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Windows are there to be broken in fictional settings. And not just broken in Bar Brawls or by the sonic boom of some fast or loud thing happening in the middle of your action movie.
No, you can damage a window in more "subtle" ways.
If your teenager needs to get the attention of his crush who's grounded, he can throw pebbles at the window. Too much force, though, and CRACK!
If your crime syndicate is trying to scare a witness into leaving town so they don't have to Make It Look Like an Accident, they may toss a rock or a brick through the window, and CRACK! Threatening message sent.
The good guys are trying to get a Well-Intentioned Extremist to give up his hostages? Fire up that tear gas canister gun, and CRACK! Canisters released right at the guy's feet to get him to come out with his hands up.
The most innocent variation is kids playing ball. One kicks or hits the ball too far. We hear the window break offscreen, and the children scatter to avoid getting in trouble for it.
Frequently, a cat is heard from behind the broken window.
Other variations include:
- Threatening notes may be tied to the brick or stone put through the window. Or they may be non-threatening notes.
- A Molotov Cocktail through a window is a slightly stronger way of encouraging someone to leave town.
- During a Disaster Movie looters will put a brick through a store window so they can run off with expensive merchandise.
- A good guy pretending to be a bad guy will "accidentally" put a brick or a stone through a window to alert the authorities.
- Vandals will break windows for fun or to get back at "The Man".
- Heroes and/or villains will smash windows to make an entrance or exit.
- Cartoon characters will almost always leave their silhouette in the windows they break.
- Children with toys will knock something through a window and then Run Like Hell.
Generally the window never shatters as it would with a person getting thrown through. The object just goes through and makes a hole big enough for itself.
- Just barely avoided in Hell Teacher Nube: Nube is giving class as usual, when Yukime appears and sits on the tree branch just outside. She lovingly blows small ice cubes at him to catch his attention, which bounce off the window pane. Then heart-shaped ice blocks. Nube opens the window and greets her just before she puts a bulldozer-sized ice boulder through the window.
- In Ichigo Mashimaro, Miu hits a baseball through Ana's classroom window, hitting Sasazuka, which obviously gets him in trouble.
- Vivian Stanshall's LP version of Sir Henry at Rawlinson End includes the following scene:
There was a terrific crash and a brick smashed through the window. About the brick was wrapped a note, which read simply: (Irish accent) "Hello, now. Oi'm yer new neighbour."
Henry was plainly delighted. "He seems a decent enough egg. At least he didn't have the impertinence to present himself at the front door."
- Doomtown lets you install Stained-Glass Windows in one of your buildings to set this up (so that e.g. your dudes in the Town Square can join the fight).
- Parodied (as many, many superheroes tropes) in Ratman. A superteam break-in plan to enter a villain house requires one of them to stealth to a windows, cut the glass, and crawl inside. Then he signals the other to enter... which they do by purposely smashing every other windows in the process.
- Happens in Tintin in America, with a note reading, "For the last time: mind your own business!" From the implication that this is not the first time, Tintin starts to realize who he's up against.
- Arby's restaurant has frozen burgers thrown into their restaurant with the note tied to them. The workers in Arby's are not terribly threatened.
- Geico insurance has one that proudly proclaims "Casey Mears drives [list of vehicles], Geico insures [previous list]. We insure almost everything Casey drives!" Casey hits a golf ball, it breaks a window. Announcer repeats, "...almost," as Casey drops the club and sheepishly backs away.
- In After the Thin Man, a stone with a note attached flies through the Charles' kitchen window. Hilarity Ensues when their dog Asta grabs the note in his jaws and is pursued through the house.
- In The Incredible Hulk (2008) tear gas canisters are fired through the windows of a glass bridge at a cornered Bruce Banner. Very bad idea...
- Parodied in the Mel Brooks movie High Anxiety. The main character, the new head of a mental asylum, receives a rock to the window with a message - a friendly welcome note from the psycho ward.
- Forrest Gump and Jenny Curran throw rocks through the windows of her father's house.
- The main action of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids starts when Ron, one of the Thompsons from next door, hits a baseball through the Szalinskis' upper window, which activates Wayne's shrinking machine and gets in the path of the laser that was making it so that it blew up the apples he was using to test the machine out.
- In Home Alone 2, Kevin breaks the window of the toy store in order to set off the alarm.
- Played with in Hot Fuzz, where Nicholas Angel throws his nightstick to shatter a glass window...before jumping through the still-intact door beside it.
- Repeatedly in Penelope. Every last suitor up to the point Penelope's mother realized shatterproof glass was a good idea.
- Another 48 Hrs. must set a record for most broken glass in a single film.
- The original Die Hard turns this into a plot point when the villain shoots out all the glass around the barefoot hero.
- In Blade Runner, Zhora runs through several store window panes while being shot by Deckard.
- In Gia, the made-for-TV movie adaptation of the life of Gia Marie Carangi, Gia smashes her girlfriend's window to let herself in.
- In Young Frankenstein, the title character is playing darts with Inspector Kemp, and the conversation is unnerving him enough that the darts end up in all sorts of unlikely places, including through the window.
- In the climactic chase scene of 1973's What's Up, Doc? (with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal), a giant pane of glass is being carted across the street and is missed several times by the chase entrants and is finally shattered by a pursuer swinging down from the roof on a street banner.
- In The Tillerman Cycle, Abigail throws her phone through the window of a phone company's building upon getting a call about her son Samuel's death in the Vietnam war.
- An inversion in Police Squad!: a window with a note attached is thrown into the rock garden.
- Later that same episode, the same criminal throws a rock with a note attached--except the note is a mime, who acts out the message.
