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Sweet Bro: FUCK IM FALLING DOWN ALL THESE STAIRS ...................

Stairs can be dangerous if you misstep and fall down, even worse depending on how long it is. Still, it can be funny, especially in cartoons. Obviously Truth in Television (and unfortunately not nearly as funny).

This is one of the common ways a Fright Deathtrap is used to kill someone. It can be caused by a case of Mind Your Step, but there are plenty of ways to misstep and fall without the stairs containing a trap or problem.

See also Death by Falling Over (a possible result of this), Mind Your Step (a possible cause) and Surprise Slide Staircase (on which people don't accidentally lose their step because the staircase does it deliberately). Creatures or devices that can expect this every time they attempt to use stairs, fittingly enough, Can't Use Stairs.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Nobita from Doraemon has fallen down the stairs many times with comedic results.
  • Played with horribly in Another. Twice:
  • Zoro's rival Kuina died by falling down a flight of stairs while carrying an unsheathed katana in One Piece.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro's father Tem Ray falls down a flight of stairs in his exuberance at seeing the Gundam that he designed and his son pilots defeating Zeon forces in a battle near Side 6. Although his fate is left ambiguous in the TV series, the Compilation Movie later confirmed he did indeed die from falling down the stairs.
  • Kouichi Kimura from Digimon Frontier was mortally injured after falling down a flight of stairs in the subway, while chasing after his missing twin brother Kouji as he was about to take his spot in the "road trip" to the Digital World. There's also a subversion: after the last battle against Lucemon, Kouji and his True Companions find themselves back home few minutes after Kouichi's fatal fall and manage to find him — as he lays dying on the operation table. With The Power of Friendship, they save him.
  • In the Bleach pilot, Orihime died by falling down the stairs of her house. We even get to see her spirit nudging her own lifeless body and asking "it" to stand up. (It turns out it wasn't an accident: her father's ghost pushed her down in an attempt to keep her by his side forever.) She gets better, because the creator had to scrap the pilot and settle for a different version of events due to Executive Meddling.)
  • A common cause of injuries or death in Detective Conan:
    • Subverted in the first OP. Ran is going down some old stairs - but the steps crumble underneath her feet, rather than causing her to trip. Conan grabs her by the hand and saves her, however.
    • In a filler case, the Office Lady Sanae Kouda tried to ask a rich man named Watanuki to not withdraw his economic support to the company she worked on, and he accidentally killed her like this when attempting to push her away from him when they were both standing on his house's stairs; as Sanae was shoe-less at the moment, she slipped up and broke her neck upon stumbling down and hitting the wall. Watanuki buried poor Sanae's body in a space in between a construction site and his backyard to try hiding his crime, but he didn't count on both the Detective Boys (who snuck in to play and saw odd things) nor on the girl's Knight Templar Big Brother Masao (who became a thief, robbed a nearby bank and hid his loot in Watanuki's yard to force the police dig there and find his beloved little sister's corpse).
    • In another filler case, a man trained his dog to do this to a specific victim (a kid who drove his son to suicide via bullying) and in very rigid circumstances (when a clock struck a determined hour and after listening to his owner's voice through a cellphone). He almost got away with it, but didn't count that Kogoro would be called to resolve the case — and Conan, the kid behind Kogoro's success, not only was a very smart sleuth but he also knew John for years, so he took an It's Personal approach to save the poor doggie from being put to sleep.
    • The death that kicked off the "Dissonance of the Stradivarius" (non-filler) case was like this. Years ago, a man named Danjirou Shutara was in a heated discussion with his older brother Chuuichirou over the titular Stradivarius when both were atop of the first's home's stairs. In the middle of the fight, Danjirou fell down the stairs and was seriously wounded. Chuuichirou not only let his own younger brother die of the injuries he sustained, but then he made the family cover it up — to the extreme of also killing Danjirou's Ill Girl wife Chinami so she wouldn't spill it out. "Too bad" he and the others didn't count on Danjirou and Chinami's son Kyousuke coming back for revenge...
    • In the case where Subaru Okiya appeared first, a small building's landlord turns out to have been pushed down a flight of stairs by one of his tenants, after catching him in illegal businesses. And not only that, the tenant sets the building on fire and the landlord gets badly burned, plus his son almost asphyxiates in the fire. Fortunately, both survive and later Conan and the Detective Kids (the son's classmates) help catch the arsonist.
  • Subverted in Sakura Gari. The boarding student Terashima is pushed down a flight of stairs by Souma's half-sister Sakurako for being one of Souma's lovers, but that's not what kills him. Catching fire, however...
  • Averted in Penguindrum. Asami Kuho gets pushed down some elevator stairs by Kanba's Clingy Jealous Girl Masako, but aside of minor injuries she lives to tell.
