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Railing Kill

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OSHA guidelines never seem to account for dramatic falls.

"If someone is shot, do they really need to stagger towards the nearest railing and topple unconvincingly over it? From our records, it appears they do [sigh]."
Movie Deaths Database, "Falling"

Even OSHA compliance is no guarantee of safety. A mook (usually) standing behind a railing, usually about waist-height, on an elevated surface who is shot during a firefight will invariably fall forward and flip over the railing, falling to his (presumed) demise, probably Wilhelm screaming on the way down. Conversely, someone standing in front of a railing will flip backward over the railing. This occurs even if the mook was shot from the direction of the railing with a weapon that normally throws people violently backwards. The phenomenon that causes this is called Ledge Gravity (not to be confused with Edge Gravity, which is basically the opposite), and specifies that people will tend to fall in the direction they'll fall furthest because there's more gravity that way.

Although this technique gained prominence in Westerns with the railed balcony on the second story of every building in a dusty town, it can be found in any setting.

If the ledge is high enough, a Disney Villain Death may occur.

Not to be confused with people being killed when they land on a spiked railing.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop: During the church shoot-out in "Ballad of Fallen Angels", Faye Valentine complains about several bullets barely missing her, then a mook Spike shoots falls over the railing above her and nearly hits her as well.
  • Monster: Tenma shoots Roberto off of a balcony in a library. He survives.
  • In My-HiME: Subverted when Natsuki fires at Nagi and he appears to have fallen victim, at least until his rail-clinging hands become visible.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: One comic features this, in a Western parody: "And Jed, if you do get plugged, for gosh sakes don't just slump over and die. Put some drama into it and throw yourself screaming from the edge."

