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"But in the end, sometimes making an escape is just about being willing to do what the guy chasing you won't. Like jumping off a building."
Michael Westen, Burn Notice

First Rule of being followed: do what your pursuer is unwilling to do. Of course, part of this is to what extent the prey does not want to be caught.

In some cases you can expect someone to say "No One Could Survive That!," because the escape appeared just that insane. In many other cases those following are fully aware that the person survived but are dumbfounded that they are still moving. Especially if surviving that fall was a Million to One Chance.

And if the pursuers do keep on following, the hunted still has the Wronski Feint to fall back on.

If you are feeling particularly ballsy, you can give your hunters the raspberry and issue the challenge of "Go ahead, try and follow me!" If you take the chase into an environment where you have a concrete advantage over your pursuers, you are using Exploited Immunity. If the hazard is a hostile third party, see Give Chase with Angry Natives.

Supertrope to Wronski Feint, Chase Stops at Water, and Aerial Canyon Chase. Compare Briar Patching and Suicidal "Gotcha!". Rarely, if ever, works on the Implacable Man or The Juggernaut. Is very likely to be pulled off at least once by the Ace Pilot.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The car chase in episode 2 of Canaan, making the unnamed taxi driver into an Ensemble Dark Horse.
  • In Case Closed, Shinichi's mother once hung around too long at an intersection and then pulled away at the last possible minute to evade a car that had been surreptitiously following them.
  • This is basically how both Izaya and Shizuo of Durarara!! learned Parkour. Izaya learned it so he could escape and reach places where Shizuo would have to be insane to follow him to. Shizuo was simply insane enough to follow him. Shizuo eventually ends up doing this himself. Instead of letting himself be captured by the Yakuza for a murder he didn't commit, or undermining any chance of proving his innocence by attacking them, he instead opts to escape — and starts with a superhuman climb up a nearby building.
  • In Fairy Tail, Lucy is captured and tied up by the Phantom Lords and held prisoner on a very tall tower. After she kicks the guild leader in the crotch she realizes that there is no way down, so rather than face returning home to her father and/or torture at the hands of the guild, she jumps off the building relying on the fact that she had heard Natsu in the distance and she knew he'd come to save her. Sure enough, he catches her.
  • Played with in Ranma ½. Ranma and Jerk Jock Kunō are staring down in a school corridor, and Ranma declares that "this is no place for a fight" and proceeds out the nearest (third floor) window and Kunō, idiot that he is, jumps right after. While everyone in school gasps in shock (and Kunō himself is horrified when he realizes it,) this is not a problem for Ranma, who's used to this kind of leap. The problem is that Ranma didn't know about the swimming pool right below, and even though he can withstand the impact, it will also trigger his Sex Shifter curse in full view of everyone.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who. In "I, Davros", the title character is assigned to a commando team sent behind Thal lines. Having completed their mission, Davros proposes they evade the pursuing Thal troops in the Wastelands, an area poisoned by the Forever War inhabited by Nuclear Mutants and Dangerous Deserters. The Thals do turn back rather than pursue them, but Davros is the only member of the team who makes it back to the Kaled lines alive.

