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File:Mummy 3573.jpg

It was like that when I got here.


"I am so very sorry! It was an accident!"

"My darling girl, when Ramses destroyed Syria, that was an accident. You are a catastrophe!"

In the library or archive, there are always stacks upon stacks of books, and so many bookcases in so many rows. The fight begins, and a bookcase falls...into its neighbor, which falls onto its neighbor, and causes a chain reaction that levels the whole library.

Examples of Bookshelf Dominoes include:


  • In an ad for Australian insurance company AAMI, a stripper jumping out of a cake at a party supplies store sets one of these off. The last shelf hits electrical wiring, setting the store on fire...
  • An ad for some laxative brand showed a librarian who had taken "the leading brand" laxative, causing her to double over with intestinal cramps, knocking over a bunch of shelves. The ad then goes on to say that if she had taken the brand they were advertising, she would have gotten the relief she needed without the cramping, and none of that would have happened.

Anime & Manga

  • This happened momentarily in Mahou Sensei Negima when Nodoka came under the effects of the Love Potion Negi had just drunk. A large section of the library ended up toppled over.
  • In Case Closed, they set one up on purpose in order to nail a perp.
  • Happens in an early chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh!. When Yugi tries to disprove a classmate claiming to be psychic, said classmate predicts that Yugi would be crushed by "countless letters", and tries to make this prediction come true by pushing a bookshelf onto Yugi.


  • In the first movie of The Mummy Trilogy, Evey does this by accident because she's a klutz. This is echoed in the second film, where the child of the main characters causes a series of pillars in an ancient temple to smash into each other, one by one.
  • Happens in Tremors in a grocery store. This time, it's the monster's fault, forcing the heroes to escape onto the roof.
    • In this case, the heroine happens to be standing on top of the shelves, and is flung out the window by their collapse!
  • Done in Zombieland in the souvenir shop.
  • Jury Duty used this to signal the security guard, only to knock him out.
  • In the film version of Angels and Demons, Robert Langdon intentionally topples the shelves in the Vatican Archives in an attempt to escape the hermetically sealed (and locked) library, which is quickly running out of breathable air. The glass is reinforced and bulletproof, however, so it fails to work... initially.
  • In Three O'Clock High, a fight in a library leads to entire bookshelves getting knocked down like dominoes.
  • Done intentionally in Goldeneye, forcing the mooks to go downstairs and shoot through the floor.


  • Occurs in the book Angels and Demons.
  • Freddy is beat this was in Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror: Twice Burned, being pinned under knocked over bookshelves while the library is burning to the ground.

Live Action TV

  • Used in a sketch in The Armstrong and Miller Show, a British comedy clip show.
  • Happens in the Doctor Who two-parter "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" two-parter when the Doctor, River Song, and the archeological team are running from the Vashta Nerada.
  • Happened in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when there was an earthquake.
    • And again later on during a large fight, with Willow getting crushed underneath them and being put in a coma.
  • A David Letterman Top Ten list, "Top Ten Ways To Get Kicked Out Of A Bookstore," has as its number one method, "Knock over the bookshelves like giant dominoes."
  • Subverted in the "Bull An A China Shop" episode of Myth Busters. Bulls have very sensitive ears and will be careful to avoid crashing ceramics.

Video Games

  • In the second Manor level of the original Max Payne, triggering a landmine on one of the massive archive shelves makes them fall like this, allowing Max to climb up to the otherwise inaccessible catwalk.

Western Animation

  • El Tigre: causes it in his mother's library because the bad guys duck his Rocket Punch. The falling bookcases end up getting them in the end.
  • In Megas XLR, a flashback shows Coop doing this while trying to get a book off a high shelf. The same episode ends with the same thing happening to an alien ringworld library.
  • Happened in the first arc of WITCH.
  • Kick Buttowski: the episode where Kick had to escape from an evil librarian. The last shelf misses her when it falls against a statue, but then the books fall and bury her.