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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/TheDarkKnight http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dark_knight_bystander_2.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[RobbingTheMobBank "Do you have any idea who you're stealing from?!]] You and your friends are ''dead!''"]]

-->-- The '''''[[UsefulNotes/BritishNewspapers Daily Record]]''''' headline, summing up what bag handler John Smeaton did during the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Glasgow_International_Airport_attack 2007 Glasgow Airport attack]].

Sometimes, even BystanderSyndrome reaches its limit.

Movies, anime, cartoons, even books have an unspoken (or in some cases, [[PowerLevels explicitly stated]]) fighting power curve where the hero and villain are at or near the top. The {{Muggles}} and {{Innocent Bystander}}s? They're waaaay down there at the bottom, duh! Otherwise they wouldn't really be {{Innocent Bystander}}s in need of protecting, now would they?

Except for this guy. The Badass Bystander is a background or minor character who shows significant or surprising fighting prowess or strength against a major threat. Whether it's a [[BadassGrandpa doddering old man]] beating the [[TabletopGame/HeroScape DeathWalker]] [[ShoutOut 9000]], going toe to claw with a werewolf, making a DefiantStoneThrow, or [[CoolOldLady purse-whacking]] the GiantMook into submission.

Shows up frequently in martial arts movies, Western {{Bar Brawl}}s, and various Tabletop [=RPGs=], in which random wandering monsters or random [=NPCs=] occasionally kick a PC's or villain's ass, depending on how the dice roll. NPC shopkeepers [[EasilyAngeredShopkeeper are pretty tough too]].

This can result in FridgeLogic. Why aren't they helping you, TheOnlyOne who is trying to save the world? ItsUpToYou ''only?'' Then again, maybe there's a ''lot'' going on, and you've just had a brush with the HeroOfAnotherStory.

Frequently done for comedy, with the Bystander being either WeakButSkilled or otherwise [[HiddenDepths seemingly harmless.]] These minor characters may be so powerful they qualify as [[SidekickExMachina Sidekick Ex Machinas]], with the hero "beating" their opponent by tossing him to the Badass Bystander to finish them off.

By their nature, plots involving ZombieApocalypse tend to include Badass Bystanders-- out of the normal civilians in harm's way, the only ones left standing are likely to be unusually badass.

If you have a whole crowd of armed Badass Bystanders, you get EveryoneIsArmed and WorldOfBadass.

A SisterTrope to TheRealHeroes.

Compare HeroicBystander, MuggingTheMonster, SuddenlyAlwaysKnewThat, LetsGetDangerous.