    Comic Books 
  • Bone has a famous and catchphrase-launching subversion in an early sequence where little Fone Bone is being pursued by giant rat creatures. "Those rat creatures would have to be pretty stupid to follow me on this frail, little branch!"
  • In Sin City, a common technique in avoiding pursuing cop cars is to head to Old Town where they aren't allowed. A civilian car is fine since it's a possible customer for the prostitutes but since the girls have their own rules, a squad car is likely to get blown apart.
  • The Trigan Empire. The heroes are being chased by Lokan hover-tanks, so drive into a cave in an attempt to invoke this trope. The Lokans are brave or suicidal enough to follow, so everyone gets smashed up on the stalagmites inside. The heroes, of course, survive unharmed.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Lion King (1994): Following Mufasa's death, Simba is chased by the hyenas and inadvertently escapes them when he trips into and crawls through a forest of thorn bushes.
    Shenzi: Hey! There he goes! There he goes!
    Banzai: (covered in thorns) So, go get him!
    Shenzi: There ain't no way I'm goin' in there! What, you want me to come out lookin' like you, cactus-butt?
  • Oliver of Oliver & Company proves his mettle to the Dodger by successfully following him all over New York, through chaos, traffic, and construction zones, in pursuit of his share of a string of stolen sausages.
    Dodger: You want 'em? Come and get 'em!
  • The entire "I Stand Alone" number in Quest for Camelot is essentially one extended Try-And-Follow sequence, as our forest-dwelling male lead Garrett attempts to ditch the main heroine Kayley, who ends up having trouble of going past the forest's living plants and trees.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Apocalypto, Jaguar Paw escapes from the bunch of sadistic Maya city dwellers led by Zero Wolf who are after him by jumping down a waterfall. While he feels momentarily safe and taunts them from below, Zero Wolf forces his men to jump (after killing one for merely suggesting to take a detour). They all jump down the waterfall (one more of them dies, this time because his head hits a rock at the bottom of the waterfall), and the chase resumes. This forces their quarry to realize that he can't just outrun them. After all, he is Jaguar Paw. He is a hunter. And this is his forest.
  • In Appointment with Venus, the heroes spirit the cow and her calf onto a Royal Navy Motor Torpedo Boat to take them to Britain. They are pursued by a German E-boat, which they sink when Trawler steers the torpedo boat through a narrow channel and the E-boat—with its deeper draught—rips out its hull on the rocks just below the surface.
  • Batman Returns: Batman heads directly toward a narrow alley far too small to accommodate the Batmobile, then transforms his vehicle until it will fit. The police following him obliviously maintain acceleration right until they crash into the alley.
  • Axel Foley pulls off a less spectacular, but nonetheless clever, version in in Beverly Hills Cop. While driving, he spots two plainclothes cops tailing him. He stops at a traffic light and waits through the green and yellow cycles, confusing the cops. Just as the light turns red, he speeds through the intersection. By the time the cops recover from their surprise and try to give chase they're cut off by the cross traffic.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid jumped off the cliff into the river below to avoid being caught. But that wasn't enough and they learned later that their pursuers would keep after them until they were captured or dead.
  • Probably one of the most popular sequences from Casino Royale (2006) is when Bond is chasing after a bomber who is employing Le Parkour moves to navigate a construction site and trying to lose Bond in the process. Instead of replicating his nimble target's movements, Bond would go for far more direct approaches to navigate the same obstacles, like slamming through a sheet of drywall after his target squeezed through a small, hard-to-reach hole.
  • In the second "Crocodile" Dundee movie, Mick is interrogating a criminal who's tied upside down hundreds of feet in the air when the police arrive. He uses the end of the rope to leap off the building and swing into a window. One police officer suggests they follow him, which is met with utter disbelief.
  • Cube 2: Hypercube. One of the people imprisoned in the Hypercube turns out to be a hacker who is fleeing the Mega-Corp who built it, as it was the one place they wouldn't follow. Turns out she's wrong, as the person she's talking to is an operative sent after her. Knowing it would be a Suicide Mission, they simply used an expendable asset for the job.