    Film — Animated 
  • Rango: During the final showdown between Rango and Rattlesnake Jake, Wounded Bird attempts to shoot Jake from the clock tower. Jake shoots him and he topples over the railing and falls to the ground.
    Wounded Bird: That was a bad idea.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective has the titular private investigator helping to analyze a crime scene, where he determines via Spotting the Thread and a Sherlock Scan that Miami Dolphins chief of operations Roger Podacter was the victim of a Railing Kill rather than being Driven to Suicide. It turns out, later on, that the man had stumbled upon the film's Big Bad, ex-Dolphins kicker Ray Finkle, who had disguised themselves as police officer Lois Einhorn through partial sex reassignment surgery, and who then opted to kill Podacter to keep him quiet.
  • Austin Powers uses this a few times, which makes sense considering it's a James Bond parody.
  • In Tim Burton's Batman (1989), gangster Jack Napier fires at Batman, who is intervening in the botched Axis Chemicals job. Batman deflects the bullet with his armored gloves; Napier gets hit by the deflected bullet (which goes through his face and ostensibly results in the nerve damage to his mouth that causes his permanent "smile"), tumbles over the railing in the typical way (taking a lot of steps to do so), and falls into a vat of acid (which permanently bleaches his skin). One quick trip to a back-alley plastic surgeon later, and Jack's dead... but The Joker lives.
  • In The Bride, Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant Paulus catches fire and then falls to his death off the gantry during the laboratory explosion.
  • Captain Sindbad: The Big Bad El Kerim falls over a balcony railing in his Evil Tower of Ominousness as he dies at the end of the film.
  • In Chopping Mall, Greg is killed by Protector 3 when it throws him over the railing of the mall's third floor.
  • Commando: This happens to a guard in a tower.
  • Dead Again in Tombstone: One of the men Guerrero shoots in the saloon topples forwards over the staircase banister.
  • The Deadly Bees, a fellow MST3K feature, dispatches its antagonist with one of these as well after the villain unleashes his deadly bees inside his home; in defense, the heroine starts a fire, driving the villain upstairs. He dies when he falls over the railing and into the inferno.
    Mike Nelson: Well, now, you can't blame that on the bees.
  • Death Ship: In a failed attempt to regain control over the titular Ghost Ship and stop Marshall from escaping in a life raft after the ship finds a new target, the possessed Capt. Ashland starts shooting at the nearby machinery, only to slip and fall off the railing and plunge into the ship's steering gear, crushing him to death.
  • The Devil's Messenger: In "Condemned in Crystal", John Radian stabs Madame Germaine and she staggers through the railing on the landing and plummets into the lobby.
  • District 13: A big part of the action scenes is mooks flubbing jumps into multi-story falls whenever they're not just shoved over railings. One memorable kill was shoved over a stairwell, smacking against each railing on each side all the way down.
  • A Fistful of Dollars: After the Man With No Name shoots Ramon Rojo , his brother Esteban, who had disappeared earlier on, points his rifle out of the window- only to be shot by Badass Bystander Silvanito, despite his being tortured minutes earlier.
  • Gang of Roses: During the final shootout, Zhang Li shoots a man on a roof who topples over the railing and falls to the street.
  • Get Shorty: Invoked when two guys intend to kill a third by removing the bolts holding the railing over the balcony together, so that, if one leans on it, they'd fall about 40 feet to the ground and break their neck, making it look like an accident. Then the villain (the one who invoked the trope in the first place) falls victim to it himself after his bodyguard undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, pushing him over using Travolta himself (they were in the middle of framing his character for assault so it wouldn't look like they just killed him).
  • Ghost Rock: The first outlaw Moses kills in the opening shootout crashes through the rotting railing and topples into the street.
  • God's Gun: The first member of the Clayton Gang to die in Lewis' Roaring Rampage of Revenge is startled by Lewis' appearance on the roof—thinking him to be the priest's ghost—and falls trough the railing on the saloon roof to his death.
  • Nobody gets killed, but in The Great Race they have a saloon fight so big, with so many people being punched, kicked, thrown, and kissed (it makes sense in context) off the balcony that the entire balcony and stairwell collapses (as well as most of the interior of the saloon). (Used to hilarious effect when the local villain — played by villain Larry Storch — exits an upper room and does a header onto the first level because the balcony is gone and he steps out onto nothing.)
  • The Hobbit: Used quite literally. In Goblin-town, the dwarves take up a handrail and use it to swat whole groups of incoming goblins off a catwalk and into the abyss beneath them.
  • The Immortals: During the shootout in the nightclub, Billy shoots one of Dominic's men standing on the lighting platform who is about to shoot Gina, who topples over the railing and crashes to the floor.
  • In the James Bond movies:
    • The elevator fight sequence in Diamonds Are Forever ends with Peter Franks being blinded by a fire extinguisher and falling to his death over a railing on Tiffany Case's floor.