%% If you have time, please take time to put examples in alphabetical order.
%% This page Administrivia/HowToAlphabetizeThings should help you with that.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* One is played for laughs in the ''Hyper Dolls'' manga when she appears; one of the title LovelyAngels duo teases the other that the Badass Bystander is a possible SixthRanger... one of many to come... "Just like ''Anime/SailorMoon''..." "[[BigNo NOOO!]] (Knocks out bystander)"
* Sailor Jupiter's debut in the ''Anime/SailorMoon'' anime. She initially appears to be just some random HugeSchoolgirl who held her own against one of the QuirkyMinibossSquad with just her bare hands. (To the viewers who ignored the clues. Her debut episode even mentioned Sailor Jupiter in the title)
* ''Anime/VariableGeo'': [[HollywoodNerd Washio]] is a NiceGuy with no fighting ability to speak off. Yet, in the final episode, he somehow made it past the security at the Jahana research facility undetected and saved Reimi, as the building was going up in flames. Moments later, they're seen safely outside, with Washio's jacket [[HerBoyfriendsJacket draped around her shoulders]], to protect her modesty.
* Yuuna 'the Kid' Akashi in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' starts decimating robot invaders during the Mahora school festival to the utter astonishment of everyone around her. When the really ''really'' big stuff starts coming out, she does get outclassed though. Just like everyone except Negi, really.
* From the perspective of the two gangs fighting each other, Hayato from ''VisualNovel/OreTachiNiTsubasaWaNai'' is this.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'':
** In the fourth chapter, Ed is fighting terrorists on a train in a hostage situation. When he makes it to the coal room, he quickly takes out one of the two terrorists, but the other manages to aim a gun at him... when the two stokers (the people who shovel coal into the train's furnace) suddenly come out of nowhere and start bashing the guy's head in with their shovels. It's to be expected from a WorldOfBadass.
** Ed's involvement itself is an example of this. Originally, the trainjackers' purpose was completely unrelated to Ed and Al... [[BerserkButton and then one of them made the mistake of calling Ed "short."]]
** And in the 60ish chapter of Brotherhood, while Wrath is hanging from Greedlings leg, a nameless mook (with a BadassMustache) manages to shoot him in the shoulder. This a man who was never even touched throughout the first 59 episodes out of 64.
** Concurrently, there are some shots from a random Amestrian soldier's point of view, as he and his men rush up a staircase, and are swiftly shot with a machine gun in this enclosed space, and he goes behind a pillar while the others die or run. He just stays behind the pillar under heavy fire, and eventually kills the gunner and gets to the top despite being shot, and manages to shoot Greedling through the head, seeing him as a monster before falling over.
** The real one comes when [[spoiler: the heroes have been taken out by Father's WaveMotionGun alchemy. He then is '''this''' close to absorbing Ed and Izumi to replenish his Philosopher Stone, when a random sniper bullet comes out of nowhere and nails Father right in the head! [[HealingFactor It doesn't kill him]], but it does knock him down for a few seconds, saving Ed and Izumi,and setting up the good guys counterattacks and effectively leading to his defeat.]]
* Henaro in ''Anime/TheTowerOfDruaga'' is just a random tavern patron who's forced to go along with the main characters when the military raids the building, and proves to be quite capable of standing up for herself. [[spoiler:Ultimately subverted, as it turns out she was planted there to infiltrate the group.]]
* ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'': A GentleGiant sumo student left the academy after being bullied by a combination of TheBully and JerkJock. Rather than taking down the bully, Kenshin encouraged the bully's victim to stand up, and Kaoru helped him train. [[spoiler:It turns out the student had an incredible untapped potential, so the JerkJock bullied him out of fear; when the student knocks the JerkJock over, the owner of the academy reveals this to everyone.]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** In ''Anime/PokemonGenesectAndTheLegendAwakened'' has a wild Feraligatr commanding many Pokémon to defend their home from the invading Genesects. Notably, though, is how this Feraligatr did ''more'' than the main trio did as they were just standing around and repeatedly trying to get to Red Genesect and [[FanNickname FemTwo]] when in the end they both realized their error of their ways... by themselves.
** Similarly, ''Anime/PokemonVolcanionAndTheMechanicalMarvel'' has the Pokémon living at the Nebel Plateau. When the BigBad tries to obliterate them and their homeland by means of WaveMotionGun, they choose to rally together and fire back [[CombinedEnergyAttack one of their own]]. BeamOWar ensues. [[spoiler:Luckily, they have [[BigDamnHeroes some last-minute assistance]] from Squishy/Zygarde, who assumes its Complete Forme to help them overpower the attack.]]
* Frequently happens in the ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' series. Usually, TheHero and TheLancer are the ones to gain the highest evolutionary levels, with the rest being one level lower. That doesn't, however, mean that the others are helpless, and still are able to contribute to battles.
** In ''Anime/DigimonTamers,'' the DrunkWithPower Mega-level Beelzemon has his gun point-blank at Gallantmon's head. The Champion-level Guardromon fires his attack at Beelzemon. It doesn't hurt him, but it does distract him long enough for Gallantmon to regain control of the fight and win.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' arc "Syndicate Rules," the Antimatter Universe Johnny Quick and his teammate Power Ring (disguised as the Flash and Green Lantern) are having their asses handed to them by Computron and the Rainbow Raiders. The civilians are thoroughly stunned to realize the two "Leaguers" are having a hard time with these D-List (at best) supercriminals, and immediately rush in and beat the crap out the Raiders with makeshift clubs, shovels, and two-fisted bystander action.
-->'''Bystander 1:''' They're--\\
'''Bystander 2:''' --'''losing??'''\\
'''Bystander 3:''' '''[[PreAsskickingOneLiner GET EM!!]]'''
* In ''ComicBook/WhatIf: ComicBook/HouseOfM'', every superhero and villain loses their powers. This leads to the Red Skull, with the combined forces of the Hand, A.I.M, and Hydra to try and take over New York, now that they have no competition. ComicBook/IronMan tries to save the day, with the help of the other un-superheroes in new iron suits, but gets their asses handed to them. This leads Peter Parker, formerly known as ComicBook/SpiderMan, to jump into the fray with a Badass Speech and, with his old web shooter, smashes the cosmic cube the Red Skull is holding. The result: the ''entire city of New York'' {{Zerg Rush}}es the Red Skull and his minions.
* In ''ComicBook/FinalCrisis: Revelations'', [[NameOfCain Cain]] [[Literature/TheBible (yes, that Cain)]] is about to unmake reality with TheSpearOfDestiny by forcing ComicBook/TheSpectre to say the Anti-Life Equation. [[spoiler: He then gets tackled by the three men who killed Sister Clarice, giving [[ComicBook/TheQuestion Renee Montoya]] enough of an opportunity to save The Spectre.]] Also falls under DyingMomentOfAwesome and RedemptionEqualsDeath.
* In the ''ComicBook/XMen'' graphic novel ''ComicBook/GodLovesManKills'', main villain and SinisterMinister William Stryker is about to shoot Kitty Pryde after she gives him a ReasonYouSuckSpeech on live TV. [[spoiler: In the book's climax, Stryker aims his gun and the X-Men stand their ground. A shot is fired, but it's ''Stryker'' who falls over, as he was shot (non-lethally) by a police officer working security. The cop states rather obviously that Stryker was about to shoot an unarmed little girl, which is ''not'' the Word of God.]]
--->'''Officer:''' If that's the Word o' God, it's sure changed some since Sunday school.
* A ''ComicBook/{{Diabolik}}'' story featured an insomniac guy who, upon seeing the title character [[spoiler: (actually a very convincing impostor, but this insomniac man believed him the real deal)]], also known as [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast King of Terror]] for, among other reason, his enormous body count and [[TheDreaded the fear he inspires]], [[spoiler: grabbed a precision rifle and ''gunned him down''.]]
* The ''ComicBook/MightyAvengers2013'' tie-in to ''ComicBook/{{Infinity}}'', sees Proxima Midnight, one of Thanos's generals, leading an army into New York City and demanding everyone's surrender. One old woman's response is to pick up a brick and chuck it at Proxima's head, shouting [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_shall_not_pass "No pasaran!"]] It touches off a mass response from the gathered crowd, and while "No pasaran!" doesn't have much effect, "Avengers Assemble" does.
* A random Lacroix resident in ''ComicBook/SwampThing'' stands up to Jason Woodrue with his chainsaw, "[[ICallItVera Evangeline]]." It doesn't work.
