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High-Altitude Interrogation

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"The truth or I drop you!"

In fiction, just about everyone is afraid of heights so when the hardass cop or Anti-Hero finally corners one of the Big Bad's buddies who refuses to spill the beans about his boss's Evil Plan on a very high balcony, at the top of a cliff, in a helicopter, or anywhere else that's high off the ground, that hapless mook is guaranteed to be dangled over the edge by our protagonist in an attempt to loosen his lips. With his life literally hanging in the balance, the mook finds himself in a position where he is forced to tell the badass hero whatever he wants to know or be dropped to his death.

In Real Life, however, this is perhaps the single worst interrogation technique imaginable, taking the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique to new heights of unreliability. Anyone with any bit of common sense should realize that an interrogator would need to keep his man alive if he's ever going to get some answers, but because this method relies on threatening to kill the person with the needed information, this means that in the event that a suspect remains uncooperative or is already willing to die for a cause, the interrogator would be put in a position where he has to either (1) not do it and lose all credibility and control of the situation, or (2) let his lead fall to his death and lose the information he would have had. Dead men tell no tales, after all. Furthermore, any sort of death threat may give a potential informant the impression that his interrogator may just kill him after he shares the information that is asked of him, anyway, which doesn't give the potential informant any additional incentive to cooperate.

Regardless, this technique has an extraordinarily high success rate in all fictional formats. The mook will almost always be willing to comply and do whatever the hero asks, and the hero will always gain enough new information to move the story forward. Uncommon cases where someone is dropped from a height that wouldn't prove fatal but would still be pretty harmful would qualify as Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.

Compare Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique and Torture Always Works.

Contrast Death Flight.

Watch out for Unhand Them, Villain! when a bad guy does this. Not to be confused with Dramatic Dangling.

A subtrope of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. See Death Flight when done as a method of execution.

