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A Cable-Car Action Sequence is a fight scene or other tense Action/Adventure moment that take place aboard a gondola, preferably while moving along its cableway.

This has some similarities with the Elevator Action Sequence, in that it forces a fight within enclosed quarters, while moving to another place. Amongst the differences is that it relies on acrophobia (fear of heights) rather than claustrophobia, as it has much more of a scenery. It also tends to be much longer a sequence, a cable-car ride taking more time than any ordinary elevator ride. It can also involve more people, and of course adds the danger of someone falling from a great height.

More often than not, the fight will take place on the roof of the cable-car rather than the cabin, to increase the chances of a Literal Cliff Hanger or Disney Villain Death. This variant is closer to a Traintop Battle, though not as speedy.

Any such sequence might involve the antagonist trying to sabotage the cable-car and making all occupants of the gondola fall to their deaths, adding more pressure to the protagonist trying to stop this. If two cable-cars going in opposite directions cross, a character may jump from one roof to the other.

A subtrope of Interesting Situation Duel. Compare Elevator Action Sequence, Traintop Battle. Contrast Stuck on a Ski Lift.

Examples of Cable Car Action Sequence include:


Anime & Manga

  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, from Bobobobo Bobobo, uses a special attack called "Gondola Tour". It involves him riding a cable-car to the ceiling and then dropping it on his opponent's head.
  • During the Ruby & Sapphire arc of Pokémon Special, Sapphire battles Team Aqua Admin Ark/Matt inside a stalled cable-car filled with water. N also forces White to battle him inside a Ferris wheel cabin during the Black & White arc.


Films -- Live-Action

  • James Bond
    • In Moonraker, a fight between Jaws and James Bond happens aboard the gondola leading to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
    • A non-action but still nail-biting suspense scene involves Bond's escape in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Bond is locked up in the cable car room, and the only way out is by crawling out over a sheer drop along the cable, and then dropping onto the roof of a cable car just before his fingers are severed.
  • Toward the end of the movie Where Eagles Dare, a lengthy fight inside and on top of a cable-car happens, complete with jumps between two crossing gondolas.
  • At the climax of Night Train to Munich (1940) there is an exciting escape that is nearly the same.


Live-Action TV

  • The end of an episode of Chuck has a fight aboard a gondola.
  • The climax of the episode "Sanctuary" of Human Target also has a gondola fight.
  • The MacGyver episode "Cease Fire" has him dispose of a bomb on a gondola.


Video Games

  • Indiana Jones and The Emperors Tomb features a cable-car complete with a mounted machine gun, and a bunch of Mooks to use it on.
  • Resident Evil 4 has one of these on a ski lift, which shows off the Jiggle Physics on Ashley. Earlier, Resident Evil 2 also had a fight against G in a cable car.
  • Twice in Halo 2, first with the two gondolas on the Lake of Regret, and the gondola ride to the Library in the Quarantine Zone.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein has a short cable-car battle after escaping the castle.
  • In Snakes Revenge, one of the later stages forces the player to ride atop a series of cable-cars in order to get from one place to the next. The game switches to a side-view perspective, where the player must avoid being discovered by the guard inside the gondola.


Western Animation

  • The escape from the Boiling Rock in Avatar: The Last Airbender involves an epic fight over a steam-powered gondola lift.
  • In Wakfu season 2 episode 7, the heroes ride on a Clock Punk cable-car and are attacked by flying pirates above a sea strait. The fight scene is a bit more extensive than usual, since the gondola is the size of a house and armed with a cannon, and the pirates have magical flying steeds.
  • The Simpsons: When the family goes to Brazil and Homer gets kidnapped, they decide to do the hand-over on two cable-cars. Naturally throwing the money over was a lot easier than Homer jumping over; when he does the cable snaps. The kicker is that it turned out to be Homer's idea in the first place.
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