Disney Villain Death

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
No one falls off a ledge to his death like Gaston!
"VILLAIN JOB: Crave control of universe, keep nose in air, be either huge or emaciated, collect mortal souls, perish by falling."
"Sum of Their Parts", a fun little analysis of Disney Animated Canon character tropes.
Geez, gravity apparently has a grudge against Disney villains.
—From a Youtube comment on Disney Villain's Defeats

It appears that villains in the Disney Animated Canon have an especially curious tendency to exit the film by falling off or out of things. Unfortunately for them, even though they are animated characters, they cannot defy gravity.

The varied list of things to fall from includes cliffs, over waterfalls, out of trees, and off the tops of buildings. There is at least one case of a Disney villain meeting his end by falling up (off a space ship and into space), once sideways (off the Chinese Imperial Palace by aid of a rocket), and another where a villain falls "out" by being dragged to his doom by demons.

Note that none of these cases have to involve a Climbing Climax, though it may involve a One-Winged Angel transformation beforehand (which is by far the second-favorite trope of Disney villains).

Sometimes, a fatal wound will be inflicted upon the villain just before taking the plunge (whether caused by the hero or by the villain's own actions) just to ensure that he or she is definitely dead. Or, they could have a boulder or similar heavy object falling down with them, or fall into a deadly substance like lava, molten bronze, or even flesh-eating green acid, as water alone won't always do it.

As with other Karmic Deaths, this is often invoked to conveniently relieve the hero of dispatching the villain himself. Heck, they may even cry "Take My Hand!" as they fail to Save the Villain. Their hands left bloodless, the hero and heroine can get married and live happily ever after and whatnot.

This is usually invoked in order to dispatch the villain without resorting to a messier and more visible end which might upset the kids (or the Moral Guardians). Please ignore the uncomfortable realization that having the villain meet his or her end as an unquestionably ghastly mess on the floor isn't any less violent than any of the alternatives.

Keep in mind that this can also apply to characters other than villains, although it's fair to say that most heroes have ways to survive falls.

Extremely apparent in Disney's "Bronze Age" (the string of late-80's early-90's hits). Ironically, even when this Trope is applied, the survival rate of Disney villains is remarkably low, as even when they Never Found the Body, it is usually highly implied that they perished. Not to be confused with Disney Death. It seems only good guys get to have those (there is a villainous variant, but Disney doesn't use it often). And, of course, you don't have to be a Disney villain to meet your end this way.

There is also the non-villainous, non-conflict related variation of the trope, where a character decides to jump off a high ledge due to some stupid idea they have (eg, thinking they'd fly).

A subtrope of Self-Disposing Villain.

See Also: High Altitude Interrogation and Unhand Them, Villain!.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Disney Villain Death include:

Disney examples, in rough chronological order

  • Here's an obscure early one. An old Sunday comic serial had a giant [dead link] and his vulture [dead link] get an early version of this!
  • The Queen/Witch in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs gets the ground she's standing on struck by lightning and falls off a cliff and the huge boulder she was trying to use to kill the Dwarfs instead falls down the cliff after her and she gets eaten by vultures off-screen.
  • Though it did not happen in Pinocchio, The Coachman gets kicked down a cliff by Pinocchio in the SNES game.
  • Subverted in Bambi where Ronno actually survives being pushed off a cliff and into a river by Bambi while they are both fighting over Faline.
  • In Mickey and the Beanstalk, Willy the Giant falls to his death, just like in the original story. However, in its theatrical release (As part of Fun and Fancy Free) and at least one television rebroadcast, Willy is shown to have survived...and made it to Los Angeles somehow...
  • A strange thing happens in Cinderella. Lady Tremaine and Cinderella's step sisters don't really get punished at all (Unless you count Birth By Sleep). But their Right-Hand-Cat Lucifer, who is mean even by Disney cat standards, terrorizing the mice and basically doing horrible things when Lady Tremaine isn't available, falls from the window of Cinderella's tower. (The comics and sequels, however, show him still alive, minus one life).
    • It's best to take the sequel's word for it. Cats (a) can right themselves in midair, and (b) go limp upon reaching terminal velocity, at which point their legs splay out and their skin stretches into a makeshift parachute. This means that they can actually survive very long falls.
    • The third movie has the Stepmother and Drizella both get turned into frogs after a spell they try to cast on Cinderella, the Prince, and Anastasia is reflected back onto them. When they are turned back, it is implied that they will be servants in the castle. Anastasia does dodge punishment, but then she actually is a lot nicer and decides to help Cinderella in the sequels.
  • At the end of Lambert the Sheepish Lion, the wolf actually ends up being bumped off a cliff by the titular lion. However, it's then revealed that the wolf actually survived the fall since he immediately grabbed onto a nearby branch with berries growing on it.
  • Subverted in Peter Pan; Captain Hook does fall, directly into the jaws of a crocodile, but he bursts out and runs away yelling. He makes it into the sequel, too. Played straight with one of his henchmen, however, after he messes up Hook's song at one point.
  • Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty pulls her One-Winged Angel act, is killed by Prince Philip with a thrown sword (but it's okay because she's a dragon), and falls off a cliff that also is burning at the bottom.
  • 101 Dalmatians: Cruella de Vil crashes her Cool Car into her goons' truck sending them both plummeting off the cliff they were on. Oddly, despite the fact that the cars are totaled at the bottom of the ravine, all three are alive and Cruella is in good enough shape to throw a hissy-fit. She survives in the book as well.
  • At the end of The Jungle Book 2, Shere Khan falls into a volcanic crack below the entrance to an ancient temple, but lands on a small island. Then a giant stone tiger head falls directly on him, subverting this trope. Seemingly subverting, that is. The stone head was hollow. And then the vultures show up to mock the inevitability of his doom (the rock was melting under his feet).
  • A very cool variation happens to the Horned King in The Black Cauldron. He was sucked into the very same magical cauldron that he intended to use to conquer the world. Once inside, he disappears forever. Hey, no fuss, no muss.Of course, in the book, he melted.
  • The Great Mouse Detective: Ratigan... oh, Ratigan. Of course, considering his direct inspiration, Professor Moriarty, also got taken out by a fall, it's not much of a surprise.
    • Paired with Karmic Death, as what causes him to fall is the vibrations from the Big Ben bell striking the hour shaking him off the clock tower, whereas before he would sentence his mooks to death by ringing his bell to summon his cat.
    • Also happens to his sidekick Fidget, who is ironically a bat (with a crippled wing, mind you). That didn't stop Disney Adventures from doing a comic story where he had apparently survived and also did a Heel Face Turn, though.
  • Exceptions to this in the Disney movies tend to be very extreme. In one year we got the Family Unfriendly Deaths of both Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (dissolved by his own Dip) and Sykes in Oliver and Company (just saying he's run over by a subway train doesn't even cover it.) Sykes' henchdogs also get freakin' electrocuted on a third rail. That's not even going into how Ursula died.
  • This is averted in The Little Mermaid. It's played straight in the sequel, though - Ursula's sister is frozen in a block of ice and sinks into a watery abyss.
  • Played straight in Duck Tales the Movie Treasure of The Lost Lamp with Merlock as a result of him losing his talisman... while in low earth orbit. Though he did wish to live forever and he would have hit the ground long before the genie was freed and all his wishes were undone.
  • Percival McLeach in The Rescuers Down Under escapes a group of crocodiles only to meet the Inevitable Waterfall. This is followed immediately by a fakeout when the heroes face the exact same chain of events. (It helps to have a whacking great eagle on your side).
  • Beast initially goes out of his way to spare Gaston from this in Beauty and the Beast... then Gaston goes and brings it on himself anyway. Some fans actually questioned whether he actually died, citing how there was a river at the bottom of the ravine, and citing how Le Fou managed to survive much worse such as being stuck in the snow for what was implied to be several months and being crushed by a chair/bench, and even his voice actor expressed doubts about Gaston's death. It actually necessitated the Disney company to make it clear in the commentary that he died. It was originally intended in the earliest drafts to be subverted: Similar to Scar's death in The Lion King,[1] he was to have survived the fall from a cliff after being knocked off by Belle with a rock, albeit with a broken leg, only to encounter the wolves from earlier in the film, and is implied to have been finished off by them. Apparently it was revoked because it would have been far too gruesome even for a character like him.
    • Forte, on the other hand, is smashed into bits in the midquel. And while he was a huge freaking organ at the time, he was also a transformed human. One shudders to think what he looked like when the curse was broken...
  • An article titled "The Gargoyles Drinking Game" instructed players to take a shot for every trope common to Gargoyles (i.e. every time Xanatos admitted to the failure of the plan being part of the plan or every time Elisa's Cool Car is seen). Disney Villain Death was not included because the sheer number would cause people to succumb to alcohol poisoning. Specific examples, for the curious:
    • The Captain and Hakon, in the Middle Ages part of "Awakening". Demona, at the end of "Awakening", though she turned out to have survived. The Archmage, in "Long Way to Morning", who also later turned out to be alive because David Warner is just that awesome. Subverted in "The Journey" with John Castaway, who had a helicopter ready.
    • In the "City of Stone" arc: In part one, a villain killed the hero's father by falling off a castle. In part two, the villain himself was killed by falling off the same castle. That could be justified as poetic justice, but the creators didn't want to have to do it again in part three for the other villain. So, Macbeth gets a magical ball of... something that causes the villain to be electrocuted. And after he's burned through, his body... falls off a cliff. Oh, well.
    • And the modern Hunter's vendetta against Demona specifically? A fight between their father and the Gargoyle led to the Hunter falling off Notre Dame cathedral. To his death.
  • In The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (from Disney's Hollywood Pictures), evil revenge-obsessed babysitter Peyton is shoved out of the attic window by Claire, and lands on the house's picket fence which Solomon had built earlier.
  • Aladdin:
    • Jafar's defeat in plays with this a bit, since he technically does fall, sucked into his own lamp. Averted in the sequel, however, where he explodes.
    • Subverted with Saluk in The King of Thieves, who seems to die after losing his footing and falling off a cliff, but he's still alive (even taking out a friggin' shark in the process). Later he dies by being turned into solid gold, because he inadvertently touched the Hand of Midas without any protection.
  • Nastily subverted in The Lion King. Scar survives his fall off Pride Rock. He meets Shenzi's Hyena pack down there, and they're not too happy about being blamed for all his wrongdoings. Let's just say that Scar would probably have preferred the falling death... It is heavily suggested by shadowing that they maul him to death. In the novelization, it is worse, describing Scar as a 'king fit for a meal' and judging by the hyenas ravenous appetites throughout, it is highly possible he was Eaten Alive. The sequel further implies that he burned to death as well.
  • Since he's one of the most downright evil Disney villains of all (although he wasn't too bad in the book), Judge Claude Frollo's demise in The Hunchback of Notre Dame is particularly spectacular. He stands atop a gargoyle and is about to kill Quasimodo and Esmeralda—but the gargoyle's head cracks, causing him to lose his balance. As he grabs onto the gargoyle for dear life, it starts glowing and snarling at him, as if Satan himself was saying he deserved it. It finally breaks off and he plummets to his doom, landing in molten lead. (Note that in the book, Quasimodo threw him off). Mere seconds before the gargoyle cracked, as he was about to slay Esmeralda and Quasimodo, Frollo gave some dramatic last words:

Frollo: And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!