See Also: Disney Villain Death.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan chapter 34, Hanji reaches Rage Breaking Point and pulls this on Pastor Nick, prompted by the latter's asking to be let off the wall, when it turns out that there's a Titan inside the giant wall. Unfortunately, it doesn't work, as Nick is Not Afraid to Die, and she pulls him back to safety to interrogate him conventionally.
  • Bad Company: Ryuji dangles one of the other students out a third-floor window to get him to admit he wrote the graffiti on Ryuji's desk.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Batman is famous for this. In both Batman and Superman comics, some mooks have pointed out that the hero is known for never killing, so the threat isn't very convincing. In both cases, the hero has pointed out that just means no-one's ever caught them killing someone...
    • In Batman's case, sometimes he does acknowledge that he doesn't kill people... but points out that that doesn't stop him from making the mook beg for death from the unholy, savage hurting he's more than willing to lay on him while still keeping him alive. This includes letting him fall just enough for it to be survivable while crippling the mook, (which he's done, MANY times). Then the mook relents.
    • Batman: Ego begins with Batman rescuing a Joker mook who was Driven to Suicide after a series of misfortunes caused by Batman playing this trope straight on him sometime before. He gets so angry over the Unwanted Rescue that he manages to Hannibal Lecture Batman into a 10-Minute Retirement.
    • In Superman & Batman: Generations, highlighting that they were both rougher characters in the early years, Batman does this, and actually does drop him. When Superman returns the mook, Batman says "If I'd known you were going to catch him I wouldn't have dropped him." And then Supes replies "If I'd known you'd dropped him, I wouldn't have caught him!"
  • In Copperhead, when Boo is tracking down Floyd Sewell, he dangles an informant off the highest level of a fire escape staircase.
  • Daredevil has been known to do a variation of this. Instead of simply threatening to drop the criminal/mobster/what have you he is currently engaged with, he actually does drop them, and then catches them in the nick of time.
    Daredevil: I can keep this up all night. Can you?
  • The Flash once did this to a mook. The mook taunted that Flash was trying to copy Batman, but Flash drops him, uses his superspeed to catch him, and then continues dangling him.
  • In Gotham City Garage, Batgirl grabs Harley Quinn, starts her Jet Pack up and takes her over the city to interrogate her.
  • In the sister series to Irredeemable, Incorruptable, the main character, Max Damage at one point needs to score information from Origin, a mad scientist who specializes in giving people super-powers. He does so by dangling him over a vat of chemicals containing a tentacled monster (in actuality his last client). After Damage gets his information, Origin attempts to blackmail him over some information involving his powers. Max responds by blowing up his hideout.
  • Iron Man did this to one of Justin Hammer's scientists after destroying Hammer's floating island mansion.
  • In Lucifer, the title character inverts this with Mahu. Since a fall won't kill Mahu, Lucifer threatens to throw him into orbit, from which re-entry will kill him... eventually.
  • In Nemesis the Warlock, Book I, when Brother Gogol insists that he'd rather die than help Nemesis let every alien prisoner and human traitor escape Termight, Nemesis's response is to levitate Brother Gogol and hover him over a cliff until he changes his mind.
  • In the Nikolai Dante story arc "The Great Game," when a spy suggests to Jena Makarov the existence of a superweapon that the Makarov Dynasty does not know about as a means of raising his "bargaining power," Jena responds by hanging the spy over a high balcony by his nostrils and demanding he tell her everything he knows about the weapon or be dropped. The spy is killed by intervening assassination droids shortly after he begins spilling the beans.
  • The Punisher:
    • Frank Castle uses this among other interrogation techniques. Like most typical Anti-Heroes, he often does go through with the threat of letting them plummet to death.
    • Probably the only time in which this trope was used sensibly was when General Zakharov in The Punisher MAX was doing this to Rawlings; he had no intention of letting the latter live anyway unless Rawlings came up with an epic plan under fear of death — if he wasn't able to, well, then no skin off the General's nose.
  • Superman:
    • In his very first appearance, in Action Comics #1 he interrogates a corrupt lobbyist by picking him up, running along an electric wire, and then making improbably large building-to-building leaps.
    • On at least one occasion, he drops a mook, uses superspeed to catch him, and says, "Now, we can keep doing this until I get tired, or..."
    • Back in the Golden Age, he threw the mook to a high altitude and then caught them on the way down (why being caught by Superman at five feet above ground level is safer than hitting the ground is never mentioned).
    • He does it to a reporter who calls him a liar in Superman: Grounded. Not to interrogate him, just to terrify him.
    • A minor version called Superman 2020 has Superman's grandson, who has a rougher style, doing a variant. He takes two suspects to a high altitude and demands they talk lest he drops them, but they naturally think he's bluffing. At that, Supes III drops one of them (to a hidden soft landing he prepared earlier) and threatens the other; that crook starts to sing.
    • Supergirl did this in the New 52 storyline Crucible. After being abducted and taken to a weird, unknown place, she grabs the neck of one of her kidnappers and hovers over an abyss, demanding answers while reminding him that "It looks like a long way down."
    • In Supergirl series tie-in comic Adventures of Supergirl, Kara grabs villain Facet, takes her to the edge of the atmosphere and demands answers. When Facet fails to give them, Kara lets her drop (she was invulnerable so no real damage done).
      Supergirl: But here's the thing about messing with people who can fly when you can't... They choose how you land.
  • Wonder Woman: During the period when Artemis was acting as Wonder Woman, she made a delusional Stalker with a Crush agree to being forcibly relocated and institutionalized by flying high and then dropping him and having a chat as he fell.

    Comic Strips 
  • Modesty Blaise: In "The Killing Distance", Willie extracts information from an assassin by holding him over the edge of a well.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter interrogates the new White Rabbit by giving her a ride on the "Spider-Bungee" a few times.
  • In the Harmony and Valor story Cultural Differences, after the extremely sexist Casanova Wannabe Zephyr Breeze harasses Flash Sentry's little sister True Action, Flash becomes so pissed that he beats the crap out of him, then dangles him from the roof of the mall until he promises to never bother girls again. Flash and True then have a nice talk, and Sunset Shimmer has to remind him to pull Zephyr up before someone spots them or he loses his grip.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, Sarah attempts this, but the person refuses to talk and is dropped at least two hundred meters.

