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Chain of People

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Haaaaaaands...across Americaaaaa...

Take My Hand! meets The Power of Friendship.

Essentially, one person falls off a cliff to their certain death. However, just before they slip out of reach, another character catches them. Then, as they start slipping, another person catches that person, then another holds onto them, and then... well, you get the idea.

A variation to this exists. People will form a chain or a human wall as a sign of either uniting against a common enemy and it’s to show you’ll have to pass through them or as one of mourning, the grief brings them together in brotherhood.

Human Ladder is a similar trope. Not to be confused with a Chain of Deals.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Digimon Tamers, the kids and their mons tried pulling this off to get Takato onto the Arc. Unfortunately, the end of the chain was Culumon... but they get help from a returning Ruki and Kyuubimon.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Robot Kingdom have Doraemon and friends, and their new allies from the Rainbow Valley, among their ranks the reformed Jeanne forming a human chain at the end of the film to force an entry into Dester's fortress, bypassing Dester's robot soldiers due to the Three Laws-Compliant rules.
  • In Seijuu Kourin Hen after a bunch of characters are sucked into hell and the rest jump in after them to save them, they try to form an angelic chain. Slight variant in that a few are holding hands but most are holding onto the whip of the bottom-most guy while the winged character tries to fly back to the surface hauling 8 people this way. Rule of Cool, I think.
  • A variant is present in the finale of Kill la Kill. As Ryuko falls from space following the Final Battle with Ragyo, she is first caught by Satsuki, who is sent flying by the momentum before being backed up by Mako, the Elite Four, the rest of the Mankanshoku family, and then damn near every student of Honnōji Academy before they all finally come sliding to a stop.
  • Naruto. The title character will occasionally do this all by himself.
  • Seen in Planetes — Hachimachi sees Ai's hand reach out to him when he falls, but he sees her connected to a vast chain of almost every character in the series as well.
  • Occurs in the Pokémon: The Series short Pikachu's Rescue Adventure as a chain of Pokémon.
    • And in two other episodes, there's a long chain of Pikachu ("Pikachu's Goodbye") and Pichu ("The Apple Corp").
    • Master Quest anime episode "Throwing in the Noctowl". Team Rocket forms one to save Misty's Togepi, who has fallen out of a plane.
    • Pokémon 3 has Brock, Misty...and even the Team Rocket trio doing this to save Ash from falling off a cliff.
    • The end of the episode "As Clear As Crystal". After "blasting off again" (for the third time in the same episode), Team Rocket ends up hanging from the edge of a cliff. Then they're electrified by a Legendary Pokemon they tried to capture during the episode. They just can't win...
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team La Verite episode 7. Taro, Ryuuka and Ikyo Suzuki form a chain of people after they fall over the edge of a cliff while exploring an underground dungeon below the mansion.
  • A standard technique of the Ham-Hams in Hamtaro.
  • Code Geass has Lelouche jumping after Shirley when she falls from a roof and Suzaku grabbing onto Lelouches leg to catch them both. It is both a good example of, despite being enemies, Lelouche and Suzaku are still old friends totally insync with one another and a shining example of the characters' unfortunate noodliness.
  • An impressive chain between the five warriors and Manta forms at the end of Shaman King, to keep them from falling into Hao's black hole.
  • On an episode of Sailor Moon, Usagi, Ami and Chibiusa form a chain while they're doing a trapeze act.
  • On an episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, King Dedede almost falls to his doom, but his life is saved by all his Waddle Dee's forming an amazing chain and catching him just before he hits the ground.
  • Chapter 37 of Monster Musume has the gang do this to Kimihito to save him from drowning, then Kimihito continues this with Mero when she's sinking into her mother's Death Trap after she loses her air in her swim bladder (which she used to give Kimihito breathing air and stop him from drowning), and her tail fin was damaged so she couldn't swim out.