* The Marvel Comics story ''Fear Itself''. Insane murder god Cul, allied with supernatural Nazis in giant mecha suits, is about to start mass murdering everyone on Earth, starting with the citizens of Broxton, Oklahoma. The Broxton citizens form a line with pickup trucks and shotguns. The citizens of Broxton have stood up to all sorts of insane nonsense, because they are friends with the Asgardian gods. Many times the citizens have fought back against overpowering evil while the Asgardians were elsewhere.
* There was a ''ComicBook/TheMightyThor'' issue where a random paramedic at the scene of a battle turned out to be worthy of wielding Mjolnir. Thor and the paramedic were both understandably nonplused.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World'', on the Flying Island of Tipaan, a disguised George and Ringo are jamming along with the Six Step Combo (and having a damn good time doing so). Things abruptly stop when one of the “Punk Cowboys” stands up and accuses the two of being members of the [[TheNotableNumeral Awesome Foursome]]. When George and Ringo just sit there looking incredibly guilty and with no clue as to how to plausibly deny the accusation, the three Punk Cowboys get up on stage to unmask them. The Six Steppers, all civilians, promptly beat the crap out of them. Ranala, the group's drummer, does for one of the Punk Cowboys all by herself, beating him over the head with her drum until he falls over. Turns out [[spoiler: the Six Steppers knew they were outworlders in disguise but didn't care; indeed, they had good reasons for coming so swiftly and decisively to Ringo and George's aid.]]
* In ''FanFic/ChrysalisVisitsTheHague'', the one guy who manages to overpower Chrysalis by activating her magic suppressor as she tries to escape custody (she was on her way to stadn trial before the International Criminal Court) is some nameless USAF pilot.
* In Chapter 30 of ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'', Ash is confronted by two of the Eevee Brothers. who are worried that, having seen a recent tournament where Ash won using Pikachu, their little brother will try to emulate him and fail (context: trying to win his battles using unevolved Pokémon instead of evolved ones), and decide that the only way to avoid that is beating him in a battle. However, a woman steps up saying that if they're going to challenge Ash together, she will team up with him. [[spoiler: Said woman is ''Elite Four member'' Karen, thus CurbStompBattle ensues.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* The grandma from ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'' beat Alex, a tamed lion, which is only amped up in the sequel into an all devouring {{Deus Ex|Machina}} [[JustForPun Grandmachina]].
* In ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'', there's the [[RedShirt Chinese soldier]] from the intro, who... well, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpYRZdw0UpA just watch]].
-->'''Soldier:''' [[DefiantToTheEnd Now all of China knows you're here]].
* The van driver in ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians'' whose van the dogs hide in to escape from Cruella, who keeps ramming him several times in the climax, hoping to first send him in the snow and then off a cliff. He merely yells at her, mutters, "Crazy woman driver," and focuses on keeping the van on the road.
* Most of Paris gets to be this in Franchise/{{Disney|AnimatedCanon}}'s ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', when in the climactic battle scene the crowd that had gathered to protest Esmeralda getting [[BurnTheWitch burned at the stake]] undergoes a mass TookALevelInBadass as a result of a RousingSpeech by Phoebus; they all join Phoebus in kicking the tar out of Judge Frollo's goon squad while Quasimodo is busy tending to Esmeralda (who is fighting for her life after having inhaled too much smoke). And we had actually seen hints of this earlier at the Festival of Fools, when Frollo orders his guards to arrest Esmeralda and the {{Street Performer}}s in the plaza do their part to help her escape.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BarbieMariposa'', a pink Flutterpixie helps Mariposa recover the antidote from Henna. The Flutterpixie isn't even named, but it's her contribution to the fight that helps save the Queen.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueThroneOfAtlantis'', [[Comicbook/{{Steel}} John Henry Irons]] (who in this verse is just a construction worker) clobbers one of the attacking Atlantean soldiers with a sledgehammer.
** It should be noted that in the original comics, he tried to do the same to ''Doomsday'' before a building fell on him.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTheMovie2017'', [[spoiler:[[EnsembleDarkhorse Derpy/Muffins]] sees one of the villains' [[TakenForGranite petrification grenades]] heading for Twilight and [[TakingTheBullet shoves her out of the way]]]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'':
** In the [[Film/SpiderMan1 first film]], Spidey is about to be finished off by the Green Goblin when he is saved by... a crowd of New Yorkers on the Queensboro Bridge throwing bricks, pipes, etc. at the bad guy.
** Subverted in the [[Film/SpiderMan2 second film]] when Spider-Man nearly kills himself stopping a train from driving off the end of the tracks. After he's pulled back inside the tram by the passengers, Doctor Octopus shows up to finish him off, at which point everyone in the car stands up and proclaims that he'll have to get through them first. He casually knocks them all aside. At least they tried....
* There's the black guy in ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'', a random guy who can punch a vampire's chest and pull out his still-beating heart on the first try. It turns out that this badass grandpa is Fred Williamson of '70s exploitation movie infamy. His war story about how he chopped up an enemy platoon with a bayonet ''after getting his face blown off by a land mine'' probably sheds a bit of light on how he could rip fat vampire's heart out, bare-handed and throw vampire Creator/TomSavini through an oak door. Meanwhile, the named characters still needed to use weapons to slay their vamps.
* In ''Film/KungFuHustle'', low-life crook Sing discovers too late that ''everyone'' in Pig Sty Ally could kick his ass all goddamn day. Then the shy, effeminate tailor turns out to be the most badass martial artist of the lot. Later on, Sing and his accomplice harass a salaryman on a trolley until he grabs both of them by the collar and starts pounding their heads into the seats.
* In ''Film/ShaolinSoccer'' the main character envisions a world where everyone uses kung fu in their day to day lives. In the end, we see a bunch of random people in the street performing amazing feats of WireFu.
* ''Film/{{Werewolf}}'' (featured in ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'') includes a random citizen that can kick a werewolf's ass.
* Two blood suckers assault an ambulance in ''Film/TheTwinsEffect'' that holds [[TheHero the heroine]]. Thinking the vampires are hurt, the driver stops and gets out to help them, not understanding what the heroine means by "undead". Despite his ignorance, the super humanly strong duo with the power of flight prove to be no match for the ambulance driver. [[MookChivalry At least not until they decide to attack together]], then they manage a stalemate. The ambulance driver was played by the film's producer, Creator/JackieChan.
* The badass waitress Vicki from ''Film/JasonGoesToHellTheFinalFriday''. Who valiantly tried to defend the patrons of the dinner from Jason, by whooping his ass with a barbecue skewer and a shotgun!
--> '''Vicki:''' (''after being impaled on the skewer and right before getting her head crushed'') Go to ''hell''!
* The [[BadassPreacher priest]] from ''Film/BrainDead'', who just ran into some zombies by complete accident: "I kick arse for the Lord!"
* ''Film/DiaryOfTheDead'' has the dynamite and scythe wielding, deaf, Amish zombie killer Samuel who introduces himself amidst blowing up the undead. Likewise the female paramedic who karate-kicks a standing zombie in the head.
* The page pic is the nameless banker, played by William Fichtner, in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' who takes on the Joker and his goons with a shotgun until he runs out of ammo. It turns out the bank is run by the mob. [[spoiler:It's a good attempt, but the Joker still gets away. He only lives because the Joker preferred to scare the crap out of the guy rather than kill him, lodging a fake grenade in his mouth instead of a real one.]]
* The bathroom brawl scene in ''Film/JesusChristVampireHunter'' involves one of the vampires being killed by some random guy on the toilet. Using a plunger.
* In ''Film/X2XMenUnited'', one of the random kids at the school turns out to be Siren. When the spooks invade the school, she starts screaming and everyone in the entire building covers their ears.
* When a gang of Yakuza pull swords on Bae-dal in ''Film/FighterInTheWind'', some guy in a hat (later revealed to be an old friend) leaps out of the crowd and fights them to a standstill - despite only having one hand.
* In the early '90s CyberPunk film ''Film/{{Nemesis}}'', protagonist Alex Rain is fleeing some heavily-built, cyborg assassins on the streets of Shang Loo, "a low-tech Asian shithole". After he ducks around a corner, one of his pursuers runs into an old lady crossing the street and tries to muscle her out of the way. She mutters, "goddamned cyborg!", produces a ''[[HandCannon large]]'' pistol from her handbag, and shoots the assassin three times in the back, then shoots him ''five times'' while he's on the ground.