  • This trope became a plot point in the anime-only Senbatsu are of The Prince of Tennis. Akaya Kirihara from Rikkaidai was at some point found lying injured next to a flight of stairs, and it's believed that someone pushed him down because of his bad in-court behavior and reputation; it's thought that the culprit is Akira Kamio from Fudomine, who has a huge and rather understandable beef with the victim since he severely injured the Fudomine captain, Kippei Tachibana, during a match. Meanwhile the rumors come and go, Kamio is about to be kicked out, and Kirihara refuses to talk about the incident... The culprit? It wasn't Kamio... but Captain Tachibana's sister An, who's working there as a Cute Sports Club Manager. She didn't intentionally push Kirihara, but they were arguing over what he did to the older Tachibana and Kirihara plummeted down the stairs when she lost it in the middle of their fight and tried to slap him, which caused him to lose his balance. The deal is cleared when Ryoma finds one of An's hairpins next to the stairs and confronts the three people involved.
  • Played for horribly creepy effects in Kodomo no Jikan, when 9-year-old Rin seriously considers pulling this on Houin-sensei out of romantic jealousy over Aoki-sensei. Thankfully, she decides against it at the last moment.
  • A Running Gag in The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, where its characters (especially the heroine Emi) exhibit the unfortunate tendency of falling over the staircase leading to Maou's Fortress (actually a small apartment).
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: In the manga, Shinji is washing the stairs note  when Toji starts demonstrating how to secretly perv on the girls, only to find himself staring up the skirt of the furious Class Representative Hikari. He turns to flee from her wrath, only to knock Shinji downstairs with him. Hikari then bundles Shinji off to get patched up while grilling him on Toji's feelings for her.
  • In Candy Candy's Boarding School arc, Candy has a panic attack upon having traumatic flashbacks of her First Love Anthony's death and, while in her unstable state, she falls down a flight of stairs outside the school. Terry Granchester finds her passed out at the stair end and takes her in his arms to the infirmary, where the nuns take care of her.
  • A fall down a flight of stairs is what starts the plot in Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches. Well, technically it's an accidental kiss between Yamada and Shiraishi that starts the plot, but if Yamada hadn't tripped on a step and fallen over Shiraishi, that kiss would never have happened.
  • Played for Laughs in the Act 1 Cold Open of Sailor Moon Crystal, as Usagi, frantic at being Late for School, loses her footing halfway down and performs an extended pratfall the rest of the way, finishing with an Offscreen Crash.
  • Played for Laughs in the ending of one Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL episode, where Umimi encourages Anna to ask out Yuma and shoves her into him, only for the two to fall down the stairs.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V:
    • Shun Kurosaki and Sora Shiun'in's rematch ends when Sora's final attack depletes Kurosaki's life points to zero and knocks him down a temple's stone steps. He suffers broken ribs from the impacts. On the other hand, this gave him enough distance to escape with Serena's help before Sora could imprison him in a card for losing.
    • In Yuya and Reiji's rematch, Reiji's attacks end up knocking Yuya down a flight of stairs. This time, the only thing wounded is Yuya's pride.
  • Ninja Slayer: Cockatrice falls down many flights of stairs after the eponymous character slices his hands off.
  • Private Actress:
    • A girl named Fuyuka Sakuragi dies after falling down a flight of stairs in her school, but her parents believe that she was fatally knocked down by the local bullies so they hire the titular Private Actress, Shiho Kobayakawa, to infiltrate the school and learn the truth. Shiho finds out that Fuyuka was murdered, and her killer was the local Alpha Bitch Kana Juumonji.
    • In another case, Shiho almost gets thrown down another flight of stairs during a filming session. The culprit is Cute and Psycho Satoka Ryuudo, who also happens to be Kana Juumonji under a Secret Identity.
  • In The Heart of Thomas, Juli Bauernfeind tumbles down a flight of stairs twice:
    • The first time, Juli saves another boy from falling instead. He stays indoors while healing so that the boy won't see his broken ankle and feel guilty.
    • The second time, his friend Oskar claps him on the back a little too roughly, leading to a dramatic fall and the discovery of far more serious injuries.
  • In the backstory of Ojamajo Doremi, a girl named Miho fell down a flight of stairs during a round of idol auditions and sustained serious injuries. Miho lost her dream of being a singer as a consequence of the accident; some years later she realised that her daughter Onpu loved the spotlight and was very talented, so she became Onpu's Stage Mom.
  • Ishigami and Iino both end up falling down a flight of stairs in Kaguya-sama: Love is War. The former had tripped and was so depressed over recent events that they didn't bother trying to catch their balance, while the latter (realizing that the former might end up doing something stupid) had gone to check on them and tried to grab them before they fell. Unfortunately, the fact that they were slightly tipsy and wearing rather large heels meant that they failed to pull them back and both tumbled to the bottom (breaking the latter's arm in the process).
  • Exaggerated for comedy in Spelunker is a Sensei, based on the notoriously Nintendo Hard Spelunker video game where the player character is a One-Hit Point Wonder. He often dies in the show, and was once shown deceased after attempting to climb up a flight of stairs. Judging by his position, he somehow died between the second and third steps, or approximately one foot off the ground.
  • In the opening sequence of Ranma ½ Special OAV, "Reawakening Memories", Ranma is in such a hurry to get to school he slips at the top of the stairs in the Tendo home, and tumbles down both flights. Fortunately, he's Made of Iron and he breaks his fall by crashing into Akane at the bottom.
  • Almost happens to Hana in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!, but fortunately Shinichi manages to grab her before she goes down. Still, Shinichi takes the chance to tell her how people can develop climacophobia and become paralyzed and unable to walk downstairs anymore, scaring the wits out of her.

