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Soft Glass

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Kazumi: Didn't that hurt?
Elan: No. Dashing Swordsmen are immune to damage from shattered glass. It helps us make dramatic window entrances.

Normal glass is harder than you think it is. It takes a lot of force to break a glass window, and, even if you succeed, you have many shards of glass all over the place, which can be sharper than a surgical scalpel. However, horribly hurt heroes aren't awesome. It's so much cooler to have your Action Hero effortlessly leap through a window and come out with minimal damage.

As a result, fiction tends to make windows and the like a lot softer than they are in real life. After all, impressive visuals beats realism ten times out of nine.

Sometimes, the character breaks through this way with a clean Impact Silhouette.

Also note that the stunt glass you see people jump through all the time in movies is not real glass. Traditionally, it's actually made of sugar — a clear, thin sheet of hard candy that looks like glass, but breaks much more easily and is less likely to cut the stuntman to ribbons (the iconic crashing noise is added in post-production). Afterwards, the crew can quickly clean up by either picking up the pieces or simply spraying the area down with a hose to dissolve the sugar. As it's literally just sugar, it's edible too! Modern "breakaway glass" is usually some form of plastic such as acrylic.

When breaking a window to gain entrance to a house or vehicle, it's becoming common for the person to use a physical object to break the glass, thus averting the trope, or to wrap their hand in cloth to "protect" their skin before punching through, which only somewhat downplays the trope: glass shards can easily cut through most clothing, the wrist and arm are usually still unprotected, and punching a glass window is at least as likely to result in a broken hand rather than a broken window in any case. There's a good chance they will then clear all stray glass by rubbing the object (or the "protected" hand) along the frame of the window.

One of the many ways Television Is Trying to Kill Us. If you don't believe us, well, there have been plenty of Darwin Award winners who didn't, either.

See also A Glass in the Hand and Grievous Bottley Harm, where the strength of glass is also underestimated. See Dangerous Windows (and Destination Defenestration) where horror movies seem to have Soft Glass played straight for the purpose of monsters to use them as shortcuts. Contrast the slapstick Glass Smack and Slide. See also Hollywood Glass Cutter.