  • Subverted in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. When Johnny tries this move, apparently hoping his superior knowledge of the area will pay off, the Surfer phases stoically through the obstacles.
  • In First Blood, Rambo was being chased through the woods and actually jumped from a small cliff into trees to escape.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Imperator Furisoa takes her War Rig into a sandstorm that's a virtual tornado, to (temporarily) escape the pursuing War Boys. Given their Blood Knight nature not all of the pursuers are deterred, but as Furiosa's Big Badass Rig is heavier it survives while lighter vehicles are blown into the air and destroyed.
  • Master and Commander. After being ambushed by the superior French privateer, Captain Aubrey has his crew put out boats and tow Surprise into a handy fog bank, knowing the French won't pursue and risk losing their advantage. Sure enough the privateer turns away, firing one last broadside in a final attempt to inflict damage.
  • The Matrix:
    • In the beginning of the movie, Trinity jumps across a roof to escape an agent. The first time, he follows. The second time, she jumps into a window in the side of the building. He doesn't follow.
    • Subverted when Morpheus gave Neo the ultimatum of either escaping by jumping onto a window-washing platform or being captured by the Agents. Neo chose the second option.
  • Part of the reason Agent J was recruited into the Men in Black was because he was able to keep up with an alien criminal who did this.
    Zed: He's got a real problem with authority.
    Agent K: So do I, but this kid ran down a cephaloid, on foot. That's gotta be tough enough.
  • Mission: Impossible III. Ethan's team in a Huey helicopter try to evade a Cobra gunship by flying through a wind turbine farm. For some reason the Cobra doesn't fly above the farm and fire its missiles (which are heat-seaking) down at them — but then if it did that we wouldn't have a cool scene of the Huey flying between the spinning turbine blades and the Cobra being smashed when it decides to Try And Follow.
  • In National Treasure, Ben Gates evades his FBI detail with a death-defying jump off the flight deck of an aircraft carrier into the river below. The agents following him are advised to "Pursue at own risk." (They don't.)
    FBI Agent: (to his partner) You first.
  • To escape a police chase in Need for Speed, Tobey uses a grassy embankment to drive off a highway and jump over a street packed with traffic. The cops abort the chase rather than follow.
  • The Princess Bride:
    • When Wesley and Buttercup escape into The Fire Swamp to evade their pursuers.
      Buttercup: We'll never survive!
      Wesley: Nonsense! You're only saying that because no-one ever has.
    • He makes a habit of this; see Vizzini's gang climbing the Cliffs of Insanity.
  • In Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, at one point Remo is being chased by a relentless trio of doberman pinschers. He climbs to the roof of a building to escape, but they follow somehow, at which point he runs across a cable connecting the building he's on to another building. He even lampshades the situation by uttering a sarcastic, "Try and follow me now, you bastards!" Two of the dogs leave the roof to find other avenues of approach. But the third dog follows him across the cable.
  • The asteroid field in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Han Solo's exclamation, "Never tell me the odds!" The TIE fighters chasing them also ignored the odds (or more precisely they know they have better odds of surviving the chase than surviving trying to explain to Darth Vader why they broke off pursuit), and they exploded pretty well.
    Leia: What are you doing? You're not actually going into an asteroid field!?
    Han: They'd be crazy to follow us, wouldn't they?
    • See also the following line from Ben Kenobi...
      Obi-Wan: Who's the more foolish — the fool, or the fool who follows him?
    • The Expanded Universe shows that such ploys are such a standard part of Han's repertoire that this trope could be named the "Han Solo Gambit".
  • The most hilarious moment in the film True Lies involves Arnold Schwarzenegger on a horse (borrowed from a mounted city cop) chasing a bad guy on a motorcycle through an improbable array of settings, including crashing through an elegant soiree in a grand hotel. Eventually the villain uses a ramp to do a suicidal leap from the hotel roof... into a rooftop swimming pool a hundred feet away and twenty feet down. Arnold attempts to follow — only to have his horse come to a dead stop and give him an "Are you insane?" look.
  • In U.S. Marshals, the fugitive jumps off the roof of a building, uses a rope to swing over to a train station on the other side of the street, then jumps onto the roof of the departing train in order to evade Gerard.

