Bill Corbett: We're gonna hit a fruit stand if it's the last thing we do!
From Roger Ebert's dictionary of movie clichés, fast chase scenes require a fruitcart being plowed into, preferably by a Red Shirt in hot pursuit. Almost always pops up in "ethnic" neighborhoods (e.g. Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.). If a chase scene takes place in one, you're supposed to chant "Fruit Cart! Fruit Cart! Fruit Cart!" repeatedly until its inevitable destruction in a spray of melon rind.
Occasionally the fruit cart is replaced by a newspaper stand, a pile of garbage, or a row of garbage cans, but the fruit stand is still a favorite, mostly because the crash will create a very colorful explosion.
In a related trope, action movies with a gunfight in an outdoor market will inevitably result in the shooting of one or more exploding melons.
Also note: If the cart contains prominently placed oranges, you're probably doomed.
- Two adverts for the Nissan Almera spoofed these sorts of shows, complete with Fruit Cart moment. The first one, homaging The Professionals:
Bodie: Turn left!Doyle: Why?Bodie: Litter! Makes the car look good!
- And as for The Sweeney...
Regan: MARKET! *piles through fruit cart in a market*Carter: Stop shouting!Regan: I CAN'T!
- "Market!" was a Mondegreen of the show's famous catchphrase "Mark it!"
- A commercial for Marvin Windows broadcast during March 2005 hit all the chase-scene tropes, which cars running through carts, crates of chickens, crowds on sidewalks — only to come to a screeching halt so as not to damage a huge Marvin window being rolled slowly across the street.
- In the Speed Racer episode "Race For Revenge, Part I", Melange drives clean through a fruit stand while being pursued by the police and the Mach 5.
- Batou pursues an optic-camo user through a market in Ghost in the Shell. His invisible quarry shoves customers aside and plows through a pile of melons, which Batou then shoots to disrupt his camo.
- A relatively recent example is the Cowboy Bebop episode "Cowboy Funk," where the Fruit Cart is destroyed by an incompetent rival of the heroes.
- Shows up in the 2004 Appleseed film of all places; while in pursuit of Deunan and Hitomi, the van being driven by the robot ninja ladies smashes a watermelon stand that seems to have been placed there just to be crashed into. Though this trope starts off the chase, rather than being mid-way through it.
- On Pecola, this trope is the main reason for Mr. Saruyama the melon vendor's existence, even though he is a series regular.
- Lampshaded/mentioned in Naruto where a move of Jiraiya's involving summoning a giant toad to crush something by landing on it is called the "Food Cart Destroyer Technique".
- Played straight in Great Teacher Onizuka, with the Vice Principal's beloved Toyota Cresta.
- Subverted in the story Garfield in: "Along Came a Splut"; Garfield, while being chased in the DeLorean, runs down everything in his path except fruit carts "which Garfield adores more than anything in life itself".
- In The Girl Who Loved Harry and Chibi-Usa fall off Tokyo Tower. Harry manages to enlarge his broom in time to save them, but they end up plowing into a food vendor's cart.
- This trope is as least as old as 1909 and The Curtain Pole, in which M. Dupont's runaway carriage knocks over a cart of lettuce/cabbage.
- Little Annie Rooney: A spin on the old trope. No one crashes into a fruit cart, but the brawling kids wind up spooking a horse attached to a fruit cart, which promptly bolts, spilling fruit everywhere.
- In Girl Shy, Harold Lloyd crashes into a farmer's cart, spilling fruit everywhere, as he races to stop his girlfriend's marriage. In an even earlier Lloyd film, the short From Hand to Mouth, he collides with a fruit cart while running from the cops on foot.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) features a chase scene at the market in Cairo, involving fruit carts and many other stalls.
- The 1977 film Grand Theft Auto note featured a chase scene where a crazy hillbilly family attempts to stop the protagonists' car with thrown sticks of dynamite. Then one of them inexplicably yells "frickin' fruit stand!" and proceeds to detonate one that is just lying by the side of the road. Huh.
- In Police Academy 6, Captain Harris and Lt. Proctor commandeer a bus and go chasing after the Mastermind. In a Shout-Out to Ebert and his co-reviewer Gene Siskel, the bus just manages to avoid hitting "Gene and Roger's Fruit Stand."
- Wayne's World 2. Wayne perform Lamp Shade Hanging by wondering why some workers are setting up a display of watermelons, chickens and a Sheet of Glass.