    Films — Animation 
  • In April and the Extraordinary World: April and Julius dangle one of the lizard guards off a catwalk by his tail until he divulges the location of April's father.
  • Batman does this to a Mutant in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
  • In Black Fox, Rikka decides to make an informant more pliant by kicking him off a rooftop before pinning the back of his jacket to the building with kunai, which she starts removing one by one until she gets her answers. She drops him into a dumpster when she's done with him.
  • In Bolt, the title talking dog does this to a mook in the TV show, which, per the script, works perfectly. It doesn't work so well when he tries it with Mittens, who isn't part of the TV show, and just tells him what he wants to hear.
  • Finding Nemo: A Jerkass crab suffers this fate after he refused to tell Dory and Nemo where the latter's father went. Cue Dory giving the crab a Death Glare and thrusting him above the water for the hungry seagulls to see.
    Seagull: Mine?
    Crab: [Gasps] Ahh! Alright! I'll talk! I'll talk! He went to the fishing grounds!
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2 Astrid has Stormfly take Eret up into the sky and threatens to drop him if he doesn't lead them to Drago. When he refuses, she does have Stormfly drop him and lets him fall for a while before catching him. It works.
  • This is Nigel's method of "negotiating" in Rio.
  • Subverted in The Secret Life of Pets, when Tiberius interrogates the cat who stole Max's collar, in an attempt to find out Max's whereabouts. The cat isn't fazed in the slightest, since he's a cat and will just land on his feet, so Tiberius turns him over to Gidget, whose Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique proves far more effective.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Analyze That:
    • Paul Vitti and Jelly hangs down a hitman who tried to kill them to make him say who sent him. Then Jelly lets him go from misunderstanding his boss, although the mobster falls into trash bags and survives (well, not for long).
    • Later, Doc Ben Sobel gets similarly hung upside-down for filming a scene in the Show Within a Show Little Caesar. His screams are quite realistic, since he wasn't warned.
  • Batman movies:
    • In Tim Burton's Batman, Batman does this to a Bit Part Bad Guy at the beginning of the film. Interestingly for a trope that generally works as a death threat, just before Batman holds the guy over the edge of the building, he tells the mook, "I'm not going to kill you."
      Batman: I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me.
      Mook: What are you?
      Batman: I'm Batman.
    • Batman Begins features the title character dangling and dropping Det. Flass almost as if he were bungee jumping until Batman is satisfied with what information he's given.
    • Subverted and Lampshaded in The Dark Knight; Maroni casually tells Batman that a fall wouldn't kill him. Batman retorts that he's counting on it, then drops him and breaks his legs, making it Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique. And Maroni doesn't tell him anything anyway, because he's not going to rat out The Joker for anyone, least of all Batman. "We're on to you," he says. "You've got rules. The Joker has no rules."
    • The Dark Knight Rises also subverted and lampshaded it in the opening scenes of the film. A CIA team has captured a group of Bane's minions and is trying to get Bane's location out of them; they have them all in hoods, bring one to the open door of the plane, and stick the mook's head out of it. The suspect refuses to talk, and the CIA interrogator pretends to have him killed (shooting his gun into open air before claiming to have thrown the mook from the plane) before moving him out of the way.
      Interrogator: Lot of loyalty for a hired gun.
      Bane: Or perhaps he's wondering why someone would shoot a man before throwing him out of a plane.
