[[quoteright:325:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MostDangerousGamePoster2_8348.jpg]]

->This page is about the short story. If a link for "humans hunting humans" brought you here, please change it to HuntingTheMostDangerousGame.

'''"The Most Dangerous Game"''' (also known as "The Hounds of Zaroff") is the 1924 short story by Richard Connell.

Rainsford, a hunter of big game from New York, finds himself shipwrecked on an island. He finds a big mansion with a bored old general there, who describes his one true passion: hunting. The general tells Rainsford that he only hunts [[TitleDrop the most dangerous game of all]]... humans. The full story can be found [[http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/danger.html here]].
The title has a double meaning, referring both to a "game" or contest between the general and his quarry, as well as "game" in the sense of an animal that is hunted.

The story has been directly adapted for film at least eight times, though only twice under its original title: in 1932, with Joel [=McCrea=] as Rainsford and Leslie Banks as Zaroff, and in 2008, with Brian Spangler-Campbell and Mark Motyl, respectively. However, it has been imitated by a vastly greater number of works, and is the source and TropeNamer of the HuntingTheMostDangerousGame plot.

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!!This story provides examples of:

* ActionSurvivor: Rainsford. In the film, Eve.
* AffirmativeActionGirl: Eve, in the film.
* AristocratsAreEvil: In the original film, Zaroff is changed from a general to a count.
* {{Badass}}: The main character. Not only manages to survive three days in the woods, but also kills two of Zaroff's best hounds and his bodyguard, followed by [[spoiler: Zaroff himself]].
* BigNo: By Rainsford at the climax of the movie.
* BloodKnight: Zaroff.
* TheChick: Eve (in the movie).
* {{Cossacks}}: Ivan and Zaroff, see HuskyRusskie below.
* DeadGuyOnDisplay: Zaroff keeps the heads of his victims as hunting trophies.
* DerelictGraveyard: Ship-Trap Island.
* DisneyVillainDeath: In the original film, Zaroff succumbs to his wounds by falling out the window, where his hunting dogs are waiting.
* DoubleEntendre: The title. See the entry on the DoubleEntendre page for an explanation.
* DuelToTheDeath: Rainsford and Zaroff square off at the end of the story; the winner gets to sleep in Zaroff's opulent bed, while the loser's body will be fed to the hounds. [[spoiler: It's pretty clear that Rainsford wins.]]
-->[[spoiler: He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.]]
* EgomaniacHunter: General Zaroff.
* [[spoiler: FaceHeelTurn: One interpretation of the ending.]]
* FakeRussian: In the movie, Count Zaroff and his henchmen.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Zaroff casually converses with Rainsford about hunting and killing others.
* {{Fanservice}}: Provided by Fay Wray.
* TheFilmOfTheBook
* ForTheEvulz: Killing people is JustForFun with General Zaroff.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: In the original film, it is implied that Count Zaroff plans to make Eva a SexSlave after killing Rainsford.
* AGlassOfChianti
* GoodScarsEvilScars: In the original film, Zaroff has a large scar on the side of his skull, attributed to an encounter with a Cape buffalo. In RealLife, Leslie Banks was permanently disfigured fighting in WorldWarOne.
* GreatWhiteHunter: Rainsford.
* HotterAndSexier: The film, compared with the original story. Sexual deviance is a major theme of the pre-Code movie.
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame: TropeNamer.
* [[TheKillerBecomesTheKilled The Hunter Becomes The Hunted]]
* HuskyRusskie: Ivan; also, Zaroff.
-->"Ivan is an incredibly strong fellow... A simple fellow, but, I'm afraid, like all his race, a bit of a savage."
-->"Is he Russian?"
-->"He is a Cossack," said the general, and his smile showed red lips and pointed teeth. "So am I."
* IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace: Ship-Trap Island.
* ImADoctorNotAPlaceholder: "I'm a hunter, not an assassin!" (In the original film.)
* InHarmsWay
* ItAmusedMe: General Zaroff doesn't hunt people that he ''hates''; he does it for ''fun''.
* ManOfWealthAndTaste: General Zaroff.
* ModernMinstrelsy: Inverted in the first film. The actor playing Ivan the Cossack (Noble Johnson) was actually an African-American, who went on to have a respected career. This was one of the first ever instances of a black actor donning "[[WhiteLikeMe whiteface]]" for a role.
* MotherRussiaMakesYouStrong: the reason Zaroff got bored with regular game, and why he finds Ivan so useful.
* NoChallengeEqualsNoSatisfaction: The whole purpose of both the story as well as the trope in general. The villain is a big-game hunter who got bored with dumb animals and started hunting humans who could present more of a challenge. Then he finds another almost equally-bored big-game hunter who would be even more of a challenge than random sailors who don't know how to really fight back.
* OneNameOnly: Whitney and Zaroff have no first names, Ivan has no last name.
* PropRecycling: The first movie reused the jungle sets (as well as the stock screams) from ''Film/KingKong'' (they were being filmed at the same time, ''Kong'' in the daytime and ''Game'' at night).
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Zaroff. He's a Cossack, so TruthInTelevision.
* PromotedToLoveInterest: The film version adds Fay Wray for exactly this reason.
* PsychopathicManchild: Zaroff, essentially with his whole "I always get what I want" mentality.
* RuleOfThree: Rainsford makes three traps for Zaroff. The first time Rainsford makes a Malaccan man-catcher, which almost kills Zaroff, but the man dodges just in time. The second trap is a tiger pit with sharpened stakes, which succeeds in killing Zaroff's best hunting dog. The third trap is a Ugandan knife trap, which takes out [[spoiler:Ivan]].
* ScarilyCompetentTracker: As soon as the game begins Rainsford sets out on making the most confounding false trail he can, then covering up his real path. Zaroff finds him anyway.
* SocialDarwinist: General Zaroff.
-->"I refuse to believe that so modern and civilized a young man as you seem to be harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life... Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships--lascars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them."
* TheSpeechless: Ivan.
* TheStraightAndArrowPath: Zaroff uses a bow when the hound begins and in the climax.
* SummonBiggerFish: If the hunt has gone for three days with the huntee still outsmarting Zaroff, the general will release his hunting dogs.
* TastesLikeFriendship
* TeachHimAnger: Rainsford is far from helpless; but when he gets pushed to the limit, he gets ''mad.''
* TemptingFate: Rainsford, to his friends ''immediately'' before the ship crashes in the 1932 film:
-->"[[ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld There are two kinds of people in the world]]: the hunter and the hunted. And I'm not about to become the hunted anytime soon."
* TsaristRussia: "Ivan once had the honor of serving as official [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knout knouter]] to the Great White Czar..."
* TheUnsmile: In the film, Ivan gives one when Zaroff orders him to greet the new guest.
* WarIsGlorious: According to General Zaroff.
* WorldWarOne: Mentioned in both Rainsford and Zaroff's back story.
* WickedCultured: General Zaroff. Emphasized in the film.
* YoureInsane

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