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"He swan dives from 20 floors, lands right on it! What, do I have a bull's-eye on there? He couldn't move over two feet! Land on the sidewalk, that's city property!"
George Costanza, Seinfeld

The higher you are falling from, the more likely it is that a car will be there when you land. Typically it is a parked car, but often it will have a driver inside. Oddly enough and given the same height, a car with a driver in it will suffer less damage than an empty one. The car probably allows the landing to be shown while keeping the TV parental guideline or MPAA rating relatively down. Possibly influenced by the famous "Most Beautiful Suicide" image. Sometimes the horn may be triggered, or even a hapless alarm. In the more trope-loving media, the car may even turn out to be a Pinto.

Despite the trope name, the victim is unlikely to survive; only The Hero is almost guaranteed to survive.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Car Cushion include:


Anime and Manga

  • Umineko No Naku Koro Ni has Ange Ushiromiya purposely jump down from the third floor onto one, and end up almost breaking her back, but escaping.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka falls maybe three or four stories onto a parked car, and walks away, leaving the car totaled. In this case it's more Rule of Funny that saves him though. In particular, the wrecked car is always belonging to the same person, who hates him.
  • In Bremen, Romio does this purposely. While being slowly crushed by a giant anaconda, he staggers to the window and throws himself out, landing on a car below.
    • Vaguely justifiable, in that the snake cushioned the fall as much as the car did, and died on impact, while Romio suffered some bruises and a minor concussion.


  • Queen and Country when the spy protaganist leaps out a (second floor) window to escape a room full of confused hostiles. The same scene screws with another trope as the glass is somewhat bulletproof.
  • Kick-Ass opens with a monologue about why no one's tried to be a superhero before and a guy wearing a strange outfit standing on a skyscraper. He unveils his wings and jumps, sure that he will be the first flying superhero. His dreams end badly, as does the only car nearby on the ground level.
  • An issue of New Avengers has Spider-Man throwing Wolverine out a window for bad-mouthing his wife (rrrrgh). Being Wolverine, he survives. He's next seen with a steering wheel around his neck, grumbling about how some people have no sense of humor.
  • Barracuda throws the Punisher out of a window when the latter goes into berserker rage and nearly tears him apart. The Punisher doesn't just land on a car below, he lands on a cop car.
  • Happens in Issue 4 of Gotham Central to Firebug. It's only a second story fall, though, so he survives with a few broken bones.


  • In Darklight, Lilith is thrown away and falls on a parked car, which promptly explodes.
  • In the first Batman film, one of the Joker's falling henchmen lands through a TV camera van, causing a massive spark explosions for no reason. Otherwise, the trope tends to be averted by Tim Burton: Both the Joker himself and Selina Kyle fall directly on the pavement. Obviously, she gets better (he doesn't).
  • In Darkman, guess what Pauly falls on after being defenestrated?
  • Frank Nitti after being thrown off the roof by Eliot Ness in the Brian De Palma film version of The Untouchables.

 Stone: Where's Nitti?

Ness: He's in the car.

