[[quoteright:350:[[Comicbook/KryptoniteNevermore http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/superman_vol1_issue234_page09.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[Franchise/{{Superman}} He]] doesn't go out of his way to disobey laws, but if he has to choose between "right" and "lawful"...]]

->'''Picard:''' I am about to commit a direct violation of our orders. Any of you who wish to object should do so now. It will be noted in my log.\\
'''Data:''' Captain, I believe I speak for everyone here, sir, when I say... ''to hell with our orders''.
-->-- ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact''

So the BigDamnHeroes are about to set off to SaveTheWorld. Not so fast, [[LawfulStupid red tape and bureaucracy]] are standing in the way of the world's last hope. Well, there's only one thing to do. Ignore the orders of the ObstructiveBureaucrat and/or CorruptBureaucrat, then go SaveTheWorld anyway. This is, after all, a MatterOfLifeAndDeath.

Other, less dramatic examples are usually helping someone out when the rules say that you shouldn't. Or obeying your CuriousQualmsOfConscience rather than your careful instruction in right and wrong.

However, when a LawfulGood character has [[ToBeLawfulOrGood to choose between order and what's right]], they may break Lawful rather than Good and end up on this path. Some particularly scrupulous types will even willingly accept punishment afterward; this is called "civil disobedience". More often, though, they're SavedByTheAwesome.

Applying this trope does ''not'' mean that the [[IDidWhatIHadToDo ends justify the means]], but rather that the person acts compassionate and follows his conscience even when the rules would forbid it (or to put it another way, they ''do'' justify the means, but the means usually aren't very terrible). When a KnightTemplar attempts this, they are likely to go JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope [[IDidWhatIHadToDo Doing What They Had To Do]] instead -- see TautologicalTemplar and TotalitarianUtilitarian (formerly named The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions).

A good aligned CowboyCop[=/=]MilitaryMaverick will almost certainly invoke this trope at least once. Doing this is often the way to pass a SecretTestOfCharacter.

Can be the cause of AwakeningTheSleepingGiant if a group's new leaders decide to break with tradition. If the rules are such that the character is already on the run from the law, see DudleyDoRightStopsToHelp. If it involves directly disobeying a direct order of a superior officer in the armed forces, it's TheMutiny. The ChaoticGood are the personifications of this element. NeutralGood characters consider this trope in their options but may or may not elect it. LawfulStupid may ignore this to a fault.

Compare SuddenPrincipledStand, ScrewThisImOuttaHere and FrequentlyBrokenUnbreakableVow. Contrast its EvilCounterpart, JustFollowingOrders.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight/AnimeAndManga
* [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight/LiveActionFilms Films -- Live Action]]
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight/{{Literature}}
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight/LiveActionTV
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight/VideoGames