Wayne Campbell: Excuse me, what are you guys doing here in the middle of the street?
Chicken-man: Well, I'm putting these chickens in crates, and stacking them right here. Jim's job is to make sure we always have plenty of watermelons.
Wayne Campbell: Oh, so you're selling watermelons.
Jim: No, no sir. We just have to make sure we have plenty of them stacked at all times, just like with these here chickens.
Garth Algar: What do these guys do?
Chicken-man: Well, their job is to walk back and forth with this big plate-glass window every couple of minutes.
Garth Algar: Weird.
Wayne Campbell: Yeah, you've got to wonder if this is gonna pay off later on.
- In the opening scene of Beverly Hills Cop, the stolen cigarette truck hits a flatbed truck selling fruit and vegetables off the bed. As an added bonus, the spilled juice from the fruit causes a huge commuter bus to skid and spin out 180 degrees in the street.
- The cast of Jackass: The Movie go flying into a fruitcart at the end of the opening credits.
- Played with in the movie Conspiracy Theory: During a chase scene, a hotdog stand careens down a street, plowing into cars.
- Happens at least once in Ronin, although made more bearable because the fruit vendor is then shot. That movie has enormous collateral damage.
- Played straight when pursuing cars race through a mid-town market. One car sideswipes a fruit stand, the other car crashes through a pile of wooden boxes.
- The garbage-pile variant is used in The French Connection.
- In the Jackie Chan film Who Am I, the protagonists, while being pursued, smash through a stall selling nothing but oranges. Some enter through the side windows, and others become embedded in the fender of the car, where they remain for the remaining duration of the chase. After the pursuit has ended, one of the characters that was in the car can be seen eating one of the oranges.
- This counts, at least as a play on the trope: in Maximum Risk, Jean-Claude Van Damme is in a chase scene where he's driving a fruit cart. It is, of course, destroyed at the end.
- Happens in the finale of What's New Pussycat?, with a go-cart chase.
- Buster Keaton's Seven Chances uses this trope with, of all things, boxes of bees.
- In The Matrix features a Shout-Out to the scene in Ghost in the Shell mentioned above, in which Agent Smith shoots the melons on the cart while pursuing Neo through a crowded market in the Matrix.
- Ski Patrol actually had a fruit cart with a sign reading "Siskel and Ebert's Fruit Cart" on it.
- The Rock did this hilariously during the car chase through San Francisco.
- Along with damn near every other car chase cliché.
- In The Mummy, some fruit and vegetable stands are knocked over when Rick is driving through Cairo to escape from Imhotep.
- Averted with Cop and a Half. while we see one, it sadly never gets pulverized.
- In 2010's The Tourist, Johnny Depp's character's escape from the bad guys, on foot, involves dropping into an open-air market from above, taking out a fruit stand in the process.
- In Serenity, when the crew is escaping on the Mule from the Reaver raiding party, they crash through a fruit cart on the way back to the ship. In a bit of unfortunate editing, the Reavers following them pass right by the same, undamaged, fruit cart.
- At one point in Pain and Gain, Kershaw chased Daniel down in the middle of market, knocking over several carts.
- During the opening chase scene of Colombiana, a motorbike rider chasing the protagonist does a dramatic slide into bowls of spices at a covered market.
- In the final car chase of Death Proof, the girls are amused when they drive through an old boat sitting out in the middle of a field for no apparent reason. "Did you just hit a boat?"
- Averted through at least the first six films of The Fast and the Furious, to the confusion of at least one writer.
- We see a fruit cart being turned over during the pogrom in The Great Dictator.
- Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie uses this as well as every other chase scene trope on the entire list. In the same chase scene.
- In Diamonds on Wheels, the Mini being driven by one of the teams of feuding drivers, crashes through a roadside fruit stand after a disastrous overtaking attempt.
- In Tim Burton's Batman (1989), a car containing the Joker's goons drives through garbage cans while taking a shortcut across a street corner, then later gets into a multi-vehicle pileup including a truck whose cargo of cabbages go all over the place.
- Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett points out the related chase scene trope of marketplaces, where there are chickens and kamikaze rickshaws, and Johnny wonders if it's actually the same marketplace each time and what the stallholders must think.