-->'''Alex Rain:''' ''[chuckling]'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAC9oC1HjvI&t=8m30s Shang Loo takes no shit. I love this town.]]
* ''[[Film/DiscoGodfather The Avenging Disco Godfather]]'' has the title character (played by Rudy Ray Moore) yell to a random jogger while fighting drug pushers, "Howard, these men are ''angel dust dealers!''" The jogger replies, "Okay, Godfather," and joins the fray. "Howard" was actually Rudy Ray Moore's martial arts instructor in real life.
* In the Creator/JimJarmusch film, ''Film/GhostDogTheWayOfTheSamurai'', there's a short scene where the title character witnesses a mugger getting ready to attack an old man from behind. He seems to be considering intervening when the old man begins slowly putting down his groceries with almost arthritic movements... and then effortlessly floors the youth with a pair of martial arts kicks. Then the old man picks his groceries up again and merrily goes about his business, and out of the movie. We never see him again.
* A random ninja takes out 4 or 5 mooks with guns at the climax of ''Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice''.
* Gabby Johnson, the resident drunkard of Rock Ridge in Mel Brooks's ''Film/BlazingSaddles'', can take out bandits simply by grabbing them by the collar and breathing his "beer-breath" on them.
* The scientists in the first chapter of the Commando Cody serial ''Film/RadarMenFromTheMoon'' are surprisingly good fighters. They hold their own for a while against a pair of hired thugs as seen and commented on in this [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjLR7cVTrfw MST3K episode.]]
* In ''Film/BattleLosAngeles'', one of the civilians being evacuated by the Marines, Mr. Rincon, is doing his best to help the troops as they escape. During the freeway battle scene, he spots an alien flanking the Marines. [[spoiler: Despite his lack of training, he grabs a fallen rifle and sprays the alien from the hip, taking it out, but taking a shot to the gut in the process. He eventually dies a few hours later.]]
* At the end of Hitchcock's ''Film/StrangersOnATrain'', a merry-go-round is careening wildly out of control, endangering the lives of dozens of people. The hero who volunteers to crawl under the rapidly spinning death trap, reach the mechanism at the center, and switch it off is... some random old guy who was never seen before and who is never mentioned again. We don't even find out if he survives.
* In ''Film/{{Thor}}'', Jeremy Renner plays one of these in a cameo as Clint Barton, a.k.a. ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}}, a member of ComicBook/TheAvengers.
* In the Korean film ''Film/TheHost'', when the monster first rampages through a public area, an American man takes it upon himself to mount a valiant attack on the monster before getting mauled. A news report later reveals that he's a soldier. This is probably done to compensate for the otherwise anti-American slant of the film.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** In ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' a kid gets grabbed by a HYDRA spy and used as a hostage. He's then chucked into the nearby river in order to distract Steve from pursuing the bad guy -- and he's going to jump in after him when the kid yells up: "I can swim! Go after him!" A subtle form of bad-assery, but awesome nonetheless. Especially since not that many people knew how to swim at the time.
** ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' gives us an old man credited simply as "Old German" who would rather be DefiantToTheEnd against [[BigBad Loki]] rather than KneelBeforeZod -- it's made clear between his age and the dialogue that he was there [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the last time]] something like this happened in Germany, and he'll be ''damned'' if he sits by and lets it happen again.
--->'''Loki:''' ... You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.\\
'''Old German:''' Not to men like you.\\
'''Loki:''' [[AGodAmI There are no men like me]].\\
'''Old German:''' [[ANaziByAnyOtherName There are]] '''''[[ANaziByAnyOtherName always]]''''' [[ANaziByAnyOtherName men like you]].
* In the original ''Film/{{Highlander}}'' film, a CrazySurvivalist[=/=]Vietnam War veteran comes across the [[BigBad Kurgan]] decapitating another Immortal, and empties a magazine from a submachinegun into him. The Kurgan recovers and impales him, but in an additional badass move, the vet survives.
* The old Mexican lady in ''Film/CloudAtlas'' whose dog [[MisterStrangenoun Mr. Smoke]] [[KickTheDog shoots]], [[ConvenientlyTimedAttackFromBehind only for her to beat him to death with a wrench before he can shoot the protagonists]] of [[KudzuPlot that particular subplot]].
* When Sam in ''Film/TronLegacy'' is cornered in the bar by four black guards, he's clearly outmatched, even with Quorra helping him. [[RebelLeader Bartik]] and several resistance members take on the guards, but are swiftly derrezed. As the fight plays out, bar patrons and resistance members get involved, one guard is derrezed by a patron stabbing him in the back, and two more are overpowered and killed by other bystanders.
* Film/JamesBond:
** In ''Film/TheLivingDaylights'', TheBrute raids an [=MI5=] safehouse, slaughtering his way through numerous guards... and is held up by a single, nameless agent, who manages to not only hold off the man who gives Bond trouble for several minutes, but also (probably) survives the attack.
** In ''Film/LicenceToKill'', a nameless, seemingly-ordinary truck driver manages to hold his against Bond himself when Bond attempts a HighSpeedHijack on his truck. He survives, and is thrown from his truck.
** In ''Film/{{GoldenEye}}'', the only reason Natalya becomes the film's female lead is due to a stroke of luck and [[KansasCityShuffle some fast-thinking]] that caused her to survive the Severnaya massacre. This becomes a defining trait throughout the movie, and she is perhaps the cleverest Bond Girl in the entire series.
* The lady at the bookies in ''Film/{{Snatch}}'', who deftly makes a fool of Sol and Vinnie when they try to rob the place. [[StupidCrooks Not that that takes a lot of effort]], mind you, but her ''[[DeadpanSnarker complete]]'' [[DeadpanSnarker nonchalance]] at being robbed by two men with a military shotgun takes some minerals.
* At the end of ''Film/TheHideousSunDemon'', an anonymous policeman tenaciously pursues the Sun Demon to the top of a gasometer, where they fight. Although the Sun Demon nearly kills the cop, he survives, resumes his pursuit, and ultimately succeeds in sending the monster toppling to his death on the street.
* Subverted in ''Film/FoodOfTheGods2''. During the giant rats' attack on the synchronized swimming competition, an audience member grabs a gun from a policeman and begins shooting, except that all he succeeds in doing is shooting other people. Lt. Weizel has to grab the weapon away from him before he can do any further damage.
* In ''Film/{{Unknown 2011}}'', Gina is a mere taxi driver and waitress, but she ends up killing three assassins (the first by sneaking up on him while he's strangling the hero and then injecting him with his own poison, the next two with CarFu). The hero only kills one.
* In ''Film/Sharknado2TheSecondOne'', all of New York's citizens pitch in and help kill the sharks.
* Early on in the cheap ''Franchise/RoboCop'' rip-off ''Film/{{ROTOR}}'', the female hostage in a convenience store robbery unexpectedly busts out some martial arts moves and beats the last robber into submission.
* Matheson in ''{{Cliffhanger}}''. The villains are conducting a daring plane-to-plane hijacking in midair, and Matheson is one of the doomed {{Redshirt}} FBI agents on board. He's shot multiple times in the chest, but gets back up while they're transfering the money cases over to their plane by cable, grabs an Uzi, shoots one of the hijackers, then riddles the bad guys' plane with bullets, mortally wounding another one of them and making them lose the money cases ''and'' crash their plane because his bullets hit the hydraulic system. In short, this one random guy basically screws the bad guys over singlehandedly!
* In ''Film/{{Haywire}}'', during the diner fight, a male bystander wrestles Aaron away from Mallory, and seconds later the waitress smashes a coffee pot over Aaron's head.
* An example of this is seen in ''Film/KissKissBangBang''. After 'Mr. Frying Pan' accidentally drives into a food stall in the park, he leaves his car and attempts to shoot at Gay Perry, only to be shot in the back by the angry stall owner.
* ''Film/BestSeller''. A criminal tries to hijack a car, brandishing his .38. The black man in the driver's seat turns round with a [[BiggerStick .45]] and tells him he can't oblige as he's on his lunch break. The criminal gets an OhCrap look and flees.
* ''Film/BabyDriver'': "Soldier Boy," the veteran who intervenes during the money truck heist who is almost as much a BadassDriver as Baby and pulls out a sidearm and then a sub-machine gun firing away at the getaway car, being more of a genuine threat to the crew than any police officer.