- In another episode, the neighborhood protection racket tries to send a message to the owners of a key store by perforating the place with machine guns... and then throwing a rock through the window. Naturally, Frank Drebin focuses on the rock and fails to notice the machine-gun fire. He later asks the forensics lab to find out where the rock came from, and gets a geology lesson in response. Later on Drebin confronts the mook who threw the rock, who starts giving the exact same geology lesson.
- House breaks a window with a rock to illegally enter a patient's home in "Alone."
- Heroes episode 1, volume 4. Matt gets shot with a taser that comes through the window.
- Happens quite a lot in Heroes. In season one, Jessica threw Matt through a window. In season two, Claire punched out Elle's car window, which didn't have Soft Glass, to intimidate her by showing off her regeneration. At the end of season two, Elle blasts Sylar through a window, which also didn't have Soft Glass (but he had a bottle of healer juice so all was good).
- Randy from The Wire gets a Molotov Cocktail through his window for talking to the police.
- A The Whitest Kids U' Know sketch features a businessman "at war" with a rival investment bank across the street, culminating in him launching a mortar shell through their window (this is after, of course, a sniper shoots one of his interns and a flashbomb sails through the window and goes off).
- Subverted during the Bar Brawl in the Firefly episode "The Train Job." Mal gets picked up and hurled through a window... only for the window to be holographic instead of glass.
- In the Pilot of Outsourced (TV series), one of the disgruntled employees whose job was outsourced throws a brick with an attached message through the window.
Todd: "You bastard"?
Jerry: [cheerfully] That's for me. [places it on a pile of similar bricks]
- Good Luck Charlie has the mom playing goalie for her younger son's practice at hockey. But the kid's first shot goes through an internal window out into the yard.
- In Misfits, Kelly uses the leg of a stool to punch out a window pane so they can break into a flat.
- Parodied in an episode of Will and Grace. Will and Jack start renting a place together, and one of their new neighbors throws a brick through their (open) window. It's actually a loaf of homemade banana bread, with a note giving them a warm welcome to the neighborhood. (The locals are thrilled to have two gay men move in, since if a gay district springs up, property values would increase).
- In one episode of Burn Notice, some hitmen are sent to take out a guy Team Westen needs alive. In order to buy some time, Fiona throws a brick through the target's window and starts screaming for him to come out and face her like a man. The hitmen, seeing that the guy's "crazy ex-girlfriend" has just triggered the alarm and alerted the cops, decide to come back another day.
- The play Cabaret has this - to a Jewish man in just-pre-Nazi Germany.
- Happens in the play Shiek, Rattle and Roll, leading to the follwing joke:
"It's a brick. With a note tied to it."
"What does it say?"
"'Mustafa Abdul. Window Repairer'."
- In The Bat, a stone is thrown through a window with a vaguely worded threatening note tied on with string.
- Parodied here in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
- Parodied in this strip of Precocious.
- In Sinfest, how Lil' Evil got his confirmation message from the Illuminati.
- Nabi the cat gets a rock through his window at the end of There She Is Step 3, then several more rocks during the course of the dark and dramatic Step 4.
- Happens when Fred and Barney run afoul of some criminals in The Flintstones
- In Batman: The Animated Series, it's not a rock, but one of the poisoned Joker Fish that comes through the window of a predicted victim's home.
- In The Simpsons: Ralph (with a note attached) is thrown through the Simpsons' window; he announces "I'm a brick!"
- On another occasion, instead of a brick with a note, a ringing telephone is thrown through a window.
- A would-be assassin shoots a harpoon through a porthole in an episode of Jonny Quest.
- The Powerpuff Girls kept the glaziers working overtime in the city of Townsville with all their entrances and exits.
- IIRC it was mainly roofs that the PPGs demolished, although with all the mayhem that went on in Townsville the glaziers were kept as busy as all the other repairfok.
- Swat Kats escaped from the newly originated Dr. Viper in season two by throwing themselves out through the window.
- The Fairly Odd Parents has a few examples:
- Vicky defenestrates forest animals through of the Turner house in "Vicky Loses Her Icky".
- Timmy gets toy chattering teeth attached to bricks thrown through his window by the mean dentist, "Dr. Bender".
- Cat 22 in Cartoon Network's "Wedgies" series throws himself through windows on several occasions to get away from his bosses and their ministrations once he's injured doing his spy-on-dogs job.
- In Cow and Chicken, the Red Guy uses bricks engraved with a single word to send a long message to the eponymous characters' house, with each brick tossed nailing Chicken in the head. Naturally, the house is a mess afterwards.
- Happens to Sylvester after singing the "Pussy Kins Cat Food" song in "Claws in the Lease".
Sylvester: Are you eating more cat food lately... but enjoying it less?
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: "Tales of Ba Sing Se - The Tale Of Iroh" invokes the trope. A bunch of children are playing and put their projectile through a window made of rice paper.
- In Sarah Caudwell's The Sybil in Her Grave, someone throws a rock through Daphne's window to scare her away. The kicker is that Daphne threw it herself, to make herself look sympathetic and persecuted.
- In Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls, a molotov cocktail is thrown through the main character's window after it becomes common knowledge that he was previously convicted of rape. It's discovered before it can cause too much damage, and it is implied that it was poorly made and more to send the message than cause real damage.
- In EVERY FPS with windows, you can shoot them for no reason. Just fun.
- Time Splitters 2 takes the cake: 3 bonus timed missions involve breaking EVERY windows in the area, one with the grenade launcher fixed to an AKA 47, one with bricks, one with a grenade launcher.
- And the game even remember how many windows you broke in your career.
- In Mirror's Edge you can jump through windows by puncing at them just before impact.
- Paperboy: you get bonus points for each non subscriber's window you put a paper through.