- Moving Pictures. Two wizards fly a broomstick into a barn as part of a high speed chase. The farmers, watching, observe that in the movies they would come out covered with panicked chickens. The owner of the barn comments that he'd like to see that, because that barn is filled with cabbages. Thanks to the influence of "Holy Wood magic" and the Theory of Narrative Causality, they do in fact come out covered with chickens.
- The Truth in which a minor disaster in the city streets results in the destruction of several fruit vendors', hegglers' and flour carts, provoking Sacharissa Cripslock to describe the incident in a headline as "The City's Biggest Cake-Mix-Up."
- In Night Watch, the fleeing watchmen deliberately use this to slow down the men chasing them. One of them even apologizes to the cart driver. Also in Night Watch, the aforementioned fruit, egg, and flour carts are trampled by runaway oxen. One of the soldiers suggests making a giant cake.
- Feet of Clay, while Commander Vimes is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he mentions getting close a few times before having to manuever around a large fruit cart that has just poked out of a convenient alley. The accompanying footnote suggests that the commonness of this occurance or ones like it are probably the work of a secret society.
- Older Than Television: Early in the climactic car chase in the short story Graft by Frederick Nebel, the heroes' car runs over a fruit cart. Graft was first published in the May 1929 issue of Black Mask.
- Even older, The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) has the Saw-Horse "upsetting a fruit cart, overturning several meek-looking men, and finally bowling over the new Guardian of the Gates" as the heroes flee the Palace.
- In Animorphs, when Marco drives. "Do you just hate trash cans?"
- Demitri Martin wrote a short story for his book from the point of view of a fruit vendor writing in his journal. Every time he fixes it, another high-speed chase destroys it. Eventually he gives up and sells the cart.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, a fruit stall at a market is knocked over during a dragon chase.
- Our Miss Brooks: Memorably, in "Trial by Jury", Miss Brooks finds herself charged with speeding, reckless driving, driving the wrong way, and crashing into a fruit stand. The unfortunate fruit stand owner again suffers at the hands of Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin's automobile mishaps in "Miss Brooks' New Car". At the end of the episode, Miss Brooks takes a wagon load of fruit to the Conklins as a peace offering. The fruit stand owner had decided to give Miss Brooks his stock and start again in another city.
- Even realistic police procedural Hill Street Blues couldn't resist doing this at least once, albeit with a newspaper kiosk instead of a literal fruit cart, which gets demolished by Hill and Renko's patrol car when the passenger in a fleeing car takes "shotgun seat" a bit more literally than usual and forces Andy to swerve to avoid getting a faceful of buckshot. Captain Furillo is not terribly pleased when he sees the mess they made.
- The first episode of the fourth season of Lost opens with a still shot of a pile of fruit against a blue sky backdrop. It's a very peaceful image... then Hurley plows through it in his Camaro.
- The pilot for Burn Notice uses this one before the first commercial: Michael is on a motorcycle in Nigeria, pursued by a car full of mooks with SMGs. He dodges around a cart, while the car plows into it. Michael's narration comments how, as the gun-running capitol of Africa, Nigeria is a bad place to drive a fast-moving car through a crowded market square. The mooks step out and wave their guns around, only to have fifty pistols aimed at their faces.
- MythBusters covers this along with several other Hollywood car crash cliches on their Demolition Derby special. The resulting explosion of melons, tomatoes, bananas, carrots, etc. looked damn impressive (not to mention on highspeed camera), "just like the movies," but an actual car, it turns out, isn't likely to be driveable afterwards.
- Variant: Top Gear (UK): in the "Car for a 17-Year-Old" challenge the presenters demolish a flower cart, a bus shelter, a row of bicycles, and a parked car or two while pretending to drive like teenagers.
- Also a bit of a subversion. While the impacts look just as exciting as in the movies, the cars did not escape unscathed - Clarkson's car started spraying washer fluid, obstructing his vision, and Hammond's run ended prematurely when he rammed a parked car the others had avoided. Only Captain Slow's car, which he'd driven the way his nickname implies, seemed to come out none the worse for wear.note
- Also, in the episode where they go to Albania, the presenters get into a high speed chase with the police after robbing a bank. During the chase, Clarkson and Hammond drive past a man carrying a crate of oranges, which promptly spill all over the road. The above mentioned symbolism for the oranges is prevalent here, as the episode was kicked-off by a request from an Albanian mob boss, and while Jeremy and Richard make it safely to the getaway ferry, James isn't so fortunate....
