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"The materials used to create a lock are of utmost importance. Shoddy brass or copper will give way to a well-placed kick, thereby rendering the lock itself useless. I recommend steel over iron when choosing a material. More robust materials tend to be prohibitively expensive and necessitate the door being made of similar metals. I have been chagrined to stumble across the shattered shell of a wooden chest, its dwarven lock intact and still locked."

This door is absolutely impenetrable. It's made of 100% Indestructium, is guarded by robot monkeys with crossbows, and opens only to authorized personnel who pass the DNA test, pass the retina scan and present a valid birth certificate. Yes, no one will ever force his way into — "Open!" Says Me. WHAMM!!!

Wait, did you just break the door off its hinges?

This is Crippling Overspecialization applied to architecture. A designer puts immense effort and resources into a structure, most often a defensive point such as a wall, door, or window, but fails to notice a large weakness in the design that makes all of this easy to circumvent. The most common flaw being that for all that the door itself is indestructible, the wall around it is less so. This is especially so in Chinese and Japanese media where many walls are made out of paper. Often, the floor will also be vulnerable to burrowing. The door itself may not be that hard to open, especially if We Have the Keys. Often played for laughs if the way through the apparently impenetrable defense is particularly obvious or easy. Sometimes serves as a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome for whoever thought that they or their stuff would be safe in such a place.

A common justification in-universe, which is also the reason for most Real Life examples, is that the designer Didn't Think This Through. However, the reason is sometimes that the writer is unfamiliar with secure design, in which case characters who should have known better are not called out in-universe for making an amateur mistake.

Compare Dungeon Bypass, Cutting the Knot, Override Command, Steal the Surroundings, Absurdly Ineffective Barricade, Inventional Wisdom. Contrast There Was a Door.


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  • Played straight in a TV ad for a French reinforced door company: France's equivalent of a SWAT team is raiding an apartment building and hits a particular door with a battering ram: This takes several tries, and only makes a huge hole in the wall around it, with the door and its frame still standing.
    Cop: This is the second time this week...

    Anime and Manga 
  • In one chapter of Sgt. Frog, the Keronians test out their new security system on Momoka's mother Ouka, who wants to get her hands on Keroro for some reason. The first obstacle is a series of electronic locks on the mini-fridge that serves as the main entrance to the lair. What does Ouka do? Rip the door off its hinges.
  • In the finale arc in the manga Ranma ˝, Akane is held in a cell by the bird tribe. She desperately tries to kick and ram the bars through to no avail. In her frustration, she leans to one side... and tears open the flimsy lock on the cell.
  • In an early episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, a cautious Togusa decides to open a door carefully in such a manner that he wouldn't set off any potential traps that may be rigged up. An impatient Batou says that it's an admirable skill to have, but they are in a hurry to bust a criminal. He kicks the door in, busting the bolt off the door in the process.
  • Happens twice in Hunter × Hunter:
    • During the Hunter Exam, the group of main characters are given a Sadistic Choice in the form of a fork in the road: A path that takes many hours to walk through that all five can enter and a path that takes only 5 minutes that only one person can enter. The team only has several minutes left before time runs out and they are disqualified, so the solution they decide upon is to go through the long path meant for five people, then punch through the wall separating the two paths and climb through the hole to take the short path.
    • When Gon and Killua get captured by the Phantom Troupe, Nobunaga wants to nominate Gon into the troupe and chooses to keep them captive in an abandoned apartment building room until the troupe's leader returns. To that end, Nobunaga chooses a room with only one door and guards it, always keeping watch. Gon and Killua escape by each punching a hole through walls on opposite sides of the room, shocking Nobunaga and paralyzing him with indecision so the boys could create some distance from him, and they continue to punch holes through walls around the building to confuse Nobunaga long enough to leave the building and entirely out of Nobunaga's reach.
  • In one episode of Pokémon, the Team Rocket trio traps a group of Pokémon under a dome made of "absolutely, positively unbreakable" glass. However, the dome isn't quite securely attached enough to keep it from being pried lose (as James later says, "it wasn't absolutely, positively unshakeable"), and so Ash and the captives are able to dislodge it.
  • In the second Squad Jam of Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online, Team SHINC has to bring in an anti-tank rifle to even attempt to penetrate M's space battleship-armor shield, which is impervious to nearly any sort of gun in the game. It turns out that, while those bullets still fail to penetrate the shield, they hit hard enough to break the hinges and support bars holding the shield together, since they're made of far less exotic materials.
  • In the first episode of Lord El-Melloi II Case Files, Waver and Melvin are locked up in a prison with magic-proofed door. After briefly catching up with Melvin, Waver proceeds to simply pull the hinges out of the walls and gently push the door out of its frame.
  • In Kekkaishi, kekkaishi are a type of magician who create psychic boxes that can destroy things inside. When someone traps a kekkaishi in a hole, and seals the hole with a rock that can't be contained in those boxes, the kekkaishi simply tunnels her way out.
  • In Heavy Object the Cook Addition Islands are artificial lands meant to house top secret Object development. However there were multiple contractors involved in the construction with varying ideas on what security was needed for individual jobs. Air vents are completely secured against trespasser but utility passages are unlocked and lead directly into otherwise secure areas.
  • Magu-chan: God of Destruction: The Holy Knights designed their fortress shotgun-style because they wanted intruders to duel their five leaders in separate rooms each in a row. This just let Mag blow a hole through all five rooms at once.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode "Candy House Fantasy", Paddi builds a candy house and hides in it to get away from Wolffy, who is trying to capture him. The house would seem otherwise impossible to damage if not for the fact that, with it being made of candy and all, Wolffy can eat through it easily.

