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Staircase Tumble

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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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  • Played for laughs in an advertisement for tomato sauce. A woman in a taxi is struggling to get sauce out of the bottle, so she tells the driver to drive down a flight of stairs; the vibration helps the sauce leave the bottle.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: In Chapter 60, Rentarou tumbles down an escalator upon seeing Iku wearing a dress.
  • Played with horribly in Another. Twice:
  • Black★Rock Shooter: Kagari deliberately drops herself down the stairs at Yomi's house to force Yomi to stay be her side further.
  • 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.)
  • 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 common cause of injuries or death in Case Closed:
    • 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 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Nobita from Doraemon has fallen down the stairs many times with comedic results.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji is washing the stairsnote  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.
  • Ninja Slayer: Cockatrice falls down many flights of stairs after the eponymous character slices his hands off.
  • 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.
  • Zoro's rival Kuina died by falling down a flight of stairs while carrying an unsheathed katana in One Piece.
  • 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 arc 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • 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.
    • 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.

    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.
    • Tintin and the Picaros: As Bianca Castafiore arrives by jet in Tapiocapolis, a television broadcast announcer introduces Thompson and Thomson as "two certified detectives, always on the alert, always following discreetly in her footsteps." The accompanying footage shows the duo clumsily tumbling down the steps, dropping their hats and canes in the process.
  • 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 
  • Happened to Calvin in at least two Calvin and Hobbes strips; one where he turned into a Human Slinky, and another where the act of falling down one step is dramatized with the Ghost in the Machine, showing numerous tiny Calvins controlling Calvin bracing for impact.
  • 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 
  • Anger Management: Discussed when Lynn lies that she got her injuries falling downstairs.
  • The Boy Who Cried Idiot: Martin climbs onto Lincoln's back, causing them both to fall downstairs.
  • Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash ends with Harry falling down the stairs for the rest of the summer.
  • Leviathan in Manehattan's Lone Guardian, owing to her bipedal status and preference for high-heeled boots, has this happen to her enough times that a reference to this page's quote is eventually made. Her patron finally decides to get some remodeling done to keep it from happening again.
  • This happens to Chris is a running gag in Sonic Movie Madness.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the Wind in the Willows portion of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Toad, in disguise as an old woman, is trying to escape from the police after breaking out of jail, when he's suddenly accosted by a police man initially thinking he's caught Toad, only to be fooled by the disguise. When Toad tries to casually walk away, the chain of the ball-and-chain he's been hiding for a bustle in his dress falls out, and when he attempts to kick it out of sight, the ball falls out as well and starts dragging him down some nearby stairs. Humorously, Toad doesn't so much as tumble down the stairs and more actually bounces up and down on the ball while being pulled down, until eventually it pulls him crashing through a wall at the bottom.
  • A non-malicious example: in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Sam pushes Flint down the bouncy stairs in the Jell-O Castle.
  • One of the mannequins in Club of the Discarded attempts to walk down the stairs a few times. This trope happens because of its rigid limbs and posture unable to properly climb down the stairs.
  • Punch-Clock Villain Kronk survives doing this at one point in The Emperor's New Groove: "Back! Elbow! Shoulder!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • At one point in The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Mayor of Halloweentown falls down the front steps to Jack Skellington's house.
  • 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...
  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town uses this to kickstart the main conflict. Burgermeister Meisterburger trips on a toy while descending the stairs outside his home, breaking his leg in the process. This causes him to ban all toy in retaliation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Anon: The detective is in pursuit of a master hacker, who hacks into his eye implants and makes the detective see a fake landing on the staircase he's running down, causing him to trip and fall painfully.
  • 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 The Beast with Five Fingers, Francis is killed when his wheelchair crashes down the stairs in his mansion.
  • Beetlejuice: Betelgeuse causes Charles Deetz to tumble down the staircase during his attack in giant snake form.
  • In Black Rat, Akane trips over Misato's fire bucket and falls down stairs; ending up impaling herself on her machete.
  • Carl from The Blue Iguana once fell down some stairs headfirst while working with Vince, requiring him to wear a neck brace. He's hated Vince ever since, even though Vince insists it wasn't his fault.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Busting: During one Chase Scene, Keneely and Farrel run down a stairwell so quickly that Keneely tumbles partway down each flight.
  • Carlito's Way: While kicking Benny Blanco out of his club, Carlito warns him to never come back with an Implied Death Threat, but this does nothing but infuriate Benny into threatening him back, prompting Carlito to roughly slap him, sending him rolling painfully down a narrow stairway.
  • Clownhouse: When Casey and Geoffrey are confronted by a Monster Clown in the attic, Geoffrey hits him repeatedly in the head with a piece of timber, forcing him to back up. As he does so, Casey kneels down at the top of the stairs. The retreating clown trips over him and takes a fall down the stairs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Eyes of Laura Mars, one of the victims falls down a flight of stairs after she is stabbed.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes: Abusive husband Frank kicks his pregnant wife, Ruth, in the back at the top of the stairs as she goes to leave him, sending her tumbling all the way to the bottom.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gore Orphanage has Esther die in this manner. It initially seems accidental, but is later revealed to be homicide.
  • In The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery, John Egan is a He-Man Woman Hater who refuses to have women even tangentially involved in his work. He drunkenly confesses to George that his misogyny comes from experiences with his abusive mother, whom he eventually murdered by pushing her down a flight of stairs.
  • 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.
  • This is how Giselle dies in The Haunting of Whaley House.
  • Home Alone: Both of the Wet Bandits fall down icy cement steps. Harry falls off the front porch steps (twice!) while Marv slides down from ground level to basement level.
  • 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.
  • 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 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!
  • Infamous (2020): When his father attacks Arielle, Dean throws him off her. The older man falls down the staircase and breaks his neck.
  • The Innocent (1994): When Barlow is rushing Gregory out of Coleman in a wheelchair for Gregory's protection, he accidentally knocks into a man pushing a cart, sending the man and the cart down a flight of stairs. The man is annoyed, but apparently uninjured.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.)
  • In the 2004 version of The Ladykillers, the General attempts to kill Marva Munson after she uncovers the plot to rob a casino dry. Since she hates smoking, he keeps his cigarette in his mouth whenever he's in her presence, including when attempting to murder her. This proves to be a problem when her cuckoo clock goes off and startles him into swallowing the still-lit cigarette, causing him to grab the nearest glass of water to put it out. He then gets startled again when he sees her dentures in the glass while drinking from it, and rushes out of the room; upon doing so, he trips over her cat and falls down the stairs, fatally breaking his neck.
  • 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.
  • In The Lost Weekend, Don loses his balance on the stairs to Gloria's apartment and tumbled all the way down.
  • Manila in the Claws of Light: Ligaya allegedly fell down the stairs and died, but it is implied that she was pushed by Ah-Tek.
  • 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.
  • Happens at the end of Hitchcock's remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much.
  • 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.
  • 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 Monster Party, Ollie suffers Death by Falling Over when he gets knocked backwards down a flight of stairs and breaks his neck.
  • In Mr. Ricco, Ricco and Steele tumble down a flight of stairs during their fight.
  • Done offscreen (but still hilariously) by Priscilla Presley in The Naked Gun in a spoof of the Grand Staircase Entrance in Farewell, My Lovely.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pool of London: Having already sapped the watchman with a blackjack, Vernon shoves him out of the way when he revives and tries to stop him escaping. The watchman falls down the marble stairs, hitting his head again. He later dies of his injuries.
  • 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 Repossessed, the vengeful voice of Satan shocks Father Majaii into falling down an incredibly long staircase.
  • 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.
  • This is the way Nomi claws her way to the top in Showgirls.
  • In The Skeptic, this is how Beckett's mother died, as revealed in the ending.
  • 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 Sugar Hill (1974), Baron Samedi sticks a pin in Valentine's Voodoo Doll's leg while he's walking downstairs, causing him to fall and break his leg and putting him out of commission for the next few weeks.
  • 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.
  • Swashbuckler: When the lute player attempts to stab Lynch In the Back, Jane trips him and he falls down the stairs; ultimately impaling himself on his Wolverine Claws.
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie: In "The Cat from Hell", the cat trips Amanda as she is going downstairs, causing her fall and break her neck.
  • In the climax of The Terminator, Kyle Reese dies as a result of falling down a metal staircase following a pipebomb explosion.
  • 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!"
  • 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 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.
  • In When Taekwondo Strikes, Huang flips a goon over her shoulder and hurls him downstairs.
  • 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.
  • 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!!!!!




