doing this. He tries to stop this by putting a flower pot at the end of the banister. They counter this by building a second end to the banister.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: In the Monsterpiece Theater sketch, "The 39 Stairs", Grover arrives at the top of the staircase only to find a brick wall there, much to his dismay. To make the best of a bad situation, Grover decides to go back down the staircase by sliding down the banister.
  • Wimzie's House: One of the lyrics in the show's theme song is "Forget the stairs, use the railing instead!", which Wimzie sings as she slides down the banister.

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 
  • BloodRayne 2: Rayne can slide down banisters and any type of thin pipes. Friction with her Combat Stilettos produces sparkles doing so, and she can bisect the mooks that are unfortunate enough to stand in her way with her blades while sliding.
  • Mario Party DS: The minigame Rail Riders has the players slide downward across a staircase's handrail. Since the characters have a reduced size in this game, sliding across the handrail is almost like sliding across a snowy mountain for them. The first player to reach the bottom wins.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker: Done as an attack animation in the Sega Genesis version.
  • In Grim Fandango, Manny can do this in Year 2 at the Calavera Cafe, just for funsies.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Dolly from 101 Dalmatian Street does this several times, befitting her energetic, athletic nature.
  • The sharp object variant occurred in the Quick Draw McGraw short "El Kabong": The villain Don Chilada waited at the bottom to jab the banister-sliding Quick Draw with the tip of his sword.
  • The opening sequence to each episode of popular Czech bedtime story Mach a Sebestova shows the boy sliding and blinking with his ear to signal turns.
  • The opening sequence to the Dennis the Menace cartoon showed Dennis doing this. He may have done it a time or two in the live-action TV series as well.
    • Also the case for the other Dennis the Menace, in this case before Dennis reached the bottom of the bannister Gnasher pulled a lever which made the knob at the end of the banister slide down into it allowing Dennis to fly off the end!.
      • He did this in a 1980s The Beano strip, too, but Mum had sewn sandpaper into his shorts (Dennis hadn't noticed) thus sanding the banister down. This was one of several unwittingly helpful things he did in that issue, with a bemused Dennis getting rewarded instead of being punished at the end.
  • Arabian Knights episode "Sky Raiders of the Desert". Both Turjan and Bez slide down a stair banister to attack some guards.
  • Jonny Quest TOS
    • "Monster in the Monastery". Performed by Jonny, Hadji and some yeti.
    • "House of the Seven Gargoyles". Dietrich (Norway's greatest acrobatic dwarf, who's dressed as a gargoyle) does this while following the others to Professor Ericson's demonstration.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "The Wise-Quacking Duck", Daffy Duck comes down the banister just fine, but then turns a statue holding a spear so that the tip gets his pursuer.
    • In "Napoleon Bunny-parte", Bugs Bunny is being chased by Napoleon (yes that Napoleon) down a banister, while a guard is waiting at the bottom with a bayonet. Bugs gets off early, so it's "Nappy" who gets the point in the end.
    • In "Wholly Smoke", Porky speedily slides down the banister, only to stop suddenly just before he hits the vase at the end.
    • Sylvester is chasing a mouse this way. The mouse puts a pat of butter on the railing, which speeds up Sylvester's trip and sends him all the way out.
  • the Tex Avery MGM cartoon:
    • "One Ham's Family", a Bratty Half-Pint slides down a banister with a pricey-looking vase on the finial. He comes to a Screeching Stop just millimeters from the vase, then tells the audience, "I've got me good brakes, haven't I, folks?"
    • In "Dumb-Hounded", the Wolf is sliding down a banister to get away from Droopy. However, Droopy suddenly appears behind him and comments "Fun, isn't it?", causing the Wolf to do a Wild Take and slide up the banister.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart occasionally slides down the banister.
    • Lisa did this once.
    • Homer and Marge comment that Shary Bobbins butt-waxed the banister, too.
  • The Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "A Night of Fright Is No Delight". As the two green ghosts are fleeing Shaggy and Scooby, they jump on to a stair's banister and slide down in an attempt to escape.
    • Shaggy, Scooby and Velma (all in suits of armor) slide down a banister to escape the headless spectre of the episode "Haunted House Hang-Up."
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, Hamton and Plucky do this once.
  • In Curious George, the monkey does this while standing up. He jumps off before the end.
  • Doug does this in "Doug's on His Own".
  • Used many times in Madeline by the title character, though occasionally the dog Genevieve will join her.
  • Lincoln Loud from The Loud House does this in the show's opening sequence.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • In "Adoptcalypse Now", Coco grinds down a banister, then jumps off.
    • In "Cuckoo for Coco Cards", Eduardo attempts to go down a banister backwards, going so slowly that the finial isn't an issue.
  • In The Little Rascals episode "Rascals' Revenge", all of the Rascals except Alfalfa exit the old house in a panic by sliding down the banister, leaving an Impact Silhouette in the closed door.
  • 3 Misses: A man slides down a banister when he can't get the elevator. But the friction starts to burn his butt, so he turns around and licks the banister to lubricate it as he speeds down to the ground floor.
  • Fireman Sam does this in the opening sequence in the style of sliding down the fire pole.
  • Garfield and Friends: In "Garfield's Moving Experience", Garfield moves into a mansion to be adopted by a rich girl after Jon kicks him out of his house. When the girl dresses him in a pink bonnet and a pink nightshirt and tries to put him down for a nap, he slides down the banister of a staircase in an attempt to escape from her. He sees a decoration of Cupid with a bow and arrow at the bottom, and screeches to a halt, just narrowly avoiding getting poked in the butt.

    Real Life 
  • You've probably done this once. And if you haven't, don't.
  • The Vancouver, British Columbia, public transit system is full of plastic speed bumps on escalator dividers and other banisters specifically to avert this trope, or at least make any attempts painful and not worth it. (With good reason, considering how steep some of the ones downtown are.)
    • The same things are also found on The London Underground, where they are usually seen as opportunities to put alternating advertising and safety/security messages.
  • During a 2013 Buffalo Bills-New York Jets game, a man slid down a stair railing repeatedly before falling off the upper deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium onto a fan below. He was later found guilty of assault.
  • An especially tragic example of why you shouldn't try this: a man attempted this in a stairwell of the Brooklyn Museum, but lost his balance and fell from the third floor resulting in a fatal head injury.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bannister Slide


Bow Wacka Wow!

Dolly makes her first appearance sliding down the banister whilst shouting her catchphrase, establishing her athletic, high-energy personality.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / BanisterSlide

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