Ten Memorable Movie Defenestrations

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Defenestration is is the term used to describe someone or something being thrown out a window or off a roof. Defenestrations can be fatal, and may be either forced or voluntary. The voluntary kind get the auto- prefix creating it’s own even more fun and longer word, auto-defenestration. Our list today brings you a sample of every type of defenestration, showing the true versatility of the word and it’s use as a movie gag.

Rear Window

James Stewart

We start with a Hitchcock classic: Rear Window. Never has a movie had a more appropriate title, as the leads’ defenestration occurs through the “Rear Window.” Alfred Hitchcock, master of puns and low brow faux-irony.

The Exorcist

Father Karras

Another classic was the end of The Exorcist. The Priest, after watching his mentor die, decides there is only one way to end this. He demands the demon possess him and then hurls himself out the window.


Bourne Identity

Oh Shit!

The Bourne Identity gives us another case of auto-defenestration.  This time it’s the assassin sent to kill Bourne. Once he realizes he’s outmatched and probably going to die, he takes his chances with gravity.


Edward II’s Gay Lover
Castle tossing

Edward Longashanks is definitely an underrated movie villain. In this scene he tosses his sons’ gay lover out the window of his castle. We argue this is not a case of homophobia. The gay lover was a delusional prick trying to sleep his way to the top. Once he bragged about his military knowledge and skill, you see Edward’s son cringe. If he had not bragged, and just accepted who he was, he might have not made this list.


The Comedian

Nothing beats starting a movie with a defenestration. You could say it makes an impact with the audience. Or that the public always falls for it.  Or that it shatters their perceptions of the movie. The Comedian was a bad-ass character, and killing someone like that at the start does set the stage. Thank goodness for the gratuitous use of flashbacks!

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Hudsucker Proxy

Waring Hudsucker

Speaking of starting a movie with a defenestration. The Hudsucker Proxy was one of the best. The resulting Paul Newman plexiglass gag was brilliant. And don’t we wish a few corporate execs would take this approach to management. Give this man credit, though. Never has being the person who was defenestrated ever looked like so much fun. This could be a Disney ride, you know, for kids!

Episode 3

Mace Windu

Mace Windu’s death at the end of Episode 3 nearly saves the movie and the entire prequel trilogy. There’s so much good stuff in this one scene: limbs flying, Jedis dying, the birth of Vader, but for today our focus is Samuel L. Jackson vs the Big Glass Window. He was promised a great death scene and for once Lucas did not let anyone down.


Mrs. Deagle
The Chair

Poor Mrs. Deagle. This scene in Gremlins is a reminder that the ’80s was a much scarier time than we remember it being. They casually toss a little old lady out a window, and this was a PG movie.

Kick Ass

Some Armenian Guy
with mental problems

If you have not seen Kick Ass yet, do so now. It’s extremely violent and has lots of swearing kids. And they start it off with a defenestration. Without ruining anything, they give you a better one later on.

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Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over it
The Chief and The Fountain

Had this scene not happened, the built up pressure of this killing building and the powers within, coupled with the brain-death of McMurphy, would have caused audiences to implode. This was the release and the finale we all secretly hoped for.

Defenestration is not just a cool word, it’s a great gag. We strongly recommend that film students make this their movie signature. It won’t make you millions, but it always makes us smile when we see it used.