[[quoteright:305:[[Film/TheDirtyDozen http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Major_Reisman_8826.jpg]]]]

The rank of Major is one often overlooked in works of fiction. It is neither quite as cool as '[[ColonelBadass Colonel]]', nor does it have the same ring as '[[TheCaptain Captain]]', and so for the most part is an ignored rank. But occasionally a character comes along, who happens to hold that rank, and do so while being a [[IncrediblyLamePun major]] BadAss. This trope covers those people.

Major is the junior-most field rank there is. This means that, while a Major can be bossed around by higher-ranked officers, they also have the most room to grow. This makes them ideal protagonists. Among field officers, a ColonelBadass may be more of a leader and authority figure, but it's the Major who gets his hands dirty, shows what he's really made of, faces the music head on -- and is affected by the consequences.

Therefore, while a certain amount of BadAss is almost expected from higher ranks (that's why they got promoted, after all), Majors will likely take levels as the plot moves along, paving the way with [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Moments Of Awesome]], and becoming leaders in their own right.

More likely than not they will be a BlueBlood though oft times they will be an OfficerAndAGentleman.

If we're talking about naval officers, the equivalent in rank and awesomeness would be a [[CommonRanks Lieutenant Commander]]. For AuthorityTropes in general, the next step down is arguably DeanBitterman. The next step up is CommandingCoolness.

In various Japanese media involving pilots or an air wing, invariably the senior pilot will be a Major or a Lieutenant Commander; due to the IJN's heavy reliance on enlisted pilots, it was common for a carrier's air wing to be commanded by a Lieutenant Commander, as opposed to a full-bird Captain in the US Navy.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''
** Major [[ExtraOreDinary Elric]]
** [[DishingOutDirt Armstrong]]
** Anybody who qualifies as a State Alchemist in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' starts at the rank of Major. ColonelBadass [[PlayingWithFire Mustang]] used to be a major, and everybody's favorite MadBomber Kimblee also had this majorly cool rank.
* Major Motoko Kusanagi from ''GhostInTheShell'' is not only a [[ColonelBadass Major Badass]] but also a ''major badass''! She fits the trope perfectly as she can [[OfficerAndAGentleman behave like a lady]] if she wants to, but usually rather disables tanks with her bare hands or fight of several cyborgs in her dress uniform, [[CombatStilettos complete with skirt and high heels]].
* The Major from ''{{Hellsing}}''. An interesting case in that, while he is not physically imposing or even skilled at combat, he becomes awesome through his sheer tactical brilliance, awesome speeches, and MagnificentBastard status. For that reason, he's one of the most memorable things about the series.
* Major (formerly Captain) Misato Katsuragi from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' is pretty badass when she isn't [[DrowningMySorrows drowning her sorrows]] or being TheAlcoholic.
* Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker, Commander Air Group of the SDF-1 Macross air wing.
* Lieutenant Commander Mu la Flaga, from ''GundamSEED''.
* Lieutenant Commander Mio Sakamoto from ''StrikeWitches''.
* Major Bernd Baltzar from ''Manga/GunkaNoBalzer''.

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[[folder: Film - Live Action ]]