    Comic Books 
  • The second arc of Copperhead has a fight in Thaddeus Luken's house where Bronson kicks Gus down a flight of stairs, snapping his neck.
  • Tintin:
    • The Black Island: Tintin is pursued by the villains and hides at the top of a castle tower. He turns the tables by throwing a large castle stone down the tower stairs, sending the villains tumbling back down.
    • The Castafiore Emerald has a Running Gag involving a broken step at Marlinspike Hall that Captain Haddock keeps slipping on because the repairman keeps failing to show up. Near the end, the step finally gets repaired... only for Haddock himself to come rushing down the stairs, fail to notice the repair, slip on the step and break it again.
  • In what could be the most evil and mean-spirited example of this trope, in Ultimate X-Men, Mr. Sinister introduces the wheelchair-bound Professor Xavier to "the one true enemy of the great Charles Xavier... stairs". The image of this quickly became meme-worthy.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side:
    • A First Contact strip where the first stalk-eyed alien to alight the Flying Saucer makes an upside-down Earth landing at the bottom of the steps.
      "Wonderful! Just wonderful!...So much for instilling them with a sense of awe."
    • Another is captioned "Clumsy Ghosts", and has the invisible ghost tripping and falling loudly down a family's set of stairs, squashing the resident dog upon reaching the floor.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Kung Fu Panda: Master Shifu is putting Po through Training from Hell to encourage him to leave. When Po declares he'll never give up, an infuriated Shifu throws him down the temple steps. And there are a lot of steps (a Running Gag involves the out-of-shape Po having to climb them). Po survives injury thanks to his excessive padding, which comes in handy during his battle with Tai Lung; when they both fall down the temple steps, Tai Lung gets the worst of the encounter.
    Tigress: If he was smart, he wouldn't come back up those stairs.
    Monkey: But he will.
  • A non-malicious example: in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Sam pushes Flint down the bouncy stairs in the Jell-O Castle.
  • Pinocchio did this on stage at the start of his number "I've Got No Strings." Not really injurious, but humiliating.
  • Happens to Curdie from The Princess and the Goblin and puts him out of action at a very bad time...
  • In the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Knight Templar Frollo forcefully takes a bundle from a Gypsy woman thinking it's stolen property (it's actually the infant Quasimodo, and the woman is his mother), kicking her away, and she falls and hits her head (and likely broke her neck as well) on the steps of Notre Dame, which kills her.
  • Mickey's Christmas Carol plays it for laughs - with none other than Jacob Marley! But could anyone expect less when the "actor" behind Marley is Goofy? When he leaves after his Jacob Marley Warning, Scrooge warns him because of a loose step in the stairs a moment too late, and the ghost of Marley trips over, complete with a goofy holler.
  • Punch-Clock Villain Kronk survives doing this at one point in The Emperor's New Groove: "Back! Elbow! Shoulder!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One of the most famous is from 1947 film Kiss of Death, when Giggling Villain Tommy Udo takes an old lady in a wheelchair and pushes her down a flight of stairs to her death in probably the most famous Kick the Dog moment in the movie. (He incorrectly believes that her son has become an informant for the police.)
  • The finale of Executioners from Shaolin ends with the hero, Hung, and villain Pai Mei tumbling down the steps of the Shaolin Monastery. All 600 steps, with Hung surviving.
  • Used (in)famously in RoboCop (1987), where the ED-209 falls down the stairs, unable to pursue Murphy. That's right, the lethal, dangerous, high-caliber robot that can damage Robocop's armor, fire missiles, and is easily the most dangerous opponent in the movie is stopped by a flight of stairs.
  • In the movie Surf Ninjas, during the final epic battle, an enemy mook gets knocked down a flight of stairs that runs up the entire mountainside. He manages to climb back up before the battle ends but gets knocked down a second time. By the time he gets back up again the battle's ended and when told "It's over. Your side lost." He shrugs and willingly throws himself down the stairs again.
  • Hugh Crain's second wife has a fall down the stairs in the prologue of The Haunting (1963). Dr. Markway's narration even points out that no one knew exactly why she fell, but he clearly suspects it was the house that caused it.
  • Home Alone: one of the burglars falls down an icy set of cement steps.
  • I'm Gonna Git You Sucka: as a Running Gag, each time Mr. Big's two mooks Leonard and Willie get captured by the good guys or screw up a mission they're given the option of going out The Window or the Stairs. They almost always choose the stairs, after which the camera cuts to a scene of them being thrown down them.
  • In the climax of The Terminator, Kyle Reese dies as a result of falling down a metal staircase following a pipebomb explosion.
  • Played for Laughs in Easy Living with J. B. Ball.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and his dad escape through Castle Brunwald only to find themselves at a dead end. Indy tries looking for a secret exit; his dad ends up finding it when he sits down and leans back in a chair, revealing a hidden staircase. Unfortunately, Indy was standing right on top of it at the time...
    Indy: *falling down stairs* DAAAAAAD!
    Henry Jones, Sr.: ...a solution presents itself!
  • In Death Becomes Her, Madeleine is pushed down a very long flight of marble stairs, ending in a battered heap at the bottom with her head twisted around backwards. Ernest almost does the same after getting hit over the head with a vase.
  • This is the way Nomi claws her way to the top in Showgirls.
  • Happens at the end of Hitchcock's remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much.
  • Done offscreen (but still hilariously) by Priscilla Presley in The Naked Gun in a spoof of the Grand Staircase Entrance in Farewell, My Lovely.
  • In Repossessed, the vengeful voice of Satan shocks Father Majaii into falling down an incredibly long staircase.
  • In The Smurfs 2, Papa Smurf, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity take one after they enter Gargamel's dressing room, leading to the discovery of the underground lair with the Smurfalator.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when Theoden is healed and Wormtongue is revealed to be an Evil Chancellor, Theoden proceeds to throw Wormtongue out of the palace and down the stairs.