  • In Black Dynamite, the title character holds Cream Corn upside down over the edge of a high roof. Cream Corn then tells Dynamite everything he knows.
  • Done in Blade: Trinity. A mook is dangled in an attempt to lead the protagonists to the Big Bad, but he refuses to talk. Then his cell phone rings. Blade answers, tells the mook it's for him, and lets go of the rope.
  • In Blank Check, Carl Quigley, Juice, and Edward Biederman do this to Butch to find out where Preston lives.
  • In Bringing Down the House, Charlene (Queen Latifah) holds an (ex) boyfriend over a balcony until he apologizes to the girl.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Played with when Captain America and Natasha do this to a mole. He makes Cap admit that he'd never throw someone off a roof. So Natasha does it. But as planned, Sam "Falcon" Wilson catches him and flies him back to the roof. THEN the guy talks, presumably not wanting to repeat the incident. The implicit threat is that they've already proven a willingness to throw him off, and now that Sam's on the roof with him, he's a lot less likely to catch him if he has to catch up to him on the way down.
  • Commando: John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) dangles one of the kidnappers of his daughter above a cliff to make him talk. This one is actually a lot more cold-blooded: While Sully is willing to cooperate and bring Matrix to where he's supposed to meet Cooke, who knows where Matrix's daughter is being held, Matrix had already found the necessary Plot Coupon in Sully's coat pocket to lead him to Cooke before holding him over the cliff's edge. Matrix just brought Sully there solely to let him go.
    Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
    Sully: That's right, Matrix! You did!
    Matrix: I Lied. (drops Sully)
  • Mick performs one on a hitman in Crocodile Dundee 2.
  • The Fast and the Furious:
    • In Fast & Furious, Dom holds one of Braga's drivers over a window by his foot while questioning him about his boss. Even after the guy talks, Dom drops him anyway, but he grabs onto a ledge and Brian pulls him up.
    • The Action Prologue to Hobbs & Shaw has Deckard Shaw beating up some mooks and holding one of them against an open window while questioning about Eteon. He even ties him to a ceiling lamp and leaves him still suspending against the window.
  • In A Fish Called Wanda Kevin Kline's criminal does this to John Cleese's barrister to extract an apology for Cleese calling Kline stupid (which Kline's character indubitably is).
  • The Four Brothers do this to one of the bad guys they come across early on during their quest to find out who killed their adoptive mother. Like The Punisher above, they also let him fall, but then they continue the interrogation on the ground, since the roof they dropped him from wasn't high enough to kill him, but enough to fuck him up.
  • The Gentlemen: While trying to retrieve the phone with the incriminating footage on it, Dave holds one of the chavs off the side of an overpass until he gives up the phone.
  • The fake helicopter drop was used in The Gods Must Be Crazy, leaving the prisoner thrashing on the ground, screaming his head off. The helicopter is sitting on the ground with the engine running, and the questioner is threatening to chuck the blindfolded prisoner out (a one meter drop, tops). When the prisoner refuses, he's chucked out, and is screaming the location of his compatriots as he's thrashing on the ground, even when it should be clear to him that he's no longer falling and that the whole thing was a ruse. Immediately before he gives them information the Interrogator gleefully says "Next time we'll be a bit higher!", and the prisoner has no interest in going from an actually dangerous height.
  • In Gorky Park, Renko and Pasha handcuff a KGB informer to a chair and lean him out an upper window of militia headquarters until he gets a more cooperative attitude.
  • In the 1990's movie Gunmen Armor (Denis Leary) hangs Dani (Christopher Lambert) upside-down from a rope underneath a helicopter to get him to talk. For good measure, Armor had the pilot fly low so that Dani would hit the trees underneath.