    • An article in the Disney Adventures issue on the movie mentions some of the previous Disney Villain Deaths. When it comes to Frollo, they mention that would spoil the movie.
  • Hades' defeat in Hercules, sorta. As a god, he can't die, but he was defeated by being punched into the river Styx, where the souls of the dead dogpiled him. He couldn't fall to his death, so he fell into a bunch of other people's.

Panic: He's not gonna be happy when he gets outta there...
Pain: You mean "if" he gets outta there.
Panic: "If". (grins) "If" is good.

  • In Mulan, the writers shot Shan Yu with a rocket launcher (in a kid-friendly way) specifically because they didn't want to have another falling death in a Disney movie. (And yet, similar to what happens in "City of Stone", we still see his body fall off the roof). Ironically, Kingdom Hearts II does have Shan-Yu suffering this trope fully.
  • Clayton's death in Tarzan may be the most violent of all Disney Villain Deaths. Falling out of a tree and accidentally hanging oneself with jungle vines. We even get to hear his neck snap...The storm makes it possible to see the shadow of his dangling body for a second, just to drive the point home that yes, he died and the corpse is there if they want to check.
    • An alternate ending averts the trope, but is arguably less gruesome than the one that made it to theaters. In this ending, Tarzan confronts Clayton on Clayton's junk. A small fire breaks out when Tarzan frees all the gorillas that the hunter had captured. Tarzan then pins Clayton's shirt sleeve to an oil barrel with a knife (after choosing not to simply cut out his heart) and leaves him there as the oil from the barrel seeps towards the flames. The last shot is of the ship exploding. (This ending was cut as the filmmakers felt it went against Tarzan telling Clayton "I'm not a man like you").
  • Emperor Zurg falls down an elevator shaft in Toy Story 2, yet somehow survives to play catch with his son. It's a long story...
  • Apparently part of its effort to cover every trope overused by Disney, Dinosaur has Aladar ram one of the Carnotaurs (specifically, the one that's the film's Big Bad) off a cliff. Under circumstances that are very similar to those in The Land Before Time (detailed below).
  • Yzma falls in The Emperor's New Groove—but there's a hilarious twist to that...

Guard: For the last time, we did not order a giant trampoline!
Delivery Man: You know, pal, you could have told me that before I set it up!

  • BOING!*
  • The Evil Jack-In-The-Box from the "Steadfast Tin Soldier" segment of Fantasia 2000 is a half-example. He charges the soldier, and is flipped over by him off the table falling into a hot stove.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: The death of Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke, the film's main antagonist, is surprisingly fall-free, especially given that the final struggle takes place on an airship. He is slashed in the arm by Milo with a crystal shard, causing him to crystallize and EXPLODE. It's played straight with Helga, although unlike most examples, we actually see her afterwards, and lives long enough to deliver the coup de grace shot on the airship. It's also heavily implied that, since Helga lay at the bottom of the chimney when the airship blew up, she would have been crushed by the flaming debris whether she had survived the fall or not.

Whitmore: What happened to Helga?
Cookie: Weeeeeell, we lost her after a flamin' zeppelin come down on her - * WHACK* Uh, missin'.

  • Averted somewhat in Lilo & Stitch; Gantu does fall after being tossed out of his own ship by Stitch, but he just lands on another one.
  • A neat variation occurs in Treasure Planet: the truly nasty Scroop dies by falling upward when the ship's Artificial Gravity gets turned off. This is obvious payoff for his murdering the kindly-though-gruff First Mate Mr. Arrow (one of the few heroes who dies by falling -- into a black hole, no less) through similar means.
  • Syndrome of The Incredibles subverts this by getting sucked into a jet engine. Note that Mr. Incredible meant to kill him as it was a result of chucking a car at him... just not in that particular way. This is actually made somewhat humorous when one remembers earlier in the movie when Edna Mode was giving her reasons for refusing to give Mr. Incredible's new outfit a cape - Stratogale - one of the mentioned supers who were killed due to their capes, died when her cape got her pulled into a jet engine.
  • Subverted in Kim Possible: So The Drama, where Kim kicks Shego into a building, where she gets electrically shocked and the entire thing falls on top of her. She survives, and is perfectly fine, though.
  • And fitting an Affectionate Parody of other Disney movies. In Enchanted, Queen Narissa falls off New York City's Woolworth Building... after, yes, going One-Winged Angel. She explodes into glitter on impact.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, while there are a few falling villains (which Captain Hook subverts by being thrown off into the ocean with the crocodile chasing him... only to survive the ordeal and return in the interquel 358/2 Days), most Disney Villain Deaths are replaced with "Beaten to death with a giant key". Amusingly, of all the Disney villains in the series, the three who did not fall off something in their source material (and they still don't in the games) technically originate from outside of the Disney Animated Canon: Oogie Boogie (gets his skin ripped off and crumbles in the movie, beaten to death and crumbles in Kingdom Hearts), Barbossa (shot as his curse of immortality is lifted) and the MCP (it's an AI represented as a giant red cylinder with a face in Cyberspace. Go figure). This might be telling you something.
  • Sympathetic villain Davy Jones dies after his heart is stabbed, and he falls into the Maelstrom in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Averted with Cutler Beckett, who is blown up with the ship, and has his remains on the water.
  • In National Treasure, Shaw gets the distinction of being the only character to die in the entire movie by plummeting through an ancient staircase.
  • In Disney's version of The Three Musketeers, we see three examples of this trope. D'Artagnan fights one of the Cardinal's men on top of some ruins, and knocks him off to his death. Lady De Winter, the femme fatale, chooses to fling herself off a cliff rather than suffer a beheading. Later in the film D'Artagnan surprises the King's assassin on the palace roof, and the fight ends with the assassin getting a crossbow bolt to the heart and falling to the ground below.
    • Averted with Rochefort's death; he is clearly stabbed and dies in full view of the audience.
    • Cardinal Richelieu is only a partial example, as he could conceivably have survived falling into the waterway (and, indeed, must've if both history and the original story is taken into account).
  • An early episode of Phineas and Ferb actually has this happen with Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Of course, since he's the main villain, he subverts this by landing on a mattress (which then folds up).
  • GO-4 gets a messy one (for a machine) in WALL-E.
  • Charles Muntz in Up. Those balloons tangled to his feet don't seem to have helped him any.
  • Averted in The Princess and the Frog. Dr. Facilier is very creepily dragged by the ankle of his shadow into the open mouth of a giant mask before it is closed, sealing him in the Other Side, where his former voodoo allies exact their revenge offscreen; revealed directly afterwards is his screaming and terrified face sealed up in a tombstone.
  • Tangled gently plays with this trope. While Mother Gothel did fall from the tower, she was already dead and turned to dust by the time she (or rather, her cloak) hit the ground. She suffered death by Rapid Aging rather than death by falling. Also, she didn't just cause her own fall, she was actually intentionally tripped by Pascal of all things.
  • Averted in Tron: Legacy. Clu 2 does not lose grip and fall to his deresolution. Rather, his creator Kevin Flynn reabsorbs his program and blows up as Sam and Quorra make it to Flynn's Arcade in the real world. A tragic inversion with Tron himself who falls into the abyss after remembering who he is and his purpose. His Heroic Sacrifice only managed to buy the party a little extra time.
  • In one album of the Italian Paperinik New Adventures comic series, Ethan dies this way by falling from the top of a dam. The man who is the closest thing he had to a father tries to extend his hand to him, but Ethan declines and says "Sorry pa, not this time."
  • A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example actually happens during the first fight scene between Finn McMissile and the Lemons at the very beginning of Cars 2: As McMissile is attempting to escape the Lemons' oil rig, a Gremlin can be seen being thrown off a balcony and into the ocean beneath.

Non-Disney Examples

Anime and Manga

  • Gundam Wing featured an awesome variant in an early episode when Lady Une dumps a failed underling out from the bottom of an airborne transport plane, then shoots him while he's falling.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Presea Testarossa falls off a crumbling floor into the extradimensional void. It's left ambiguous whether she survived and managed to teleport somewhere else with the Jewel Seeds that fell with her.
  • Though a more minor villain, Cytomander of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gets rammed by the Dai-Gurren and ends up having not only his ship fall, but a large amount of his minions with him.
  • Shion suffers this fate in the arcs of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni where she succumbs to the Hate Plague.
  • Averted in Fullmetal Alchemist when Wrath is defeated in Episode 58 of Brotherhood. He manages to swim to safety, although he remains weak enough for Scar to quickly kill him a little while afterwards.
  • Happens to the Big Bad in Interstella 5555 when he falls into a lake of lava under his castle.
  • Captain Yellow from Dragon Ball suffered from this trope.
    • The Dragon from the second DBZ movie subverts this trope, as he falls from a great height but explodes on the way down.
  • In Fist of the North Star, some villains get this fate. The most famous was Amiba who was dropped from his tower after Kenshiro strikes his power points then blows up in midair.
  • This was the fate of Professor Cobra in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, although in the dub he kind of...exploded or something.
  • Grings Kodai, the Big Bad of Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions falls from a great height in both the anime and manga, but it's subverted in the anime were he survives to endure a Humiliation Conga. In the manga, however, Zoroark chases him off the top of the stadium wall (a much greater height) with illusionary vines, sending him falling to his death.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, Mook Crown gets this death by plummeting into Earth's gravity while piloting his Zaku. Ramba Ral also suffers this fate as he falls with a grenade in his hand onto the Gundam's hand.
  • Averted in Life. One of the antagonists appears to die from falling from several stories however it's a Disney Death, and he's just severely wounded and taken to a hospital.
  • Averted several times with Team Rocket in Pokémon. Some of their "blasting off" scenes involve them falling into a gorge, and at least two falls were ones that they themselves thought would kill them (once in "Haunter Versus Kadabra", and again in the second movie). But the one that takes the cake for inverting this trope in the name of Joker Immunity is in the episode "Shell Shock", in which a boulder (which would have killed Ash and the gang) is thrown off a cliff by the Machoke, sending James falling into the gorge with the boulder still on top of him (the same kind of fall that killed the Big Bad of Disney's first animated film), yet he turns up unharmed in his next scene.
  • Naga in Monster Rancher is defeated by Mocchi, hanging onto the edge of his castle. Despite the Searchers' attempt to save him, he lets go and falls to his death.
  • This troper remembers Yokozuna Demon Beast Blocky carelessly breaking off a piece of the cliff that Stone Kirby is standing on to trick him and use his weight against him, causing them both to plunge into the sea in the second episode of Kirby Right Back At Ya. Kirby, of course, swims back up to the surface and everybody other than Dedede and Escargoon cheers for him. Blocky, on the other hand, is too heavy to swim and thus is stuck sinking to the bottom of the sea.
    • Subverted with fellow Demon Beast Masher. In later episode "Monster Management", Masher walked off the ramparts and fell into the ground below. He survived the fall, of course, and got out of the pothole he made when he landed. He was still destroyed later by Fighter Kirby and Knuckle Joe later, of course.
    • Also subverted with Demon Bonkers in much later episode "Goin' Bonkers". After Hammer Kirby lands one last whack from his hammer onto Bonkers' head, he falls off the tower of Dedede's castle that he was holding on to, and upon hitting the ground and making another pothole, he reverts back to his normal self, still alive and well.
    • Wheelie, the transformed form of Beat/Fang, suffers this near the end of the two-parter "Born to Be Mild", falling as the Dedede Speedway racing stadium crumbles and getting buried in the rubble.
    • Heavy Anaconda in the sixth-to-last episode, "Frog Wild", gets this by getting burned by Fire Kirby's Burning Attack and Fireball Spin moves and falling as he suffers from the flaming burns given by the pink spud himself.