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Strange:
    • Strange's own Sanctum Sanctorum is guarded by warding spells linked to its characteristic round window. A band of his enemies once gained access by breaking down the wood of the window frame, causing the whole thing to fall apart.
    • In Doctor Strange: The Oath, a door is sealed with a magic sigil. Strange asks Wong to break the door down. Seconds later, the Night Nurse calmly picks the lock with a hairpin.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Scrooge McDuck has sometimes found himself in trouble because his impenetrable Money Bin with unbreakable walls and gates lacked a proper floor and/or foundations due to the owner's stinginess.
  • A running gag in the Lucky Luke album "The Daily Star" resolves around a sheriff who takes great pride in the fact that the bars of the cell in his office are unbreakable, which he claims will prevent any escape attempts. Although he is right about the strength of the bars, the rest of the office is not that strong so it’s still very much a Card Board Prison. At the end of the story, the entire sheriff's office is destroyed with only the bars still standing.

    Comic Strips 
  • Hägar the Horrible:
    • There is a strip where Hagar returns from a plundering, handing Helga a large, well-crafted castle-style lock, noting that she's been worried about people breaking into their house. She's initially overjoyed until she asks where he got it. "Oh, it wasn't too hard — it only took me five seconds to rip it out."
    • In another strip, the occupants of a castle brag about how strong their door is. Hagar hits it with a battering ram and the door is unharmed. The rest of the castle fell down around it.
  • In a Gnasher and Gnipper strip, after the dogs knock over Dad one time too many, he buys a pair of special gnash-proof chains to keep them restrained. Fortunately for the dogs, while the chains were completely gnash-proof, the wall wasn't.

  • In the Project Dark Jade fic Shadows Awakening, the gates to the Forge of Shadows are indestructible, but the walls aren't, allowing the heroes to blast their way in. Kyosuke/The Phantom admits this was an oversight, but defends himself by saying that it was built before his time.
  • In the other Project Dark Jade fic Webwork, Uncle has made the Vault door impervious to attack by evil magic. However, he wasn't able to do this for the surrounding walls, so Jade has her Shadowkhan chip away at those to weaken the door enough for her to pull it loose. Uncle calls this cheating.
  • In Storybook Hero, after Harry Potter and some of his friends are arrested, he and a half-giant break out of a cell with an indestructible door by punching it until the hinges broke.
  • In one of a collection of one-shots, a Kryptonian Harry Potter punches a locked door and finds it is indestructible (and punching it hurt his fist). However, the impact cracked the archway around the door and the door fell down a moment later, much to Harry's annoyance.
  • In the Touhou fanfiction FREAKIN GENSOKYO, barriers and locked doors sometimes block the way deeper into a building. The walls around the door, however, are usually not as strong. Brad takes advantage of this by breaking through them with an enchanted plant hanger.
  • Invoked in Spider Man Finding Home when Shuri is questioning Peter, Yelena and Kate while all three are restrained on a table. When Peter actively tries to get out of his bonds, while the restraints are made of vibranium, the table itself is less durable, allowing him to tear off chunks of the table even as the restraints remain around his wrists and ankles.
  • Attempted by Ash Ketchum in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines when he's kidnapped by Sabrina. While trapped in the Saffron Gym, Ash's Pokémon first try to break through the doors and windows to escape, but they fail due to them being reinforced with Reflect and Light Screen. They instead decide to try and break down a wall, but Sabrina herself appears before they can do so, although she commends him since nobody had thought of trying that before.
  • in the My Hero Academia fanfic Hero Class Civil Warfare Mei refers to it as the Invincible Door Fallacy: Shouji gets around a heavily reinforced door by breaking through the wall next to it. Later in the same chapter, when Mei is trying to obtain one of the Villain Goals held inside of a glass display case and unlocked through a logic puzzle, Shoji pulls the same trick.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • The Curse of the Black Pearl presents a lesson: Don't build a jail door using half-pin barrel hinges. Although it's implied that Will only knows how to break the door because he helped build it.
    • At World's End has a return of the half-barrel hinge on a jail door, enabling Jack to extricate himself again after one of his hallucinated doppelgangers notices it, and he remembers "leverage".
  • Star Wars has the Death Star, a planet-destroying space station. It can only be destroyed by firing missiles down a small exhaust port which directly leads to the main reactor; said port is at the end of a trench that cannot be easily defended by fighters or defence turrets. However, given the fact that the exhaust port was so small that only a Force-user could make the shot — and there were about two Force-users in the galaxy not working for the Empire at this point — it's not as Myopic as often thought.
    • Rogue One retcons the design. The lead designer of the Death Star, realizing that refusing to help would only delay the project, purposely built in a weak point which could be exploited without the Empire's knowledge. He wanted the Death Star destroyed more than anyone.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Helms Deep has the same weaknesses mentioned below in "Literature", plus a few new ones, as explained here by Shad. While the book isn't as specific about the details of the fortifications and can be given the benefit of the doubt in some respects, the scale and form of the fortifications are more clear in the movie and therefore more open to criticism.
    • On the plus side, they depict the culvert in the Deeping Wall with a great big iron grille, but this is more than negated by the fact that the culvert in the movie is so enormous that orcs can enter two at a time, carrying bombs between them, without even having to duck their heads! Such a huge opening seems like total overkill to let out a stream that is only shown as being up to the orcs' ankles, and even if the designers of the fortress hadn't known of gunpowder, they should have at least expected that sappers would have tried to enter the culvert with picks and chip away enough rock to dislodge the single iron grille. Also just like in the book, the garrison doesn't think to block up the culvert with rubble before the enemy arrives. They don't give enough attention to defending it until it's too late and the Uruk-hai blast their way in.
    • While the book describes the parapets as being high enough that only a tall man could look over them, with spaces between them that allow for the shooting of arrows, the merlons of the battlements in the film reach only up to mid-chest at most, exposing them to the attackers' arrows. Also, the fact that the Deeping Wall has only a single tower along its considerable length—and that the battlements aren't machicolated to allow the defenders to shoot directly beneath them—means there would be blind spots and hardly any ability to hit the attackers with flanking fire. Granted, the wall curves inward in a way that eliminates the visual blind spot, but it is long enough that effective flanking fire with bows of limited range would be rather difficult.
    • The Hornburg itself has only one relatively flimsy gate that the Uruk-hai have to smash through before they're inside and able to wreak havoc. If it had a proper gatehouse like most real castles did, they would have had to break through a portcullis as well, and then found themselves faced with another gate and portcullis while being funneled into a small passage where the defenders could shoot them from holes in both sides and the ceiling. The arrangement of concentric walls does incorporate a very good idea from real-life castles, which is having the gate in the outer wall lead into a tight 90-degree turn that would be difficult to fit a ram through, channeling the attackers down a long path where the defenders could shoot them from the battlements on either side, and then having the gate of the second wall be 90 degrees at the end of that. However, the insides of the outer walls are not crenellated to take full advantage of this, and most gallingly, there is no gate restricting passage through the inner walls; instead, there's a huge frickin' archway that anyone could ride right through, which almost defeats the point of having an inner layer of walls in the first place!
  • In The Pink Panther (1963), Inspector Clouseau is prepared to shoot the lock when Mr. Tucker says, "Don't do that old man" and opens the door.
  • In Red (2010), Frank Moses circumvents a password-protected lock that he describes as "unbreakable" by kicking a hole in the flimsy drywall next to it and opening the door from the inside.
  • In Sneakers, Bishop is confronted with an electronic door lock that was installed soon before his break-in. He radios for help; the team is not happy; and after a few moments of silence where he (but not the audience) hears the plan, he simply kicks the door open.
  • In The Coen Brothers' version of The Ladykillers, this comes into play with the design of the underground casino vault the characters are stealing from. The door and walls bordering other rooms in the building are highly secure and reinforced; however, the wall facing outwards (to underground soil) is just a normal wall. The characters exploit this weakness by tunneling underground from a nearby cellar to the casino vault, and right through the wall. After emptying the vault, they close up the hole in the wall to make it look like it was never penetrated, and they use explosives to destroy the tunnel behind them.
  • In Toys, The Tommy Tanks try to break into the warehouse where Leslie and company are hiding. After a few bashes on the door, they decide to blow up the wall next to it.
  • As seen in Avengers: Infinity War, the force field protecting Wakanda only keeps out roughly 99% of whatever is trying to get through it, and while that's a high enough success rate to keep out humans like Klaue (most of whom didn't even know Wakanda was worth invading until recently), it isn't particularly effective against an army with a We Have Reserves mentality. In fact, it turns into something of a disadvantage, because the swarm is large enough to surround Wakanda, allowing some to break through behind the gathered Avengers' defense, closer to the facility they're trying to protect. They wind up having to open a section of the force field to ensure their enemies enter at the proper spot to be defeated.
  • Jurassic Park: In the first film, the lab door is shown to be lockable and extremely durable, meaning that when it's sealed, it should be secure, except that right next to the door is a wall-length non-reinforced window. The velociraptors end up making use of this to break in.