    Asian Animation 
  • In a Season 3 episode of Happy Heroes, Careful S. is nearly knocked into lava as he is fighting Kalo but saves himself by having his duplicates form a chain and throw him back onto the ground.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • One Peanuts strip from 1964 had a whole bunch of kids forming one to pull Snoopy, resisting a trip for his rabies shot, from the tree he's clinging to.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • A Bug's Life shows the ants towards the climax and the circus bugs all linking arms to form a wall, to show the grasshoppers that they’re united, stronger than them and they’re going to win the fight.
  • Seen in Monsters vs. Aliens. Well, technically, it's a chain of monsters, although half of them are mutated humans.
  • The film of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland does this near the end: All Nemo's friends hold onto him while he blast the Nightmare King with the magic staff.
  • Disney's Mulan: Mulan and the captain are about to fall off a cliff, but Mulan fires an arrow up into the heavens. Cut to Yao, who is distraught because he let go of the rope that could have saved them. As he says it, the rope falls into his hands; naturally, he's dragged away, but then the whole troop jumps on him in an attempt to save Mulan and the captain. Then The Big Guy arrives and gets the job done.
  • During the original sky-is-falling panic recounted in Chicken Little, one mama bunny has apparently trained her baby bunnies to form a chain during evacuations, as seen by the steadily growing chain of bunnies she pulls out of her Clown Car pram. With just a hair's breadth of leeway, it worked.
  • Happens at the climax of WALL•E: As the Axiom turns on its side, the Big, Fat Future people begin falling out of their chairs. Eventually, one-by-one, the passengers grab hold of one another, preventing the others from falling to the end of the ship.
  • In Despicable Me, the minions do this to save Gru and Margo towards the end of the movie. And they do it really fast.
  • Done more than once in the Kung Fu Panda series, building up a chain extending outward from a ledge, to get to someone who would otherwise be out of reach.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie has a twist on this near the end. When the city splits in two, the citizens literally assemble themselves into long chains to reach across the chasm and pull the two halves back together.
  • In My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), The Mane Six form a rope while holding each other in order for Twilight Sparkle to retrieve the staff of Sacanas before the Storm King does, all the while the staff is going out of control and a tornado that got conjured up by the Storm King is also doing damage. She is successful, but this causes Twilight Sparkle to be sucked into the tornado when Pinkie Pie accidentally lets her go.
  • In Turning Red, in a Blink-and-You-Miss-It moment, during Tyler's birthday party, a trio of Mei's classmates are sitting on a couch when Mei grabs on to the one on the end and pulls her onto the dance floor. The one sitting in the middle grabs on to the one being pulled by the arm and the one on the other end by the ankle resulting in all three being pulled with the one on the end being subject to an Ankle Drag. All this takes place in the space of a second.

    Films — Live-Action  
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once: During the third act, Evelyn tries to pull Jobu Tupaki away from the Everything Bagel black hole, and they're soon joined by Waymond and Gong Gong, forming a chain to save her from the Bagel.
  • A variant of this appears in one of the most epic scenes in Iron Man 3. Thirteen people are freefalling from a plane. Iron Man catches one of them, and instructs her to grab the hand of another, and so forth, forming a chain in midair. They still end up falling in the ocean, but he slows their fall enough that they all survive. Note that he had to do it this way because he could have only carried four.
  • The Muppets form a rather impressive one in The Great Muppet Caper.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life young George and friends use the chain to save his brother from drowning in a frozen pond/lake when he falls through some thin ice.
  • A variation shows up at the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). When Peter grabs the Infinity Stone to keep it out of Ronan's hands, its power threatens to destroy him. So all of his friends (minus Groot) grab onto him to share the power among them and defeat Ronan.
  • Played for Laughs in Ali G Indahouse when a human chain is used to transfer an electric current, with the result that everyone looks to be breakdancing as the charge passes through them.

  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): When Anthony launches a gravity bomb at Garralosh, but is too close and too injured to avoid falling into it himself, the other ants latch onto him and keep him safe.
    Even as the insane drag of the spell tries to pull me into the air into its ever hungering maw, I feel more stable than ever. What's happened?! I take a risk and shift myself a little and to my shock and horror I see a forest of ants behind me, each of them gripping onto each other and the ground as those closest have gripped onto me. They've formed living chains that emerge from tunnels in the ground dozens of metres away to bind me back down to the ground.
  • A chain of Acrocanthosaurs forms to save one of their own from sinking in Raptor Without A Cause.
  • This is used in Dreamcatcher by the boys to rescue Josie from the storm drain she fell into and couldn't climb out of on her own.
  • Oona: One of Oona's plans to get the crown out of the pit involved having a bunch of crabs hold claws in a long line, reaching down into the pit. It's foiled by strong waves... and a plank of wood hitting Oona on the head.
  • In the Warrior Cats novella Mothwing's Secret, a couple of RiverClan cats do this to rescue a cat stuck in deep mud.
  • A human chain was in one of the Weather Wardens books.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Voyagers!, "Voyagers of the Titanic". Bogg leans over the side to retrieve Olivia's omni before the boat sinks, with Olivia holding his hand. He manages to grab it in the nick of time.
  • In Chicago Fire "A Chicago Welcome", a group of Badass Bystanders (including one guy on his stomach) do this to prevent a child from falling in a river. Impressively, not only do none of them know the child, most don't even seem to know each other. This keeps the kid alive long enough for the CFD to arrive, but also means multiple members of the chain need to be helped back up the hill by the fire fighters. Once everyone is safe, the main characters make a point to shake each person's hand.
  • Kid Nation, while never seen on the show, one of the kids on the show stated in an interview that chains of people blocked off the area where the show took place so no kid would get lost or that no one would come in.