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In Devil's Due's ''GIJoe vs the {{Transformers|Generation1}}'', the Joes defy orders to capture Wheeljack and Bumblebee, who were already working with them, and take them to Area 51 for study when they find out that the nukes the government plans to hit the Cobra base with are going to have an [[EarthShatteringKaboom adverse effect]] when combined with the Energon that Cobra is trying to produce.
** Heck, under Creator/LarryHama's pen, the Joes regularly went against orders from more corrupt organizations like the Jugglers in order to do the right thing instead. One story arc even featured ''[[{{Deuteragonist}} Destro]]'' saving the Joes after they were framed by a corrupt General.
*** The AnimatedAdaptation had Destro do so during the "Synthoid Conspiracy" two-parter when Cobra Commander had the Synthoids impersonate Duke and other military figures, as well as Congressional Budget Committee members (in an effort to undercut GIJoe and disband it). It failed miserably when the Commander tried to make a Synthoid of ''Destro'' and made the real Destro believe the Commander went that one step too far.
* Franchise/{{Superman}}:
** Despite his "Big Blue Boyscout" reputation, Superman is willing to tear straight through any laws in his way if lives are on the line. He'll also willingly turn himself in afterward.
** In ''Comicbook/KryptoniteNevermore'', Superman does not go out of his way to break laws, but he doesn't feel inclined to obey unjust ones.
--->'''Superman:''' I can't let that happen! If worst comes to worst, I'll have to defy Harker — and take the consequences! Because there's a moral law that's above some man-made laws! I've fought tyrants before... thought it meant defying their inhuman decrees!
* Deconstructed in ''ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}'' story ''ComicBook/{{Bizarrogirl}}''. ''[[Comicbook/NewKrypton Previously]]'' Supergirl illegally extradited super-villain Reactron. She thought she was doing the right thing when she took him back to New Krypton so he answered for his crimes, but he got a KangarooCourt and got tortured. And then he revealed that he was a human bomb set to blow the planet up. Which he did.
* This is Franchise/{{Batman}}'s thing. The point of him dressing up like a giant bat and haunting the night is because he would never get anything done playing by the rules. Especially when the rules are made by corrupt officials who are connected to criminals. In fact, this was what lead to the creation of ComicBook/BatmanAndTheOutsiders.
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica:
-->''Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world -- [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome "No, YOU move."]]''
* Most of the anti-registration superheroes in ''ComicBook/CivilWar.''
* The dawn of UsefulNotes/{{the Bronze Age|OfComicBooks}} pretty much happened when [[Comicbook/GreenLantern Hal Jordan]], following a lecture from ComicBook/GreenArrow, disobeyed the Guardians' orders and set out to stop a crooked businessman who was putting poor families out on the streets.
** This is a fairly common theme in Comicbook/GreenLantern, period. The four human lanterns, and often a number of the alien ones, will go against a direct order from the Guardians or their Justice League teammates if they believe it will serve a greater purpose. Kyle Rayner sends a prisoner to Zamaron instead of Oa, John Stewart tells Batman to shove it when Bats disrespects Hal, the aforementioned Hal Jordan example, and Guy Gardner...well, he's freaking Guy Gardner.
* [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Uatu, the Watcher]] is an observer sworn [[PrimeDirective not to interfere]] in the affairs of Earth, but [[HumansAreSpecial there's just something about humans--]] (Note that Uatu has ''frequently'' gotten in trouble for this from the other members of his species, and is apparently currently on some form of probation.)
* This trope is pretty much the reason that ComicBook/NickFury made ComicBook/SecretWar happen.
* In ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' comic book story "The Smurf Menace", Papa Smurf orders his little Smurfs not to respond to the Gray Smurfs with violence when the Gray Smurfs ward them away from the dam with weapons during their protest of the Gray Smurfs hoarding all the water. Later on, when the Smurfs see that the Gray Smurfs were harassing them and robbing them of food that they were harvesting from the forest, Hefty decides to pick a fight with the Gray Smurfs and send them back to their village with nothing but bruises. The Smurfs applaud Hefty for his heroic act, but Papa Smurf still scolds Hefty for going against his orders...which immediately afterward [[ChewOutFakeOut he smiles, realizing that Hefty's decision to do so has resulted in his little Smurfs being united together again]].
