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When a character is stuck in a high place of some sort and has nowhere to go but down, he uses anything wire-like to fly down. Gripping onto a wire hanger is a common variation to the trope; however, this is a decidedly horrible idea. The Myth Busters have busted this one's plausibility.

Not to be confused with Fast Roping. A supertrope of Bedsheet Ladder.

Examples of Improvised Zipline include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Pokémon Special, Ruby uses his Pokeblock case as a zipline on the thread his Marshtop is holding up to escape the flames Courtney is trying to kill him with.
    • Earlier, Janine uses her Ariados as a zipline, with it retracting silk from one end and shooting it out from another.


  • In the commercials for Push Pop, the cartoon character uses the Push Pop itself to slide across a rope between buildings.
  • In a MasterCard commercial, MacGyver escapes from a room with a bomb in it using a tube sock. Tube sock: $4. Refuge in Audacity: Priceless


  • Tango and Cash. While escaping prison, Stallone and Russell's characters use their belts and the prison's electric lines in this manner to get over the brick wall surrounding the prison.
  • Home Alone has Kevin using a sawn-off bike handlebar to slide from his window to his treehouse.
    • This same variation happens in Sleepover, but with a wire hanger.
  • In Back to The Future, the Mad Scientist Doc Brown uses the wire to slide down from a clock tower, rushing to connect a loose cable in time for the lightning strike.
  • Chicken Run did it with coat hangers.
  • Rush Hour 2 to escape an explosion.
  • Disney likes this one a lot in their Animated Fare or otherwise:
    • Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean did this with the chain on his handcuffs. It is worth noting that it is topologically impossible to hook handcuffs secured between your hands over a wire attached at both ends and then jump off again at the bottom. Close observation reveals that Jack actually forms a short noose from the chain and throws that over the wire, which makes the feat possible - and even cooler.
    • In Enchanted, Pip the Chipmunk did it on a wire with a clothes hanger.
    • In Up, Carl does a short zip-line with a garden hose and his own cane.
    • In Mulan, the heroine uses a string of lanterns to zip down from the roof.
    • In Toy Story 3 Buzz slides on the yarn holding up kid's pictures in the nursery to escape out the window.
  • Chris pulls one off in Eight Legged Freaks. The Giant Spider that tries to follow falls off.
  • James Bond
    • Never Say Never Again. While infiltrating a terrorist hideout at the beginning of the movie, Bond climbs up a pole and slides down a telephone (?) wire onto the roof.
    • Moonraker. Bond and Holly Goodhead use a chain to slide down a cable car cable in order to escape from Jaws.
    • A deleted scene in The Living Daylights had Bond improvise a 'flying carpet' by throwing a carpet over some telephone wires and sliding down them to escape the police in Tangier. Stills of this scene were seen in a lot of publicity material for the film, but it was ultinately decided that this silly scene did not sit well with Timothy Dalton's Darker and Grittier Bond.
  • The Social Network. Mark and friends make a zipline from the roof (tied to the chimney) to the pool. After just two jumps the chimney breaks and the zipline falls.
  • Santa uses a candy cane to zip down a string of Christmas lights in the animated opening of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
  • Return of The Pink Panther. The thief escapes from the museum with the diamond by firing a zip line from a crossbow to an adjacent building, then sliding down the line into an apartment in the other building.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Judge Doom uses his cane to slide down a wire and attack Eddie Valiant on top of the Dip wagon.
  • Batman (1966). During the battle on the submarine, the Penguin uses his umbrella to slide down a wire and knock down Batman with a kick.
  • In The Adventures of Tintin, The eponymous character is seen using the handle of a motorbike to slide down a cable during his persuit of a falcon in Bagghar.


  • This happens in the Scott Westerfeld novel Leviathan: Deryn is up in a scouting balloon and sees Alek's "family" coming to the shipwreck looking for him in their Stormwalker. The message lizard won't get down the cable in time, so she slings a leather strap over the tether and zips down to camp.

Live Action TV

  • In Chuck season 3 when he was training to be a "real" spy, Chuck had to do a zipline using a power line and his belt as the pulley, but failed. Then at the end of the ep he was forced to use a power line as a zip line with his belt as the pulley. This time he succeeded.
  • Busted by the Myth Busters in the case of using your pants to zip down a ski lift: There's too much friction, the angle of the lift isn't steep enough, and either the pants or your grip will fail first.
  • Both JD and Turk do this in an episode of Scrubs.
  • 1960's Batman series episode "The Penguin's A Jinx". The Penguin and his henchmen fire a rope line from the top of one building to another and slide across using umbrellas with special devices attached to the end.

Video Games

  • In Final Fantasy X, the ship fires massive anchor cables into the building the characters need to get to, but since it's under fire, it can't stay long, so the party surfs down the cables onto the building.
  • In both Uncharted games, Drake uses several wires and his pistol to zipline down quickly.
  • Monkey Island did it with a rubber chicken. With a pulley in the middle.
  • Alpha Protocol features this a lot.
  • Mirror's Edge features Faith doing this WITH HER HANDS. Careful observation will note that her gloved hand always is in direct contact with the wire, thereby Handwaving the damage one would normally recieve from such a stunt, but it far from excuses it.
  • Jack from MadWorld can do this with certain steel wires, but only because it's a steel hand with a Chainsaw in it.
  • Assassin's Creed Revelations gives its characters a "hookblade," which will allow them to use wires as ziplines.

Web Comics

  • The heroes of The Zombie Hunters try to escape off a roof using this method. It doesn't end well.

Western Animation

  • Scooby Doo! Pirates Ahoy has Shaggy and Scooby sliding down a mast rope with a mop handle.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons: Herman, the one-armed weapon seller, takes a pair of bootleg designer jeans and tries to get away using them to zipline out of Bart's treehouse. However, the jeans rip partway down as Herman laments "Foiled by my own shoddy merchandise!"
  • In Shrek 2, Prince Charming shoots an arrow with a rope tied to it and then uses his bow to zip across the fiery moat of lava.
  • Superfriends 1973/74 episode "The Shamon U". Batman and Robin use their Batarangs to slide down cable car cables to escape a giant rabbit.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: Po uses the same lantern string variation as the page image.
  • In Total Drama World Tour this is used by every member of Team Chris Is Really Really Really Really Hot in order to cross a river filled with piranhas.
    • Alejandro uses his belt.
    • Owen uses his hands, and gets rope burn.
    • Tyler uses his pants, but they end up catching fire.
    • Izzy places Noah in a backpack, wears it, and then slides across using the straps.
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