  • A rock cliff in New York's Shawangunk Mountains bears the name Sam's Point. According to legend, it was named back in the 1700s for Sam Gonzales, who escaped a party of pursuing Indians by jumping off the cliff into the bushes below. There is no record as to whether the Indian chief further guaranteed Sam's escape by looking down from atop the cliff and confidently stating "No One Could Survive That!".

  • In Sarah A. Hoyt's Darkship Thieves, Athena flees through powertrees because she needs something the mutineers won't follow.
  • In the Descent novels, St. John, during a dogfight around Shiva Station, decides to lose his tail by flying mere meters above the station's hull, dodging and weaving among the towers, antennae, and other assorted space station stuff. This absolutely horrifies his co-pilot, who is convinced that they are going to die. Fortunately, they do not. Unfortunately, the pilot chasing them is good enough to follow them.
  • Discworld: In Men at Arms, Sergeant Angua (a w-erewolf) is running from a dog pack on the rooftops. She jumps over a wide street, and the dogs following stop. The leader tells them to keep chasing, and jumps over to demonstrate. It doesn't work.
  • Dune. Paul and Jessica Atreides are able to escape their Harkonnen pursuers by piloting an aircraft into a Coriolis storm, a massive sandstorm with winds over 400 kph. Everyone agrees (with good reason) that they are "certainly dead", which turns out to be a huge mistake.
  • Galaxy of Fear: To take a big ship into an Asteroid Thicket after a tiny agile ship is practically suicide, but Spore does it anyway. And runs into the giant space slugs Tash knew were there.
  • The Machine Gunners. The police suspect the children are hiding the missing machine gun, so try following them to their hideout. Chas enjoys leading them through a swamp and various other places an adult policeman is too big or heavy to follow. He gets a nasty shock when his pursuer keeps following him — because he's actually another child, Boddser Brown.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book story "Red Dog", Mowgli is fleeing the rampaging dogs and jumps off a cliff into a raging river. This is a deliberate subversion, though — he knows they'll follow him, but is setting a trap for them.
  • This sets off the events of Ship Breaker. Nita is the Sole Survivor on the wrecked clipper ship that the protagonist Nailer finds washed up on the shore. It's later revealed that her Evil Uncle was trying to capture her, so they sailed into a city-killer hurricane to escape.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7:
    • In "Pressure Point", Space Commander Travis realises that Blake, having just escaped, will go into the Forbidden Zone despite its automated defenses because it's the last place anyone would look (though Blake is also after the Master Computer the zone is protecting).
    • In "Volcano", Federation troopers capture two of our heroes and hide just inside the crater rim of an active volcano, thinking it's the last place anyone will look for them. Fortunately one of their captives is a telepath and can tell the others where they are.
  • Burn Notice:
    • Explained in the top quote. The show has a "Spy Work for Dummies" narration and in trying to escape some pursuers, Michael jumped down two stories and ran home on a twisted ankle. From a later episode, "You bend your knees, tuck and roll... and just accept that it's going to hurt."
    • In another episode, he said that this is also an effective way to tell if you are being trailed, you take unnecessary risks. If in a car, you signal one way and go the other, speed through red lights, etc. In at least one episode, he notes that doing this is a tip-off to your pursuers that you suspect you're being followed, and gives the variant of driving extremely prudently... signaling well before turns or lane changes, braking and accelerating slowly and smoothly, stopping on yellow lights... until suddenly you do something like pull a right turn from the left lane to leave your tail behind, having lulled them into thinking you'd never do anything crazy like that.
  • Doctor Who. In "The Pilot", the Doctor takes the TARDIS to Australia, then 23 million years in the future on the other side of the Universe, then into the midst of a Dalek war to see if the Monster of the Week will follow. It does.
  • In an episode of Firefly, Wash attempts to lose the Feds on their tail by saying "Let's see them follow us through here!" and ducking and weaving through a narrow canyon. The camera pulls back to show the Feds are simply flying above the canyon and watching them from there. "Oh...I didn't think of that." Then they start with the bombing.
  • Game of Thrones. In "Kill The Boy", Jorah Mormont takes his boat carrying a kidnapped Tyrion through the ruins of Valyria, where any pirates won't dare follow. Although this is mainly due to superstition, there are very real threats as our heroes discover when the Stonemen attack.
  • On Leverage, Parker specializes in this. She has rappelled down the side of a building, base jumped off a building, and flipped off a bridge and held on by her fingertips to avoid pursuit.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Galadriel escapes the City Guards that were tasked to keep an eye on her, by leaping between buildings where they cannot see her.
  • Person of Interest:
    • In "Witness", John Reese and the witness flee The Mafiya into an apartment block controlled by Bulgarian gangsters. The Russian gangsters chasing them have to call their boss to negotiate entry with the Bulgarians, giving Reese time to treat their injuries and find a phone to call Finch.
    • In "No Good Dead", the Victim of the Week is being chased by government assassins, so he throws a bottle at a passing police car so he'll get arrested.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In the Action Prologue of the pilot episode, Chakotay flies his ship into the Badlands to escape a much larger Cardassian warship, which is damaged by a plasma storm when it tries to pursue.
    • In "Scientific Method", aliens have taken over Voyager and threaten to kill the crew if they resist their medical experiments. Captain Janeway flies the ship on a reckless course between two binary pulsars whose combined gravitational force could tear the ship apart, so the aliens have a choice between risking destruction or fleeing in their own ships. Not being as crazy as Janeway is, they flee.
  • On Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson (being pursued through a shopping mall by "baddies" in a Corvette as part of an "extreme road test"), attempted dodging in and out of several tight spaces in his Ford Fiesta. The 'Vette still gave chase, but it got significantly delayed, and Clarkson eventually made his escape.
    Clarkson: The Corvette is stuck in British Home Stores!