* Pretty much what happens with most of the superheroes except for Superman in DC Comics' ''[[ComicBook/LegendsDC Legends]]'' when the President of the United States has to enforce a ban on superhero activity, seeing that the supervillains would take advantage of this ban to commit crimes without any interference.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* FanFic/AGrowingAffection: This is the impetus for two of the major arcs. In the second instance, Tsunade gives Naruto and company an order knowing it will invoke this trope.
* In ''[[FanFic/ThingsWeDontTellHumans Things We Don't Tell Humans]]'', this occurs when the NEST soldiers take Optimus Prime's body to Egypt during the [[Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen Revenge Arc]], and when Optimus authorizes nanite therapy for Dana.
* Watson does this in [[DeliverUsFromEvilSeries Mortality]] when Holmes gets captured (and tortured) with an inch of his life. [[TooDumbToLive Way to go, Smith. You've just succeeded in seriously pissing off a mild-mannered doctor. Now you're going to wind up lying in a pool of your own blood.]]
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7678167/1/Destiny Destiny]]'', Lauren disobeys an order from the Ash by helping a pregnant Fae come to term and delivers the baby. Unlike most other examples, there are serious consequences: the Ash throws Lauren in solitary confinement, but only after having some thugs beat her within an inch of her life. Despite the permanent physical discomfort, nightmares and psychological/emotional damage, and partial loss of movement in an arm, Lauren comments that she would do it again.
* This is quite possibly the patron trope of Knight Commander Sir Valkron of ''Fanfic/WarriorsOfTheWorldSoldiersOfFortune'', to the point that he very nearly loses his job because he disobeyed an order to not disobey.
* In ''Fanfic/BoysUndSenshado'', Akio breaks safety rules to [[spoiler:save Miho from accidentally being run over after she gets shot]].
-->'''Kay''': That boy broke safety rules [[spoiler:dismounting to get you]]... but I think they'll overlook that, since [[spoiler:he saved your life]]. I think he should get a medal for doing it, myself.
* ''[[FanFic/MLPNextGenerationKnowFear MLP Next Generation: Know Fear!]]'':
** Sunny Skies chooses to sacrifice her own career in the Royal Guard in order to [[spoiler: free Starburst from the Canterlot dungeons]] because it's the right thing to do to win the war.
** Starburst ultimately does this as well, [[spoiler: going rogue and letting herself be declared a criminal]], if that's what it takes for her to [[AntiHero fight the war the way she needs to]].
* ''Fanfic/TheOnlyWayToGo'':
** The Federation had the events of the Battle of Goralis declared classified (the cover story is a training accident), but Tia broke the rules to tell Sobaru's parents the real story. This is acknowledged as being illegal both in-universe and out- (Tropers/StarSword compared it to Viper telling Maverick about Duke Mitchell's death in ''Film/TopGun''), but everyone's in agreement that the decision to cover it up was plain insulting to those who died. (The question becomes moot in the next story, after [[spoiler:a hacker dumps about a jillion bytes of classified Federation data onto TheAlternet]].)
** Meanwhile, General Elwar Murin, the Commandant of the Bajoran Militia, is ''not'' a member of Starfleet and due to her position has the authority to tell Starfleet what it can go do with itself on a limited basis. WordOfGod is that she told the real story to everyone at the funeral partly because it was right, and [[InterServiceRivalry partly just to give the finger to Starfleet Command]].
--->'''Elwar:''' I know damn well what the official story said, Corporal, and as far as I care Starfleet Command can ''piss up a rope''. They’re not ''my'' boss and they'd bloody better find Commander Kojami a medal before I break protocol and name her to the Order of the Five Moons.
* ''Fanfic/SummerCrowns'': The magisters of Pentos learn how much Robert respects a truce banner when [[spoiler: you present him with the heads of fourteen slave children as a warning.]]