- Community: In "Basic Rocket Science," as Annie pilots the Kentucky Fried Chicken Eleven Herbs and Space Simulator on its triumphant return to Greendale, it sideswipes a table with a crate of apples which are then scattered impressively.
- CSI: NY 'Unspoken'. Foot chase variant: The suspect of the week runs after shooting at a politician during a stumping speech. He then runs like heck, pushing the cart out of the way and right into Lindsay, who ended up with a nasty concussion.
- Game of Thrones. In "No One", Arya Stark is being chased through the streets of Braavos by the Waif who is intend on killing her. At one point she does a reckless leap off a balcony, followed by a Staircase Tumble through several baskets of oranges.
- Subverted in The Goodies episode "Invasion of the Moon Creatures". Super-intelligent rabbits from the Moon are launching an Alien Invasion, including turning Bill and Tim into giant rabbits whereupon they dress up like droogs from A Clockwork Orange and go around committing acts of hooliganism. On passing a vegetable cart however, they don't knock it over but instead instantaneously strip it bare and eat all the vegetables.
- Street Hawk: Enforced several times in the pilot's opening chase scene, in order to demonstrate the woeful ineffectiveness of lumbering, unsteerable police cruisers when chasing after criminals on nimble, go-anywhere motorcycles.
- The Starsky & Hutch episode "Bust Amboy" combines this with Cardboard Boxes. A hearse the villains are driving smashes into a fruit stand; a moment later, the Torino drives through the boxes scattered on the ground.
- Seen in the Bollywood-flavored video for "Romeo" by Basement Jaxx.
- A dog topples a fruit cart in the video to Who Let The Dogs Out by Baha Men.
- Soul Decision's "Ooh, It's Kinda Crazy" features the garbage can version of this trope.
- In a Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown told Linus about a movie he saw in which this trope played out. He noted that "No one ever goes back to pick up the oranges...."
- While not a Fruit Cart in the strictest of senses, any time a pro wrestling event has a backstage brawl, it's almost a given that it will eventually stumble on the craft services table or possible a concession stand, and yes, the same messy destruction will occur (usually with a wrestler instead of a car.)
- Parodied in the "Dog City" episode of The Jim Henson Hour, in which the chase between Ace and Bugsy does indeed knock over a fruit cart, but it turns out to stock squeaky toys that happen to be shaped like fruit.
- Our Miss Brooks: Memorably, in "Reckless Driving", Miss Brooks finds herself charged with speeding, reckless driving, driving the wrong way, and crashing into a fruit stand.
- Parodied in The Complete History of America (Abridged), where a fruit stand (represented by a bunch of plastic fruit thrown by one of the actors at the other two) is merely the first of many hilarious obstacles encountered on a motorcycle race to Berlin.
- One stage of the fighting game Dead Or Alive 4 features a market with multiple fruitcarts. You can destroy them by throwing your opponents into them.
- During car chases in the Roguelike Liberal Crime Squad, various obstacles will appear, such as red lights and fruit stands. The "safe" option to choose when encountering one is to drive right through it.
- In Modern Warfare 3, your van hits a fruit cart near the end of the Chase Scene in "Bag and Drag".
- A variation in Counter-Strike: The map "Italy" contains at its center a small market, complete with destroyable watermelons and oranges. You can bet that in a typical match, the rind will splatter everywhere.
- Not exactly fruit carts, but one mission in Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions requires the player to smash a certain number of Dim Sum stands by driving into them.
- Parodied in Jim Pond & the Agents of F.A.R.T. where the title character remarks that on his way to work to accept his latest assignment he paused to "drive my car through a market stall on screeching wheels (helps to keep my hand in)."
- SPY Fox, another James Bond parody, does this at the beginning of the third game during a Car Chase on a dam. The titular protagonist's car destroys a monkey's fruit stand during his escape, and the monkey angrily tosses a banana into the air, which then morphs into the Big Bad's aerosol space station in an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- In The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle Episode One: A Dreadly Business the title character and his manservant are chasing a stranger who accidentally switched bags with Bertram when they all plow straight through an orange cart.
- In Shuyan Saga, Shuyan's first appearance has her fleeing from some guards (her own, as it turns out) through a marketplace, with predictable consequences for some of the merchants and market-goers. The guards don't expect their encounter with this trope to go down well:
Guard: I'm sure the Queen will be thrilled to hear that one of her elite palace guards was foiled by a grandmother getting her groceries.