  • The Blues Brothers: Angry over the wayward ways of Jake and Elwood Blues, Sister Mary Stigmata starts whacking them with a yardstick, causing them to flee. Jake is unable to escape the schooldesk he's crammed into and ends up tumbling down the stairs in it.
  • This is how Giselle dies in The Haunting of Whaley House.
  • In The Housemaid, said housemaid, who has been knocked up by the man of the house, is pressured by the woman of the house into tumbling down a flight of stairs and inducing a miscarriage. She later gets revenge by luring their son into falling down the stairs to his death.
  • The first death of a villain in Die Hard uses this trope, when John McClane gets in a brawl with one of the terrorists, before both of them tumble down a flight of stairs. Of course, John, being John McClane, survives, but the terrorist doesn't. It helps that McClane had been wrapping his arms around the guy's neck for the majority of the fight, including the fall.
  • The husband in Death Becomes Her pushes his wife down the stairs. Of course, since she just took an immortality potion, she becomes undead.
  • Unbreakable. Elijah Price (suffering from a condition that makes his bones brittle) is so determined to speak to a man he risks pursuing him down a flight of stairs. He trip and falls, putting himself in a wheelchair and inflicting damage that will require months of physiotherapy.
  • In The Skeptic, this is how Beckett's mother died, as revealed in the ending.
  • Featured twice in Trilogy of Terror II:
    • The wheelchair-bound Mr. Ansford in the first segment is killed when he is pushed down a flight of stairs.
    • In the second segment, Bobby, recently brought from the other side, teleports behind his mother and pushes her down the stairs while yelling "surprise!"
  • Gore Orphanage has Esther die in this manner. It initially seems accidental, but is later revealed to be homicide.
  • In Broken Embraces, Martel confronts Lena, and when she threatens to leave him he pushes her down the stairs. But when she survives the fall, he relents and nurses her back to health.
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner (see also Theatre). This precipitates the story, as raconteur/personality Sheridan Whiteside, on tour, reluctantly attends dinner at a businessman's home - he slips on the icy front steps, takes a tumble, and spends an eternity (for all involved) laid up in and taking over the house, holding court from a wheelchair.
  • In The Lost Weekend, Don loses his balance on the stairs to Gloria's apartment and tumbled all the way down.
  • Designated Hero Mike Harber inexplicably tumbles down a flight of hotel stairs when chasing a woman in high heels in Wonder Women.
    Bill Corbett: I NEVER FIGURED OUT STAIRS!!!!!
  • In The Uncanny, Janet trips over one of the cats as she attempt to flee the house and tumbles down the stairs, where is mauled to death by the cats.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: After Kristen makes a Super Window Jump out of her bedroom, she finds herself falling down the staircase in the Elm Street house.
  • Girl vs. Monster: Myra attempts to imitate a gymnastics stunt Skyler had pulled earlier and falls down some stairs and breaks her neck, putting her in a neckbrace. Deimata possesses Myra's body, which heals her, but when she exits, Myra is left disoriented and Deimata cruelly blows in her face, causing her to fall down some stairs again. Then, Deimata's partners scare her and she falls down another flight. This time, she's not seriously hurt.
  • John Wick: Chapter 2. John and Cassian take a long tumble down the Scalinata Dei Borgia during their fight in Rome. Later in the museum shootout, John does this deliberately when he has to get down a stair quickly, firing at the man at the top of the stair once he's at the bottom.
  • In Bad Kids Go to Hell, Craig tumbles down the library stairs after being hit in the face by Tricia and winds up being fatally impaled on one of his crutches.
  • In Julia X, The Stranger backhands Jessica and knocks her down the stairs into the basement. In a later fight, Julia jumps on The Stranger's back and causes the two of them crash through the banister and fall off the stairs from the second floor.
  • In The Beast with Five Fingers, Francis is killed when his wheelchair crashes down the stairs in his mansion.
  • In Wish Upon, June falls down the stairs at while fighting with Claire over the box. She is seen lying unmoving at the foot of the stairs, but it is not clear is she alive or dead.
  • In M.F.A., Noelle tries to push Luke away from her at the stop of the stairs. He stumbles backwards, but instead of falling down the stairs, he goes off the edge of the balcony.
  • In Relative Fear, Detective Atwater slips on marbles while running downstairs, falls to the bottom, and is knocked out, leaving him defenseless against the serial killer.
  • In Cradle of Fear, Emma trips on a loose board on the stairs when fleeing the old man's bedroom, slams her head into the wall, and knocks herself out.
  • Necronomicon: In "The Drowned", Edward is climbing the stairs when one of the steps collapses beneath his foot, and he falls all the way to the base of the stairs. This is the first indication that the house does not want him there.
  • The Escapist: After being brutally beaten by Lacey, Tony staggers out of the cells and staggers along the walkway looking for help. Concussed and mostly blinded, he cannot see where he is going and falls down the stairs and breaks his neck.
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie: In "The Cat from Hell", the cat kills trips Amanda as she is going downstairs, causing her fall and break her neck.
  • God Told Me To: When Mrs. Phillips tries to stab Pete, he struggles with her until she falls down the stairs. She's so badly injured that she can't finish choking out "God told me to" before she dies.
  • In Body, the girls attempt to flee when Arthur catches them in the mansion. He grabs Holly at the top of the stairs, but she pushes him and he falls down the staircase.
  • Dominick and Eugene: Mikey's abusive father tries to lock him in the cellar as a punishment. When Mikey resists because he's scared, his father shoves him through the door so that he falls down the stairs. He hits his head and dies at the hospital a few hours later.
  • In Monster Party, Ollie suffers Death by Falling Over when he gets knocked backwards down a flight of stairs and breaks his neck.
  • In Massacre at Central High, Oscar blocks Harvey's way up the stairs. When Harvey says, "Come on, Oscar, let me by," Oscar shoves him down the stairs, sending his books flying.




