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"Knock, knock!"
John Wayne after kicking down a door in Brannigan (1975).

There's a door the heroes have to get through. But there's a lock (often involving a complex computer combination lock) in the way. Our heroes have to get past it, to get the weapon, or the artifact, player, or whatever MacGuffin is important to the plot right now. They don't have a brilliant hacker kid like young John Connor or mutant kid like Micah. Somebody tries to pick the lock, or to blow powder on it to see what the most used key combinations may be, or find some way to get the lock open before time runs out. They're probably partway through the task but can't complete it fast enough.

And then along comes The Big Guy who just punches it in, smashes it with a rock, blasts it with a weapon, or runs into it head first. The lock gets crushed, sputters feebly, and the door obligingly opens, if it doesn't fall down first. Occasionally you have a speedster or a robot picking the lock by blazing through all combinations faster than the human eye can follow.

Or the ever-impatient lancer will decide on another master key: their boot! One good kick and they're in.

This trope is responsible for Evil Overlord List entry #96: "My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa." It's also a subtrope of Cutting the Knot. And when the magic phrase Open Sesame fails, you still have this as an alternative; sometimes the party using force to open the door will even say "Open, says me!"

See also Dungeon Bypass and Steal the Surroundings. Related to Axe Before Entering. The Subverted Trope, where they bust down the door, and an ally notes they didn't need to, is We Have the Keys. And the trope wherein they could've used the door but smash through the wall instead is There Was a Door.

Examples of Open Says Me include:


  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Togusa suggests that he pick a lock, while Bato just kicks the door down.
  • At the begining of the Bount Arc in Bleach, Ichigo and Co are trying to get into their kidnapped friend's house. They consider knocking the door down but Ichida calmly picks it instead. Later when they need to get in again, they decide that they're in too much of a hurry but the door's opened from the inside before they can open it.
  • In Busou Renkin, during the attack on the school, one of the L.X.E.'s familiars is telling the students to throw things at everything in the courtyard (the homunculi are immune, the heroes aren't). To get through the looked door, Daihama smashed it with a cry of "DIE DOOR!"
  • In one chapter of Keroro Gunsou, Momoka's street-fighting mother Oka circumvents the newly-installed set of heavy locks on the entrance to Keroro's Elaborate Underground Base by simply ripping the door open with her bare hands.
  • In one episode of The Big O, Roger is with his snarky Robot Girl companion Dorothy and they come to a locked door. Roger takes out a lock picking device he had stowed away, and gets ready to use it, but Dorothy just calmly pushes the door open and gives him a look.

Comic Books

  • Rorschach from Watchmen does this repeatedly, mostly to his friend, the second Nite Owl's, door. Of course you could argue he was asking for it using a company called Gordian Knot.
  • In Miracleman, Miracleman and a secret agent approach a giant vault door. The secret agent discusses finding finding some explosives to open it up. Miracleman dismissively embeds his fingers into the vault door, rips it out and throws it over his shoulder.
  • The Flash does this with the 'push every button until sparks fly out' method.
  • A humorous version occurs when Mortadelo Y Filemon pay a visit to the President of the USA. A security guard goes through a number of scans and checks (iris scan, voice recognition, access code, etc.) to open a door in the White House, prompting Mortadelo to remark that "Security sure is tight." Then along comes the cleaning lady, who just kicks the door a few times to open it. Perhaps she is an Almighty Janitor.
  • Superman, being the ultimate Flying Brick, does this occasionally. If you're super-strong and invulnerable, any door is only locked if you want it to be...But it's not enough to avoid the Bucket Booby Trap.
  • In The Authority, Jack remarks how much he hates kicking in doors because he feels bad for the people who clean up afterwards. Fortunately it turns out that Midnighter can pick locks faster than Jack can kick anyway.
  • Done a few times in Asterix, usually by Obelix.
  • In Sin City, when Marv is locked in Kevin's basement, he simply runs head-first into the huge, thick, vault door until it eventually breaks down. The movie contained a slightly different escape.
  • The Infamous Doom Comic: Page 2

 Marine: Knock knock. Who's there? ME! Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me! *KRAAAAK!*



  • Sherlock Holmes: In the 2009 Guy Ritchie adaptation, Holmes is fiddling with a lock when Watson kicks it in. Later Irene Adler pulls open a door to again find a Holmes fiddling with his lockpicks on the other side.
  • A numeric keypad doorlock is defeated by kicking the door open in Sneakers.
  • The Princess Bride has Fezzik defeat a locked door by simply giving it a shove.
  • Iron Man: Pepper Potts is leading several S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives to Stane's secret lab. Her key card doesn't work on his door, so the operatives place a device on the lock. Pepper starts asking if the device picks the lock mechanically or electronically before they tell her to stand back from the imminent explosion.
  • Used in Gone in Sixty Seconds when the hotshot Smart Guy tries to pick a lock on a small power box. The Voiceless Big Guy steps in and abruptly snaps the door open with a knife.
  • In Terminator 2, young John Connor tries to electronically hack a keycard lock with his laptop, to no avail. Then the T-800 steps up with a grenade launcher...


  • Masked Dog by Raymond Obstfeld. The title character, the result of a government experiment giving him perfect memory and superhuman strength, has escaped and decided to become the perfect assassin. He memorizes a book on lock-picking techniques, but finds that it requires more patience and skill than he has; so he just smashes down the door.
  • There is a children's book about a band of thieves trying to break into a castle. The lead character, has trained for years and years by his master and is able to open any lock. After the first series of heavy doors, the group gets closer to the throne room, but the locks become more and more complicated. At one door, the character realizes he's faced with the lock his mentor had always warned him about: a hexagonal Devil Hole. He spends a good number of pages agonizing about his abilities until he realizes that the whole point of the Devil Hole is pure mindfuck: it's not a lock. It's just a hole. The door was open all along.
  • When Hagrid comes to collect Harry Potter from the shack in the first book, he knocks the door completely off its hinges while knocking.
  • #38: The Arrival from the Animorphs series:
    Jake: <Too bad there's no door. Rachel? Marco? Ax? Make a door.>
    The three, being in highly powerful and destructive morphs at the time, proceed to bash the wall in.
    • When Jake got a rhino morph, he became the official door-opener for much of the book. He'd often not even notice the door until he was in the process of smashing through it.
  • In the David Eddings series Elenium/Tamuli, the queen is locked in a room. Mirtai, a warrior giantess, smashes through the heavy wood door easily. She comments that many old doors have wood rot after so long, making them fragile, subverting and discussing the trope.

Live Action TV

  • Including and up to the 1980s, it would be easier to list a police / detective series that didn't use this trope than those that did.
  • Doctor Who has done this a few times.
    • In "School Reunion":

 Mickey: Okay, no time to explain, we need to get inside the school. Do you have, like, I don't know, a lock picking device?

K9: We are in a car.

    • In "Battlefield", an extremely literal version of this trope:

 The Doctor: Open up! It's me!

[Door opens]

The Doctor: Voice-activated lock; just the sort of thing I'd do.


 Steel: It's locked.

[Lead thumps the door, which falls off its hinges.]

Lead: It isn't now.

  • In Warehouse13 Myka has no time to wait for Claudia to hack the lock again if they're going to rescue Pete, so she gives the computer lock a roundhouse kick.
  • In Smallville, Clark breaks through high-sercuity doors by simply ripping them off.. a lot. Humourly subverted in the episode "Mortal", where Clark has been Brought Down to Normal, and therefore has to break into a lab and steal a chemical subtly, and points out he misses just speeding in a smashing open the safe. (Yeah, Clark breaks into high-security labs a lot. Don't worry, they're owned by the Luthors, so it's OK.)
  • On Criminal Minds, this happens practically Once an Episode with Morgan. On a gag reel, they once unscrewed the door so that when Shemar Moore tried to kick it down, it merely fell.
    • In recent episodes, Morgan hasn't kicked down a lot of doors because Moore broke his foot.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Something Borrowed," Jack Harkness kicks a door open because he thinks there's a murderous alien shapeshifter behind it (which turns out to just be Rhys's mother, and the shapeshifter is elsewhere).
    • In the Hilarious Outtakes, John Barrowman actually kicks the entire door off its hinges on accident and tromps over it on his way into the scene. He manages to stay in character and continue the scene for about fifteen seconds before he cracks up.
  • Subverted on one episode of The OC, when Seth Cohen attempts to break open a door in a badass way while talking on his cell phone... and fails miserably. It turns out he could have just opened it.
  • In New Kamen Rider, Skyrider's "Rider Break" attack consisted of using his bike to smash through walls. He did it Once an Episode.
  • Buffy's habit of breaking down doors is lampshaded on a couple of occasions, such as when she breaks into the Magic Shop only to be told by Riley that he's got a master key, or when Spike gripes at her habit of barging into his crypt whereas he needs an invitation. Spoofed in "Grave" when Xander is seen hammering ineffectually at the type of crypt door Buffy breaks down on a regular basis.
  • On an episode of American Pickers, a man was just starting to get an old storage unit cleaned out.

 "And, ah, I don't know where the key is, so we found this key." (holds up an electric saw and cuts through the lock)


Tabletop Games

  • Nearly everyone who played a tabletop dungeon crawl RPG has had this happen at some point.

 Troper in party without a rogue: How are we going to open this door?

Rest of party: *points at the barbarian*

    • And the magic users have the "Knock" spell, or its equivalent.
    • The 3.0 and 3.5 versions of the Dungeon Master's Guide have a barbarian opening a chest as an example of how damage to objects works. The 3.0 version even calls it "the barbarian way".

Video Games

  • Phoenix Wright has something of a history of killing doors, to the point where even the judge admits it was pretty cool.
  • In Super Mario RPG, Bowser will perform this for the party quite a few times. In a few scenarios, Mario will need to barge into the door at the same time as Bowser in order to move the story forward.
  • In Tales of Eternia, there is a certain door that seems to be locked by some sort of puzzle. While the group wonders how they're going to solve it when the Smart Guy of the group is currently doing some other work somewhere else, Max just walks up and body-slams it open.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • On The Secret Saturdays, Fiskerton is the family's designated locked-door opener or blank-wall smasher-downer, but the entire Saturday family except Zak seems capable of pulling off the same feat if required.
  • In an episode of Thunderbirds Parker (an ex-thief) opens a highly sophisticated Bank of England vault using one of Lady Penelope's hairpins.
  • In The World's Finest movie, Superman knocks down a door and then gives Batman a sarcastic "after you" gesture, to which Batman sardonically remarks, "You're learning."
  • Popeye uses the exact line "Open Says Me" when punching a stone door open, in a cartoon inspired by the tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
    • Actually, the "Open sez me!" line opened his can of spinach.
  • In an episode of Justice League Unlimited, in what is undoubtedly a Rorschach reference, The Question walks up to a security door with a card reader, examines it intently, then walks away. Moments later, he returns with a metal trash can and hurls it through the glass.
      • Rorschach was created because Alan Moore could not use The Question, along with the other Charlton Comics characters.
    • The Flash has repeatedly done the "push every combination" method to open doors. Once Batman subverted it by telling Flash the combination after about ten seconds of rapid typing.
  • Toph pulls one in the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender when she pulls a Shave and a Haircut and blasts the door out of the way on the 'two bits' with metalbending. Doubles as a C.M.O.A.
  • In an episode of DuckTales, Magica de Spell magically turns the combination lock on her own safe, but it fails to open when she orders, "Open, says me!" She finally groans, "Oh, why do I bother?!" and smashes the safe with a sledgehammer she apparently just happened to have lying around.
  • Played with on the "Atlantis" episode of Phineas and Ferb. Phineas attempts to decode the writing on the door leading to Atlantis, but Buford simply punches the door, causing it to open properly.
    • In another episode, there was a door that'd only open if someone told how many jellybeans there were in a nearby jar. Buford ate them all and answered "zero". The door opened.
  • Judging by the 1990's X-Men animated series, Wolverine really hates doors.
  • The Amazing Mumbo in Teen Titans uses it as an incantation instead of the expected Open Sesame.

Truth in Television

  • Averted in Real Life, sort of: on Myth Busters, Jamie was about to kick open a door when Adam picked it. In a previous episode, Grant had failed to open a similar door by shooting the lock.
    • In another episode, they demonstrated that it is quite possible to break through a standard door by force, even against deadbolts. The only reason the deadbolt held fast in the show was that Jamie had used a stronger set of screws than the standard; had Jamie used the standard screws, he likely would have broken through the door on the first try.