    • It occurs in the opening firefight in GoldenEye when several Russian soldiers are attacking Bond and Trevelyan as they plant explosives. One of the guards is shot as he crashes through the door to the staircase leading down to the floor, and his momentum causes him to crash through an oddly-placed gate in the railing...leading to open air.
    • In Spectre, when Bond's cover is blown in the SPECTRE meeting, he throws a security guard who tries to apprehend him over the balcony to his death.
  • Johnny Reno: Bellows topples over the staircase rail in Nona's ranch house after he's shot by Reno.
  • In The Keep, Glaeken dishes out a truly epic railing kill to the Nazi soldier who tries to grab hold of him, chucking him over a bridge railing and down a big gorge. In slow motion, no less!
  • Kill Bill: Played with in Kill Bill Vol. 1: The leader of the Crazy 88, Johnny Mo, duels the Bride while standing on a balcony railing, only to fall into a small pool below when the Bride slices his leg off.
  • Knife for the Ladies: During the climax, Elizabeth and Travis are struggling for the knife on the stairs. Jarrod shoots Elizabeth and the pair of them crash through stair railing and on to the floor, where Travis is accidentally impaled on Elizabeth's knife.
  • The Last of the Mohicans: A nameless Indian is shot far into the air above a cliff because of this trope, uttering a Wilhelm Scream on the way down.
  • Lone Hero: In the cowboy show where John, Pablo and Tim perform as outlaws, Pablo stages a railing kill when shot by the marshal, landing in a hay wagon that conceals a crash mat. After the show, Pablo complains that one of the other two can do the fall next time as he is sick of getting bruised. Becomes a Chekhov's Skill during the final shootout, when Tim is shoot by one of the bikers and falls off the roof and lands in the wagon: setting up that he has actually survived.
  • The Magnificent Seven (2016): Happens to the Blackstone thug Red Harvest kills as he comes charging out of the barbershop. Later it happens to Goodnight when he is shot in the belfry of the church.
  • New Jack City: This ultimately is how the Big Bad gets it at the end.
  • Our Man Flint: Subverted twice . Flint fights two Mooks on an industrial catwalk, only one side has a railing, the Mooks go off the side that doesn't. Later, Evil Brit villain Malcolm Rodney goes over a stairway railing, but survives the fall.
  • In The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), Almost Dead Guy Mendoza reappears after Torquemada's death, toppling over the rail and falling to floor of the chamber where the Pendulum of Death is located.
  • Prison: This happens when one of the guards is electrocuted by resident Psycho Electro.
  • The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood: When Robin shoots Prince John with an arrow, John topples over a low parapet and crashes to the ground.
  • RoboCop (1987): This happens during the particularly one-sided shootout in the drug factory.
  • The Running Man: Ben Richards throws a mook over a railing during a prison break, complete with Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Give you a lift?"
  • Space Mutiny, the Trope Naming film, really beat this to death. Mike and the Bots practically made it a Drinking Game. Well, they couldn't drink, but they did shout "RAILING KILL!" every time one happened.
  • Star Trek sees this happen quite a few times. It seems to happen preferably — although not exclusively — to Klingons. ("firefight" might mean actually "ship-to-ship battle" in this case…) When the Enterprise self-destructs and the bridge is exploding around him, one Klingon is thrown violently over the railing in the middle. This is what happens in space battles without using proper seat-belts.
  • This trope is common in Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, an Imperial Stormtrooper falls into the maintenance shaft of the Death Star when shot.
    • In Return of the Jedi, an Imperial Officer goes over a railing inside the Endor base after getting hit in the face with an improvised projectile. That's sound engineer Ben Burtt (the voice of WALL•E, by the way) who goes over the railing; he even attempts his own version of the Wilhelm Scream on the way down.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Coleman Trebor attempts to assassinate Count Dooku in the balcony overseeing the Petranaki Battle Arena, but is shot by Jango Fett and falls backward over the balcony railing, about 50 feet or so down to his death.
    • A Stormtrooper does this in the Holiday Special by stumbling into the railing and falling through it…even though it was designed to prevent the much heavier Wookies from falling to the distant ground.
  • In Super Mario Bros. (1993), this happens nearly as often as in Space Mutiny.
  • While no real deaths from them, Space Mutiny was referenced in the RiffTrax riffing of Supersonic Man
    Bill Corbet: Railings. Will Cameron Mitchell never learn?!
  • Valentine: After being hit by several arrows, Lily topples over a railing and falls into a dumpster.
  • Le Viager uses the same technique: a man saws through the wooden railing of a second story window in a summer house, hoping to kill the owner. The first person to go on the balcony isn't the owner but the would-be-killer's wife.
  • In Without a Clue, Professor Moriarty's Dragon Sebastian attempts to murder Watson by sabotaging the railing of his hotel room balcony. However, Holmes ends up taking that room, and, while drunk, leans on the railing, causing it to break. He's saved by his cape snagging on the broken rail.
  • In Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold, Pecos kills one of Tortuga's thugs by shooting the underside of the landing he is standing on. The thug topples forward through the railing and lands on the poker table below: smashing through it.