Comic Books

  • The first volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ends with this happening to the Big Bad Moriarty, who it had already happened to before. Hmmm. Like the Treasure Planet example, he fell up. In addition, after the book proper is over, there's a small splash page featuring the silhouette of his corpse continually floating, presumably in space.
    • In the Minions of the Moon text story in Century: 1910, during a trip trough space Mina comes across his corpse, still clutching the cavorite.
  • The Captain America villain Baron Zemo has gone this way about five times in his various incarnations. He is also known as "Gravity's Bitch".
  • In Amulet, Luger dies this way. Arguably so does Emily's dad, but a) he's not a villain, and b) he was in a car at the time, making it rather less likely that he's still alive.
  • In the early Batman comics, the Joker did this at least four times, but always survived.
  • In the Hellboy comics, Herman von Klempt falls off a cliff, his jar exploding.
  • Used in the beginning of Watchmen, when The Comedian falls to his death, and we see the body wrecked and the blood spilled. The movie in particular treats it with much spectacle.
  • Nicodemus West in Doctor Strange: The Oath slips and falls from the roof of a New York skyscraper. If he hadn't suspended Strange's ability to use magic three minutes earlier, he would have lived.
  • Preacher has two examples:
    • Allfather D'Aronique. Realizing that Starr had rigged the entire base of Masada with explosives, the human wrecking ball seeked to escape via his personal chopper. Sadly for him, Starr managed to intercept and hijack the helicopter midair. During the struggle, Starr pushed the massive leader of the Grail to his death.
    • Eisenstein. The bureaucratic soul of the Grail knew that Starr had a hand - or rather a whole arm - at the demise of the Allfather. And Starr knew that as long as there was any kind of lead, Eisenstein would be able to track him to the ends of the Earth. After trying everything to dispose of him, from car bombs to snipers and even ninjas, Starr was able to corner Eisenstein in a building in San Francisco and successfully threw the little man off the rooftop.
  • Issue 8 of Marvel's Tranformers comic had Ratchet and the Dinobots defeat Megatron in this style. Ratchet manages to knock Megatron over a cliffside their fighting on sending Megatron tumbleing down the cliff to his apparent demise. Subverted however as it later turns out he survived.


  • No Holds Barred, the 1989 movie starring Hulk Hogan that became better known for being parlayed into a "real-life" feud between Hogan (as a wrestler named Rip) and his co-star Tiny Lister, in character as his movie character, Zeus, an Unstoppable Monster. In the movie's climatic scene, Rip and Zeus are brawling on a high balcony above the arena floor when Zeus shoves Rip down a stairwell, apparently defeating him. However, Rip recovers and finally wears down Zeus enough to knock him off the balcony; Zeus tumbles from the balcony, presumably falling to his death when he lands in the wrestling ring below with such force that the ring collapses.
  • A particularly jarring example occurs in Michael Jackson's short film "Ghosts". A transcript of the film (which, sadly, has since evaporated along with Geocities) even called the mayor's demise a "presumably very messy Disney Villain Death".
  • A weird subversion occurs to the hero of Virtuosity. Russel Crowe's sadistic villain (who happens to be a video game villain who has come to life through the magic of Applied Phlebotinum) knocks Denzel Washington's hero off a roof. Denzel gets to have a very graphic Disney Villain Death and a Disney Death immediately afterward! Of course, both Russel and Denzel fall through a glass rooftop earlier. Russel gets to fall through a series of glass panels on the way down. The result is not pretty.
  • Batman:
    • Subverted in the 1989 Batman movie. The Joker falls off a building to his death. Why is that a subversion? We actually see his body on the ground. There's even cracks around the corpse on the concrete and everything.
    • In The Dark Knight Saga The Joker almost suffers this fate, but is saved by Batman.
    • Two-Face has a similar demise in Batman Forever. As well as in The Dark Knight Saga, but it's ambiguous enough that there's the possibility he survived. Alas, Word of God says he's dead; Aaron Eckhart actually asked Christopher Nolan about this!
    • This is a very popular move in the Batman films. In Burton's Batman, a mook got thrown over the side, while in Returns, Catwoman falls more than once, though she survives each fall (due to having nine lives). The Penguin also falls through a window during his final fight with Batman. In Forever, Edward Nygma throws his boss to his death. Finally, in Batman and Robin, all three villains jump off the Arkham tower, yet miraculously survive.
    • The entire climax of Burton's first Batman movie is a big Homage to Metropolis, where Freder Frederson chases Dr. Rotwang up into the cathedral and knocks him off the roof.
  • In Superman II, the Zod Gang gets this death. Superman throws General Zod into an icy abyss in a crevasse, Lois punches Ursa into another crevasse, and Non, while trying to fly, falls into another crevasse, as the Zod Gang's powers have just been taken away. Although there is a deleted scene where they are arrested by Arctic police, it doesn't explain how they could have survived, so it could be taken as an alternate ending, similar to the Sylvia scenes in Ice Age.
    • In Superman IV, after Superman neutralises Nuclear Man's powers, he drops Nuclear Man, where he falls to his doom into the core of a power plant.
  • In Star Wars Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader throws Emperor Palpatine down into a reactor pit to prevent him from electrocuting his son, Luke. And then Palpatine explodes.
    • In the The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul is sliced in half and thrown down a handy pit and in Revenge of the Sith, Mace Windu is flung out a window to land somewhere in the city streets. (Windu isn't a villain by any means, but this trope can apply to other characters.)
      • Parodied in the Robot Chicken Star Wars special, which turns this trend into a Running Gag.
        • Robot Chicken is also a subversion of the trope, in that we actually see the result of the fall (lets just say that it gets a janitor irritated at having to clean up)
  • Saboteur uses this.


  • In First Blood, sadistic head deputy Art Galt, ignoring Chief Teasle's orders to capture Rambo alive, tried to shoot him from a helicopter. After being cornered in a cliff, Rambo threw a rock at it, causing the helicopter to pitch heavily and drop Gault to his death into the gorge. Unlike Disney, we are shown proof-positive that Galt ain't coming back when Rambo picks him up to steal his gear and sees his face turned to hamburger.
    • This also happens to the equally sadistic torturer Sergeant Yushin in Rambo: First Blood Part 2. Rambo throws him out of a helicopter.
  • In the Casper Live Action Adaptation, the villain is killed by falling off a cliff. Although, this being a movie about ghosts, that's not the last we see of her. In a twisted (uh) twist, Kat's dad is also killed by falling down a manhole, and comes Back from the Dead in one of the most downright awkward ways imaginable immediately afterward.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd commented on this when discussing Walker's death in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III:

"Now, how many times have you seen this shot in a movie? TOO MANY FUCKING TIMES! This was one of the biggest cliches of the time. What happens at the end of Batman? The Joker falls! What happens at the end of Dick Tracy? Big Boy falls!"

    • What makes this death even worse is that when he hits the water, there is no splash effect; he just "implodes".
      • Actually, he just sort of "disappears" before ever actually hitting the water. Apparently he fell into the blue screen instead....
    • This also happens to Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, where he falls off a building after trying to kill Splinter, and lands in a garbage truck parked at the bottom by Casey. Casey then pulls the lever to activate the smasher. Yick.
  • In the Italian Sword and Sandal flick, Anthar L'Invincible, it first appears as though this trope is going to be subverted. The hero corners the villain and gleefully describes how he's going to murder him. The villain then accidentally backs into and falls out of a nearby window to his death, fulfilling the trope.
  • Though not a villain, William Shatner's character in American Psycho 2 was blown out his office window onto his head by Mila Kunis' character.
  • Crank: Chev Chelios and Verona die after falling out of a helicopter. Subverted for both: Chev breaks Verona's neck while in freefall.
  • The villain of Strange Days dies this way at the exact turn of the millennium.
  • Thankfully subverted for Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda: not only is he hurled upward, not down (courtesy of Po's massive belly), but his death (if it even happens) occurs due to the Wuxi Finger Hold, not a fall or any other type of very final, Deader Than Dead denouement. Of course you know what this means...
    • The director's commentary during this scene is particularly cagey: though they claim they had to 'get rid of' their villain and that he was 'wuxi-ed into oblivion', they also point out what happened to Tai Lung is never really explained and is 'one of the mysteries of the movie.' Covering their ass in case they want to bring him back, or just trying to be magical and mystical? You decide.
      • The holiday special opens with a dream sequence where a giant Tai Lung shows up, prompting Po to say "I thought you were d-" before getting cut off. Of course, that only points to what Po thought was true...
  • Several James Bond villains have fallen to their deaths.
    • The Big Bad of GoldenEye suffers a spectacularly gruesome version of this. Bond deliberately drops him from a giant satellite antenna, and we see him hit the ground and break every bone in his body. But he doesn't die until the antenna explodes and comes crashing down in flames right on top of him... as he watches, screaming the whole time. But considering who the villain is, he kinda has it coming.
    • In The Spy Who Loved Me, a mook is almost falling, if not for holding Bond's tie. After 007 gets useful info outta him, he lets the henchman fall to death.
      • Scratch "lets", substitute "actually cuts the tie the mook is holding onto and." Who'd have thought the Roger Moore era would have one of the nastiest bits of cold-blooded murder committed by Bond in the series?
    • In Moonraker, Bond throws Chang (the first henchman) through a glass window and he falls to his death, by impaling a piano.
    • In For Your Eyes Only, hitman Locque is in his car dangling over the side of a cliff. Bond tells him "You forgot this" (he had just killed the Bond girl) and tosses him his own calling card, an ironic Dove of Peace pin. Locque breathes a sigh of relief when the expected Wafer-Thin Mint reaction doesn't occur. Bond then KICKS the car hard, sending it tumbling off the cliff.
      • Eric Kriegler is a better example as he falls down, and we DON'T see his body. He is a perfect example of this trope.
    • Goldfinger. Kisch, who was thrown over a railing to his doom inside the Fort Knox gold vault by Oddjob to prevent him from turning off the nuclear device.
    • A View to a Kill has the main villain falling off the Golden Gate Bridge after fighting with 007.
  • Happens to all three of the main villains in the Rush Hour series of movies, though usually with a bit more proof they didn't survive the impact than at Disney. Lampshaded during the blooper reel of Rush Hour 2.

Chris Tucker Damn! He ain't gonna be in Rush Hour 3!

