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File:Drama glass 001.png

"Then take whatever was behind that, and break it too."

Never ever give a fragile cup to anyone with psychic powers. You're only going to end up minus one cup and pissing off the janitor.

Drama can be quite a vandal. It likes to break things just to punctuate the mood. Often takes the form of a dropped glass or object, often in slow motion, but smashing even upright things will do for dramatic emphasis. This is obligatory for a shank being made out of a glass bottle.

A Sub-Trope of Rule of Drama.

Compare Super Window Jump (awesomely breaking glass to herald one's appearance or retreat), Rage Against the Reflection, A Glass in the Hand, Glass-Shattering Sound, Rockers Smash Guitars. Window Pain and the Sheet of Glass are contrived ways of creating this trope.

Examples of Dramatic Shattering include:

Anime & Manga

  • The first opening of Death Note has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment where a glass statue of Light falls to the ground and breaks.
  • As far as intentional breaking goes, in GaoGaiGar they have Break In Case Of Monster of the Week glass covering a button as part of the over-the-top emphasis.
    • The connector for the Goldion Crusher was designed for GaoFighGar. It was actually used by Genesic GaoGaiGar, whose arm is significantly bigger than GaoFighGar's. As Geki Hyuuma advised, Guy "adjusted with [his] guts!"
  • In an episode of Princess Tutu, Fakir smashes through a window in order to confront the Dark Magical Girl (Mytho, however, just decided to use the door).
  • In Hellsing, the Major deliberately drops a glass of champagne after dedicating a toast to the impending attack on London by Millenium.
    • There are two Hellsing examples, the second being when Alucard's wine glass falls and shatters (in slo-mo!) before the start of his fight with Luke Valentine.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni does this with its Eyecatch. It actually comes straight from the visual novel, which would use the effect whenever there was about to be a time lapse in the narration.
  • The 1970's anime version of The Little Mermaid has Marina dramatically dropping a mirror on the floor after the prince told her that he's marrying another princess whom he believes saved his life when in reality it was Marina who saved him.
  • Happens in episode 85 of Ranma ½ when Ranma accidentally falls into Akane's dish of pot stickers which causes it to fall and break. Cue Akane getting down on her knees and staring at it with a broken expression while dramatic music plays in the background.
  • Reiga of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru does this deliberately with a wine glass in episode 7.
  • Pegasus has his wine glass shattered after receiving a threatening message from Yami Yugi.
  • In Pokémon the Rise of Darkrai, an hourglass does this near the beginning when it's knocked off of Tonio's desk by the spacetime distortions.
  • In Naruto, during Haku's backstory when Haku's father has just killed his mother and is about to kill him.
  • The first Bondage Queen Kate OVA briefly cuts to a pane of glass cracking and then shattering to symbolize the loss of Kate's virginity.

Comic Books

  • Jason Todd's costume display case has this happen a lot in Batman. Maybe less now that he's alive.
  • Plourr Ilo of the X Wing Series pours out her wineglass and then tosses it into the air to shatter when it falls, punctuating what she'd been saying about the tyranny of the nobles.
  • In Watchmen, Laurie throws a bottle of perfume against Jon's Martian palace, which of course shatters as well.

Fan Fic


  • The snow globe at the beginning of Citizen Kane.
  • The "Line Must Be Drawn Here" scene from Star Trek: First Contact, in which Captain Picard loses his temper, shouts two Big Nos, and smashes the glass case holding his models of previous Enterprises. The camera even holds for an extra moment on the model of the ship from the television series sliding off of the shelf before it hits the ground.
  • Done surprisingly well in Iron Man. After learning that his weapons have been sold to a terrorist group without his consent and seeing the news report about how they're being used to terrorize an Afghan village, Tony Stark gets up and in a moment of fury/surprise uses his new and improved pulse-blasting gloves to shatter the windows of his shop.
  • In the movie Bicentennial Man, a young Little Miss is playing on the beach with a glass figurine of a horse. She invites Andrew to hold it, but Andrew fumbles the delicate figurine, causing it to fall from his grasp and be shattered on a rock. Little Miss is understandably furious at this, since the horse was not only her favorite figure, but also irreplaceable. To remedy the situation, Andrew studies the art of wood carving, and carves for Little Miss a wooden horse figurine, thereby exhibiting creativity for the first time.
  • The Movie of Watchmen does this: when Laurie figures out The Comedian was her father, she freaks out and punches a pillar of Jon's Martian glass palace, which leads to the whole structure shattering around them. It's pretty awesome.
  • Done with a dropped coffee cup at the end of The Usual Suspects.
  • In the film version of The Natural, Roy Hobbs' home run ball shatters the stadium lights.
  • La Haine begins with a shattering Molotov bottle in representation of the riots of Paris's ghettos.
  • Lampshaded and deconstructed in the Bollywood movie Taal: upon hearing his nephew is going to marry the daughter of a musician (basically a commoner), Manev's uncle smashes a glass on the floor. Manev then proceeds to smash seven glasses on the floor, and then says, "If smashing a glass makes your argument more valid, then I have smashed seven glasses on the floor, so my argument is seven times more valid."
  • The Russian admiral in the film version of The Hunt for Red October drops his tea while reading Ramius' letter.
  • Played for laughs in the George of the Jungle movie. Ursula, the heroine, nervously reveals to her parents - during a reception held for her and her fiance - that she no longer wishes to get married. Her parents respond with a cheery, "That's OK, dear. We understand." The Narrator then quips, "Just kidding!" before Ursula's mother lets out a harrowing scream and promptly drops her wine glass, shattering it on the floor.
  • In the extended edition of Return of the King, Aragorn gets into a Palantír staring match with Sauron, who shows him a taunting vision of a dying/dead Arwen. The Evenstar pendant she gifted him with falls to the floor and shatters very prettily and dramatically into glittering bits, though he's later seen wearing it, so it was apparently a hallucination. The shot of the pendant shattering is shown before this scene, divorced from context, throughout the trilogy; it symbolises Arwen's dependence on Aragorn's victory to survive.
  • In the film version of Twilight, Rosalie shatters a glass bowl of salad in rage when she learns that Bella has already eaten and her family's efforts to cook for her were in vain.


Live-Action TV

  • Used at the end of the pilot of Sliders, and again with Mrs. Arturo in "Double Cross".
  • The Lost episode "The Glass Ballerina" begins with the titular object falling in slow motion and shattering.
    • And the Man In Black's shattering of the Metaphorical Wine Bottle of Metaphors at the end of "Ab Aeterno".
  • In the Korean Drama Bad Boy, a priceless glass mask is shattered against a wall.
  • The penultimate episode of Spaced Series 2 uses a slow-motion dropped wineglass to illustrate the shattering of trust and friendship when Marsha finds out that Tim and Daisy aren't a couple and have been lying to her for years.
  • Babylon 5 used it in the episode where Sheridan's dead first wife shows up at his door and Delenn drops a snowglobe to shatter in extreme slow-motion against the floor.
  • The Supernatural opening credits for season six.

Music Videos

  • A common trope in 1980s music videos. Seen It a Million Times.
  • Russell Mulcahey (the director of Highlander) started his career by directing many, many music videos in the 1980s. He practically invented the "glass object shattering in slow motion" motif used so often in the TEN videos he did for Duran Duran.
  • (Not entirely sure if this counts, but...) I THREW IT ON THE GROUND!
  • X Japan's videos for, among others, "Week End" and "Jade" feature this trope.
  • Watch the music video for "I Don't Love You" by My Chemical Romance. Right after the Subdued Section, everything shatters.

Video Games

  • Castlevania: "What is a man?! *tosses wine glass* A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk! Have at you!"
    • Dracula does this quite a lot over the various games.
    • He also does it in I Wanna Be the Guy. Just like everything else in the game, the wine glass can kill you.
  • One of the scenarios in the Interactive Fiction game Constraints places you in the unlikely role of a vase on a shelf, waiting for the right dramatic moment to plummet to the floor.
  • Diego Armando in Ace Attorney, Case 3-4, grows so full of Tranquil Fury at recent events as to shatter a ceramic mug full of coffee in his bare hand.
  • In Persona 3, characters would summon their Persona by placing the gun-shaped Evoker to their head and pulling the trigger --and a flurry of blue "shards" would fly out the other side of their head, with the sound of glass breaking, to symbolize their own minds shattering in order for their inner selves to manifest. The same effect is used when the Protagonist (the only one who can switch Personas at will) "shattered" one Persona for another during battle, to represent his original personality breaking to make way for a new one.
    • Persona 4 used basically the same motif and sound effect, except that instead of their minds breaking via gunshot, the Tarot cards symbolizing the character's Persona would fly apart when struck by his or her Weapon of Choice. The Protagonist's "mind shattering like glass while changing Personas" part was removed, however, and only the sound effect remained.
  • Near the end of Mass Effect 3, Shepherd can shatter Kai Leng's sword with an interrupt.

Web Comics

Web Original


 "In a specific trope that amps up drama, break things."


Western Animation

  • In the second episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Nightmare Moon does this to the depowered Elements of Harmony. There is even a shot of Twilight looking with shock as the shards fall to the ground.

Real Life

  • People looking to be dramatic or draw attention will sometimes break glass while throwing the adult equivalent of a temper tantrum.