  • A kangaroo is brought to a zoo for a new exhibit. The next day, the kangaroo is found hopping around outside his exhibit. The zookeepers return the kangaroo to his cage and raise the fence. The kangaroo escapes again, the zookeepers recapture the kangaroo, and they raise the fence again. This continues until the fence is a ridiculous height, yet the kangaroo keeps escaping. Finally, a patron figures out the problem: none of the zookeepers had remembered to lock the gate.
  • As Jeff Foxworthy noted about a portable safe is wife bought for him as a gift: "To save thieves the hassle of gathering up your belongings, it's the portable safe! With an easy tote handle so they can take it back to the thieves' den and figure out the combination at their leisure. The portable safe, by RonCo."
  • From an old joke about cowboys and Indians: "On the third day in jail, Eagle Eye noticed one wall was missing."

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Valley of Helm's Deep is protected by the mighty tower called the Hornburg perched on a great heel of rock, and the Deeping Wall running from the Hornburg to the southern cliff blocks the way into the gorge. The Deeping Wall is twenty feet high, so smooth on the outside that it offers no foothold, and so thick that four men can walk abreast at its top. Unfortunately, there are some problems:
    • A wide culvert running right through the bottom of the wall allows the Deeping-stream to pass out. Having this weak point is a pretty enormous oversight, and since the builders of the fortress were clearly capable of great feats of engineering, there should have been more than one way for them to avoid this: one would be for them to divert the stream through underground pipes; another which might have actually enhanced the defensibility of the walls would have been to dig a proper moat for the stream to fill up and let the culvert be underwater with iron bars blocking it. However there is no moat, the culvert is accessible from the surface, and if there are any bars across the opening then the author doesn't mention them, making it sound like it's wide enough for an orc to fit through. While most of the attacking orcs with scaling ladders and grappling hooks are keeping the defenders focused on the top of the wall, some of them creep like rats through the culvert and get inside, requiring the Westfold-men to block up the inside of the culvert with stones under Gimli's direction as soon as they can. Why they didn't take the opportunity to block it up with rubble before the battle when they had the chance is left as an exercise for the reader. The rubble keeps the orcs out for a little while, but then the orcs blast through the blockage using the "fire of Orthranc" (presumably some kind of bomb), which also makes the hole much larger. The attacking hordes stream in and take the wall, forcing its defenders to either fall back to the Hornburg if they can, or retreat into the Deep if they can't.
    • As for the Hornburg, it is accessed by a high causeway that helpfully forces the enemy to come a few at a time under the defenders' fire. However, the fact that the builders didn't go the extra mile and put in a drawbridge makes this defense much less effective and contributes to the orcs being able to bust their way in with rams and explosives.
  • Redwall:
    • The main gate of Redwall Abbey is large and thick, impervious to even the most dedicated of sieges. Basically, not one invading vermin horde has ever gotten through it. The tiny wicker side-gate, on the other hand, has been breached by countless invading hordes over the seasons (or the youngest of the Abbey's children are forever escaping through it into the woods and into the villain's clutches), probably accounting for every successful invasion of the abbey. This is presumably intentional since it would be easy to station three well-armed, armoured guards there during a siege to hack up any single file intruders who tried to get in. Unfortunately, being peaceful monks and villagers (nearly every book is set so far apart in time almost no one remembers times of war), the Redwall inhabitants never think of that.
    • In The Bellmaker, the heroes are able to escape their prison cell by hacking the hinges (which are on the inside) off. Which is justified, as the heroes' "prison" was a peaceful residence, and was invaded only weeks back. The occupiers locked the heroes into the tallest tower, i.e. the place with the least chance of escape, but it is heavily suggested—because of it being the tallest tower—that it was probably the keep, and hence built to keep people out rather than in. Therefore, the hinges naturally were on the inside.
  • Discworld:
    • In Guards! Guards!, Vetinari is revealed to have done this on purpose: while the lock to the palace dungeon is on the outside, the locking mechanisms are on the inside. Would-be usurpers throw him in the dungeon expecting it to serve as a Tailor-Made Prison; instead, it's an impregnable fortress that he can "escape" at his leisure.
    • In The Last Continent, Rincewind discovers that the cell doors in the XXXX jail have thick bars, sturdy locks... and weak half-pin hinges.note 
    • At one point a point is made of the wonderfully-made reinforced hinges on the door of the notorious bar The Mended Drum. The point made is that they held up beautifully as the whole frame was ripped from the wall.
    • In Interesting Times, Cohen and the Silver Horde are more or less free to roam about the castle, due to being the only ones who think to walk through the paper walls.
      Six Beneficent Winds: But you can't go through walls!
      Cohen: Why not?
      Six Beneficent Winds: They're — well, they're walls. What would happen if everyone walked through walls? What do you think doors are for?
      Cohen: I think they're for other people.
    • Used in Jingo by Nobby, as a joke on a common nostalgic phrase: "We never had locks on our doors in those days... that's 'cause the bastards even used to steal the locks".
    • In Wyrd Sisters Nanny Ogg is a guest in Duke Felmet's torture chamber, on the wrong side of a seemingly impregnable oak door with five-inch planks and a very big lock. Junior witch Magrat Garlick is faced with the problem of opening it. Magrat focuses. And gets in tune with the wood of the planks, reminding the old seasoned oak of happier days growing in the forest. There is a sudden eruption of oak tree in full green bloom, and suddenly there is no door. This gets Magrat a rare word of praise from Granny Weatherwax, who has also been contemplating the same problem.note 
  • In Anansi Boys a police specialist bemoans Graham Coates' security arrangements, pointing out that he installed a wonderfully secure door, then hung a lock on it that the specialist picked effortlessly.
  • In Artemis Fowl when Butler is rescuing Artemis (trapped in his "secure" office because the lock had been welded shut), he blasts the frame instead of firing at the door itself. He notes that the security flaw should be fixed even as he exploits it.
