[[quoteright:216:[[VideoGame/MadTV http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ragstoriches_4355.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:216:Same guy.]]

->''"They call me [[NouveauRiche new money]], say I have no class. I'm from the bottom, I came up too fast..."''\\
--'''Music/FiftyCent'''

Character of poor or even modest economic standing becomes wealthy and successful. Can be the gimmick of an entire series, or the plot of a single episode.

Could also be the backstory of a wealthy character- explaining why he acts the way he does. Such as explaining why a wealthy man is so frugal (i.e. cheap), or explaining why he feels more at home among the poorer class.

Originating in the 18th and 19th centuries, it has been a ForgottenTrope, but the advent of the lottery and prominent RealLife examples have breathed life back into this.

The classic "Horatio Alger" version of the trope is that the protagonist [[SelfMadeMan lifts himself (or rarely herself) up to economic success]] by a combination of hard work and virtuous behavior. And a walloping dose of {{luck}}, [[LaserGuidedKarma which comes to the protagonist]] [[HardWorkFallacy because of their work and virtue]]. It fell out of favor around the Great Depression and has never quite recovered.

More modern uses of the trope are more cynical, and may feature the character getting their wealth through unethical or illegal means, and [[WasItReallyWorthIt discovering that]] [[LonelyAtTheTop wealth doesn't make them happy]], (i.e. ''TheGreatGatsby'') and might include an Anvilicious statement on why sudden wealth leads to corruption. If the plot for a single episode, will usually feature the character [[AcquiredSituationalNarcissism becoming haughty and vain]] and [[AFoolAndHisNewMoneyAreSoonParted eventually losing his or her money]] and [[StatusQuoIsGod returning to normal]], showing that they never needed money in the first place. The [[AmbitionIsEvil darkest and]] [[CorruptCorporateExecutive edgiest versions]] of this trope sometimes overlap with FromNobodyToNightmare.

See also PrinceAndPauper and SelfMadeMan. When someone goes all the way from poverty to the throne it is RagsToRoyalty. An [[TheEpic Epic]] WarriorPrince who, by military conquest, goes from somewhat minor status to ruling an [[TheEmpire Empire]] is likely the YoungConqueror. A less noble example is the NouveauRiche. Other variations can probably be thought of. One is for this to be done focusing on a group(say a family, a nation, or a sports team) rather then an individual that does this.

Not to be confused with the chestnut filly who won the 2007 Belmont Stakes.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* One African-American gentleman from an Ancestry.com ad says that his great-grandfather was born a slave but died a businessman. Possibly not as rich as other examples at the end, but among the poorest of starting points.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''BinbouShimaiMonogatari'', Asu and Kyou briefly move in with their rich aunt, but choose to return to their normal lifestyle shortly afterwards.
* A major premise in ''Manga/SteppingOnRoses'' (''Hadashi de Bara wo Fume''), in which the poor and uneducated protagonist Sumi Kitamura is offered the chance to live a life of wealth and extravagance... but '''only''' if she is willing to leave her family behind to enter into a marriage of convenience with PrincelyYoungMan Soichirou Ashida.
** [[spoiler: Later we see that there's also a a RagsToRoyalty deal... since Sumi turns out to be Aiko Iijuin, the long-lost daughter of ''another'' rich family.]]
* ''Manga/LoveLucky'': Fuuta goes from living in a small room paid for with his modest wages to Ippongi Hills, the most high class, glamorous set of apartments in Tokyo so that he and his new pop-star wife Kirari can have easier access to each other in her off time.
* Liechtenstein in ''AxisPowersHetalia''; her backstory shows her as a HeartwarmingOrphan dying on the streets because the Great Depression has crippled her country. She is rescued by Switzerland and adopted as his little sister in a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming, and is now one of the richest countries in the world.
** For that matter, Swiss himself. Liechtenstein mentions that his own economic situation was ''not'' the best when he took her in due to the war and the GD, but some decades later he's living in a BigFancyHouse with her an is a quite more wealthy nation. (Not that he spends a lot, though.)
** Also the Netherlands. He's seen as a rather poor and struggling teenaged nation (while his younger sister Belgium is a ChildProdigy businesswoman), then he's seen under Spain's wing (that he's not too happy about), and later he has become quite the overseas empire... and a stoic, penny-pinching NonIdleRich.
* Rukia Kuchiki from Manga/{{Bleach}}. From a StreetUrchin who barely managed to survive to teenagehood with her friend Renji, to the adoptive sister of the leader of the ''very'' noble and filthy rich Kuchiki clan.
* Also used in HaouAiren, where a girl who has to struggle with a part-time job, her highschool studies ''and'' taking care of her IllGirl widow mother and her cute little siblings... is suddenly thrown into a world of fabulous riches and luxury in HongKong, when it turns out that the handsome stranger whose life she saved is actually a highranked Triad leader who wants her as his mistress (and he also promises to send money to her family in Tokyo, so the girl's mom can have adequate treatment and she won't have to worry - and as far as we know, he keeps that part). Too bad this also brings [[BreakTheCutie HORRIBLE misfortune]] [[TheWoobie to the poor girl]], as the dude is a massive BastardBoyfriend ''and'' the people in their surroundings are corrupted to the core.
* Sheryl Nome from ''MacrossFrontier'' was a homeless StreetUrchin [[spoiler:after her parents were assassinated]] until she was picked up by Grace O'Connor, who became her manager on the road to stardom. Ten years of hard work ([[spoiler:and Grace's manipulations]]) later, and Sheryl is the most popular (and probably the richest) IdolSinger in the galaxy with a credit rating high enough to hire an entire high tech mercenary unit complete with their carrier flagship and SuperPrototype fighters for a high risk rescue mission with just her credit card.
* [[spoiler: Mariko Shinobu's family]] in ''OniisamaE''. According to their child, [[spoiler: Hikawa and Hisako Shinobu were very poor when they got married, then got progressively richer as Hikawa's novelist career flourished. (Though at the very high cost of [[YourCheatingHeart them growing apart]], as well as Hikawa [[TragicDream having to stick to his succesful erotica rather than the more meaningful (and genuinely good) literature he was fond of.]] GrowingUpSucks, indeed.)]]
* ''MayonakaNiKiss'': Widow Natori and her children when she marries a billionaire.
* Candace White aka CandyCandy is a HeartwarmingOrphan brought into the Legan family to work as a maid and a companion to SpoiledBrat Eliza, but at some point she catches the eye of the Andrees (a very highclass clan that the Legans are a branch family from). She first befriends the three boys of the Andree clan (Anthony, Stear and Archie), and later she's adopted into the Andrees per the orders of one of the leaders, Great-Uncle William [[spoiler: (Actually the identity of the ''fourth'' young man of the clan, Albert, the uncle of the three mentioned boys)]]. However, Candy becomes the RebelliousPrincess of the clan, refusing to bend over to the aristocrats and then deciding to become a nurse without their support.
** A more straightforward case would be Annie, Candy's "adopted sister". She was adopted by the rich Brighton family several years before, and the Brightons keep this as a secret since they're afraid that the [[FragileFlower already pathologically shy and insecure]] Annie will be ostracized and bullied. ([[StockShoujoBullyingTactics This turns out to be true, unfortunately]]). It takes Annie several years to fully develop into a stronger, more self-assured person.
* Yukiji from ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'' used to be a ordinary farm girl before being adopted into nobility. The heroine Nanami also counts, though with her it is more of a case of Rags to Godhood.
* In SakuraGari, Dr. Katsuragi is implied to come from a low-middle class family since as a teenager he lived and worked as a servant in the ''very'' rich Saiki clan's BigFancyHouse while going through his studies. Now he both works in a famous hospital and is the personal doctor of his former protectors.
** [[spoiler: Souma Saiki, too. His MissingMom was an ImpoverishedPatrician and his PrincessInRags maternal grandma made him work in the streets. Then he was found by the Saikis clan and, since he was the most qualified to be the prospect heir (Youya was much younger and from an unhappy marriage), they took him in.]]
* You Houki from ''FushigiYuugi'' comes from a very poor country family, and she is taken by the Royal Court due to [[WorldsMostBeautifulWoman her incredible beauty]]. She is then made into a membress of Hotohori's harem, [[spoiler:and she eventually becomes his legal wife, the mother of his child, and the [[TheHighQueen Empress Dowager]].]]
* Robert E.O. Speedwagon, from ''JoJosBizarreAdventure'', was a destitute street thug when Jonathan Joestar first met him. After changing his ways, he went on to accidentally strike oil and become rich in the time between Parts 1 and 2, using his newfound fortune to found the Speedwagon Foundation, which funded medical and scientific breakthroughs and would assist the Joestar bloodline even after Speedwagon, himself, passes away.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In the short story in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyMicroSeries'' Issue #3 Hayseed Turnip Truck grinds himself up until he becomes a successful businessstallion.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Parodied in ''FoxTrot'', when Jason wins $10.00 - combined with his previous savings, he ''becomes a millionare'' [[spoiler:in Turkish Lira - 77,000 to the dollar.]] Sadly, his opulent lifestyle comes crashing down when he loses his entire fortune [[spoiler: buying five comic books.]]
* Subject of a gag in one Don Martin cartoon for ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'': a scruffy-looking panhandler hits up a man in a business suit. The suit-wearer snaps "Get a job!" as he stalks past. Cut to the panhandler, still sporting the same ratty outfit and hairdo, sitting behind a large desk in an office high up in a skyscraper.
* ScroogeMcDuck brings it UpToEleven. Born to a very poor family, he became the ''[[{{Fiction 500}} richest duck in the world]]'' through hard work and smarts.
* Zig-zagged in at least one ComicBook/RichieRich story which has a RichesToRags at the beginning and uses the rest of the story to describe the Rags To Riches result.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Nav from ''FanFic/DiariesOfAMadman'' initially starts with nothing, but gains a lot of money after winning a few tournaments, selling human inventions, and [[PlagiarismInFiction plagiarising human art]]. Not that he has much use for, or understanding of just how wealthy he is.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films]]
* ''TheBlindSide'': Michael: from the projects to the wealthy household of the Tuohys to a multi-million-dollar NFL contract.
* ''MrDeedsGoesToTown''
* ''ForrestGump'': In addition to shaping mid to late 1900's pop culture and history, Forrest along with Lieutenant Dan become rich seemingly overnight in the shrimping business following hurricane Carmen destroying every boat but theirs. As Forrest puts it:
---->'''Forrest''': Shrimping became real easy after that
** In another example, Forrest donates most of the shrimping money to Bubba's family. His mother faints from merely seeing all that money.
* ''PrettyWoman'' Vivian goes from heart-of-gold prostitute to a life of luxury with Edward, her sugar daddy and white knight.
* ''CinderellaMan'' showcased the RealLife rags-to-riches story of boxer Jim Braddock. Happened against the backdrop of TheGreatDepression, making it all the more heartening that the man climbed out of absolute poverty on mostly guts and perseverance.
* Self-description of [[RepoTheGeneticOpera Rotti Largo]].
* ''TheGlennMillerStory''
* ''Film/EdWood'' is a subversion. Ed and crew are in poverty and Ed always expects riches to come out of his movies, but anyone who watched his [[SoBadItsGood terrible (albeit amusing) movies]] knows that riches would never come. [[ThePollyanna That doesn't stop Ed from being perpetually hopeful and upbeat throughout the movie]].
* ''SlumdogMillionaire''
* ''BarryLyndon'': Redmond Barry, irish commonner, ends up a rich English nobleman married to beautiful woman. [[spoiler:Then subverted : Barry dies "poor and childless" as prophesised by the narration]].
* ''Film/{{Envy}}'': Nick Vanderpark (Jack Black) [[SelfMadeMan made himself a wealthy man]] by financing the development of a spray that vaporizes dog poop (hence the name "Vapoorize"). Tim Dingman (Ben Stiller), Nick's friend, best friend and former co-worker also becomes wealthy when Nick offer him partnership in exchange of Tim helping Vapoorize to be marketed in Italy. [[spoiler: It seemed they'd no longer be wealthy when Vapoorize was recalled from the market but then Tim thought about inventing Pocket Flan. How much they made from the idea is never revealed.]]
* ''{{Limitless}}'': Having gained SuperIntelligence thanks to a [[AppliedPhlebotinum pill]], middle class Eddie Morra invokes this trope. Sadly, [[DeconstructedTrope it takes much more time than he wants to spend]], so he asks for a loan from TheMafiya and takes a credit from the CorruptCorporateExecutive.
* ''Film/TradingPlaces'': Both Billy Ray Valentine and Ophelia leave their rather humble Philadelphia roots to become absurdly wealthy by the film's end. The butler Coleman ends up being able to afford a butler. The most notable case is Winthorpe, who begins the movie rich, then is driven to homelessness and nearly suicide, and ends the movie having bankrupted the people responsible for his temporary destitution and it is implied he's far more wealthy than he was at the movie's beginning.
* The ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' movies, also about a poor Philadelphian finding success and the attendant riches. Particularly noticeable in [[RockyII the second]] and [[RockyIII third]] movies.
** A bit of LifeImitatesArt, SylvesterStallone was a former struggling actor who slept in bus terminals and did soft porn. ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' vacated the need for such desperate measures.
* ''TrueStories'': The woman who won the lottery.
* Lonesome Rhodes of ''Film/AFaceInTheCrowd'', went from a drifter with only one spare shirt and a guitar to his name to having the top two floors of a New York Hotel.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' contains a highly ironic instance of this trope. After working to collapse Lether's economy while living in a hovel, Tehol Beddict accidentally becomes the new Letherii Emperor.
** The 'rags' part was actually self-imposed. Tehol Beddict came from a very prominent family and was at one point one of the richest men in the country due to his business genius. He gave up his fortune because he was disgusted with the debt-slavery system the country run on. At any point in time he could have easily regained his previous wealth and power if he chose to.
* In Horatio Alger's first book, ''Ragged Dick'', Dick is able to elevate himself from homeless bootblack to...entry-level {{Clerk}}. While the "riches" part may seem a bit underwhelming, there's no doubt he's better off at the end than the beginning.
** Virtually every HoratioAlgerJr story ever written follows this same plot. Poor boy works hard, is virtuous, and is helped by a kindly older man (keep this in mind for later), and he eventually makes his fortune, relatively. The "helped by a kindly older man" part of the trope is often forgotten, and for good reason - the real Horatio Alger, the writer? Was a ephebophile. Sadly, this is not scurrilous rumour but established historical fact.
** ''Ragged Dick'' itself was followed up by a sequel book that went more in depth on the "to riches" part.
* In ''Neuromancer'', the protagonist undergoes this, going from a broke former console jockey to living the high life while on a mission.
* In ''CountZero'', Marly Krushkova is raised to wealth to perform a task by the incredibly wealthy recluse Joseph Virek.
* ''TheGreatGatsby'' shows the nasty side of this trope.
* "ASongOfIceAndFire" demonstrates this in a similar vein to "TheGreatGatsby" with Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish, who was born into the poorest noble family in Westeros, but thanks to his financial talents [[spoiler: and a severe BreakTheCutie process in his childhood that inspired him to get back at the nobility]], he is now possibly the richest man in Westeros besides the Lannisters.
** And Bronn who by his own badassery alone [[spoiler: goes from sellsword to lord]].
** The Frey family made their fortunes through business yet the other Great Houses see them as wannabe upstarts.
* ''SweetValleyHigh'' book #16: "Rags To Riches". Roger Barrett was living with his poor, sick, single mother in a shabby house. She dies and it's revealed that he is actually Bruce Patman's cousin. He moves into the Patman mansion and changes his name to Roger Barrett Patman for the remainder of the original series. [[spoiler: he dies in the earthquake]]
* TheAeneid is this in a sense as a small band of refugees is destined to be TheEmpire.
* MemoirsOfAGeisha: poor girl eventually becomes a successful geisha.
* In ''Literature/CitizenOfTheGalaxy'': [[spoiler:The main character, Thorby, goes from literal rags (as a beggar and slave) at the start of the book to infamous riches (when he's returned to his wealthy dead parents' estate) at the end.]] The wealth ends up being a burden as much as a wish fulfillment: although he still gets to fight slavers, he does so in the most effective way via decisions and investigations behind a desk rather than in the most cathartic way via action and excitement on a ship.
* Lori starts ''[[AuntDimity Aunt Dimity's Death]]'' working as a temp and having lived in a succession of cheap apartments after her divorce. Most of her things are in boxes, and she sleeps on a mattress on the floor. She describes her feelings on seeing the Boston office of Dimity's American attorneys for the first time: "Great, I thought, Willis & Willis Meets the Little Match Girl." After coming into her inheritance, she at first displays a certain reluctance to spend money, but eventually is found consigning her old wardrobe to Oxfam in favour of items like silk-lined custom trousers, handmade Italian boots, and a sumptuous black cashmere swing coat. "I'd never been a clotheshorse, but I was learning fast."
* ''Literature/HarryPotter:'' goes from wearing his cousin's ill fitting hand-me-downs, to learning that he has a vault full of gold that he has inherited from his well-off parents, and then he inherits Sirius Black's estate. We never really find out just how much he inherited from either, but the Potters and Blacks were both old, well heeled, Wizarding families.
* Pular Singe, from the ''Literature/GarrettPI'' series, goes from browbeaten indentured servitude to a gang boss among [=TunFaire=]'s lowest-of-the-low minority (ratpeople), to a junior partner in Garrett's investigations and up-and-coming investor in Amalgamated. Not rich by human standards, but an unprecedented success story by those of her own kind. And she's still young.
* Samuel Vimes of ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' stumbled his way into this, and has managed to constantly stumble his way into more wealth, titles, and fame since the whole thing with the dragon. And he's somewhat reluctant about the whole thing.
* Eve Dallas of the ''InDeath'' series goes from underpaid police lieutenant to beloved wife of [[{{Fiction500}} Rourke, the richest man both on and off the planet]]. She tries desperately to ignore the millions that Rourke quietly keeps slipping into her bank account.