* Used a few times in the badass-saturated ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', sometime to introduce a character that will become important a few books down the line.
** Traveller first shows up in ''Literature/HouseOfChains'' accompanying a group of [[RedShirt nameless soldiers]], defeats a hundred {{elite mook}}s [[OffscreenMomentOfAwesome off-screen]], and leaves the narrative by the end of the chapter that introduced him.
** In ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', the major point-of-view character Adjunct Lorn, who is the Empress's personal mage killer with her AntiMagic longsword, faces off against a random soldier named Corporal Blues who is guarding her real target. He quickly overwhelms her with his remarkable swordsmanship, forcing her to flee. Blues remains a fairly minor character through the rest of the series.
* ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians''
** Percy's mom and stepdad are surprisingly badass when faced with a horde of monsters. This despite the fact that neither has any kind of supernatural fighting skills, and Percy's stepdad can't even ''see'' the monsters thanks to the WeirdnessCensor.
** Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who covers for Percy (who at the time was a perfect stranger) and puts the pursuing monsters on a false trail.
* Invoked in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', in which the world's most famous swordsman is said to have only been defeated by a random farmer with a staff. This is used as a lesson not to underestimate your opponents.
** Alternatively, what happens when you try to use [[TooStupidToLive three feet of thin steel against six feet of solid oak.]]
* Creator/MegCabot's ''Literature/AllAmericanGirl'' examines this from the point of view of the bystander. She just happens to be present at the scene of an attempted presidential assassination, and tackles the assassin, injuring herself in the process. She does nothing else heroic or extraordinary over the course of the book, and does not view herself as a hero, but the resultant fame changes her life in a variety of ways, good and bad.
* Klaus Rosenthal and Francis De la Cruz from ''Literature/RainbowSix'' (the novel, not the game). One's a seventy-something Holocaust survivor, the other a theme park employee and former Spanish soldier. Klaus, while being taken hostage, hides a paring knife up his sleeve, and when the Rainbow troops set up their ambush, he ''spot them lying in ambush'' (something the highly-trained terrorists failed to do, mostly because he was intimately familiar with his lawn). When the Rainbow troops pull the ambush, he stabs one of the terrorists with his knife, giving them a clean shot. Francis De la Cruz, meanwhile, is dressed up as a Roman centurion when the terrorists start taking hostages, and he goes after them ''with his sword''. This is not a prop blade, either; this sword is made from genuine Toledo steel, and he cuts up one of the terrorists pretty well before another shoots him in the leg. (seriously, the last thing anyone expects while a terrorist plot is unfolding is for a freaking ''Roman centurion'' to flip out and start chopping the bad guys up) In both cases, the Rainbow troops, themselves just about the most badass people on the planet at the time, honestly consider both of their actions to be pretty badass.
* In ''[[Literature/JackRyan Executive Orders]]'', Terrorists storm the day care where the presidents' pre-school aged daughter is being held. The only man there to pick up his kids that day is an armed FBI agent in plainclothes, who manages to kill both of them.
* Robin Hood ran afoul of one of these men in the course of his adventures; when waylaying a beggar with a large bag because he was curious what was in the bag, Robin got pissed off by the beggar's insolence and nocked an arrow to threaten him. The beggar proceeded to take his staff and, in rapid succession, break Robin's bow, numb is sword arm, and knock him senseless before proceeding on his way. When Little John and George-A-Green attempt to avenge Robin's injury, the beggar pretends to surrender, offering them the money in his bag; Instead it turns out to be full of meal, which the beggar throws at their faces before beating the crap out of both of them. The nameless beggar, who never appears again, remains one of the few to soundly thrash the outlaws and walk away unscathed.
* The ''Literature/PaladinOfShadows'' book ''A Deeper Blue'' has Will Carter, a former National Guardsman who helps Mike load his LMG and punches out a terrorist.
* Richard Cole from ''Literature/ThePowerOfFive''. [[spoiler: He rescues Matt from a bog and sets an EldritchAbomination on fire.]]
* Parodied in ''The Clone'', by Theodore L. Thomas. In a mall, a guy never seen before finds himself face to face with BlobMonster that is terrorizing Chicago, and he figures out in ''minutes'' more of the monster's weaknesses than the EinsteinSue protagonist has since the beginning of the book. He dies moments later -- before he's had the chance to communicate his findings to anybody -- because [[TooDumbToLive he was too busy getting a suit to stay away from the monster]].
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Eric Watley lives in the Warrior Town district of Roalt and so every single one of his neighbors is capable of beating down monsters. This becomes most relevant in ''Literature/TranscendingLimitations'' where they [[spoiler: trounce the assassins sent after Basilard and Zettai.]]
* ''Literature/{{Victoria}}'' has several examples, but the most iconic is an old woman who beats down an armed gangster with her umbrella.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Hobb from ''Series/GameOfThrones'', who is mentioned in passing a few times as the Castle Black cook but is basically just a background extra, gets a whole sequence dedicated to him fighting off several Wildling raiders with kitchen utensils during the siege of Castle Black.
* Played with to great effect in the original ''Whoops Apocalypse''. A major sub-plot in the early episodes has the Soviets brutally interrogating a sweet, harmless elderly husband and wife whom they believe to be undercover agents for the West. The audience laughs merrily along at this, until suddenly...they beat the crap out of their interrogators, produce various spy-tech gadgets, and stage a jail break.
* In ''Series/{{Chuck}}'', Big Mike ends up, on two separate occasions, completely owning enemy special agents that had been giving Team Chuck major problems earlier in the episode.
* In ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'' an undead wraith crashes into Camelot and throws a gauntlet down before King Uther and Prince Arthur's feet. Though it is clearly intended for a member of the royal family, on two separate occasions a knight of Camelot grabs it before Arthur can in order to protect him.
* In ''Series/JonathanCreek'', a little old lady witnesses a group of men nailing another man into a coffin and attacks them with a tree branch and pepper spray. She takes down ''four'' men, and knocks at least two of them into an open grave before using her security whistle to call for the police. It's just a shame that she was actually interrupting a perfectly innocent magic trick...
* In ''Series/DesperateHousewives'', a nameless extra is the one who ends up taking down and killing the insane gun wielding murderer holding a grocery store full of innocents hostage, after all evidence seemed to be implying that one of the main characters was going to.
* ''Series/HikoninSentaiAkibaranger'' has a scene possibly inspired by the Bike Thrower example under RealLife below, with some differences -- the bike belonged to Akagi Nobuo, who tried to help but [[EpicFail couldn't,]] and the bike was hurled at the robber by ''the victim herself''.
* [[TheMedic Simon]] does a medical version of this in ''Series/{{Firefly}}''. Disguised as a bystander in a hospital, he saves a random patient's life when the patient's normal doctor didn't do it right, and just keeps on walking.
* In Season 4 of ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]'', Jack and Paul Raines take refuge in a gun store while being hunted by mercenaries. The two Arabic brothers who owned the store say they have lived here all their lives and refuse to abandon it, and help them repel the attackers.
* One episode of ''{{Series/Taggart}}'' features a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]]; a suspect in the murders of some members of a criminal gang is the daughter of a man who tried to be one of these and got [[BatterUp beaten to death with a baseball bat]] for his trouble.
* In the ''Series/StargateSG1'' pilot episode "Children of the Gods", when the team breaks out of Apophis' prison along with a bunch of slaves, one of the random unnamed slaves kills a Jaffa with his bare hands and stands alongside the military personnel covering everybody else's escape through the Stargate to Earth.
* Deconstructed in ''Series/{{Flashpoint}}'' when every time an untrained bystander attempted to help the team or resolve the situation, it made things worse such as in "Grounded" where Parker would have been able to talk down the hostage takers if a passenger didn't try to be a hero.
* One episode of ''Series/{{Dragnet}}'' features a bank robber whose MO was to force his way into a car with a woman and force her at gunpoint to serve as his accomplice for the robberies. At the end of the episode, [[TooDumbToLive he inadvertently picks]] [[MuggingTheMonster a karate teacher]], who is in the process of kicking the crap out of him when Friday and Gannon show up. Played with in that she's shown to be badly shaken afterwards.
* The citizens of Angel Grove become this in the finale of ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace''. Firstly, when Astronema holds the Earth hostage, she demands that the Rangers step forth or she will start killing people. The citizens then proceed to re-enact the IAmSpartacus scene. Then when the Rangers appear and morph in plain view of the citizens, Bulk and Skull of all people, lead them in a charge against the Quantrons. After six years of monster attacks, it was clear the people of Angel Grove decided enough was enough.
* ''Series/TwinPeaks'': When two {{Professional Killer}}s are staking out the house of their target Dougie Jones (a.k.a. Agent Cooper), a pugnacious neighbor arrives and accuses them of blocking his driveway with their van. The killers try to scare him off by firing a round into his windshield, but he simply retrieves a Mac-10 from his trunk and sprays the assassins' van with bullets, killing both of them and inadvertently saving Jones/Cooper. Bonus points for doing all of this right in front of the FBI.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* The occasional nasty bump is one of the most important jobs of any valet worth his/her salt.
* ''Wrestling/DramaticDreamTeam'': A random photographer won the Ironman Heavymetal Weight Championship belt by hitting Wrestling/AjaKong with a hammer while she was coming out for a match. After the match, she tracked him down and gave him a [[FinishingMove uraken]].
* Glamour Boy Shane serves as a referee for Wrestling/{{TNA}}, but in a classy move on their part, TNA recognized that he was one of the Caribbean's most popular wrestlers, which was most obvious with his work for somewhat rival IWA Puerto Rico, and treated him as a man not to be messed with, as opposed to the [[GlassJawReferee typical wrestling referee]].
* Wrestling/TerryFunk was present at Wrestling/{{R|ingOfHonor}}OH ''Glory By Honor IX'', but he was only their to ensure [[Wrestling/SethRollins Tyler Black]] did not go through with his threat and bail during his title defense against Wrestling/RoderickStrong

