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Reichenbach Falls

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Reichenbach Falls
Fina-01
Vital statistics
Location Meiringen, Switzerland
Position Large waterfall
Appearances "The Final Problem"
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Reichenbach Falls is a large waterfall located outside the village of Meiringen in Switzerland. This was the scene of the apparent death of Sherlock Holmes at the end of The Final Problem.

Appearance in Adaptations

"The Final Problem" (ITV series episode)

In the final episode of the 1985 second series of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the Reichenbach Falls make an extended appearance at the end. For added authenticity, all filming took place at the real life waterfalls, including stunt doubles for Jeremy Brett and Eric Porter as Holmes and Moriarty.

The waterfall scenes follow the original story very faithfully, including an emphasis on Watson's absence when he's most needed. Holmes and Moriarty are sparring at the edge of the upper waterfall, before Watson can return in time and intervene. When Watson finally reaches the location, they're already gone without a trace, leaving Watson only to speculate what their last moments were. He also finds a brief parting letter from Holmes. As the episode's end credits roll, we see a flashback sequence of Moriarty and Holmes falling down the roaring waterfall to their apparent doom.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

In the Guy Ritchie film, the falls are shown rather differently to many adaptations. The film depicts a large castle above the falls. The famous struggle takes place on a balcony of this castle, from which Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty fall to their apparent deaths.

The Reichenbach Fall (Sherlock episode)

This 2012 episode doesn't literally feature the Swiss waterfalls from the original story. Instead, Holmes' verbal sparring with Jim Moriarty and subsequent jump off the roof of St. Bartholomew's Hospital act as loose equivalents of the original story's Reichenbach scenes. However, one of the episode's minor elements is a real 1804 landscape painting of the location, created by British painter J. M. W. Turner. Another nod is Moriarty's alias, "Richard Brook", which shares some basic etymological roots with the compound word Reichenbach, a German language placename. As in the original storyline, this adaptation has Watson temporarily lured away and not being able to return on time in order to aid Sherlock. Unlike most adaptations, where Holmes' potential survival is left ambiguous, the episode's final shot ends on a surprise appearance by the character, alive but clearly in hiding.

The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special)

A somewhat stylised, dream version of the Reichenbach Falls makes an appearance during the finale of this 2016 special. Set in an elaborate version of Holmes' "Mind Palace", Holmes finds himself waking up on a ledge next to a huge torrent of water, with Moriarty standing nearby in period clothing and taunting him. They engage in intellectual and physical combat (similarly to the original story), but are interrupted by the arrival of Dr. Watson, who foils Moriarty's plan to dispose of Holmes. In a further comedic twist, Watson throws Moriarty off the ledge for annoying him and Sherlock. He then asks Holmes about their real life counterparts and how Holmes could return to them. Holmes deduces that he needs to jump down the waterfall, and doing just that, he once again awakens in the early 21st century.

Trivia

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