* Major [[MeaningfulName Chip]] [[AIIsACrapShoot Hazard]] from ''Film/SmallSoldiers'', even though he's a toy. The guy's literally programmed to be one of these. That, and he's voiced by TommyLeeJones.
* ''Film/MajorPayne'', though in this case his BadAss status is PlayedForLaughs.
* Major "Dutch" Schaeffer of ''Film/{{Predator}}''.
* ChuckNorris' character in the first ''Film/TheDeltaForce'' movie.
* Major Reisman in ''Film/TheDirtyDozen''(pictured above).
* T.E. Lawrence is promoted from lieutenant to major in charge of leading the Arab guerilla forces against the Turks after successfully taking Turkish-held Aqaba in ''LawrenceOfArabia''.
* Korben Dallas from ''Film/TheFifthElement'', though he was retired by the start of the film. He was a major in the Federated Army's Elite Special Forces Unit.
* In both ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'' and ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', William Stryker is at the rank of Major.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'':
** Nobody knows the first name of Major ______ de Coverly because he's such a MemeticBadass that nobody dares to ask.
** Subverted by Major Major Major Major, in the same book, who is fairly incompetent and was promoted to major because a machine thought it would be funny that someone whose name was "Major Major Major" be ranked as a Major. Any further attempt at pro- or demotion is blocked by [[AlmightyJanitor the mail clerk]] Ex-PFC Wintergreen, who finds it hilarious.
* Major Rawne from ''GauntsGhosts''.
* Major Broklaw from ''Literature/CiaphasCain'', the 2IC of the Valhallan 597th. He quickly develops into the gruff, responsible BlueOni of the command staff and once called an Administratum meeting to order ''with his bolt pistol''.
* ''Literature/{{Sharpe}}'': Sharpe becomes a Major in ''Sharpe's Enemy''.
* Anytime a Long Patrol major shows up in ''{{Redwall}}''.
* [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep The Major]] from ''Literature/{{Daemon}}'' is objectively pretty badass.
* [[HandOfThrawn Major Grodin Tierce]] spends most of his on-page time strategizing and trying to make the [[BigBadDuumvirate Big Bad Triumvirate]] hold together, but he does have a few very memorable action moments - and some of that strategy was damned impressive, too. Amusingly, many people are surprised at just what he can do and how much he knows, for a lowly major. A number of other characters in the Expanded Universe books top out at major, usually ones who don't have their eye on wider command but are pretty badass; among them Wes Janson and Hobbie Klivian.
* In ''Literature/RatsBatsAndVats'', the two competent officers end up promoted to major.
* Lt. Commander Nimue Alban and her alter ego Major Merlin Athrawes in Literature/{{Safehold}}.

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[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* MajorDad.
* Major John Casey for Season 1 and most of Season 2 of ''{{Chuck}}''. He was promoted to colonel in the episode "Chuck vs. the Colonel".
* Major Hochstetter from ''HogansHeroes'', at least from the bad guys' POV. Klink (Colonel) and Burkhalter (General) both outrank Hochstetter but act completely subservient to the man. But then Hochstetter was Gestapo and those two were regular German army. He was also pretty much the only recurring character that was actually a threat to the operations that Hogan and his crew pulled. [[LargeHam And yet he still found time to chew just about every piece of scenery that he could get to.]]
* ''Series/{{Mash}}'':
** Major Charles Emerson Winchester III might be a stuffed shirt and a bit of a prig, but in the operating room he was generally considered a medical BadAss. Hawkeye once even acknowledged (though not to the man's face) that Winchester was the most talented surgeon at the 4077.
** Major Margaret Houlihan was a Nursing BadAss throughout -- even in the beginning of the series, when she was almost a BattleaxeNurse, no one ever questioned her competence.
** Her fellow Major Frank Burns, on the other hand, was a total aversion of this trope. Absolutely incompetent and spiteful.
* Major Kira Nerys on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. Though she does get promoted to Colonel towards the end of the show's run, becoming a ColonelBadass.
* Major Briggs from ''TwinPeaks''.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** Samantha Carter is a Major for most of her time on the show.
** Dr. Janet Fraiser, the SGC's chief medical officer.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'':
** Major John Sheppard in Season 1.
** After Major John Sheppard's promotion, Major Evan Lorne takes up the role as his adjutant.
* Major Zod, BigBad of ''{{Smallville}}'''s 9th Season. Though he does promote himself to [[FourStarBadass General]] in the last few episodes of the season.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Sarah "Mac" Mackenzie has the rank of Major in seasons 2, 3 & 4.
* ''Series/{{Band of Brothers}}'': (Eventual) Major Dick Winters.
* [[{{Sharpe}} Richard Sharpe]] spent most of his TV series as a Major in the army of UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington.
* ''Series/IDreamOfJeannie'':
** Major Nelson (Larry Hagman). An astronaut with a hot female genie.
** Averted with Nelson's best friend Major Healey.
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'':
** "The Frogs and the Lobsters": Major Edrington comes from BlueBlood and TheProudElite, and he's a smirking GentlemanSnarker. He's a very competent leader and soldier, too, and his general coolness endeared him to fans and made him very memorable despite the fact that he appeared only in one part of the miniseries.
** Major Côtard is a French soldier who collaborates with the British because he strongly opposes Napoleon Bonaparte. Even though he has FrenchJerk vibes and is suspected of disloyalty, he proves himself a worthy ally and his fighting skills are badass.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Janice Rand seems to qualify. A 'mustang officer,' she went from an enlisted yeoman in the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Original Series]], to master chief petty officer (an achievement in itself, which many [=NCOs=] spend a career trying to earn) in the script of ''[[Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock Star Trek III]]'', to lieutenant commander by [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry Star Trek VI]]. Many fans speculate that in the Series/StarTrekVoyager episode ''Flashback'', she was Sulu's [=XO=], but this is never confirmed in canon.
** [[StarTrekTheNextGeneration Data]], second officer and operations manager of the Federation flagship. The only android serving in Starfleet, he routinely displays his genius-level intellect and super strength. Also, he can [[http://youtu.be/tPCPIrHOeDc hijack a Galaxy-class starship singlehandedly at a moment's notice]].
** Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine's pilot episode begins with then-Lieutenant Commander Ben Sisko fighting at Wolf 359.
*** Major Kira, a former guerilla fighter, is strong, passionate, and [[http://youtu.be/e4BQzejs0IA fully capable of beating the shit out of you]].
*** Lt. Commander Worf has a habit of killing Jem'Hadar SuperSoldiers with his bare hands.
* Major [[BaldBlackLeaderGuy Cedric Daniels]] in ''Series/TheWire''. He starts as a Lieutenant, and becomes Majorly Awesome, ColonelBadass, and finally DaChief, before realizing he doesn't want to be at the head of such a flawed police department. [[spoiler:The fact that he immediately starts getting blackmailed doesn't help. He quits and becomes a lawyer.]]
* ''Series/CasesOfTheFirstDepartment'':
** Maj. Tomas Kozak is a cool and competent policeman who should be head of the department, however, he's his deputy but at times he must do his boss's duties. He's one of the most charismatic people on the show though he looks moody.
** Maj. Vaclav Plisek is the oldest and most experienced policeman on the team. He has a great ability to read the crime and connect leads. He has awesome knowledge of the history of crime and he knows the criminals' psychology. His ideas prove right most of the time.