    Butler put three rounds into the door frame. The door itself was steel and would have sent the Devastator slugs ricocheting straight back at him. But the frame was the original porous stone used to build the manor. It crumbled like chalk. A very basic security flaw, and one that would have to be remedied once this business was over.
  • In one of Christopher Anvil's Interstellar Patrol stories, the villain boasts of how impregnable his Elaborate Underground Base is. When the protagonist puts this to the test, he finds that neither the villain nor his contractors realised that it's no good having foot-thick walls if they only go up to ceiling height, with a convenient access void above them.
  • In The Revenge of the Demon Headmaster, this occurs near the end of the book:
    "That won't get you out. The door is solid metal, one metre thick."
    "But I bet the walls aren't."
  • Discussed and averted in the satirical poem "The Deacon's Masterpiece, or, The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay", in which the eponymous vehicle is made "so like in every part" that there is no weak point that could cause it to break down. After a century of use, the whole thing disintegrates at once.
    • Said poem is sometimes referenced in engineering classes as it's connected to a real-life design dilemma: actually design a specific weak point whose lifespan is measurable and which can be easily replaced (the electric fuse being an excellent example), try to guess at and reinforce the points of major wear (which you often get wrong), or try to build everything equally strong at the cost of having no idea how long the thing will last or what kind of repairs it might end up needing.
  • This trope turns up in the Phryne Fisher book Death Before Wicket in relation to a safe that was cracked. It's a very big, impressive, well-built safe... except that the back isn't because the safe was made to be set in a wall. The present owners purchased it from a deceased estate and didn't know about the intended setting, so they simply left it on a desk, where the thief easily found it and removed the back.
  • In Forests of the Night, the previous tenant of Nohar's apartment was a paranoid who replaced the front door with a heavy bulletproof door. Nohar speculates on how useful this would be considering the wall around it is normal wood and plaster. He later uses this door, unhinged, as a shield during a firefight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A common conceit in Michael Weston's voice-overs on Burn Notice is that people are more apt to reinforce doors than the nearby walls. Indeed, he uses this in the very first episode against Sugar, his downstairs neighbor who is also an obnoxious drug dealer. Michael notes that even a low-end drug dealer will probably have a reinforced door for extra security. So when Sugar is standing directly behind said reinforced door with a gun so he can shoot Michael if he makes it through, Michael opts to go through the perfectly ordinary wall to the side instead.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Space Museum", companion Vicki is helping the natives break into a weapons storage facility so they can overthrow the aliens who took over their planet. The computer guarding the door can tell if people are lying to it, which thieves logically would, so it doesn't check to make sure that truthful answers are good answers, allowing her to break in with the following exchange:
    Computer: Do you have the Governor's permission to approach?
    Vicki: No.
    Computer: State your name, rank, and number.
    Vicki: Vicki, time traveller, no number.
    Computer: Do you have proper authorisation for the removal of arms?
    Vicki: Yes.
    Computer! From whom do you have this authority?
    Vicki: From Tor, Sita, Gyar, and Bo. Oh, and Dako. Let's not forget Dako.note 
    Computer: What is their rank?
    Vicki: Xeron workers.
    Computer: For what purpose are the arms required?
    Vicki: Revolution!
    [door opens]
  • In an episode of MacGyver, he's at a college supervising a day in which students who have locked the doors of their dorm rooms in various creative ways change places and try to open them. One student's room isn't locked at all. This plot was based on an actual annual event at Caltech.
  • In one episode of The Mentalist, the Victim of the Week was killed via exposure to a deadly virus kept in a high-security vault accessed by retina scan - which didn't work right and would let in anybody who presented their eye for scanning.
  • Midsomer Murders: In an episode, Troy opens a safe by removing its back panel with an axe: Only the front and sides were armored.
  • In The Monkey King televised miniseries Nicholas Orton (Thomas Gibson) a Fish out of Temporal Water teaches Confucius a lesson of his he learned, never make an indestructible door without an indestructible wall around it.
  • MythBusters: In the myth "Salsa Escape", Adam and Jamie were testing the use of salsa to dissolve the iron bars of a prison cell. Adam's attempt to use electrolysis to accelerate the process failed because he used alternating current rather than direct current (indeed, Adam joked that it seemed to be making the bars thicker... presumably due to the cooked salsa caked onto the bars). Jamie's attempt with direct current worked far better. After several failed attempts by Adam to break his bars using alternate methods, Adam had "one last attempt" which succeeded — using the nearby sink to punch a hole through the (unreinforced) cinder block wall.
    Adam: And I escaped! In your face, iron bar!
  • A minor example in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, someone shuts a metal security door in their faces, and Sarah asks Cameron if she can get through it. Being a Terminator she could given time, but it's faster to punch a hole in the concrete wall. Of course, the person they were going after was expecting human pursuers, against whom the wall would have been sufficient.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Happens more often than you think in Tabletop Role Playing Games; savvy players always check hinges, floors, and walls when attempting a Dungeon Bypass, and inexperienced GMs don't always plan for this (though some crafty GMs may actually invoke this to lead the players into a trap, especially when dealing with a group of savvy players). The oldest standby is the fighter as the back up lockpicker. If the thief can't make his lock picking check, the fighter can always bash down the door. Of course, a well-designed dungeon will make sure the noise alerts monsters and sets up ambushes.
    • Bonus points when the doors themselves are made out of Fantasy Metals that make them Resistant to Magic or Nigh-Invulnerable, and the players realize that they can haul the doors back to town and sell them for more than they could have ever made actually clearing the dungeon.