    Theme Parks 
  • During the climatic waterfall scene in Shrek 4D at Universal Studios, Fiona manages to grab Thelonius' hand (who was hanging onto a branch), Shrek then grabs her hand, then grabs Donkey by the tail. The four are left dangling for a few seconds just before the branch breaks.

    Video Games 
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: One of Olimar's moves has him forming a Chain of'Pikmin to attack. It's useful to grab off ledges too.
  • Played for Laughs in Riviera: The Promised Land, where an optional event has the party members slip one by one into a river, with each grabbing onto someone else, who grabs on to someone else, who grabs onto someone else until they all fall into the drink.
  • In Shovel Knight, this happens in two separate campaigns:
    • In Shovel of Hope The Order of No Quarter end up like this once you beat them all in a Boss Rush. You can help them back up onto solid ground, if you want to. Humourously, they all end up hanging in the order they choose to fight you in — leading to such hilarious scenarios as the scrawny Tinker Knight holding everyone up. This scene is repeated at the end of Plague of Shadows- but Shovel Knight leaves the Order to hang while Plague Knight jumps off the end of the chain to escape.
    • In King of Cards, this happens to all of King Knight’s allies at the end of the final battle. King Knight decides to betray them all and join the Order by sending them all falling down.
  • In the ending of New Super Mario Bros. U, Bowser and the Koopalings end up like this after their airship crashes, with Bowser holding onto Bowser Jr’s Koopa Clown Car, and the other Koopalings holding onto his tail. Funnily enough, Lemmy, the smallest of the Koopalings, is the one holding the rest of them.


