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Improbable Falling Save

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"Did you forget how physics works?"
Samala Gerrast, Legend of the Gray Jedi

Contrary to what Hollywood would have you think, saving someone from falling is not as easy as grabbing them when they're already falling. Even if they're smaller and lighter than you, odds are their momentum will pull you down with them, or at least seriously injure your arm.

It should be noted that catching someone while standing on the ground doesn't count, only catching someone from an elevated position that should result in you being injured and/or pulled down with them.

Justified if the catcher has Super-Strength or a similar ability, or possibly if Cartoon Physics applies.

Often overlaps with Take My Hand!, Artistic License – Physics, and/or Artistic License – Biology.

Sister Trope to Not the Fall That Kills You…, which focuses on the falling person.

Compare Catch a Falling Star, in which the catcher also is moving, and Giant Robot Hands Save Lives, where the catcher's size tends to make the catch more plausible.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Brynhildr in the Darkness: Played With. Ryota falls from a water tower while trying to save Hatsuna in the process. note  He's saved by Kotori who uses her powers to switch places with people. He discovers after landing that her powers come with the side effect of cancelling all inertia when switching with someone while in midair.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: The first episode of the anime's second season sees a terrorist toss a hostage from a helicopter as a means of trying to distract Mikoto Misaka, who'd been using her electromagnetism to anchor the helicopter and prevent it from escaping. Fortunately, Ruiko Saten was on the fire escape and caught the flung hostage before she could fall. And when the added weight started to prove to be more than she could handle, she and the hostage were teleported to the roof by Kuroko Shirai leaning out the window.
  • Shirley from Code Geass learns that Lelouch is Zero and thinks Suzaku is his accomplice. Driven by fear of them being "fakes" deceiving her, she runs far away until she gets on the edge of the building and falls before Lelouch catches her by her hand with Suzaku grabbing one of Lelouch's legs, so the two won't fall to their death.
  • Kiratto Pri☆Chan: In episode 114, Meltic Star go up a tower to rescue their mascot, Melpan, but Anna falls from the tower in the process. Mel and Sara save her from breaking every bone in her body.
  • Moriarty the Patriot: After William falls from the Tower Bridge, Sherlock grabs his arm in hopes of hauling him back up, and manages to hold him up for long enough to have an argument with William before William notes that the bridge won't hold them forever—never mind that Sherlock's arm should be ripped from its socket.

    Fan Works 
  • The Gray Jedi Series: Subverted in Legend of the Gray Jedi. When Zari falls out of the Vindicator, then uses the Force to launch herself back up, she falls short, and Des tries to catch her, only to be pulled down with her. Lampshaded by Samala.
    Samala: Did you forget how physics works?
  • In the Sherlock Holmes fic Holidays with Holmes, the "New Year's Eve" entry lampshades the issues of breaking a fall. Holmes bolts to catch Watson as the doctor plummets down the staircase. He loses his grip on him, but he does slow the fall to non-terminal velocity. When Holmes confronts him about it later, Watson points out that Holmes' attempt to break his fall was no less unwise; even if he had managed to keep ahold of him, his arms would have been pulled loose from their sockets.

    Films — Animated 
  • Despicable Me: At the climax, a chain of Minions manage to catch Gru and Agnes from falling off a tightrope between Gru's ship and Vector's ship, despite the latter two having a headstart.
  • At the climax of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney), an unconscious Quasimodo falls from the cathedral and is saved by Phoebus, who manages to overcome the forces of momentum and catch a fully grown man while hanging halfway out a window without both of them tumbling to the ground below.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Conjuring 2: Ed catching Janet out the window is within the realm of possibility, but Lorraine catching them both isn't. Even without Janet, Ed has at least 20 pounds on Lorraine.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness has Chekov catching both Kirk and McCoy after they topple from a tilted gantry. In all fairness they hadn't fallen that far, but still, Chekov is an undersized young navigator whereas McCoy and Kirk are both reasonably hefty grown men.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: When Sam, Carly, and the soldiers are in the collapsing building, Sam catches a falling Carly, but her weight and momentum mean that one or both of their arms should have been torn out of their sockets.

  • Animorphs: When the Yeerks are chasing a pair of escaped Hork-Bajir, the team concocts a plan to make the Yeerks think they're dead: Rachel and Tobias morph the Hork-Bajir and lead the Yeerks towards a cliff where they know Visser Three is waiting. They jump off the cliff, where Marco (in gorilla morph) is waiting under an overhang to natch them as they fall, while the real Hork-Bajir play dead at the bottom of the cliff where the other team members are morphed as wolves and biting into them (it's painful, but Hork-Bajir can survive their skulls being opened.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Double Subverted in the Ms. Marvel (2022) episode "Crushed". When a young boy falls out of a tower, Kamala uses her powers to hold him up until she can get in position underneath him. He slips, and she tries to catch him, only for his weight and momentum to make her fall too. She manages to catch them both with her powers before they hit the ground.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy XIII: While falling off a broken bridge, Snow is able to grab Nora's hand, stopping her fall while he's hanging. Ultimately Deconstructed, as Snow is unable to pull himself up while holding her, Nora falls, and then the ledge collapses due to the weight put on it, sending Snow plummeting to the ground with her.
  • Henry Stickmin Series: Subverted. At one point during the "Pure Blooded Thief/Convict Allies" route of Completing the Mission, the bridge Henry is trying to cross collapses. One of the choices is to have Ellie try and catch him, but she just ends up getting pulled down with him.
    FAIL Screen: Fatso.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4 has this as a side effect of gameplay. Leon must catch Ashley at the bottom of laddersnote . While most ladders are about one story tall, a few are multiple stories tall, and Leon is never pulled down as a result of catching her.
    • Resident Evil 6: While climbing up the rope of a broken elevator shaft, an explosion knocks both Leon and Helena off the rope. Not only is Leon able to grab the rope and secure himself, but also grabs Helena without slipping down the rope further. Helena can also fall multiple times if the player tries to overtake her, resulting in Leon catching her without losing their climbing progress.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: As Dante is passing through a hallway of Temen-ni-Gru with a missing outer wall, he notices Lady falling from a great height. With devilishly perfect timing, he snags her by the ankle as she falls past him. While her momentum does cause his arm to dip a bit, his feet stay firmly planted on the tower floor.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Battle for Dream Island episode "Take the Plunge: Part 1", Pin is able to grab Leafy as she falls off the balance beam. Justified, as Leafy is of a light weight.

  • The Bug Martini strip "Plunging Prepubescents" brings up the point that catching a kid falling from a skyscraper would break the catcher's arms.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the episode "The Storm", during a storm at sea, the bridge of Zuko's ship is struck by lightning and the helmsman falls down towards the deck far below, but Zuko, who had been scaling the outside of the tall tower leading to bridge, saves him by gripping his wrist, effortlessly bearing the adult man's weight in one arm while doing so.
  • Occasionally, Code Lyoko's Ulrich will catch Yumi as she falls on Lyoko. The first time it happens ("Routine") he manages to have an almost kiss with her.
  • The Owl House: During a fight, Hunter is knocked off his staff mid-air and starts to plummet. Willow proceeds to catch him by grabbing him around the waist with one arm, which neither bends nor strains despite also bearing Hunter's full weight for several seconds.
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race: In "Hello and Dubai", Noah catches Emma by the hand when she falls while both are cleaning the windows of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Despite the height and Noah's rather lean physique, he catches Emma with ease.
  • Visionaries: While escaping from the dungeons at Castle Darkstorm in "Feryl Steps Out", Leoric and Feryl find themselves on a high ledge, where Feryl slips and almost falls. However, Leoric saves him by grabbing his wrist and pulling him to safety, using only one hand.