    Video Games 
  • Exploited in Dragon Age: Inquisition by the main cast during the quest, "Here Lies the Abyss": The Big Bad's army of enthralled Grey Wardens has holed up in an ancient fortress that seems all but impregnable—until it is pointed out that said fortress was built before the invention of siege weaponry, and as such was not built to withstand trebuchet shots and battering rams. Sure enough, during The War Sequence that follows, the aforementioned trebuchets and battering rams inflict all hell upon the defenders, allowing the Player Character and their party to make entry.
  • In the opening of Freedom Planet, Big Bad Lord Brevon enters the royal palace by burrowing beneath it, to the shock of the royals who thought that the walls of their castle were impenetrable. As Brevon himself notes, the walls are impenetrable; the floor, however, is not.
  • Knights of the Old Republic
    • Often exploited by the Player Character. If you don't have a high enough skill to hack through the door lock, there's usually the option of just destroying the door or a section of the wall next to it.
    • Jolee points out a particularly terrible case of it on Kashyyyk, the Wookie homeworld. Czerka Corporation wants to keep everyone away from its MacGuffin site (the Star Map), and does so by plonking a giant force field down across the only available path on the surface. Unfortunately for them, Wookies are arboreal and can simply climb around it.
  • The Big Bad of Second Sight eventually hides himself in a room behind a large pane of glass which, apparently, is immune to not only bullets but all of your various psychic powers. Too bad for him the frame is ordinary metal.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island:
    • In the first game, if you let Guybrush be recaptured by the cannibals, they'll progressively beef up the security of their prison hut, eventually installing an all-steel door with a motion detector, never thinking that there might be a large hole in the hut floor.
    • The second game has one as well. After a maze Guybrush is confronted with a massive door with hundreds of locks, Schizo Tech styled security, and chains all over. He opens it by using the open command on it. And what opens is just a small rectangle within the whole structure, suggesting that all those metaphorical bells and whistles are only there for show.
  • Similarly, in Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!, the door to the staff room is heavy steel and, if you get too close, about a hundred weapons emerge from the walls to point directly at your head. Security measures include testers for DNA, fingerprints, retinal scans, tongue prints, and urine analysis. But, it turns out, the latch doesn't work properly and you can get in by just pushing on it. To be fair, the option isn't among the list of available commands on the door. You have to type it in.
  • Similarly to the Pirates example above is the cell door on the pirate island in Shadow Hearts: From The New World. Natan just lifts it up and walks out.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Proper Lock Design is an in-game book which has appeared several times in the series. It points out that higher-quality locks aren't any good if the chest or door itself is easily broken. Putting this to the test yourself, however, isn't an option; while there are chests and doors placed pre-broken as part of the landscape, you can't ever break one no matter how hard you hit it.
  • A common mistake for newbies to Dwarf Fortress, rarely realized until the fort's defenses are put to the test. Even veterans of the game can fall prey to this, since, due to just how complex the game world is, all it takes is a single, seemingly miniscule missed detail, such as a piece of debris jamming your main gate open during a goblin siege or an unlabeled lever which may or may not dump a lake of lava right in front of your entrance, to cause the whole fort to fall apart.
  • Commonly seen in Minecraft. Someone will go through a ridiculous procedure to create an incredibly elaborate safe that takes a full 5 minutes to open and someone else will simply dig through the wall. Also, many adventure maps start with the player locked in a cell, with one wall made out of a block that the rules of the map say they're allowed to break (usually clay), allowing them to easily escape into the hallway or an unlocked neighboring cell.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 has several locations with doors that are extremely difficult to pick the locks of and resilient enough to withstand a blast from even an anti-tank rocket. The walls these doors are placed in, however, are completely ordinary and can be blasted to rubble with an ordinary dynamite stick.
  • The Geomod engine from the first Red Faction game let the player destroy just about anything in the environment. Bulletproof windows are completely indestructible - the walls around them are not. With enough explosives, a player can leave a glass pane floating in the middle of a twelve-foot-wide void.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the gate to the castle of Ikana is sealed and cannot be opened by any means... too bad there's a big hole in the wall right next to it.
    • Amusingly, the presence of the hole seems to indicate that this trope occurred to Ikana's enemies in Termina's history.
  • Modern Warfare 3's penultimate mission has your team encountering a room in an underground mine protected by a reinforced titanium door that you have no way of opening. So how do you get in? By planting shaped charges... on the much weaker concrete roof of the room.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game has "a psychonically-charged gate attached to a damaged frame" as the second-to-last obstacle in the graveyard level. Of course, the stone cherubs are the only way to get it open...
    • Played for Laughs earlier in the "Return to Sedgewick Hotel" level's cutscene. There's a lot of police-tape over the main door, as well as a sign from Walter Peck's agency, PCOC, that forbids anyone from entering—"ESPECIALLY THE GHOSTBUSTERS!" Ray suggests blasting through the doors, but Egon calmly opens the unlocked door.
  • In Riven, you will end up at a wooden door locked with a padlock, and searching for a key in the massive age will prove futile. The solution? Crawl under the door.
  • Braum's shield in League of Legends used to be a door to a magic vault. The door was unbreakable. The mountain the vault was part of wasn't.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star: Sakuya insists that a room's security is flawless and so he can display an item legendary thieves are seeking without fear. None of the other characters are convinced or surprised when, indeed, the room is broken into, and they react with exasperation finding that the security was impeccable... around the door. Despite there being a window, and most characters in the game, being uplifted birds, being capable of flight.
    "What kind of rascal blows their way in through the wall!? If they’re going to break in, why not act with some semblance of decency and come in through the door!?"
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has a variant in its penultimate level, where at the very end of the level the military leader of The Coup holes up with several of his best security guards in his office. They all have their guns trained on the big double-door - so your team blows holes in the walls.
  • This is the logic behind at least part of a few levels in PAYDAY: The Heist and its sequel. "Panic Room" concerns an otherwise-unused apartment building that has been turned into a haven for criminal activity, complete with a big panic room to stash all their valuables in that the crew wouldn't normally be able to break into. The plan, as such, is to cut through the supports holding the panic room in place, blow out a big hole to the roof, and fly the whole panic room out via helicopter. "Counterfeit" likewise has the people you're stealing from keeping the plates used to print their counterfeit money in a secure safe that you normally wouldn't be able to drill or blast through from the outside - but that only applies to the door. The sides can be drilled through just fine, after which the gang fills the safe with water, stuffs C4 inside, and blows that, using the water pressure to blow out the door.
  • In Control, near the entrance to the Maintenance Sector there's a door locked behind Level 2 Clearance. When entering Maintenance, you only have Level 1 - however, you also have Launch, so you can easily get inside by throwing some heavy object at the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the impenetrable door.
  • In Watch_Dogs, Aiden Pearce chases a bad guy into his sanctum, where said bad guy seals himself in a panic room protected by bulletproof glass. Unfortunately, he fails to consider two factors: One, Pearce is an expert hacker, and two, the bulletproof glass is not hack-proof. Said bad guy meets his demise when Pearce simply hacks his (the bad guy's) pacemaker and literally stops his heart.