  • In Captive of the Red Vixen the only casualty during the Red Vixen's attack on Rolas' ship is a crewman who fell over a railing in engineering after being stunned. And she punishes the pirate responsible.
  • In Ethan of Athos, the heroine shoots a mook with a non-lethal stunner — but he happens to be standing on a high catwalk at the time, resulting in a more literal than usual example of the trope. She doesn't feel too bad about it though, since the guy she killed has murdered dozens of people, and he was on the catwalk to arrange an "accidental" death for Ethan.
    Quinn: Gee, I feel really bad about that. I've never killed a man by accident before. Unprofessional.
  • Le Morte d'Arthur: Older Than Print. Galahad, at one point, knocks a man off a bridge. He survives by landing on a boat, and is never heard from again.
  • In Captain Future in Love by Allen Steele, our hero paralyzes a Starry Messenger terrorist as he's sabotaging a Space Elevator above Venus. Unfortunately the stunned man stumbles over a railing and falls into the atmosphere of Venus where he's burnt to a crisp.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor: During the prison break, Melshi runs a floor down and shoots a guard at the top of the elevator, sending him tumbling over the railing.
  • Arrow: Played with when Vandal Savage is shot and falls off a balcony...but never seems to hit the ground (or if he did, he got up and ran away right afterwards). Whether this is due to his mostly-immortal status or some kind of magic teleportation is never revealed.
  • Blake's 7:
    • A stuntman with the appropriate name of Fell does this in "Death Watch". He lands on a conveniently placed sofa below.
    • Whereas in "Redemption" a guard does this from a long way up (the inside of a real-life nuclear silo).
  • In The Book of Boba Fett episode "In the Name of Honor", Boba and Din Djarin both simultaneously blast a Pyke Syndicate goon that tries to shoot them from a rooftop. Then they shoot him about a dozen times total on his way down.
  • Used for Obscured Special Effects in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. An Initiative scientist is killed this way in "Primeval", pulled over the railing with Combat Tentacles by an unseen monster.
  • The final Flashback of the Cold Case episode "Torn" reveals that the victim's mother killed her this way, albeit it was an Accidental Murder.
  • CSI: NY: A stabbing variation in "Nine Thirteen." A victim is shivved by an old enemy while on a 10th floor balcony. The assailant leaves, thinking the man is dead. He rouses, staggers over to the edge and falls over the railing to his demise, landing on a parked taxicab.
  • Doctor Who: In "Planet of the Ood", Dr. Ryder reveals he's a member of Friends of the Ood who infiltrated the slave trade and has been helping their Hive Mind reassert itself. Mr. Halpen promptly pushes him over a railing and into the enormous Ood Brain.
  • Emerald City: In "Mistress - New - Mistress", this happens to Jack after he kisses a very upset Tip. Tip pushes him away, causing Jack to crash through the railing of the balcony they're standing on and fall to a Disney Villain Death.
  • Family Matters: The two-story saloon version is parodied in a dream/fantasy sequence, in which Carl Winslow mortally wounds a bandit version of Urkel on the first floor of the establishment, who then dramatically makes his way around the set, climbing up the stairs, only to fall through the railing into a table on the ground level right next to where he started.
  • Happens in the Firefly episode "War Stories", when the mook whom Mal is fighting is shot repeatedly by several of Mal's crewmembers and plummets to his death. He bounces off at least two girders and gets bisected by a saw on his way down.
  • Game of Thrones: Myranda gets this, courtesy of Theon, with an added 'splat' sound effect.
  • Mission: Impossible:
    • Happens in The Teaser to "The Pawn". A dissident is shot by the authorities and pitches forward over a fire escape railing.
    • Happens again in The Teaser to "The Golden Serpent (Part 1)". The leader of another IMF is hit in the back by a shuriken. He someone manages to twist in such a way that he falls over the railing and plunges into the river below.
  • Smallville: In "Suspect", when Lionel Luthor is shot, he falls over the balcony railing onto a glass table, which shatters dramatically.
  • Stargate SG-1: Although he survives with minor injuries, this happens to Siler in "Upgrades", when Jack O'Neill accidentally pushes him off the stairs and over a railing. (Siler is also played by the series stunt coordinator.)
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Tends to happen with the safety rails surrounding Voyager's warp core (a crewman working as a Double Agent gets killed this way in "Investigations" when he falls into the core), or on the Bridge whenever Inertial Dampening is knocked out. The pilot episode has a variation though; an explosion goes off right behind a Red Shirt and sends his face flying straight into a bridge rail.
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special: How the dumbest stormtrooper in the universe gets taken out.
  • Torchwood: John Hart pulls one of these on Jack Harkness, killing him. Jack, being Jack, comes back to life.
  • The Tripods: In the TV adaptation, Will and Fritz kill three Black Guards during their escape from the Master's city this way.