  • Played with in The Heat; Mullins and Ashburn aren't strong enough to pull the suspect back to safety when they attempt this and end up dropping him a couple stories onto the hood of his cherished car.
  • The Hot Rock: When Dortmunder and Kelp are interrogating Abe Greenberg, they threaten to toss first his son and then him down an elevator shaft.
  • James Bond:
    • Bond does this to a mook in The Spy Who Loved Me and then lets the mook plummet to death when he hears everything he needs.
    • And he attempts it with Patrice in Skyfall, but Patrice dies, rather than talk.
  • Justice League: before her big entrance to save a bunch of hostages from a group of reactionary terrorists at old Bailey in London, Wonder Woman captures one of them with her Lasso of truth from the ceiling and interrogates him there (the Lasso helps more than the altitude there).
  • Bud White interviewing Ellis Loew in L.A. Confidential. Loew is primed to dismiss White and Ed Exley as a standard-issue Good Cop/Bad Cop pair, so they need something drastic to get his attention.
  • Subverted in Mission: Impossible III. Ethan has the Big Bad captive in an airplane and after initial interrogation fails, he opens a hatch in the floor and hangs his hostage down the hatch such that he feels the massive winds in his face, meanwhile cutting the zips holding him in his seat. The Big Bad doesn't crack and worse, he learns Ethan's name from the others shouting at him to stop.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of MW has Michio doing this to Yamashita, one of the corrupt politicians involved in the titular chemical warfare. When Yamashita refuses to tell Michio the location of the MW, Michio pushes him off the top of a building and threatens to make him fall to his death by cutting a rope. After Michio gets an answer, he cuts off the rope.
  • In New Town Killers, Jamie dangles Sam out of the window of his flat in attempt to get Sean to turn himself in.
  • Police Academy: In Assignment Miami Beach, Hightower holds one of the diamond thieves over the railing at the roof of the hotel to make him talk.
    Hightower: Want me to drop you somewhere?
  • Subverted in Tango and Cash: the protagonists try this on a Mook. It doesn't work. Then Tango attaches a grenade to his head and starts to take the pin away slowly with Cash trying to dissuade him. It works. The grenade turns out to be fake.
  • John Robie (Cary Grant) does an impromptu one in To Catch a Thief in order to press a confession out of the real jewel thief.
  • Played with in True Lies. When Harry and his fellow Omega Sector agents capture Simon, a man pretending to be a spy in order to seduce Harry's wife, they bring him to the top of a hydroelectric dam and threaten to throw him off. They're not after information, however; they know full well he's a phony and just want to scare him away.
  • In Underworld: Awakening, while Selene is escaping the lab, a scientist orders his troops not to fire on her, in the hopes of following her to "Subject 2". Later, Selene holds him out a window and interrogates him. After he reveals what he knows, he protests, "I was the one who let you go!" She replies, "Now we're even," and lets go of the scientist.
  • A bit of a variation in the French movie Une chance sur deux. The characters played by Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon threaten a corrupt lawyer working for the Russian Mafia to push him from a high bridge above a river, but they have tied his legs to a bungee rope, so after he talks they do push him from the bridge, and watch it dangle, laughing. At least, the first time. The second time, they didn't tie the rope, just put it in the lawyer's hands... and they still push him from the bridge.
  • In The Wolf of Wall Street, Chester and Toby do this to Belfort's butler Nicholas after Belfort finds out that one of Nicholas' friends has stolen money from him.

  • The Executioner. In "Tiger War", Mack Bolan does the helicopter version, but also exploits the prisoner's religious beliefs, pointing out that when his body hits the ground from that height, it will break apart and be eaten by various animals, meaning his spirit will be divided and so never find rest.
  • In The Green Eagle, Doc Savage captures a group of mooks. To make one talk he hangs him outside a window. When the mook refuses, he drops him. Being a Technical Pacifist, he had Renny and Long Tom catch the mook in a net, but the other mooks don't know that.
  • The protagonist does this to the terrorist who killed his mother in Jumper, but in a particularly nasty way. Davey can teleport, so he teleports the guy to the top of the World Trade Center, drops him, and teleports down to catch him just before he hits the ground. Then he does it again, and again, letting him get closer to the ground with each drop...
  • Done in Six of Crows by Kaz, accompanied by Wylan. Kaz is about to pull his suspect back up after he's provided with information, until the suspect panics and reveals that he's been blackmailing a girl who works in the same place Inej used to be enslaved, after which Kaz drops the man to his death.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On an episode of The A-Team, the team interrogate a mook by having BA hold him over a cliff above the carnivore pit at a zoo.
  • In Burn Notice, Michael and Sam use this technique on two men to try to find the boss of a medical scam ring. The interrogatees, however, were in no real danger as they were tied to the ground; Michael and Sam's plan was just to pretended they dropped one of them so the other would squeal from terror.
  • In episode 1x06 of By Any Means, Jessica and Charlie persuade a drug dealer to talk by hanging him by his ankles from the top story of an apartment high-rise.
  • In one episode of The Cape, Vince dangles a corrupt cop by dangling him over a bridge with his cape. It doesn't work.
  • Charmed:
    • Where demons are capable of surviving a fall from high ground, Chris prefers to hang them over a flaming volcano. He also tends to kill them even if they talk.
    • Phoebe did it once to a corrupt landlord in a episode where she was granted superpowers.
  • Happens frequently on Chuck with Chuck himself the one being dangled.
    • Chuck subverted the trope when he grabbed a Fulcrum agent who was about to fall from a building. When the agent asked Chuck if he would drop him if he didn't talk, Chuck told him no, noting it would be a terrible thing to do. The agent agreed to talk, but lost his grip before he could do so.
  • Daredevil: In the season 3 finale, Matt dangles Wilson Fisk's fixer Felix Manning off a rooftop by a cord attached to his leg, and gets Felix to confess to Vanessa's role in Ray Nadeem's murder as well as reveal leverage that Matt can use to get Dex to turn against Fisk.
  • An episode of The Fall Guy had Colt interrogating a mook on a plane. When said mook wouldn't talk, Colt shoved him out of the plane and jumped after him. During their freefall, Colt showed the mook the altimeter on his wrist and said he had until they reached a certain height (when Colt would have open his chute) to talk. He talked.
  • Forever Knight. In "Last Act" Vampire Detective Nick Knight shoves a murderer through a high-rise window (without opening it), though the fact that he's wearing his Nightmare Face also inspires the man to talk. Nick is planning to kill him anyway, but fortunately his partner shows up.
    Schanke: Nick, you solved this thing! Besides, think of the paperwork if you drop him.
  • The re-imagined Hawaii Five-0 has McGarret doing this to a Serbian Mafia criminal involved in a kidnapping from the roof of a grand hotel. Danno then chew him out about the rights of the suspects.
  • Richie did this with the punk who shot Tessa in Highlander. He was really close to letting go, especially because Duncan was pressuring him to back off-the kid had been in a drug-induced haze and didn't even remember doing it, and he had cleaned up and had a family now. Fortunately, Richie settles for finally triggering the guy's memory and getting a confession;he doesn't kill him.
  • The Lois & Clark episode "That Old Gang Of Mine" sees Superman do this to John Dillinger (or his clone, anyway).
  • Luther does this in the first episode of his third series. When a suspect in a tower flat tries to make a break for it, he somehow ends up dangling over the edge. It's unclear if Luther actually pushed him, but he's certainly willing to milk the moment to get information. What he doesn't know is that Internal Affairs are gunning for him and his partner has been coerced into wearing a wire. There's too much noise for them to tell precisely what's going on, and Luther relents before they can actually lay eyes on the scene.
  • The Magician: In "The Vanishing Lady", a kidnapper is fleeing from Blake when he trips and falls over the edge of a catwalk. Blake grabs him by the foot and refuses to haul him up until he tells him where a missing woman is being held.
  • A variant in an NCIS: Los Angeles episode where Callen drags a second prisoner into interrogation when the first one won't talk, then opens a trap-door in the floor and drops him in the ocean. Prisoner #1 talks very fast. Cut to the next scene when Prisoner #2, who is really a one-shot NCIS agent, is in the boat shed towelling himself off as Callen thanks him for helping out.
  • The Professionals. In "Involvement", Ray Doyle does the balcony version on a junkie responsible for the death of an informant friend of Doyle's, making even Bodie worry he's going too far, as he's normally the one pulling that kind of stunt.
  • In Smallville:
    • Kara (Actually Brainiac at the time) does this to someone by smashing a hole in his plane and shoving his face out at 20,000 feet.
    • Clark does this with Tess in order to find out what Checkmate was up to. He holds her over the edge of a building for a few seconds until she agrees to talk to him. He pulls her back before he starts asking questions, but given how she glances at the edge before she answers, it's pretty clear that this trope was still part of the situation.