- In the Pulp Fiction D20 mini-RPG from Polyhedron magazine, one of the possible random events occuring in a car chase is "Fruitcart!"
- An article in The Onion included an interview with a Fruit Cart owner who, after having his fruit cart run over in many many chase scenes, was selling it and going into the plate glass delivery business.
- Stupid Plot Tricks on Things We Learned At The Movies, # "127. The most unstable object in creation is a roadside fruit seller's cart."
- Discussed during his review of Cop and a Half when the Nostalgia Critic goes off on a tangent and chastises the film for averting this trope.
Critic: Hell, there's even a fruit stand they don't knock over. How can you call yourself a 1990s buddy-cop movie and not knock over the goddamned fruit stand?! The one cliche you're supposed to follow, and you fucked it up! Look at Reynolds! He's supposed to be acting in this scene, but you know all he's thinking in his head is "God I wanna hit that fruit stand God I wanna hit that fruit stand bam-bam-bam oranges flying everywhere!"
- As with Myth Busters above, the The Slow Mo Guys examined what driving through a fruit cart would actually look like.
- The stars of Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender have run into a variation in the form of the same cabbage cart in three different cities, much to the despair of the salesman. This always results in an anguished cry of "my cabbages!" Near the end of the show's run, they mention (and watch) an in-universe play chronicling the events of the series (with... dubious accuracy). One of the sources? "A surprisingly knowledgeable merchant of cabbages.". The Cabbage Merchant has become quite the memetic character.
- It's four cities if you count the unattended cabbage cart in "Jet".
- In the sequel, said cabbage vendor has expanded into a multinational manufacturer of cars and airships. Said corporation is accused of funding the anti-Bender revolution in secret and gets raided, with the CEO even saying "My Cabbage Corp!" They probably got tired of all the benders trashing their carts.
- Family Guy hangs a lampshade on it by having Stewie plow into a Fruit Cart and wondering aloud why they always seem to appear in car chases. The scene then cuts to a garage where fruit carts are being dispatched like taxicabs to the scene of a reported police chase.
- The Mordhaus in Metalocalypse has everything, including Dethklok roadies running fruit stands and carrying sheets of glass when Toki and Doctor Rockzo go joyriding through the compound.
- Parodied in the Robot Chicken episode "Vegetable Funfest," where one of the "channel flip" linking segments involves a near-miss with a fruit cart during a chase scene. Then the vendor is hit by a safe.
- Parodied again in the Baby Terminator skit, where during a very slow chase with a cyborg puppy , the mini-truck its riding is about to slowly collide with a fruit stand much bigger than the actual vehicle, until the vendor, with no effort at all, slowly turns the truck with its foot on the grill.
- The heroes of the short-lived The Adventures of T-Rex destroyed a newspaper stand every time they drove out of their secret base. As the series went on, the owner of this stand resorted to ever more elaborate methods to save his livelihood, all of which failed ever more spectacularly.
- One episode of Dexter's Laboratory had Dexter accidentally start driving a car. Due to him being so short, he can't see over the dashboard and as such runs not only through a fruit cart, but also a stack of empty Cardboard Boxes.
- One of Spongebob's many failed driving tests had him hit a watermelon stand.
Vendor: Hey, what do you got against the melons?
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- "Sleepless in Ponyville" inverts it. Scootaloo is zipping along on her scooter and she encounters a fruit cart, already turned over, in the middle of the street. She uses it as an impromptu ramp to get some major airtime.
- "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" has Diamond Tiara tip over a fruit cart to delay the Cutie Mark Crusaders during a chase. Unfortunately for her, they're in the middle of a song, so the Crusaders use Offscreen Teleportation to appear ahead of Diamond Tiara to keep singing.
- In the series Star Wars Rebels episode "Fighter Flight", Zeb and Ezra are sent on a Snipe Hunt to get the bickering pair out of everyone else's hair on the Ghost. One thing led to another, and they ended up hijacking a TIE fighter. Inside the cockpit, they start bickering again. In the ensuing scuffle, they accidentally cause the craft's laser cannons to discharge repeatedly, once into a fruit cart that the low-flying craft was near. The ensuing explosion of fruit pulp completely obscures the canopy.
- In the episode "The Rider" of Wander over Yonder, our heroes crash into one in space! Wander stops the chase to pick up all the fruit.