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Supers'' mentions these as one possible way of saving the heroes if the villain is getting the upper hand, pointing out that to avoid stealing the heroes' thunder it's better not to let the bystander beat the villain on their own, but rather contribute just enough to turn the tide.
* Every TabletopGame/{{Hunter|TheReckoning}} started out as one of these, it's their willingness to be so that persuades their mysterious patrons to [[TookALevelInBadass give them a level or two in Badass.]]
* By definition, [[WorldOfBadass EVERYONE]] in second-edition's version of TabletopGame/DarkSun that isn't a specific monster or named NPC falls into this category. To whit: in all other campaign settings, average [=NPCs=] had no level and anything done to them was "critical fail or total success." In Athas, a world where EverythingIsTryingToKillYou is as literal as possible, the ''average'' person on the street is a level 3 Fighter. Later editions toned this down rules-wise, but it's still generally accepted that, with levels and such being a "relative" thing, everyone walking the blasted desert of a planet is functionally tougher than anyone from any other D&D world.
* A prefab scenario for having the team meet in ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' involves the player characters being this when thugs attack a convenience store they are patronising, looking for another patron.

* OlderThanSteam: In ''Theatre/KingLear'', when Cornwall is [[spoiler: brutally gauging out Glauchester's eye]] on stage, one of his servants challenges him to a sword fight, and actually delivers a wound that would eventually kill him. The only way he's beaten is to be stabbed by Regan when his back was turned.[[note]]In his essay "The World's Last Night", Creator/CSLewis references this scene, and states that if "it were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted."[[/note]]
* In some performances of ''Theatre/ThePiratesOfPenzance'', the Pirate King [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou attacks the orchestra conductor]], who fends him off. [[ThrowItIn This originated as improv but has since become somewhat traditional]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Common in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne'', but hey, it's [[BrooklynRage New York.]]
** In ''1'', Max can shoot a random SUV as it drives by the alley he's sneaking through. The car will crash and the driver will come at Max with guns blazing.
** In ''2'', Payne gets attacked by assassins in his own apartment, and has to fight his way through the tenement building to safety. On his way, an elderly woman shotguns one of the assassins through her door and gives Payne her ''other'' rifle. Then Payne rescues a hobo from a burning corridor, and said hobo unpacks two pistols, claiming to be an ex-cop himself. Then Payne encounters a random prostitute who got locked in the lobby by the perps. But she also draws a gun of her own, and so both she and the hobo proceed to help Payne to take down all the assassins.
** In ''3'', Max's neighbor will kill several of the mafiosos raiding Max's apartment complex.
* In ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'', human and dwarven merchant caravans will keep visiting your fort even during a siege. And since they all have bodyguards proportional to the quantity of carried goods, they can often dispatch a whole sieging force by themselves, and then just start bartering with you as if nothing had happened.
** The Forgotten Beast that attacked [[http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/v0.31:Stories/Bronzemurder the fortress of Bronzemurder]] was ultimately slain by human caravan guards.
** In Adventure mode, if you're attacked and manage to make it back to a town, everyone will wake up, gather around you, and beat your assailant to a pulp.
* In ''VideoGame/LANoire'', you come across shop owners once and a while who have actually managed to scare the shit out of their robbers beforehand. Also occasionally pulled by ordinary [[{{Redshirt}} beat cops]].
** In one occasion, if you spend enough time chasing a perp, a random resident standing on his lawn will throw a decking punch and stop him for you.
* The [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Wastelanders]] in ''VideoGame/Jak3Wastelander'' qualify, as not only will they shoot at you if you hit them, but when Spargus is overrun by Dark Makers, they fight back.
* Blue in Red's quest in ''VideoGame/SagaFrontier''. When the CoolShip gets attacked by pirates, Blue easily takes out the one who charges into his room. But because he's [[JerkAss kind of a dick]], he refuses to help Red because he doesn't like his name. In fairness, it differs only in language from his EvilTwin. [[spoiler: His Good Twin, actually.]]
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius'': 3-13 Archer. While most of the time in ''Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn'' the other army units are useless, one archer in this level is able to take on three laguz at once without dying. Best of all, he doesn't even ''have'' to do this. If he would simply remain at his starting position, the beasts would be unable to climb the ledge to attack him.
* In ''VideoGame/MafiaII'', if you rob a store there's a distinct possibility (which increases, the rougher the neighborhood) that some civilian will pull a gun and try to take you down. They just might, too, if you're not quick enough getting into cover or shooting them down.
* ''VideoGame/SpaceRangers'' allows you to pull off a version of this. You can hail any ship in a system to [[GondorCallsForAid joint attack a target]]. They won't always agree, but situations where a trader, passenger liner, and diplomat team up to help you take down a troublesome SpacePirate are fairly common. Attacks by a [[BigBad Klissan/Dominator fleet]] tend to make even the ''pirates'' [[EnemyMine drop everything and pitch in]].
* In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2'', there's a Gearmo who purposefully stands in the path of rolling Chomps and lets them collide right into him. The Chomps invariably explode apart on impact, but the Gearmo remains unscathed, despite enduring god knows how many Chomps.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', Bodahn Feddic's adopted son Sandal is just an IdiotSavant with unusual skill at [[CatchPhrase enchantment]]. [[spoiler: Except at the endgame, he murders over a hundred Darkspawn, including several Ogres, by himself.]] In the sequel, [[spoiler: he does it again, and then adds a pile of massacred demons on top of it]]. Precisely how this happens is not clear.
--->'''Warden:''' What happened here?\\
'''Sandal:''' [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Enchant]][[CatchPhrase ment!]]
** And [[MindScrew mind-bogglingly]] in the second game, among Sandal's [[spoiler:victims is an Ogre that was somehow ''frozen solid'' without any other enemy or thing in the area being similarly afflicted. Naturally Hawke can ask Sandal what happened to the Ogre, his response?]]
--->'''Sandal:''' ''Not'' Enchantment!
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series, as well as ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', random people will try to take you out if you try to do something evil close to them, and will pick up random weapons like assault rifles and submachine guns lying around nearby to do it with. Sometimes (especially in ''Oblivion'') ties to ShopliftAndDie.
** The willingness of random people to take on the dragons in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' has reached memetic levels among fans. It is quite distressing (or perhaps heartening) to note the number of people who will charge straight in a torrent of flame in order to beat a dragon to death with their bare hands. Though this might explain all the random people who tell you they think they might be the Dragonborn.
** In ''Fallout 4'', ''every'' member of your settlements can become this. And depending on how well you arm them, they can potentially take on Raiders, Gunners, Super Mutants, and even ''Deathclaws'' on their own.
* Sakupen, creator of the ''VideoGame/DadSeries'', appears in the ''Dad Game'' as a random bystander in the middle of a panicked crowd in an early level. If you attack him enough times, he suddenly turns into [[BonusBoss the hardest boss in the game.]]
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** The giant pig at Link's home island in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker''. Pigs are Wind Waker's replacement for [[CallARabbitASmeerp Cuccos]] in that they attack Link if he attacks them enough times, and the giant pig acts the same way, only he does more damage to Link in a single hit than any other enemy in ''the entire game.''
** Attacking most unarmed civilians in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'' usually makes them flinch back or duck in fear. Attacking Gorons, however, will usually get them to attack Link back.
* In the school level of ''VideoGame/LollipopChainsaw'', one student in the background actually fights back and defeats a few zombies before getting overwhelmed, unlike the others, who are mostly TooDumbToLive.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' has the Master and his students, residents of the game's dojo which are just as powerful as the game's bosses. The Master in particular can be optionally fought 3 times, with his final form being the game's superboss, even stronger than Bowser's final fight. Why he doesn't just take Bowser out himself or at least join the party to help is rather odd.
** The opening of ''VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar'' shows several Toads grabbing Bowser by his tail and trying to pull him away from the Royal Stickers. Unlike the Master from above, these are just average Toad civilians without any special training or powers.
* There is a cheat in some of the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games that causes every civilian to try to kill the player and another one that gives them weapons. Both cheats in tandem is a recipe for awesome.
** In ''GrandTheftAutoViceCity'', if you try to go upstairs or shot someone in the Malibu Club without owning it, the female bartender will imediatelly draw a stubby shotgun and try to kill you on the spot.
** ''GrandTheftAutoV'' features random citizens who pack heat by default, so the absence of police in an area doesn't necessarily mean the coast is clear.
* As opposed to other such games, in VideoGame/{{Xenonauts}} some of the terrorized civilians are actually armed, which can lead to police officers and shotgun-toting farmers killing space lizard commandos (though it's a rare sight).
* Be careful which civilians you pick a fight with in VideoGame/{{SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters}}. Some of them are tougher than [[UpToEleven the final boss!!]]
* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRowGatOutOfHell'', an upgrade allows you to invoke this by getting nearby husks (the civilian-equivalent) to join you in fighting Satan's minions.
* In the opening minutes of ''VideoGame/WolfensteinTheNewOrder'', a crack team of Nazi commandos sweep through a mental asylum and [[KickTheDog slaughter every single person inside without resistance]]... With the notable exception of one badass nurse who presumably shouldn't have been fucked with. You find her dead body slumped up against the wall, with a shotgun at her side and a Nazi commandos' dead body lying a few feet in front of her.