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  • Wrangler's ad campaign "We Are Animals" consists of subsequent still frames of people jumping through the pane glass.
  • Exaggerated in the "Stunt City" deodorant ad, with various men casually smashing through glass (among other things). Starts with one man punching through his medicine cabinet mirror to get at the product, another leaping through a store's glass door, a motorcycle courier jumping through a lobby window (right beside the door), and finally ending with the first man plummeting from a helicopter through a skylight.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: During the "Lost Agent" arc, after Tsukishima uses his powers to insert himself into the past of Ichigo's friends and sisters, he torments Ichigo further by speaking with Orihime through a phone, angering Ichigo enough to punch him so hard he breaks a window upon impact. This results in Ichigo getting a What the Hell, Hero? moment from everyone.
  • In Ranma ½, sending someone flying through a window is a favorite pastime of the characters (especially female ones). Akane's bedroom window, and the homeroom window at school, are the most common victims. Ironically, after Akane tossed Ranma through the open window one time, he tried to leap back up, only to smack firmly into the glass when she closed it.
  • Subaru of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has a tendency to smash through windows both intentionally and unintentionally, though being a Combat Cyborg certainly helps the plausibility of her doing this. Also, she's wearing a Barrier Jacket (essentially clothing with magical Deflector Shields), which have been shown to withstand some seriously impressive impacts with no damage to the wearer at all.
  • Fakir of Princess Tutu seems to rather enjoy being far more dramatic and badass than he really needs to.
  • Played straight (or possibly stealth parodied, it's a tough one) in Paprika, when a small, bespectacled, elderly scientist goes bonkers and runs through a top floor window. The window didn't even slow him down.
  • In Domu: A Child's Dream, Hiromi's dad goes after Etsuko in the hospital, shattering an entire sliding door. Possibly justified because he was possessed at the time and could have gotten extra strength from the Psychic Powers.
  • Futaba-kun Change!: Futaba goes through glass windows several times, including once nearly naked, without so much as a scratch. The Justicemaker, on the other hand, can get plenty of shards in his huge head along with comical spurts of blood.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a few scenes where the Major either busts through or is tossed out a window without acquiring any serious injuries, but this is justified since she's a full-body cyborg. The trope is also averted when the Major has to track down "Angel Feathers", a terrorist who's infamous for bombing glass skyscrapers and causing heavy casualties from the glass shrapnel.
  • During the "Water 7" arc of One Piece, Luffy breaks into Galley-La headquarters by slingshotting himself through a window, and is completely unharmed despite the many large, dangerously sharp-looking pieces of glass on-panel and him using only his bare arms to shield himself. That said, Luffy is made of rubber and has a fair resistance from cuts and piercing (blunt damage is totally negated).
  • In Darker than Black, during Hei's training of Suou he blocks a punch of hers with his liquor bottle, it shatters, her hand has no visible injury, and she only seems mildly annoyed.
  • Usually averted in City Hunter, as most people will break them before plowing through the window, and those thrown by Umibozu gets injured by the glass (and other things). The only ones who are likely to pull this are Ryo and Umibozu, who are noted to be a lot stronger than most people. Saeko's introductory story arc in the manga had the subversion as a Running Gag: Ryo would try to jump through windows only to crash into the bulletproof crystal they were made of. On the other hand, his Gag Penis broke a small hole through the bulletproof crystal...
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders: Subverted when Dio gets smashed through a window during his fight with Jotaro. He gets several nasty gashes and one of his legs even gets sliced off by a particularly large chunk of glass.
  • Subverted in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX where Saoui becomes infuriated with a mirror that talks back to him and smashes it with his fist. He's clearly wounded and bleeding. (Not that he seems to care, being the lunatic he is.)
  • In Sailor Moon R: The Movie, Usagi tackles Chibi-Usa out of the way of a flower monster, flinging the two of them through the window of a diner. Neither girl suffers a cut or torn clothing, but Usagi's knocked out briefly.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spidey often crashes through windows without suffering a single cut.
    • Subverted in an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, where Spidey, trying to make a dramatic entrance into the Kingpin's office, finds that Fisk has installed much stronger glass than last time Spidey was around.
    • In another issue of Spider-Man, Peter and his family are staying at Stark Tower, which has been fitted with indestructible windows. After Wolverine taunts him and Mary Jane a bit too much, Peter demonstrates how indestructible they really are by tossing Logan through them. At least Tony got his money back.
    • In Spider-Man Unlimited #5, a minor villian named Fox traps Spider-Man and The Human Torch in a big glass box, in an attempt to suffocate them. It takes Spidey multiple tries to just crack it enough so that air can be let in. Spider-Man can lift 10 tons by the way.
    • Also subverted in an issue of Peter Parker: Spider-Man. The Rocket Racer attempts to make a dramatic entrance, but the window turns out to be harder than he thought.
  • Superman:
    • Averted in Supergirl story arc Bizarrogirl when a car gets smashed into a cafe where Kara Zor-El and Lana Lang are having breakfast. The impact shatters the shop's window panes, and although Kara logically doesn't get harmed, Lana gets dozens of tiny cuts.
    • Lampshaded in The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor when villain Blackrock throws a security guard through a windowpane. As catching the man, Supergirl notes "[He's] lucky [he wasn't] badly cut up".
    • Death & the Family: As searching around the Insect Queen's hive for Supergirl, Gangbuster crashes through one building's double glass doors without incurring damage.
  • In Gotham City Garage, Batman does this several times:
    • In issue #1, Batman bursts through the window of the Gordon household to capture Kara Gordon.
    • In issue #11 he throws himself through a window of the "Garage" to catch Natasha Iron's rebel group by surprise.
  • Watchmen:
    • Played straight(-ish) later when Rorscharch is escaping the set-up at Moloch's home: he leaps through the window to escape the cops, and doesn't appear to be cut by the glass. He is damaged by the fall, however, and is quickly arrested. It's possible that his long-coat and mask protected him from the glass but, since they don't appear to be armored at all, this is improbable.
  • Bookhunter is all over the place on this one. Library Police SWAT teams are shown crashing through windows and are naturally unharmed, because they're wearing full armor. Then Agent Bay, a plainclothes Cowboy Cop, leaps through a closed window onto a fire escape and isn't injured at all. And then Chief Spencer gets flung through a plate glass window and gets cut and bloodied in the process. Apparently volition determines whether or not breaking glass injures you.
  • The Defenestrator from DC Comics. Carries a portable window to put people through. Since he's a good guy, hopefully the intention is just on his pyschosis (through the window!) and not the shredding from dangerous glass.
  • Sin City architects and automakers must stock up on soft glass since several characters have jumped and punched their way through glass with no harm. Then again, characters in this series are usually Made of Iron.
  • A Star Wars: Legacy comic has Cade Skywalker shattering a display case with the Force, using the resulting shards of glass as shrapnel which he then force-throws at the assembled Siths.
  • In one issue, Doctor Strange threw himself through a glass window — but he put his striking hand and as much of his body as possible behind his unbreakable Cloak of Levitation.
  • Tends to be averted in The Punisher. Jigsaw's shredded face is the result of being thrown through a window, and Frank throws a woman against a window dozens of times without it breaking in the MAX series (this was the point, as she's a human trafficker).
    Frank: Safety glass. You'll break before it does.
  • Parodied in one issue of The Simpsons, when a moth dramatically smashes through Bart's bedroom window. Bart then mutters that Homer needs to stop replacing the windows with stunt glass.
    • Played straight in a later issue, where Lindsey Neagle escapes via the Simpsons' house via a window when Lisa calls her on her lies, with no apparent injury.
  • Batman likes to throw himself through glass to surprise his opponents, usually with his cape spread out like a bat for added effect. Being heavily armored like he is, glass cutting him up isn't a problem, especially since he's dropping down from a ceiling. He'll usually cover up with his cape if he's throwing himself through a window, especially if he has someone with him.
  • Like his mentor, Robin has a tendency to throw himself through windows. In Robin (1993) Tim Drake reserved doing so only for emergencies where time is of the essence specifically because he knows he could still end up hurting himself or inadvertently hurting someone else with the shards despite his armored suit.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): When Elektro has the Robot Woman jump through a giant skylight at a ball/exhibition there's understandably no concern about harming the robot, however all the people who were dancing beneath aren't concerned or injured by the many shards of falling glass.
    • Justified in Wonder Woman (1987) when a police officer gets defenestrated by an experimental weapon that also weakened the structural integrity of the window before she hit it and was still weakening and breaking down the window when she went through it. The woman's only lasting harm came from Diana stopping her from going splat against the pavement as she her momentum was stopped too quickly to avoid injuries.
    • Justified in Judgment In Infinity when Power Girl leaps through a skylight, and her invulnerable skin does not get cut by broken shards.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Played straight in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Gray fires three shots into a large window, and when he fails to do more than make three little holes, runs up to smash through the window, unharmed. The book averts this, in that he simply chucks a chair through it. Played with in the "outtake" of said scene, in which Gray, after firing the shots, runs into the window and bounces harmlessly off of the glass, falling backwards.
  • Played straight in Rango. Rango and Beans are trapped in a huge glass jar which is flooding with water, and they were able to break free in it with Rango's last bullet which breaks the glass with a simple tap.
  • Averted in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Batman throws a mook through a window, then gives him a choice between bleeding to death from the resulting injuries or Batman taking him to the hospital if he talks.
  • In Turning Red, when Mei breaks the window of the music classroom, it appears no one in it is harmed by the glass not even a student standing right next to the window.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Accident. Averted in the first of the 'accidents' arranged by the hit team, which involves killing a Triad boss by arranging to shatter a window above his head, showering him in glass which cuts him fatally.
  • As in Die Hard below, shooting the glass beforehand is in fact pretty standard for a lot of action shows where they want to show they are paying at least a little bit of attention to realism. Plus it shows off the hero's badassitude in that, yes, they're not only going to jump through that window, they've planned out jumping through the window.
  • Subverted in A Life Less Ordinary: Ewan McGregor's character, a janitor at an office building, gets replaced by an R2D2-esque cleaning robot. Outraged, he grabs the machine, storms into his boss's office, yells "This is what I think of your robot!" and hurls it at the plate-glass window. The robot bounces off the glass, gets up, and proceeds to clean the office floor.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy: Shards of glass rarely give more than a few minor scratches. Averted with the death of Rosie Octavius in the second movie.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand:
      • Angel is able to jump through a skyscraper window without obtaining so much as a scratch, shirtless.
      • And then there's Storm, whose face is slammed through a glass table during a fight scene, yet she doesn't suffer from any cuts.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • A glass ceiling that has been cracked into a thousand pieces falls right on top of Erik Lehnsherr, and he doesn't get a single scratch. In Real Life, the stunt double suffered from mild injuries, according to Bryan Singer's commentary, because real glass was used for that scene.
      • Also when Mystique jumps through a window to avoid being shot and killed by Magneto who heard about how Mystique killing Bolivar Trask (and subsequent capture of her and her DNA) was the start of the mutants (and world’s) Bad Future. Other than the bullet still hitting her due to Magneto manipulating the metal bullet, she’s no worse for wear, and her DNA is still obtained from a drop of blood on the ground...from the bullet wound.
  • And yet another glass-proof Angel — Nicholas Angel in Hot Fuzz, who managed to jump through a glass door without hurting himself. However, he threw a truncheon through it first so it shattered — but still... That's actually played fully straight — the truncheon goes through the window, and Angel then jumps through the door. He also gets straight-up thrown through another window later on, and is none the worse for wear even after hitting concrete. Then again, given the fact that the whole film is an Affectionate Parody of several genres, realism wasn't high on their list of priorities.
  • Last Action Hero, as part of the premise, lampshaded this and many, many other tropes. In movieland Jack Slater does this habitually, but after punching a car's window in the real world he notes that it "really hurt". After getting back, he satisfiedly remarks that it works again after punching the glass door to Da Chief's office.
  • Fellow Arnold movie True Lies has him punch another car window without injury. Bizarrely, in reality Arnie actually missed the stuntglass and broke a real car window. He didn't notice.
  • Joker and Noah jump through a glass window while fleeing from a mob in The Defiant Ones, and it doesn't even slow them down.
  • In The Blues Brothers, Elwood and Jake need to sneak into the Palace Hotel without being caught by the dozens of cops looking for them. Elwood removes his hat, holds it up against a window, and punches through the glass so he can open the latch from inside. The hat and the hand both survive without injury.
  • In Lethal Weapon, Riggs takes a shotgun blast from Mr. Joshua and flies back through a window without any injuries worse than getting the wind knocked out of him. Of course, Riggs is crazy enough to ignore many injuries.
