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A creature, character, hero, villain...stands at the edge of a cliff and lets loose a roar to the heavens, either in grief, a display of power, or some other strong emotion.

There are lots of cliffs in television and in the movies. Of course, in real life, cliffs aren't generally nearly that tall or so flat on top. Plus, it, y'know...looks really cool.

Common variations include:

  • Wolves that can't howl unless they're standing at the edge of a cliff.
  • The top of a castle parapet
  • The top of a skyscraper
  • A rooftop

Common environmental embellishments include:

The one climbing up on a high place to roar at the heavens is almost Always Male. Often there's an implied element of Smite Me Oh Mighty Smiter. Rarely to never do we see a female, even the Mama Bear or Action Girl climbing up anywhere to roar at anything.

Oddly enough, the Big Bad never seems to be available or around to take this opportunity to turn it into a Literal Cliff Hanger, either.

See also Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity. May happen early in the film, or right after the Climbing Climax. Can overlap with Howl of Sorrow.

Examples of Clifftop Caterwauling include:



  • The Wolf Man in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust climbed up a cliff and howled before the full moon when he transformed.
  • Simon does this in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, while on top of the Dai-Gunzen. The reason is, Kamina just got Killed Off for Real. It's accompanied by a volcano in the background suddenly erupting.
  • Averted in Spice and Wolf. The only places I can recall Holo howling are in a field sitting in the back of a wagon and in a sewer.

Comic Books

  • Spider-Man tends to do angst-filled ones, when someone he loves has been kidnapped or hurt.


  • Aslan, at least in the trailers for The Chronicles of Narnia films.
  • Arnie in Predator does the tree branch version of this.
  • Predator II. The title creature did this while standing on top of a building, with lightning striking his metal spear.
  • Red Dawn: "Wolverines!"
  • Superman subverts this. He stands at the bottom of a cliff, utters a bunch of little nos, then roars at the heavens before the scene where we're forced to invoke the MST3K Mantra.
  • Also happens in The Incredible Hulk. Hulk no like sky flash and boom noise.
  • In Hard Boiled, after the warehouse shootout, Alan, who has just had to gun down his boss, join Johnny Wong and take on fellow cop Tequila, lets loose with a scream to the heavens while aboard his yacht.
  • In Evil Dead 2, Ash does this on finding that the bridge is out and he can't escape.
  • In Rocky IV, the last scene of Rocky's preparation for his fight against Drago consists of him free-climbing his way up a snow-covered mountain; once at the summit, Rocky repeatedly screams out his foe's name.
  • Garden State, anyone?
  • The Lion King.
  • In Despicable Me as Gru shrinks the moon, a werewolf howls on a clifftop...and changes into naked man, who quickly resorts to covering his privates and retreats.


  • Thor in The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams stands on the edge of a fjord cliff and roars (in his rage at Odin and Toe Rag's manipulation and treachery.)
  • Aslan, in Prince Caspian, roars. First it starts the ground and earth shaking. Then it scares the men in Miraz' camp. Then it wakes the nymphs and the river god. Then it alerts every last animal in Narnia. Then it wakes the trees. Then it scares every mother and wakes every man in Narnia. Then, even the giants on Narnia's northern frontier are alerted, looking out from their castles. This was an Oh Crap moment the movie version more or less completely failed to capture.

Live Action TV

Video Games

Western Animation

  • Anakin does this after defeating Asajj Ventress in Star Wars: Clone Wars. Easily the narmiest moment in the whole miniseries.
  • Gargoyles, often substituting skyscraper or castle ledges.
  • After Avatar Kiyoshi breaks her homeland off to keep it safe from Chin the Conqueror, Chin lets out a roar of frustration from the newly-created cliff...which promptly gives way from under his weight.
  • Wildebeest does this in Teen Titans when he is cornered by Madame Rouge.