    New Media 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Necromunda much of the terrain in the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game consisted of decaying and dilapidated catwalks, gangways, and bridges; all of which are decaying and unstable. Since characters could be pushed, shot, or otherwise induced to fall off these terrain features, there were rules for falling damage with falling more than one level generally resulting in instant death. While the basic rules for 3rd Edition set the game within tunnels and other close confines, the first Necromunda: Gang War supplement reintroduces rules for battling in three-dimensional environments including falling damage and rules for being knocked from terrain after suffering a hit.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed, guards can be thrown off rooftops with or without railings; in 2 this is a convenient way of killing since it doesn't raise your notoriety.
  • Batman: Arkham Series gives you a few opportunities to do this with the Batclaw, which lets you grab an enemy with your grappling hook and yank him over the ledge. A few Predator challenges require you to do this, possibly to two mooks at once. There's also the Ledge Takedown, where Batman jumps up from the ledge he's hanging from, grabs a henchman, slams his head into the railing, and then flips him over it. A slight subversion in that, as per Batman's rule, this doesn't actually kill anybody, although it does dispatch them for more or less the same effect.
  • BioShock Infinite is set in a Steampunk City In The Sky. Expect plenty of this.
  • In The Bourne Conspiracy, one of Jason's hand-to-hand environmental takedowns is to smash the head of his opponent off a railing, and the casually flip the mook over the railing.
  • The Call of Duty series of video games (especially the first game), where almost all enemies standing behind railings will flip to their deaths.
  • Chzo Mythos: In one game, you have to dispose of a possessed starship captain this way.
  • City of Heroes: The physics engine allows for defeated foes to end up slumped over railings, although goofiness sometimes occurs and leaves a body dangling by a foot or even a hand that somehow got caught.
  • Counter-Strike: Condition Zero - Deleted Scenes features one guy on a roof who, if shot, will fall off and be impaled on a fence. To be honest, this trope is one of that game's biggest "features".
  • Crisis Beat has the Automatic Lock-On function allowing players to send enemy mooks smashing into objects. They are standing near a railing, the player will deliver an uppercut that causes the unfortunate mook to crash through the railing.
  • In Doom, if any monster is killed at a certain height above the player then it will push their corpse toward the player to achieve this effect for monsters near ledges, though it does result in a few oddities like Lost Souls and Cacodemons being pulled toward the player as they die.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Due to the conversion of overkill damage to momentum, any stealth/archer or destruction mage character in Oblivion or Skyrim is bound to get a railing kill or two as they make their way through the game. Also, anybody who uses Unrelenting Force heavily will do this a lot, since blasting somebody off a cliff or balcony is an easy kill. FUS RO DAH!
  • In Fable II, Luring someone onto the top floor of a building and using the force push spell, or merely launching them over the edge with a well-executed flourish attack.
  • Fallout: The player can do this to enemies in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 due to the Havok engines used for physics. Sometimes enemies, especially those hit with weapons with high Knock Back, will fall back over a railing... sometimes, quirks of the physics engine will cause dead enemies to fling themselves twenty feet horizontally and over conveniently low railings, even if you killed them with a BB gun. Given the mixture of seriousness and silliness inherent in the games and their setting, this isn't quite as immersion-breaking or out of place as it might seems.
  • In First Encounter Assault Recon: Possible, most often due to the wonky physics. There's even one Replica soldier who attacks you from a catwalk early on and is scripted to leap over the railing and fall down a pit when you kill him.
  • Flashback: In the 2013 remake, Conrad can lure an unwitting enemy to him while hanging from a ledge, then hurl them to their death Splinter Cell style.
  • Franko: The Crazy Revenge: The final boss is disposed this way, falling onto the train tracks in the process. Franko doesn't even need to land any finishing blows, the railing itself breaks under the boss's weight as he was resting on it.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, you gain the Watch Your Step Execution Style by taking advantage of the No OSHA Compliance to knock people off railings.
  • GoldenEye features plenty of convenient railings for guards.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV makes taking out above enemies a breeze due to most enemies in higher ground's tendency to do this.
  • Half-Life 2's Source engine actually features an entity (named Phys_ragdollmagnet) created explicitly for recreating this effect in-game. Considering how many game engines throw dead bodies over railings, this could be a common feature of many engines.
  • Hitman:
    • In at least Hitman: Blood Money, pushing someone into a railing causes them to fall over it, and their death will be considered an accident by anyone discovering the body (no matter how many other "accidental" or overtly suspicious deaths may have occurred on the premises since your arrival). It kills them even when the rail is three feet off the ground.
    • Hitman: Absolution: Should you choose to dispose of Doctor Valentine by spiking his hair-growth formula with fire paste, he'll hit a railing and plummet to his doom in the midst of his panicked running around.
    • All three games in the World of Assassination Trilogy also allows you to throw someone over a railing, though this time they need to fall a decent amount to actually be killed by it, rather than knocked out.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: During the Old West style shootout at the ghost town, the Bulbins positioned on railings die this way when Link snipes them with his bow.
  • Lethal Enforcers: Most enemies located on high ground will fall off their perch when shot. This is especially visible in the second stage, when a lot of goons pop up from second floor windows.
  • Mass Effect: This can happen, especially in the second game with its version of the Throw power. At high levels, if your enemy is near a railing and Throw hits them in the head or upper torso, there's a good chance they'll be smacked over and off the railing. Sometimes, even a high railing won't help if the Throw projectile manages to connect at an upwards angle, sending the victim flying in a high arc. It's been known to happen as a gratuitous finisher to That One Boss in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC in particular. There are even several places in the second game where enemies stand looking out over the edge with their back to the direction you're coming from. The only way it could be a more obvious set up would be if you overheard one of them commenting on how much it would suck to get thrown over the ledge. Can even happen to your player character if you're killed by an enemy that throws you around near a long drop. (Sometimes you'll fall straight off the level map into blackness.)
  • In the Metal Gear series, it's possible in most of the games to just run up and toss an enemy over a railing to their death. Specific instances of it are:
    • In Metal Gear Solid, there is a level with two elevators that Snake must take downward. As he descends, armed guards jump down to do battle with him. However, instead of engaging in the rather annoying task of dodging their bullets and shooting them all down, you can simply run up to them and punch/throw them over the edge of the railing for an instant kill. The only disadvantage is that you don't get the items they drop.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's Tanker chapter, there's a door in the hallway with the Raven action figure that opens to reveal a guard with his back to Snake, facing a railing. If shot, he'll fall over it. If you time it just right, he'll fall onto one of the patrolling guards below, killing him too.
  • Metal Slug: In the second game, Alan O'Neil falls off a ledge and is promptly swallowed by a whale when he's defeated.
  • Midnight Fight Express: With the Environmental Finisher unlocked, defeating an enemy near railings will have you toss them over it.
  • No One Lives Forever: Very common, as elevated enemies all have the same railing animation (double over at the waist), even if they fall off a platform without a railing. Hilarious. There's also one instance of being saved by a railing kill: You're over a water tank with a shark and your catwalk is retracting. Some nearby henchmen on a railing above you start shooting. Shoot back, they topple into the water, the shark eats them and not you, letting you swim to safety.
  • In Perfect Dark, there is a guard in the Chicago level standing on an emergency staircase. His death is pre-scripted as a railing kill. Several of the snipers in the Villa level will fall off the roof when shot.
  • Predator: Concrete Jungle: A variation. One of the Fatalities available to you is to snap somebody's back against a railing.
  • In Red Steel, shooting anyone in the general vicinity of a railing causes them to keel over it and die.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In Resident Evil 2, Ada knocks Annette over a railing, but doesn't kill her. Later she herself falls over a rail to her "death" after being shot by Annette.
    • In the Resident Evil 2 (Remake), it's G1 Birkin that ends up taking a fall over a railing, after being damaged enough by either Leon or Claire. The railing he falls over; however, leads to a Bottomless Pit and his death turns out to be not so final.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica: It's possible to shove zombies off and over railings in a few places, killing them instantly. This is a great way to save ammo early in the game.
    • Resident Evil 4: This will happen if you fire at an enemy on a ledge. You are expected to do it during a number of sequences as a shortcut way of dispatching enemies, although outside of these specific places it isn't always an instant kill. It's even more amusing with Militia mooks because of the "NOOOOOOOOO" they scream while falling. No combination of attacks will ever send an enemy over an actual railing, however, even when their momentum clearly should have them tumbling over it.
    • Resident Evil 6: Pushing the enemy over a railing or off a ledge is one of the melee moves.
  • Rise To Honor: Possible in multiple locations, and it's an insta-kill. The catch is the bad guys can do it too...
  • Shadow Complex: Used to a ridiculous extent. Every enemy you kill near a rail goes flying over it to his doom, Wilhelming the whole way down. As it is a 2.5D game, they often fall hilariously into hazards or off-screen. The best part? There's an achievement for causing a certain amount of enemies to scream as they fall over railing and off ledges.
  • Splinter Cell: Starting in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Fisher can pull enemies off ledges or out of windows when hanging below. In the Arctic levels of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, you can knock the ice out from under an enemy and drown them.
  • Star Wars:
    • Dark Forces Saga:
      • In Jedi Academy, one mission starts with Force-pushing a rock out of the way. The rock then flies right into someone who falls over a small ledge in this way. Similarly, Force-pushing someone over a railing.
      • In Jedi Outcast, in the Nar Shadda level, shooting down a rooftop sniper will cause him to plummet from the roof down through a window on the building in front of him. The game's coding would deliberately make any enemy near a cliff tumble off of it. This can have amusing results when a stormtrooper is incredibly far away from a ledge, but seems to leap off of it anyways.
    • In Shadows of the Empire, any kills scored on a mook sufficiently close to an edge will result in them falling over, Wilhelm-screaming. There may or may not be railings involved.
    • In Rebel Assault 2, killing a stormtrooper near a bottomless pit will almost always cause this to happen, accompanied by a Wilhelm Scream.
  • Sunset Riders, being somewhere between an Affectionate Parody and straight depiction of the Spaghetti Western, has plenty of these. Any Mook who is shot from a window or other high place will slump over the rail or sill and blink out of existence or plummet over the rail to the ground in a classically over-dramatic fashion. Multiple bosses also have railing-kill animations due to them being located on high places. Their deaths are appropriately over-the-top.
  • System Shock: Enemies in the original game tend to gravitate towards nearby ledges when killed (and can crush anybody they fall on), presumably to show off the physics engine.
  • Team Fortress 2: In Meet the Sniper, the BLU Demoman is hit in the eye by a piece of his bottle. He then stumbles around, blindly shooting grenades into the air, bumps into a railing and falls over it. In game, the Knock Back caused by certain weapons can also result in people taking fatal fall damage or falling into Bottomless Pits.
  • TimeSplitters Future Perfect: A variation occurs in the level aboard the underwater base. At a certain point, the player finds a chasm with buildings and walkways built into the cliff walls. In one area, shooting an explosive barrel causes a mook to be launched over the railing, over the chasm, and landing on his crotch on the railing next to the player, at which point he slides off to his doom.
  • Tomb Raider (2013): Can happen. Using the rope arrow on a mook standing on a balcony will cause Lara to yank him off the ledge (and in at least one case you can do this by pulling down the balcony itself). Mooks can also tumble over balconies when shot, and Stuff Blowing Up (grenades, making someone drop dynamite by shooting them before they can throw it, shooting Exploding Barrels, etc.) can fling them over ledges as well.
  • Turok: Due to the sheer power of guns in most games, it usually combos with Blown Across the Room and sometimes as a reflection shot. Case in point, using the "charged up" alt-fire of the shotgun against a lighter enemy like a mantid will fling him so hard against the railing behind him he'll rebound off that and fly over the one he was just leaning over like he hit a rubber bar. And that's if he didn't split in half on impact, or get blown clear over it by a higher angled shot. Happens a little less often in Unreal, too, especially with the vehicular weapons, shock rifle, and lightning sniper rifle. One specific Turok pistol can also do this for heavy enemies, but usually just splits the smaller ones in half or removes as much as a rocket would. (It's a VERY strong pistol.) All of these do fall more towards the 'mass' than 'penetration' side of things though.
  • Urban Champion: You defeat opponents by punching them into an open sewer manhole.
  • A common occurrence in all three Virtua Cop games. Sooner or later, you'll shoot a random Mook who will go over a railing and fall to their death below. Likely as a homage to 1980's and 1990's action movies.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, troops killed while in a building are somehow thrown out the windows.
  • In Barbara's sequence of What Remains of Edith Finch, Barbara knocks the hook killer off the railing. Subverted in that the killer does not actually die.
  • In Wing Commander IV, two deckhands are dramatically sent over a railing by an explosion in the scene where Blair, Eisen, Maniac and Vagabond first arrive aboard the BWS Intrepid. In slow motion.
  • In Wolfenstein (2009), this seems to be programmed in. Whenever you kill an enemy near a railing, they will stagger over to it and flip over, screaming.

  • In Girl Genius Agatha sent Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER! over the board of an airship. The embarrassing part of the incident is that she did it within a hour after yelling at Gil for doing almost exactly the same. This guy "does that to people".
  • The Order of the Stick: Invoked when Elan uses an illusion spell to somewhat unconvincingly fool the goblin army into believing they've killed the PC party. Since the illusion won't leave corpses behind, it has to drop out of sight to be believable.

    Web Original 
  • Ledge Fighters is basically Railing Kill: The Movie, as the entire premise is people fighting near and ultimately being thrown over a railing.
  • Ruby Quest: Ruby didn't mean to... ouch.
    "Ruby: Wave and greet Stitches by the purification system."
    * Ruby pushes Stitches over the railing*
    * Cue death by blender*
    "OH NO! THIS IS NOT WHAT RUBY WANTED TO DO! THIS IS NOT WHAT RUBY MEANT TO DO AT ALL!!! Ruby didn't... she didn't mean to."
  • Vaguely Recalling JoJo: During the Ebony Devil mini-arc, Silver Chariot rapidly stabs Cursed Devo nearby a Singapore Hotel balcony. Cursed Devo goes on a rant on how he managed to curse Polnareff and falls off the railing before yelling, "Damn you, Polnareff!" DIO saw that and looked concerned for Cursed Devo's health. Devo survives and has lunch with DIO and Franziska Von Karma, which gets ruined because of Cursed Devo's synchronization with Ebony Devil.

    Western Animation 
  • Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet: Played straight with Scarlet and Black. They Got Better, naturally.
  • Squirrel Boy: Happens to the crazy cat in "Gumfight at the S'Okay Corral", which parodies Western tropes.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • Subverted when Agent Kallus and a random Stormtrooper are knocked over a railing into a pit, as they both manage to hold on to one of the pylons. Double subverted when Agent Kallus kicks the Stormtrooper down anyway.
    • Sabine knocks a Stormtrooper down one in "Rise of the Old Masters".

    Real Life 
  • This rather drunken patron at a bar willingly flipped himself over a bannister and fell straight down the middle of a stairwell, hitting another bannister 2 floors down especially hard, faster than you can say “rib fracture!”
  • British singer Marc Almond nearly became a victim of this trope in late 1993 when two drug dealers tried to kill him by throwing him off a balcony. This incident prompted Marc to seek help for drug and alcohol addictions dating back to the early 1980s.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Balcony Busting Blow, Ledge Gravity


Mal vs. torturer

Zoe stops Jayne from interfering in the fight at first, believing that Mal needs to handle it himself. Mal, it turns out, has zero interest in that.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself

Media sources: