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Throw a Barrel at It

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Donkey Kong dealing with his problems using a tried and true method.
Pauline: Oh no! Please don't beat my random plumber boyfriend to a pulp with your insanely powerful giant monkey arms of death!
Donkey Kong: Hell no! I'm gonna throw barrels at him!

The use of barrels or other large cylindrical objects as thrown weapons. Sometimes these are filled with volatile liquids. Barrels are rather heavy to the average person and can weigh hundreds of pounds when filled. The act of picking them up and throwing them to cause damage is generally left to stronger characters, characters with special equipment or powers, and gorillas.

Typically this trope is implemented in video games. Mooks or bosses might throw barrels at the player's character. Quite often, the thrown barrels can be destroyed before they reach the character by shooting at them. Players' characters themselves may be able to utilize barrels if they fall into one of the categories listed above.

The Trope Codifier is Donkey Kong, and a good number of the examples are homages to that game.


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    Comic Strips 
  • One FoxTrot strip has Jason try to cash in on the success of the new King Kong movie by making his own, starring his brother as Kong (that is to say, he's wearing a Donkey Kong mask). Then comes the action scene: "Velociraptors are attacking! Quick, throw a barrel!"

    Films — Animation 
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Queen Victoria gets attacked by several rolling barrels of vinegar.
  • In Megamind, Megamind trains the very video-game-obsessed new super-hero-in-name-only Hal (a.k.a. Tighten) by having him run a platform course and jump over barrels that Minion (dressed in a gorilla suit) is tossing down at him.
  • Being based on the image source, Donkey Kong throws a few at enemies in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. During the attack of the apes on the human stronghold, a gorilla throws a flaming barrel, again in an obvious gag referencing Donkey Kong.
  • Demolition Man. During the final fight between John Spartan and Simon Phoenix, Phoenix picks up an empty barrel and throws it at Spartan while Spartan is lying on the ground.
  • The characters in Feast try to fight the monsters off with beer kegs, with Donkey Kong receiving a name drop.
  • How the nameless man takes out his torturer in A Fistful of Dollars.
  • The Guns of Navarone. During the battle with the crew of the German E-boat, Andrea throws a barrel at a German sailor.
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: While the two garage attendants are fighting the truck driver Lennie Pike (Jonathan Winters), on two separate occasions one of the attendants throws an empty barrel at Pike.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: A few barrels got rolled and tossed around as improvised weapons while Jack and Angelica fight it out.
  • In The Running Man, Ben Richards picks up and throws a barrel at the stalker Fireball. It just bounces off of him.
  • In Sherlock Holmes (2009), Dredger throws a barrel at Holmes while he's chasing him through a shipyard.
  • In Tintin et le Mystère de la Toison d'Or, while pursued on an old fortress in Istanbul, Captain Haddock sends a few cannonballs rolling down a narrow flight of stairs to trip off the bad guys.

  • Lone Wolf book Shadow on the Sand: If cornered on top of a guard tower in the Zakhan's palace, Lone Wolf can throw a big, heavy drum down the stairs at his Drakkar pursuers, crushing a few and gaining himself a short reprieve.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The 1960s Batman (1966) show
    • In "Ice Spy," one of Mr. Freeze's henchmen throws a barrel at Batman during a fight in Freeze's lair.
    • In "The Foggiest Notion," Batman throws a barrel at one of Lord Fogg's henchmen.
    • "A Riddling Controversy." Batman throws a barrel at one of the Riddler's minions during the final fight scene.
    • "The Spell of Tut." While the Dynamic Duo are fighting King Tut's goons, a goon throws a barrel at Batman but hits King Tut instead.
    • "Pop Goes The Joker." During the fight with the Joker and his henchmen, Bruce Wayne (Batman's secret identity) throws a small barrel at a henchman.
    • "The Thirteenth Hat." During the battle at the end of the episode, the Mad Hatter throws a barrel at Batman and knocks him into a wall.
    • "Batman Sets the Pace." At the beginning of a battle between the Dynamic Duo and the Joker's gang, the Joker throws a barrel at Batman and Batman throws it back at two of the Joker's minions.
  • The Avengers (1960s). In "Dial A Deadly Number", a strong mook throws a barrel at Steed while they're in a wine cellar.
  • The Bionic Woman episode "A Thing of the Past". While Jaime is battling a couple of thugs in a repair garage, she uses her bionic strength to throw a barrel full of oil at one of them. The barrel breaks open and spills oil on the floor, causing the thug to fall down.

    Video Games 
  • ANNIE: Last Hope have zombie enemies who will attempt flinging barrels at you, which knocks you to the ground when hit. However you can kick those barrels back at the thrower and knock them down.
  • Dark Judgement have plenty of barrels in the factory, military base and streets, which you can grab and fling at enemies for points. Sometimes the muscular foreman enemies will grab and throw barrels on you as well.
  • Goes back to the original Donkey Kong. Mastering the art of barrel throwing is a big part of the Donkey Kong Country games, including Donkey Kong '94, where Mario gets to give the big gorilla a taste of his own medicine. In Donkey Kong Country, barrels are used to defeat mooks (and sometimes bosses), break open secret walls, and in the third installment, get DK coins from aptly named Koins. There are wooden barrels, metal kegs, TNT barrels, wood boxes and most importantly the DK barrel, which serves as an HP refill in all games, either by containing a Kong you lost, or in the two newer games – DKC Returns and Tropical Freeze – as full restores for any lost hearts.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker does this on those occasions where barrels are not used as objects to hide under. Case in point, the Forsaken Fortress, in which barrels are all over the place but are used as throwable objects when the player is not required to sneak past guards.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets you throw both regular and explosive barrels at enemies.
  • Kingdom Hearts. For some reason, it's the only way to get rid of the gold aura around Hercules when you fight him in the first game. In fact, throwing a barrel at any enemy confuses them.
  • House of the Dead. You can shoot them in the air before they hit you too. That's gotta be one badass pistol they gave you.
  • Half-Life 2:
    • The game has exploding barrels as weapons by Civil Protection. They roll them at you from the top of stairs and from the sides of a canal you're traversing, and even later, when you're in the airboat; the latter case has the added danger of barrels instantly exploding if you ram into them fast enough. Naturally, a key strategy is shooting the barrels before they get close enough to you to do damage.
    • Furthermore, using barrels as simple projectile weapons is an option for the player once you obtain the Gravity Gun. Zombies that encounter a barrel between themselves and the player will toss the barrel at him for more damage than their usual melee swipes. This is an unscripted behavior, unlike the flaming barrel ambushes by the metrocops, which are all pre-planned.
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii has them on some levels, working in the same way as the Donkey Kong Country games.
  • Every Super Smash Bros. game. Like every other container in the series, they also have a tendency to explode on impact. As noted above, Donkey Kong mastered barrel throwing long ago and is the only character that isn't slowed by carrying heavy items such as barrels.
  • The Borderlands "Zombie Island of Dr. Ned" DLC introduces Suicide Zombies and Badass Tankensteins, whom both carry explosive barrels on their backs. If they get close enough they will throw them at you, but you can safely shoot them down mid-air. Suicide Zombies carry only one, while Tankensteins have an unlimited supply.
  • The Russian in The Punisher video game throws those at you. Since he is a bullet-proof Puzzle Boss, the answer is to detonate them in his hands.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla put a Mining Charge on a yellow barrel for a bigger explosion. You can also put them on tiny blue ones, then throw them.
  • Crysis: Of the various ways you can kill the Big Bad, this trope is one of the more satisfying ways to do it. Proof.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, throwing objects (including barrels) at enemies is Silver's main fighting mode. In Sonic Unleashed, throwing water-filled barrels is the only way to defeat certain fiery enemies in the werehog levels.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, there's a scene where you knock barrels down from a church attic to stop the bad guys chasing after Aeris.
  • Barrels (as well as just about every piece of breakable world geometry) can be snagged and thrown at the enemy with the Whip in Dawn of Mana.
  • Robots in the Sargasso Space Hideout in Star Fox: Assault will throw metal barrels down on you as you're trying to walk up a ramp, but you can easily shoot them to pieces if you're careful.
  • Area 6 in Bionic Commando has barrel-throwing soldiers. D1 Beetle, one of the bosses in the Rearmed remake, requires you to throw barrels at it to expose its weak point.
  • In Double Dragon, the Rowpers and the Abobos (as well as the Lee Brothers) can lift and throw oil drums among other large objects. Double Dragon Neon also has Exploding Barrels, whose blast can cause severe damage to you as well as the enemies.
  • ANNIE: Last Hope have zombies in the Arctic stage who hurls rolling barrels at you, but you can send them rolling back with a well-timed kick. Doing so knocks down rows of enemies in an instant allowing you to deal with multiple zombies easily.
  • In Game Boy's Kung Fu Master, third boss Strongman does this to attack. In Spartan X 2, his Expy Billy Beiry switches to throwing boxes, but the previous stage Mooks still resort to the good ol' barrel.
  • Gunfighter: The Legend of Jesse James: In the second game, confederate brutes attacks Jesse while he's crossing a canyon on horseback by flinging barrels.
  • Lethal Enforcers 2 have you battling the second boss, who's at the back of a wagon full of explosives and driving uphill, at which point the boss will lob the barrels at your direction. He's actually one of the easier bosses in the entire series, due to his barrels being relatively slow and can be blown up by one shot, and he lobs only a single barrel each time.
  • A bonus stage in the original Street Fighter II consists of the player character having to smash barrels thrown at him/her from all directions. Later reused in some of the Street Fighter EX games.
  • A stack of barrels are usually found and thrown against the player during certain sections in the first stages of Time Crisis 2. At the beginning of the second area, you have to shoot and dodge through a cascade of rolling barrels.
  • The only obstacle in the level Toxic Waste in Crash Bandicoot (1996), aside from the titular toxic waste, are oil barrels thrown by Pinstripe’s mafia goons. Later in the level, they start bouncing, adding an extra layer of complexity. One of the Aku Aku hints in the Japanese version even lampshades this trope’s prevalence in video games.
  • Some enemies in Area 51 (the Light Gun Game) throw Exploding Barrels.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution features throwable exploding barrels and gas canisters. On the plus side, they easily kill/knock out enemies with little to no effort on your part. On the downside, you get no EXP. This is, however, the best way to take out the first boss if you don't have a combat build.
  • DUSK-12 sees you playing as a Super-Soldier with Super-Strength to boot. As you can't use firearms for some reason, instead your main ranged attacks have you grabbing barrels and flinging them at enemies you can't reach, including a boss battle against a helicopter in a port full of flingable barrels.
  • In the NES version of Captain America and the Avengers, the Mini-Boss Dynamite Napalm throws oil drums, which have to explode in his hands to make him vulnerable.
  • In Virtua Cop 2, Wolf's primary attack as the Beginner stage boss, besides firing Painfully Slow Rockets, is to throw a barrel at you; you must shoot it out of the air before it hits you. When you get him one shot away from death, he'll throw a van at you instead!
  • Growl: The player can lift and throw barrels, among other large objects, at enemies. The red barrels are actually explosive that detonate when thrown.
  • Final Fight: Bred and his head swaps can kick oil drums towards the player, causing them to roll into the ground.
  • This is one of the many ways Frank can kill zombies in Dead Rising.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • In a pretty clear Shout-Out to Donkey Kong, one of the encounters in the Stormstout Brewery dungeon in the Mists of Pandaria involves jumping onto rolling barrels to aim them at the boss — a giant monkey.
    • Players of Brewmaster monks often initiate fights by throwing an exploding keg at enemies.
  • In Goof Troop, the way to kill enemies is to throw the nearest convenient object, which will likely be a barrel, at them.
  • Sly Spy has some Giant Mooks who carry and throw barrels.
  • Monkey Kong's main method of attack in Something Else. Used to reference Donkey Kong.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Marzipan becomes possessed by Lady Crate Ape and starts throwing crates at everyone who walks by.
  • In Robo Army, barrels frequently obstruct the streets. Of course, they're there for players to pick up and throw at enemies.
  • While Dark Castle doesn't have actual barrels, there is a henchman in two of the levels that will lob boulders at you in this manner. The sequel, Beyond Dark Castle has a level set in a brewery, so actual barrels do get thrown there. You can even whack them out of the air with your held weapon if you time it right.
  • The Pirate Skirmisher in the multiplayer game Pirates Vikings and Knights has a powderkeg strapped to his back. Using the primary fire key, he can light the fuse and wait for the perfect moment to throw the keg, ideally killing multiple enemies at once. The keg also deals Scratch Damage if you throw it in someone's face.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon had some levels with barrels, including one Bentley the Yeti sequence where giant mooks were throwing barrels downhill and you had to spin them away if they were Exploding Barrels and just smash them if they weren't.
  • Destroy All Humans!. During Crypto's battle with General Armquist, Armquist will use his mecha suit to attack Crypto by throwing barrels of gasoline at him.
  • Claw: The titular pirate captain can pick up and throw barrels filled with gunpowder, whereupon they explode on impact with the ground (but not with walls or the ceiling).
  • Point Blank 2 has a stage where barrels are being thrown by an unknown off-screen entity at Dr. Dan and/or Dr. Don, and you have to protect the mascot representing you until time runs out. If a barrel hits either of them, the poor sap goes flying towards the camera.
  • In Cadillacs and Dinosaurs you can pick up wooden barrels and oil drums and toss them a short distance, knocking down anyone in their path. Its main use is preserving the powerups within for when they're actually needed, as per the usual Beat 'em Up formula, it's impossible to backtrack after the screen scrolls forward.
  • Haggar in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite gets a new special move where he throws a barrel to help round out his grappler-related weakness.
  • Barrels are a Running Gag in the Atelier series, and some games let you use them as weapons:
  • Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure: In the Jaws minigame, throwing barrels at the titular shark is your only hope of survival. Many of them are helpfully labeled "Barrle."
  • Batman: Arkham City: Batman and his foes do this to each other in fights. Bats can either deploy a Batarang or counter the barrel.
  • In League of Legends the champion Gragas's abilities are flavored around his fondness for the magical beer he brews, and he carries a keg into battle so he can drink from it, beat people with it, and for his ultimate attack hurl it at enemies where it explodes.

    Western Animation 
  • The Trope Namer is Dash O'Pepper in "Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet" from Freakazoid! A Race Bannon Captain Ersatz Who spent much of the episode throwing barrels at things, it's unclear where he gets them all from. "Just let me throw a barrel at it!" is his response to a giant robot. And it works!
  • Jonny Quest:
    • In TOS episode "The Sea Haunt," the monster does this to Race Bannon while he's in the ship's Paint Room.
    • In Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures Race distracts a rampaging bull at a rodeo by throwing a barrel at it. He even says "Just let me throw a barrel at it!" while he does it!
    • Given another parody in a faux episode of the original Jonny Quest created by Williams Street back when they ran Toonami (during the Moltar era)
  • The Simpsons
    • A scene parodying Donkey Kong in "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass" has an angry Homer throwing trash cans at a Mario look-alike.
    • A scene in an earlier episode has an arcade with a real gorilla as a Donkey Kong marketing gimmick. The gorilla ends up throwing a barrel at the arcade owner, who exclaims "He's Still Got It!"
  • Futurama:
    • The first episode opens with Fry playing a side-scrolling space shooter game... until he reaches the end, where a giant monkey pops out of a planet and starts throwing barrels at him.
    • Similarly parodied with Mario and Donkey Kong themselves, doing what they do best, in "Anthology of Interest II".
  • Heroes, supervillains, and mooks alike on Batman: The Animated Series are all pretty fond of throwing garbage cans.
  • In Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the group throws barrels at Spider Bytze during their fight with him. They manage to land one in his mouth but he just crushes it.
  • Gravity Falls has this in the episode "Fight Fighters". Rumble McSkirmish chases Robby to the top of a building and starts throwing barrels at him. As Robby runs down, he jumps over the barrels and gets 100 points for each one.
  • In the second season episode of The Critic, "Frankie and Ellie Get Lost", Franklin Sherman drives rather recklessly on his way to the airport. When Eleanor chastises him to slow down he exclaims: "Are you mad? Don't you see what danger we're in?" A quick cut to his P.O.V. shows an 8-Bit Donkey Kong throwing barrels at them. It should be pointed out that Franklin is something of a Cloudcuckoolander at the best of times.