[[folder: Film - Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'', by law, Shang should have executed Mulan once he discovered she was [[SweetPollyOliver a girl disguised as a man]]. But because she had earlier saved his life, he drops his sword and lets her go. Despite the protests of ObstructiveBureaucrat Chi Fu, the army rides off without her.
-->'''Shang:''' A life for a life. My debt is repaid.
* In Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', Frollo orders Captain Phoebus to burn down a windmill -- with a couple and their two children locked inside of it. Phoebus objects, saying that he was not trained to murder innocent civilians, to which Frollo replies, "But you were trained to follow orders.". Phoebus then put out the torch that he was given by dunking it into a barrel of water. After that happens, Frollo starts the fire himself. Phoebus promptly breaks into the windmill to get the family out safely, and is arrested immediately afterward. Frollo comments on how he expected better from such a decorated officer.
-->'''Phoebus:''' [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Consider it my highest honor.]]

* Music/{{Sabaton}}'s [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uk2NeKBG5A "Hearts of Iron"]] is about the German 12th Army defying its impossible orders to stop the Soviet advance into Berlin at all costs. Instead, at great cost they forced open a corridor to American lines that saved tens of thousands of lives.
-->''It's the end, the war has been lost\\
Keeping them safe 'til the river's been crossed\\
''[[GratuitousGerman Nicht ein Schlacht, ein Rettungsaktion]]''[[labelnote:Ger.:]]This is not a battle, it's a rescue operation[[/labelnote]]\\
Holding their ground 'til the final platoon\\
"Hurry up, we're waiting for you"\\
Men of the 9th, and civilians too\\
Dispossessed, surrendering to the West''

* The protagonist in the Parable of the GoodSamaritan as told in ''TheBible'' (Luke 10:29-37) could be considered the UrExample, although Jesus probably didn't base the character on a real person.
** Jesus himself fits this trope in many respects, blatantly altering or disregarding then-common interpretations of Mosaic law when he felt the rules had gotten in the way of doing what was right. (But since he's God made manifest in the flesh, he does have authority to interpret the laws as he sees fit to do so.) A prominent example is in Luke 6:6-10, when he calls the Pharisees out for not helping the man with his right hand withered during the Sabbath and heals the man afterward.
--> '''Jesus:''' [[ArmorPiercingQuestion I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?]]