  • Used quite successfully in the movie Inside Moves, a bunch of friends with various handicaps (one is blind, another has a leg problem, another's an old pensioner, another is a guy who has serious back problems, etc.) sit around in a bar and talk with each other. We find out the guy with back problems it that way because he decided to kill himself because life had lost his meaning, went up to the top of a building, threw himself off, but landed on a car, which caused his injuries, he was perfectly normal before the accident! "You stupid asshole, first you get injured, then you kill yourself!" as one of his friends kids him about it in response to his line, "I tried to kill myself and I landed on a fuckin' Pontiac!"
  • The Daredevil movie finale.
  • The Crank finale does this, too, where the character falls from a ridiculous height and bounces a dozen meters back up from the car on which he initially lands.
  • In The Fifth Element, Leeloo jumps from a building and falls into Korben Dallas' taxi.
  • Slight subversion in the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: The car is their means of escape.
  • In Quantum of Solace, this happens to some poor goon. He survives it. Then the occupants of the car kill him.
  • In Iron Man, this happens when Tony crash-lands the Mark II after its test flight.
    • The DVD with a program on the making of the movie reveals that this actually was an expensive car destroyed for the shot; the director bemoaned its loss before cuing its destruction. ...Why he couldn't have gussied up a less expensive car to look pricey, or used a car without the engine or internal bits, isn't described though "Because it's cool" seems a good answer.
  • Lethal Weapon opens with a young woman on a high-rise balcony throwing flowerpots (and then herself) at the parked cars below.
  • The Movie of Oldboy starts with the hero preventing a stranger from jumping off a building roof. He proceeds to fill the man in on his life's story, then wanders off when the stranger tries to do the same. The trope comes into play just as the hero is leaving the building. We never do find out what that guy's story was, or why he felt he had to take his pooch with him.
  • Rush Hour 2: Ricky Tan dies by falling onto a taxi.
  • In the 80's sex comedy Bachelor Party the evil blond preppie falls, like, 20 stories and winds up butt-first in the sunroof of a car. Neither he, the passengers nor the car suffer any kind of damage.
  • In the beginning of Hellboy II, the title character is thrown out a window by an explosion and lands on a car. Nothing he couldn't handle, though due to the sudden exposure to all the pedestrians, it does break the masquerade. Which was, of course, his goal.
  • In the first X-Men movie, Sabertooth has a variation of this. Granted, it's a boat, not a car, but still, closest they could've done at Liberty Island.
    • Falls from great heights matter little to Sabertooth, healing abilities help out a lot.
  • In Collateral, this is how Jamie Fox's character is introduced to the fact that Tom Cruise's character is a hitman. One of the targets has the bad grace to fall out of the window and onto the hood of his taxi.
  • In Home Alone 2, Kevin tricks Harry and Marv into getting onto a makeshift see-saw, launching Harry into the air and onto a car.
  • Sha Po Lang, known in some places as Kill Zone has the heroic Inspector Ma thrown out of a window and onto a car. He dies... but the Big Bad's wife and child are inside. Pyrrhic Villainy much.
  • A convict is dropped from Con Air... while in flight.
  • Kick-Ass, the movie version, opens with the same scene as in the comic book.
  • A young college girl in the Korean movie Nightmare commits suicide via diving off a building (and onto a car), though in truth she did not commit suicide—her fall was a coverup for her accidental death. Cue typical ghost revenge movie.
  • In Carrie 2 The Rage (which actually isn't as bad as one would expect), the protagonist's friend commits suicide by jumping off of the school roof. She lands on an unfortunate student's car.
  • Time Cop
  • In Thirst, the vampiric priest attempts suicide by jumping out of the hospital window after discovering his new condition. With only three cars parked against the hospital, of course he lands on one of them.
  • Averted in The Departed. When Queenan is thrown from the roof by a group of thugs, he lands right on the pavement in front of Costigan.
  • Justified in Die Hard. While it's true that one of the Mooks is thrown from the top of a building and lands right in the windshield of a cop car, he was already dead, and McClane aimed him at Powell's car to get his attention.
    • By the time of Live Free or Die Hard, however, nobody can fall from any height ever without damaging a poor sod's car (on several instances the one driven by McClane's).
  • The 19th century version appears in the latest Sherlock Holmes movie, when the American ambassador leaps out of a window while on fire, landing in the horse-drawn carriage below.
  • The Last Boy Scout. Jimmy+being thrown off a viaduc. You do the math.
  • The Matrix Reloaded features this trope multiple times, many during the freeway chase.
    • The movie starts with Trinity leaping out of a skyscraper while fighting an agent, then landing on a parked car.
    • Near the start of the chase, one of the twins gets in front of the heroes' car, then phases out and in again — 'leaping' laterally between two cars.
    • Shortly after that, an agent pulls up in a police car, jumps from that car onto another car (completely demolishing it), then jumps a second time onto the heroes' car, barely activating the suspension.
    • Morpheus tries to stab the twin in the car, causing him to phase out onto the freeway. Seconds later, he phases into the car being driven by the other twin.
    • After pulling off the freeway and driving onto an overpass, Trinity and the Keymaker try to escape by leaping off the overpass and landing on a big rig hauling motorcycles.
    • When the motorcycle escape doesn't pan out, Trinity drives the Keymaker to a semi that Morpheus is on top of — Morpheus then uses a samurai sword as an impromptu platform, grabs the Keymaker, and flings him onto the semi's trailer — a rare case of someone leaping upward onto a car cushion.
    • Once the Agents see where the Keymaker is, an agent leaps from a freeway overpass onto Morpheus's trailer.
    • The agent then defeats Morpheus, causing him to fall off of the trailer and onto a car being driven by Niobe.
    • Niobe then drives the car in front of the semi, where Morpheus jumps up and kicks the agent off the trailer, causing him to land on another car.
    • This trope is then somehow inverted when the the semi Morpheus is on collides with another semi — Neo then saves him and the Keymaker by pulling them straight up off the exploding trucks.
    • Finally, at the end of the film, Neo saves Trinity when she leaps out of the skyscraper by catching her before she hits the car — the agent chasing her falls onto the car instead.
  • The vicious battle in Unleashed between the protagonist and the martial arts expert ends with the other being kicked out of a window and falling onto a car. A car that had just pulled into the alleyway.
  • In Superman: Doomsday, this is how Superman's clone kills Toyman.
  • Eraser. Arnie lands in a car wrecking yard after barely getting his parachute open.

 Black kid: "Oh man, did that hurt? It had to hurt; I saw it!"

Ahnold: "Where is this?"

Kid's sister: "Earth. Welcome!"

  • In The Great Race, Professor Fate jumps out of a tall building, his henchman Max waiting below in a car with a trampoline mounted on top — which Fate bounces off of just as Max takes off.
  • What's New, Pussycat? — very soon after Peter O'Toole vows to give up womanizing for his impending marriage, skydiver Ursula Andress lands next to him in his open roadster.
  • In the Thai horror movie The Victim, actress May is attacked by the angry spirit of the murder victim that she's playing. It pulls her off of her balcony and she plummets to her death atop a car. It was only a dream, though.
  • In End of Days, Jericho throws Satan out of a window and he lands on a parked car. Of course, seeing as how he's Satan, he copes with it.


  • Played with in Harry Harrison's short story "Portrait of the Artist", in which a comic book artist, who has just lost his job to a machine, creates a suicide note in comic-book form that ends with a depiction of him jumping off his publisher's office building and landing on a car. After he commits suicide in the manner depicted, his ex-boss's only reaction is remark that he landed on the wrong car.

Live Action Television

  • Heroes: We knew in advance that Peter was going to fall on a taxi. We just didn't know that it would involve Claude throwing him off the building. Or that he would have Claire's regeneration to live through it.
  • Semi-averted: In the TV series of House of Cards, Matty Storin falls off a roof onto a car and dies, but her dead body shows no signs of damage, and neither does the car.
  • An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit ended with a dramatic scene of a woman threatening suicide via jumping, and actually pulling someone down with her as she went off the roof... and yes, they both land on a car. A similar scene happened at least once in the original Law and Order.
  • Seinfeld — The jumper, an escaped mental patient, lands on George's car. George then tries (unsuccessfully) to get the hospital to reimburse him.
    • This is, of course, after George has spent the entire episode bragging to everyone about he always gets parking spots right in front of the buildings.
  • In one episode of Monk, the murderer killed the victim in a clock tower and left her body on the minute hand of the clock. He then parked his car below the tower. He knew that when the minute hand had moved far enough, her body would fall on his car and set off the alarm, making it look like a suicide, and he made sure to have witnesses proving he was elsewhere when the alarm went off.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sarah dumps Cameron (who has been temporarily rendered "unconscious" due to electric shock) out of a window. She lands (very gracefully) on a parked (or possibly abandoned) car.
  • In one episode of Highlander the Series a disturbed woman strips off all her clothes in an elevator after being complimented on a dress, and walks off the roof — and lands right on Duncan's car, even getting impaled on the sword he had hidden in it. Being that she's one of the immortals she survives.
  • On Fringe, a man whose mental state can infect people around him leads several people up onto the roof of a building, where they are all standing poised to jump. Olivia goes up to try and talk him down. At one point she makes a threatening move towards him and one of the followers jumps. The woman's body comes crashing down on a car near where Walter and Peter are waiting, presumably dying.
    • This is happening a lot more on Fringe, as of season three.
  • In an episode of Grey's Anatomy, there's a possibly suicidal man who disappears from the ER. George and Alex are out in the parking lot looking for him (and fighting about Izzie) when he breaks through a high floor window with a fire extinguisher and jumps, crashing right on top of a parked car. Surpringly he survives, giving George an opportunity to impress Hunt by taking command of the situation. (This episode aired 2 days after the Fringe episode mentioned above.)
  • In the MacGyver episode "Passages," MacGyver falls two or three stories onto the roof of a car, putting him into a coma. In all fairness, he did fall out of a car park, meaning that there wasn't a lot of sidewalk for him to hit. Since he's the hero, he gets better.
  • Used twice (as far as this troper remembers) on Nash Bridges. The first time was a suicide, but the impact occurs off camera. Later, we see the car the jumper landed on. It's Nash's '71 Hemi'Cuda. The second time was a murder with the victim landing on one of the SIU's surveillance vans. The impact was shown from inside.
  • In the Kolchak the Night Stalker episode "The Trevi Collection", a would-be thief is tossed out of a window to land (fatally) on a car.
  • The Cape has The Cape surviving a jump from several stories up by using his cape to slow down his fall, and then landing on a car.
    • He conveniently lands on Orwell's car, which is barely dented, and both drive away in it.
  • The NCIS episode "Hung Out to Dry" had the victim crash through the roof of a parked SUV after both his parachutes failed during a training drop. He interrupted a date rape though, so it wasn't all bad.
  • In the Supernatural episode "The Third Man," Castiel jumps out of a window several stories up, landing directly atop (and thoroughly wrecking) Sam's shiny new car.
  • On Angel, Faith breaks out of jail by grabbing Wesley and jumping out a window, landing on a conveniently parked car a few floors beneath. Slightly justified in that Faith, who has superpowers, is shown to take most of the hit and Wesley is still in noticeable pain afterwards.

Video Games

  • In some games with vehicles, you can fall fatal distances, but survive fine if your fall takes you near a vehicle and you hit the Mount Vehicle key before you splat.
    • The Battlefield games are well-known for this kind of stunt being done online, where people will fall, unharmed, into the cockpits of aircraft, which they then proceed to fly.
    • In Prototype, the first appearance of the Hunters in the main storyline starts with Alex being thrown from a very tall building. He hits the ground. The Hunters following him, however, crush to hapless APCs parked nearby.
  • Ethan Thomas gets thrown from a window and lands on a car at the end of the first chapter of Condemned. You get to watch it all happen in first-person. How does he go from hood ornament to the sofa in his apartment, completely unharmed?
  • In the Killer Instinct rooftop stage, there's a fatality to knock the opponent off the edge. Yes, they land on a parked car.
    • Also may be inverted, as one of Jago's finishing moves is to cause a car to fall on his opponent.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Madd Dogg is threatening to jump off of a roof because his career is over. To help him, CJ has to get a pickup truck full of cardboard boxes and park it under him so he'll land in the boxes when he jumps. This is subject to a notorious Game Breaking Bug — Mad Dogg will frequently jump within seconds of the mission starting, making it Unwinnable.
    • In an earlier mission, CJ has to stow aboard a plane filled with The Men in Black, kill each one of them mid-flight, then parachute safely out of the plane. Jumping out of the plane without a 'chute will result in a cutscene of CJ smashing on top of the roof of a car and dying.
  • In Preacher's ending in Twisted Metal Black, he jumps off a roof because he can't live with the knowledge that he's schizophrenic, not possessed. The screen cuts to black after he jumps — followed by a thud and multiple car alarms.
  • In one of the side mission "Street Crimes" of LA Noire, a scuffle occurs on the roof of a building, ending with one of the perps being knocked off. With only one vehicle nearby, he somehow manages to land perfectly in the bed of a pickup truck.
    • In the DLC "The Naked City", a high-end therapist loses the woman he loved and his freedom and profession due to his part in a robbery ring. As the main characters are about to put handcuffs on him, he throws himself out of an open window and, wouldn't you know it, lands on the only car in sight. Detective Earle remarks "Didn't see that coming."

Web Original

  • During one fight, Stone of the Global Guardians got knocked out of the air by the supervillain known as Kong (who is literally a forty-foot tall super-strong gorilla) and slammed through the cab of a semi-truck. The impact caused the truck's front tires to explode, and actually tore Stone's favorite jacket.
  • In the first Phase novel of the Whateley Universe, Phase gets blasted onto the top of a car by a supervillainess. Since Phase has density-changing powers, he's just fine. The car? Not so much.

Western Animation

  • In South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut, Conan O'Brien jumps off a building and lands on a car after regretting giving Terrance & Phillip away to Sheila's mob. All the car's owner does is turn off the alarm.
  • Vlad does this to Danny in Danny Phantom. Then he proceeds to further damage the car when Danny dodges his punch.
  • Scarecrow bashes Batgirl over the head with a pipe in The New Batman Adventures causing her to plummet over the edge of a skyscraper and crash through the windshield of the police car her father is riding in. Her father launches into a vendetta against Batman for endangering her. Except at the end of the episode, it turns out to be a nightmare induced by the Scarecrow's fear gas.
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold: In "The Mask of Matches Malone!", Catwoman throws 'Matches' Malone (a.k.a. Batman) of the roof of a building and he smashes through the roof a car.


  • At the "Lights, Motors, Action!" stunt show at Disney's Hollywood Studios (and the original French show "Moteurs...Action!", a stuntman in the third sequence is shot by the hero and falls about four or five stories onto an air bag. In the fake "finished film" sequence shown at the end, the stuntman is shown falling onto a car, the roof of which essentially disintegrates like it was made of sugar glass.

Real Life