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Let's say you're a king or queen that has a special announcement for your loyal subjects to hear and rejoice upon... how do you communicate it? Simple! You gather all your underlings into a large courtyard outside your castle walls while you stand in all your glory high above them relaying the goods news. This serves the purpose of communicating to hundreds of people at once, while simultaneously demonstrating your utter magnificence and allowing you to appear literally larger than life.
Fictional and actual royal families, along with other people of significance, have been using this method for centuries to spread the word. Surprisingly, in the fictional world at least, the royalty is never at a loss for poor sods to fill the courtyard below, even if they are less-than-popular. Of course, if that's the case, expect The Hero and his crew to stage a very appropriate interruption of the events.
The message needn't be all that positive either. Perhaps the king wishes to appear sympathetic to the country's recent outbreak of The Plague or maybe the almighty emperor wishes to fire up his troops before going off to war. No matter the reason, it seems that leaders can't help but stick to the good, old castle balconies when it comes to the presentation.
Since it pertains primarily to royalty and nobility, this trope creeps up quite often in fantasy-related material, but can be found anytime a leader has a castle, fortress, tower, or similarly large structure. In non-fantasy settings, expect such a scene to show up when Putting on the Reich.
Compare Rousing Speech.
- Gankutsuou: General Morcerf does this during a military coup; definitely a Putting on the Reich version.
- In One Piece, shortly after Luffy is given his first bounty, we see Vice-Admiral John Giant giving one of these to an assortment of marines, about how they must wipe out any pirate- IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE!!
- In the Star Trek fanfic The First Tile, Monarch Kalidon of the Trill (the position should have been only symbolic, but that turns out not to be the case) calls one of these after a brief civil war on the planet using it to not only denounce his father's policies, and declare some badly needed reform, but to reinstate the unfairly ousted Prime Minister Kareel Odan.
- Aladdin: The Sultan, when announcing the wedding of Jasmine and "Prince Ali". Al is then pushed out into the balcony and in front of the cheering crowd, for extra embarrassment.
- Bananas: Has such a scene.
- The Beautician and the Beast: Used as a parody of Evita
- The Expendables: General Garza, when speaking to his soldiers.
- The Great Dictator: The "Look up, Hannah", with Charlie Chaplin laying a brick bat not just on Naziism but nationalism itself.
- The Lion King: While not a balcony in the strictest sense, Simba is presented to the entire animal kingdom in such a manner.
- The Lord of the Rings: In the film version, Saruman makes such a speech from Orthanc to his army before they march for Helm's Deep.
- Denethor subverts this, telling the Gondorian army to flee for their lives when Sauron's army is at the gates of Minas Tirith. (Not so much from a balcony as over the top of the highest level of the city, but it serves the same purpose.)
- Monty Python's Life of Brian: Pontius Pilate does this.
- Moon Over Parador: Features an example of this.
- The Princess Bride: Prince Humperdink announces Buttercup as his bride-to-be from a balcony.
- Quo Vadis: Nero watches the Imperial Troops march from his balcony and exchange salutes.
- Shrek: Lord Farquaad is a fan of this.
- Possibly because no one could see him at all if he weren't elevated so far over everyone's heads…
- The Wall: Pink's opening speech in the "In the Flesh?" segment qualifies in pretty much every sense of this trope.
- Joseph, King of Dreams: Pharaoh announces Joseph's promotion from imprisoned slave boy to the second-most-powerful man in the world from a balcony.
- Davey Havok gives some sort of speech to rally his followers in AFI's "Miss Murder" video.
- The Wizard of Id: The King of Id often addresses his subjects from the balcony. One of them often shouts a snarky comment back at him.
Live Action TV
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Hitler scene, where Hitler is hiding out as Mr. Hilter, has the titular character running in the North Minehead by-election and addressing, from a balcony, a cast of one man and three children.
- Three Stooges: The classic short You Nazty Spy! satirizes Hitler's and Mussolini's use of it.
- The first scene of BBC's Merlin has Uther Pendragon doing one of these about the execution of a sorcerer. Several major characters who live in the castle watch from behind him or windows, while Merlin and a large cast of extras watch from below.
- Uther does this almost whenever he's executing someone.
- Lampshaded by the Doctor in the Doctor Who story Terror of the Zygons when he points out that it takes more than a Loch Ness Monster to rule Earth. "You have to step out on a balcony from time to time and wave a gracious claw."
- Evita: Appropriately used to mirror Real Life, one of the songs is even entitled "On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada".
- Tropico 3: This is an ability your dictator character can perform. It can improve morale.
- The evil ending of Knights of the Old Republic. Amusingly, since the player character can't talk, Bastila is the one that actually makes the speech, despite the player being the new Dark Lord of the Sith.
- A stock cutscene in Age of Wonders 2 and Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.
- Gulcasa delivers one of these in Blaze Union at his coronation. The recipients of the speech--the remnants of the former Imperial Army and the nobility, who have never been exposed to his ideals--are initially ambivalent towards their new sovereign, thinking "at least it's impossible for this guy to be worse than our last emperor". Once Gulcasa is done talking, he has their complete and undying loyalty.
- In Yggdra Union, Gulcasa's rejection of Yggdra's demands for his unconditional surrender is also one of these, as he's standing atop the city ramparts and addressing the enemy army gathered beneath.
- The Simpsons: Mr. Burns does it a couple of times, such as when he gives the award to the Inanimate Carbon Rod in "Deep Space Homer".
- In the Johnny Bravo episode "The Prince and the Pinhead", Johnny (taking a prince's place) addresses the masses simply by saying hello, asking what'd they do yesterday, then telling them to keep it up.
- Used several times in Avatar: The Last Airbender, as befits the the Fire Nation.
- When Admiral Zhao captures Aang, he makes a Balcony Speech to his troops, complete with bombastic statements about Fire being the "Superior Element".
- When Azula and Zuko return to the Fire Nation, Li and Lo announce them to a crowd which is understandably thrilled to hear the war is practically won.
- When Firelord Ozai finally departs to do something, he announces to the Imperial Firebenders supporting him that he is now the PHOENIX KING!
- In the Thundercats 2011 episode "Omens Part One" King Claudus gives one in a huge amphitheatre dedicating some celebratory Gladiator Games to the memory of Panthro, and concludes leading his sons and Grune in raising their glasses to toast their Absent Friend, while the crowd cheers raucously.
- Benito Mussolini: Did this quite a lot, as, for example, when he announced victory in the war against Abyssinia and the creation of the "Italian Empire" from the balcony of the Palazzo di Venezia, May 9, 1936. Became an inverted trope when the partisans hung him upside down.
- Evita: Along with her husband, President Juan Perón of Argentina, she famously used the balcony of Argentina's House of Government (see picture).
- The Pope: Uses his papal balcony for special events and celebrations.
- The balcony of Buckingham Palace was built for this purpose, most recently at Will and Kate's wedding.
- The Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs had instead of a balcony a 'Window of Appearances' overlooking the main palace courtyard suitable for showering gold down on worthy officials and showing themselves to a worshipful populace.