  • 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.
  • Goblins in the Castle: The morning after the goblins were freed, as Karl and William are heading down the stairs, Karl slips on one, his feet flying out from under him and causing him to slide the rest of the way down. Thankfully, he's unharmed. William quickly discovers the stair was coated in soap, courtesy of the goblins.
  • 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 Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, Jin Guangyao has the misfortune of getting kicked down the stairs three times in his life: the first as a child trying to defend his mother from an angry customer at the brothel, the second when his father orders him to be removed from the Koi Tower, and the last by his sworn brother Nie Mingjue during an argument.
  • 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.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Roys Bedoys Goes to the Hospital”, Roys falls down a staircase and breaks his arm.
  • 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.
  • In the Underdogs novel Acceleration, Pearce lunges at Jack with a knife. Jack doesn't have time to do anything but raise his rifle to block the knife, and the force of Pearce's body causes both of them to fall down a flight of stairs.
  • Prudence Penderhaus: Years ago, Mrs. Shooster attempted to murder her autistic four-year-old, Cassius, by pushing him down the basement stairs. She realized afterwards that she'd actually killed Cassius's neurotypical twin, Andrew, who looked just like him. To cover up her crime, Mrs. Shooster told her husband that Cassius had murdered Andrew due to his violent and uncontrollable nature, resulting in Cassius being raised to adulthood as a Madman in the Attic.
  • In M.R. James' story "The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral," the late Archdeacon Pulteney died this way, in what was universally held to be a "tragic accident." Naturally, it wasn't, and because James' fiction mostly consisted of ghost stories, it doesn't end there.
  • Boots from Cemetery Bird has Childhood Brain Damage from being shoved down the stairs by his father at age six. His heart stopped for five minutes, during which he had a Near-Death Experience in which Jesus and the angels brought him back to life. Ever since then, he's suffered from severe seizures, for which he is heavily medicated.

    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 videos instead.
    • In "Accident", Richie is in a wheelchair, having broken his leg jumping off a chair. He then instructs Eddie and Spudgun to carry him upstairs and hide him in a cupboard, for a game of hide and seek. When they make no attempt to find him at all, he tries to come to them by descending the stairs in his wheelchair, breaking his other leg.
  • 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.
  • The Crystal Maze: In the Aztec zone, Richard O'Brien falls up a very short flight of stairs. Later, he plays a screeching note on his harmonica.
    Richard: It was a cry of pain. You know, I hurt myself when I fell up those stairs, but I kept smiling through the tears. My name is O'Brien.
  • 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.
  • Ghosts (US): Sam gained the ability to see the other ghosts by tripping over a vase moved by Trevor and tumbling down the stairs
  • 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.
  • In the first episode of Good Luck Charlie, Bob trips on a rubber ducky and falls down the stairs which causes him to throw Charlie in mid-air only to catch up her at the end of the stairs. He injured his back in the fall so PJ took him to the hospital forcing Teddy to babysit Charlie while on a date.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Kenan & Kel: The episode "Get the Kel Outta Here" has Roger tumbling down the stairs after tripping over Kel's roller skates.
    Sheryl: Kel, what happened to your roller blades?
    Kel: Oh, I left them on top of the stairs.
    Sheryl: On top of the stairs? That is no place to leave a pair of roller blades.
    Kel: Why not?
  • 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.
  • Little Britain: Lou takes wheelchair-bound Andy to meet a woman who is also in a wheelchair. Andy dislikes her on sight, because she is in a wheelchair. When Lou's back is turned, Andy gets out of his own chair, and pushes the woman away, so that she rolls down a long flight of steps in her chair.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • A Running Gag in My Wife and Kids is Claire falling down the steps.
  • On Our Miss Brooks, Walter Denton's dates with Harriet Conklin often end with him being kicked down the porch steps by her father.
  • Psychopath Diary: Mu-seok dies after he and Dong-sik fall down a flight of stairs.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: The Victim of the Week in "Throwing Down the Gauntlet" is killed when she is shoved down a flight of stairs.
  • Scarlet Heart: Zhang Xiao wakes up in Ruo Xi's body after Ruo Xi fell down a flight of stairs. Everyone assumes Zhang Xiao's odd behaviour is because she developed amnesia after the fall.
  • 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.
  • Sorry!: Timothy ends up accidentally falling down the stairs as he's trying to escape his mother in "Curse of the Mummy". The end of the episode reveals that this is actually the point that it turns into a Dream Sequence.
  • 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.


    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 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: A Running Gag is characters falling down a short of flight of stairs leading into Gobo and Wembley's room.

  • 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 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 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.
  • In :the game: (2008), one segment has the player on a staircase in a looped structure, wherein after reaching a specific spot, the player falls and keeps tumbling on the staircase.
  • Henry Stickmin - Stealing the Diamond: In the Unseen Burglar route, Henry can attempt to Neck Snap a guard on top of him, only to suddenly lose his footing and trip down the stairs behind him.
  • 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.
  • Mob Enforcer has a special animation during shootouts; for enemies killed when atop staircases, they'll tumble and roll all the way down automatically and you can collect their ammo when they hit the bottom.
  • Played for Drama in OMORI: Sunny accidentally 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 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 
  • In Deardrops, Shinichi pushed his fellow violinist Johan down a flight of stairs on impulse, injuring him, due to stress.
  • Yusuke in Girl Chan In Paradise, as a consequence of ATTACKING HEAD ON!!
  • Kazuaki Nanaki, the narcoleptic quail teacher in Hatoful Boyfriend, sometimes comes to the infirmary in the manga with head wounds from falling asleep on stairs. Quails having round bodies, "I rolled, and rolled, and rolled..."
  • Played for Laughs in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies when this happens to Athena in the opening.
  • In the Otome Game, (P)lanets - the life of normalcy has ended!, the main character gains her telepathic powers after tripping down a flight of stairs at her school.
  • In Slow Damage, this trope is revealed to be how Maya, Towa's mother, died. While in the midst of chasing down her son with every intent of murdering him, Towa managed to get her off him, but inadvertently pushed her down the stairs, which eventually killed Maya. In both Fujieda's good and bad endings, Sakaki can meet a similar fate, though the circumstances differ slightly on either ending.
  • In Suika, Sayo almost dies when her twin sister Itsuki pushes her down the stairs, but falls in a coma. Their dad snaps on Itsuki and beats her to death. The Itsuki you see? She was Dead All Along. And Sayo is still comatose.

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: This story has Saki get shoved down the stairs by her sister Gozumi for getting Iketa's attention. The latter takes her time torturing the former and even threatens to do this again if she spoke to Iketa again. However, once she gets caught, Gozumi herself falls down the stairs as she ran off gloating about how she will ruin them.
  • Gossip City: Kaori shoved Yuria down the stairs for dismissing her threats. Luckily, Yuria didn't suffer major injuries, but she had to face with Kaori at 7:00 in the park with the latter's thugs.
  • Manga Soprano: Hidemi shoved a pregnant Erica down a flight of stairs thinking she was the one who "stole" Alto from her. However, her plans are foiled because Kanade (who was also pregnant) was in the way and catched Erica at the right moment.

    Web Comics 
  • Used in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja; he gets scared by some cobwebs, trips, and falls down the stairs.
  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: Bruce ends up on crutches after falling down the stairs. Given the way he landed he's lucky he didn't have a more serious injury to his neck.
  • Dave of College Roomies from Hell!!! tried to commit suicide by falling down the stairs. The end results were much more entertaining.
  • Death Of A Pop Star begins when Sophie Lim is shoved down the stairs, which should have caused her to die. She pleads with the Grim Reaper, who will let her live if she agrees to become his fiancée. She does, and she wakes up after a week-long coma with no memory of the arrangement. However, the universe attempts to get her killed in several contrived ways for cheating death.
  • 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.
  • Whale Star: The Gyeongseong Mermaid: A man sent by Uihyeon's father pokes around Whale Star and is found by Nokju. As she runs up the stairs to call for help, the man pulls her down, causing her to fall and die of a head wound.
  • xkcd: Black Hat rides to the top of the country's longest escalator and blocks the end with a chin-up bar, causing the people to tumble down like dominoes while still going up. "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.
  • Yumi's Cells: Yumi loses her balance while going down a flight of stairs, but Soonrok catches her by the belly. Unfortunately, that triggers her Weight Woe, and she shoves him away, causing them both to fall the rest of the way down. Soonrok gets a scratch on his left ring finger for his troubles.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The 7D: In "Let's Get Organ-ized", the Dwarfs accidentally knock Lord Starchbottom down a flight of stairs while moving the queen's old pipe organ around.
  • Amphibia:
    • In Marcy's Theme Song Takeover, after she arrived in Newtopia, she's distracted by the sight of being in another world, and ends up falling down a huge flight of stairs and breaking her leg.
    • In "Hop 'Til You Drop", the Plantars proclaim to Anne they'll be able to handle themselves in Anne's world, which is followed by them tripping down an escalator at the mall.
  • In an episode of Catscratch, after Mr. Blik flushed Gordon's lucky claw, the trio gets cursed with misfortune with the first effect being Blik falling down the stairs.
  • 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 one episode of Corneil & Bernie, after Bernie gets fed up with Corneil trying to make him return a watch he found on the street, he chases Corneil around the apartment, that leads to Corneil making a slip and falling the stairs.
  • 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 trip 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.
  • Garfield and Friends: In the U.S. Acres segment, "Kiddie Korner", Aloysius demands that Orson and his friends perform family-friendly Nursery Rhymes. When Lanolin sings Goosey Goosey Gander, she gets to the part where she throws an old man (played by Orson) down the stairs for not saying his prayers. Aloysius is outraged, saying that it's a bad example to set for children, but Lanolin tells him that she's only doing what the book tells her to.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Sock Opera", Bill Cipher hijacks Dipper's body and does all sorts of painful things to it just because he thinks "pain is hilarious". This includes falling down a flight of stairs.
    Bill: Race you downstairs, Pine Tree!
  • In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy Mandy impresses Eris, the goddess of chaos, by making someone fall continuously down an up escalator.
  • 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!
  • The Owl House: In "Labyrinth Runners," Hunter tries to determine whether a flight of stairs is real or illusory. He takes one step to check, clearly expecting the floor to continue... and immediately tumbles down the very real staircase.
    Hunter: Are these real steps, or illusion steps? (scream, thud; pained) Real steps...
  • Phineas and Ferb: "A Hard Day's Knight" makes a running gag out of Candace falling down the stairs of the tower after accidentally getting stuck in the Black Knight's armor.
  • Played for very dark laughs in Rejected, where one of the animator's fake ads shows a baby taking its first steps... right at the top of an impossibly long staircase.
  • 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.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: This happens to SpongeBob in the episode "Can You Spare a Dime?" where he takes good care of Squidward at his house until he finds a new job. He falls down the stairs after Squidward reminds him that he forgot to turn off the light.
    • SpongeBob falls down the stairs again in the flashback episode "Missing Identity" during his morning routine after his blanket falls on him, making him fall off his bed, and gets his alarm clock fall on top of his head. He even does this several other times because Patrick wouldn't say "Hi!" to him even after Squidward told him to retrace his steps if he wants to find his nametag.
  • 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. This is due to A) Skywar's bio stating that he likes to play pranks, B) he has the power to teleport, and C) he's Dumb Muscle so it became memetic among the fandom that his favorite prank is using his ability to teleport to push people down stairs.
  • Wakfu: Evangelyne gets an epic one in the castle of the Cursed Princesses, after losing her footing (again) from wearing high heels.

    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.
  • What happens when stairs, ignorance of the danger of flames and Alcohol-Induced Idiocy meet? This bright idea, apparently. The plan seems to have been to have the man ride a toboggan full of burning alcohol down the stairs and then put it out. Instead, he goes halfway down the stairs, promptly flips the toboggan (ejecting the alcohol onto the walls, stairs, carpet and himself, setting all of them ablaze), then faceplants into the front door and falls out of sight, all while the woman behind the camera seems to heavily underestimate just how much danger her friend's act of stupidity put the two of them in.
  • 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 Sardines, 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.
  • Glenn Shadix, perhaps best known as the voice actor of the Mayor of Halloweentown, died of blunt force trauma from falling down the stairs — making this trope's use in that movie considerably more unpleasant in hindsight.
  • Ivana Trump, first wife of Donald Trump, died from blunt force trauma to the torso after falling down the stairs of her house.
  • On October 2, 2022, a fan fell down an escalator at Acrisure Statium (formerly Heinz Field), the home stadium of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They died from the resulting injuries at the hospital.
  • According to a few sources, like, every six minutes a child falls down stairs in the US.


Video Example(s):


Ripto's Regicide

Ripto attempts to settle the score with Spyro, but ends up slipping and tumbles down the infamously-long stairway of Winter Tundra, each impact heavily punctuated.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / StaircaseTumble

Media sources: