->'''Majesty:''' Burn the whole city... that's pretty extreme for the life of one woman.\\
'''Caine:''' Fuck the city. I'd burn the world to save her.
-->-- ''[[Literature/TheActsOfCaine Heroes Die]]''

%% If you change the quotes, be sure to explain why on the discussion page. This is a touchy subject. %%

The hero makes it uncomfortably plain that they value the life of their LoveInterest over those of everyone else: friends, [[ThickerThanWater family]], TrueCompanions, or even all other life in the universe. Can come about as the result of a SadisticChoice, only having enough time to rescue one person out of several, or whatever other requirements the plot puts in their way and well, plainly making a decision.

As long as the hero [[TakeAThirdOption takes a third option]] or at least [[DirtyBusiness shows a decent amount of angst]] over the decision, the audience ''may'' sympathize. But the hero will seem to suffer from MoralDissonance if he makes the choice a little too easily, or if the exchange of life is ridiculously high. It can be downright absurd if the couple in question were StrangledByTheRedString or [[TheDulcineaEffect if they've only known each other for a short time]]. Then again, it could also be done in such a way that makes the audience feel [[KickTheSonOfABitch the hometown/nation/world deserved it]] [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer for relentlessly abusing the hero.]]

Another ridiculous aspect is that ''only'' the hero can rescue his LoveInterest. The hero is [[StrongAsTheyNeedToBe able to rescue her]] while allies who should be more efficient are helpless.

Sometimes the hero will [[TakeAThirdOption find a way to save both the love interest and everyone else]]. If done right, the hero can come out looking even more clever and badass. Often times, though, the "TheNeedsOfTheMany" argument will fall on deaf ears.

Not to be confused with MenAreTheExpendableGender, which covers the DoubleStandard where women in general are more likely to be rescued than men.

See also HostageForMacGuffin. Contrast LovedINotHonorMore.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In KingOfThorn, this becomes a plot point, when it is revealed every character, who have been saving Kasumi every time she gets in trouble, even at possible cost of their life, has been in fact implanted forcibly with the undeniable urge to protect Kasumi at all costs.
* The ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' manga features a subversion. Ed's LoveInterest is used as a hostage by one of the more AxCrazy villains in the story, who tells him to obey some murderous orders from the military higher ups. Ed seems to comply pretty quickly, but in reality he is already planning to TakeAThirdOption.
** Also averted when [[spoiler: a villain attempts to force [[ColonelBadass Roy Mustang]] to attempt human transmutation by having a mook [[KickTheDog cut]] [[ActionGirl Riza]] [[BodyguardCrush Hawkeye's]] throat; recognizing an eye signal from the wounded Hawkeye, Mustang realizes that if he saves her, not only will he lose limbs or organs and become the last tool the BigBad needs to bring about the end of the world, Hawkeye will kill him. He refuses. Unfortunately, even after a BigDamnHeroes moment, the villain's bosses manage to somehow force him to do human transmutation against his will, albeit with a method that severely weakens Pride as a result.]]
** Earlier, when Roy is giving into RevengeBeforeReason, Riza stops him from going too far by threatening to shoot him--as they agreed if he ever strayed from the path he had chosen. He asks her what she plans to do after she kills him, and she admits she's going to kill herself, [[DrivenToSuicide since there will be nothing left for her]]. ''That'' is what finally convinces him to step back.
-->'''Roy:''' I can't bear the thought of losing you.
* ''[[Manga/GetterRobo Getter Robo Armageddon]]'' brings us the "father / daughter" version: during a discussion, Hayato tells Benkei they can't think now about Kei, and remembers him the world's fate hangs in balance. Benkei's reply is compared with his adoptive daughter Kei, he does not care for the world.
* ''TsubasaReservoirChronicle''. At the beginning, it was touching and powerful when Syaoran was willing to give up everything he knew, and even Sakura's love for him, in exchange for saving her life. In later chapters, when we find out that, for Sakura's sake, he has [[spoiler: purposely damned an entire town, watching them melt before his eyes, chosen staying with her over his own world and family at the age of ''seven,'' and then made a DealWithTheDevil to radically alter- and not for better- the life of her entire family, herself, and his own parents, along with, potentially, ''all of space and time'']] it's starting to become... a tad aggravating.
** [[spoiler: The town and its people were fake, things ended up okay (sort of), and he really didn't have a choice in the matter anyway.]]
* The end of ''[[Anime/{{Slayers}} Slayers NEXT]]'', when Lina chooses to cast a spell that's probably going to wipe out the entire universe just to save Gourry. On the other hand, considering what type of morally questionable person she already is, this is a lot less unusual for her. It didn't help that Lina would have been killed if she didn't cast it, and that she had been severely psychologically abused by this point. Lina did not cast the spell the first time Gourrys life had been threatened. She only broke after the villain revealed that he could still be saved.
* ''Anime/{{Mai-HiME}}'', when Mai's Most Important Person is revealed to be Yuuichi. Instead of, say, her little brother, who up until now seemed to be her top priority.
** Then again, Takumi was already ''Akira's'' Most Important Person.
** While Mai is gradually becoming closer to Yuuichi, Takumi is trying to become independent from Mai, which upsets her and slightly downgrades his importance. Natsuki suggests that Takumi was Mai's Most Important person at first, but Yuuichi replaced him [[spoiler:before Takumi died]].
** While not weighing her loved one's life against many others, [[spoiler:Akira]] allows her most important person [[spoiler:Takumi]] to live after he finds out her true gender. Yukino is also once on the verge of killing [[spoiler:her friend Mai]] in order to protect her best friend Haruka.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' does this at the end of season one when [[spoiler:Lelouch drops everything in the middle of the key battle and goes off to save his sister Nunnaly]], and again in season 2 when [[spoiler:Lelouch does the same thing when Kallen is captured,]] and this time someone even [[LampshadeHanging Lampshades]] how it reeks of preferential treatment, and how absurd it is to choose one life over an entire country. Doesn't stop him from doing it anyway.
** However, ''Anime/CodeGeass'' is somewhat of a subversion of the trope, since while Lelouch does choose the girl over everything else, in both cases [[spoiler:it backfires, causing him to suffer defeat, and lose the girl anyway.]]
** In a non-hostage example, Ohgi secretly goes AWOL from the Black Knights to see Villetta, who he knows is going to kill him. In contrast to the above examples, [[IdiotHoudini Ohgi not only makes it out of the ordeal with his life and no repercussions whatsoever]], but also manages to get Villetta into the Black Knights with him in spite of what she's done.
* Played very straight in one of the ''[[Anime/SailorMoon Sailor Moon Super S]]'' specials. A puppet is stealing Haruka's life energy. The ventriloquist tells Michiru that she cannot harm the puppet, because if the blue bottle the puppet is holding it destroyed, all the shadows of the world would attack their owners. Michiru Deep Submerges the puppet anyway. The ventriloquist asks Michiru how she knew he was lying, and she says, "Oh, it wasn't true?" Shocked, he replies, "You did it just to save her? What kind of heroine are you?" to which she says, "Oh, maybe you misunderstood. A world without Haruka is hardly worth saving." [[note]] Michiru's posture and expression implies that she was calling the puppet's bluff the whole time, and just saying something witty to top it all off.[[/note]]
* In ''Manga/RaveMaster'', the villain Sieg Hart wants to kill [[spoiler: Elie]] to prevent the destructive power of Aetherion from awakening and tearing the world apart. He tries to make Haru see his point that one life is a small sacrifice for saving the world, to which Haru replies, "If peace can only come through killing someone, then I don't want it." When the power awakens anyway, Hart is unable to do anything, and it's up to Haru to make the decision... [[spoiler: And he decides to TakeAThirdOption and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome seals the power without killing her.]]]]
** Later, Haru fights [[spoiler: a youth-restored Shiba]] and is getting his ass handed to him. Haru tries to motivate himself by thinking about how the world will be doomed if he loses, but it doesn't work. Then he thinks about how if he loses, Elie will cry, then defeats his opponent in a single blow.
* Sanji from ''Manga/OnePiece''. Possibly one of his major character flaws, actually.
** A good example is seen in the Foxy filler; Sanji nearly gives up a game of a Red Light-Green Light by jumping after an enemy girl to rescue her. Sanji is still in the game by kicking his legs really fast so he floats perfectly still, but the game master can't see. [[spoiler: He loses when the girl hugs him.]]
** Luffy also strongly prioritizes helping his friends over the rest of the world. The most obvious example is when he released half the inmates of Impel Down in his quest to save his brother. The prisoners served as a cannon fodder and most of them were shot, bludgeoned or poisoned to the death before they subjected themselves under Buggy. Luffy has yet to show any sort of guilt for the dozens of dangerous criminals that managed to escape alive.
*** In fact, the first three rises of his bounty involved crises with the women of the crew. He first gained his bounty after defeating Arlong and liberating Nami from his control. Then, his defeat of Crocodile, an act that ultimately saved Vivi's country, would have his first rise. The next rise happened after he saved Robin from Enies Lobby, an event where he would also defeat several thousand mooks, and include the destruction of the entire island itself thanks to the inept chief of [=CP9=] accidentally ordering a Buster Call, and the entire crew declaring war on the World Government (which basically amounts to the entire world). This would result in a staggering two hundred million beri increase. [[spoiler:His latest rise, while not involving a woman this time, still involves saving someone. While the rescue wasn't successful, his actions over the course that one week (which included punching out a world noble, one of the rulers of the world, and causing the first mass breakout of Impel Down (where only one person had ever escaped on their own before)) caused a hundred million beri increase.]]
** Robin says she cares more about the other Straw Hats than the entire rest of the world. This is more logical than many cases, given that [[BecauseYouWereNiceToMe the Straw Hats are the first people she's met since the destruction of Ohara who haven't tried to use her, kill her or turn her over to the Marines]].
* Belldandy in ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'' makes it clear she puts Keiichi's life ahead of all others, once allowing the cutting of the Universal superstring rather than killing him when he is possessed by the Lord of Terror, ends up taking the third option to save the day.
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', just like everything else, takes this trope and cranks it past absurdity all the way into heartbreaking. While there is the excuse of having to fight off the evil swarm, the last few episodes boil down to Simon's perfect willingness to march into Hell to come for Nia. Even when it costs [[spoiler: him enough energy to create detritus galaxies and fill the cockpit with blood, the lives of the Gurren Brigade, and comes close to destroying the universe.]] That's some Goddamned love. Of course, this only happens in ''Lagann-hen''. In the anime, there's a lot less blood.
* Played straight right after the timeskip in ''Mythic Quest''. Tragic has decided to put off defeating the Chaos Sorcerer indefinitely so he can fully concentrate on finding Aramusha. He gets back on track after [[spoiler: discovering most of the information about her is lies and misdirections planted by Shadow himself to keep Tragic distracted from him.]]
* Subverted at the last second in ''WeissKreuz''. This is pretty much Youji's default mindset, but he ends up [[spoiler:killing the woman he loves in order to save his teammates]].
** Aya also makes it pretty clear that he doesn't give a single fat damn about Weiss's mission to make the world a better place if it interferes in any way with his ability to [[BigBrotherInstinct protect his little sister]].
* ''ThePlacePromisedInOurEarlyDays'' has the heroes risk the entire planet Earth to [[spoiler:wake Sayuri from a coma induced by the world-ending machine]].
* [[spoiler: Akemi Homura]] of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' is revealed to have this mindset. Happily, saving the girl in question also coincides with saving the world [[spoiler: by ensuring she'll never turn into a [[CosmicHorrorStory super-powerful, world-destroying Witch]]]]. [[TearJerker Sadly, however]], [[spoiler: it's not as easy as it sounds, even with [[GroundhogDayLoop multiple attempts]]. She's even had to ''[[ShootTheDog Shoot]]''/''MercyKill'' [[ShootTheDog The Girl]] once, and Kyubey eventually revealed that ''it was her very actions that ironically led to both the Girl and the World getting screwed at the same time'', but [[PoweredByAForsakenChild the sacrifice was necessary]] to [[EquivalentExchange avoid the universe itself getting screwed by entropy instead]].]]
** This is deconstructed, like so many other tropes, in [[Manga/PuellaMagiOrikoMagica one of the series' manga spinoffs]]. [[spoiler: At the end of the manga, Homura, Mami, and Kyoko are all alive, and neither Madoka or Sayaka had to sign Kyubey's contract. Then a witch kills Madoka and Homura decides to press the ResetButton again, despite the fact that she's pretty much achieved the GoldenEnding. In the main series, this is eventually {{reconstructed}} when Homura's perseverance finally pays off and Madoka uses her wish to rewrite reality.]]
** In the same spinoff, [[spoiler:Madoka herself calls out Homura, saying that if she's going to sacrifice innocent people to save her, then she doesn't want to be saved. In Homura's defense, though, the much more idealistic Mami notes that it's impossible to save everyone in the school]].
** Deconstructed in the show's sequel ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion'' where Homura's desire to save and protect Madoka [[spoiler: leads her to hijack Madoka's power, redo her CosmicRetcon and trap Madoka and the entire universe in what is essentially a LotusEaterMachine]]
* In ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'', Sango's inability to live without Miroku shows how damaged she really is after losing everything she loved, and she'll do anything, ''anything'', to save him. [[spoiler: When she fails, she finally gives up and asks to die with him.]]
* LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex:
** Accelerator doesn't care if you're an angel, an esper, or the entire world's militaries combined; he won't let ''anything'' happen to Last Order.
** There's also Touma, who will help anyone in need. Usually this help involves punching someone in the face. While everything around him is exploding.
*** During one arc, several factions are trying to capture, rescue, or kill Orsola Aquinas due to her supposed knowledge of The Book Of Law. When Touma rescues her, she is surprised and charmed to find that he didn't care about the knowledge at all. He was the only person who cared about ''her''.
* Deconstructed in the [[RescueArc Conviction Arc]] of ''{{Berserk}}''. Guts saves Casca from being [[spoiler: [[BurnTheWitch burned at the stake as a witch]] by [[LightIsNotGood Bishop Mozgus]] [[TortureTechnician and his henchmen]], who are being backed by all of the citizens [[GullibleLemmings who blindly follow whatever he says just to save themselves from damnation]]. They want to burn her because they think she is responsible for the influx of monsters and evil spirits around St. Albion and, well, technically they're correct, since the Brand of the Sacrifice on Casca's breast attracts evil spirits that are nearby.]] But Guts, being her LoveInterest and thus [[DeclarationOfProtection vowing to protect her]], doesn't give two shits about what will happen so long he and Casca survive at the end of it all. He pretty much tells Mozgus and the refugees to go fuck themselves.
** After this, Guts has begun amassing new teammates and friends along on his journey, and although he cares for them all, Casca still remains on a completely different level. He clearly puts her well-being ahead of his other comrades (as this was a big reason why he tried to convince one of his teammates to stay with the group since she served as Casca's caretaker) and Guts is fully prepared to drop everything at a pin drop if there is even the ''slightest'' chance that Casca will be cured of her insanity.
* ''ThisUglyYetBeautifulWorld'': Hikari is [[spoiler: the anthropomorphic personification of extinction]]. Takeru is [[spoiler: a mutation born to stop her]]. And he still does everything in his power to protect her, consequences be damned. Granted he doesn't know either of those facts for most of the series, but even after he learns the truth it doesn't change anything.
* 'Manga/WolfGuyWolfenCrest'' has Inugami the hero who's biggest BerserkButton is if someone messes with Aoshika. Haguro did in a huge way and now he's gonna pay.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'':
** Gendo Ikasi has this mindset. He is obsessed with his dead wife Yui, he doesn't care if [[spoiler:the world is destroyed by his meddling with [[EldritchAbomination Gods who can cause the Apocalypse]]]], as long as he can see Yui again.
** Shinji Ikari takes after his father. In "End of Evangelion", when he saw that [[spoiler:Asuka was dead]] he stopped fighting, not caring what happened to the rest of the humanity.
*** And in ''Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion'', when Asuka's Eva was [[spoiler:taken over by an Angel,]] Shinji refused fighting because he did not want to hurt her, and when [[spoiler:his father forced his robot to destroy the Angel, seemingly killing Asuka]], Shinji attempted [[spoiler:bringing Nerv down and killing everyone inside the base,]] not caring that it was humanity's last line of defense. And when later it was Rei's turn to [[spoiler:be absorbed for an Angel,]] he activated his robot's full power, even though Ritsuko warned him that it would set off the Third Impact. Basically, Asuka and Rei are two of the few persons Shinji cares about. Hurt them and expect pain.
*** Deconstructed in ''Eva 3.0'', where, [[spoiler: not only everyone hates him for killing the half of humanity, but also his attempt to save Rei failed.]]
* Gender-inverted in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''. The only thing Mikasa cares about is Eren. She was willing to take on the entire military to protect him, and when [[spoiler:Ymir supposedly joins the Titans trying to kidnap Eren, and Krista tries to protect her, Mikasa was willing to cut through Ymir and Krista if it would save Eren]]. She gets called out on this sometimes, most notably by Jean.
* Kyo of BlackBird, on top of his SingleTargetSexuality for Misao, will pay any and all costs, including the destruction of his clan to save Misao, because he really doesn't care about much other than her.
* ''Manga/AnatoliaStory'' gives an interesting justification for this trope. Kail goes to all sorts of trouble to keep Yuri safe and while he does care about her well-being, he has a more personal reason to be invested in her staying alive - his WickedStepmother [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Nakia]] magically summoned Yuri to Anatolia for the purpose of ritualistically killing her to curse Kail and his brothers to die, so her own son could take the throne. If Nakia succeeds in killing Yuri, Kail's a goner. The trope is played with more further into the manga, as Yuri is in danger of threats besides Nakia. Kail occasionally has to remember that he has a duty to the entire empire and must keep that in mind even if Yuri's in danger (for her part, Yuri's usually fine with Kail acting for the greater good of the people). He nearly plays the trope straight in one instance, where Yuri is framed for the murder of [[spoiler:his older brother, who had been king,]] and Nakia tries to use this as a justification to have her executed. Kail nearly goes against all sense and begins to head off to the city-state she's hiding in, only to be stopped when Ilbani threatens to commit suicide, on the grounds that he dedicated his entire life to helping Kail become king and care for the empire. Kail going to help Yuri and thus committing treason would throw away all hope for that dream being realized and thus give Ilbani no reason to live. This shocks Kail enough to stop.

* ''Heavily'' subverted in ''SinCity: The Big Fat Kill'', Dwight [=McCarthy=] offers Jackie Boy's head to Manute (which will allow Manute to tie Jackie Boy's death to Old Town) in exchange for Gail. Dwight's stuffed the head with explosives and as soon as it's in Manute's hands, blows it up as dozens of Old Town girls show up on the rooftops, raining bullets into the alley, killing Manute and all his men.
* Also extremely subverted in ''ComicBook/UltimateFantasticFour'' during the ''Ultimatum'' storyline. [[spoiler:Reed Richards chooses to confront Doctor Doom and save the world at large, abandoning his dying girlfriend, Sue. Eventually, she calls him out for it and breaks up with him. He explains that he made the "logical" choice, as saving the world would ultimately mean saving her as well. Sue remarks that she always felt that their love ''defied'' logic, and leaves him.]]
* Absolutely subverted at the end of the Argentine comic book ElEternauta (the second volume). After blowing up the [[SupervillainLair enemy headquarters]], the hero flies to help LaResistance. When he arrives to the war scene, he must choose to help either his wife and daughter at one side of the battlefield, or the bulk of the women and children of the small population of [[DyingRace last remaining humans]]. He goes for the later and saves them, but by the time he can go to help his wife and daughter, they [[BitterSweetEnding have died]].
* Surprisingly played straight in the 2011 run of JourneyIntoMystery. [[spoiler: When Loki is confronted by the Leah who he created for the Serpent's story he decides to risk everything to give her a chance at having a better future]]
* In ''YTheLastMan'' the three astronauts (two male, one female) who avoided the effects of the male-killing plague crashland on earth, their pod in flames from a missile attack. One of them is able to escape the pod before it explodes. [[spoiler: It's the woman, who reveals that the other two basically threw her out against her protests. Another character remarks on the apparent stupidity of the chivalry in a world where males are desperately needed, but the woman reveals that it's most likely because she was pregnant with one of the two's sons.)]]


[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''FanFic/AGrowingAffection'': Naruto's actions during the Dojutsu Tournament arc. He puts Hinata above everyone else (including himself) multiple times in the four chapters.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': In chapter 10 Gendo chided his son for [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/1703858/033/ neglecting his duties and to be so fully focused on a pretty girl]] [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/1703859/034/ that he does not care what happens to the rest of the world.]]
-->'''Gendo''': You disappoint me… Letting your emotional ties to a pretty girl blind you to the crying needs of the entire civilized world… You would turn your back on every innocent soul on the planet because you can’t see past your infatuation.
* In ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', Toki is willing to [[MakeWrongWhatOnceWentRight alter events so that Mai, Natsuki and Nao's tragic pasts are changed and they never end up at Fuuka Academy]], thereby risking a temporal paradox, so that she can be together with Hayate- all details about Hayate are intentionally left vague, and [[BigBad the Usurper]] even questions her superficial attraction to him compared to how far she will go to have him by her side.
* ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'': In the original timeline Gendo was willing turning the whole humankind into primordial soup only to see his wife again, and Shinji lost his will to fight when he saw Asuka was dead, letting the world die. And in the altered timeline Shinji almost [[spoiler:caused the Third Impact again when he thought Asuka had been killed because he could not stand losing her]]. [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] because later he realized that he really would have lost everything if he would have done so.
-->'''[[spoiler:Yui]]''': Is it okay now?
-->'''Shinji''': Yeah. She's fine. That's all that matters to me.
* In ''Fanfic/ScarTissue'', a character summarizes Shinji's actions in ''End of Evangelion'':
-->"You killed last every human being because you wouldn't have the guts to save her [Asuka]. Then, you gave a big fuck you to Instrumentality to bring her back".
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': [[HeroesWantRedheads His girlfriend Asuka]], Rei and Misato were the three persons more precious to Shinji. When [[spoiler:Asuka and Misato got killed]] and [[spoiler:Rei]] showed up to grant him his deepest wish he asked her bringing them back, not matter the cost. The cost was [[EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Third Impact]].
* When ''[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Cordelia]]'' tried explaining to Xander in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9663877/1/And-Another-Thing-I-Hate-About-You And Another Thing I Hate About You]]'' that the Powers-That-Be could very well have had a plan that saved the world but required her death, Xander angrily says the Powers can go to hell. Nobody hurts his girls.
* In ''Fanfic/NecessaryToWin'', Maho [[DefiedTrope defies this trope]]. While her primary motivation for being heiress of the Nishizumi school, which requires upholding her mother's winning at all costs ideology and meeting her difficult expectations, is Miho's happiness, Maho doesn't give Miho's happiness disproportionate weight, and is unwilling to use methods to further her goals that would cause many people to suffer.
-->Was upholding the Nishizumi style, or even Maho's ulterior motive for doing so, worth the lives of those girls in that fallen tank? Maho did not believe it was, and desperately hoped for the welfare of the girls who crewed Tank 6.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Disney's ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' pulls this [[spoiler:with Hercules giving away his powers to make Megara safe. It leads to FridgeHorror when you consider what would have happened if an unlucky accident hadn't killed Megara and returned his powers.]] Though Hercules falls straight into GoodIsDumb.

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'':
** The Joker is ''counting'' on this in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', as he [[spoiler:tells Batman the two hostages' locations backwards to ensure that he saves Dent even though he wanted to save the girl]].
** Bane in ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'' plans on this when he [[spoiler:captures Miranda Tate, knowing that Batman will come to her rescue. However, it's quickly revealed that Miranda is a DecoyDamsel.]]
* Also ''Film/BatmanForever'', but subverted as Batman knows he wouldn't be able to save either the girl or Robin, then he goes and saves both anyway because he's [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower just that good]].
* ''Franchise/StarWars''
** ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' plays with the trope. Anakin finally accepts continuing the more important mission while Padmé seems to be hurt, but it turns out she isn't even injured in any significant way.
** Deconstructed in ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''. Anakin Skywalker turns to the DarkSide, kills off all the Jedi, and turns a Republic into an Empire to save the life of his wife Padme Amidala. He loses his temper, chokes her, and she dies anyway soon afterwards.
* ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'', in which Neo, faced with a choice between restarting the free human race with 7 other males and 16 females to rebuild Zion and returning to the Matrix (which the Architect says will result in the end of the free human population, and will crash the Matrix killing the non-free humans there) decides to return to the Matrix to save Trinity. At least, until ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions''...
** The Architect also pointed out that the previous "One's" loved humanity in a general sense, leading them to sacrifice most of the population for the sake of the species as a whole. Due to the Oracle's influence, Neo loved Trinity more than humanity, directly leading to humanity's freedom.
* There's the choice given in the first ''Film/SpiderMan1'' film where Peter is forced to choose between Mary Jane's life and the lives of some children in a cablecar. It appears for a moment as if he's chosen M.J., but actually he's [[TakeAThirdOption Taken a Third Option]].
* In the first ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'' film, the villain Rasputin offers Hellboy the choice of bringing about the Apocalypse to gain enough power to save his desouled girl, Liz, or to save the world and lose her forever. Hellboy initially sees this as no choice at all, and begins the procedure of summoning the Ogdru Jahad and ending the world, before Myers throws Hellboy his [[MementoMacguffin father's cross]]. The cross burns into his flesh, reminding him that this ''is his choice''. Save the world, or save Liz, and his father always did say that a man is made by his choices. He then chooses the world, tears off his newly regrown horns, and stabs Rasputin to death with one of them. There is then a DoubleSubversion when he [[BeyondTheImpossible he saves the girl]] ''[[BeyondTheImpossible anyway]]'' by intimidating the thing in charge . A newly awoken and somewhat confused Liz asks him how he saved her. His answer?
-->'''Hellboy:''' Hey. You, on the other side. Let her go. Because for her, [[LikeABadassOutOfHell I'll cross over, and]] '''[[LikeABadassOutOfHell then...]]''' [[LikeABadassOutOfHell you'll be sorry.]]
** In the second film this is played straight by both Abe and ''Liz''. Abe tries to save his porcelain princess by giving her brother the MacGuffin that controls the Golden Army (which nearly drove humanity extinct last time it was used) while Liz, after being told by an ''Angel of Death'' that Hellboy would bring about the Apocalypse, ''tells Hellboy's Angel of Death to sod off and save him anyway.'' This successfully doubles as a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming, since it shows just how much Liz trusts Hellboy (and, as the director's commentary points out, is the humane decision to make), but she still screwed the world to save her man.
* Parodied in ''Film/TheNakedGun 33 1/3''. Rocco tells Frank to give him the bomb or he'll shoot Jane. A long discussion about the possible consequences of each action, and which is preferable, ensues. It doesn't help that the terms keep changing.
* In ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', Indy offers to let the Nazis keep the Ark in exchange for Marion, threatening to destroy the Ark if they don't comply. Belloq calls his bluff (as an archeologist, Indy can't bring himself to destroy the Ark, even to keep it out of the Nazis' hands) and Indy gets captured.
* The King in ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' sacrifices himself and the entire population of his home planet, just so the princess doesn't get her old nose back.
* Parodied in ''[[Film/{{DEBS}} D.E.B.S.]]'', where the girl doesn't want to be saved as she's in a GirlsLove [[DatingCatwoman relationship with the villainess]].
* [[SubvertedTrope Subverted at first]] in ''[[AustinPowers The Spy Who Shagged Me]]'' where Austin decides to save the world and let the GirlOfTheWeek die, [[spoiler:but later DoubleSubverted when he lets Dr. Evil escape so he can use Evil's [[TimeTravel time machine]] to [[StableTimeLoop save her]].]]
* ''Film/JamesBond''
** In ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'', 007 chooses to defy his superiors to save Anya Amasova from the villain's lair, which is about to be torpedoed by the navy. Considering that she said she would kill him as soon as the mission was over, this proves that he really did love her.
** In ''Film/GoldenEye'' he subverts this trope by telling Janus to go ahead and kill Natalya, but this is actually a BatmanGambit. Of course, he ends up saving her.
* In ''Film/TheWolfman2010'', Gwen's actions [[spoiler: in protecting Lawrence from Aberline are understandable, but she is also putting the ''chance'' that he can be cured above the likelihood that he will kill again (and in fact Lawrence ''does'' end up infecting someone directly because of her.)]]
* Subverted in ''Film/PlunkettAndMacleane'' when despite [[spoiler: Plunkett's warnings he'll be captured, Macleane attempts to to go back and save Lady Rebbecca despite the risks. It is a trap and General Chance is waiting to arrest him]].
* In ''Film/TheSorcerersApprentice'', despite knowing the consequences of doing so, [[TheApprentice Dave]] [[spoiler: gives up the Grimhold and Merlin's ring]] to save Becky. Despite the consequences, Balthazar admits that he would have done the same.
* ''Film/ABoyAndHisDog'' [[spoiler: averts in the last ten minutes.]]
* ''Film/{{Predators}}'': Royce is a CombatPragmatist who doesn't hesitate to abandon any one of the team that gets injured or falls behind, unless it's [[TheChick lone female]] Isabelle. The fact that he shrugs and moves on any time she deliberately stays behind to help the others makes it seem more like a spinal reflex on his part than adherence to an honor code.
* In Peter Jackson's ''Film/KingKong'', one of the members of the rescue party makes the perfectly reasonable observation that Anne is probably dead already, that a good number of the rescuers have just died, and the rest of them will probably either get killed or get left behind, since their ship will sail without them if they are not back in time. He is immediately accused of being a DirtyCoward by TheHero, and since the character has been an arrogant douchebag for the entire film, we are presumably meant to hate him even more for the heinous crime of not wanting to die horribly for an almost certainly lost cause.
** In fact, the character's [[TheScrappy Scrappyness]] for the rest of the film ([[spoiler: his BigDamnHeroes CrowningMomentOfAwesome notwithstanding]]) almost seems to have been inserted specifically to make the audience hate him enough to disagree with him as a matter of principle. While he does not put forward his case particularly well, [[JerkassHasAPoint the points he makes are completely valid]], and would likely have many members of the audience agreeing with his argument if it had been put forward by a more likable character. His point remains valid [[ItWasHisSled even though Anne is brought back alive]]; of the seventeen people who die on the island, fifteen were killed trying to find her. No matter how much you might love Anne, is that really a price you want to pay?
* In the [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3Ked]] film ''TheMagicSword'', a young prince leads a band of knights on a quest to rescue his lady love. All the knights are killed along the way. At no point does anyone even mention that fact that several good men have died to save a single life and several more are likely to before the thing is done.
** Pretty much the same thing happens in ''Film/{{Krull}}''. At least the prince manages to kill a horrible beast that would likely murder countless people if not stopped in the process (and a few of his allies survive), but it's clear that he's only in it to save the princess.
* Discussed in ''Film/CourageUnderFire'', which reflected a real-life shift in the U.S. military's attitudes toward women in combat. As noted under "Real Life" below, female soldiers themselves weren't a problem, but prior experience suggested that male colleagues would endanger themselves or the mission to protect the woman.
* In ''{{Film/Zombieland}}'', this trope causes Columbus to change one of his Rules of Zombieland (Never [[DareToBeBadass Be A Hero]]) and face his greatest fear (a [[spoiler: MonsterClown]]) in order to save Wichita.
* In ''{{Film/Looper}}'', the future Joe will just about anything to save his wife. [[spoiler: However, when given an option to stop his past self from meeting her, he refuses. He cannot sacrifice their relationship.]]
* In ''Film/TheThreeMusketeers2011'', this is DoubleSubverted. D'Artagnen is at first reluctantly willing to ignore Constance (who has been captured by the villains) and continue with their mission, saying that the fate of France is more important. Athos urges him to save her, or else he will save France only to become a lonely and bitter man like him after he lost Milady de Winter. The Musketeers then save her.
* Averted in ''Film/JackTheGiantSlayer''. Brahmwell decides to [[spoiler: cut down the beanstalk to save the kingdom, even if it means his daughter will be left trapped with the Giants]].
* Enforced in ''Film/ExMachina''. [[spoiler:Both Nathan and Ava separately work to see if Caleb will do this, manipulating him into considering Ava a princess in the tower who needs rescued. And maybe she does, but there's much more to her than that]].

* ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' has a gender-reversed example, when [[spoiler: Jerin]] gets abducted, his multiple wives all want to go after the kidnappers. The eldest sister manages to change their minds, pointing out that this is just what the kidnappers want, making this a subversion. She, of course, does go after the kidnappers.
* [[PlayingWithaTrope Played with]] in the Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians series, where Athena accuses this of Percy:"You would give up the world to save your friends". Played straight, when Percy realizes this is his heroic flaw, and subverted when "It would seem you have managed to save both."
** It's come up again in the sequel series, Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus, where [[spoiler:Percy's fatal flaw will prevent him from making a hard choice, and Frank will have to force him for the sake of the world]].
* Subverted in [[Creator/EllestonTrevor Adam Hall]]'s SpyFiction ''The Sinkiang Executive''. British spy Literature/{{Quiller}} murders an opposition agent that has him under routine surveillance, breaking the unwritten rule of the intelligence services and jeopardising the secrecy of the [[GovernmentAgencyOfFiction Bureau]]. Apparently the agent had a peripheral involvement in the death of a local girl who helped Quiller on a previous mission; she was captured and an exchange offered -- Quiller for the girl. Quiller agreed, the girl was released but Quiller didn't keep his side of the bargain, jumping on a plane to Austria instead. The girl was then tracked down and killed by the opposition in an act of revenge.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''
** Defied with [[TheCape Captain Carrot]], who says "Personal isn't the same thing as important." and, while he wanted to get [[ActionGirl Angua]] back, joined Vimes's group to stop the war in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' instead of going off by himself after her. Of course, Angua is a ''[[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf]]'', and Carrot knows it, so he rarely thinks she's in any actual danger.
** Also used in ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'': though there wasn't a crisis in Ankh-Morpork that needed dealing with, he immediately resigns his commission and goes after her when she leaves the city. He ''informs the proper authorities first''. He's not rash, even when he ''is'' doing the romantic thing.
** Again, with Lobsang in ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime''. He stops for his old mentor who is feeling the strain of the DangerousForbiddenTechnique; time and reality itself stops because of it.
--->'''[[BadassTeacher Susan]]:''' I'm sorry? You were dashing to prevent the end of the world but you stopped to help some old man? You ''hero''.
* Defied in Donald Hamilton's ''Matt Helm'' novels. The hero's professional standards don't allow him to jeopardize the mission for "irrelevant females."
* In the ''Franchise/StarWars'' ExpandedUniverse, Luke Skywalker is very protective of Mara Jade. [[ActionGirl Much to her annoyance.]] So much so to the point that [[spoiler:when she dies, Luke actually considers suicide and Ben has to talk him out of it.]]
** Apparently, Luke's overprotectiveness rubbed off on his student, Jacen Solo. It doesn't annoy his girl, Tenal Ka, as much.
* ''Literature/TheActsOfCaine''. Caine says it straight in ''Heroes Die'': "I'd burn the world to save her."
* Used repeatedly in ''{{Literature/Dopamine}}''. In Act I, the girl in need of saving is Tina. In Act II, it's Julie Yen. In Act III, it's [[spoiler: Sergey's daughter, Rosie]].
* From ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', when a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Red Court Vampiress]] is referring to Harry Dresden's LoveInterest, Susan, who was already half-turned into a vampire herself:
-->'''Bianca:''' You would risk war between the Wizards and the Red Court for one person?\\
'''Harry:''' ''(slams his staff down on the floor)'' For one person! For one life! For one soul!
** Earlier, when Bianca smugly thinks she's got Dresden cornered and is going to force him to sacrifice an innocent life, asks him logically if one woman is worth the price of war. He just responds quietly "I love her." [[note]] Harry is GenreSavvy enough to see that a policy of appeasement to the AlwaysChaoticEvil Red Court would only postpone the inevitable and result in the deaths of even more innocents.[[/note]]
** ''[[WhamEpisode Changes]]''. [[spoiler:Susan has crossed the line and become fully vampire. Harry uses her as a human(ish) sacrifice to wipe out the Red Court entirely, winning the war and saving countless lives the Reds would have ended in the future.]] Not that there was much in the way of better options at the moment.
** Also from ''Changes'', not a LoveInterest, but instead [[spoiler: a daughter]] Harry makes it very clear he'd let the world AND HIMSELF burn if it means he can keep [[spoiler: Maggie]] safe. In fact, the entire plot of ''Changes'' (as well as most of the preceding books' Red Court-related events) only happens because of people taking advantage of this trait of Harry's. His being the handiest UnwittingPawn around is a major reason people he cares about get in danger.
** In ''Ghost Story'' [[spoiler: Uriel calls attention to the consequences his actions in ''Changes'' have had for just one other person he cares about to point out that, basically, this trope is a really stupid approach, while Harry considers some of the [[EvilPowerVacuum global effects]] of his actions that he might have avoided if he'd been less reckless.]]
* From ''My Dead Body'', fifth book of the ''[[CharlieHuston Joe Pitt Case Files]]'', Titular [[AntiHero Anti-Hero]] and [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Vampire]] Joe Pitt [[spoiler: [[BodyHorror goes through maiming torture]], [[DesperationAttack starves himself]] to the [[EleventhHourSuperPower point of death]], and starts a war between vampires, other vampires, and eventually [[BrokenMasquerade the human world]], just for a chance to save his girlfriend, who he hasn't seen for a year]].
* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, this trope basically sums up how [[spoiler:Snape responded to Lily being in danger. He was happy being a Death Eater until Voldemort targeted Lily (and her husband and child, but he wasn't concerned about them). In this case, the trope worked for good, motivating Snape's HeelFaceTurn as Voldemort could not have been expected to spare Lily since EvilCannotComprehendGood.]]
** Defied in ''Deathly Hallows''. Harry worries about Ginny's safety while she's at a Hogwarts run by Death Eaters, but resists the urge to go find her because finding the last Horcruxes were more important.
* In Creator/DavidWeber and Creator/JohnRingo's ''Literature/PrinceRoger'' series, subverted when [[spoiler: Nimashet Despreaux]] is kidnapped by mobsters. Roger leads the assault [[spoiler: on the Imperial Palace]] whilst some of his ex-SWAT allies rescue her. To be fair though, he did need some convincing to follow this course of action.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Nightside}} A Hard Day's Knight]]'', renegade knight Stark plans to hand Excaliber over to an evil incarnation of Merlin -- one who's already decimated his own world, and will invade ours if he gets the sword -- in exchange for the resurrection of his dead wife. [[spoiler: He eventually subverts this trope, but only because his wife's ghost calls him out on it, insisting that she'll kill herself again if he buys her life at such a price.]]
* In Creator/PoulAnderson's Literature/TimePatrol story "Delenda Est", Van Sarawak drags Deirdre along when Everard rescues him, without regard for what it does to the rescue.
* In Literature/WithinRuin Virgil epitomizes this trope to the point that the true reason behind the group's journey is [[spoiler:to collect enough souls to prolong Descarta's life. Even Descarta herself was originally a vessel for the soul of Virgil's first love Ankaa.]] Virgil went as far as to [[spoiler: learn untold dark magics, create a fake religion, and start a war to ensure there would be enough dead to provide all the souls he needed]] to this end. Virgil does more than just save the girl he [[spoiler: creates]] her.
* The [[Literature/TheWheelOfTime Wheel of Time]] gives us Perrin, who diverts his mission to bring The Prophet back to Rand when Faile is kidnapped. When called out on this, he makes it quite clear that the rest of the world can ''burn'' if it gets his love back - even when it looks like an actual, imminent possibility.
* In Robert B. Parker's {{Spenser}} novels, the title character frequently works as a bodyguard, and he's told clients to their face that if he has to choose between protecting them and protecting his long-time lover Susan Silverman, he'll choose Susan without blinking. Spenser's [[HeterosexualLifePartner blood brother]] Hawk feels the same way -- about the same woman. God help you if you're foolish enough to try to influence either of them by threatening Susan; it's a quick trip to the morgue. For that matter, Hawk will kill you for being a ''potential'' threat to Susan.
* Peeta Mellark from ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' is sort of a micro-cosmos version of this. The only thing he cares about in the arena is that Katniss makes it out alive even though that means his own death. In ''Catching Fire'' he [[spoiler:more or less says outright that his own family's pain if he dies doesn't matter so long as Katniss gets to live.]]
** Gender-flipped with Katniss as the story progresses. [[spoiler:All she cares about during the quarter quell is saving Peeta at the cost of her own life, effectively ending the love triangle as she'd rather die for Peeta than live for Gale. When Peeta is taken by Snow she initially loses all will to fight and doesn't want to contribute to the rebellion. She gets better, but once she realizes that anything she does to help the rebellion will directly result in torture for Peeta she becomes useless to their cause. Later on in the third book she refuses to let her squad mates kill Peeta even though he's mentally unstable and has already accidentally killed one of their team (while trying to kill ''Katniss''), needing him to live because of her own feelings for him.]]
* Subverted in Literature/TheChroniclesOfPrydain series. The last book has [[ActionGirl Eilonwy]] and Gurgi being separated from Taran's group of soldiers after a fight in the woods. While Taran is worried about their safety, he knows it's smarter to follow the advice of his men, who remind him that it's vital that they reach their destination in time and hope for the best for anyone missing. That Eilonwy and Gurgi have managed to pull themselves through scrapes before probably helped.
* The villain of the ''Series/DoctorWho'' ExpandedUniverse novel ''Festival of Death'' is a scientist who wipes out an entire race just to go back in time and save his parents.
* This rule is so powerful on [[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars Barsoom]] that even the woman accept it and submit to being rescued no matter how distressed they may be at leaving their male companions and love interests in deadly peril.


[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''{{Smallville}}'': Clark does this where Lana is concerned on more than one occasion. He generally does find a way to TakeAThirdOption, but it came to a head in "Requiem", where [[spoiler: LexLuthor posed a sadistic choice to Clark and the now-superpowered Lana: allow Lana to absorb the kryptonite radiation from a bomb and save the city but sacrifice their ability to be together, or let the city die in order to preserve their romance.]] Clark and Lana agonize over what to do, but ultimately they decide to do the heroic thing. The SadisticChoice involved--and the evilly elegant way he OutGambitted Clark and Lana into putting themselves in this position in the first place-- marked this as perhaps ''the'' episode where [[spoiler: LexLuthor]] officially became the diabolical MagnificentBastard and {{Chessmaster}} we all know and love-to-hate in the comics.
** "Bride" and "Legion": [[spoiler:When Brainiac possessed Chloe's body, he/she/it proceeds to drain the world of its knowledge and readies Doomsday to destroy what is left. With great difficulty, Clark manages to save both Chloe and the world - but the most heartwarming part is how they provide the page quote of TheNeedsOfTheMany.]]
* Creator/TheBBC's ''Series/RobinHood'', when the outlaws and Marian are all taken hostage. Take a wild guess who Robin's the most afraid for. (Poor [[BumblingSidekick Much]].)
** Happens again in Season Three in which all the outlaws abandon a house that has caught on fire in order to rush off and [[DamselScrappy save Kate]]. One can only assume the villagers were not too impressed.
* Kira in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' found out about Odo's feelings about her when she encountered an alternate future where she had died when the ''Defiant'' crashed on a planet and the crew formed a town. The cast were subject to TheTimeTravellersDilemma as going back to change things would result in those being born in the town never existing. Odo pretty much committed chronocide, not just on himself but on the crew of the ''Defiant'' ''and their descendants'' without even thinking about it. Unlike many instances of this trope, however, Kira's knowledge of this would create a rift between them that would take months to heal.
** Worf in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' fails to save a Cardassian dissident because he goes back to save an injured Jadzia Dax (who dies anyway a few episodes later).
* In ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', one of the villains presents Zoe with a SadisticChoice between a captive Mal and Wash. She surprises the villain by ''immediately'' choosing her husband over her captain/war-buddy before he can even finish. Subverted in that, fans are still torn over whether she did this because Wash is her first priority or for the coldly logical reason that [[BecauseYouCanCope Mal will survive]] the villain's [[TortureTechnician "gentle" ministrations]] long enough for her to [[TakeAThirdOption rescue him as well]].
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the Doctor, particularly Ten, puts his companions (who are usually, if not always, young and female) before anyone else. Also, Ten's era suggests that his companions represent his humanity in a universe full of mass death; as seen in "The Fires of Pompeii" when Donna convinces him to go back for one family among all those destroyed in Pompeii. It's mentioned some times that he feels responsible for them because it's his fault that they are in danger, since he brought them to wherever it is they are.
** As of Eleven, the Doctor has sacrificed three of his lives for a companion, two of them female.
** Then you have Rory:
-->'''The Doctor:''' All of creation has just been wiped from the sky. D'you know how many lives have now never happened, all the people who never lived? Your girlfriend isn't more important than the whole Universe.\\
'''Rory:''' (punches him)'' She is to me!
** River Song takes this trope to extremes, disintegrating ''Time itself'' to keep from killing spoiler:the Doctor.
** Amy gets in on it too. To hell with time and space, Amy Pond wants to be with her husband.
* A mild version in ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', which might even count as a somewhat OutOfCharacterMoment for Captain Jack Harkness. In the third miniseries, ''Children of Earth'', Jack is facing the alien menace 456 and is prepared to lead humanity in a war against them to protect the children of the Earth. Then the 456 releases a virus in the building, while Jack's love interest Ianto is in it. When it's apparent Ianto can't escape and will be killed by the virus, Jack recants and begs the 456 to spare Ianto in return for his surrender. [[spoiler: By then it was too late and Ianto died in Jack's arms.]] It's unknown whether Jack really would have given up protecting humanity's children in exchange for Ianto's safety, or whether he was just bluffing in an attempt to save Ianto's life.
** [[spoiler: makes it doubly ironic then that Jack later gives up his grandson's life for the sake of humanity's children. Ianto had at least signed up for the danger. Jack's grandson hadn't.]]
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' makes this brutally clear at around the middle of the fourth and final season. Scorpius is on the ship and John is convinced he's only there because he craves the wormhole knowledge in John's head. So far over past seasons, Scorpius threatening John, his family, even the entirety of Earth hasn't made John give in. Meanwhile Aeryn, angry that she has done everything she can think of to tell him that she wants a relationship with him, confronts him on his emotional deadness... and John performs a neat trick that shuts down the comms long enough for him to explain that, yes, he'd let anything else be destroyed, but Aeryn [[spoiler:and her child]]? Not in this universe. But if Scorpius knew that, he'd come after her ''immediately'' and he won't let that happen.
** Next episode, she gets kidnapped by Scarrans with similar designs on wormhole knowledge, forcing Crichton into a deal with Scorpius -- trading the wormhole knowledge for his help in rescuing her. Whoopsidaisy.
*** Incidentally, Crichton (and some fans) seem to believe that Scorpius wasn't fooled by the comm trick, and [[MagnificentBastard engineered the whole thing from beginning to end.]] Certainly he got all the information his big brain needed to puzzle out the truth during that same episode.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'': the Evil Alien Computer put Buck through having to choose between Wilma Deering and Hawk (an alien from a Proud Warrior Race of birdmen). He chose Hawk because he guessed that Wilma was really a double put in by the Evil Alien Computer because the ''real'' Wilma Derring wouldn't have been such a wuss.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' is a rare subversion where the heroes are more concerned with their [[HeterosexualLifePartners Heterosexual Life Partner]] than with any {{Love Interest}}s. Especially the moment in "All Hell Breaks Loose" where the hellgate opens: Sam, Ellen and Bobby try and shut it; Dean gets pinned to a grave by the Yellow-Eyed Demon, and Sam immediately goes to save his brother, leaving Ellen (who is a woman, but not a LoveInterest) to try and shut one door by herself.
* ''PushingDaisies:'' Ned keeps Chuck alive fully knowing someone else will die instead.
* In ''OneTreeHill'' there is such an amazing frequency of Lucas saving Peyton that it is even acknowledged by her saying "You're always saving me" repeatedly.
* John Connor in ''TheSarahConnorChronicles'' finds Cameron -- his Terminator love-interest -- with her chip missing. Ignoring Judgment Day's impending arrival and his mission to stop it, he leaves his mother, and joins forces with a rogue T-1000 (liquid metal Terminator), jumping to the future in order to rescue her. In jumping after Cameron, John seems to have erased himself from the timeline, veritably sacrificing himself and his position of mankind's savior to save the "woman" he loves.
* In the first season finale of ''{{Dollhouse}}'' [[spoiler:[[EleventhHourSuperpower Omega!Echo]] allows [[BigBad Alpha]] to escape in order to retrieve Caroline's [[BrainUploading original wedge]]]].
** This could be seen as a particularly selfish example, since Echo ''is'' Caroline ([[ItMakesSenseInContext sort of]]).
** Also a fundamental part of Paul Ballard's personality; first he saves [[spoiler: Mellie]], then he gets to work protecting [[spoiler: Echo from ''everything.'']]
* On Series/{{House}}, Foreman secretly switched Hadley from the placebo to the real drug in the drug trial he was working on, something that could end his career if it became known. Hadley was a bit weirded out by this, as they had only been dating for a couple of weeks.
** [[spoiler: When the drug gave Hadley a brain tumor and turned her blind]] he was all set to openly tell his supervisors about it. They got better.
* Bill Adama does this twice in ''[[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined Battlestar Galactica]]'', first to save his surrogate daughter Kara Thrace in "You Can't Go Home Again", then to save the woman he loves, President Laura Roslin, in "Sine Qua Non". Both times he's called on it by his colleagues and (eventually) realises they're right; fortunately fate rewards Adama's determination and returns both women to him.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'' nearly makes this choice when he learns that the only way to save Fred is to let hundreds of thousands of people die in her place. He initially spits out an angry "to hell with the world" and storms off to perform the ritual as the scene cuts away. When it returns, though, he's still standing at the threshold, unable to actually go through with it, and he finally, sadly turns away.
* ''[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy]]'', meanwhile, is willing to let the entire world die in torment to save Dawn. Notably, Dawn thinks this is crazy, and insists that Buffy let her die. [[spoiler:[[TakeAThirdOption She takes a third option.]]]] It doesn't fit on the surface, but WordOfGod says that Dawn was intended to fill the dramatic role of LoveInterest from Season 5 on out.
* On ''Series/TheXFiles'', this isn't even a thought for Mulder in terms of Scully; he seems to do it on pure instinct. Mulder is so predictable when his partner is taken, that the villains of the story exploit it. In the 1998 movie ''Fight the Future'', one of Syndicate suggests that instead of killing Mulder, they must "Take away what he holds most valuable. That with which he can't live without." with the next scene showing Scully staring off into the horizon. True to form, Mulder doesn't hesitate to save her, even when it includes going to Antartica and breaking into a top-secret space craft.
** It works the other way around, too, in which Scully will risk everything to save Mulder. She doesn't even let being pregnant get in the way of heading her own private investigation into his abduction, which involves driving cross-country and confronting alien replacements. In fact, it is Skinner who tries to convince her that Mulder wouldn't want her to do this if he had known her condition.
* ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]'' loves playing with this trope; both Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida are put into SadisticChoice scenarios at different points during the series run, and their differing reactions are part of what make Tony such an effective {{Foil}} for Jack. [[spoiler:Jack does absolutely everything in his power to TakeAThirdOption on Day 1, but his wife ends up being killed anyway, having had the misfortune to [[HeKnowsTooMuch find out the identity of]] TheMole. When Tony's turn comes two seasons later, he breaks down completely at the prospect of losing his wife and proceeds to play this trope 100% straight, despite it being presented in-universe as morally and legally indefensible. Agonizingly, it's Jack who has to force Tony almost literally kicking and screaming into taking a third option, despite knowing firsthand what kind of grief is in store for Tony if it doesn't work, and Tony once reminds Jack about he supposedly "let (his) wife die".]]
* In ''Series/{{Flashpoint}}'' the rules against team members dating are there for this specific reason. During a dangerous situation the team and civilians could be put in danger if one of them breaks protocol to try and save their LoveInterest.
** In one episode an undercover cop falls in love with a gangsters girlfriend. He then tips her off about the upcoming city wide bust so she is not arrested. As a result [[spoiler: another cop gets shot, the gangster escapes, the undercover cop's career is ruined and the girl gets killed]].
* From ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' we have Guinevere on the one hand, and Camelot on the other. For Arthur, Merlin and all the Knights of the Round Table, Guinevere always comes first.
* Given a few twists in ''Series/BabylonFive'' episode "Comes the Inquisitor". [[spoiler: The Vorlons send the Inquisitor to see if Delenn has the right stuff to be one of the {{Chosen One}}s in the fight against the [[BigBad Shadows]]]]. At the end of the episode the Inquisitor [[spoiler:puts the life of her love interest on the line]], saying [[spoiler:that she can only save Captain Sheridan]] by giving up her fight against the Shadows. She chooses [[spoiler:to save Sheridan]]... and it turns out this is ''exactly'' what the Vorlons were looking for: [[spoiler:"How do you know the {{Chosen One}}s? No greater love hath a man than he lay down his life for his brother. Not for millions. Not for glory, not for fame... For one person."]]
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' loves this trope. [[spoiler: After first disappearing Irene Adler is revealed to have died, only for it have been a ruse. Several months later, Mycroft reveals that she really ''has'' been killed by a terrorist cell, for certain this time. We end on a scene of Irene about to be executed, fading to black. Subverted once more, when [[TheImmodestOrgasm the ringtone]] she left on Sherlock's phone rings, revealing her executioner to be Sherlock, who raises the sword and instead charges at the terrorists]].
--> '''Sherlock''': *''Chuckles''* The woman... ''the'' woman...
** Something like this also happens in "The Blind Banker" - [[spoiler: Sherlock pulls a BigDamnHeroes to save John and his girlfriend Sarah when they get captured by the Black Lotus. When General Shen manages to get away, Sherlock is torn between chasing after her or freeing Sarah and, even though John notes that it bothers him he let General Shen get away, he still chooses to stay behind and help Sarah, even though she was out of immediate danger by that point.]]
*** [[spoiler: This also gets subverted in the same episode where John grabs the IdiotBall and rushes off to save Sherlock when the latter is getting shot at in a museum, leaving Soo Lin by herself, where she gets killed by her brother.]]
* In ''Series/Warehouse13'', Pete's primary concern is Myka's safety.
* ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'' uses this. Justin saved Alex countless times and Juliet when she was kidnapped by the mummy.


* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' BigFinish play ''Neverland'' has an example where the Doctor refuses to shoot his friend Charley, even though she's a temporal anomaly that poses a threat to the whole Universe by her very existence.


[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'' allows you to either plays it straight or subverts it. You even gets tailored answers about it, [[WhatTheHellHero calling you out]] or [[WorthyOpponent congratulating you]] about it.
** One ''particular'' option (Rome) is to either save the day, or save the girl. If you save the day, everyone tells you that you did the right thing, but Mike is still racked with guilt about it. If you save the girl, everyone tells you that you did the ''wrong'' thing, ''including the girl that you saved''. And Mike is racked with guilt about it. And TheBadGuyWins either way.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', Cecil decides to hand over the ''last remaining'' crystal that Golbez needs for world domination in order to save Rosa's life. Turns out there are four more crystals after that, but he didn't know that at the time. And he didn't even [[YouSaidYouWouldLetThemGo do the exchange right]].
** Meanwhile, in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII,'' Squall clarifies his priorities after being confronted with the possibility that, as a sorceress, Rinoa could end up going insane or being possessed by the BigBad: "Rinoa... Even if you end up as the world's enemy, I'll... I'll be your knight." Unlike the [=FFIV=] example, in [=FFVIII=] the issue is mostly hypothetical (aside from certain EpilepticTrees), but Squall does choose to free Rinoa after she [[SelfRestraint voluntarily surrenders herself to be imprisoned]] in order to keep the BigBad from using her to attack others.
** It's also implied that this is why Seifer is helping the Sorceress Edea, at least at first; he sees himself as the [[KnightErrant heroic knight]] protecting the princess, and says as much to Squall.
** LesYay example: Fang in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' would do anything up to and including [[spoiler:causing the apocalypse -- ''twice'' --]] if it meant keeping Vanille safe.
--->'''Fang:''' I'm not kidding when I say the world can burn if that's what it takes to save Vanille.
*** [[IdiotHero Snow]] from the same game holds this philosophy in regards to his fiancee Serah, as shown in the first chapter of the game, and several of the flashbacks. It's subverted after that though, as he believes saving the world ''is'' the only way to save the girl. [[spoiler:And he's right, too.]]
** This is actually a gameplay mechanic in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX''. One of Zidane's talents gives him a 50-percent chance to take damage in place of a female party member.
* In one of the more poignant scenes in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', it is established that Colette will have to sacrifice her life and become an angel to save their world. Lloyd doesn't like this, and is just barely convinced by everyone, ''including her'', that this is for the best. A subversion? Not quite. After several plot twists and a BossRush, Lloyd and party run off with Colette after all. And if that wasn't enough of a double subversion, Lloyd argues in a skit that because he was willing to sacrifice Colette for the sake of the entire world, he's a horrible person and a hypocrite.
** However, this is after Lloyd and the others as told by Sheena about Tethe'alla, so if Colette ''had'' gone with [[spoiler: Remial and Kratos]], Tethe'alla would have then been put in danger, which was the exact reason Sheena came to kill Colette in the first place. They TakeAThirdOption by trying to find a way to save both worlds.
** An earlier instance that arguably makes this even more poignant is the incident in which [[spoiler:Governor-General Dorr]] cooperated with the Desians to get a cure for his mutated wife, resulting in many people being taken to the human ranches and used to harvest Exspheres. Lloyd [[WhatTheHellHero gets angry at this]], telling him that he's endangering many other people to save his own loved one, and ultimately [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech saying that if he actually cared, he would have given up his position to get help for his wife]], but Colette calms him down by telling him that not everyone is strong enough to resist the Desians. It's implied that Lloyd has, in the course of the above incident, realized what it's like to make a decision like this, especially when the choice that's ostensibly for the world's benefit won't necessarily be the best thing in practice.
* Taken to a literal extreme in the ending of ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'', where [[spoiler:the Prince releases the very same god of darkness he just sealed in order to revive his female sidekick Elika -- who was ''the person he was helping to seal that god in the first place''.]]
** Not only that, but the whole reason they were doing anything to begin with is that [[spoiler:he was not the first person to do that]].
** Nearly every line the Prince says in the [[{{DLC}} Epilogue]] is him trying to justify what he did. As well as the above, he says that Elika's powers have grown, and if Ahriman didn't think she was a threat why is he pursuing them? The Ahura had been beaten before they rallied and sealed him away; if they could just repeat that somehow... For most of the epilogue, Elika doesn't listen, but at the end she leaves the Prince, saying she can't do it alone - she has to find her people.
* A moment in ''MetalGearSolid4'' which garnered a lot of fan hatred towards Otacon was when Snake has just forced his way past the [[spoiler: microwaves]] and is not only half-dead but ''[[SayMyName screaming Otacon's name]]'', and Otacon doesn't react. The second [[spoiler: Naomi]] shows up in the video, Otacon [[StrangledByTheRedString starts crying hysterically and performs a symbolic hand-touch with her image]]. He'd [[TheDulcineaEffect known her for a week at absolute maximum]] and most likely a day, they'd had a [[SexEqualsLove one-night stand]], and she'd then screwed him over royally and was betraying her actual partner to do it - yet Snake had been unfailingly and fiercely loyal to him ever since the moment they'd met ''nine years ago''. It seemed powerfully unfair for sudden romantic love to be held in higher esteem than an incredibly deep and loving friendship that had been developed over the course of the series.
** It has been speculated that the writers did this in order to [[ShipSinking sink the Snake/Otacon ship]]. Still doesn't make it right.
* The ending of ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' has Elise debating whether or not to destroy the time-destroying evil sun god Solaris if it means she'll never meet Sonic, who thankfully assures her that the world's more important.
** There's also a gender-inverted example earlier in the game with Amy, following Silver's attempt at killing Sonic:
--> '''Amy''': If I had to choose between the world and Sonic, ''I would choose Sonic!''
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'': This has become standard procedure for Leon after he believed Ada to have died in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2''. His current [=VA=], Creator/MatthewMercer, actually commented on it in an interview:
-->'''Matt Mercer''': "Even if a situation seems very dangerous and stupid and a total trap, if there’s a woman who needs help he can’t turn that down [...] And in the end of it he’ll feel better about himself knowing he went through the motions on the off chance whoever it was really needed help.”
* In ''KingdomHearts'', Sora commites a HeroicSacrifice in order to save Kairi. However, "saving her" is equal to "recreating the {{Big Bad}}s opportunities to end the world, which he just foiled a few minutes ago". Especially stupid, because Sora's also the only one who could stop this EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, since he's the one with the Keyblade. In the manga adaptation, he at least throws Donald the Keyblade before committing suicide, so his friends can take over the task. Turns out to be pointless, because it disappears as soon as he's gone anyway.
** This persists in ''Chain of Memories'', where Sora tells Namine to shatter his heart and memories if it will mean saving her from harm at the hands of Marluxia, and that he'll still protect her even without his memories. Marluxia is amused at the naivete of this strategy, saying that Sora will be ''comatose'' if he loses his memories and unable to do anything. Of course, then something happens that challenges this claim[[note]](Namely, Replica Riku, who everyone had thought was rendered comatose in exactly this fashion, shows up and attacks Marluxia in Sora's place.)[[/note]], so it's unknown exactly ''what'' would have happened had Sora followed through with his initial plan.
* If Franchise/SlyCooper's [[DatingCatwoman love interest]] Carmelita is in danger, he will risk life and limb to save her even if he knows full well that he's headed into a trap; several of his enemies have used this to their advantage.
* ''VideoGame/{{inFAMOUS}}'' outright averts this when offered a sadistic choice by the villain to save Trish or a building full of doctors saving the girl is the evil choice to make and sacrificing her for the good of the many is the good one.
** Not only that, [[spoiler:there's literally [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption NO WAY to save her]] -- you go to save her, she's a decoy and the real Trish is among the doctors. You save the doctors, she's the real Trish.]]
* Partially subverted in ''VideoGame/TheDig''. When [[spoiler:Maggie Robbins dies]] towards the end of the game, Boston Low can [[spoiler:resurrect her using the crystals]] against good sense, and breaking your promise to her. If you choose to do this, she will [[spoiler: commit suicide, die again and hate your guts forever]]. At the end of the game, the [[spoiler: Cocytans will resurrect her and Brink]], and her attitude towards you will depend on your choice.
* Deconstructed in ''Franchise/MassEffect''. After making the SadisticChoice on Virmire, if the person you saved was your LoveInterest, they will [[WhatTheHellHero call you out on this]], blaming their relationship with you for the other's death. This becomes HarsherInHindsight with [[spoiler: Ashley]], as one of her letters to her sister explicitly warns her not to get into that situation, although she assumes that she'll be the one making the decision.
** And if you start a new game in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' without [[OldSaveBonus importing a save]], the default is always the crewmember of the opposite sex being saved.
** And Paragon!Shepard is a lot nicer about it than most examples of this trope, possibly giving Ashley a bit of a speech on how [[spoiler:she shouldn't blame herself for Kaidan's death, but should blame Saren instead for forcing you to choose]].
** In a non-romantic sense, if Tali gets exiled on her loyalty mission, Shala'Raan, a friend of Tali's parents and the only admiral who cares what happens to her, will become furious with her and Shepard for not [[spoiler:showing the evidence that would have exonerated her]], although she calms down after a moment.
-->'''Shala'Raan''': "I don't give [[PrecisionFStrike a vorcha's ass]] about the fleet! I was trying to protect you, Tali!"
* In ''[[VideoGame/ArmoredCore Armored Core 4]]'', this is Gender-swapped, [[MissionControl Fiona Jarnefeldt]] is hinted at being in love with the PlayerCharacter- but this is made clear if you're doing poorly on a particular mission on Hard Mode-- the enemy has sent forces to destroy the city that you're trying to protect, and you can't use your radioactive [[DeflectorShields Primal Armor]], or you'll risk harming the innocent civilians of the city... if your [[HitPoints AP]] falls below 25%, she'll choose to save you instead, and activate your Primal Armor anyways.
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', the flirtatious but practical harlequin, Harle, can ask the player character which he would choose: the world or her. If he chooses her, she is visibly affected and thanks him for saying so, even if it's only a kind lie.
* ''VideoGame/LostMagic'' has one of the most obnoxious examples of this. [[spoiler:The BigBad asks the character to hand over the {{MacGuffin}}s or else she'll kill the girl. If the player refuses, the girl disappears and the hero goes mad over her loss, gets brainwashed by the BigBad, starts working for her, and hands over all the {{MacGuffin}}s he had, all by the end of the next cutscene. The player then has to go around killing people and doing the BigBad's bidding.]]
* ''TheForceUnleashed'': Starkiller disobeys a direct order from his master, Darth Vader, and rescues Juno Eclipse from The Empirical.
-->'''Juno:''' I've been branded a traitor to TheEmpire. I can't go anywhere, do anything.\\
'''Starkiller:''' I don't care about any of that. I'm leaving TheEmpire behind.
** In ''The Force Unleashed II'', Starkiller is called out several times by [[TheObiWan Rahm Kota]] about how he doesn't care about the war between TheEmpire and the Rebel Alliance and just wants to rescue Juno.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has a heartbreaking example, though it can be avoided by multiple ways, like [[TakingAThirdOption accepting the deal]] that Morrigan offers near the end of the game. Still, if [[spoiler:a female Warden romanced Alistair, he chooses to deliver the final blow to the Archdemon, killing himself in the process because he won't let the woman he loves die. [[TearJerker And no, he can't be persuated out of his decision.]]]]
** The sequel lets your ''PlayerCharacter'' do this, if you romance [[spoiler: Anders. You can let him live after he blows up the Chantry...despite all the fallout that comes with the decision, such as Sebastian swearing vengeance.]]
* It's very easy to see this in ''{{Starcraft}} 2'', as Jim Raynor's interal conflict about what to do about the controlled/infested Kerrigan is obvious, and thus even though the Queen of Blades "murdered 8 billion people" as Raynor says himself, he is still haunted by the propect of getting her old self back. [[spoiler:That is, until Raynor's Raiders and the Moebius Foundation manage to use a Xel'nagan artifact to cure Kerrigan, and infestation is normally 100% incurable because it "mutates too fast"]].
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' gives us Felix's big EstablishingCharacterMoment [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome of Awesome]] at Venus Lighthouse: standing up to the endbosses over Sheba (''at Level 5!''), then ''jumping off the top of the Lighthouse'' to save her when she falls off, endangering himself [[spoiler: and the mission to restore Alchemy to the world]] twice for the sake of some girl he implicitly just met.
* ''[[Franchise/DotHack .hack//GU]]'' has this as a central theme in the story. AntiHero Haseo makes it clear right [[EstablishingCharacterMoment from the beginning]] that he intends to revive his comatose girlfriend Shino and doesn't care what he has to destroy in the process. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero This causes a LOT of problems]], though [[WhatTheHellHero Haseo mostly doesn't care]]... [[CharacterDevelopment at first]]. Haseo's own character arc is, briefly put, his learning that although [[ReconstructedTrope saving Shino is still important]] his friends and the other players matter too. [[spoiler: [[AllLoveIsUnrequited Ironically, not only did Shino]] [[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend see him as]] JustFriends, [[MultipleEndings he probably doesn't even end up with her anyway]].]]
* At the RoadCone in ''VideoGame/RadiataStories'', Jack can choose to play this straight or avert it. Deciding to help Ridley [[spoiler:brings about the destined end of humanity but leaves Jack with Ridley]], while deciding to stay behind to aid the kingdom [[spoiler:saves the human race at the cost of Ridley's life and Jack deciding to wander the earth a bit.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FableIII'', at the beginning of the story you can choose between saving your childhood friend and/or lover, or saving a group of protesters who are dissatisfied with your older brother's regime. To make things worse if you're considering choosing the former, your childhood friend will practically beg you to choose him/her, while the protesters will grovel for their lives as you make your decision.
* In [[VideoGame/TheWalkingDead The Walking Dead]] video game, most players choose [[spoiler:to save Carley over Doug]], not that it matters much since [[spoiler:the person you save ends up dying Episode 3 regardless of who it is]]. It's also averted in Episode 3, where most players choose to save [[spoiler:the injured Omid over his ActionGirlfriend Christa]]. In a subversion, however, [[spoiler:the person you don't save will manage to catch up. The person you ''do'' save will berate you for saving them over the other, however.]]
* Played with in ''VideoGame/SavetheDate'', where saving your date is literally the name of the game.
* ''{{Saints Row The Third}}'': You have to make this choice at the end of the last mission. You can either let Killbane escape and save Shaundi (and Viola and Burt Reynolds), or go after Killbane and condemn Shaundi (and the others) to die. The sequel makes the former choice canon, making it this trope.
** The game actually starts playing Bonnie Tyler's "I Need A Hero" when the choice comes up. It seems like the devs really wanted you to save her.
* An interesting variation in ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria'': the rescue-ee isn't a love interest, but a family member, and the rescuer is [[spoiler:the BigBad. He figures that if either he or his nephew [[TargetedHumanSacrifice has to die to postpone the end of the world]], then the world is so screwed up that it doesn't ''deserve'' to be saved. He resorted to borderline MindRape to avoid his nephew calling him on it.]]
* Allegretto in ''VideoGame/EternalSonata'', more so in the PlayStation3 UpdatedRerelease.
-->'''Allegretto''': (''to Frederic Chopin, [=PS3=] version'') Why did Polka, of all people, have to suffer like that? What the hell is wrong with this world!? Damn it! You! You come barging into our world out of nowhere, then just leave when you get tired of it! This is supposed to be your dream, right?! Well then, why couldn't you do anything!? No. That's not it. It isn't a dream at all. It's real. And I don't know what, but I have to do something!

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' Heaven's Feel route, things take a different turn than normal as Shirou basically says [[spoiler:'Screw all that other stuff, I'm saving Sakura even if she might start devouring the town or go berserk.']] When asked directly whether he wishes to save the girl or protect the town and by extension his ideal itself, he picks the girl despite the destruction this will probably entail. If you don't do it, you get a bad end. To make things worse, she knows and realises this, and is desperately torn between wanting Shirou and wanting Shirou to be happy. Inevitably she can only sit and watch as he throws away his ideals in order to save her.
---> "I... I broke him."
* In ''AoiShiro'', this is treated as the right way to go, always. The few times Syouko can take the decision to not save Yasumi or Nami and she does (which she notes how it's out-of-character for her), things always end badly.
* In ''ChaosHead'', Takumi could have let Norose use Noah II to greatly improve the world but he saved Rimi instead. Of course, That's assuming the psychopathic Norose would use the Noah II as he claimed he would.
* In ''VisualNovel/NineHoursNinePersonsNineDoors'', [[spoiler:the ''entire plot'' is centered around Junpei saving Akane from dying as a child, to the point where ''she'' set it up that way. Though to be fair, if Junpei succeeds in this, it leads to the ending where every single person who possibly can be saved is saved.]]
* By the end of the third day in ''VisualNovel/SweetFuseAtYourSide'', [[spoiler:Urabe]] makes up his mind to do ''whatever it takes'' to keep Saki safe... even if it means bargaining with Count Hogstein, keeping Saki locked up for the final three days of games, forcing the rest of their companions to unwittingly kill him and putting everyone else's live in danger, including the lives of their friends and Saki's uncle.
* Invoked in ''[[VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney Ace Attorney: Justice for All]]'', your sidekick Maya is kidnapped by an assasin who blackmails you into defending an apparent killer in a court. As the game's system goes, getting "Not Guilty" verdict in this case involves accusing someone innocent into the murder. Being Phoenix Wright's stand-in, you can choose to go all the way for this trope. Though everything turns out okay in the end regardless of what you're doing, your choices become a reminder of ''your'' morality toward the situation.
* In ''VisualNovel/YoJinBo'', the guys often mention how they are MoreExpendableThanYou and are willing to sacrifice as many of their own lives as are necessary to save yours. Sayori, of course, is less than pleased with this.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* This is how Raven reacted when Credenza was lost in Book 5 of ''Webcomic/{{Archipelago}}''.
-->'''Raven:''' Forget the heirs. Forget the Raven. Until we find Crendenza, nothing else matters.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' averts it [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080414 here]]:
-->'''Gil:''' How can I justify letting all that death and destruction happen ''again'' -- just because ''I'' fell in ''love''?
** Oh, and plays it straight [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20091111 here]] (same girl).
** Straight again, [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090717 different girl]].
*** [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090720 Next panel]], Gil choose to protect the most vulnerable girl rather than the one he loves. Agatha takes care of herself, but she doesn't like to watch Gil rescuing Zola.
* In the beginning of ''Webcomic/TheDreamer'', Alan infiltrates Gen. Howe's ship and rescues Beatrice.
* ''Webcomic/CityOfReality'' averts it in an ImagineSpot: Todo would [[http://cityofreality.com/2010/02/14/06-11-snap/ always]] go for the BusFullOfInnocents.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/BoyMeetsBoy.'' Cy, while having a TuxedoAndMartini-flavored dream, is given the choice to either save his "obligatory LoveInterest" from a DeathTrap or stop the villain's doomsday device. Since he knows that it's AllJustADream, he decides to go with the LoveInterest, figuring that he can at least [[EroticDream get some action]] before the world ends. [[spoiler: Unfortunately for him, he soon learns that his dream [[HomoEroticDream has cast Skids as the LoveInterest.]]]]
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', [[spoiler:Amospia, later known as "Mosp"]] commits treason against the forces of good out of the belief that fighting in the war with the demons will get her lover killed. He's not at all pleased, and ultimately gets killed by an arrow that [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves was meant for her]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The first volume of ''JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' ends with David Wong explaining that the forces of darkness have "checkmated" him now that he is in love with Amy. The shadow people drive this point home by demonstrating how easy it would be for them to retroactively kill Amy if he ever steps out of line.
* Averted in Yudkowsky's [[http://yudkowsky.net/other/fiction/the-sword-of-good The Sword of Good]], when Selena is testing Hirou's resolve.
--> '''Hirou''': It's not exactly a difficult question! Calling it 'the Choice between Good and Bad' kind of gives away the answer.
--> [...]
-->'''Selena''': What if the Lord of Dark had me prisoner, and threatened to kill me unless you -
-->'''Hirou''': Good.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In one ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode, Peter's reckless time-traveling lands him in an alternate reality in which he never married Lois. Gore is president; Bush the younger, Cheney, Osama bin Laden and Karl Rove are dead; people are healthier and living longer, the environment and economy are both in great shape, and America's generally a much happier place to be, all because Peter didn't marry Lois. And of course, Peter doesn't give two craps about the state of the world (''I don't know who any of those people are''); all he cares about is that he gets Lois in the end. (This is not even taking into account that Lois and Peter both married well in this alternate universe.)
* In one arc of the '90s ''WesternAnimation/{{X-Men}}'' series, time-travelers kill the young Professor X, resulting in a [[BadFuture Bad Present]] where all mutants are constantly at war with the Sentinels... and the [[FutureBadass Future Even-More-Badass]] Storm and Wolverine are married. When Bishop comes from the future to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong, Wolverine initially refuses to help, somehow knowing that fixing the past would prevent him and Storm from getting together. When Bishop straight up asks if Wolverine is really willing to allow the devastating war to happen so he can be with Storm, Wolverine says yes without hesitation. After things are set right, there's hints that they both realize something happened, but nothing comes of it.
* In the animated movie ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'': Secret of the Omnitrix, Ben willfully activates the Omnitrix to save Gwen, when he is warned that doing so will speed up the destruction of the universe he answers "I don't care!" Granted, Gwen is his cousin and not his LoveInterest, but considering the KissingCousins subtext...
** Subverted, on the other hand, in the sequel Ben10UltimateAlien when villain [[FallenHero Captain Nemesis]] attempts to pull out a SadisticChoice using Ben's girlfriend Julie and another girl everyone thought he was dating. Ben ''does'' save Julie without hesitation... but it turns out he was GenreSavvy enough to have his friends come with him and save the other girl.
* In ''WonderWoman'' DVD, [[spoiler:Steve Trevor saves Diana (a.k.a. Wonder Woman!) from certain death at the hands of Ares, the God of War. She then slaps him, tells him she would rather have died and he saved the world, and sulks]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''
** A villainous example in "Deep Freeze"; Mr. Freeze encounters a crazed mogul, Grant Walker, who wants to use his technology to freeze the entire planet, killing everyone except those on his island. In exchange for his cooperation, Walker offers to revive Freeze's wife. Freeze is willing to go along with the plan until Batman points out that Nora would be waking up to a cold, dead world, whereupon Freeze releases Batman and Robin and helps them defeat Walker.
** Another episode has Harley Quinn try to invoke this as a SadisticChoice, telling Batman he can either catch her, or save Catwoman from a ConveyorBeltODoom. Batman [[TakeAThirdOption pulls the factory's power switch]].
--->'''Harley:''' Good choice. ''Help.''
* In ''JusticeLeague'', Morgaine le Fey attempts to manipulate the Martian Manhunter into betraying his new world and his allies for the promise of restoring his dead world - and with it, his wife and children. Subverted in that only when his psychic assault on Etregan causes him to see how Jason Blood had fallen for a similar offer, and been betrayed, did he realize that the offer was false and foil Morgaine's plan.
* A justified example in ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'', where it's in the interest of everyone for team leader [[SmartGuy Jérémie]] to always save his LoveInterest Aelita first, since she is the key to prevent [[BigBad XANA]] from attacking the real world. Even if others are left in dangerous situations in the process, Aelita can save them as long as she doesn't arrive too late; as such, saving her over the others is the logical move.
** The premise of the show, on the other hand, plays this trope straight, as Jérémie is willing to risk the life of thousands of people by playing heroes with his friends rather than just sacrificing Aelita to save millions. Still, from some perspective, leaving a 14 years old girl to her death to save many isn't exactly moral either.
* While obviously not a LoveInterest, the ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' animated series has Superman's DarkerAndEdgier clone from the future (further in the future than the setting of LOSH) protecting a boy who is being targeted by assassins. Turns out they're from the future, too. The boy will grow up to be largely responsible for the existence of BigBad Imperiex. It was to show how ruthless "Superman X" ''isn't'' anymore, when he decides the ends don't justify the means and chooses saving the kid over preventing Imperiex's rise.
* Gender switch variation in the season one finale of ''WesternAnimation/LoonaticsUnleashed''. When Lexi fails to save Ace and Rev, she gives a surprisingly emotional speech, more or less ''solely'' directed at Ace, leading to a slightly awkward moment when he and Rev [[DisneyDeath turn out fine]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Hot to the Touch", Finn is stuck between harming his [[LoveAtFirstPunch new crush]] Flame Princess or allowing her to destroy the Goblin Kingdom. He breaks down over this moral choice and cries. Resolved when Flame Princess sees him crying and comes to the conclusion that he is a "water elemental" and this is why he keeps accidentally hurting her.
** A gender-inverted subversion in "Burning Low" where Princess Bubblegum forces Jake to plug up Finn and Flame Princess's oxygen supply so that Flame Princess wouldn't burn out the world unintentionally after Finn kissed her. Princess Bubblegum was aware that this would suffocate and potentially kill both teenagers, but even though Finn is one of her closest friends, she prioritized the safety of the planet without hesitation.
* WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex: When Rex is stuck in the Bug Jar, a city containing the most dangerous EVO monsters. Circe has just made sure that they stay in the city, and he's given the choice to protect her with Bobo, or restart the generator to project a barrier to keep all these dangerous creatures in. Rex lampshades it in his "hero-monologue."
-->'''Rex''': "Caught between saving his love interest or the world, the hero makes the... stupid choice."
** [[TheDragon Biowulf]] then shows up in a VillainousRescue, subduing the immediate wave, and ordering him to fix the generator. With the creatures further at bay, he's able to use the extra time to fix it, and run.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'': Terry often prioritizes [[TheNotLoveInterest Max's]] safety over everything else. Bruce sometimes [[WhatTheHellHero calls him out]] on his choice of priorities by telling him he should be dealing with bigger problems. Oddly enough, Terry rarely plays the trope straight with his actual LoveInterest Dana, as she is almost never in danger at the same time as some bigger problem.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode ''[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E26TwilightsKingdomPart2 Twilight's Kingdom Part 2]]'', Twilight is willing to give hers and the other Princesses' powers to Tirek to save her friends. She even saves Discord, despite his betrayal.[[/folder]]