[[folder:Tabletop RPGs]]
* In the classic CharacterAlignment system (first featured in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''), this is generally how ChaoticGood is interpreted. When it's ''not'', NeutralGood tends to step into the breach (Chaotic Good has tendencies towards ignoring rules as a matter of course - Neutral Good will ignore the rules when necessary, but make no special effort to flout them when it's not). LawfulGood characters can ''sometimes'' get away with this to avoid falling into StupidGood territory.
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' 3.5, grey guards are paladins who experienced a HeroicBSOD and have decided to take this trope as their creed. They will protect the greater good, no matter what laws might restrict them ordinarily, and [[PayEvilUntoEvil no matter what it might take.]] Some players think this class completely misses the point [[IncorruptiblePurePureness of being a paladin,]] since it advocates an IDidWhatIHadToDo attitude. On the other hand, it gives the player more freedom to use their [[HolyHandGrenade powers of smiting evil and injustice]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Lord Shojo of ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' felt the restrictions on the Oaths that prevented them from seeking out the other Gates were too restrictive, especially since two Gates were destroyed within the last 20 years. However, his plans all involved disregarding his Oaths, going behind the backs of his paladins, and contacting foreign mercenaries. While Shojo is portrayed sympathetically, [[WordOfGod Rich]] points out that Shojo never considered trying to convince the paladins that the Oaths were outdated (plus, one of the locations was heavily booby trapped in case Soon or his followers decided to do this, the trapper believing this trope in the hands of paladins would only be a self-righteous justification).
** Miko actually said the phrase "The laws have no meaning... Only honor and the will of the gods matter now". Granted, it turned out that she was doing the wrong, incredibly stupid thing, but she [[KnightTemplar was convinced]] that [[spoiler:killing Lord Shojo]] was the right and necessary thing to do.
* ''Webcomic/DomainTnemrot'' has [[http://www.tnemrot.com/?p=74 Angel helping Dae]] after his fight, even though she's not allowed in the ring and is [[http://www.tnemrot.com/?p=74 almost killed for it]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'':
** The Mayor's assistant deliberately goes against the Mayor's [[FantasticRacism decisions]] to help Florence stop [[spoiler:Gardener in the Dark]], noting that there are some things worth risking your internship for.
** Also in ''Freefall'', Florence notes that some people are criminals because they're bad, others are criminals because they're out of legal options.
* ''Webcomic/{{Follower}}'': Colonel Harren is a downplayed version of this. He is respectful to his superiors and follows orders given, but he is doing whatever he can to actively subvert the weaponizaion part of Project Cottontail with Dr. Calway.
* ''Webcomic/{{Exiern}}'': Following some epic-level {{Rules Lawyer}}ing and LoopholeAbuse, Coriander (a CorruptChurch official outed as a pedophile) is about to walk away scot-free - with promises of retribution to those who exposed his crimes. Gender-Bent hero Tiffany decides enough is enough, publicly resigns her position in the royal court, then [[GroinAttack castrates]] [[http://www.exiern.com/2016/03/03/all-together-now/ Coriander.]] And follows it up with a TheReasonYouSuck speech to the assembled court:
-->'''Tiffany''': "If the Alliance thinks that squabbling over arcane traditions and legal loopholes, while a provable child molester walks away, is '''civilization''' then you have all failed at it. Miserably. [[BarbarianHero My people]], who you call savages, know better. This is not a land of reason, it is institutionalized madness, and I'll have no part in it."
* ''WebComic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings'': The main reason why Commander Badass never became Captain Badass was that he repeatedly went off on [[NoOneGetsLeftBehind unauthorized rescue missions]]. That he often came back from said missions with his body and cybernetics in a shape that necessitated enormous amounts of medical intervention and repairs didn't exactly endear him to his superiors either.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/IronManArmoredAdventures'': In the episode "Fun with Laser", ComicBook/IronMan goes against Nick Fury's order to stop the Living Laser and save the SHIELD space station after Nick's first {{plan}} fails spectacularly.
** Pretty much Pepper's reason for every plan of hers, despite some plans including destroying the enemy's entire company.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' episode, "Cat and Mouse", Anakin decides to engage Admiral Trench after he sends bombers to bomb the command center where Bail Organa is, because Anakin wants to not have Obi-Wan risk his fleet by engaging Trench, because he has less resources, and would be walking into a deathtrap.
* In ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'', the Lyoko Warriors are often forbidden by the faculty from leaving class or traveling off the property of their boarding school, Kadic Academy, in order to reach a factory housing a supercomputer so as to neutralize the attacks of the highly-dangerous artificial intelligence, XANA, mainly when an attack has not noticeably surfaced, and because only the Lyoko Warriors know about the supercomputer and XANA. However, there have been instances where they use (or attempt to use) going to the bathroom/infirmary as an excuse, attempt to barter for release, or even outright escape when the teachers have their backs turned.
* In one episode of ''Popeye And Son'', WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}} and his son are in a father/son contest, and one of the rules forbids the use of spinach. They end up breaking this rule when they have to save Wimpy and his nephew.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "[[CerebusSyndrome Screams of Silence:]] [[DarkerAndEdgier The Story of Brenda Q.]]", police officer Joe was initially against Quagmire's suggestion that they kill his sister's abusive boyfriend, since it would be murder. But when he witnesses the abuse for himself, his response is...
-->'''Joe:''' [[LetsGetDangerous Let's waste this dick.]]
** And in "Thanksgiving", a flashback shows Joe chasing a homeless man who stole some food, but he lets the guy off the hook when he sees he stole it to feed his starving family.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', Captain America suspects something is mind-controlling the Hulk to go berserk, who is currently captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and General Ross. When nothing can be done to convince them to let the Hulk go, he then proceeds to break into the underwater base and breaks all sorts of rules to rescue Hulk, which is against his otherwise extremely lawful persona.
* Hal tends to do this in ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'', much to the annoyance of his bosses, the Guardians (save [[CoolOldGuy Ganthet]], who seems to follow in Hal's belief in this). {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Kilowog when Hals shows annoyance at Aya for doing the same after learning it from his example.
* ''Franchise/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** Korra from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' has this attitude with a mix of ScrewTheRulesIHaveSupernaturalPowers.
** Her mentor Katara from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' also shows this attitude when she wants to save a village from a Fire Nation troop (whose factory polluting the river is destroyed by her).
* Kion from ''WesternAnimation/TheLionGuard'' is told by his father Simba that to be a true Lion Guard, his patrol must be [[FantasticRacism all lions]]. Kion later says that it doesn't matter that his friends aren't lions; what matters is that they protect the Pridelands together.
* The contest to send an Amazon out into Man's World that's key to most versions of Franchise/WonderWoman's origin was AdaptedOut of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' with Hippolyta instead deciding to ignore a crisis and telling Diana not to interfere, and Diana deciding to ignore said edict.