  • In Art of Domination, it's revealed one building's owner didn't have anywhere near enough funds to make it an impregnable fortress... so instead they focused on a big, attention-grabbing, indestructible door in hopes that it would make hostiles overlook the walls. It worked.
  • Elf Blood: To be fair, the architects for the temple defenses designed their extra-fortified mastercraft-warded doors around solid bedrock. Problem is, none of the architects knew about dynamite.
  • In Freefall, the Mayor's house has a top-notch security system, with one crucial oversight:
    Sam: (Picking up chainsaw) Of course, after this, she's going to start fortifying the walls.
  • In a page of Gaia, one of the wizards looks like he's gonna unlock the door but the next page he blows the wall down instead.
  • One of the Tempts Fate fundraiser comics from Goblins had the protagonist come to a magical talking door that asked anyone who approached an incredibly difficult riddle. If they answered incorrectly, it would trigger an instant-death trap. The door never said it was locked. Tempts simply opened the door and walked through without giving an answer at all.
  • Homestuck. HB: Pry the wall from the safe. (Unfortunately, "That notion is even more ridiculous than the last one.")
  • Sluggy Freelance uses this trope twice in the Sluggy of the Living Freelance storyline.

    Web Original 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: The Silent Hill: Dying Inside review ends with him finding unbreakable chains on his bedroom door, in a reference to Silent Hill 4: The Room. However, since the wall they're attached to is plasterboard, he just rips them loose.
  • The Magnus Archives: Jurgen Leitner dedicated his life to collecting the world's most dangerous magical books and building a library capable of containing them. Unfortunately he spent so much time designing the place to make sure nothing could get out, he never considered the possibility that someone could break in.
  • At one point in Ruby Quest, Ruby and Tom come across a door locked with a keycard reader. However, the door is made of wood, so the players just have Tom smash it to pieces with his crowbar.