* Any student in ''VideoGame/YandereSimulator'' who catches you committing murder. Those with a Heroic personality will try to take you down on the spot. Any others will report you to a teacher or the police, and if you thwart that by cleaning up the crime scene before they get back, they'll still call you out ''to your face'', telling you that they're making sure the whole school knows what you did. Telling you about it is perhaps imprudent, but you have to admit it takes serious guts.
* In the cinematic trailer for ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'', while the heroes and villains are fighting over [[MacGuffin Doomfist's Gauntlet]], The older kid takes the gauntlet himself and [[PunchedAcrossTheRoom punches Widowmaker across the exhibit hall]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Postal 2}}'' makes many jokes towards the Second Amendment, one of them including the fact that most civillians in [[DeepSouth Paradise, AZ]] have plenty of weapons in their house that you can pick up in case you break into them. Some civillians will also effectively pull out their guns and try to take you down in case you start causing trouble, or, in harder difficulties, [[EverythingTryingToKillYou they just come after you the moment they see you!]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Officer Tod from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', a seemingly [[PoliceAreUseless useless cop]], actually manages to go toe-to-toe with the assassin who [[spoiler:killed Oasis]].
* Airman Higgs from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' is a low-level soldier who never distinguished himself, despite unreal stamina, enough strength to hold his own in a barfight with Jägermonsters, and a bit of a [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080609 silver tongue]]. Subverted: [[spoiler:Higgs is one of the immortal creations of the Heterodynes temporarily sworn to the baron's service, implied to be the spycraft-focused Jäger general. That his career prior to this point in the story was mundane to the point of invisibility is not a coincidence, nor is the fact that he is willing to bend his cover to the breaking point to aid the Heterodyne and the Baron, who is keeping the Jägers alive. Essentially, he's anything but a bystander.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'':
** [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=8693 This woman]], who was quickly dubbed Crossbow Lady on the forums, pulls an epic ShutUpHannibal on PyroManiac Maki with a crossbow bolt to the shoulder. Even better is that her hands are visibly shaking, meaning that despite being scared she's still doing it, and she appears to be a [[MixedAncestry mix blood]], a group that's [[FantasticRacism looked down on in story]].
** [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=10429 This chef]] who responds to Kiel's [[TrampledUnderfoot threat to flatten the place]] with her [[{{Kaiju}} turtle summon]] if they don't get any food like any jaded service worker and tells her to get in line or get out.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the third RP of ''Roleplay/DarwinsSoldiers'', the heroes end up getting ambushed by Dragonstorm soldiers. They are assisted by some nearby loggers, who do remarkably well in battle against them.
* ''Literature/{{Worm}}'':
** Forrest, a civilian with no powers and a refugee in Brockton Bay who, upon seeing local supervillain [[VillainProtagonist Skitter]] fighting the serial killer [[WasOnceAMan Mannequin]] in order to protect the civilian survivors of Mannequin's teammate Shatterbird, steps in and hits him with a cinderblock to help take his head off. Mannequin having relocated all important organs to his torso, this doesn't kill him, but it does drive him off. Forrest goes on to become Skitter's second in command.
** Later, during the Chrysalis arc, the [[spoiler:students of Arcadia High do this, helping Skitter escape by mobbing the superheroes that were coming for her.]]
* Early in ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'', a demon attacked a mall. A security guard [[HeroicSacrifice died to give others time to escape]] and a pair of hunters who happened to have big game rifles in their truck finally took it down. Similar scenes occurred elsewhere, especially in Detroit. Given that HumansAreSpecial and HumansAreWarriors are big themes in the work, it's to be expected.
* In chapter 4 of ''Literature/{{TOT}}'', an elderly man and regular home owner nearly kills [[BigBad Maximus Slade]] with his shotgun after the werewolf breaks into his house. He even manages to save a teenager after Maximus took her hostage and successfully ''mangled his face'' with his shotgun. He still ends up getting killed, but he's the only notable character in the whole story who isn't a police officer who almost stopped the villain on his own.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse:
** Subverted in the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' finale. Franchise/WonderWoman, Shining Knight, Vigilante, and Sapphire are having a difficult time fighting an army of Parademons when one of the Chinese bystanders stops running, says goodbye to his wife, and runs to help. Wonder Woman tries to talk the old man out of it, until he one-hit K.O.s not one, not two, but THREE parademons, ''turns into a dragon'', and whups several more, much to the heroes' surprise. The subversion comes in when the old man turns out to be J'onn J'onz, aka ComicBook/MartianManhunter.
** Played straight several times earlier in the series, though. The most memorable episode is "Patriot Act".
** Earlier, when Dan Turpin single-handedly turns the tide against {{ComicBook/Darkseid}} in ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''. With Superman [[BadassInDistress captured and publicly humiliated]] in order to cow humanity into hopelessness, Dan Turpin alone flips off the triumphant Darkseid and rallies the crowd behind him. Dan leads a counterattack, singlehandedly frees Superman, defeats several Parademons, and helps fend off the forces of Apokolips until [[GondorCallsForAid the forces of New Genesis arrive to liberate the Earth]]. Now, while it's true that the ''viewers'' already knew Turpin was a tough cop, Darkseid had no clue who this guy was and thought he'd conquered the Earth by defeating its greatest champion. Unfortunately, this also counts as a DyingMomentOfAwesome, as the fleeing Darkseid kills Turpin out of spite.
** In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' two-part episode "The Call", Inque caught a bystander to use as a hostage and Terry tried to talk her out of using innocent bystanders like that. In a similar subversion as the one presented at the finale of ''Justice League Unlimited'', the bystander turned out to be a disguised Franchise/{{Superman}}... [[CurbStompBattle unfortunately for Inque]].
* Played for laughs in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' when a hired assassin tries to kill Grampa with a machine gun. When Grampa runs to the retirement home's nurse and begs her for help, she initially reacts by trying to double his medication, but when the assassin bursts in and continues firing the nurse pulls a shotgun out of nowhere and repeatedly blasts him, yelling [[PunctuatedForEmphasis "OUR RESIDENTS! ARE TRYING! TO NAP!"]] with each exclamation point being a shotgun blast.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'':
** One day, the girls get tired of always saving the townspeople from monsters and invoke this trope by spending the entire episode getting them to actually figure out HOW to destroy it. Granted, for quite some time they were [[IdiotBall total MORONS]], [[ItMakesSenseInContext having reasoned that soggy toast would fend off the monster]], but finally figure out how to destroy it.
** There is also the sleepover episode, where Mojo Jojo takes away the girls' powers and starts taunting them. The girls' normal friends soon become angered as he makes fun of them for being "normal girls" and proceed to beat him up. [[RuleOfFunny With pillows.]]
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock'' begins with the QuirkyMinibossSquad of metahumans robbing mallgoers. One promptly gets a faceful of pepper spray from a [[NeverMessWithGranny little old lady]].
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'': Cassidy and the Gang hang out by the Clam Cabin and discuss the newest monsters, robots programmed to terminate her. When one of them climbs out of the water and attacks them, the shop owner, Skipper Shelton, sneaks up behind it, and shoots it with a harpoon gun, disabling it. After cursing at it, he offers the kids free food for the inconvenience.
* In one of the episodes involving the Lizard in ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'', a little old lady saves Spider-man's life by attacking the Lizard [[HandbagOfHurt with her handbag]].
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheSamuraiSword'' has a samurai sushi chef who casually takes out a horde of robot ninjas when they attack Shaggy and Scooby in his restaurant.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E24EquestriaGames Equestria Games]]", the pegasi from the stands who rushed in to help avert catastrophe via giant spiked ice-cloud that was falling upon the crowded stadium, at least from the perspective of the ponies sitting next to them, unable to do anything as an anti-magical spell is placed on every single alicorn and unicorn to prevent them from using magic to cheat in the games. Imagine you're at a sporting event and something horrible happens on the field/track and the guy next to you immediately runs down to help while you feel comparatively useless, then multiply that feeling by the Olympics.
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E25TwilightsKingdomPart1 Twilight's Kingdom, Part 1]]", during the montage of Tirek and Discord [[CurbStompBattle steamrolling]] over Equestria, quite a few background ponies are shown bravely trying to fight back. Noteworthy is the first to fire off a magical blast at them, while a mob of pegasi (including the Wonderbolts and Derpy) try to swarm them.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://notalwaysright.com/we-need-one-of-these-in-every-store/192 This guy]], a UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts practitioner who defended a cashier from an irate customer.
* UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan once [[http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38860 saved a 22 year old nurse]] from a mugger in 1933. He scared away the mugger by pointing a [[CoolGuns 1911 pistol]] at him, saying [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome "Leave her alone or I'll shoot you right between the shoulders"]]. Later, he would tell the woman he saved that the [[WeaponForIntimidation gun was empty]].
* John Smeaton, who [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jul/05/terrorism.features11 kicked a burning terrorist in the balls so hard he injured his foot]].
* A Delaware woman told [[http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-10-09-50statedelaware_N.htm USA Today]] that she had been walking home from church when her purse was snatched. A nearby man who had witnessed the attack jumped out of his car, chased the purse-snatcher through several backyards and over fences, and got the purse back. The man in question? Just happened to be her senator (and future Vice President of the United States) Joe Biden.
* A Milwaukee man picked the wrong time and place to get into a "domestic dispute" when [[http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/53702692.html Mayor Tom Barrett]] was nearby.
* [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/6244076/Farmers-daughter-disarms-terrorist-and-shoots-him-dead-with-AK47.html Rukhsana Kausar]], a farmer's daughter from India, living near the Pakistani border. After three armed militants invaded her home and began beating her father, she attacked the leader with an axe, disarmed him, and shot him dead with his own gun while his gang ran away in pants-wetting terror. The dead man turned out to be a high-profile wanted terrorist commander. Kauser was shortly thereafter named Website/BadassOfTheWeek.
* [[http://oldies.about.com/od/elvispresleyhistory/a/elvis1977_2.htm Elvis]] [[http://www.amazon.com/Weird-Wisconsin-Wisconsins-Legends-Secrets/dp/0760759448 Presley]] was on the way to his hotel after arriving in Madison as part of a concert tour in June of 1977. He spotted two guys attacking a seventeen year old gas station attendant, and grumbled "Look at those two punks, I don't like this two-on-one deal." He got out of the limo, assumed a kickboxing pose and said "If you want a fight, let's fight." The three young men were so astounded they stopped immediately and began to ask for pictures and autographs instead. Before leaving he said "I found you as enemies; I leave you as friends."
* Mayor of London [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/nov/03/boris-johnson-attack-camden-london1 Boris Johnson]] encountered a woman being attacked while out riding his bicycle. He proceeded to take their pipe and chase them down the street calling them "Oiks"
* Professional wrestler Wrestling/PerrySaturn, a former US army ranger, once passed an alley with three armed men attempting to rape a woman. [[OnlyAFleshWound By the time the police arrived, he had beaten all three men unconscious but had not even realized that he had been shot in the neck during the fight.]]
* Wrestling/RobVanDam chased down a mugger outside his comic shop, and Wrestling/BamBamBigelow ran into a neighbor's burning apartment to save them.
* The [[http://www.nowpublic.com/strange/chinese-bike-thrower-video-man-knocked-thieves-motorcycle "Bike Thrower"]] in China. He stopped his bike in the middle of the road after seeing a lady being mugged by two assholes on a motorbike. Then as the robbers rode past him, [[ImprovisedWeapon he threw his]] [[ImprobableWeaponUser bike at them]], knocking them down and leaving them for the cops. Then the hero just picked up his bike (trashed by the throwing) and walked away carrying it.
* Retired [[UsefulNotes/NepaliWithNastyKnives Gurkha soldier]] Bishnu Shrestha sat quietly while forty bandits robbed the train he was in, until the bandits decided to try and rape the young girl next to him. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishnu_Shrestha Bad move]]. He pulled out his service {{kukri|sAreKool}} and proceeded to kill 3 of them, and injured 8 more, until the rest ran for their lives. As a result, he was briefly un-retired so he could get a medal.
-->"Fighting the enemy in battle is my duty as a soldier. Taking on the thugs on the train was my duty as a human being."
* [[UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts Mixed martial arts]] Jon Jones chased down and apprehended a mugger in New York, then went on to win the UFC Light Heavyweight title that same night.
* Creator/AdamWest, one day, was chilling at the beach. He saw a man swearing at a topless girl and chasing after her with a knife. As West tells it, while he knew it probably wasn't going to help his reputation for mental stability, he still managed to take the attacker down, with a beach chair.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Lewin Daniel Lewin]]
* Richard Ramirez (AKA the serial killer known as [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast the Night Stalker]]) was caught when he tried to steal a car. The car's owner, along with two neighbors and their sons, chased him down. As they ran, they recognized him from police photos that had been airing on the news and realized just who they were chasing. Once they caught him, they proceeded [[CurbStompBattle to beat the crap out of him]] [[PayEvilUntoEvil in the street.]] When the police showed up, they did stop the men from outright killing him, but didn't bother to arrest any of them for the assault. Nobody was the least bit upset.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWFFXhZP4xI Adam Kinzinger.]] For the record, he has since been elected a U.S. Congressman. Just goes to show, everyone loves an ActionHero.
* During Bill Clinton's term as President a man with a semi-automatic rifle shot at the White House. When the gun jammed, several bystanders tackled him to the ground. Including a man in a [[GoodColorsEvilColors white cowboy hat.]]
* Politician Cory Booker
** While the Newark Mayor, he was on his way home one night when he saw that his neighbor's house was on fire and their daughter was trapped inside. He immediately ran into the flaming building and carried the girl out safely. People immediately started joking about the new standard for government service.
** This follows a well publicized incident where he chased down a robbery suspect on foot while out for a jog and several instances where he went around the city getting people's cars unstuck after snow storms. May be disqualified from this trope since Mayor Booker seems physically incapable of actually ''standing by''.
* From {{Website/Cracked}},
** ''[[http://www.cracked.com/article_19766_6-nobodies-who-turned-into-superheroes-without-warning.html 6 Nobodies Who Turned Into Super Heroes Without Warning]]''
** ''[[http://www.cracked.com/article_18509_5-unknown-schmucks-who-turned-into-superheroes-in-clutch.html 5 Unknown Schmucks Who Turned Into Superheroes In The Clutch]]''
** ''[[http://www.cracked.com/article_19139_9-acts-vigilantism-straight-out-comic-book.html 9 Acts of Vigilantism Straight Out of a Comic Book]]''
** ''[[http://www.cracked.com/article_20516_6-awesome-stories-bystanders-becoming-heroes.html 6 Awesome Stories of Bystanders Becoming Heroes]]''
* Some time in the 90s in Canberra, Australia, a man held up a public swimming pool with a shotgun. The manager refused to go along with the man's demands, and just when the man was about to shoot him, he pushed the gun downwards and took a shot in the leg. The assailant panicked and ran. The manager just happened to be an ex Special Forces Vietnam vet.
* The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings produced several of these, who can be seen on video of the event running ''towards'' the explosions, tearing down metal barricades with their bare hands and pulling people out, and several of them were credited with saving people who might have otherwise bled out by using makeshift tourniquets. One particular bystander named Carlos Luis Arredondo (who it turns out [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Arredondo was already a badass in his own right]]) could be easily spotted wearing a distinctive cowboy hat in videos of the event and, in one particularly [[http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/us/in-grisly-image-a-father-sees-his-son.html?_r=0 famous photograph]] (warning: '''graphic''', though it's the cropped version of another that's much worse), running alongside and helping a man being wheeled away who had most of his leg blown off. [[MemeticBadass He became an icon overnight.]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_man Tank man]], who to this day has his true identity unknown.
* Most people wouldn't know that Creator/SteveBuscemi used to be a firefighter before he was an actor. He happened to be in New York during the 9/11 attacks, and the first thing he did was run all the way to his old fire station to volunteer for the rescue effort. It's quite likely he saved a number of lives that day.
* In 1871, the James-Younger gang attempted to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota. Unfortunately for the gang, the town just happened to be chock full of these. The bank teller refused to open the safe, even when threatened with a knife and pistol whipped (Cole Younger murdered him in revenge, one of two people killed by the gang that day). When the rest of the town noticed something was going on at the local bank, they armed themselves and fought back against the famous outlaws when they attempted to escape. Between the shootout and the manhunt that followed, only Jesse and Frank James managed to get away. It is almost universally agreed upon that this was the event that led to the downfall of the infamous outlaw and his gang.
* This would-be robber should've check to see if [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BGjIB83MvQ one of the customers is a off-duty police officer]].
* A would-be rape victim broke the assailants knife and put him in a stranglehold. [[http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/woman-sailor-thwarts-dubai-rape-attempt-with-leg-stranglehold?nomobile=1 Turns out she was a sailor.]]
* These [[http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-3o-best-anti-westboro-baptist-church-protest-s people counter-protesting]] the Westboro Baptist Church.
* [[http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/25020053/only-on-fox-good-samaritan#ixzz2x0lhBN00 Tameka Brown]], who was riding a Philadelphia train when she noticed a man trying to attack a woman carrying a small infant. Brown stood up, put herself in front of the assailant, and successfully got the woman and child off the train to safety. But not before delivering the following BadassBoast to the attacker:
-->"I said Satan, the Lord God, rebuke you in the name of Jesus, ''you will not touch this woman''."
* A few schoolchildren were once mugged on a public train in Munich, Bavaria by two teenage junkies, who wanted to take their money. A middle-aged businessman, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominik_Brunner Dominik Brunner]], intervened and escorted the kids off the train at the next stop. When the teens decided to go after them, he tried to hold them off with his bare hands. [[HeroicSacrifice They beat him to death]].
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVyJiHY40LI This Swedish gas station employee stopped a gas thief by latching on to his car like the T-1000]]. The kicker? The thief was a prospect member of the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandidos_Motorcycle_Club Bandidos club of outlaw bikers]] and armed with several knives.
* While filming a night scene for the first episode of Series/PersonOfInterest, actor Creator/JimCaviezel spotted a woman being beaten by her boyfriend in the street; he immediately ran off set and "intervened".
* During the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Whitman 1966 University of Texas Tower Shooting]], an armed citizen named Allen Crum was one of the group who stormed the tower to take down the shooter.
** In addition, there were also numerous citizens who got their own rifles and returned fire.
* During the 2016 Munich shooting, a gunman massacred ten people inside a shopping centre before climbing onto the roof in an (apparent) attempt to snipe some more. Then Thomas Salbey, an owner of a next-door tenement took the chance, stepping out on his balcony and hurling insults down at the gunman and draw him into an argument - both in an attempt to keep him from shooting anyone else, and to alert the police of his presence. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeHQ2P25R8o A neighbour captured this bizarre exchange on film]]. And when the gunman threatened to walk away, he threw a ''bottle'' after him.
--> '''Gunman:''' I am German!\\
'''Balcony man:''' A wanker's what you are!
* In 2015, a gunman attempted to open fire on a crowded train in France. As soon as he exited a lavatory with weapons ready, two French passengers who happened to be nearby tried to disarm him, followed by a Briton and three Americans, including two US military personnel [[BusmansHoliday on leave]].