  • In Gremlins, Billy smashes open a glass window with a children's toy. The kind that looks like a lawn mower full of little popping balls. Aside from being weird, it's fairly believable. He and Kate manage to climb through the hole without cutting themselves at all, although they don't make it look easy.
  • There was a really ridiculous example on The Incredible Melting Man, which was once featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 — a short, portly nurse, running away from the melting man, crashed through a glass door which she could easily have opened.
  • Subverted in I, Robot. Detective Spooner attempts to debunk the theory that Dr. Lanning defenestrated himself to commit suicide. He does so by throwing a desk chair at the next pane of glass, and noting that, as safety glass, it shattered in place but did not break.
  • RoboCop:
    • Murphy is allowed to shoot former-OCP officer Dick Jones... who subsequently stumbles backwards from the bullet impacts and breaks through a skyscraper window pane like it wasn't even there. He screams all the way down, presumably from the fall rather than the bullets or having walked through a window. Though it looked like the bullets went through Jones and damaged the window.
    • Subverted in an earlier scene where RoboCop is throwing his killer, Clarence Boddicker, through plate glass windows while reading him the Miranda Rights. RoboCop is strong enough to pull the feat off and Boddicker is cut and beaten badly.
  • Both subverted and played straight for humor in the movie version of Lucky Luke starring Terence Hill. During a bar brawl, one of the mooks tries to smash a bottle against a table, and repeatedly fails to actually break it. Luke helps him out by grabbing the bottle and smashing it (successfully) against the mook's head.
  • In Beethoven, Charles Grodin enters the bad guys' headquarters through the skylight.
  • Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley got thrown out of a fucking window.
  • Played straight near the end of the French movie The Fox and the Child, when the fox jumps through a window with thick wooden framing as though it was nothing. Subverted because she nearly bleeds to death on the ground below.
  • Even animals sometimes get in on this act, as in the velociraptor's crash through the laboratory window in Jurassic Park. While scales might offer some protection against being cut, it really ought to have shown at least some damage from the collision.
  • Subverted in Game Night, where several times someone is body-slammed into glass tables, and each time the table proves too sturdy and fails to shatter.
    Kevin: Man, glass tables are acting weird tonight.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • This must be a Batman thing, because the saga is known for its realism — and even it suffers from this. Batman once glided through a window without being injured or noticeably slowing down (though the S.W.A.T. team members in The Dark Knight were at least shooting the windows).
    • In Batman Begins, in which it is even more ridiculous because it is done by actual bats. Little animals like that aren't gonna be able to break through glass windows.
  • Parodied in Bridget Jones' Diary, in which two guys hurl themselves through plate glass like action movie heroes and then simply lie whimpering in agony in the glass shards below, too hurt to move. (On the other hand, they still only get extremely small cuts).
  • Quite a painful one in the Jackie Chan film Police Story 2, where he jumps through a window from the roof of a moving bus. A candyglass window was set up for the stunt, but Chan misjudged how far the bus had traveled and ended up jumping through a real one. The outtakes over the credits show how painful this was.
    • The first film used so much sugar glass in its final action scene that it is sometimes nicknamed "Glass Story", even if it was somewhat of an subversion. The glass used was twice as thick than standard and it led to a lot of injuries among the stuntmen.
  • In The Mummy Returns, Rick and Jonathan jump out a window, and land unharmed on the awning beneath.
  • Used in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. The brothers swing from a window washer's platform, and through the window of a skyscraper in order to get at the guys inside. They do fire several .357 Magnum rounds through the window first to weaken the glass, but right after landing, they slide on their knees across a floor that should have been covered in razor sharp shards.
  • Made into a subtle hint of future plot development in the French supernatural thriller Vidocq, where the villain called the Alchemist cheerfully breaks the laws of physics in his every appearance, once jumping through a large window and several stories to the ground, walking away unharmed. Later on, another character does the same with no explanation. Coincidence?
  • Unintentionally averted in The Way of the Gun, when Benicio del Toro's character breaks into a car and has to elbow the window several times before it shatters. The glass was supposed to break on the first try but didn't, so del Toro just kept hitting it until it did. Possible double subversion: he had a screwdriver in his sleeve, and it still took him 3 hits to break the window.
  • Halloween:
    • Probably one of the craziest examples ever happens in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, when Kara flies face first through a window and belly flops to the ground two stories below with no discernible injuries from either the glass or the fall. Honestly, with Made of Iron abilities like that, why the hell is she afraid of Michael Myers? Also, Michael Myers seems to have no problem punching through car windows without sustaining any injuries.
    • Earlier in the series (Halloween II) Michael simply walks through a glass door, which of course shatters into a million tiny pieces.
    • Also occurs in the first movie (Halloween) when Laurie is attempting to open a door that's being blocked by a rake, she simply slaps one of the glass panels on the door, breaking it easily. Somewhat averted in that it does cut up her hand pretty good.
  • In The Good Son near the end Mark is locked in a study room for his seemingly insane behavior, when he sees Henry walking with his mother knowing his intention to kill her he breaks the window with a chair that he doesn't seem to hit very hard.
  • In Jaws 3D near the end when the shark breaks through the aquarium glass it doesn't bump the glass very hard at all causing it to instantly shatter, the scene is quite hilarious considering how fake the shark looks in that shot with the 3D effects.
  • Played with in Uncle Buck. When Buck arrives at his brother's house, he sets himself up for a Dish Dash when he knocks a china plate off the shelf — and it doesn't break. Amazed, he tries banging the plate against the piano. It doesn't go as well.
  • Played straight in Star Trek: Generations. The transparent Bridge ceiling, which is supposed to be made of transparent aluminum, shatters and rains down on the crew, hurting no one.
  • Another painful one from Hong Kong — during the filming of Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee got quite badly lacerated during a take of his fight with O'Hara (Robert Wall), as the glass bottles Wall smashed to make his ersatz daggers were quite real.
  • Played dead straight in Attack of the Clones when Obi-wan jumps headfirst through Padmé's window. This is particularly egregious because according to the Star Wars Expanded Universe Coruscant's windows are made of transparisteel, not glass. This is a transparent material that is much tougher than glass (they use it for viewports on starships among other things).The New Essential Guide To Droids implies that window was indeed regular glass or another easier to smash material which are common in senator apartments on Coruscant and other Expanded Universe works have shown that a Jedi's Force Push can shatter the regular transparisteel windows anyways.
  • Subverted at the end of Ransom. Tom Mullen and Jimmy Shaker crash through a plate-glass window during the climactic fight, which breaks into pie wedges. Both men are cut badly; Jimmy's injuries have him spurting blood from his neck.
  • Possible Double Subversion in Grosse Pointe Blank. During the final battle Martin kills Grocer by smashing a television over his head and leaves him lying there with his head stuck through the screen. On the one hand, the glass from which they made the screens on CRT televisions is even tougher than regular window glass. On the other hand, the guy still died. On the third hand, Rule of Funny.
  • At the end of The Game (1997), Nicholas attempts suicide after he thinks he accidentally killed his brother and falls several stories into a giant pane of glass. He lands on one of those giant air bags stunt men use and is told to lie perfectly still; he fell through breakaway glass, but it could still hurt him if they don't brush it off.
  • The Avengers:
    • Tony Stark without the armor is bodily thrown by Loki through a glass window of his penthouse, from a distance, yet Tony is still unhurt and alert enough to call the armor to him right before he turns into sidewalk pancake.
    • Hawkeye also looks unscathed when he hurls himself through a window, but at least Jeremy Renner makes it look like it hurt like a bitch.
  • Averted, to nauseating effect, in Pan's Labyrinth, when Captain Vidal beats a poacher in the face with a wine bottle. The bottle doesn't so much as crack. The poacher's face, however, is smashed in with a series of wet crunching noises.
  • Averted and Played for Laughs in Sin City, as Marv throws himself out of a window then through a car windshield, covering him in lacerations and blood; the next scene shows he has had to almost cover himself in tape to stop the bleeding.
  • Averted in Hellboy, where broken glass does indeed become a mess of razor-sharp skewers that impale the hero. But he's a demon, so he can more or less walk this off.
  • Defied in The Karate Kid Part II, where Mr. Miyagi's strategy for humiliating Kreese after the tournament from the first movie is to dodge his punches so Kreese puts his fists through the car windows behind him, cutting up his own hand; and then loses his temper, and does it a second time, injuring his other hand.
  • Deconstructed in The Nice Guys. One of the private detectives goes to break a glass pane in a door as part of breaking into a building. He carefully wraps a cloth around his hands to protect them... and slices his entire wrist open on the jagged shards left when he punches through the glass. He nearly dies from blood loss.
  • Averted in the Japanese horror movie Hypnosis, where the second suicide is an elderly man who jumps through a window. The glass is still embedded in his corpse later.
  • Played with in Thor: Ragnarok. Thor does throw a sphere at a window to crack it first, only for it to fly back and hit him in the head. He tries again, it cracks and he bashes through without injury. Though the lack of injury makes sense, as he is a god and has taken worse without serious harm.
  • What Happened to Monday: Wednesday hurls herself out a window to escape, coming away with nary a scratch.
  • Averted and Played for Laughs in Tag when Hoagie corners Bob in a conference room. Bob attempts to escape being tagged by throwing his chair at the massive glass window, which not only fails to break the glass but also bounces back and hits him in the face, at which he point he surrenders and allows himself to be tagged.
  • Played with in The Terminator. One of the questions Sarah asks the police is how the Terminator (whom they believe to be an ordinary, albeit very strong and tough, human) was able to punch through a car's windshield without any injury. The police think that he was hopped up on PCP, and did injure himself quite badly, likely even breaking every bone in his hand, but the drugs prevented him from feeling any pain from it. Naturally the real reason is that the Terminator possesses a steel skeleton that is much stronger than any glass.
  • Downplayed in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. During an escape Aurora's Bedsheet Ladder loses its hold causing her to swing and crash through the glass doorway into Phillip's room. Because her main point of impact is through the wooden frames connecting the two glass doors, as opposed to either glass door itself, less pieces of glass get shattered and scattered, but she's still able to move around afterwards with little problem and only minor cuts on her arms and face. The cuts however do remain on her throughout the entire battle until Maleficent heals them.
  • Henry & Verlin: When Verlin helps Henry escape from Cove Sanatorium, he easily breaks a pane of glass with one bare hand despite being a nine-year-old boy. A minute later, Henry's friend Elvin breaks another pane with his shoe.
  • In More Dead Than Alive, Cain crash tackles Luke Santee out through a plate glass window, with neither of them suffering a scratch. An odd application of this trope in a movie that otherwise does not shy away from showing the brutality of combat.
  • Tango and Cash: Both villains and heroes go through windows without any cuts.
  • The Haunted Mansion (2003) has Jim Evers thrown through the attic window, land on the greenhouse roof (which doesn't break) then falls on his back on his car's windshield. He not only has no marks on him, he gets up seconds later like nothing happened.
  • I Care a Lot: Marla is able to kick the window of Roman's BMW out easily with her canvas sneaker, despite being underwater. Then she walks around with no problems.
  • The Wild Child: The night after Victor's capture, he breaks a window by headbutting it. He still can't escape because he's tied up by the ankle.
  • In Metallica: Through the Never, a car slams into Trip's van, flipping it over and shattering the windows. Trip is showered with broken glass, but his only injuries are from being thrown against the walls of the van.
  • In Whitewash, Bruce breaks a garage's windows with his elbows so he can break in and steal a snowmobile.
  • Trouble Man: When Abbey is shot, his flailing arm manages to smash a windowpane.
  • In When the Bough Breaks (1994), Macleah breaks into the killer's house by punching out the glass in a window with her bare hand.
  • In The Beasts Are on the Streets, a lioness breaks into the McCauley house by gently batting at the window.
  • In Leo the Last, Leo sees Kowalski rape Salambo in a room above his shop. He breaks his window with his elbow and yells for help. No one hears him.
  • Dollman: When Debi is dragged into a car, Brick easily smashes through her apartment window so he can drop down and help her, despite being only a little over a foot tall.
  • In Eyes of Laura Mars, Neville smashes through a giant window to get to Laura, and is completely uninjured afterwards.
  • So Close: The sisters, Lynn and Sue, shatter through a glass window panel in almost every fight scenes yet they manage to stay pristine and no single scratch. First, in the opening when Lynn killed Chow Lui. Later, when Sue exacts revenge in the same building in the final scene.
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle: In the opening, when escaping from the Mongolians, Natalie smashes the car window bare-handed yet her hand remains clean, unharmed. Later, Alex is thrown away from Madison's speeding car and crashes into a store window yet she only got just a few scratches and bruises.
  • Kill Bill: In the opening of Volume 1, when The Bride fights with Vernita in the latter's house, they throw each other to the glassy objects, such as: the glass-covered photo frame, the glass-covered table and the glassy rack. Yet, they got only a few scratches.