  • The Book of Margery Kempe has the husband of the titular character fall down the stairs and getting heavily wounded by it, and potentially mentally challenged. He dies.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath: in Seeker's Mask this is the inevitable result of Jame trying to storm off down a spiral staircase while wearing the hobbled skirt of a Proper Lady. The response of those watching is Oh, No... Not Again!, implying this isn't the first time. Fortunately her previous adventures as a thief have taught her how to take a tumble with minimal injury.
  • Circleverse: In The Will of the Empress, the Empress takes down Tris, the strongest mage of the quartet, by having her chief mage magically cause Tris to fall down the stairs in a way that will seriously injure her without actually killing her.
  • It happens to Laura Carpenter in Adele de Leeuw's novel Clay Fingers. Laura's backing up to look at herself in a mirror in an upstairs hallway.
  • Happens at least twice in Discworld, once in Men at Arms (Lance Constable Cuddy) once in Hogfather (Mr. Brown). In both cases the staircases were long ones.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: In Dragondrums, Piemur takes a nasty spill while running up stone stairs, "courtesy" of some of his fellow apprentices "thinking" it would be funny to grease some of the steps (this bunch had earlier shown a taste for nasty pranks against him, such as "anointing" his belongings with bodily wastes while he was away).
  • Elemental Masters: In Reserved for the Cat, Thomas describes how he killed the Elemental Master who trapped him in a cat's body by tripping her at the top of a steep marble staircase.
  • Before Fancy Apartments, actually starts, Mrs. Fyfield is hexed to tumble down a staircase, spraining her leg. Stan the ogre also falls down one, but being rather tougher, just gets banged a bit.
  • The first death in The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs."
  • This happens to Katie's grandmother, Mrs. Welker, in The Girl with the Silver Eyes, by Willo Davis Roberts. At one point, Katie thinks that she's suspected of pushing her, which she did not do.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett miscarries her fourth pregnancy (ironically, the only one she was actually pleased by) after falling down the stairs.
  • In Mr. Men: Mr Bounce and Mr Wrong fall both fall down the stairs in their houses.
  • In My Sweet Audrina, four characters (Ellsbeth, Billie, Audrina, and Vera) fall down the stairs (or more accurately, Vera shoved the first three), with only Audrina surviving.
  • In the Sweet Valley Twins book Left Behind, this happened to a girl who had been left alone for the week while her father was away on business and his girlfriend flaked out on watching her to go off pampering herself. Played for Drama full stop as this nearly kills her and her father is horrified to discover how his girlfriend has been treating his daughter.
  • In Robert Cormier's book We All Fall Down, a girl arrives home to find a gang of delinquents trashing her house and is subsequently pushed down the cellar stairs. The attack leaves her in a coma.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Adventures of Superman episode "The Evil Three", when one of the villains finds the wheelchair-bound woman helping Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, he pushes her wheelchair down the stairs.
  • Angel: In "Forgiving", while interrogating Corrupt Corporate Executive Linwood, Angel ties him to a chair and drags him up the stairs, then lets him go.
  • Bottom. After getting hold of a video camera and deciding to make a documentary, Richie tries to do a Walk and Talk down a staircase, loses his footing because he's not watching his feet and ends up tumbling down the stairs and going headfirst into the toilet. So they decide to make home accident videoes instead.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: How Marcie tried to kill Harmony in "Out of Mind, Out of Sight". Dawn does this to a rival in "Him". Buffy apparently kills her mother's boyfriend this way in "Ted", but he turns out to be Not Quite Dead.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "Black Widow", the eponymous Black Widow arranges for her new husband's Creepy Housekeeper to take a fatal fall down the grand staircase.
  • Doctor Who: In "Human Nature", John Smith (the Doctor undergoing a temporary Humanity Ensues) backs away in the direction of the stairs while getting flustered talking to Joan Redfern, with the expected result.
  • Turns into a running gag in Drake & Josh that involves the latter of the titular stepbrothers tumbling down the stairs due to his own clumsiness numerous times.
  • EastEnders loves this; somebody will trip and fall down the stairs, or be pushed, seemingly every other episode, with the music fading out on them lying very still and us wondering whether they're alive or not, since they may have broken their neck or taken a fatal injury to the head.
  • Father Brown: A woman dies from falling down a staircase ten years before the events of "The Smallest of Things". An attempt to reopen the investigation into her death leads to a murder in the present-day.
  • Fi: Özge's colleague Aylın takes a tumble in the series' premiere episode, courtesy of high heels. The injury is serious enough to put her in the hospital, and she is fatefully replaced with Özge as Can Manay's interviewer.
    • Billur's murder is framed as a staircase accident in season two.
  • In one episode of GLEE, Sue Sylvester pushed a man down a flight of stairs, and when he revealed he was perfectly fine, she walked down to him and pushed him down another flight of stairs.
  • Guiding Light's Annie deliberately invokes this on herself as part of a Wounded Gazelle Gambit/Frame-Up/Revenge against Reva—driven mad when her husband Josh left her for Reva (Josh and Reva being the show's signature Super Couple) and further distraught when she miscarried, Annie kept the dead baby in her womb and made it appear as though Reva had shoved her down the stairs, resulting in Reva being charged with manslaughter.
  • A The Kids in the Hall sketch has a couple going on a trip and leaving their teenage son at home - mom tells him "If you get drunk, do it in the basement so you don't fall down the stairs!"
  • Legends of Tomorrow "DoomWorld" combines this with Cherry Tapping. Sara ends already laughably one-sided fight with Felicity by pushing her down a flight of stairs.
  • The Magician: In "Man on Fire", a female Con Man fakes a fatal staircase tumble as pat of a plot to convince The Mark that he is a murderer.
  • On episode 262 of ABS-CBN religious-themed television series May Bukas Pa, Tilde pushes Santino into a flight of stairs while she insists to heal her colon cancer, causing his head to hit pretty hard on the floor thus, causing him to lose consciousness.
  • Midsomer Murders:
  • Motive: The Victim of the Week in "The Dead Hand" breaks her neck when she is shoved down a flight of stairs in the killer's basement.
  • A Running Gag in My Wife and Kids is Claire falling down the steps.
  • The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years: During Miss Piggy's introduction, she begins to descend a glowing staircase before taking a tumble.
    Waldorf: It's an astronomical event!
    Statler: Yeah, a falling star!
  • On Our Miss Brooks, Walter Denton's dates with Harriet Conklin often end with him being kicked down the porch steps by her father.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: The Victim of the Week in "Throwing Down the Gauntlet" is killed when she is shoved down a flight of stairs.
  • Scream Queens (2015): Chanel pushes Hester down a flight of stairs after discovering Hester's plan to steal her boyfriend by intentionally getting herself pregnant... right after exposing her first Fake Pregnancy. The scene was Played for Laughs until she she went limp... but because of her neckbrace, Hester survived.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "Living Doll", Erich Streator falls to his death when he trips over Talky Tina on one of the steps when walking down the stairs.
    • In "Uncle Simon", Barbara Polk pushes her uncle Simon back when he raises his cane to hit her. He falls down the stairs, breaks his back and soon dies. She later attempts to destroy the robot by pushing him down the stairs but it survives with only a damaged leg.
  • The Untamed: Jin Guangyao gets kicked down the stairs of Koi Tower twice. It doesn't end well for the people who kicked him.
  • Velvet: Cristina does this to Ana to try to induce a miscarriage. She fails.
  • Vera: The murderer shoves Joe down a flight of stairs when he discovers the prisoner in the cellar in "The Crow Trap".
  • One clip on World's Dumbest... features a girl attempting a Grand Staircase Entrance in her prom dress when she trips and falls down the stairs.
  • Harry Hill's TV Burp gleefully extended a scene from Eastenders in which the heavyset Heather laboriously climbed up several flights of stairs in a block of flats by having Harry accidentally bump her at the top and making her fall right back down them again, accompanied by the sound of crashing piano keys and Harry running down after her shouting "Ev! Ev! Ev!" (a reference to another scene he'd made fun of earlier in the same episode). Thanks to her momentum "Heather" then rolled out into the street... only to be run over by the guy from One Man and His Campervan, a BBC Two series Harry had also made fun of in the same episode. (Video clip below.)