* The nation of Cuba in ''WorldWarZ'', due to the onset of the ZombieApocalypse and the (rather ironic) influx of North American refugees, along with a fortuitous change of heart from Castro.
** The United States' devastated economy is trying to invoke this trope following the war.
* In ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' the titular hero, a boy from a '''very''' poor family (they don't even have enough to eat!), becomes heir to Wonka's, well, [[TitleDrop chocolate factory]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''TheBeverlyHillbillies''
* ''TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir''
* The final season of ''{{Roseanne}}''
* The end of ''OnlyFoolsAndHorses''
* Inverted on ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment''. Actually, it's the whole premise of the series - a wealthy Southern California family loses their money and many members have to deal with actually working for the first time. HilarityEnsues.
* The premise of the new series ''Windfall''; twenty people share a lottery jackpot, to the tune of about 17 million ''each''. It's played for drama.
* In British comedy/drama series ''At Home With the Braithwaites'', the mother of the family wins 37 million pounds on the lottery... and doesn't tell her family for weeks. Naturally, wacky hijinks ensue.
* In ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', the crew of Moya starts off as a penniless band of escaped prisoners. They even come close to starving. However, after robbing the alien equivalent of Fort Knox they're more or less flush with cash for the rest of the series. It doesn't hurt that half the time the traders they come in contact with don't survive to collect their fees.
* Ryan from ''TheOC'' is a poor kid who is taken in by the very wealthy Cohen family. Sandy Cohen has this as his back story, as he was poor before he married Kirsten.
* In ''{{Smallville}}'' it is revealed that [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Lionel Luthor's]] parents were drunken, abusive, and poor. He himself is one of the riches men on the planet thanks to a large of number of not quite legal dealings.
* ''{{CSI NY}}'' Sid Hammerback the coroner is pretty much a working class guy, managing okay but by no means wealthy-until his new pillow design is sold to a Japanese group for over 20mil.
* Part of mankind's BackStory in ''Franchise/StarTrek''. A couple of centuries before the series begins, humanity has warred itself to near extinction following a [[WorldWarIII third World War]], complete with a wrecked Earth and barely any resources. Then a scientist builds the first prototype starship and attracts the attention of the Vulcans, and in the space of barely a century, disease, hunger, and poverty are ''eradicated''. The turnaround is so drastic that the idea of "needing money" is a vague and distant memory. This complete 180 is a major defining plot point in human history, it's RagsToRiches on a planetary scale.
* The ''Series/{{Desmonds}}'' SpinOff ''Porkpie'' opens with the title character winning the lottery.
* ''Series/{{Scandal}}'': Harrison's {{Backstory}}.
* Martok in DeepSpaceNine was a Klingon peasant who became ruler by being more {{Badass}} then any Klingon in existence.
* The discovery of Cheese Station C in ''Literature/WhoMovedMyCheese''.
* The 2014 revival of ''Series/{{Cosmos}}'' features two examples from history. Tyson is sure to point out how luck and open-minded policy allowed these geniuses to make their discoveries.
** Joseph Fraunhofer was an orphan and [[IndenturedServitude indentured servant]] in the Bavarian royal glassmaker's factory and house. Ironically, he got his break when the house ''collapsed'' and [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething Prince Maximilian]] led the rescue efforts, subsequently giving Joseph money and an education. Fraunhofer eventually became the head of the Optical Institute because his genius with optical glass turned Bavaria into an economic powerhouse, and he also discovered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraunhofer_lines Fraunhofer lines]]. (However, he died at the young age of 39; many glassmakers of the time met a similar fate due to the toxic fumes.)
** Michael Faraday was a poor boy and a tradesman who never finished his schooling, but he impressed Royal Institute scientist Humphry Davy with a book of scientific notes on Davy's demonstrations. Faraday went on to make all sorts of discoveries in electricity and electromagnetism and wound up running the Royal Institution himself.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video and Computer Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', there's a town called Windfall Island which contains a rich man and a poor man, both of whose daughters have been kidnapped by the BigBad. You rescue the daughters about halfway through the game, and their fathers switch wealth (the rich man spends his fortune trying to rescue his daughter, while the poor man ''makes'' his fortune selling rare necklaces his daughter brings home).
* Every ''HarvestMoon'' game begins this way. The standard is to give you a couple of farming tools and a single bag of seeds. By end game, most players would probably have obtained a ranch, upgraded their home to a fairly comfortable living space and make thousands of bucks a month off crop harvests and animal produce.
** A specific character in which this is {{Inverted}} for is Lumina, if you marry her. She goes from living in a mansion and being one of the richest people in town, to living on a measly farm. She's [[HappilyMarried more than happy with it]] too.