  • In Accidental Death of an Anarchist, it is not initially clear if the police were attempting this on the anarchist and accidentally dropped him, or if they just deliberately pushed/threw him out the window.

  • Transformers: According to his bio card, this was Combaticon Vortex's specialty. He could turn into a helicopter and he would interrogate prisoners by subjecting them to high-altitude acrobatics until they spilled their guts literally or figuratively.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Batman: Arkham City:
      • The Hugo Strange promotional trailer shows Batman interrogating a Mook in such a manner as this, with Batman demanding to know who sent him and the mook promptly answering, "Hugo Strange."
      • In game, Batman can do this while interrogating Riddler's henchmen, provided that the player performs the interrogation command close enough to a ledge. Once they've spilled their guts, Batman lets go of them and either (1) the cable Batman attached to them catches them and leaves hanging upside down, or (2-if the fall is short enough) they simply fall until the hit they ground and get knocked out.
      • This is also Batman's chosen method for questioning Quincy Sharp during a cutscene.
    • Early on in Batman: Arkham Origins, we get to see it from the mook's perspective as he wakes up while being dangled off a building.
  • In the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare mission "Blackout", Gaz, frustrated over Sgt. Kamarov's repeated requests for fire support taking priority over his, Price, and Soap's mission to rescue Nikolai, threatens to throw Kamarov off their elevated vantage point to get him to spit out Nikolai's location.
  • In Cold War On Your Own Behind The Iron Curtain, this is used to get a part of the combination to a safe. However, it really only works because the interrogatee is afraid of heights.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony has Luis do this in two missions. In the first he meets with two of Yusuf's business partners atop Rotterdam Tower, and after suspecting he might have been set up he hoists one of them over the railing and demands to know what he walked into. Meanwhile in the second he has to intimidate The Celebinator, a Shallow Parody of Perez Hilton, into not printing anything about Tony anymore by dangling him out the side of a helicopter, then throwing him out and catching him before he hits the ground, effectively making him crap his pants in embarrassment.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 2 during Thane's recruitment mission, Shepard happens upon a poor mook, standing too close to a window, in a skyscraper. Shepard asks about Thane, threatening to throw the guy out the window. Subverted in that the mook doesn't have vital information necessary for you to continue the mission, and a renegade Shepard knows it.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: At the end of Drack's loyalty mission, he does this to Aroane to get him to squeal. It's entirely possible to let Drack actually drop the guy when he's done.
  • Mirror's Edge: When Faith comes face-to-face with Ropeburn, the two have a very brief scuffle that ends with Ropeburn hanging off the side of a building. Faith takes advantage of this by interrogating him about the murder her sister was framed for and why he was talking with a police officer earlier, but he gets shot by a mysterious assailant and falls to his death before he can answer the latter.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: In Culture Shock, Max gets Jimmy Two-Teeth to talk by dangling him out of his office window on a very high floor in the apartment building. Max being Max, he drops Jimmy, anyway, once he gets the information. Jimmy shows up just fine in later episodes, though.
  • Done by Beckett, the resident Deadpan Snarker in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. We don't get to see it though.
    PC:And you worked all that out by sniffing around?
    Beckett: Actually, there were two hunters on the roof of the building opposite the hotel who were positively delighted to tell me everything they knew — provided I stop dangling them headfirst over the side.
  • In one quest line in World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion, a Twilight's Hammer higher-up is interrogated this way, with the added feature that he'll suffer Propeller Blender if dropped. At the close, the shaman doing the interrogation reveals that she had several air elementals ready to catch him if he did come loose, so the problem of losing the information with his life was never actually there.

  • The Order of the Stick: We see a flashback of Roy and Durkon dangling the kobold oracle upside-down out a window to "persuade" him to let them have another answer after he responded to the question "Where is Xykon?" with the spectacularly useless "In his throne room." (The Oracle usually has a "one question per person per visit" rule.)

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman Beyond, following in his mentor's footsteps, Terry uses this technique on Inque's latest client.
    Batman: Where. Is. Inque?!
    Man: I don't know!
    Batman: Wrong answer. [opens his fingers so the guy's just clinging to his wrist]
  • In Darkwing Duck, Taurus Bulba puts a spin on this by interrogating Darkwing while threatening to drop Gosalyn.
  • Dragons: Race to the Edge: Heather uses this technique on a dragon hunter in "Stryke Out" to try to find out where Hiccup and Toothless are being held.
  • Invincible (2021): In episode 5, Nolan teaches this to Mark while holding a bad guy up in the air. While Mark is hesitant to actually drop the guy, Nolan quickly grabs him and sends him falling down.
    Nolan: Now he'll tell me everything.
    Mark: Okay, but you're gonna catch him, right?
    Nolan: Yeah... in a second.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, War Machine tosses a villain out of a transport helicopter to get him to reveal the whereabouts of Tony, Gene, and Pepper. The first time War Machine catches him, he refuses to crack, so he drops him a second time, this time catching him so the ground is actually in sight. With the prospect that War Machine will keep this up until they close the distance, he breaks.
  • Justice League:
  • One Robot Chicken sketch revolving around Ted Turner becoming Captain Planet sees him smash through the window of a corporate office while two executives are contemplating dumping polluted waste in the Grand Canyon. Turner then proceeds to hold one of the two men out the window until he agrees to sign a clause agreeing to not dump waste in the Grand Canyon, at which point Ted Turner would agree to let the guy go.
  • The Secret Saturdays: Doyle and Van Rook do this to Finster in "Into the Mouth of Darkness".
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Shear Strength," Gwen is being held hostage by The Master Planner, and Spidey attempts to get information out of the captured Tinkerer by dangling him off a building. Tinkerer unwisely calls his bluff, and Spidey really does drop him, only to save him with a webline at the last minute so he'll talk. The best part is Spidey realistically points out that his reflexes might not be enough to pull that trick off a second time.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Leonardo — who by then is going through a "hard-core" phase — attempts this once with an informant in order to get information on the Purple Dragons.

    Real Life 
  • During The Vietnam War, captured Viet Cong fighters would be loaded into a helicopter and interrogated in the air. If they didn't talk, they would be thrown out of the helicopter, one-by-one, until either they started talking or until they had all been pushed out. However, they were blindfolded and not aware that the pilot had actually lowered the chopper to a non-fatal level and the POWs only fell a few feet, but the other captives didn't know that — all they could hear was the screams of their comrades. Some Vietcong actually died from the fall; they believed the scenario to the extent that falling out of the helicopter triggered a heart attack.
  • Suge Knight of Death Row Records implied to Vanilla Ice that his thugs would throw him over a balcony unless he signed over the rights to "Ice, Ice Baby". Tabloid rumors suggested that Knight actually held Ice over the balcony and threatened to drop him.
  • The soprano Francesca Cuzzoni refused to sing her first aria in Georg Friedrich Händel's Ottone; Händel replied, "Oh! Madame, I know well that you are a real she-devil, but I hereby give you notice, me, that I am Beelzebub, the Chief of Devils!" The historian continued: "With this, he took her up by the waist, and, if she made any more words, swore that he would fling her out of the window."

Alternative Title(s): Dangling A Suspect


Invincible - Sky Interrogation

Nolan teaches Mark how to interrogate in the sky.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (39 votes)

Example of:

Main / HighAltitudeInterrogation

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