  • Happens so much, to both heroes and villains, in the Star Wars films that Robot Chicken did a series of sketches spoofing it by showing a Janitor at the bottom of the shaft/ground/wherever that has to pick up the body and decides to take another job, right where the next person gets dropped.
    • Particularly amusing, since the sketch repeatedly highlights the very image that the trope is designed to skirt around.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, both Gandalf and the Balrog fall off the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, though it's revealed in The Two Towers that they both survive the fall. However, the Balrog actually takes a second tumble off the mountain tower.
    • In Return of the King, Denethor hurls himself off the top of Minas Tirith. While on fire.
    • In the extended edition, Saruman is stabbed in the back and falls backwards off the top of Orthanc and is impaled on a spiked wheel. Then, the machine begins to turn, sliding the body of Saruman down into the watery depths.
    • Gollum actually gets this treatment twice. The first time, he slips and falls off the cliff outside Shelob's Lair. It's revealed he survived, and shows up for the final battle. He grapples with Frodo in Mount Doom and...well, you should get the idea by now. The odd thing is that the fall isn't really what kills him (though it arguably should have). Instead, we get to see Gollum sink into the lava with the Ring.
  • In the Stephen Loncraine version of Richard III, the title character (Ian McKellen) jumps off a building just before Henry Tudor can shoot him. Into a fire. While grinning maniacally. And Al Jolson plays.
  • "Well, Denham, the airplanes got him."
  • The girl in Vertigo. Twice.
    • Well... two different girls, actually.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Cesare. Or did he?
  • The film adaptation of The Name of the Rose features an example of this; the Dominican monk and inquisitor Bernardo Gui is chased by a peasant mob while trying to burn a girl as a witch at the end of the film. Gui attempts to escape in a cart, gets stuck, and is pushed over the edge of a cliff by the mob. It's not clear why the producers felt the need to include the scene, particularly since the real historical Bernardo Gui lived quite happily to a ripe old age before dying of natural causes.
    • Also, a monk throws himself out of a high tower.
    • Gui was tossed cliffside and impaled on spikes the same reason the girl was spared: the producers believed an American audience couldn't handle a tragic ending.
  • Being a Cliché Storm, this is how the villainess in Delgo meets her end.
  • All four Indiana Jones films:
  • The first RoboCop film ends with the Corrupt Corporate Executive Dick Jones falling to his death -- after Robocop's shot him around half a dozen times. The edited for television version just has him getting blown out the window by Robocop with one burst after getting fired by the Old Man.
  • In Star Trek III: The Search For Spock the Klingon commander Kruge gets a Disney villain death when he is kicked off by Admiral Kirk.
    • The Reman Viceroy gets a similar death when he is kicked by Commander Riker in Star Trek: Nemesis.
    • As does the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact, although in her case, she falls into a cloud of corrosive gas that dissolves her organic flesh.
      • Though this doesn’t kill her; Picard snapping her spine afterward does.
  • Henry Evans from The Good Son. It's made chilling when you take into account that the character was a kid played by Macaulay Culkin. Additionally, his mother deliberately dropped him rather than just falling off. She could only keep hold of one of them though, and Henry honestly had it coming.
  • In Die Hard, Hans Gruber is shot in the chest and then falls out of 30 story building. The Disney Villain Death itself, NOT THE MOVIE AS A WHOLE, won an award for having the best special effects of its time.

"Oh, I hope that's not a hostage..."

    • Also from the Die Hard series, John took out a Mook and The Dragon of Die Hard 4 while fighting them in an elevator shaft.
  • The villainess in Catwoman not only falls (after a Take My Hand exhortation from the heroine), but lands upon a lit-up sign for her company and is apparently, though not graphically, electrocuted as well.
  • Near the end of Judge Dredd, Dredd is hanging from an edge over a long fall with Rico about to kill him. Dredd turns the tables on Rico and throws him over the edge to his doom.
  • Total Recall. While fighting Quaid, The Dragon Richter has his arms ripped off by an elevator and falls to his death. His fall might be considered a good thing, given your opinion on bleeding to death.
  • Commando. When interrogating a major mook (name of Sully), John Matrix holds him over a cliff. When he finishes, he just lets go.
    • Cindy: "What did you do with Sully?" Matrix: "I let him go!"
  • The Big Bad Strack in Darkman died the same way as Sully from Commando.
  • In the ending of Antz, General Mandible tackles Z, and they both have a huge fall. Z falls into water and after being rescued, survives. Mandible falls into a branch and isn't so lucky.
  • At the end of Shanghai Noon, the villain, Lo Fong, is killed when a bell falls from a tower and its rope gets wrapped around his neck. The pulley effect drags Fong upward, in a sort of inverse hanging.
    • Also in Shanghai Knights, the Big Bad of the movie lures the heroes into a clock tower, where he and Chon Wang engage in a spectacular sword fight. Close to defeat, Wang cuts the support of a catwalk, sending both combatants hurling out of the clock tower window. Wang is saved by Roy, but the villain falls to his death, complete with a Wile E. Coyote puff of smoke when he hits the ground. Damn.
  • Speaking of Jackie Chan, the two villains of The Forbidden Kingdom get taken out this way.
  • In the Marvel film series, Doctor Doom sinks into the water in Rise of the Silver Surfer.
    • In Spider-Man 2, Doc Ock sinks into the water as well, as part of a Heroic Sacrifice to save New York from his own creation.
    • Also, Sabretooth fell off the Statue of Liberty, though he may or may not have survived.
      • Toad was electrocuted and then fell into the ocean.
    • Bullseye was thrown out of the church window in Daredevil although he survived because the end credits shows him in a full body cast and he impales a fly on a syringe.
    • Stane fell into the reactor in Iron Man.
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle actually had three villains fall to their deaths, with two Dragons falling off a rooftop and the Big Bad suffering a fall into a fire (which she starts herself thanks to her falling through the floor and firing her guns up at the Angels while in the midst of a lot of escaping gas). If you listen closely, you can hear her scream even after she's hit the bottom.
  • In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Storm Shadow is stabbed in the chest by Snake Eyes and falls off the weird, electrical tower thingy...well, he falls off a platform and into the frosty waters. Rumor has it though that the sequels have him returning.
  • Though already dead, Albus Dumbledore falls from the Astronomy Tower in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
    • Horntail gets a similar treatment in Goblet of Fire.
    • In Deathly Hallows Part 2, Scabior falls to his death when Neville destroys the wooden bridge, Greyback is blasted over a cliff by Hermione, and Goyle falls into the Fiendfyre while trying to climb away from it.
  • Nero's dragon, Ayel is shot and falls to his death in the recent Star Trek movie.
  • Bishop in Juice.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009 film) has the main villain, Lord Blackwood starts falling to his death via a piece of construction debris, before seemingly being saved by Sherlock, till another piece of debris knocks him off and into the chains where he is hung. It's like a mix between Gaston's death and Clayton's death.
    • Falling is the most common way for villains in Sherlock Holmes films to go out, as Moriarty himself fell three different times in the Rathbone-Bruce films (thrown off a tower, fell 60 feet into the sewers, and plummeted off a high rise after the pipe he was hanging on to broke). However, in 1985's Young Sherlock Holmes, Rathe falls into a frozen river only to survive, after which it was revealed that he was Moriarty the whole time.
    • At the end of A Game of Shadows (the sequel to the 2009 film), Moriarty is about to kill Holmes, who realizes that he can't take Moriarty in a fist fight. So he grabs Moriarty and throws himself off a ledge overlooking the Reichenbach Falls, taking Moriarty with him. Holmes is revealed to be Faking the Dead; Moriarty isn't.
  • In Van Helsing, this occurs all over the place, and it varies between who it's most effective against. The final villain to fall is Igor, who also has the longest and most dramatic plummet.
  • In The Lovely Bones film, Harvey stumbles over a cliff to his death, possibly caused by the deceased protagonist.
  • Wild Wild West. Dr. Loveless falls to his doom at the bottom of a cliff.
  • Averted in the movie version of Angels & Demons. In Dan Brown's book the Hassassin is thrown off a balcony in the Castel Sant'Angelo by being overpowered by non-combat scholar hero Robert Langdon and Yoga Fu empowered Vittoria Vetra. In the movie, the Hassassin (now "Mr. Gray") makes a "you're not armed, and I wasn't paid to kill you, but don't follow me" speech. Free to leave, he locates his getaway car and final payment and is promptly killed by a car bomb.
  • In The Scorpion King the villain Memnon gets his Disney Villain Death only after getting shot in the chest with an arrow, falling backwards off a really high building, THEN getting engulfed in the flames of an explosion, and then finally crashing into the ground. Interesting to note that he's still alive and screaming up until he splats on the ground. Talk about overkill.
  • Imhotep gets this in The Mummy Returns though he falls into the seemingly endless pit of Hell.
  • In the sequel The Snow Queen's Revenge, the Snow Queen falls into the lava. Her body is still intact afterwards, but is turned to stone and presumably doomed, but apparently not quite dead yet, as her eyes glow before the credits roll. If she survived but remained a statue for eternity, then this fits more under And I Must Scream. Also of note, her staff was turned to stone as well, and she is still holding it in her hand; her staff being in her hand released her from her imprisonment at the beginning of this movie, while all she can do while turned to stone is make her eyes glow (much like when she was frozen). The eyes might be also a hint at her return in a sequel, but none has yet been made, and after 14 years without a third film, it is unlikely it will be made.
  • Subverted in Titan A.E., when Korso seems to plunge to his death (and did in the original script), only to survive, have a last minute change of heart, and then nobly sacrifice himself to save the heroes he was just trying to kill ten minutes earlier.
  • Bailey's fate in The Avengers 1998.
  • Happens to Dr. Caldicott in Disturbing Behavior, when Steve kicks him off a cliff.
  • This is how the Persian messenger bites it in 300. I don't even have to say it.
  • Top Secret. Played for laughs when Chocolate Mousse throws a soldier off the top of a tower and he shatters like stone.
  • Happens to the insane nun Sister Ruth at the end of Black Narcissus when she tries to push Sister Clodagh off the cliff. Martin Scorsese even calls it a "Disney Death" in his DVD commentary appreciation of the film.
  • In Balto, Steele falls off the side of a cliff while trying to kill Balto, hitting cliffs on the way down. However, he manages to survive and continue to cause Balto trouble.
  • In Mystery Men, the main villain, Casanova Frankenstein meets his end when Mr. Furious throws him off a ledge into his own Doomsdaydevice. It's not the fall itself that kills him but the machine, and in a rather graphic way.
  • In the beginning of the first Hellboy, Rasputin (Yes, THAT Rasputin) is sucked through a portal into another dimension (so a sideways version of this), of course the collapsing portal happens to be smaller than his body... Ouch.
  • Our Man Flint. While fighting two Galaxy security guards, Flint knocks them off a catwalk to their deaths on the ground below.
  • Tremors. Graboids are sensitive to loud noise and stampede away from them. Valentine detonates a bomb and sends the last Graboid over the edge of a cliff to its death.
  • In the 2010 remake of True Grit, Mattie shoots Tom Chaney off the mountain campsite.
  • In Dick Tracy, Big Boy is thrown down an oddly deep pit in a drawbridge machine room.
  • One scene from The Plague Dogs shows a man attempting to gun down the titular dogs, but is then kicked off a cliff by a fox that was helping said dogs. The two dogs then proceed to eat the man's corpse.
  • In the Kamen Rider Kabuto movie God Speed Love, Kamen Riders Ketaros gets a rather spectacular one. During his fight with Kabuto on a spacestation, they both fall off. While Kabuto survives, Ketaros falls all the way to earth, dying on impact.
  • At the end of the first movie of The Naked Gun series, Dr. Vincent Ludwig is shot in the neck with a tranquilizer dart and he falls off a balcony into the pavement below where he is then run over by a steamroller, a truck, and a marching band.
    • The sequel has Quentin Hapsburg knocked out a window and he falls off the balcony but his fall is stopped by an awning, he gets up and brushes himself off only to get killed by a random lion that escaped from the zoo.
  • In F.E.A.R. after a long struggle David (played by Mark Wahlberg) is eventually pushed out a window by Nicole's father causing him to fall from the balcony where he lands on the rocks below and his spine shatters upon impact.
  • Duxton, the Big Bad of Mr. Accident, ultimately meets his end when he falls over the railing of the top floor of Roger's apartment building. We actually do see him hit the ground and it's pretty dang messy.
  • In The Three Musketeers 2011, Milady de Winter seemingly jumps off an airship to her death upon realizing that Athos will not spare her life anyway. She's later revealed to be Not Quite Dead, as Buckingham's men rescued her before she drowned in the English Channel.
  • Subverted in Dead Silence. As screaming in the presence of Mary Shaw's ghost results in a painful, gruesome death, it isn't the fall that kills Detective James Lipton - just the fact that he can't help but scream on the way down, resulting in him dying before he hits the ground.
  • In the latest version of Brighton Rock, Pinkie suffers death by gravity from the Seven Sisters cliffs. He stumbles over the edge after acid is splashed onto his face and eyes, causing horrific burns. All this is true to the book - although the entirely un-Disney-death-detail of a shot of his broken body and mutilated face lying in the wash at the bottom of the cliff is a new addition.
  • As the leader of Future Villain Band in Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is choking Billy Shears, the latter's sweetheart Strawberry Fields manages to pull him off—resulting in the villain falling to his death from the multi-level stage. His body is seen on the ground. (Strawberry herself undergoes a Disney Death as a result of the struggle.)
  • Ice Age has a non-villainous, non-conflict related variation. One of the animals is asking where Fred (presumably a member of their herd) is, to which another states that he isn't coming along as he had an "evolutionary breakthrough." It then shows an animal of the same species (implied to be Fred) running full steam towards a cliff and he starts yelling "I'm FLYING!!" as he's falling before he lands and is implied to be killed, to which one of the herd says "Some breakthrough."
  • An assassin in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol is kicked through a window of the Burj Khalifa. For those not in the know, that's the tallest known building in the entire world.
  • Inverted in Snow White: A Tale of Terror. It's Claudia who sends one of the heroes falling to his death.
  • Subverted in the Klay World movie Off The Table. While the villain Rick does fall to his death, it is not in a family-friendly manner, with him becoming bloodily impaled on a flagpole flying the Klay World flag.