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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/IronKingdoms'': in her Epic form, Victoria Haley has earned a promotion to Major.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Videogames ]]

* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'''s Jin Kisaragi is a Major of the NOL armed forces. [[spoiler: Well, before the NOL tries to kill him off and he defects, anyway.]]
* ''MetalGearSolid3'' has Major Ocelot.
* Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs from ''MortalKombat''.
* Major Burrows from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy''. He's an evil mole (possibly working for [[BigBad Bowser]]) who hates rabbits, and is the boss of the "Gusty Garden Galaxy" level.
* The Agressors from Super Robot Wars Original Generation. They were the guys who ''invented'' mecha combat in that universe:
** Sanger Zomvolt, the '''[[RedBaron Sword That Smites Evil!]]''', the walking living embodiment of Badass;
** Elzam von Branstein, a genius pilot always hits, never misses and whose theme overrides all;
** Gilliam Jaeger, a dimension-hopping Intelligence Officer;
** And last but not least, Kai Kitamura, a BadassNormal TeamDad with an awesome 'stach, who regularly punches out Cthulhu using a mass-production mecha.
* Lieutenant Commander Shepard of the [[SpaceNavy Systems Alliance Navy]] from ''Franchise/MassEffect''. It's outright stated that s/he's an O-4 in the [[VideoGame/MassEffect1 first game]], but s/he never gets a chance to advance past this rank, not even after [[SavingTheWorld what s/he did]].
** As of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', [[spoiler:Kaidan Alenko]] has been promoted to Major, and also lives up to the OfficerAndAGentleman trope.
** [[spoiler:Ashley Williams]] is also a Lieutenant Commander by game 3.
** As of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' [[spoiler:Kirrahe]] is promoted to Major.
** Remember "Big Ben" from the third game's first trailer? He turns up during the endgame as one of Anderson's right-hand soldiers, where we learn his name is Major Coates.
* Majors Strickland and Laurence Barnes from ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}''. Second name doesn't ring a bell? They call him... Prophet.
* Rosch from ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria''.
* PlayerCharacter Kyle Brennan of ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X: Beyond the Frontier]]'' held the rank of major in Earth's United Space Command, at least until a test flight of a jumpdrive-equipped starship [[GoneHorriblyWrong went horribly wrong]] and deposited him in the X-Universe [[YouCantGoHomeAgain with no way home]].
* Major Manson in ''[[VideoGame/{{BattleZone1998}} Battlezone II]]''. He leads from the front lines, is a very moral officer, and since he took place in the Biometal wars of the 1960s, he's also a BadassGrandpa, being in his late 60s to early 70s.
* Lieutenant Commander David "Section" Mason from CallOfDutyBlackOps2 who leads his team of Navy SEALS through the near end of the modern world - and if you get the right ending, manages to prevent it.
* The highest rank the Trooper in ''TheOldRepublic'', at the end of chapter 2/beginning of chapter 3, can reach is Major.