    Role-Playing Games 

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In Call of Juarez: Gunslinger Silas Greaves is after the Indian Chief Grey Wolf. After their first encounter, Grey Wolf flees and you have to follow him through a series of caves and on narrow paths leading down a cliff face. You have to do a number of 'Leap of Faith' jumps to get from one rock shelf to another and when you finally catch up to Grey Wolf, you end up walking straight into a major ambush. After all this, Grey Wolf still manages to escape and you never see him again.
  • In Heavy Rain, Ethan can escape from the police by jumping off a building and hijacking a taxi. It's not clear why this works though, since the police have a helicopter.
  • The dam jump of The Fugitive is homaged in, among many other things, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, where Snake does the same to escape Ocelot, whose response to this is "Don't you die on me yet..."
  • The many chase setpieces in both Outlast games are usually broken up by the Player Character performing a jump across a long gap or some other similar maneuver, so the pursuers are unable to follow.
  • Path of Neo allows you to pursue the first option described in the second The Matrix example above, and see what could have happened. They might catch you anyway, but if you're good enough to escape them, Trinity is waiting outside on her motorcycle and will instantly take you to Morpheus.
  • Q*bert: One way to escape Coily the snake is to jump off the edge of the board onto a spinning disc. Coily attempts to follow and plummets to his doom.
  • When playing games such as Snake or Light Cycles (TRON), getting into tight alleys that your opponent can't follow is a key tactic in advanced play. Of course, one has to be sure they can actually make it through the often tight maze to the other end before someone seals it off.
  • It's possible to invoke this trope in the X-Universe games. If your ship is small enough, you can do things like fly through gaps in space stations and make tight passes through asteroid thickets. Meanwhile, your A.I. pursuer's collision avoidance programming is likely to force it into going through a wide loop around the object while you continue to open the gap.

    Web Comics 
  • In Girl Genius Tarvek, has a bright idea to run into the Castle Heterodyne. At the time, it's one big insane deathtrap used as a prison not seriously guarded once the prisoners are shepherded into the gate — usually the equivalent of a death sentence. Yes, the guards didn't follow him inside...
    Violetta: Now do you understand what I have to work with?!
    • In fairness, Tarvek was heading into the Castle anyway. Agatha does the same tactic earlier by fleeing into an uncharted corridor that hasn't been mapped for deathtraps. However the mooks end up following her anyway, when their Bad Boss shoots one to encourage the others.
  • In Rusty and Co., Prestige jumps out the window onto a cloud. The pursuing illithid is obviously thinking of this trope. Then he assumes she's got something that makes it solid and assumes that he can follow right after her. He falls right through the cloud and she reveals that she was only pretending to walk on the cloud and was actually using a flight spell.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy:
    • Parodied when Peter and Lois escape from wheelchair-bound cop Joe by jumping over a fence.
    • Another episode has a robber do the same thing. After he got away, Joe went through a Heroic BSoD and quit the force, but at the end crossed paths with the robber again, who tried the same thing, only for Joe to find a way to fling himself over the fence and land on the guy which ended up breaking his spine... killing him.
  • In Invader Zim, when Dib and Zim are driving the planets Mercury and Mars, Zim attempts this with Dib by challenging him to follow him through the asteroid belt. Dib is smart enough not to take on the challenge.
  • Done by The Question in Justice League to escape Huntress and Green Arrow. Question may not have superpowers or extensive martial arts training, but he's very willing to play chicken with a train.
  • Parodied in an episode of King of the Hill: Hank is caught in a car chase with a pimp, and so he waits at an intersection for a yellow light and then guns it. When the pimp runs through the subsequent red light, Hank is shocked.
  • In Watership Down (2018) the escape from Efrafa is on the punt is dropped, with Hazel trying to deter pursuit by taking the rabbits through the "human warren". It doesn't work as General Woundwort, obsessed with vengeance, drives the Efrafans to track them back to Watership Down.