  • In The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Captain Jaggery falls to his death off of the bowsprit after cornering Charlotte up there in an attempt to kill her.
  • Gollum falls to his death in The Lord of the Rings. Justified because it is the essential part of the eucatastrophe, as this accident also takes the One Ring into the Cracks of Doom, destroying it.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story The Final Problem (link goes to the E-book), Professor Moriarty falls off a cliff—but he takes Sherlock Holmes down with him! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle intended for this to be the final Sherlock Holmes story until the fans pressured him to bring the detective back, inadvertently creating an early example of a Disney Death in the process.
  • Older Than Radio: Magua dies this way at the end of Last of the Mohicans.
    • Interestingly, in the movie version, Chingachgook will not dignify Magua's body with a Disney Villain Death, since the heroes are the ones who fall heroically off the cliff.
  • In Diana Wynne Jones' fantasy parody/Deconstruction Dark Lord of Derkholm, the main character is hired to play a dark lord for groups of people from another world (possibly our world) who get to act out the typical High Fantasy story. However, he runs out of time to come up for a interesting "death" so simply creates a pit made to look bottomless and pretends to have a Disney Villain Death. Multiple times a day.
  • In Groosham Grange, a school inspector is tortured by Miss Windergast's black voodoo magic (namely a Voodoo Doll) in an attempt to prevent him from discovering the truth about the school and he ultimately falls off a cliff to his death. This example of the trope is a subvert as the school inspector was not a villain.
  • Discworld examples:
  • Redwall has a variation. So far, in 21 books, The Sword of Martin the Warrior has only been used twice to directly kill the Big Bad, and once in the most recent book, The Sable Quean. They still can get crushed under giant bells (Cluny, Redwall), Drown (Tsarmina, Mossflower), Fall down a hole (Slagar, Mattimeo), etc.
  • In The Wheel of Time Mat Cauthon kills off the gholam using a Skimming gateway and this tactic. Bonus points for the fact that the emptiness inside a Skimming gateway is believed to be infinite. The victim should starve to death, assuming it can starve to death.
    • Since it has to feed on the blood of its victim, we could assume it can starve to death
  • From Les Misérables we have Inspector Javert, who jumps off of a bridge.
  • An inversion in the Green-Sky Trilogy where Raamo accidentally falls over a cliff into the Bottomless Lake trying to destroy a weapon. Subverted in the Canon video game sequel.
  • One villain from The Anubis Gates, a sorcerer whose personal gravity is abnormal, dies by falling from the Earth's surface to the Moon.
  • In Splinter of the Minds Eye, Luke and Leia hide in a great bottomless-seeming well from a monstrous wormlike wandrella, which finds them and tries to follow, but ends up falling down the well. At the end of the book, Darth Vader ends up falling into another well, but Luke is immediately certain that while he's out of the fight, he's still alive.
  • In John Le Carre's first novel, A Call for the Dead, George Smiley kills Dieter by knocking him off a bridge. A combination of My God, What Have I Done? and Heroic BSOD ensues.
  • Subverted in Septimus Heap, since DomDaniel actually survives his jump from the Wizard Tower.
  • In Warrior Cats, minor character Smokepaw falls to his death when a ledge crumbles beneath him (of course, that didn't stop him from accidentally showing up in future books). Ancient cat Dark Whiskers also got blown off a cliff by the wind in the same mountains. Two ShadowClan cats get killed falling into the quarry where ThunderClan lives, and nearly knock Leafpool off with them, until Crowfeather pulls her to safety.
  • Abarat: Mendelson Shape falls from a great height to his apparent death when he kidnaps Candy Quackenbush with a magically created giant moth and hostile hunters in air balloons fire at them. In the second book, it is revealed that he survived his fall, and his true death happens when he is forced to enter the territory of the Sacbrood.
  • In The Stoneheart Trilogy, Edie's stepfather falls to his doom when he tries to kill Edie and she retaliates by hitting him hard with a pebble, knocking him into a chasm.
  • In Chronicles of Amber Brand falls into the Abyss. In the second series, several members of Chaos royalty also "fall" off the edge.