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[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* [[ActionGirl Major Freija Serkana]] of ''Webcomic/TheSenkari''.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Major Glory of the [[WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory Justice Friends]].
* Major [[MsMarvel Carol Danvers]] in ''[[WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes]]''.
* Major Monogram from ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb''.
* Major Adam Steiner from the animated series of ''BattleTech''

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[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Major Smedley Darlington Butler was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor '''''twice''''': once in 1914 during the Vera Cruz expedition, and once in 1915 during the Haitian rebellion. He later retired from the US Marine Corps as a Major General. He also have the distinction of being the only {{Badass}} in history to be named "Smedley". Did we mention that this man had a huge tattoo of the Marine Corps "eagle, globe, and anchor" symbol on his chest, starting at his throat and extending to his belly-button? He wrote a nice book which aired a lot of dirty laundry about the Bananna Republics the US used military action to ostensibly "help" during the early 20th Century. The title, ''War Is a Racket'' makes it quite clear which conclusion he was drawing about letting corporate and economic interests dictate military policy. Partially ironic, since every war in history is dictated in some (or whole) part by economic interests (yes, even [[WorldWarII that one]] was heavily influenced by economic realities).
** Later, Butler would become something between ColonelBadAss and FourStarBadAss, having been promoted to a two-star general and the commandant of the Marine Corps.
* Commandant Pat Quinlan (the Irish Army uses 'commandant' instead of 'major' for the rank) who commanded the Irish regiment at the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jadotville Siege of Jadotville]].
* Invoked by Nikita Khrushchev upon YuriGagarin, who was just a First Lieutenant when he was being hurled into space. Khrushchev decided that that rank was not awesome enough for the first man in space, so he forced an immediate promotion to Major against all military regulations by the time Gagarin landed.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Winters Major Richard D. Winters]], a real-life {{Badass}} (though he'd be the last person to call himself that) and the man most people in E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division would cite as their inspiration. See Series/BandOfBrothers for more information.
* In the Commonwealth military, it's common for company commanders to be majors rather than captains.
* In WWII, Australian commandos were organized into "independent companies," significantly larger than a line company but with all the support necessary to operate independently of a battalion structure (medical, communications, engineers, and so on) that a normal company wouldn't have. This basically made them pocket battalions, which meant the majors in command were really junior [[ColonelBadass battalion commanders]].
* It used to be common for Marine captains to be addressed as "major" when aboard ship, as this prevented confusion in a crisis ("Where's the captain?" "Do you mean the ship's commander or the Marines' commander?")
* A number of flying aces, such as Mick Mannock, James [=McCudden=], Eddie Rickenbacker, Tommy [=McGuire=] and Dick Bong were Majors. This was because it was the highest rank for combat pilots, and anyone that senior would have a lot of experience.
** Including the most successful ace of all time, Major Erich Hartmann of the ''Luftwaffe'', who shot down over 350 enemy aircraft over the course of WWII.
* Most WWII submarine and destroyer captains were lieutenant commanders, though lieutenant and full commander were also common depending on the size of the vessel and the officer's seniority. Since these ships were on the front lines and saw the most action, their commanders were at the forefront of the war.

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[[folder: Other ]]

* Major Pronin is a stock character from RussianHumour, first invented by the writer Lev Ovalov. His "hat" is getting into absurdly dangerous situations and badassly handling them.

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