  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Subversion of the "glass bottle" variant: in Night Watch, a drunken man smashes a glass bottle... and then screams as this badly injures his hand. Vimes then tells the Watch a story about a man he saw/will see who smashed a bottle the wrong way, and ended up with a handful of broken glass, then his opponent leant forward and squeezed.
    • Also averted several times in Witches Abroad, as Granny Weatherwax smashes several mirrors during the course of the story, and almost gets killed by a shower of broken glass. (The ever-patient Nanny Ogg patches her up, lamenting, "Oh, Esme, you do take winning hard.")
    • In Maskerade, a panicked lady clobbers Nanny Ogg with a full bottle of champagne to try and knock her out so as to make an escape. The bottle doesn't break, but the book takes this moment to point out that somewhere in the Ogg family tree is a bit of dwarf, meaning Nanny has a skull you could break rocks with, so all getting hit really does is stun her momentarily.
  • Played straight in the YA novel Lisa Bright And Dark. The title character, a young girl going mad, walks through a glass patio door in a desperate cry for medical attention. Let's just repeat the relevant bit: She walks through the glass patio door. The narration makes it very clear this is what's happening — no running, no jumping, not even any hard shouldering. She does end up badly cut, but still...
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Both averted and lampshaded in the novel Wraith Squadron: Iron Fist. A team of New Republic spies instigate a bar brawl with a group of Imperial pilots by having one of their members hitting a fellow teammate in the head with a glass bottle. The bottle shatters because it is made out of stage glass. After the fight, the team member who took the bottle to the face stated that the first bottle didn't hurt him but complained that he was hit by a second bottle and that one was made out of real glass (the bottle didn't even break). Earlier in the book, in their inspiration for setting up the scene later, a person who instigated a bar brawl for similar reasons smacked a member of the team on the head with a bottle, which not only didn't break but gave him a minor concussion and was unable to fight for a while.
  • Used in Thieves Like Us, when a girl escapes her captors by going into the bathroom, locking the door, and breaking open the window with a shampoo bottle. Subverted in that she wrapped her hand in a towel to pull out the larger shards still in the frame afterwards and gets a deep cut in her side while climbing out.
  • In The Catcher in the Rye, when Holden, the main character, finds out that his brother died, he breaks all the windows in the garage with his fist. He messes up his hand so badly that he can never make a proper fist again.
  • In The Bands of Mourning, Wax jumps out of a window in order to escape after being framed for murder. Slightly downplayed in that he does make an attempt to soften his impact by shooting at the glass first, then taking the impact on his arm, which he'd wrapped in his coat.
  • Averted in one of the Babysitters Club Mysteries. A young movie star that Kristy is watching is set to film a scene involving him crashing through a window, which was naturally meant to be prop glass. His younger brother ends up smashing the pane meant for the scene, unintentionally revealing it to have been switched with normal glass; everyone is horrified by what nearly happened, with the book making it clear the kid would have been badly injured at best.
  • In the Outlander book Written in My Own Heart's Blood, Jamie and William need to gain entry to a house through a window. Jamie's solution (taught to him by Brianna) is to smear treacle syrup on a pane of glass, plaster a sheet of paper over it, and then give it a sharp strike with his fist, bringing all the shards with the paper when he peels it away.
  • Averted by Save the Enemy. When Zoey is trying to break into the burning house where her father is being held prisoner, she tries to break the window by hand, and succeeds only in hurting her hand and elbow. She shoots a hole in the window and tries again, and this time there seems to be some give, but it's not nearly fast enough. In the end she breaks in using a different method.
  • In Clade, Summer breaks into an apartment building by breaking a window with her elbow. She and her family hide in an abandoned apartment on the second floor as floodwaters cover the ground floor windows.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 averts and plays this trope straight when it wants to. In Season 1, Jack has to strike a van's window three times with a blunt object to break it. Meanwhile in Season 7, he throws his body through a glass doorframe and only gets a tiny gash on his hand. And in Live Another Day, this trope is deconstructed. Mark Boudreau and Anatol Stolnavich get into a scuffle in the penultimate episode and throw themselves through a glass doorframe. Both of them are seriously cut up and too wounded to fight anymore, and Stolnavich bleeds to death after instinctivelly pulling a shard of glass from his neck.
  • The 4400: In the fantasy world created by P.J. in "No Exit", a window shatters on its own and Shawn is impaled with dozens of glass shards, killing him instantly. However, considering that it is only a fantasy, he is alive and uninjured in reality.
  • Angel: Angel is rather fond of crashing through skylights. He also smashes through a lot of windows. The fact that he's a vampire might account for his ability to survive such an impact, but not the fact that he never gets cut.
    • Subverted in one episode in which he's thrown out of a Skyscraper window. He recovers shortly after but is shown to be in extreme pain and spitting up blood upon impact.
    • In "City of...", Angel kicks an office chair (and vampire occupant) out of a skyscraper window without too much effort. Possibly justified since as a vampire, Angel has Super Strength.
  • While for the most part played straight on Arrow, a flashback to Oliver's third year away from Starling City plays with the trope. He has to break into a building by ziplining along, but his efforts to smash the window by kicking it don't work. He has to pull himself back, fire an arrow through the window and then break through. He's not too badly cut up, but it's a far cry from his usual style of Dynamic Entry.
  • Subverted for laughs in Breaking Bad, where Walt tries to break through Ted's window by hitting it with a potted plant. The pot breaks before the glass does.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Played straight and subverted in "Homecoming". Buffy, Cordelia, and a demon need to get out of a house that's about to explode. Buffy and Cordelia dive through a window, which shatters with no great hello. The demon dives through another window... except it's boarded shut and he just bounces right back onto the grenade. Buffy is a powerhouse, though, smashing through glass is much less of a problem for her. Generally, characters treat glass windows pretty much as doors.
  • Played straight in The Cape; the second episode starts with the main character jumping through a plate glass window, out of a skyscraper, onto a car (whose window also shatters) and the only injury he suffers is from being stabbed before jumping out the window.
  • The Daily Show: The Stewart/Colbert/O'Brien Mêlée à Trois includes a scene where all three smash beer bottles over each other's heads — this is where the Stewart-Colbert alliance breaks up and it becomes a true Mêlée à Trois, as Jon accidentally breaks a bottle over Stephen. The blooper reel shows Conan going to hit Jon and hesitating at the last minute, disturbed by how real the sugar glass bottle looks, and the weight of it — sugar glass is usually much lighter than the real thing.
  • Averted on Doc Martin. Never treated as anything but a hazard, particularly when a girl crashes through a glass doorway and ends up unconscious and nearly bleeding to death.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Oddly averted in "Partners in Crime". Donna is even hitting that window with a wrench and nothing is happening. Maybe deadlocking windows to make them sonic-screwdriver-proof also strengthens the glass.
    • Oh mercy, "The End of Time". Watching the 10th Doctor plummet through Naismith's stained glass ceiling and land very painfully. He's cut up, but not as badly as the fall should have made him. (Of course, he probably broke most of the bones in his body on the landing, which wouldn't be quite so noticeably bloody and graphic, but still....)
    • "Closing Time": The 11th Doctor jumps through a window to rescue Craig, and doesn't get so much as a scratch. Fixing the window before Craig's wife gets home is more of a problem (apparently, finding a glazier on a Sunday isn't easy even with a time machine).
  • Dollhouse:
    • Played with when a guy is punched through plate glass and does indeed look like hell afterward. In spite of this, he went through it awfully easily.
    • Also averted when someone on drugs bashes his head repeatedly against a window. He's bleeding even before the glass starts to crack. It does not break. His head does.
  • Fort Boyard: Invoked with the Bank Robbery challenge: the contestant has to break a "glass panel" to enter the coffers room, but it's completely safe since it's explicitly made of sugar commonly used in filming.
  • Played with in Firefly: at one point Mal gets thrown through what turns out to be a holographic window.
  • In an episode of Get Smart where CONTROL is trying to get KAOS to recruit Max, CONTROL has replaced many real bottles at a tavern with breakaway glass so Max can hit the Chief over the head with one, "knocking" the Chief out. After they go through this several times without the KAOS agent in the tavern noticing, Max gets a real bottle of champagne. His plan is to break the bottle on the bar counter and threaten the Chief with the broken pieces, but when he tries it the bottle just knocks a hunk of wood out of the bar.
  • Played straight for laughs in a season 3 episode of Happy Endings, when Penny accidentally walks through a glass window in a car dealership. The glass shatters fully, but she doesn't get a single scratch. There's a Brick Joke later in the same episode, when she walks through the same window again — only this time, it's covered with a plastic sheet.
  • In the Here Come the Brides episode "Hosanna's Way," Jeremy shatters a skylight by tapping it with his knuckles.
  • Heroes:
    • Done completely the other way round: Claire punches through a car window to intimidate Elle and gets several glass shards in her hand, when realistically, a car window should be made of safety glass that is specifically designed not to create sharp shards because of the great risk that would pose in accidents. Her power is regeneration though, so she's OK.
    • Then subverted at the end of season two: Elle blasts Sylar through a glass door; he keeps running and it seems he's perfectly fine, but in the next scene, he has several gashes and wounds. Regeneration is used again, though, as he injects himself with Claire's blood, healing his wounds, and granting his powers back.
  • Highlander:
    • There were several instances where Richie crashed through a glass window. Justified at least once in that in the scene, he hit the glass at full speed on his motorcycle (though it's a surprise he wasn't cut, unless the motorcycle gear was heavy enough to protect him.)
    • In the pilot, he averts the trope, cutting Mac's antique shop window with a glass cutter.
  • In Jeeves and Wooster, Bertie Wooster jumps through a closed glass window and emerges unharmed.
  • Averted in-universe in Lizzie McGuire when Matt decides he wants to be a stunt double and begins creating his own courses. He explains to his parents that he’s crushing hard candy pieces on a baking tray to make a fake glass piece to crash through.
  • Lost. Locke gets shoved out a window and falls eight stories. He lives. However, much of LOST is about characters surviving/healing from stuff they should not.
  • People crashing through windows happened on a regular basis on MacGyver; always without any ill effects.
  • Generally played straight by Miami Vice, but averted in "Missing Hours", in which a man smashes through a plate glass window, cuts his jugular on one of the shards, and dies.
  • In an episode of My Family, Ben and Susan house sit an extremely hi-tech apartment, where they do not know how to operate anything or open the windows. A fire starts and they break the glass (which looks pretty damn thick) by throwing a DVD player at it.
  • A version of this happened on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Puma Man, where the title character effortlessly punches his way through a roof. Mike comments "Thank goodness they made their house out of peanut brittle!"
  • MythBusters hit on this subject twice: Destination Defenestration and Grievous Bottley Harm (more specifically can someone be flung through a window and come out on the other side uninjured and is the amount of Grievous Bottley Harm greater with or without liquid in the offending bottle). In both cases, it was busted (you can throw someone through a window but they will be heavily lacerated and taking a shot to the head with a full bottle is far more lethal as a result of concussive force than an empty one, even with the potential for laceration).
    • This also comes up when testing glass that is tempered and/or laminated; the glass rarely breaks in the ways that one would expect, and definitely not easily. To break tempered glass, you either need a big impact (like, say, crashing a car into it), or you need something that concentrates the force delivered onto a single point (like a window-breaking hammer, or a spring-loaded center punch), or something that combines the two ideas (like shooting a BB gun at it with sufficiently high speed).
    • There's also a recurring (unintentional) gag where the MythBusters try to shatter a bottle for some reason (whether to christen something or as part of the experiment), only to fail because the bottle won't break. This came up during the Buster Special (and also shown in MythBusters Revealed), the Jaws Special, and the "Bottle Bash" myth. In the last of the three, Adam points out that the bottles are built to be shipped, and so are meant not to break. It also didn't help that they were trying to hit it against a football helmet, which is designed to absorb impacts.
  • One perp on NUMB3RS attempted to escape pursuing FBI by crashing out of his bedroom window. Unfortunately, not being a particularly strong man, the window steadfastly remained unbroken.
  • Once Upon a Time averts this. It happens once in the fifth season: in the real world Emma and the Bail Bonds Woman after her escape the police through a broken window; the woman lands on a shard of glass that winds up lodged in her abdomen. She doesn't realize until the adrenaline wears off but she succumbs to the wounds and dies.
  • In the HBO show Oz, characters repeatedly break through glass walls. Which is even more bizarre considering the fact that it's set... in a maximum-security prison. A maximum-security prison where the walls are made out of glass. Not Plexiglass or even safety glass, but regular, breaks-into-nice-sharp-pieces-perfect-for-shanking-someone glass. Justified in that Em City is designed specifically like that. Also averted in that when Beecher smashes a glass window with a chair, a shard nearly blinds Schillinger.
  • Zigzagged in an episode of Perfect Strangers; Larry tries to intimidate a tough biker in an equally tough bar, but his attempt at Grievous Bottley Harm is an Epic Fail because the bottle doesn't break, even after three tries. Then the biker takes it and smashes it against his forehead. "Is that what you were tryin' to do?" he asks.
  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels: Though several characters break through glass windows or have them broken nearby, in only one case is anyone cut.
  • Probe's "Quit-It": After escaping through a window, Austin is completely unscathed.
  • Played with on QI, when Stephen Fry and Alan Davies had sugar-glass goblets and the other panelists had real ones. After Fry harmlessly broke a goblet over his head and munched on a piece, another panelist carelessly threw his into the floor — where it broke in the usual fashion and startled everyone.
  • The Red Skelton Show: Parodied in one sketch where Skelton, playing a Wild West tough guy, orders a row of shots in a saloon. He dramatically breaks one glass after emptying it, then eats the next one with a grin for the camera.
  • Scrubs:
    • Carla has to get into Turk's car and brings fellow nurse Laverne along with her. The car's locked, so Laverne shouts a battle cry ("Lavern Robaaaaaarts!") and punches out the window with nary a scratch. Carla is taken aback and cries "Laverne! I have the keys!"
    • Near the end of the third season, J.D. and Elliot get back together, then J.D. tells her he doesn't love her at the reception dinner. She shoves him onto the table, where he crushes several wine glasses. No injury occurs.
  • Smallville usually plays this straight, as Clark has both Super Strength and Super Toughness, meaning he can easily smash through concrete without issue. However, it's averted with Kyla Willowbrook, who actually dies from jumping through a stained-glass window, when the glass cuts her deeply in the abdomen.
  • Deconstructed in Sons of Anarchy. In the Season 4 finale, Tig impulsively tries to run over Laroy while he's on a date with a woman named Veronica. Tig misses Laroy and clips Veronica instead, sending her flying through a window. We see that Veronica has several shards of glass in her body, and it's later confirmed that she died almost instantly.
  • Averted in Squid Game. At the conclusion of the fifth game, which requires contestants to cross a bridge made of glass, the bridge explodes and sends shards of razor-sharp glass flying everywhere, slicing into the skin of the remaining players, most notably impaling Sae-byeok in the abdomen.
  • Largely averted in an episode of Stargate SG-1 in which Daniel observes an experiment go wrong from behind a pane of safety glass. He has to shoot it into the glass with his gun several times in order to weaken it and then jumps through. It is played a little straighter though, when he only has a very small number of minor cuts after doing this.
  • Starsky & Hutch: The windows in Bay City are absurdly fragile. In "Lady Blue", Starsky breaks a window by gently tapping it with his gun, and in "Murder Ward," Hutch shatters a window with his elbow.
  • Star Trek:
    • Also done in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Conspiracy", where Riker fights an alien-possessed guy who slams him into a glass-topped table. It shatters, and Riker is completely uninjured. (This also raises the question of how stupid they have to be to put glass-topped tables in a spacecraft, rather than, say, transparent aluminum...)
    • Related case in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where a plate glass window at Starfleet HQ shatters in a storm, hurting nobody. Once again, this raises issues, as the ubiquity of transparent aluminum in Starfleet (to the point where Scotty knows the formula by heart) and the extent to which it's better than glass, are actual plot points in the film. They actually compare the strength of glass to the strength of transparent aluminum in dialogue, and quite a bit of time is spent getting an acceptable 20th century substitute. The implication is that it's completely superseded glass. You'd think they might have sprung for some in the main control room at headquarters, but apparently not...
  • The West Wing: Very much not averted when Will Bailey breaks the "glass" between his and Toby's office. The scene showcased the extent of his frustration, as Toby has never been able to break it with his rubber ball no matter how hard he threw it. Funny thing is, the thump of the ball against the window always sounded like plexiglass before this incident. Go figure.
  • The season one midseason finale of White Collar has Neal Caffrey swinging into a locked room of an art museum this way. Well, technically the window was made of panes of glass separated by wood, which is what he actually breaks, but he should've gotten a few cuts at the very least.
  • Averted on Yellowstone when the livestock agents try to arrest a cattle thief. The criminal fires a shotgun through a door. The blast misses the agent standing near the door but it also shatters the glass pane at the top of the door showering the agent in glass shards. Some of the shards cut through the kevlar of his bulletproof vest and embed themselves in his flesh. The agent has to stand still while the glass is slowly pulled out or he risks having an artery severed.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • For an angle in WCW, Goldberg was required to punch through a real glass window of a limousine. He was originally supposed to conceal a small piece of pipe in his hand to aid with the punching, but after the cameras started rolling he lost it and decided to punch through the window with his bare fist. A shard of glass caused a huge gash down his forearm and he was out of action for months. Watch it here. Watch for him checking his arm after smashing the third window and the subsequent splatter of blood when he pounds on the white hood.
  • In a WWE example, there was the spot during King Of The Ring 2001 where Kurt Angle attempted to suplex Shane McMahon through a sheet of glass. The glass did not break and Shane landed right on his head. It took them three tries before the glass finally broke. Moments later they tried the same thing again with the same amount of success. If you listen to the match commentary on the DVD with Shane and Kurt they talk about this, and proving that he's actually got a bit of badass in him, Shane apparently told Kurt once they were through the first one to just fling him head-first through the glass on the way out. He did, and it looked awesome.
    • Basically, someone screwed up when ordering the glass, and instead of sugar glass, they got plexiglass. So instead of getting the stuff that's easier and safer to break than normal glass, they got the stuff to protect people at hockey games. And Shane willingly went through two of them.
  • Sabu and Cactus Jack had a match in ECW where they brawled through the crowd and backstage area. Sabu got hold of a bottle, which he proceeded to break over Jack's head. Except that it was a real, non-gimmicked bottle, and took several attempts...
  • The set for Brutus Beefcake's Talk Show with Fists, The Barber Shop, has a big glass window that was just begging for someone to be thrown through it. That someone was Marty Jannetty, courtesy of his tag-team partner Shawn Michaels, in a move that solidified Michaels's Face–Heel Turn and launched his singles career. Note that in Real Life, the window was not real glass, and Jannetty was applying the blood while he was draped over the windowsill and his face was out of sight. (Interestingly, many people misremember this as "Michaels superkicking Jannetty through the glass," when what actually happened was Michaels superkicking Jannetty to the floor, then picking him up and throwing him through the glass.)
  • This happens a lot in Japanese and American "Death Match" or other Garbage Wrestling venues. The lucky ones work for a league that invests in prop beer mugs and break-away panes of glass that, like most pro wrestling, looks horrid but is relatively safe. The unlucky ones get dropped through actual, thin window panes, have actual glasses and bottles busted over their heads, and get hit with/thrown through actual fluorescent tubes. The latter of which, btw, shatter into countless razor-sharp shards, tend to turn the upper layer of skin and flesh into hamburger, and contain potentially carcinogenic chemicals.

