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Over-the-shoulder carrying (abbreviated OTS) is a method to transport another person. The person is laid face down over one's shoulder with their upper body to the rear. The person's legs are held at the hollow of his/her knees to secure them in this position. This position allows carrying another person, even if they are the same weight as oneself. It can be a humiliating pose for the person being carried, since they're turned into a passive object, with their face down and buttocks pointing up and to the front.

When this happens in fiction, usually (but not always), it involves an antagonist carrying a Distressed Damsel or other captive that he/she has caught or subdued. Contrast Bridal Carry, which is more romanticized and typically involves The Hero saving someone instead of capturing them. Compare Neck Lift and Hoist Hero Over Head, which are other ways a villain shows of their strength by lifting up a victim.

Sometimes called the Fireman's carry, although this is actually the name for another position where weight is supported on both shoulders and the carried person is held by both legs and whichever arm is draped over the carrier's shoulder.

Examples of Over-the-Shoulder Carry include:

Anime & Manga

  • This happens frequently in Agent Aika, due to the revealing angle when a female character is slung over someone's shoulder.
  • In Ore-sama Teacher, Takaomi is about to pick up Mafuyu and taker her to the nurse, and everyone around watches in anticipation for him to hold her in 'the legendary princess carry'...and then are appalled when he holds her like a sack of grain over his shoulder and demand he hold her the other way.
  • In Bleach Ichigo carries Orihime like this after battling Grimmjow. Orihime is embarrassed by this, but only because she thinks she is heavy.
    • When Ichigo, Orihime, Chad and Uryú enter the Soul Society through the restrictive current, Uryú's cape gets stuck. Chad frees Uryú, then carries him over his shoulder the rest of the way.
    • During one of Ichigo's battles with Byakuya, Yoruichi stops the battle by knocking Ichigo out, lifting him onto her shoulder and running off with him.
    • When Hiyori first appears, she makes fun of Chad and Orihime and tries to kill them. Shinji stops her and runs off with her over his shoulder. Hiyori protests and gooses Shinji to make him put her down, but he gooses her instead to shut her up.
  • In Fruits Basket Volume 18, Haru carries Rin like this after finding her passed out on the sidewalk. Rin insists she can walk, but Haru assures her he's strong enough to carry her.
  • When Tasuki first appears in Fushigi Yuugi, he kidnaps Miaka from the bandit leader. After throwing her over his shoulder, he uses his spell cards to make wovles attack Hotohori, Nuriko and the bandit leader, then carries Miaka off.
    • A slaver briefly carries Yui like this when she and Miaka first enter the book.
  • In Skip Beat, Kyoko is carried out kicking and screaming over a security guard's shoulder after she threatens revenge on Sho.
  • In Heart no Kuni no Alice, Peter White carries Alice like this before they go down the rabbit hole because she refuses to get up and follow him.
  • In the first episode of Ranma One Half, Genma (in panda form) knocks out Ranma (in female form) with a street sign and carries her over his shoulder to the Tendo's house as seen here (at around 1:32 and 4:45).
  • In Brave 10, Saizou carries Isanami this way after saving her from assassins.


  • This comic of Miss America.
  • In an old Little Lulu comic, Lulu babysits Tubby and Tubby tries various methods to get her out of the house. When they all fail, he simply throws Lulu over his shoulder and carries her out. Then he gets scared of being alone in the house and carries her back inside.

Films -- Animation

  • Prince Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke does this to two women at once, having just knocked both of them out with a hard hit to the abdomen. In this case, used for drama, though considering that one woman is a supernatural wolf princess and the other is a gun-toting aristocrat it's still undignified.
  • A rather harsh one considering the source this one comes from the not well known film Looney Tunes: Back in Action: while in Paris one of the villain thugs kidnaps the female costar Kate and somehow manages to bound and gag her inside a sack and proceeds to carry her away in this fashion all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower. How she didn't smother to death is a mystery to me.
    • Another occurs in a deleted scene when at the top of the tower, the thug takes her out of the bag and tries to carry her like this into the helicopter.
  • Shrek does this to Princess Fiona when she starts Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like.

 Fiona: You tell Lord "Far-Quad" that if he wants to rescue me PROPERLY, I'll be waiting for him right here!

Shrek: Hey! I'm nobody's messenger boy, all right? I'm a delivery boy!

Fiona: You wouldn't dare...! [Shrek carries her off]


Films -- Live-Action

  • The poster for the film of Arsenic and Old Lace shows Mortimer carrying his love interest this way. Has a double meaning- on one hand, it calls to mind the sexual version that's like a Bridal Carry, but it also references how the corpses in the film are carried before being taken to be buried.
  • In the movie Pillow Talk, Rock Hudson grabs Doris Day in her PJ's, wraps her in a blanket, and carries her back to his apartment just this way. She even asks a doorman they pass on the street for help, but he, in typical 50's fashion, is on Rock's side on this one.
  • In the film adaption of The Phantom, Sala carries Diana Palmer over her shoulder in one scene, as seen here.
  • In the opening scene of Machete the title character rescues a beautiful naked kidnap victim who is eager to offer Rescue Sex. As Machete is still married at this stage, he simply throws her over his shoulder and walks out the door, not that she minds.
  • Peter Pan (2003): The pirates capture Wendy, John, Michael and the Lost Boys. They bind and gag them and carry them to the ship over their shoulders.
    • Reversed in Hook: When Peter is fighting the pirates on Captain Hook's ship, he carries one pirate like this and spins him around while fighting other pirates at once.
  • Sixteen Candles: The geek (aka "Farmer Ted") carries the drunk and unconscious Caroline like this to Jake's car.
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: Nick's friend carries drunk Caroline like this after she locked herself in Nick's car as seen at the end of this scene here

 Caroline: Norah, I'm being carried!



  • In John C. Wright's Orphans of Chaos, Glum carries off Amelia like this. Giving her a few clues, because in spite of his having hit her in the solar plexus just before it, she is not nauseated by the jolts of his shoulder.
  • The protagonist of Clifford Simak's The Goblin Reservation carries a girl from the gassed room in such a fashion. She comes to her senses and starts complaining about this being an absurd way to carry a woman. He puts her on the floor and sarcastically suggests he should just leave her there.
  • In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window, Count Olaf's Associate That Looks Like Neither a Man or a Woman grabs Violet by the hair and slings her over his/her shoulder. The Associate then picks up Klaus and Sunny and tries to carry all of them off, but falls and drops them.
  • On the cover of Barbara Park's Dump The Chump, Oscar's little brother Robert is carried like this.
  • In Where's Waldo Now, one of the scenes Waldo visits takes place in the Viking Age. Three vikings are shown running away from houses they've robbed, each with a screaming woman slung over their shoulders. In a comic reversal, two large ugly women are shown carrying vikings they've captured over their shoulders.

Live-Action TV

  • Dan Schneider seems to be a fan of this trope and uses it a lot in his shows:
    • ICarly: Spencer was slung over Jackson Colt's shoulder unconscious in iLook Alike. Spencer has also carried Carly like this twice.

 Sam: [looks at Freddie] Then you're helping me.

Freddie: Oh no, I'm not gonna risk getting caught and then having my mother find out...

[Sam throws Freddie over her shoulder and walks to the door]

Freddie: Oh, come on! Sam! How do you do this??!!

    • Drake and Josh: In the episode The Drake and Josh Inn, 'Sheet Man' puts Drake over his shoulder and spins him around a few times.
      • There's also a brief clip of Josh carrying Drake like this in the Season 2 opener.
    • Victorious: In Andre's Horrible Girl, Trina annoys a music producer and the producer's muscluar bodyguard carries her out over his shoulder.
  • Kendall and Logan have been carried like this on Big Time Rush.
    • Freight Train has slung Kendall over his shoulder twice and taken him to the studio. He had Logan slung over the other shoulder one of those times.
    • In Big Time Mansion, Carlos has Logan over his shoulder when he passes out during all of the chaos at Gustavo's mansion and James and Kendall help carry him.
    • In Green Time Rush, the school bully throws Logan over his shoulder and carries him out of the room to work on their school project.
  • In the "South of the Border Part Uno" episode of My Name Is Earl, Randy tries to get Earl to go on a bus with him to find Catalina; Earl would rather buy a taco. Afraid of missing the bus, Randy throws Earl over his shoulder and heads for the bus. Earl retaliates by giving Randy a wedgie until he puts him down.
  • Basically every Disney Channel sitcom will contain these. One that comes to mind is an episode of Hannah Montana in which while sleep walking she stumbles into her brother's room and is quickly tossed over his shoulder and carried back to her bed.
  • During Season 6 of Dancing With the Stars, second place winner Jason Taylor carried winner Kristi Yamaguchi and his partner Edyta like this once or twice.

 Edyta: This week we're doing the Viennese Waltz, so I need you to treat me like a proper lady.

Jason: Okay.

[Jason throws Edyta over his shoulder and carries her out of the frame]



Video Games

  • The gamecube game Super Mario Sunshine contains one of these. The main villain of the game Shadow Mario, "aka Bowser Jr" appears out of no where near the beginning of the game. He snatches Princess Peach and tries to make a get away by running amok through the entire city carrying the princess the entire time. Either this kid has strength or she has no weight.
  • Duke Nukem Forever has a "Capture the Babe" mode, in which you move said babes around in this manner while fending off your opponents. The babe you're carrying will periodically try to sabotage you by waving her hand in your face; you have to slap her on the butt to make her stop.
  • In Professor Layton and the Last Specter, "Third Eye" Jakes does this to Arianna when he "arrests" her for supposedly masterminding the Specter's rampages throughout the town, which makes it even more obvious that this is essentially a kidnapping, not a sincere effort at upholding the law.
  • In Scooby Doo Night of 100 Frights, Daphne is kidnapped by the villain in this fashion.

Western Animation

  • Happens quite frequently on Scooby Doo, no surprise who gets this treatment.
  • Betty Boop was carried like this by the villains in some of her cartoons. In "Chess-Nuts", the black king throws her over his shoulder and heads for the bedroom; fortunately Bimbo comes to her rescue. In "No! No! A Thousand Times No!", the villian ties up her other boyfriend Freddie and carries her like this into a hot air balloon to escape with her. Again, she is rescued.
  • Daisy-Head Mayzie: Like in the book, Miss Sneetcher picks up Mayzie and carries her to the principal's office over her shoulder as Mayzie's classmates tease her with a song. A repetitive and annoying song, that is.
  • Totally Spies: The girls, especially Clover, were carried like this a few times.
  • In a season finale of The Venture Brothers, Sergeant Hatred carries a tied up and ball-gagged Princess Tinyfeet like this. He doesn't bother to untie her though.
  • Danny Phantom: While fighting Vlad in one episode, Danny's 'cousin' Dani knocks him unconscious with a ghost ray. Vlad slings Danny over his shoulder and he and Dani fly off with him.

Real Life

  • A very common occurrence in real life.
  • There's a popular sport in Finland, Asia and some parts of the U.S. called wife carrying, where men compete in an obstacle race carrying their wives. The wives can be carried piggyback, over the shoulder or Estonian style.
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