    Western Animation 
  • Justice League had one when Flash is nearly sucked into an alternate dimension after running so fast he taps into the Speed Force. First Hawkgirl, then Green Lantern, then everyone else joins hands as they try to pull Wally out. Strangely, Batman winds up anchoring them, when the next four people (pictured above as Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman) would've performed the same role better, showing that strength isn't necessarily key to this trope.
  • Pooh's Grand Adventure. When Tigger gets stuck on a log wedged in a crevasse trying to retrieve the map, Pooh leans down to offer him a hand. Then the ground gives out, and Piglet grabs Pooh, Rabbit grabs Piglet, and Eeyore is stuck anchoring all of them by clenching his teeth around some plants while Rabbit holds his tail. They do end up falling off the cliff, but nobody's hurt.
  • A variation in VeggieTales: The Toy that Saved Christmas, as Wally P. Nezzer goes flying into the air over a cliff, then Buzzsaw Louie and a gaggle of penguins go flying after him. Louie and the penguins form a chain in midair, and then one end of the chain gets snagged by a penguin standing on the edge of a broken bridge, and the other end catches Mr. Nezzer, the penguin at the end of chain just barely managing to hold on the bridge by his toes while keeping the rest of the chain from falling, leaving them stuck hanging over the cliff.
    Nezzer: A little help?
    Narrator: And if there hadn't been a winch in my truck, they would still be there today.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers. In "Mind Pollution", one of the zombie drug addicts grabs Ma-Ti, who screams for help. Kwame pulls him back, causing them both to fall off the Capitol dome when the addict lets go. Only Wheeler grabbing Kwame's ankle at the last minute, just barely keeping them anchored, prevents both of them from falling to their deaths.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo? In one episode Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred form one to rescue Scooby Doo and six puppies.
  • In the Mickey Mouse short "Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot," Mickey, Goofy, and Donald Duck use this to get to the Phantom blot's airship.
  • In the Total Drama World Tour episode, "Anything Yukon Do, I Can Do Better" Tyler, Noah, Alejandro, Izzy and Owen end up dangling off an icy cliff in that order as a result of Owen's stupidity. Thanks to Tyler's insanely strong fingers, they manage to make it back up.
  • This happens twice in the Halloween special The Halloween Tree: Once when the kids struggle to avoid getting sucked into a haunted house, and again when they form the tail of a giant kite.
  • This occurred in three episodes of 101 Dalmatians: The Series.
    • In the episode, "Chow About That", Lucky and Cadpig do this to rescue Rolly from the flowing river, but of course, once Lucky grabbed Rolly, his added weight caused the tree branch to break.
    • In the episode, "Splishing and Splashing", Lucky, Rolly and Cadpig do this as a Tarzan impersonation to rescue Spot from an alligator.
    • In the episode, "Animal House Party", all four of the main pups do this while hanging from a ceiling fan so they can brush Persian Pete.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "A Dog and Pony Show", Spike lowers a jewel given to him by Rarity on a fishing pole into a hole to try and catch one of the Diamond Dogs so they can rescue her. When the bait is taken, Spike gets pulled into the hole — Applejack grabs his tail and gets pulled in, Twilight Sparkle follows, then Rainbow Dash, then Fluttershy, and finally Pinkie Pie, who didn't even try to pull and thinks it is fun. All of them hang on to each other as they are dragged down the tunnel.
      Pinkie Pie: Wheeeeeeeee!
    • The Mane Six end up in another one in "Power Ponies". This time, Pinkie doesn't even bother to grab hold and just jumps after them once they have all been pulled in.
      Pinkie Pie: Wheeeeeeeee!
  • In the Pound Puppies (2010) episode, "Toyoshiko! Bark Friend Machine", the main dogs form a chain to try to get Strudel out of the sewer with Niblet at the top holding Lucky, Lucky holding Cookie, and Cookie holding Squirt.
  • Happens frequently in the various Scooby-Doo series— one instance had the gang forming a chain to rescue Scooby and a bunch of pups from a river.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • In "The Belchies", when Louise falls into a pit trap in an abandoned factory, Tina suggests everyone form a human ladder to help get her out. It almost fails, until Louise uses the taffy dummy she "befriended" as a bridge between her and the end of the chain.
    • In "The Kids Rob a Train" Tina, Gene, and Regular-Sized Rudy do this to help Louise back into the Juice Caboose before they get caught.
  • Done in Teen Titans (2003) to stop Raven from falling into Mumbo's hat... but they all end up falling in anyway.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Bon Bon the Birthday Clown", Star is being sucked into a portal when Marco grabs her hand in time. Then Jackie grabs Marco's free hand and Janna grabs her free hand. Together, they pull Star to safety.
  • A slight variation with tongues catching the next person in line in Kulipari: An Army of Frogs when Darrel (a frog) starts to fall off a mountainside.
  • Kaeloo: When it looks like Quack Quack is about to fall off an airplane, Mr. Cat grabs his hand to save him. Pretty and Eugly also get flung off and Eugly grabs Quack Quack's foot and Pretty grabs Eugly, creating a chain of people. Since Mr. Cat hates Pretty and Eugly, he chops Quack Quack's legs off with a chainsaw and Pretty and Eugly are flung off the plane.

    Real Life 
  • A mountain climbing team does this routinely— naturally, since one person will have a hard time catching a falling person of roughly his own weight.
  • The Baltic Way, a peaceful political protest consisting of two million people forming a chain of over 600 kilometers across the Baltic states, to protest against the Russian occupation.
  • Lifeguard and rescue training include instruction on forming these to save a drowning victim. If it is too dangerous to venture into the water alone to rescue someone in trouble, this is often the best way to retrieve the victim. Rescuers link at the elbow and the strongest members wade out into the water until the chain reaches the victim. Once they have hold of them, the portion of the chain on the beach hauls them all back in.
  • In 1985 a national campaign against unemployment in Britain attempted a "Hands Across Britain", a human chain the length of Britain in an attempt to get the government to "do something" about unemployment. It didn't work, the (Thatcher) government just ignored it anyway.
  • In July of 2017, Roberta Ursey and six of her family members were pulled out to sea by a powerful rip current just off Panama City Beach while trying to rescue her two sons, who had become trapped in the current minutes previously. Dozens of beach goers formed a human chain reaching over 100 yards (91 meters) into the surf in order to rescue the stricken family, some standing in water up to their neck. Aided by the efforts of strong swimmers who paddled out on boogie boards and towed the family back towards the human chain, the nine members of the Ursey family were rescued (though one elderly member of the family had to be taken to the hospital after suffering a heart attack during the ordeal).


Chain of Cures

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