    Nursery Rhymes 
  • "Goosey Goosey Gander":
    There I met an old man
    Who wouldn't say his prayers,
    So I took him by his left leg
    And threw him down the stairs.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • The Navy Lark: When Pertwee and Johnson get stuck on a lighthouse, this is how poor Able Seaman Johnson always ends up getting down from the top. Pertwee of course, taking an inordinate delight in sending him up there for various reasons.

    Stand-up Comedy 
  • Demetri Martin joked that he once tripped and fell down an escalator:
    I fell down the stairs for four hours!

  • In The Cherry Orchard, Trofimov falls down the state's stairs after a fight with Madame Ranyevskhaya. He's mostly fine later, though.
  • Noises Off: Two characters suffer this at different points in the final act. Despite the play being a farce, they are both pretty banged up by the experience.

    Urban Legends 

    Video Games 
  • In some Roguelikes attempting to use the stairs while confused or carrying to much weight can cause you to trip and fall down the stairs, causing you damage (and hence possibly killing you). A particularly infamous form of staircase related death in Nethack occurs when one falls down the stairs when wielding a cockatrice corpse, which will result in being stoned. Only slightly less infamous is going too close to the stairs while wearing a ball and chain; if the ball and chain touch the stairs, they yank you down them.
  • In Corpse Party, during Chapter 2 of "Blood Covered" when Ayumi is possessed, if Kishinuma decides to do his spot of thinking about how they met in the stairs, she'll do this to him, leading to one of the many horrible deaths the game gives to its protagonists.
  • Probably as a tribute to its Roguelike ancestors, earlier versions of Dwarf Fortress had a small possibility of this happening to your dwarves, leading to spiral staircases being depreciated; once one of them started falling, they'd carry on 'til they reached the bottom, picking up speed all the way, and Ludicrous Gibs on impact were not unheard of. This feature seems to have been removed at some point, however. Still, the stairwells' existence can be a little ambiguous and under certain circumstances they don't qualify as floors at all. Thus, if anyone starts falling in a stairwell, they're gonna keep falling.
  • This was a common way to die in old adventure games, especially Sierra games, which mocked the player for the various ways in which you could get yourself killed by performing ordinary tasks. The King's Quest series is a particularly bad offender.
  • Played for Drama in Omori: Sunny accidently killed his Cool Big Sis Mari by pushing her down the stairs, and then helped his friend Basil pass it off as a suicide. He hasn't coped with it well, to say the least..
  • In the Borderlands 2 DLC, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, Professor Nakayama falls down a digistructed staircase and breaks his neck right before he is about to face the Vault Hunters in combat. Most challenging boss fight ever.
  • In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, if you get the Golden Ending, Kirby gets a kiss from Ribbon, causing him to blush and twirl around until he accidentally loses his balance and tumbles down the stairs while his friends look on in shock.
  • The sole and entire point of Porrasturvat, racking up as much damage as possible.
  • This happens to Noel and Meru in Super Heroine Chronicle after Claude, dragged by J, bumps into them in the middle of watching a tennis match between several of the girls underneath the bushes, which ends up switching their bodies around too (which is followed by Noel and Meru groping each others boobs afterwards).
  • The Imps in Tsioque have this happen when a larger Imp starts tossing them down stairs like barrels towards the titular princess, falling into the abyss hit or miss.
  • Rakenzarn Tales: When confronted by Corroder in Chapter 8, this is how Kyuu defeats him: dodging his attack, then kicking him down the staircase of the really big tower they're in.
  • Return Of The Obra Dinn: An unfortunate event occurs when four seamen carry a mermaid that has lashed Cook Thomas Sefton to death with its tail. As a result, they lose their footing and tumble down a flight of stairs. William Wasim is not as fortunate as the others, as he falls down head-first into a barrel, snapping his neck and killing him instantaneously.

    Visual Novels 

  • Used in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja; he gets scared by some cobwebs, trips, and falls down the stairs.
  • Dave of College Roomies from Hell!!! tried to commit suicide by falling down the stairs. The end results were much more entertaining.
  • In Rusty and Co., after getting decapitated (for the third time) by Madeline, Ezra the vampiress tumbles down stairs (head first, followed by the rest of her body). She stomps her way back up looking very pissed.
  • Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff: Come on, you already know how this one goes.
    Sweet Bro: i cant wait to be a useless piece of shit all day and play all these games
    Sweet Bro: FUCK IM FALLING DOWN ALL THESE STAIRS ...................
    Hella Jeff: I TOLD YOU MAN
    • Since Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is Homestuck's comic within a comic and in-universe source of Memetic Mutation, callbacks to it occur any time a character falls down a flight of stairs. When Dave gets flung down some stairs, Hella Jeff pops up to declare his legendary warning on the subject. Tavros is warned against traversing any stairs until he gets more practice with his robot legs, and when he does fall (which happens repeatedly... keeps happening, you could say), it's accompanied by the Unsound Effect "HAPPEN". Later on, when Karkat is dragging Sollux to escape a murderous sober Gamzee, they fall down stairs simply from him not looking where he's going, and it's accompanied by "HAPPEN 2x... COMBOB". And later still, Rose falls down stairs while drunk, accompanied by "DRUNK HAPPEN X ROSE...... COMBOBOB".
  • Van Von Hunter: a technoleech shows Asimov, a humanoid robot that can climb stairs, to the evil prince. The prince, offended, climbs the stair after yelling "I can do that!" but trips near the top and tumbles down the stairs, disproving himself once again.
  • In Wapsi Square, both Monica and Tina have fallen victim to this.
  • xkcd: "The stampede lasted two hours and reached the bottom three times." It should go without saying, but Don't Try This at Home. Especially not in an escalator, whose steps are made of metal and textured like a flanged mace. The death toll would be horrendous.

    Web Original 
  • Used in Rejected as a Black Comedy.
  • Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk third episode has successive tumbles on the same slippery staircase by various party members (eventually, all of them).
  • In Doom House, the terrorist falls down a basement staircase when attacked by the Creepy Doll.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In the Strong Bad Email "space program", one of the tracks in Strong Bad's sound effects CD (which the Cheat uses to simulate the weapons when they play spaceman) is "Body Falling Down Stairs".
    • In "Homestar Presents: Presents", Homestar rushes out his bedroom in a rush to get his Decemberween shopping done at 10 PM on Decemberween night. There's an Off Screen Crash, followed by Homestar dryly saying "Oh crap, I fell down the stairs."
  • asdfmovie:
    • Used in #5: "Hey, Bobby! Play that one about falling down the stairs!" "Sure thing, Johnny!"
    • Parodied in #9, with a guy falling up a flight of stairs.

    Western Animation 
  • The 7D: In "Let's Get Organ-ized", the Dwarfs accidentally knock Starchbottom down a flight of stairs while moving the queen's old pipe organ around.
  • Towards the end of Season 1 of Code Lyoko, Jeremie ends up chased by Jim, who's determined to find out what the gang's secret is. Jeremie's so distracted that he lands wrong on one of the stairs, tumbling the rest of the way down. When he lands, he's injured his ankle too badly to stand. Jim is obviously distraught at this turn of events.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "SDRAWKCAB", Dexter gets manipulated into running up and down a flight of stairs, causing his father standing next to him to get dizzy and come tumbling down.
  • In Drawn Together, Princess Clara thinks she's pregnant and submits to a tumble or two down the stairs of the "M. C. Escher Room" in an attempt to force a Convenient Miscarriage.
  • In the Donald Duck short "How to Have an Accident in the Home", Donald is shown to have frequent problems with the staircase, demonstrating just how he falls down on them (each way of falling is even given a name).
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: in episode "Dear Ed":
    Johnny: Wow, Ed, you go down the stairs just like Plank!
  • A major subplot in Family Guy episode "Brian Griffin's House of Payne" when Chris and Meg's misbehavior pushed Stewie down the stairs causing a severe head wound.
    • One cutaway gag shows Bobby McFerrin falling down the stairs, to Stewie's delight..
    • It happens to Peter a lot too, particularly in the B plot of "The Blind Side" after the Griffins get a new staircase installed.
  • In Gravity Falls, Bill does this to Dipper's body here.
  • This is a Running Gag in Jackie Chan Adventures for poor Tohru, always a long spiral staircase that he tumbles down like a giant rock.
  • Looney Tunes is sure to have this for laughs, but three instances really stand out:
    • In From Hare to Heir, just before the final scene, Bugs Bunny just reached the top of a long flight of stairs, clearly exhausted, and Yosemite Sam, in a suit of armor disguised as a statue, tries to take the former's head off with an axe. Bugs dodges, and the swing only throws Sam off balance, sending him falling down the said stairs, cussing along the way.
    • In Porky Pig's Feat, Daffy Duck sends the hotel manager tumbling down the stairs (all the way to the bottom floor!) by yanking away the rug he was standing on.
    • In Knight-mare Hare, Bugs and a knight are in a duel. While the knight on horseback charges Bugs, lance extended, Bugs somehow trips the horse, which falls over, causing the knight to pole-vault (thanks to the lance) up into a tower, and ends up falling down in what must be the tower's stairway given how much noise is coming from the tower, which lasts about ten seconds (the actual fall is unseen since the view is from outside the tower, and the only window is the top one where the knight flew into).
  • The episode "Girlfriendklok" in Metalocalypse has Nathan's girlfriend falling down several flights of stairs, placing her in a coma.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    Pinkie Pie: Take the stairs, silly!
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Rocko in "Camera Shy" when he sees himself "NAAAKEEED" on TV.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "My Sister, My Sitter", a major plot point is that Lisa accidentally causes Bart to tumble down the stairs in his house. The rest of the episode is about her trying to find medical help for Bart while everyone gets the wrong impression that she had beaten Bart.
    • In an early episode, Homer fell down the stairs tripping on Bart's skateboard angering at his son's hallway mess. He spent the first act laying on the couch due to his back pain.
    • A Running Gag in "Bart the Mother" is Homer falling down the basement stairs due to Bart's actions.
    • A first-person one happens in the opening sequence of "Treehouse of Horror XVII", parodying Tales from the Crypt. Another first-person one happens in the "Unnormal Activity" segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXIII".
    • After confusing a copious amount of sleeping pills for yogurt mixings in the "Dead and Shoulders" segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXIV", Homer falls asleep while standing up, falls down the basement stairs, and resumes sleeping at the bottom.
  • Star Wars Resistance: "Into the Unknown" has Kaz fall down the stairs of the Colossus' bridge while reassuring Captain Doza that he and the others can fix the gravity generator and communications.
  • A variation occurs in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) episode "Karai's Vendetta", in which April, after being on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Karai, takes advantage of her momentary distraction to throw her down a set of subway stairs and get away.
  • Transformers: According to TF Wiki, Skywarp's favorite pastime is pushing people down the stairs.
  • Wakfu: Evangelyne gets an epic one in the castle of the Cursed Princesses, after losing her footing (again) from wearing high heels.
  • During Phineas and Ferb's Jousting festival, Princess-volunteered Candace tries a quick escape by ramming tight Black Knight Armor. But causes this then and landing on it.

    Real Life 
  • This is how the seiyuu Kaneto Shiozawa died. More exactly he was at home, tripped and fell down the stairs there, and died hours later of a severe concussion.
  • Bill Bryson ponders the death toll from falls on stairs in his history of domesticity At Home:
    The most dangerous part of the house – in fact, one of the most hazardous environments anywhere – is the stairs. No one knows exactly how dangerous the stairs are because records are curiously deficient. In Britain, fairly scrupulous stair-fall figures were kept until 2002, but then the Department for Trade and Industry decided that keeping track of these things was an extravagance it could no longer afford. The last set of figures indicated that a rather whopping 306,166 Britons were injured seriously enough in stair falls to require medical attention, so it is clearly more than a trifling matter. Even on the most conservative calculations stairs rank as the second most common cause of accidental death, well behind car accidents but far ahead of drownings, burns and other similarly grim misfortunes.
  • English folk singer Sandy Denny died of a brain haemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs.
  • In 1946, British actor David Niven and his wife Primula Rollo were attending a party at actor Tyrone Power's house in Beverly Hills. During a game of hide and seek, Rollo opened what she believed was a closet door and ducked inside; unfortunately, the door led to Power's basement down a steep stone staircase, and Rollo died of a fractured skull and brain lacerations.
  • British actor Michael Wilding (whose claims to fame include being Elizabeth Taylor's second husband) died from head injuries sustained after falling down a flight of stairs in his home while suffering an epileptic seizure.
  • Izumi Sakai female vocalist from the Japanese band Zard died on 27 May 2007 when she fell from the landing of an emergency-exit slope at Keio University Hospital. She was undergoing treatment for a lung cancer that had spread from a previously treated cervical cancer.
  • British stage and television actor Robin Nedwell (best known for playing Dr. Duncan Waring in the Doctor series of LWT sitcoms in the 1970s) died of a heart attack several days after falling five feet off a ladder onto concrete; the heart attack was probably brought on by the injuries he sustained in the fall.
  • British character actor Derek Nimmo was checking an external alarm at his house when he fell down a stone staircase into the basement; the resulting head injuries put him into a coma, in which he remained until his death two months later.
  • H. R. Giger was killed this way.
  • General Thiébault had an impressive but non-lethal fall after a visit to Marshal Gouvion Saint-Cyr: his spurs got caught in each other and he fell down the stairs and right into a glass door. He went home with his head bleeding profusely and only sent for a doctor when his wife saw his face.
  • The apparent fate of Lord Robert Dudley's wife, Amy Robsart, who was found with a broken neck at the bottom of a flight of stairs. It was widely theorized that her husband had bumped her off -- via staircase or otherwise -- in hopes of marrying Elizabeth I.
  • Gerald Ford once fell down the stairs of Air Force One, though he was not hurt and immediately got up to shake hands with dignitaries before anyone could ask if he was okay. He would later claim it was because the stairs were wet from the rain. Although it only happened once, Ford became the butt of humor for a while and he was often depicted in media as clumsy.
  • One of Princess Diana's multiple suicide attempts involved her deliberately inflicting this on herself (though there is also speculation that she may have legitimately fainted and fallen).
  • Apparently, falling down stairs was also what killed German opera singer Fritz Wunderlich. Just a few weeks before his scheduled Metropolitan Opera debut in 1966.
  • In 1981, Kit Lambert, The Who's former manager and Record Producer, died of a cerebral hemorrhage following a fall down a flight of stairs. Others, including Pete Townshend and Tony Visconti, allege that foul play was involved, postulating that he was murdered by a drug dealer he owed money to.
  • Novelist Michael Peterson staged his wife's murder so that it appeared she had died from a fall down a staircase. She was actually beaten to death. Or maybe an owl attacked her... watch The Staircase if you want to know more.


Video Example(s):



If you have a small kid, proofing your stairways are a must.

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Example of:

Main / StaircaseTumble

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Main / StaircaseTumble