    Western Animation 
  • In Dragons: Race to the Edge, when the dragon hunters capture Heather and Windshear in their "dragon proof" chains, Hiccup reasons, "If we can't blast the chains, blast the winches!" It works. The bad news is that the hunters fix that weakness next season — when they catch Meatlug and Fishlegs, the winch is made of the same metal. Hiccup reminds them, "But that wood deck isn't!" One blast later, Meatlug's flying away with the chain and winch dangling from her leg.
  • In an episode of The Fantastic Four (1967), Diablo is running from Thing and retreats into a panic room. He assumes he's safe since the door is made of titanium, which Thing is not strong enough to break. When Thing reaches the room, he just breaks through the wall.
  • Example of Myopic Clothing in the Looney Tunes short Duck Dodgers in the 24˝th Century. Dodgers wears a disintegration-proof vest. Sure enough, the vest itself survives the disintegration, but not the duck inside it.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "A Hard Day's Knight", when Perry is fighting Dr. Doofenshmirtz in a robot of Queen Elizabeth I, the latter is piloting a robot dragon and tries to make it breathe fire, only to find that the flamethrower and the pilot's seat are both located in the mouth but the flamethrower is behind the pilot. He then lampshades this.
  • In one Inspector Clouseau short of The Pink Panther the titular Inspector is chasing a criminal, the latter of which attempts to shoot out his tires. The Inspector laughs and states that they're bulletproof, upon which the criminal simply shoots the rest of his car causing it to deflate.
  • The Simpsons
    • One scene in the nuclear plant in "Last Exit to Springfield" involved Burns and Smithers going through several layers of increasing security to reach a control room, which was seen to also feature an ill-fitting, flapping screen door leading directly to the parking lot, through which Burns has to shoo away a stray dog.
    • The episode "Realty Bites" has a seized property police auction, where the cops are selling a large iron gate that was designed to resist bullets, explosives, and battering rams. When asked how they managed to get through it, Chief Wiggum says the owner left it unlocked.
    • There's also the episode in Japan, where Homer is arrested. The cell door looks imposing. But after being released, Homer just walks through the paper wall next to it.
  • One episode of Chowder has Mung putting Chowder in a cage, but the bars are so weak that he's able to easily break them apart. He tunnels his way out.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Toy Whorey", Roger's cliffside estate has the garage doors leading over the cliff, so when he backs up out of the garage, he falls over.
    Roger: (after his car hits the ground below and explodes) Maybe I'll take my bike. Such a nice day.
  • Steven Universe
    • In the episode "Onion Friend", Steven tries to keep Onion from stealing a bag of chips by blocking the door to his room. So, Onion just jumps out of the screen window instead.
      Steven: ONION! We just put that screen in!
    • In the episode "Lion 4: Alternate Ending", Lion coughs up a huge pink Cool Key... which unlocks a door to a place in the desert Steven's mom, Rose Quartz, was using as a garbage dump. The other three walls were almost completely eroded, making the key pointless.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: During a western-themed fantasy sequence, Pooh is thrown into a jail cell and somehow every single character is too stupid to notice that the bars are wide enough to easily step through and the back wall is completely missing. When Pooh is broken out of jail by Tigger, they even leave through the missing wall, but not before Tigger unlocks the door first, somehow not realizing they could have done that before.

    Real Life 
  • The World War II Maginot Line is an example in the popular imagination which was actually a subversion; it was a wise investment of resources which did exactly what it was supposed to - namely, forcing the German forces to have to go around the border. Unfortunately, the French Army had largely unavoidable issues that had nothing to do with Maginot.
    • The French conception of warfare was limited in scope, so exclusively focused on tactical supremacy that it had completely forsaken operational-level mobility. French performance at the operational level was therefore dependent on their commanders' own ideas about warfare - and, typically, French commanders barely understood it.
    • Ferdinand Foch's operational plan stank. He forsook the French Army's strengths, taking and holding well-prepared lines, and tried to use it for something it was never designed for - an operation of rapid movement. There was a good strategic rationale for this, given the logic behind preserving Dutch and Belgian industry, but it was still a risky move for an Army not designed or suited to execute it to attempt it against an Army that very much was.note 
  • Computer security is pretty much governed by this trope. Unlike other security systems, an attacker doesn't get hurt if they fail to break in, so they simply try every conceivable way into a system. And unfortunately, some of these ways are so outlandish the designers never considered testing against it, such as using a laser to make Google Assistant think you just told it to open the front door.
    • There is an expression "The user is the biggest threat to any security system." There are branches of mathematics devoted to developing crypto-systems that are pretty much mathematically guaranteed to be secure. However, once these systems are developed, they are turned over to people who use passwords like "password" or leave their login information on a little sticky note on the monitor. Even worse, there's the concept of "Single Point of Failure": basically, if each part of your system is secured with a different password, a cracker who gets just one of those passwords will have a hard time doing much damage. But if you use the same password for everything, you're hosed. Annoyingly, even if all users have really good password security, they're still vulnerable to what is euphemistically called "lead-pipe cryptanalysis", aka "beating up the guy until he tells you", as demonstrated by this xkcd strip.
    • Similar to the Cryptography above, there is what's called "Social Engineering". It doesn't matter how good your physical or electronic security is if the people using it can be tricked into giving away secrets or clearance. A very simple example: You can have a door that requires fingerprint scans, iris scanners, a twelve-digit password, and a vocal print identification, but then you hold the door open for a thief whose hands are full of important-looking files. Companies who process a lot of data are constantly on the lookout for new ways of circumventing their data security, most of which come down to social engineering.
  • This trope is the reason why the Jules Rimet Trophy (the original FIFA World Cup trophy) was stolen so easily. When the Brazilian team won the cup for the third time in 1970, they were allowed to keep the real trophy in perpetuity, since Jules Rimet stipulated that in 1930. It was put on display at the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro encased in bulletproof glass so it wouldn't be stolen. The problem was that the rear of the cabinet was made of simple wood, so in 1983 it was easily opened with a crowbar and stolen. Sadly, it has never been recovered.
  • Truth in television: Some of the better deadbolts can withstand forces that would put a hole in an outer wall. And, of course, there are a lot of houses that have solid steel doors with deadbolts and security screen doors... and great big picture windows right next to them.
    • This said, burglars would prefer not to break a window. It produces sharp shards of glass that might cut the burglar and leave DNA evidence, the sound of the breaking glass might attract unwanted attention and the sight of a broken window WILL attract attention (especially in conjunction with a burglar alarm going off). On the other hand, an open door will just make people think the owners forgot to shut it, unless it's hanging off its hinges. Burglars much prefer going in through the door.
  • Straitjackets are designed this way, in that someone who's both mentally-rational and moderately flexible can often work their way out of them after a few tries.
  • A variation of this trope is occasionally invoked for hostage rescue; if the suspects have at least one firearm trained on each door or window, the safest way of gaining entry is to take a shaped charge to a wall and attack from an unexpected direction. Naturally, this solution is not employed unless the police or Special Forces team can obtain the building plans, lest they blow a hole in a load-bearing wall.
  • During the Second World War Battle of Ortona, German forces were heavily entrenched in the houses of the town. Entering through the doors or windows was too dangerous, so the attacking Canadians simply blasted holes in the walls with their rocket launchers and anti-tank guns.
  • Seismic bombs such as the Tallboy and the Grand Slam were developed to exploit this sort of thinking. Rather than try to break through a bunker's heavily-armed ceiling — which might be breached but would likely absorb most of the blast, protecting the occupants — these bombs were instead designed to penetrate deep beneath the ground next to the target and explode, undermining the foundations and causing the whole structure to collapse in on itself.
  • German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz had been built with tremendously durable hulls and armor, able to survive and move under their own power after a direct hit from said Tallboy bomb. The direct hit had been a necessity since their armored decks were mostly impervious to standard Royal Navy 500lb and 1600lb bombs. Their stern construction, however, made it impossible to steer only via propellers and left most of the rudders and steering engines poorly protected. On top of this, the ship's superstructure wasn't protected from the Royal Navy's bombs, as adding that much armor protection to her upperworks would have left her dangerously top-heavy and vulnerable to capsizing in anything more than a gentle spring breeze. The Kriegsmarine knew that after Bismarck sea trials, but did not expect it to hamper the ship's fighting ability. Unfortunately it did, as a single lucky shot from a torpedo broke the rudders and left Bismarck a sitting duck in her first and last raid. And then the Royal Navy closed in and hammered the ship with their "ineffective" artillery at close range until the ship was dead in the water, at which point either a lucky hit breached a hole in her armor or the German sailors scuttled her themselves. And so passed the end of the Bismarck.
  • Warship armor protection evolved due to this trope. Originally, it was common for ships to have the thickest armor around the sides, bow, and stern, to protect from direct enemy gunfire. Improvements in artillery and range-finding led to the addition of armor protection against "plunging fire", as the longest ranged artillery would be fired on a ballistic trajectory. The introduction of sea mines and torpedoes necessitated armor protection under the waterline as well, and improvements in weapons technology led to "All-or-Nothing" armor protection, where all of the ship's most vital bits were packed together and encased in a heavy armored citadel, while the rest of the ship (galleys, living spaces, cargo holds, etc.), necessary to her operation but not to her surviving combat, was left almost entirely unprotected to leave the ship light enough to avoid speed and range penalties. Eventually, ship designers gave up on armor protection for the most part and now build lightly armored warships that are armed with massive batteries of anti-ship and anti-air missiles instead.
  • Portable safes. If a thief gets into your house without raising an alarm, there's not much stopping him from just walking off with the whole thing. Many of these safes are designed to be bolted to the floor, but otherwise you've just made things into one-stop shopping for the thief. Also, some safes aren't really designed to protect from thieves at all - they're essentially a fireproof box to guard important documents from damage, not theft. Of course, many homeowners intentionally do this, in hopes that, if the burglars locate the safe early in their act of thievery, they would be less likely to ransack the rest of the house for more valuables and therefore limit property damage.
  • The vault of the Société Générale bank in Nice had a door that was virtually impenetrable. But a group of criminals led by Albert Spaggiari managed to break in — by entering the city's sewers and digging a tunnel into the vault through its floor.
  • Snopes confirmed a story about a lawyer who had a party trick of demonstrating the strength of his 24th-floor office's windows by hurling himself at them, and ultimately died exactly the way you'd expect. However, while you might assume the window broke, it seems what actually happened is that the glass was as strong as he boasted... it just popped clean out of its frame.
  • Yoshie Shiratori, who holds claim to fame by managing to escape from prison four times. After having escaped thrice he was placed in a supposedly inescapable cell: the walls were heavily reinforced, the only windows were smaller than his head, and there were six armed guards keeping watch on him 24/7. Rather ironically, it was his easiest escape attempt as they had neglected to reinforce the floor owing to his previous ones all having been done through windows or skylights, so Yoshie simply dug a tunnel out.
  • As the Lock Picking Lawyer demonstrates, it is shockingly common for locks, including ones sold by major companies, to have serious design flaws that allow them to be easily bypassed without even using lock picking tools. There also are plenty of locks that are very difficult to pick but are easier to break, or are difficult break but are easily picked with common lockpicks.
    • One of the worst ones was an OmniMed cabinet. To start off it wasn't made out of particularly durable metal. The actual lock is easily opened with a low skill attack. The mounting holes lets you just shove it off the wall. And not only are the hinges on the outside, so are the standard Philips screws that hold them in place.
    • The Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Lock prevents anyone from opening the lid of a cardboard ice cream carton. So when the Lawyer put it on his wife's favorite ice cream to get her into the lockpicking hobby, she simply cut open the bottom of the carton and ate the pint upside-down.
    • The first words he has about a Rusfol AR-15 gun lock are that it's a perfect demonstration of why someone who doesn't know anything about guns should not be in the business of locking them up for safety. The lock consists of a small plastic mounting piece which inserts into an AR-15's magazine well and a short wire cable that wraps through the trigger guard - of a gun that is designed to let the user flip open its trigger guard for use with mittens in cold weather, as he demonstrates using the antenna of a LEGO astronaut's radio.
    • He admits that he'd use this trailer coupler lock, but then notes that for all of its strengths as a lock, trailer couplers themselves are easily damaged and thus designed to be easily removed and replaced, meaning that without taking other countermeasures it's easy for a thief to get around the coupler lock by just removing the coupler.
  • When mobster Tony Spilotro decided to start carrying out burglaries while stationed in Las Vegas, he knew full well that most potential targets had alarms on the doors and windows. So he and his crew would drill through an exterior wall or ceiling to create an opening they could use to gain entry. This simple but effective tactic earned the group the nickname "The Hole in the Wall Gang".