    Video Games 
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution:
    • Horrifically averted: Adam is thrown by a fully augmented human through a computerized display made of extremely thick glass at the beginning of the game, forcing him to become augmented to survive. They even show the shards in his arms from First-Person perspective! The force required to break the glass has him nearly unrecognisable from the injuries, with two black eyes, deep cuts in his scalp, and he ends up needing to have one arm and most of his chest cavity replaced from the impact, not to mention most of his skull. On the other hand, the "most of his skull" part came from being shot in the head at point-blank range with his own .357 revolver. Adam did not have a good day.
    • In a later scene to escape from a building-soon-to-be-destroyed, despite having superhuman augmented cyborg arms that can shatter concrete and don't feel pain, he STILL throws a chair at a window (which bounces off instead of breaking it outright) before going out of it, because his fist would leave a small, well...fist-sized hole instead of the larger one he would need to jump through. In-universe, this makes sense — most of the windows seem much thicker than modern-day windows, and after going headfirst through an intact one, Adam probably wanted to weaken it first.
  • Syphon Filter. Just watch for a few seconds.
  • In Chrono Trigger: when the King of Guardia is put on trial by his Evil Chancellor, Marle jumps through a stained-glass window to present evidence of his innocence. It's almost as if the window came pre-fractured for the convenience of jumpers. She also leaves a nice spiked shaped pattern, like any other cartoon shaped hole for glass.
  • Played entirely straight, but not in the way you're thinking, in the original Space Quest adventure game. After your escape pod crashes on a desert planet, one of the things you need to recover from it is a glass shard from the shattered pod windshield. But don't worry, hilariously accident prone Roger Wilco! It's safety glass, and therefore shatters specifically in such a way to prevent any sharp edges. Good thing you've got your Xenon Army Knife. Wait, that can't cut through hot butter...
  • Played straight in Resident Evil 4 and 5. Characters are at least smart enough to shield their face while diving through windows, but it doesn't do them any damage either way.
  • Mirror's Edge gives us a woman diving head first through panes of glass (provided you hit the glass first) with no ill side affects.
  • Averted in Scott Adams' Interactive Fiction game Ghost Town, with the mirror. Smashing the mirror without taping it first is instant death.
  • Canabalt has the protagonist leaping through glass windows without even slowing, much less taking damage.
  • It's both averted and played straight in Heavy Rain. Most of the fight scenes play it straight since they have characters fighting through glass rather easily (characters punching through glass, a fish tank shattering, etc.). When glass actually has to be broken outside of a fight, though, it takes at least three well-placed kicks to break open, thus averting the trope. And then it's averted in another way when Origami Killer forces one of the characters to crawl down a ventilation shaft lined with tons broken glass. The state of the character's clothes and arms afterwards tells you all you need to know about how painful it must have been.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV the protagonist's method of stealing cars is to simply elbow the window, and unlock it from the inside.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Played with when the Demoman's melee weapon, a glass bottle, breaks when it hits something during a Critical Hit swing, but does equal damage whether or not it's broken.
    • Played straight with Jarate, as the the jar itself always shatters when thrown without damaging anything except the victim's morale.
  • Zig-zagged in the Splinter Cell games. A whiskey bottle can be thrown to cause a distraction, and it will break on impact; it'll also break if you drop it while walking, though not if Sam is standing still or crouch-walking. Throwing the bottle at someone's head is a non-lethal One-Hit KO, but it doesn't break when it nails the target's skull, only when it hits the hard floor. Sam can also break tall glass panes with one elbow smash. In either case, the resulting shards are of no concern – only pre-existing piles of shards make noise when stepped on.
  • Shadowgate has a place where you have to break one of three mirrors to proceed, with nothing other than past experience (yours or other players') telling you which one you should break. One mirror cuts you to ribbons if you break it. The other two don't, but while one merely lets you walk through unharmed, the other opens a magic portal to space, sucking you through and killing you.
  • Uninvited averted this trope by making every single window you break into jagged glass, thus any attempts to escape that way would lead to death by blood loss. May be a side effect of the Ghost Butler, definitely to cause a Closed Circle.
  • In Sonic Adventure, glass is broken in a few areas, but never is it a danger to you. When ZERO breaks through the wall of monitors, Amy can walk through the shards, no problem. In Speed Highway, Sonic and Tails can break glass by walking on it, but all that means is they have to get back up. Also in Speed Highway, there's a part where Sonic runs down the side of a building, smashing glass as he does so. Not only does he not get hurt when he runs through glass, but he's also never even injured from being rained on by all those shards of glass.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, The Kid isn't hurt by falling glass (except for Dracula's wineglass, which is a One-Hit Kill). Repeat: In I Wanna Be The Guy, a game where you are a One-Hit-Point Wonder exploring a Death World with Everything Trying to Kill You, glass does not kill you (although it can get you killed).
  • In The Godfather windows shatter easily. Naturally a second floor toss is an insta-kill. First floor? The mook will get back up and attack. Taken to a hilarious extent in the sequel, where you can vault through grilled windows without concern.
  • The Dead Rising games let you punch or kick through sheets of glass with no problem. You won't get hurt even if you're in your underpants.
  • Max Payne 3 plays this ridiculously straight as, after shooting a pane of glass anywhere, Max can literally stroll through it and it will snap around him without harming him (though this is mainly in place for common, awesome window jumps and throws).
  • Played straight in The Last of Us when Joel's head is smashed through a pane of glass by a mook without his face suffering any noticeable damage, then averted immediately after when Joel fatally rams a shard of the now broken glass through the mook's neck.
  • Pilots in Titanfall can run through through glass windows with enough momentum, and it won't injure or slow them at all. If they don't have enough momentum however, then it will actually stop them completely; a kick or gunshot is needed to break it, and you can stand on unbroken windows without issue.
  • In Saints Row 2, a powerful head-on collision between two vehicles will sometimes result in the driver of one or both vehicles being ejected from the vehicle straight through the windshield. The Boss can just walk it off but they're already Made of Iron, for Non Player Characters it's a much more damaging event.
  • XCOM operatives in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 can jump through windows and kick their way through glass pane walls with no ill effect for a Dynamic Entry, or jump down through glass skylights like they don't even exist. It helps that they're wearing anywhere from a Kevlar and ceramic ballistic suit, to armors made of lightweight alien alloys stronger than any earth-made tank plating of similar toughness, to straight up Powered Armor... at least until you notice that civilians in Terror missions and completely unarmored VIPs can do the exact same thing with the same impunity as the armored operatives, and said operatives don't need to wear a helmet to protect their exposed heads while they do this. And that in 2, soldiers only wear Kevlar armor in the technical sense, as they could be generated (or custom-made) wearing as little as hot pants and a cotton t-shirt. The only drawback of shoving your way through glass is that, in XCOM 2, it's an automatic reveal from concealment.
  • Phantom Doctrine takes the XCOM example to the next level, as agents break through windows without slowing down like they're not there. And breaking the window alone doesn't make anyone suspicious at all! If your agent is disguised, they can even do it in (or into) restricted areas and no one will mind.
  • Subverted in Contagion (Monochrome). Glass panes are easily breakable, but they don't fall apart completely when that happens (only explosives do this), and if you have to go through a broken pane with more than one piece still attached to the frame, it'll hurt; more pieces equals more damage taken. You NEED a melee weapon to clear the broken glass, too, as the Quick Melee's hit detection counts hitting the frame as higher priority than hitting the broken glass.
  • In Soldier of Fortune 2, glass behaves weirdly, to say the least. Hit a window with a melee strike and it'll break, with the pieces cascading in the direction of the hit, even those that by all means shouldn't have the momentum to do it. Explosions shatter glass in spectacular manner and the shards will even embed into living creatures, though it doesn't add any extra damage to the explosion itself and is purely for aesthetic reasons.
  • Window glass in First Encounter Assault Recon works the same way, with any sort of damage completely shattering the window and harmlessly blowing out the various shards away from whatever hit and broke the window. Strangely, gunshots or even punching them out with your fists seem to impart more momentum on the shards than getting caught in an explosion will. Moreover, there are some already-broken windows which shatter further if you walk through them, which will deal no damage to you.
  • Uphill Rush: If there's glass, chances are you can drive through it no worse for the wear, with a cash bonus for breaking it.

    Visual Novels 
  • Birds crashing harmlessly through windows is a common occurrence in Hatoful Boyfriend. Fans have theorized that since sapient birds took over the world, they replaced all the windows with safety glass.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Lampshaded: Elan mentions that Dashing Swordsmen get reduced glass damage precisely so they can make dramatic window entrances. It doesn't even have to be dramatic, so he can apparently just break glass by touching it.
    • It seems he's the only character with this ability. For everyone else, it plays out realistically.
    • In the Prequel Start of Darkness, Xykon hurls Redcloack and Right-Eye through a diner window. Both are shown to be scratched up afterwards.
  • During a hurricane in Freefall, Sam uses the ship's momentum to bust Florence, who's dangling from a rope, through the window of a building. Florence is completely unharmed in the next comic.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Used dead straight when Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! gets thrown through sheets of glass, on at least two occasions, without a scratch. Of course, since he also survives even worse attacks without a mark on him, this may just be because he's Made of Iron.
    • Maxim the Jägerkin gets tossed through the window of a Sandwich shop without a scratch. Of course the knife wound in his hand from a few panels before is gone too, so maybe it's a Healing Factor.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • During the McDonald's arc, Dr. McNinja interrogates three workers to learn Ronald's whereabouts. After they refuse to talk, he "super sizes their pain" by throwing one of them out the window. They were robots, but still... and then there's this line.
      Dr. McNinja: More defenestration? Or you gonna talk?
    • The plate glass windows of Doc's office have also been emergency egresses (and ingresses!) to the point where Doc's got a "wall and window man" on call.
  • Concerned has Gordon Frohman escaping from the office building in Counter-Strike by jumping out the window. It shatters effortlessly, but apparently still hurts.
    Frohman: Freedom! Also ow!

