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Two extras are shown carefully carrying a large pane of glass across a street. Cut to a chase. Cut back to the sheet of glass.
Inevitably, a car is driven right through the glass, shattering it everywhere. The alternative is that a character walks into it, unaware that it's there. A standard gag is to have the extras see the first approaching car and scramble to get out of its way, only to have them relax and not notice the pursuer until he smashes through.
Alternately, anyone who gets shot is sure to have one of these placed handily behind them so they can be nonsensically blown through it, Intuitor's Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics refers to this as "The Attractive Force of Glass".
Nowadays the car chase version is a Dead Horse Trope. Often accompanied by a Fruit Cart or Cardboard Boxes. See also Window Pain. If it's a person going through a window, it's Destination Defenestration.
See also Subverted Trope, where this trope is used as an example to illustrate the variations of it.
- A commercial for Marvin Windows broadcast during March 2005 cleverly subverts this trope. In the commercial, there is a car chase which runs through carts, crates of chickens, crowds on sidewalks -- only to come to a screeching halt so as not to damage a huge Marvin window being rolled slowly across the street.
- Played dead straight in a 70s Public Service Announcement on British television, which showed somebody running down the street, oblivious to the two men carrying the sheet of glass. Ouch. Slogan: "For heaven's sake, don't run!"
Anime and Manga
- Handled with realism in Hell Teacher Nube. Kyoko and friends are walking down the street, oblivious, while discussing a very ugly-looking man-faced dog that has grown attached to her. As the two workmen carrying the sheet of glass lose their grip, the sheet falls (edge-first) directly towards her neck... and the poor dog dives at her, pushes her out of the way, and is beheaded by the glass.
- In Run Lola Run, a Sheet of Glass is used during all the three times the story repeats: the first and third time, an ambulance manages to brake before hitting the glass; the second time, though, the ambulance isn't so lucky and shatters it.
- In Wayne's World 2, Wayne encounters a group of people whose sole purpose is to stack watermelons in the street, and a pair who walk back and forth with a huge pane of glass. When the inevitable Chase Scene ensues and the car drives through the fruit and glass, those involved congratulate themselves on a job well done.
- Variation: In Ong Bak, Tony Jaa's character runs through two guys carrying a pair of sheets parallel to each other (and the sidewalk). Tony then smoothly jumps between them without breaking stride.
- Averted then played straight immediately after in The Protector, another Tony Jaa film. Tony's character is being chased (on foot) through an Abandoned Warehouse by a mook on a four-wheeler. He runs down a hallway that ends in a big window, and instead of crashing through it, runs vertically up it. The four wheeler then crashes through underneath him.
- In The Bourne Identity, during the Paris car chase, Jason Bourne drives through the glass door of a phone booth that just happened to be open at that moment.
- Subverted in Taxi 3, where a bank robber on rollerblades hits a pane of glass being carried across the street in a heated chase scene. Except it's Plexiglas, and the man bounces off without scratching it.
- Lampshaded in Loaded Weapon 1, during a fight in what appears to be a sheet glass warehouse. Naturally, mooks go flying through sheet glass left and right. In the middle of the fight, two guys walk by carrying a sheet of glass and the characters pause so they can get it in position before the mook gets sent through it.
- It's a Bikini World: Semi-subverted in this '60s beach comedy: a group of skateboarders pass through what appears to be an empty frame. When one of the workmen sees this, he tries to run through it himself, and the glass shatters.
- Subverted in King Kung Fu, where the car passes right through the glass without breaking it.
- The trailers for The Sorcerers Apprentice show Nick Cage's character drive through one, which reforms.
- What's Up, Doc?: The Sheet Of Glass appears in Peter Bogdanovich's affectionate homage to the Screwball Comedy.  Inverted in that none of the cars smash it; it's another worker swinging from a broken banner who breaks it.
- Parodied in the climax of a really weird movie, that involved a fight in a factory. Two people would periodically walk in carrying a large sheet of glass, just in time for someone to fly through it. The one time someone regains their balance before hitting the glass, runs through it on purpose.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the Dramatic Chase Opening of the sci-fi B-Movie The Hidden. Two men are carrying a sheet of glass across a park for no apparent reason when the Body Surf alien comes roaring up in a stolen car. He not only drives through the glass, he also runs over the two men in the process.
- Tim in Final Destination 2 is killed when a sheet of glass falls on and crushes him.
- A character in Pieces skateboarded through a sheet of glass.
- Feet of Clay, the Narrator of this Discworld novel speculates that the people who block every chase in the multiverse with sheets of glass, heavily laden carts and long racks of clothes may be agents of a secret society.
Live Action TV
- Smallville: Used extensively; characters would often be thrown through a glass window in slow motion. Culminated in one episode where a character is thrown across the street through a large pane of glass being held vertically on a passing truck.
- Have Gun Will Travel: This classic 50s western series had an episode in which Paladin was hired by a shopkeeper to transport a large window pane across a county to his store, while a rival businessman hired someone else to destroy the glass and put his rival out of business. A memorable scene involved Paladin and a friend miming carrying the glass pane between them to throw off the rival, but in reality they were carrying nothing.
- Te Caché : Invoked in this Mexican comedy show, which had a spoof about two men pretending to carry one of these and put it in the way of random folks on the street.
- Double Subverted in the Forever Knight Pilot Movie Nick Knight: A runaway car, barreling down the hill. Guys carrying pane of glass across the road. Drive yelling and trying to wave them off. Frightened face of car's helpless driver reflected in the glass. Guys make it out of the way in time, saving the glass...except they're so busy watching the car, they walk into a nearby tree, smashing the glass anyway.
- On a Candid Camera Prank show (but not Candid Camera) a couple of workers walk across the sidewalk pretending to carry a sheet of glass. Hilarity Ensues as pedestrians try to avoid the "glass." In at least one case the pedestrian doesn't avoid the glass at all and simply walks forward, but the workers were quick enough to raise the imaginary glass overhead.
- Paperboy: This kind of scenario is an obstacle, with the workers shuffling back and forth in the player character's path.
- Back to The Future: The videogame adaptation for the NES involved timed races from one checkpoint to another while dodging obstacles, with the Sheet of Glass as one of the more sensible enemies (why are ballerinas trying to kill us again?). Oddly, the pane itself is invisible until you crash into it.
- The Simpsons: Parodied more than once.
- One time the two men successfully dodge the speeding cars and then they chuck the glass pane into a recycling bin.
- Another time the glass hits the floor and remains intact, leaving one of the men to say, "Geez, tough glass!".
- Reverend Lovejoy's train set isn't so lucky: being carried just like a Sheet of Glass, it gets shredded as Homer's car drives through it, prompting Lovejoy to look at the heavens and say "Why do you hate my trains?!"
- The page picture shows that it even manages to happen during a boat chase.
- In "Treehouse of Horror XX", a sheet of glass is being carried by zombies during a chase through zombie-infested Springfield. After the glass breaks, the zombies moan "We need windows too..."
- Metalocalypse has an episode where Toki and Rockso are riding around Mordhaus courtyard and they crash through a stained glass window being carried by two Dethklok servants. They then proceed to the fruit stand.
- Subverted in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, in which Spongebob is chasing a frisbee and destroying everything on the beach, and when he nears two guys carrying a sheet of glass the frisbee turns around and continues in the other direction.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends featured this, and it doubled as a Shout-Out, as the two guys carrying it looked exactly like Mario and Luigi.
- South Park (Cancelled) during the Dukes of Hazzard style chase.
- Pink Panther featured this in "Tickled Pink", with an out-of-control roller skates.
- A disturbing variant in an episode of American Dad. The moving men decide to hold the glass horizontally instead of vertically, and accidentally cut a running man in half as a result.