Live-Action TV

  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Averted several times:
    • "Goodbye, General Lee": It almost is for the show's signature (and heroic) car, when Boss Hogg, tired of the Duke boys constantly foiling his schemes (and perceiving the General Lee's "sheer power" in always playing a key role), picks up on Luke's off-handed remark that the General Lee isn't what it used to be. At one point, the trope kicks into effect when Rosco – having earlier locked up the Dukes on a minor traffic charge, and having impounded the General Lee – has the car driven out to the country, places the car's transmission in neutral, and pushes it down the hill ... toward a cliff. Of course, Cooter is conveniently nearby, sees what's going on, and manages to stop the General Lee (by using his tow truck as a "brake") – but then Cooter has his own hands full when he has trouble stopping the truck. (Not to worry, Cooter got his tow truck to stop just at the very edge of the cliff!)
    • In "The Great Insurance Fraud," a pair of con artists – out to take advantage of Boss Hogg's insurance scam – stage an accident by having one of the accomplices drive his car over a cliff, after getting "fake Duke" Coy to engage him in a chase. Coy is led to believe that the other driver failed to escape his car before falling over the cliff, leading to his crushing (and fiery) death.
    • "When You Wish Upon a Hogg" begins with Hughie tricking Boss into believing in the power of an oil lamp ... and ends with Bo and Luke having their hands full trying to save Hughie from tumbling (in his van) over a cliff; Hughie initially balks, afraid of what he thinks the Duke boys will do to him and wanting to save all his ill-gotten money. In the end – of course – Bo is able to pull Hughie from the van, just as it begins to topple from the cliff. (BTW, the beautiful "genie" that was "in the lamp" – the shockingly beautiful Trixie, was not harmed; she was already being held in jail as Hughie's accomplice.)
  • Doctor Who:
    • In The Hand of Fear, the villain falls down a deep black pit after being tripped up with the fourth Doctor's scarf. Being a being of stone, the Doctor suggests he may have survived.
    • In The Age of Steel, Dr Lumic falls to his doom after Pete Tyler cuts the ladder he was climbing. The place he's seen falling towards happens to be on fire.
    • Yet strangely averted in The Idiot's Lantern, despite the finale taking place on Alexandra Palace Radio Tower. Then again, the villain wasn't exactly physical to begin with.
    • A heroic version in The Daleks when a character brings it on himself as a Heroic Sacrifice, as he's dangling over a ravine attached to a rope that's pulling his comrades over the edge too. The sight of him disappearing into blackness, coupled with the thunderous noise as he hits the bottom, is quite shocking for a young viewer.
    • The Master suffers something similar in the TV Movie, when he falls into the Eye of Harmony. The Doctor's partly responsible, since he shines a light in the Master's face as he leaps at him and causes him to overshoot, but does offer him a hand. (Of course, he's revived to fight again in the Time War, which he also survives)
    • The earliest villain example (or at least Dragon example) comes in Season One's The Aztecs, when Ixta gets kicked off the top of a temple whilst trying to kill Ian. First main villain example comes in Season Two's The Rescue, where Bennett is so shocked by the appearance of the people he thought he'd killed that he backs away over a cliff edge.
    • The Sycorax Leader from The Christmas Invasion tries to underhandedly kill the Tenth Doctor but he throws a satsuma at a button on the Sycorax ship, which causes a part of the ship to open up. This part of the ship just happened to be right underneath where the Leader was standing and so he falls to his epic fail death.
  • On 24, Habib Marwan, main baddie on Day 4, decides to go out this way, plummeting off a parking garage.
  • Lionel Luthor is taken out of the show this way in Smallville, also an example of Klingon Promotion and Dying to Be Replaced.
  • Murdoc in MacGyver gets at least three of these: fell down a mountain, fell down a mine shaft, fell off a cliff. Naturally they Never Found the Body, and he survived all three times.
  • In the season five finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy has a two second fight with Doc that ends this way.
    • Hell, technically, Buffy herself gets this treatment at the end of the episode, as her Disney Death doesn't take place until the following season.
  • Also from Joss Whedon, the torturer from the Firefly episode War Stories falls into the abyss after being shot to death.
  • Another good guy (technically) example: in the season five finale of Lost (technically by Disney too), Juliet bows out in a way very similar to Helga Sinclair. She falls down a deep pit—and survives. In a final Heroic Sacrifice, she triggers a bomb that was tossed in the pit earlier and then there's a fade to white... though she dies in the following episode from her fall-related injuries.
    • In the Series Finale, this is how The Man in Black goes out, when he is shot by Kate and kicked off the cliff by Jack.
    • You know, we can't bring up Lost without mentioning what Locke's father did to him can we? Although it doesn't qualify as "Death", it broke his spine.
  • On Las Vegas, Monica Mancuso [2] stands on the rooftop of the Montecito in season three and rants about how, one day, she will own the entire Las Vegas strip. Then, in a bizarre twist, a huge gust of wind catches her ridiculous outfit and she flies off the roof and into a shoe store.
    • And in the season five premiere, Sam's kidnapper falls out of his airplane to his death.
  • In Alias, Sydney faces off against her mother, Irina Derevko in the series finale. After a rather brutal showdown, the fight ends on a rooftop, where Irina ends up falling through a skylight to her death. Mmmm, closure.
    • In an earlier episode, Sydney throws a foe out a plane. He doesn't get to hit the ground, however, as he is sucked into the wing turbine.
  • On Bones, Howard Epps hangs off a balcony and Booth grabs his hand and tries to stop Epps from falling the 50 ft. to his death. It fails, however, and Bones and Booth watch Epps fall and hit the pavement, ridding them of a major antagonist.
  • In Stargate Atlantis Michael returns in the final season to kidnap Teyla's son. Mama Bear instincts kick in, and she ultimately throws him off the top of Atlantis' central spire. And that is NOT a short drop by any stretch of the imagination.
  • The Cold Case writing staff has this as the preferred method of killing off the Victim of the Week.
  • Merlin - Aredian the Witchfinder dies by falling out a window rather than being killed by Merlin like most of the villains.
  • Happens to the White Witch in the BBC version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe... but not in the book or, ironically, the Disney version where she gets mauled to death by Aslan (although we're spared the details). Apparently that was considered a bit strong for Sunday tea time viewing, so Aslan simply roars at her, causing her, either through magic or simple fear, to fall to her death.
  • On Heroes, Nathan falls off a rooftop in his final appearance on the show.
    • Kaito Nakamura is tossed to his death off of the Deveaux rooftop by Adam Monroe.
  • In season one of Supernatural, the Meg Masters demon is thrown out a seven story window. Being a demon, she survives. However, after the demon is purged from Meg's body, the girl dies from the wounds given to her from the fall that happened a few episodes ago.
  • Doctor Shinigami/Ikadevil in the original Kamen Rider. Gets tossed off a cliff by Rider 1 (all while EEEEEEIIIIIII'ing) then when he recovers from the fall, he immediately explodes.
    • Colonel Zol in his Gold Werewolf form is punched off a cliff by Kamen Rider 2 and explodes on impact.
  • In CSI New York, Mac is chasing a serial killer across a rooftop. The killer feigns surrender, then attacks Mac, steals his handcuffs, cuffs himself, and tosses himself off the building onto a police car below. Disney Villain Suicide?
  • Star Trek: Voyager - Michael Jonas falls to plasma in engineering and dies in his attempt to kill Neelix.
  • In the finale of Maddigan's Quest, Ozul and Maska follow Circus Brat Garland out onto the high wire rather than waiting at either end to trap her there. The result is rather predictable.
  • In Crossing Jordan, the title character's half-brother threw himself from a third story window into the Charleston River when cornered by the police, taking all his secrets about their mother's murder with him. Though his body was never recovered, he never appeared on the show again, so it's a pretty safe assumption he's good and gone.
  • In Justified, Raylan has to confront Coover in Brother's Keeper, leading to Coover's plunge down the mine shaft.
  • Third Watch: Though drug kingpin Donald Mann (played by Gene Simmons) went down in a pool after being shot three times, right before the confrontation that leads to his death, he chucks a subordinate off the building roof, and we see the sod embedded into the roof of a car on the street below as Yokas and Cruz arrive on scene.
  • Leverage: Ruthless investor Latimer and the team's first client/target fall off a ledge while fighting over a gun, which goes off before a splash is heard. Unlike the above they're bodies aren't seen but its highly unlikely they survived... probably.
  • Pretty Little Liars: After being revealed as A, Mona Vanderwaal falls off a ledge during a struggle with Spencer. Spencer even reaches out to try and pull her back, but isn't able to. In a Subversion, Mona lives through the fall and is eventually found criminally insane and confined to an insane asylum for treatment.
  • In the second episode of Batman, "Smack In The Middle," the Riddler's moll and Girl of the Week Molly tries to shoot the Caped Crusader in the Batcave but winds up falling into the atomic reactor to her death ("What a way to go-go") - one of only two Killed Off for Real moments (and the only time a woman is killed) in the entire series.
  • In the season 2 finale of Nikita, this is how Nikita and Percy's final confrontation ends. As Percy's about to make his grand escape, he attempts to kill Nikita, and in their struggle he falls over the edge of Division's missile silo. Nikita grabs him, but ultimately lets him drop. Ironically, when he hits the bottom he crashes into the glass prison cell he spent the first half of the season locked up in.

Professional Wrestling

  • Muhammad Hassan fell victim to this trope after his match with The Undertaker at The Great American Bash. After the match, Undertaker tore off several of the panels covering the stage and giving him a Last Ride through the hole, complete with a rather disturbing sounding crash a few seconds later. While other wrestlers have taken falls from high heights as part of their match, sometimes being put out of action, this was meant in storyline to kill off the character, as UPN forced the WWE to remove him from the air.
  • A tragic non-villain example happened to Owen Hart, who during his entrance when he rappeled in from the rafters, fell 78 feet to his death. It was only by luck that this didn't happen on national television, who saw only a backstage promo instead.