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied when Homer punches through a deli window to get some food, then walks to the pharmacy to punch the window to get bandages to wrap his glass cuts in.
    • Homer does this by accident when trying to hit the jukebox and make it start playing a la Fonzie: "'aaaayyy.... (smash) AHH!! HEMORRHAGE-A-MUNDO!!!"
    • In another episode Bart throws a brick against a store window only for it to bounce back and hit him in the head without cracking the window.
  • Rocket Power actually explained this trope. When a film crew is in town for a movie, they explain that the fish tank is actually made out of sugar and not glass, which Sam then proceeds to give a lick.
  • One episode of Justice League Unlimited had Wonder Woman stop a fast-moving car by punching it. This is essentially the same as it hitting a wall note , and sending the drivers and passenger flying through the windshield (instead of just knocking the thing straight out) and into another car, yet the guys not only survive, but weren't even unconscious.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy", like most times, Batman can send a grappling hook through a glass window like it was nothing. Then it was subverted when Batman was unable to break a large lightbulb by just throwing his utility belt at it, and had to throw a pole at it like a spear. Then, two minutes later, he throws the belt at a glass wall, and it goes straight through it.
    • At one point, the Joker lampshades this.
      Joker: Either you've never heard of a door before or you like pulling glass out of your pants.
  • In The New Adventures of Batman & Superman episode "Critters", Robin is running away from a giant bull, and he at least picks up a trashcan lid to leap through a window.
  • Played straight in The Spectacular Spider-Man. When fighting Green Goblin, Spider-Man is thrown out a window, catches himself, swings back up, and breaks back through another window, all while commenting on the definition of Defenestration.
  • A weird place for this to be averted is the Darkwing Duck episode "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything". Three metahumans (metaducks?) and three normals are trapped in a glass tube, likely sealed at the top, as villain Negaduck taunts them. Granted, the powers involved are electricity, plant control, and water, but the glass did hold... until a mechanical doll with an axe or seven took care of the issue.
  • South Park:
    • Subverted in the episode "South Park Is Gay": Mr. Slave attempts to assassinate the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He manages to crash through their hotel window... and then lies bleeding on the hotel room floor.
    • Later, in two episodes of the "Imaginationland Trilogy" this happens three times in order to break into the same room in the Pentagon. Twice by Cartman, once by Kyle. Part of the window was broken the first time; the second time the window was put together with tape and broken again; the third time Kyle simply dove into the non-broken part of the window.
  • Usually played straight in Code Lyoko, like in "The Pretender" where Yumi jumps through a window unharmed. The ravens in this episode also have no trouble flying through panes of glass — but since they're possessed by XANA, they are basically super-powered birds.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars ironically averts this when there was no need to. In one scene Anakin slashes a window with his lightsabre, presumably to weaken it, then uses the Force to smash the glass. So... what was the lightsabre needed for? Considering the Jedi frequently send large metal robots flying across a room, surely this would be one scenario where the glass shouldn't need weakening. Transparisteel, perhaps?
  • The Venture Bros.: Downplayed with Sergeant Hatred. When he's running to the glass door, he can't open it, with the reinforced steel about to lock him out, so he shoots the door several times to weaken it and jump through. He gets through because he weakened the glass, but the shards do no harm to him.
    • Deconstructed in season 7, when Rusty demonstrates his rocket belt by jumping through the window and floats, he gets a lot of serious cuts all over himself and passes out from blood loss, he has to go to the hospital for it
  • In one episode of American Dad!, Stan and Bullock come to blows over Hayley, who Bullock had been dating. Just as Stan is about to finish him off, Bullock lies and proclaims that the entire fight was an act to test Stan's loyalty, complete with a nearby window being replaced with stunt glass. When Bullock tries to prove this, he finds that the glass is too rigid to jump through until he fires a few bullets through it, and is heavily injured when he finally breaks through.
  • Completely averted in a Robot Chicken sketch where a little boy meets his hero, the "Blue Knight", in a parking lot after a show. Among the many, many other things the Blue Knight does to shatter the kid's view of him, he wraps his shirt around his hand to try and break the window of his car after locking himself out of it - and rather than breaking the glass, he simply breaks his hand.
  • Wild CATS: Subverted in the first episode when Warblade is about to jump through a window, he first grabs a heavy leather jacket that he uses to shield himself from the broken glass. It also helps that he's half-alien and much more durable than an ordinary human, though he doesn't actually know that at the time.

    Real Life 
  • A video is circulating the internet of an Irish car thief falling victim to a humorous aversion. While he was clearly smart enough not to try and punch the window with his hand, he picked up a brick and threw it at the window. The brick at this point bounced off the window and into his head, knocking him out. By the time the officers found him, they were apparently laughing their arses off.
  • Many things that require glass, but are more likely to break near people (refrigerator trays, shower doors, and most especially car windows and windshields) use tempered glass, which consists of several different layers of glass, with the outer ones compressed and the inner ones under tension due to heat treatments, which causes the glass to shatter into small, (relatively) harmless chunks upon being broken. It can still be sharp, but you are more likely to receive lots of superficial scratches and cuts, instead of being impaled on a single large wedge of extremely sharp broken glass.
    • One downside to this is that, while more dangerous, a lot of large glass shards are easier to clean up than hundreds of tiny glass slivers. Because wondering whether you swept every last piece off the floor is loads of fun. Keep your shoes on.
    • These days, tempered glass uses patterned heat treatment to create a predictable network of strain lines within its bulk, so when it breaks, it does so in little uniform cubes with roughly 90° angles. This is much safer and easier to clean up than even the old-fashioned tempered glass, not to mention a normal non-tempered one. Tempering glass also has the added benefit of making glass generally even sturdier than it normally is.
  • To make harmless glass for live-action works, rubber glass (a.k.a. Siliglass) is used as a prop. It bends before it breaks, but looks like convincing glass shards when snapped.


Video Example(s):


The Princess Peach glass

Mario breaks through the glass to proceed through the ship and neither him nor Bobby show any sign of hurt from shards.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SoftGlass

Media sources: