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Bring the Anchor Along

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Sometimes the heroes (or the villains) need to restrain someone, but are in a hurry and do not have the time to properly imprison them. A temporary solution is to handcuff (or otherwise shackle them) to a heavy or immovable object, which should ensure that they are still there when the hero returns to retrieve them. But this underestimates the determination of the prisoner, and they turn up later, still handcuffed to the object and dragging it with them (and often looking for revenge). One popular depiction of this is a heavy iron ball tied to the wrists or ankle that the guy drags around.

Compare Chained Heat (when you're chained onto someone else), Steal the Surroundings, Bench Breaker (when you break the anchor).

See also Epic Flail and Chain Pain when this is weaponized. Don't confuse it with Anchors Away (wielding a nautical anchor as a weapon).



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  • A print ad for a brand of Scotch whiskey has the slogan "Some things are just worth it." The photo shows a Dalmatian's leash tied to one corner of a hay shed on a farm. The dog has dragged the foundationless structure all the way to his master's back porch, because... dog.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Skypeia arc of One Piece, Luffy's first fight with God Eneru ends with Eneru throwing Luffy off his airship with a giant gold ball attached to his arm. That ball stays on Luffy's am for nearly the entire rest of the arc. It's broken off of Luffy's arm and smashed to pieces in the course of the final attack against Eneru.
  • Patlabor 2. Detective Matsui is caught snooping around the disguised base of the conspirators, so they knock him out and leave him handcuffed to a pipe while they carry out their plan. He wakes up to see their airships taking off; desperate to get to a phone, Matsui just detaches the pipe and carries it with him. The pipe comes in handy for forcibly stopping a passing car so he can use its carphone.
  • The day Kaname first meets Sousuke in Full Metal Panic!, she eventually gets tired of the military nut transfer student following her around all day and handcuffs him to a folding chair. Sousuke is forced to make his way back to his safehouse while still shackled to the chair.

    Comic Books 
  • The Mighty Thor: the Absorbing Man is iconic with his ball and chain that was used to restrain him when he was in jail before he acquired his material absorption powers; the ball can also change its material along with him.
  • Batman: When Stephanie Brown is "kidnapped" and handcuffed to a bed to make it look as though her father is being coerced into working with his newest accomplices, she and Robin pick up and use the bed to plow through her captors and he only gets the cuffs and by extension bed off of her when they're out of the room she was being held in.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1:
    • One of Paula's minions tied Diana to a tree with her own unbreakable lasso. Diana responded by tearing up the tree by the roots and knocking her out with it.
    • Eviless attempted to restrain Diana by binding her to a pole with her own lasso while taking her and Etta Candy as captives to the Emperor of Saturn. Diana bends over and tears the pole out of the ship and then turns to use it to destroy the wall of Etta's cell before getting untangled from it.

    Comic Strips 
  • Footrot Flats: When Jess the bitch is in heat, the Dog will often take off while still chained to his water tank/kennel; taking the water tank with him.

    Film – Animation 

    Film – Live-Action 
  • Army of Frankensteins: When Ginny and the original Frankenstein are captured by the Confederates, they are tied to stakes driven into the ground. The enraged Frankenstein stands up, pulling the stake out of the ground still tied to his back.
  • Big Trouble has a cop and a jerkass handcuffed to a heavy metal entertainment unit, which they end up dragging to freedom. Later, the aforementioned jerkass is shown still dragging the thing down the street.note 
  • In Goldfinger, James Bond is handcuffed to the atomic device inside Fort Knox. When Kish is thrown to his death off a walkway and lands several metres away, Bond drags the bomb with him to be able to reach the body and retrieve the handcuff key from Kisch's pocket.
  • Gunless opens with the Montana Kid riding on his horse backwards, with his hands tied behind and a noose round his neck. Dragging behind the horse, tied to the rope of the noose, is a broken branch.
  • In Jumanji, Allan handcuffs Carl to the door of his police car, then drives to store where Van Pelt has the others trapped. He leaves the car (and Carl) in the parking lot. Shortly after, Carl shows up in the store, still handcuffed to the now detached car door and looking for a hacksaw to cut the cuffs off.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Max is held prisoner by the Warboys, and tied to Nux (who's leukemic) to administer blood. When Nux crashes his car with Max aboard, Max is unable to break the chain tying them (and a car door) together, and settles for carrying them with him.
  • In Maniac Cop, Theresa gets arrested and is handcuffed to a cop who is taking her to the cells. But Cordell kills the cop and Theresa is forced to drag the cop's body with her as she escapes, until she has time to find the key and uncuff herself.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Jack Sparrow is lashed to a roasting-spit by cannibals. He manages to jounce the spit off its props to escape being cooked, but has to run away with it still tied to his back.
  • The Predator: Casey is handcuffed to chair while being interrogated in the barn. When she escapes, she takes the chair along with her, only have it get wrapped around a rail when she vaults off a balcony.
  • At the start of The Quick and the Dead, the Lady knocks out Dog Kelly and shackles him to the wheel of an old wagon buried in the desert. Later Dog turns up in town, dragging the wagon wheel with him, and challenges the Lady to a duel.
  • In Stag, Serena is duct taped to a chair. She manages to tip the chair over and drag herself across the floor to the window using her elbows.
  • In Truth or Dare (2012), Gemma, who has been duct taped to a chair, attempts to reach a Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing by walking the chair slowly backwards on its legs.
  • The Warriors: When Ajax gets handcuffed to a park bench by a decoy cop, he manages to drag the park bench several feet while attempting to reach her and get the handcuff key. He is prevented from going any further by the arrival of squad car full of cops.

  • The novel of Big Trouble has a cop and a jerkass handcuffed to a heavy metal entertainment unit, which they end up dragging to freedom.
  • Discworld: In Unseen Academicals, Nutt describes his early childhood labouring in a dark forge, where he built up his strength by working with larger and larger equipment until he could even carry the anvil. When his friend asks why that was so important to him, he clarifies that he was chained to the anvil.
  • Joe Pickett: In Winterkill, Joe gets handcuffed to the wheel of his truck by an escaping prisoner. Without his handcuff keys, Joe undoes the steering wheel and pursues his prisoner with the steering wheel handcuffed to his wrist.
  • During one of the many times she's attacked in Only Ashes Remain, Nita stands up while still zip tied to a chair and knocks one of her captors into the wall with it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agent Carter: In the second episode, Peggy defeats an accomplice of a Leviathan agent but knocks him out cold before he can be interrogated. She ties him to a chair and leaves, and he's found later by the SSR fleeing out in the road with the chair still tied to him. Chief Dooley, after arresting him, snarks at the guy trying to play it casual.
    Dooley: Yeah, I know. I used to go for walks at night with a chair strapped to my ass too.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: In "Cinco De Mayo", Jake handcuffs Terry to a railing, but he didn't count on Terry tearing out the cage wall the railing was attached to and bringing it with him.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Partners in Crime": Reporter Penny Carter gets tied to a chair twice by Miss Foster's thugs, the second time after ignoring the Doctor's advice to leave. At the end, she emerges from the building still tied to the chair to express her opinion that the Doctor and Donna are "mad" and that she's going to report them for "madness".
    • "Robot of Sherwood": The Doctor and Robin are shackled together in the dungeon of Nottingham Castle with chains that run through a bolt in the floor. When the Doctor and Robin escape, they are still chained to each other and carrying the large stone the chains are attached to between them.
  • Get Smart: In "The Day They Raided Knights", 99 is tied to a surfboard by KAOS agents, but manages to escapes by waddling away still tied to the board and throwing herself on a conveyor belt. Later, she knocks out a female KAOS agent who has the drop on Max by hitting her with the surfboard, which is still tied to her back.
  • The Goodies: In "Goodies in the Nick", the Goodies escape from prison with iron balls still shackled to their ankles. The proceed to disguise the balls in a series of increasingly unlikely fashions; including as a balloon.
  • In one episode of Green Acres, when a horse trotting around the farm keeps conveniently appearing before Oliver but nobody else, he ties it to a tree to keep it in place to prove he's not imaging it. Unfortunately, when he returns with Lisa, the horse is gone again, having taken the tree with it, causing Lisa to believe he imagined the tree as well.
  • School of Rock: In "Come Together", Lawrence chains the kids' bikes together with a titanium chain and then forgets the lock combination, forcing them to ride their bikes chained together in a row. They are also dragging the bike rack behind them.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): In one episode, Jacquelyn is tied to a small tree. She escapes by uprooting the tree and carrying it on her back, which she does for almost the entire episode.

  • In the climax of The Play That Goes Wrong, Dennis - who is playing Perkins - is handcuffed to the chaise-lounge. He is supposed to be released when Perkins's innocence is established, but this being the play that goes wrong, they have lost the handcuff keys. Dennis struggles through the rest of the scene carrying the chaise-lounge.

    Video Games 
  • The trial of Thievery in The Secret of Monkey Island ends with Fester Shinetop tying the stolen item, the Idol of Many Hands, to Guybrush Threepwood and dropping him in the bay. How does our hero get out of this? Just pick up the Idol. You know, the one he was just carrying a few seconds ago. It should be noted this is the only part of the game in which Guybrush can die, if he fails to solve the problem within 10 minutes.
  • Sengoku Basara: One of the playable characters, Kuroda Kanbei, has his hands tied and chained to a huge ball as he's a prisoner of war. Nevertheless, he's strong enough to carry it around and weaponize it.

  • My Fiancée Is a Vampire Hunter!: When Louis comes to after falling off a cliff with Maxie, Maxie's hunter companions are nearby. He tries to leg it, but he is tied to the still unconscious Maxie via her snare, so he picks her up and carries her as he runs.
  • White Rooms: Everybody in the white rooms, except for the Ritses, has a leg chained to a heavy block, and the only way to get around is to drag it along with them. When Charlie arrives, entering through a door rather than waking up in the room, a white monster promptly appears from the ceiling to chain him to a block and then vanish again.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "The Wolf of Wharf Street", Bob handcuffs Teddy to the coffee table in a fit of painkiller-induced delirium. Teddy carries the table over his back while chasing Bob.
  • In Dragons: Race to the Edge, Hiccup teaches the dragon hunters that dragon-proof chains are useless without dragon-proof winches... but dragon-proof winches are just as useless when anchored to a wooden deck, as Hiccup simply blasts the deck, allowing Meatlug and Fishlegs to fly away with the winch still chained to her leg.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: After all the destruction Ed causes in "Rent A Ed", Eddy and Double D tie him to a beam and use him as a towel rack for the Chez La Sweat scam. Unfortunately, when Eddy tells Rolf to put a towel on, Ed busts through the wall, still tied to the beam, to offer towel rack services. Even worse, it was the support beam for Johnny's house.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: In "Has-Been Hero", Crane is captured and tied to a rotating wooden pillar. He escapes still tied to the pillar and uses it as a battering ram to smash his way out of the villain's hideout. Later Monkey uses the pillar as a weapon, with Crane still tied to it.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Birds Anonymous", Sylvester handcuffs himself to a radiator to keep himself from getting Tweety. But when he can't restrain his urges any longer, he just charges at Tweety, yanking the radiator off the wall.
    • In "Mouse and Garden", Sylvester ties Sam to his bed, but Sam manages to get up and catch him trying to get the mouse while still tied to the bed, carrying it over his back.
    • "Mutiny On The Bunny" has Bugs Bunny hornswoggled into rowing Shanghai Sam's ship across the sea, with the rabbit affixed to his post with an ankle shackle attached to a heavy iron ball. Nonetheless, Bugs is able to carry it to the Captain, demanding that he rid the rabbit of this device. Shanghai Sam complies by throwing the ball overboard ... taking the rabbit with it.
    • In "Porky's Tire Trouble", Porky Pig's dog Flat Foot Flookie follows him to the tire factory where he works. Since dogs are not allowed inside, Porky ties Flookie to the bumper of a car. Flookie then burrows his way inside, dragging the entire car along with him.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", Apple Bloom ties Big Mac first to an ox-drawn cart full of anvils, then to a house. Both get dragged along with him, much to the dismay of Apple Bloom, the oxen pulling the cart, and the house's occupant.
  • Samurai Jack in the episode where he trains to 'jump good'; he unknowingly volunteers to have a boulder tied to him. This trope is played with, as it's for training, but he carries the rock around until he can bear its weight.
  • The Simpsons: In "Homer the Great", Homer is punished for ruining the Stonecutters' sacred parchment by being stripped naked and forced to pull the "stone of shame" all the way home. When the Stonecutters' notice a birthmark identifying Homer as The Chosen One, they release him and instead make him pull the even larger "stone of triumph".
  • Slugterra: In "Inheritance", Dana Por breaks into the Shane Gang's hideout, and webs Eli's arm to chair during a shootout. The chair is a rolling chair, and Eli spends the the rest of the fight scooting around on it with his arm still stuck to it.
  • South Park: In "Stunning And Brave", after Kyle gets tied to a tree by Randy and the PC fraternity, he shows up at Stan's house to complain, the tree still tied to his back.
  • Tom and Jerry: In "The Duck Doctor", Jerry's attempts to keep the wild duckling from running out into the open (and getting shot at by Tom) end with him tying the duckling to an anvil by a rope. When Tom uses a duck call to lure him out, the duckling races outside anyway, still dragging the anvil with him. Naturally, the anvil is also used to make Tom suffer more Amusing Injuries.


Video Example(s):


"This Has Been Quite A Day"

When Eddy tells Rolf to put a towel on, Ed, who was acting as a towel rack, busted through the wall to offer services, bringing the support beam he was tied to with him. Double D puts it best just before the house collapses.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / BringTheAnchorAlong

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