* Pretty much every FinalFantasy game does this. At the beginning, you may have a few hundred Gil which can buy a Potion or two and perhaps slightly improved armor. By the end, you have hundreds of thousands of Gil and a full inventory of healing potions and equipment.
* In ''EliteBeatAgents'', you cheer on a pirate who has been left with practically nothing but his trusty bird, and he struggles to find lots and lots of treasures. If you succeed, the bird drops the trope title. In another mission, you cheer on an ex-oil tycoon who gets thrown out by his gold-digging wife after his oil wells run dry, and is determined to dig his way back back to riches.
* The plot of pretty much every ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' game involves a small-time criminal going to the top. The worst example is definitely ''San Andreas'', where CJ starts off as a gangbanger in a small ghetto with nothing but the clothes on his back and a bicycle, and within less than a year (In game time. In real time, people have completed the game in a day or less.) becomes [[spoiler: a millionaire, manager to one of the greatest rappers in the world, owner of various properties, including an airfield and a share in a casino, and literally controls the entire state of San Andreas.]]
** Rockstar has stated that they were tired of the implausibility of these plots, hence their decision to not rehash them in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV''.
** They did have Franklin in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' who pretty much goes from Rags to Riches like CJ as well, but that game had multiple protagonists and they (along with various other characters) were all {{Deconstruction}}s of how ''GTA'' protagonists were portrayed.
* The 1993 computer game "Rags to Riches - The Financial Market Simulation" from Interplay lets you make a fortune on the stock market with the money your parents have given you.
* This is literally a name of one of the scenarios in Sim City 3000, where you have to fix up a Crapsack Madrid.
* Louise from ''[[FireEmblemElibe Fire Emblem: Rekka No Ken]]'' was a peasant girl that didn't have much aside of her archery skills, her kind heart and her incredible beauty. However, after she told a local rich bachelor (Lord Pent) that she'd protect him with her bow and arrows, he chose her as his wife over ''many'' more graceful and prettier girls. Now they're very HappilyMarried.
** Same goes to Louise's best friend and distant cousin, [[spoiler: Queen Hellene from Bern.]] [[BreakTheCutie It didn't]] [[YourCheatingHeart work half]] [[BrokenBird as well]] [[RichBitch in her case.]]
** Also sorta happens to [[spoiler: Serra]], who grew up poor and lonely in a [[spoiler: St. Elimine convent located in the Etruria/Ostia border]] before she was employed in the local court thanks to her [[WhiteMage healing abilities]]. She covers this up by [[spoiler: acting like a RichBitch [[StepfordSmiler to hide her abandonment issues]].]]
** And earlier, we have [[spoiler: Deirdre]] from [[FireEmblemJugdral Fire Emblem Seisen No Keifu.]] [[spoiler: She was a young girl living in seclusion and feeling that she was trapped in her forest village, then fell in love and married a local lord, and after her heritage as the long lost child of an imperial prince is discovered, she becomes an Empress. Too bad she had to be mind-wiped first and then have her first husband horribly killed by the second, though.]]
** A much darker example is [[spoiler: King Gangrel]] from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', as [[spoiler: a former StreetUrchin who rose to the top of Plegian aristocracy, and finally got the crown. And became TheCaligula. [[BreakTheHaughty And lost everything]]. And if you recruit him via Spot-Pass, he turns into TheAtoner.]]
* The cutscenes in ''VideoGame/RockBand 3'' give off this vibe (something that wasn't present before, by the way): your band starts off playing for enough money to share a single pizza, and along the way they become festival headliners, make a tour to Japan, and then one day [[spoiler:they get sick of all the fame and {{Loony Fan}}s harassing them, and so they vanish from the scene in a fake plane crash.]]
* This can happen in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' for a Dwarven Commoner Warden, who was born casteless (the absolute bottom-wrung of dwarven society) and was thus looked upon as less than a person before becoming a Grey Warden. In the time between the Warden leaving and then returning to Orzamarr, their sister Rica moves up in society when she becomes the mother of a noble's son and becomes a royal concubine. [[spoiler:After defeating the archdemon, the Warden becomes uplifted to a Paragon, a living legend among dwarves.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', the main quest line of Act I centers around [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]], a refugee in the slums of Kirkwall, attempting to gather enough resources to become a partner in a Deep Roads treasure hunting expedition, which eventually brings in enough money to bring his family back into high society. It can go even further, in the endgame, where [[spoiler: a pro-Templar Hawke is appointed Kirkwall's new Viscount]].
* Real estate agent H. G. Higwig from ''VideoGame/MadTV''. He starts off as pretty much a bearded hobo. If you keep giving him profit by buying and selling studios, he'll get richer and richer until he's a smug businessman.
* In ''ThirdWorldFarmer'', once you work out the strategy, it becomes fairly simple to start getting ahead and even becoming rich. There is some debate as to whether this is intentional or not.
* ''VideoGame/JonesInTheFastLane'' plays like this, especially if you choose a high money goal.
* ''NBABallers'': The original game has a "Rags To Riches" mode, where you take part in an InUniverse RealityShow where you're pick as a no-name baller from the streets, and set up to play in special tournaments against big name NBA Players. As you win tournaments, you get bling, like cars, a new house, your own personal basketball court... but the challenge is, [[AllOrNothing to keep it all, you have to win it all.]] And [[ExecutiveMeddling the producers of the show are biased against you, because if you lose, they get everything that would have been yours.]]
* [[VideoGame/AnimalCrossing Animal Crossing]]'s [[spoiler:Tom Nook]] is a more [[TearJerker somber]] example. He left to go to the city to earn money, promising to never lose his way, but came back the [[spoiler:Tom Nook]] we all love to despise today.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Phase of the WhateleyUniverse pulls a Riches to Rags to Riches move, getting kicked out of a fabulously wealthy family for having the gall to turn into a mutant. By the middle of the first novel, he's living in a basement room with almost nothing to his name, and having to eat his sister-in-law's 'cooking'. By the end of the eighth novel, he's a billionaire (again).
** In that particular example, much is made of the fact that he's got next to no poverty-level survival skills, having been trained nearly from birth to be a megabusinessman. It's only after his parents are forced to cough up ''three hundred million dollars'' in the first story that he's able to apply his elite financial skills and connections to reclimbing the billionaires' ladder. It's lampshaded by other students at Whateley on his first arrival that while he may have lost his family and 98% of his inheritance, he's still wealthier than almost all of the rest of the campus put together.
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[[folder: Western Animation]]
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' sees Ron pick up a cheque for $99 million dollars of fast food royalties as a ContinuityNod. It doesn't last.
* In the ''{{Futurama}}'' episode "Fish Full of Dollars" Fry becomes extremely wealthy after discovering that his old bank account is still active and has been accruing interest for 1000 years. The status quo is restored after Fry spends it all on anchovies.
** The Main cast also briefly became millionaires in the episode Future Stock. They return to rags, of course.
* In the ''{{Rugrats}}'' episode "Chuckie is Rich," Chuckie's dad wins the lottery and they briefly become very wealthy. Of course, thanks to the poor investment choices of CorruptCorporateExecutive Drew, who handles the money, the status quo is restored in the end.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'': David Xanatos once received an ancient coin from an AnonymousBenefactor (twenty years later revealed to be a [[StableTimeLoop future version]] of [[SelfMadeMan Xanatos himself]]), sold the coin and used the money to start his empire, eventually making himself a billionaire.
* In ''{{Doug}}'', Roger was originally ridiculously poor, to the point he had to live in a trailer. However, in the Disney reboot, his family struck big on a real estate deal, causing him to rival ''Bebe'' in terms of how rich he is.
* ''ShaggyAndScoobyDooGetAClue'': The first episode "Shags to Riches" had Shaggy inheriting his missing Uncle Albert's estate.
* The TopCat movie, "Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats" is precisely this to Benny.
-->'''Spook''': It's the old rags to riches story.
-->'''Top Cat''': Right, except Benny could never afford the rags.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has the family win the lottery and Peter alienates his friends with his newfound snobby attitude because of it. Not only that, but the family foolishly spend their money on trivial things until they go broke. The Griffins then get rich again through the lottery, only to go broke ''again'' a week later. Quagmire helps the Griffins out with the profits he made in his investment and the family manages to get back to where they were before the lottery.
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'': Irina Kafka once it was revealed one of her ancestors was the real author of the sonata stolen by Franz Duntcheck.
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* {{Penny Arcade}}, arguably the most successful webcomic around, has allowed for creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins to live the good life for several years now.
* Oprah Winfrey is probably as much of a living example of this trope as physically possible.
** A fair amount of billionaires were born in middle-class or even poor families. In fact, it is estimated that over 80% of American millionaires are first-generation rich.
* Chris Gardner, whose rise from homelessness to top stockbroker was chronicled ([[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory rather loosely]]) in ''ThePursuitOfHappyness''.
* Due to the phenomenal success of ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Creator/JKRowling went from living on state benefits to being one of the richest women in the world.