Video Games

  • The Trace Memory series plays with this. The first game plays it straight with Bill falling into a large pit in a cavern, but the sequel subverts it by having Richard save Ryan from his suicide attempt.
  • Disney's own Toontown Online has a boss fight that ends with the Cog VP being pushed off the roof of his HQ building.
  • At the end of Banjo-Kazooie, Gruntilda falls from a great height and a large rock falls on her. The extent to which this counts as a "death" is unclear, though. She immediately starts talking and trying unsuccessfully to move the rock, and she's back in action as a skeleton when it's removed in the sequel.
  • There are quite a few level-specific Mortal Kombat Fatalities which allow you to finish your opponent with one of these. Usually upon a whole mess of Spikes of Doom.
  • Let's not forget that the easiest way to defeat Bowser in Super Mario Bros. involves a bridge, a lake of lava, some carefully-timed jumps, and a switch you can press to defeat your opponent. Same for SMB3, you have to resort to avoiding his stomps and fireballs long enough to make him stomp a hole all the way through the floor without taking you with him.
    • Avoided in Super Mario 64: Trying to just push Bowser of the cliff makes him jump back up and create a shockwave in the process. You need to throw him into a bomb or three to actually defeat him. You can't defeat King Bob-Omb by throwing him of the mountain, either, or he will react pretty similarly to Bowser.
    • The final level of the Donkey Kong arcade game uses this. Mario removes the rivets holding the platform Donkey Kong is on, causing him to fall down, and hit his head. Its Sequel, Donkey Kong Jr has a similar set up. After freeing Donkey Kong, the floor disappears, both Donkey Kong and Mario end up falling, but the former is caught by Jr. In a subversion of the trope, Mario immediately recovers from the fall, and runs away. Also subverted in Game Boy Donkey Kong, where DK falls off the tower after being defeated by Mario, only to return powered up as a giant for the definite final battle. A similar thing happens in Mario vs. Donkey Kong, but DK ends up crashing onto a truck full of Mini-Marios. He survives and steals the Mini-Marios, again. "Here We Go Again!"
    • Happens again with Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy 2, and par to the last few examples, he comes back up, eats the Grand Star, becomes massive and starts the true final battle.
    • At the end of Super Mario 3D Land, Mario breaks the bridge that Bowser is on and in a pretty awesome cutscene, he starts to fall towards a pit of boiling lava in slow-moton. Then a rock hits him and Bowser falls to his doom at regular speed. Bet you £1,000,000 he'll be back for the next Mario game, though.
  • In Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs, Billy Holme falls to his doom after Chayton shoots him and he backs into a mine shaft. And he takes several barrels of TNT down with him.
  • True Crime: Streets of LA: General Kim throws himself off of a skyscraper in the bad ending.
    • Can also happen to Nick Kang, if you lose to Kim.
  • Inverted in Final Fantasy VI, as supposed Big Bad Emperor Gestahl is betrayed by his dragon Kefka, by being struck by lightning, before being kicked off a floating continent.
  • Played straight in Final Fantasy VII with Dyne. After Barret wins their duel, Dyne jumps off a cliff and mostly likely gets impaled on one of the large spikes in the background.
    • Ba'Gamnan in Final Fantasy XII. Ends up being subverted though. Ba'Gamnan is alive and well in the sequel, Revenant Wings, and in that game he also doesn't get anything worse than several bad beatings courtesy of the heroes.
  • In the original Prince of Persia, many of the Mooks can be forced off their platforms if you keep parrying their thrusts and advancing as they are knocked back. This will kill them if the drop at the platform's end is high enough or is over a spiked pit. It's even possible to kill the Final Boss in this manner.
  • An arcade shooter game Silent Scope 2 does this, in a way; the last boss is fought atop the Palace of Westminster's Clock Tower, with a hostage handcuffed to him. After managing to shoot the boss (and not his hostage) enough times, he drops off the side, with the hostage barely hanging on at the top. Your last bullet has to hit the handcuff chain, thus saving the hostage's life. If you manage the shot, the game goes eerily silent as the Big Bad drops... and the last thing you hear before credits roll is a dull thud, and the scattering of birds.
  • Ghost Squad also does this in the end of the second mission. Egregious since it is achieved by a headshot of all things. This, of course, being Sega game...
  • This trope nearly happened to Rouge in Sonic Adventure 2. After a fight with Knuckles over the Master Emerald, she loses her footing and falls towards a pit of lava. Knuckles grabs her hand at the last minute, "saving her life", even though, as a bat, she could have just flown back up... She still could have used the updrafts to glide back up or glided to one of the girders. Most likely, she was exhausted from her fight with Knuckles. Another subversion occurs in Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, with Dr. Eggman himself. Sonic falls with him, but is saved by Tails. Eggman survives though.
  • At the end of GBA RPG Golden Sun: The Lost Age, primary villain Alex meets his end when he falls into the crack in the earth that destroyed Mt. Aleph. The main villains from the first game met a similar fate when they fell into the well of the Venus Lighthouse.
  • Final Fight games have a tendency to end this way. In fact, the endboss' AI (at least in Final Fight II, and the first, probably in the third as well) is set so that when he is at critically low health, he suddenly jumps to and stubbornly insists on staying on the side of the screen with the obvious window (complete with a special otherwise-unseen form of ass kicking if you attempt to get behind him—you are not allowed to get between him and the window) specifically so that he can go flying through the window when you strike the final blow.
    • Final Fight 3's last boss stubbonly stands next to a power switch on the roof of city hall. He is electrocuted when you land the final blow, and you character escapes off the roof as it explodes. But he doesn't fall.
  • Geese Howard gets his at the end of Real Bout, complete with a rejection of Terry's outstretched hand and evil laughter as he plummets toward the ground. Geese, of course, also gets this at the end of Fatal Fury. Assuming you beat him. Otherwise, he sends YOUR character to a Disney Villain Death.
  • In Mortal Kombat 4 for Jax's ending, he drops Jarek to give him this fate. In the continuity, Jarek manages to indeed survive the fall with injuries.
  • In one ending of Clock Tower the villain dies a Karmic Death attempting to make you fall off a ladder when you shake free. This happens to Bobby in all of the good endings, and to his mother Mary in three of the good endings.
  • In Ratchet and Clank Future Tools of Destruction, Tachyon falls into a black hole after he is defeated in a boss battle.
    • Also, in Crack in Time Ratchet falls off a platform after being shot in the chest by Alistar.
  • In Resident Evil 5, Albert Wesker had this during the flashback when Jill Valentine grabbed him when they jumped out of a window. However, Albert Wesker survives. And so does Jill Valentine, who then became the host for Wesker's new mind-control parasite.
  • Joker attempts to give HIMSELF a Disney Villain Death at the end of the Batman: Vengeance videogame. You, as Batman, must save him, or face a Nonstandard Game Over as the game informs you that death is not the same thing as justice.
  • At the end of Def Jam: Fight For NY, the easiest way to defeat the Big Bad Crow is to slam him against his office windows until they shatter and he goes flying through them. You get a trophy for pulling it off. Of course, you also have to watch out because he'll try to do the same to you, and he's one of the fastest fighters in the game and often beats you to the punch.
  • In the video game of Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man and Venom have an aerial battle that ends after an Action Command sequence allows you to save yourself and allow Venom to plummet to the bottom of the construction site, getting impaled on at least twelve giant steel bars.
  • Also through an Action Command, Kratos rips the wings off Icarus midfall and uses them to fly to his destination. Icarus? Not so lucky...
  • Tales of Vesperia can use this trope for Symbolism, depending on whether or not you're into viewing it that way. Whoever Yuri kills appears to have the symbolic fall from power...Ragou and Cumore were both politically powerful, and both fell off of a bridge after Yuri killed them and into a dry sandpit (respectively), Barbos had a powerful blastia under his control and fell off of the gear tower, and Zagi had a powerful blastia fused onto his body and fell off of a tower.
    • Alexei meanwhile...wasn't entirely killed by Yuri. (His ambitions technically crushed him) And you'd assume that after four times, that Duke would fall to his death or be crushed by his ambitions, right? Well...you wouldn't be further from the truth. He actually saves the day.
  • Averted and played straight in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII; Rosso the Crimson cuts away the chunk of masonry she's standing on and falls to her death rather than admit defeat and Azul the Cerulean falls into an elevator shaft after having a double-barrelled cannon thrown through his stomach.
  • Occurs in Chaos Legion, but it was a willing leap from the villain which then summons the Big Bad.
  • Ridley, in Metroid Prime, is pushed out of a balcony by statues with laser beams. Despite the shockwave of the explosion he creates when reaching the bottom, you know he will be back.
    • The whole fight against Meta-Ridley at the start of Metroid Prime 3 is played entirely in free fall. As such, when you deliver the final blow, you're saved by a fellow bounty hunter, but Ridley isn't so lucky, plummeting to his death, though he eventually returns thanks to Phazon corruption.
  • Two of the possible deaths for Scott Shelby in Heavy Rain.
  • Ripburger in Full Throttle. Despite being from LucasArts' beautifully cartoon-shaded era, there's nothing Disney about the tone of it.
  • The Force Unleashed calls it "Long fall" and gives you extra forcepoints for throwing mooks into pits.
    • Rahm Kota gets this honor but returns later on. Also, Starkiller throws Shaak Ti in the Sarlacc and thinks he is done but she back out very fast.
  • TK from Dead Rising 2.
  • The fate of Cesare in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. After insisting to Ezio that no man could kill him, Ezio decides to drop him off a castle wall and "leave him in the hands of fate."
    • Also, Ahmet in Revelations.
  • Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist.
  • Subverted with Dutch van der Linde in Red Dead Redemption. When you finally confront him, he gives a Hannibal Lecture to Marston and falls off a very large cliff. The next scene is Marston and Ross catching up with his corpse. Ross shoots him in the head - dispelling any notion that Dutch wasn't dead - and attributes it to John, saying "it looks better on paper".
  • Skabb from The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night. He staggers back after being defeated in the boss battle and falls over the side of the ship to his death.
  • In the FMV adventure game Lost in Time, the heroine's final confrontation with the Big Bad takes place on a log above a canyon. Do nothing, and he'll push you off. However, a profile you read much earlier in the game said that he was allergic to flowers, and there's one in your inventory. Use it on him and he'll start sneezing, lose his balance and fall.
  • Played with in Crysis 2. When you finally track down and face Lockhart, commander of the CELL mercenaries who's been out for your blood the entire game, the 'fight' with him is really a cutscene. Your character grabs him by the throat and tosses him out of a third-story window. The subversion comes in that the fall doesn't instantly kill him; he spends a minute pathetically whimpering and trying to crawl across the ground. You can put him out of his misery...or let him suffer for everything he's done to you and your allies.
  • Subverted in Breath of Fire 2. After Deathevan forces Ryu to watch as he kills his friends, Ryu snaps, charges through a gauntlet of powerful explosive spells and disembowels the would-be god in a single slash. Deathevan is stunned that a mortal could defeat him and falls into the abyss. Seconds later, he rises up from said abyss as an enormous demonic monstrosity.
  • Done deliberately with Portal 2: the devs thought killing him was too harsh but letting him go would be anti-climatic. Spacing him, they explained, was the best compromise.
  • In the AGD Interactive version of King's Quest II Romancing the Throne, Hagatha is blinded by sun in her eyes and plunges out the crystal tower's window. However Graham and Valanice never hear her land or see her corpse.
  • Happens to several villains in the Quest for Glory series.
    • Ad Avis in Quest for Glory II dies this way, stumbling off a tower. A Thief player hits him with a thrown dagger, which makes him lose balance. A Wizard will bounce a force bolt off a pillar, hitting the brazier next to him, causing him to recoil from it (in the AGD Interactive, it ignites his robes) and fall to his death. A Fighter will do a slide and knock the brazier into him with his shield. The fall does kill him, however, as we learn in the 4th game, Ad Avis was the servant of a vampire who fed him some of her own blood. When the fall killed him, he turned into a vampire himself and fled.
    • The Demon Sorcerer of Quest for Glory III is similarly thrown into the closing demon gate. This is after he was stabbed with the spear of death (If by a fighter or paladin), a paladin's sword (Paladin hero) or a grapple hook (thief hero) - none of which kill him outright. If confronted by a wizard, he is first exploded (after stealing the Wizard hero's staff, which the wizard can detonate at will), and his (still living) head is kicked into the portal.
    • Minos of Quest for Glory V commits suicide that way when cornered by the Hero and his allies, carrying the tablet of the prophecy with him as he knows his blood will constitute the final sacrifice that will release the dragon who will then burn Silmaria down. If he can't rule it, no one will.
  • Kirk Dierker falls of the Eiffel tower after being shot by Sean in The Saboteur. The camera makes a point to show him hitting the first floor of the tower.
  • Dragon Age has a rare heroic example: Riordan, an Orlesian Grey Warden rescued by the heroes late in the game, falls to his death after leaping from a tower onto the Archdemon's back to fight it in midair, then hanging onto nothing but his sword as he gouges its wing. It is, however, a Dying Moment of Awesome.
    • The Dragon Age II expansion "Mark of the Assassin" ends with this - except the bad guy bounces rather painfully off a rock on his way down. It also plays out slightly differently depending on the Dialogue Tree - diplomatic! Hawke tries to save him, but he takes a swing with a knife and looses his grip. Snarky! Hawke listens to him making threats while hanging by his fingers, points out begging for mercy might have been a better idea and and just walks away. Aggressive! Hawke? Stamps on his fingers.

Isabela: You see that? He bounced!
Aveline: Well, I don't think he'll survive that.
Carver: Drop a sword on him!

  • Scervo meets its end this way in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. Averted with Dreadfuse, its equal from the final dungeon, as it explodes in midair during the fall.
  • Shows up from time to time in the Mass Effect trilogy.
    • In Mass Effect 2, an Eclipse mercenary can meet this fate on Thane's recruitment mission.
    • In Mass Effect 3, this is how Tarquin Victus dies at the end of his mission. Tali dies this way, too, if you fail to establish peace between the geth and quarians, and side with the geth in the resulting battle - the quarian fleet is wiped out and Tali commits suicide by throwing herself from a nearby cliff.
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land has this happen to the fourth boss of the game, Goriath, after he is defeated by Kirby and his party. Goriath attempts to strike a pose, but then looks down and realizes he's not on solid ground anymore thanks to Kirby and friends having knocked him off the platform, then he gets an Oh Crap and plummets to his doom below in a cartoony style, and as soon as he hits the ground, he explodes into many stars just like many other KRTDL bosses do after the end of their death animations.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In Homestar Runner's action movie parody Dangeresque, the title character entertains this idea but fails to follow through on it. What happens to Perducci is actually kind of unclear, but he survives to menace Dangeresque again in Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective.

Dangeresque: Once we get to the top of this high-scraper, we'll hopefully be able to throw some people off. Maybe even Perducci.

  • Waclaw, from Water Human, falls from a cliff while running from his former partner.
  • After a long battle at the very end of Red Vs. Blue: Revelations, the Meta is dragged off a cliff by the Warthog's tow cable.
  • Happens in an irregular fashion in Spoony's Campaign. The heroes knock the villain Lord Talbot out a window on purpose. They did find the body, but the very next day, they learn that the villain's body was stolen while they slept.
  • Like in the original film, Gaston met his end in this manner in the Kingdom Hearts fangame. Unlike the original film, however, the fangame also makes it especially clear that he's dead by Sora, in a manner very similar to Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, cutting him in half before he fell.

Western Animation

  • Don Bluth is fond of these. This isn't surprising, actually, given that he worked for Disney for a while and that classic Disney films had a huge influence on him:
    • Jenner has a surprisingly violent one in The Secret of NIMH.
      • We DO see him land though, so it counts as on-screen.
    • The Giant Mouse of Minsk chases Warren T. Rat's gang off a pier in An American Tail. They don't die, but they're stranded clinging to the anchor of a boat bound all the way from New York City to Hong Kong. Ouch.
      • For anyone who hasn't gotten the problems with this, unless they could find a way to climb up the anchor onto the deck of the ship, they would have to resort to cannibalism to avoid starvation, and would very easily die of exposure. And that's assuming they don't have to drop anchor out at sea.
    • Sharptooth's demise in The Land Before Time is actually quite an alarming variation (especially if the viewer is only familiar with the Lighter and Softer sequels): Littlefoot and his herd purposefully toss him off a cliff into a lake and drop a rock on him, causing him to drown. And then, just to make the audience really weirded out, Petrie gets a Disney Death. Dude.
      • In the MANY sequels, tossing the film's resident sharpteeth (Sharthoots?) down cliffs or pushing something to fall on their head (sometimes both) is a common way to dispatch them. It's almost a once-a-movie thing.
    • Subverted in the 1995 flop The Pebble and the Penguin, where psychotic penguin Drake managed to escape his fall, but is then crushed by his own giant boulder and the entire tower. So he both fell and dropped a rock on himself.
      • Also subverted, repeatedly, in All Dogs Go to Heaven, which features characters suffering several very precipitous falls, and though a few of the characters do die, it's never the direct result of a long fall.
    • Happens to Ludmilla at the end of Bartok the Magnificent where as a result of her being tricked by the titular bat into becoming a dragon, actually goes on a rampage and is lured to the top of a water tower, which then collapses because of her weight, causing her to fall to her doom.
  • In the cult animated feature Rock and Rule, the Magnificent Bastard Mok, an aging rock star with dark magical power, summons a demon with an evil song sung by the captive Catgirl Angel (this is another very kind of movie). Angel's repentant boyfriend shows up just in the nick of time and they banish both the demon and Mok down an interdimensional pit with a good song.
  • Happens to Frog Lip at the end of The Princess And The Goblin.
  • One of the ComiColor Cartoons, Balloon Land, features an almost proto-example for animation, as the villain of the picture, the Pincushion Man, is trapped in a ball of tree sap and is sent rolling to his doom, falling off a cliff into the lands tens of thousands of feet below...
  • Jonny Quest TOS.
    • "Monster in the Monastery". Jonny bursts some bags of oil with a bow and arrows. A villain wearing a yeti costume slips on the oil, rolls down some stairs and then over the edge of a cliff to his death.
    • "Dragons of Ashida". One of the dragons chases Race Bannon out of a cave mouth. Race jumps up and grabs a tree branch and the dragon falls to its death at the base of a cliff.
  • Subversion in Jonny Quest the Real Adventures. During the episode "In the Realm of the Condor" the villain of the episode battles Johnny on a bridge and they both fall off. Johnny grabs onto the ledge and the villain grabs onto Jonny. As you would expect, she loses her hold and falls down into the gorge. However, we actually see her, screaming all the way down, as she is seconds away from being splattered onto the sharp rocks below. (At least they didn't show the actual landing...)
    • Another example. "Ndovu's Last Journey" had a fight in an elephant graveyard. A villain falls and we see (from his point of view, no less) him fall towards the business end of an elephant skeleton tusk. The view cuts away before impact, but we do hear a rather nasty sound effect and see other characters flinch.
    • In the episode with the Philosopher's stone, the bad guy is attacked by a magical hawk (really) and is trapped inside the building with his two henchmen as his equipment is destroyed and the building explodes. Jonny, Jessie, and Hadji meanwhile escape just in time.
  • In the new Wallace and Gromit short movie: A Matter of Loaf And Death, the psychotic, baker-hating serial killer Piella Bakewell, meets her end by trying to escape in a hot-air balloon only to find out too late she's too heavy, and ends up eaten alive by crocodiles offscreen. Truly the darkest short yet. And the show's first death within in a short, in terms of shock, certainly pulled no punches.
  • Scorponok and Terrorsaur were removed from Transformers: Beast Wars this way. The last we see of them is Terrorsaur's outstretched hand sinking into lava. Note that this death was originally intended for Waspinator, whose popularity saved him at the last minute.
    • This may be a Shout-Out to the first season finale of Transformers, where after the rest of the Decepticons fell into the magma, Megatron went out the same way. (For a minute, anyway).
    • Speaking of which, this appears to happen to Beast Wars Megatron when he takes the spark of G1 Megatron. Tarantulas and Quickstrike rebel against him and throw him into the lava and his apparent death, though he comes back, even better than before.
  • Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender: While stopping Chin the Conqueror and creating Kyoshi Island, Avatar Kyoshi causes Chin to fall to such a death when he stands on the newly-formed cliff, refusing to accept his defeat, and the rock crumbles. However, Kyoshi makes it very clear that she doesn't see the difference between a Disney Villain Death and killing him herself; the end result was that she was responsible for Chin's death.
    • Azula looks like she is going to get one when she is knocked off her airship, complete with helpless rag doll flailing involved. So naturally, the Gaang is upset when she rockets to the nearby cliff by way of firebending, in a Crowning Moment of Awesome way no less.
      • The final battle against Ozai could count as an aversion as well, given that it takes place upon a series of massive pillars that seem perfectly designed for Ozai to fall to his doom after attempting to backstab Aang. He does indeed attempt to backstab Aang after Aang spares his life... but Aang finds another way to stop him.
  • The episode "Sneak Peek" in Batman Beyond had a nifty variation. The episode introduced a muckraking journalist who could control his tangibility; he could sneak into locked rooms and spy on people unseen. Sadly, he lost the ability to control his powers and fell through the building! The sequence is brilliantly animated, though there's a bit of uncomfortable Fridge Logic when Bruce wonders aloud if the poor guy is doomed to fall to the Earth's core; kind of a harsh punishment for a relatively minor baddie.
  • The Powerpuff Girls Musical Episode See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey has this happen to the title villain, who, in the only dialogue in the episode that isn't sung, makes a final speech on the way down.
    • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Power-Noia" had Him battling the heroes in Dream Land, where he was defeated and thrown over a ledge into a bottomless abyss by Buttercup. Of course, being a recurring villain who can exist As Long as There Is Evil, he survived, but that did defeat him for the time being.
    • Also in "Insect Inside" after the girls destroy his cockroach army Roach Coach falls off a building into the streets below. The girl's are horrified and when they examine his body they are relieved to discover that he was a robot controlled by a super intelligent cockroach, which did survive.
  • In the Grand Finale of Codename: Kids Next Door, the last we see of the Delightful Children is them falling from a broken roller coaster and into a giant broken toilet, sure victims of this trope. Incidentally, Father seemingly meets his demise by also falling into a giant pit earlier in the same episode (but not before literally transforming into The Dragon), but in his case it is subverted by showing him to be alive and well in the framing story.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog pulled this on part of Courage's rogues' gallery at the end of a Villain Team-Up episode. Just as they have Courage cornered, Courage, at Muriel's urging, screams so loudly that the floor gives way and the affected villains (Katz, Cajun Fox, The Clutching Foot, and the Queen of the Black Puddle) all plummet into a chasm.
  • In the New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love", The Joker mock-subverts this trope. He jumps from one rooftop to another but falls off and lets out a horrified scream as the camera cuts away. Cut back to him standing on the roof of a train that had been passing under him and yelling: "MADE YOU LOOK!" After a fist-fight with the dark knight atop the train, he does, however, fall into a normal false death.
    • The Joker actually gets this a lot. He has fallen off trains, rooftops, roller coasters, and pretty much everything else that is more than ten feet off the ground. Besides him, most of the other Batman villains have suffered this fate at least once. Bane fell off a boat, Freeze fell in SubZero, and Two-Face nearly fell off a building to save his coin (but was saved by Batman). However, these villains were shown to have survived every single time.
    • Inverted in "Over the Edge". Scarecrow knocks Batgirl off a building to her death, but we see her injuries and she has time to say her Final Speech. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
  • In Superman: Doomsday, the Evil Superman drops Toyman to his death. In front of the whole city.
  • In the Family Guy episode "North by North Quahog", Mel Gibson suffers this fate after falling off of George Washington's nose on Mount Rushmore, because Christians don't believe in gravity.
    • In another episode, Michael Eisner is thrown to his death, parodying Indiana Jones.
    • An android version of Hannah Montana is taken out in the same manner as King Kong.
    • Let's not forget Diane Simmons in "And Then There Were Fewer". Just as Lois is about to be shot, Diane is shot herself as she kneels, at first glance about to fall to the ground, but then falls off the cliff and screams, splashing into the waters below.
  • Happens to the psychotic hitchhiker at the end of the Tiny Toon Adventures movie "How I Spent My Summer Vacation". But being a Jason Voorhees Expy, it doesn't stop him from reappearing in the finale.
  • In Ice Age 3, Rudy is shoved off a cliff by Momma. Rudy survives to see the end credits, however.
  • In the Direct to Video An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island, two of the villain's underlings die by falling down an underground chasm and being drowned by a flood of water, being the only bad guys in any of the An American Tail movies that die. The three main villains of the movie, however, are the only villains in An American Tail who turn out to be Karma Houdinis.
  • At the end of the fourth season of Winx Club, the Winx fairies and the warrior fairy Nebula use coverage to freeze the three remaining fairy hunters in the Omega dimension. After being frozen, the three evil wizards fall into a hole as the cave starts collapsing.
  • Double Subverted in the second season finale of Teen Titans. Terra throws Slade off a cliff and into a river of lava, but he catches himself on the rock, pulls himself back over the edge, and grabs her by the throat, at which point she blasts him over the edge with her full powers unleashed, and just so we know he's dead, we then see his mask dissolving in the lava. Of course, he comes back from that too, courtesy of the show's Satan-Expy, but that's not for another season. He outright said he would've been Killed Off for Real if Trigon hadn't intervened though.
  • Ineptly used for the villain of The Adventures of the American Rabbit ...who's a bird. They do show that he's gotten very tired and his wings are covered with snow, but he falls/glides very slowly about twenty feet, lands in snow, and the sound effect when he hits is a gentle "puff". Um... I guess he's dead?
  • The Mouse King in The Nutcracker Prince fits the bill as he was struggling to almost kill Clara, he loses strength and falls from the balcony and falls downward into his watery doom in the waters below Gingerbread Castle. After a splash, his crown is seen floating before it sinks back into the waters.
  • In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Anakin's fight with Asajj Ventress ends with Anakin pummelling on Ventress with a lightsaber,[3] but instead of Ventress getting cut to ribbons, the cliff she's standing on breaks, sending her into the abyss below. The other Clone Wars cartoon, Star Wars the Clone Wars makes it clear she survived. It takes place after the the previous one, and she is a main villain in it.
  • Played with in Chicken Run, where the villainess is defeated by falling off an airplane. She survives the fall itself, but is (possibly) killed by the effects of it; the fall triggers a massive explosion, which destroys a barn, which causes the door of said barn to fall on top of her.
  • In Regular Show, this happens to Susan in "Benson Be Gone". After she goes One-Winged Angel, a one shot character named Utopia performs a Heroic Sacrifice to send her falling into a pit back into Hell.
  • In Blazing Dragons, Count Geoffrey is accidentally knocked out the tallest window in Camelhot by Sir Loungelot. Although it is debatable whether the fall kills him, we never see him again for the rest of the series.
  • In Arthur, a tyrannosaurus rex falls off a cliff while trying to eat another dinosaur.
  • Inverted and Subverted in the 2011 reboot of ThunderCats, in the episode episode "Old Friends" where heroic Old Soldier Panthro flashes back to the battle where the Big Bad and The Dragon presumed him dead. Panthro's power-hungry friend Grune, offered a position as Sorcerous Overlord Mumm-Ra's right hand, begins to fight when Panthro declines his We Can Rule Together. Grune knocks Panthro off the edge of a platform in Mumm-Ra's lair, sending him falling into a dark pit. Later, when pursuing his Evil Former Friend, Panthro sourly rants about how difficult it was to climb out.
  • At the end of the season 2 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Queen Chrysalis and her changelings are hit with a powerful magic spell and are sent flying over the edge into the distance. This seems fairly Team Rocket style, but the distance they must have fallen exceeds both distances Twilight nearly fell in the second and fifteenth episodes put together. Judging by the fact they don't bother putting the shield back up, it's fair to assume the heroes at least believe it took her out for now.

Real Life

  1. As a matter of fact, Scar's death was actually reused from that concept
  2. villain of a Tyrant Takes the Helm story arc
  3. a scene quite reminiscent of a pummelling Anakin would later receive from his own son