    Real Life 
  • Criminals in car chases will sometimes take really crazy risks (swerving, going in the wrong lane) to get the police to stop following them—an officer's first duty is to protect the innocent, after all. Watch any episode of "World's Wildest Police Chases" or similar shows for confirmation. Of course, with police helicopters, the police can keep the criminals under surveillance until they can get the situation back under control.
    • There is one instance of a guy in a stolen tank leading the police on a merry chase that they couldn't follow directly (mainly because he was in a tank and crushed things rather than going around them); when he tried to lose them by swerving into oncoming traffic, Reality Ensued and the tank got stuck on the concrete lane dividers. Linkage
  • Find yourself a victim of an Incredibly Obvious Tail? Experts suggest the best way to shake your stalker is to jump into traffic. The confusion ensures everyone is paying attention to you, and your stalker won't act with witnesses around. Plus, if you really cause enough trouble, police might take you into (protective) custody. Of course, you might just get mowed over by a car.
  • Standard tactics for small tree-dwelling animals (squirrels, monkeys) when chased by arboreal predators: either climb out to the tip of a branch too flimsy for the pursuer to risk adding its own weight to, or take a wild leap into the next tree and hope the hunter doesn't take the risk.
    • Also a common tactic for reef-dwelling prey species, which may take shelter from active predators by huddling in close to slow-moving yet venomous creatures (anemones, sea urchins, etc) in the hope that the predator won't be as willing to risk a nasty sting as they are.
  • One standard tactic in aerial combat is to try and dive out of the fight if you're outmatched. Diving is the easiest way to accelerate, and if done improperly, brings the risk of exceeding the airframe's structural limits (in other words, you will break the airplane). If pursued, a pilot might attempt to hold the dive as long as possible and pull out at the last second. More than a few times either the pursuing or fleeing pilot ended up either crashing into the ground or ripping a wing off trying to pull out of the dive (followed by crashing into the ground).
  • A common defensive strategy used by aircraft hoping to avoid a fight is to fly Nap-of-the-Earth. This makes them difficult to spot on some types of radar (especially older, less precise systems), gives Anti-Air batteries less opportunity to engage them, and makes it riskier for enemy aircraft to chase them. It is less effective against more modern opponents with advances in radar, missiles, and terrain avoidance auto-pilots negating many of the advantages and simply leaving the pilot with limited room to maneuver if they get attacked.
  • Smaller ships and boats attempting to evade pursuit will occasionally race into shallower waters, given that their smaller craft need less clearance to avoid the seabed or other obstacles. During World War I, the US Navy fielded shallow-draft wooden sub-hunter boats that could race through shallow waters or even minefields which the heavier German subs had to sail around, allowing them to use hit-and-run tactics against the bigger German ships.
  • When drug smugglers started to use go-fast boats, the Coast Guard had their own versions built. However it was pointed out that they were Awesome, but Impractical because a smuggler would be more likely to risk destruction of his vessel to escape a lengthy prison sentence than the government employee piloting the Coast Guard vessel. It's for this reason that such boats work in conjunction with helicopters carrying snipers who can disable the engines of the go-fast boat.


Video Example(s):


Mess With Beef, Get the Reef

When Beef is able to find a spot to catch the herrings, Craig follows them on his boat but Beef is able to lose him by going through a narrow channel that Craig's boat is too big to fit through and decides to take the long way to get to Beef. When Craig finally gets there, his large boat hits a reef which causes his boat to sink.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TryAndFollow

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