** In a similar vein, Creator/TylerPerry, at one point, ''lived in his car''. His plays/movies about SassyBlackWoman Mable "Madea" Simmons enabled him to move from the car... to a multi-million dollar mansion in Atlanta.
* Older examples: King Xerxes of Persia and Roman Emperor Diocletian worked their ways up their kingdom/empires's militaries and ultimately became rulers.
** It wasn't ''that'' uncommon in Rome, actually. If you were a ''really'' good member of the military and GenreSavvy enough to keep yourself away of the dangers in such an environment (injury, backstabbing, etc.), you could work your way up constantly and enact the trope. More than one Emperor aside of Diocletian arrived to power this way. (Now, whether they ''stayed'' there... that was something else)
* UsefulNotes/ToyotomiHideyoshi. He's born as a sandal-bearer named 'Tokichiro Kinoshita'. Then he joins UsefulNotes/OdaNobunaga, work his ass up to the point that he became Nobunaga's right hand man, avenges his death and finished what Nobunaga couldn't accomplish: actually ''unifying Japan'' and becoming the most powerful man in the nation.
** Although the immediate downfall of his clan immediately after his death can partly be contributed of his status; he couldn't even forge a Minamoto[=/=]Taira lineage as everyone knows his background, which makes his family ineligible for the top posts in the country. He ruled as [[RegentForLife kampaku]]-- not a shogun-- because he was adopted by a Fujihara just before the fact, and his legitimacy was only sustained through his own power. (On the other hand, UsefulNotes/TokugawaIeyasu has been able to forge himself a Minamoto lineage and make himself eligible for shogun.)
* Young Dave Thomas was born to a poor, single woman, who gave him up for adoption. His adoptive mother passed away when he was six and his father was then left to move around (with Dave in tow) while he sought work. Thomas began working at the age of 12 (to help support the family), dropped out of high school, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, learned how to cook, came back home, worked at a diner, married the daughter of the diner's owner, and got his big break by meeting Colonel Sanders and setting up a few Kentucky Fried Chickens to own and operate. When Thomas sold his [=KFCs=], which became very successful because of his hard work, he earned enough money to settle down, but invested it instead in his own fast food chain, and named it after his ginger-haired daughter: "Wendy's". (And he did go back to get his G.E.D.)
* Shania Twain had to help support her family when she was a teenager, after growing up very poor. She had to live out of her car when trying to break into the music business.
* Sarah Jessica Parker was born into poverty in Ohio, but was able to become a well known actress as a teenager (''Series/SquarePegs'') and a wealthy star through ''SexAndTheCity''. She's even kept her family relatively close, as she bought her mother a house in New Jersey.
* Basically [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rags_to_riches#Notable_people anyone listed here]]. This list includes the best example of a "rags to riches" president in American history, BillClinton, who was able to go from being a poor kid raised by a single mother (who would later marry and provide Clinton with a stepfather and his younger stepbrother Roger) to becoming a Rhodes Scholar and a succesful lawyer, eventually becoming Arkansas governor and then president.
** ''Second'' best. In terms of coming from absolutely nothing, UsefulNotes/AndrewJohnson has him beat. (Johnson's wife actually had to teach him to read. As he went on to become a U.S. Senator, and the house of Congress even more elite at the time than it is now, he obviously was a good study.) Oddly enough, they also share the distinction of being the only presidents to be impeached.
* Independent Minnesota author Amanda Hocking.
* Music/JustinBieber. He went from a poor kid with a single mother in low-income housing to one of the most well-known celebrities of today.
* Choi Sung-Bong. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BewknNW2b8Y Contestant who went from being in an orphanage and on the streets to international fame on Korea's Got Talent]], and is widely considered to be a male Susan Boyle.
* Susan Boyle is one of the most famous examples.
* The example from ''TheBlindSide'' up in the Movie section really happened; Michael Oher is a real person, and one of the top offensive lineman in the NFL.
* Ghenghis Khan was raised by a single mother (his father was murdered), his family was outcast and left to die in the steppes. He ended up conquering China and having all its riches.
* AlexanderTheGreat didn't have too good a start with being enslaved along with his father Philip of Macedonia to their enemies. In the end he conquered what was then the known world and had the riches of Persia at his feet.
* Andrew Carnegie went from being a very poor Scottish immigrant in his childhood, to telegrapher in his youth, ''to one of the richest men in the history of the United States (and the world) in his adulthood''. He spent most of his last years in [[UnclePennyBags big-scale philantropic work]]: you will see his name in many different places in the USA and the English-speaking world (e.g. Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Medal).
* Common among founders of Chinese dynasties. For example, Liu Bang (Han) and Zhu Yuanzhang (among many others) began as peasant bandit leaders who eventually became successful.
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