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What's this? Attack of the old people? Oh, that's ridiculous.
The Dream Lord, Doctor Who, "Amy's Choice"

An elderly person attacks someone or something, from a teenager to a monster, with an object like a cane or a purse. Effectiveness of attack varies from annoying and harmless to actually taking down the target.

See also: Badass Grandpa, Never Mess with Granny, Old Master, Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior! and Improbable Weapon User. Not to be confused with Racist Grandma, though it can overlap.

Examples of When Elders Attack include:

Comic Books

  • Scrooge McDuck often uses his cane as a weapon (he certainly doesn't need it for walking).
  • Kidney Lady, basically Howard the Duck's only unbeatable enemy. Wields a mean cane against anyone who smokes or sends off harmful fast-food fumes,. Clearly nuts, but can be tricky; will use magic in a pinch.


  • Madagascar: Nana, the little old lady from the first movie returned in the sequel, Escape 2 Africa, through sheer Popularity Power. Not only did she beat up a full-grown lion (three times!), but she showed a lot of skill as a survivalist and delivered a Rousing Speech to her fellow New Yorkers after the Penguins jacked their tour jeeps.
  • Rafiki, the wise old Baboon, pulls a Big Damn Heroes entry in The Lion King, smacking down a couple of Hyenas with his stick during the final battle. Perhaps not a straight example, though, since Rafiki had already been established to be a kung-fu master, and we ALL know those are dangerous no matter how old they are...
  • Ratatouille had the crazy old woman who tried to shoot the rats with a rifle shotgun, but completely and utterly failed to be Badass.
  • Carl attacks a worker manhandling his mailbox with his cane at the start of Up. Unusually for the trope, he gets into serious trouble as a result.
    • A more straight-forward example is found in the limited-animation short Geroge and AJ has mobs of senior citizens taking off with their houses in more and more insane ways, completely tormenting the titular two guys from the retirement home.
  • Rabid Grannies, a horror flick from Troma Entertainment, is a bit of a subversion, since the titular grannies are the monsters.


  • The elderly superheroes of Bigtime.
  • Foundation: Hari Seldon is forced to do this several times as conditions on Trantor deteriorate; he's blamed for the deterioration and is also a victim of gang violence caused by it. Because he was a martial artist in his youth, Seldon successfully defends himself at first, but eventually age and illness catch up with him.
  • Geezer Powers -- ACTIVATE!!
  • In the Dresden Files, Shiro, a tiny ancient Japanese guy with poor eyesight beats the crap out of a Denarian in the shape of a 6 legged bear with a cane. On the other hand, this cane turns out to be the sheathe for Fidelacchius, one of the Swords of the Cross.

Live Action TV

  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: "Hell's Grannies"
  • Mad Men provides a disturbing example when Layne Pryce's father Richard, who hits his grown son upside the head with a cane and threatens to break his fingers--all because Layne doesn't want to go back to England and has started dating a black woman. The attitudes are right for the generation, but even then, it comes off as pretty harsh. It's enough to make it somewhat surprising that Pryce turned out as as stable and sympathetic as he did given his upbringing, instead of totally screwed up, given the series' norms (on the other hand, perhaps not...).
  • The 'Nanageddon' episode of The Mighty Boosh, unsurprisingly. Although little old ladies are considerably more dangerous with knitting needles when said little old ladies have been summoned from the pits of Hell.
  • The example that provides the page quote in 'Amy's Choice' of Doctor Who, which is frankly hilarious, except when the old people turn out to be possessed by aliens that kill people with lethal bad breath. Amy has no compunction in running them over.
    • Turns out in the end that its all a dream created by the Doctor's evil side. He choose 'alien-possessed old people' as something the Doctor and his companions would believe, which probably tells you something about the common Monster of the Week tropes this show uses.
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy, Troy's grandmother attacks one of his classmates with a switch.
  • An example from a soap opera is Crane Tolliver, Lila Quartermaine's first husband on General Hospital, who shot Susan Moore (Jason "holy hitman" Morgan's mother) when she tried to double-cross him in a blackmail scheme.


  • In one bit, comedian Patton Oswalt says that, if you can live to be 100, you should be allowed to legally murder anyone you want, provided you kill them with your bare hands. He then says, "Would any of you come to the rescue if you heard, 'Help, a 100 year old woman is beating me to death!'?"

Real Life

  • Andrew Jackson did this to a guy who tried to kill him, chasing him with his cane after both of the would-be assassin's pistols failed to fire. Jackson, 67 at the time and reportedly having respiratory problems, had to be pulled off his target by his aides after administering a highly justified beatdown.
  • It has been proven that elderly victims of muggings and armed robbery are twice as likely to retaliate against an attacker, compared to younger victims. The reason basically being that a younger victim would believe he or she had more to lose.
  • More than once a mugger has targeted an elderly man they thought would be an easy mark, only to discover said elderly man is an ex-special forces Retired Badass.


  • Bionicle: in Mask of Light, Vakama whacks a Rahkshi on the head with his staff, which does nothing to faze it.

Video Games

  • Tellah does this to Edward in a scripted Final Fantasy IV battle, hitting him with his cane and calling him a Spoony Bard. It barely even hurts him, and this is Edward we are talking about.
  • ELDER POWER ACTIVATE!! The Puni Elder's back acts up before it can even do anything
  • One of the Wild Wasteland encounters of Fallout: New Vegas has The Courier being ambushed by a trio of old biddies armed with rolling pins and knives, as a Shout-Out to the Hell's Grannies above. They're about as threatening as they sound, especially since the player character should be pretty well-armed by this point.
  • In World of Warcraft, the playable race the Forsaken, are fairly clearly modeled on the elderly. Undead elderly.

Western Animation

  • In a Powerpuff Girls episode, an old lady does this from the roof of an episode to a Godzilla-like monster, who promptly eats her.
    • In another episode, Mojo Jojo gest body swapped with an old lady. It does not seem to affect his fighting provess.
  • In South Park, treat your elders with respect..... or else. Case in point: "Grey Dawn". In a parody of Red Dawn, the town's seniors, organized by the American Association of Retired Persons, orchestrate a takeover of the town when the state of Colorado decides to revoke the driver's license of any person over 70. They are thwarted when the boys lock the doors of the Country Kitchen Buffet (a real restaurant chain, actually, and it gets a lot of business from seniors), where all the seniors had been eating, and thus cutting off their food supply.
    • Another recent episode features Butters' grandma being even more abusive then his parents.
  • Stinkmeaner and the Hateocracy from The Boondocks.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: the Senior Citizen Squad and The Horde of Senior Citezombies lead by the borderline-Eldritch Abomination Grandfather.
  • Bruce Wayne fits this trope occasionally in Batman Beyond. Given that this is Batman as a senior citizen, he is much more effective than average.
  • Shows up in the opening credits for the old cartoon Superchicken (at :04 in).