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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/SouthParkTheStickOfTruth http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nazi_zombie_unusually_large_rat.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:So he's a [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi]], a [[TheUndead Zombie]], and a [[YouDirtyRat Rat]]. [[SarcasmMode Must be a good guy.]]]]
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->''"...And there's this Nazi, who's a bad guy! Why is it that Nazis are always the bad guys?"''
-->-- '''[[WebVideo/BumReviews Chester A. Bum]]''', [[http://channelawesome.com/bum-reviews-x-men-first-class/ reviewing]] ''Film/XMenFirstClass''

Close relatives of AlwaysChaoticEvil, these characters are defined morally and narratively by ''what'' they are, rather than ''who'' they are. Inevitably, the Villain by Default is a member of an organization or class that society as a whole has agreed is evil. For this reason, they require little to no additional characterization to cement their position in the story or motives, and in fact, most Villain by Default characters receive none. Much of the time having to show a MoralEventHorizon for those characters might seem redundant, given that they were obviously beyond it with their whole criminal lifestyle.

Essentially, this is a way to supply ready-made antagonists and EvilMinions without sacrificing screen time. EvilMinions, [[TheDragon Dragon]], and members of the QuirkyMinibossSquad are more dependent on this trope than the BigBad, since the BigBad usually has enough screen time to more clearly establish their motives.

Nazis and neo-Nazis are possibly the ultimate example of modern cinematic Villain by Default characters, since these need no additional characterization - most of society agrees Nazis were evil simply by [[ThoseWackyNazis being Nazis]], and neo-Nazis are even more evil because they're the really dedicated ones (as opposed to the occasional Nazi that was conscripted).

Other common examples of Villain by Default types:
* {{Serial killer}}s (Unless they [[SerialKillerKiller only kill bad people]])
* {{Serial rapist}}s (as well as [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil rapists in general]])
* [[TheAggressiveDrugDealer Drug dealers]]
* [[TheBully Bullies]] (especially in school-related or SliceOfLife works)
* {{Necromancer}}s
* [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain Racial supremacists]] (unless [[TragicBigot they have a]] ''[[TragicBigot really]]'' [[TragicBigot good]] FreudianExcuse)
* [[HollywoodSatanism Satanists]]
* [[SlaveryIsASpecialKindOfEvil Slavers and slave owners]] (unless they live in a society in which slavery is deeply ingrained and are shown to treat their slaves well)
* Tobacco company executives
* [[DirtyCommunists Communists]], especially for works written in the Western countries during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar. Even more so if they're actual KGB agents.
* [[PaedoHunt Pedophiles]]
* [[BondageIsBad Sadomasochists]]
* People who are [[InsaneEqualsViolent psychotic]]
* Anyone or anything in a SciFi show that claims to be a deity, [[NoSuchThingAsSpaceJesus even (or especially) if they have a good case.]]
* [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Goblins]], [[OurOrcsAreDifferent orcs]], and [[OurMonstersAreDifferent various other monsters]]. See AlwaysChaoticEvil.
* [[PredatorsAreMean Carnivorous animals]], because not wanting to starve (or not wanting [[MonsterIsAMommy your offspring]] to starve) is evil when your food is meat and you have to kill it. This goes obviously for animals with human intelligence, given that in real life animals cannot understand such concepts.
* Especially if the hero is poor or common-born, there is a tendency that AristocratsAreEvil and [[CorruptCorporateExecutive the rich]] are often this way
* [[KnightTemplar Religious Fanatics]] (also, on the other end of the spectrum and less commonly portrayed, [[OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions militant atheists]])
* [[EvilDebtCollector Debt collectors]]
* Bandits
* Soldiers, who are often portrayed as either as [[ArmiesAreEvil explicitly this]] or as a NobleProfession, depending on setting and often on the author's politics. When the former, they will either be AxCrazy or FacelessMooks - or [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Bandits by Any Other Name]], especially if this is a civil war/uprising/feud/separatist movement. Of course, what side they are on will also be a huge factor. In the majority of post-Vietnam media, soldiers on either side who participate in combat missions are portrayed as an example of GreyAndGreyMorality.
* [[SadistTeacher Teachers]], [[BadBoss bosses]], and other authority figures in a school or office setting.
* [[PsychoForHire Mercenaries]].
* Political "advisors" from other countries in BananaRepublic settings, who are more interested in creating their own little fiefdom than actually helping the people
* [[TheSociopath Sociopaths]]
* Any kind of GenericDoomsdayVillain.
* And of course, [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment the Nazis]]

If the protagonist of the story is an AntiHero, such as a vigilante or mob boss, or is [[ClearMyName wrongly accused]], then any form of law enforcement will be the antagonist. Whether this is because they are ineffective, corrupt, [[InspectorJavert well-meaning-but-misinformed]], or just in the protagonist's way depends on the specific story.

Naturally, whenever a group is cast as Villains By Default without additional justification, there will be a part of the audience that's going to [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation disagree with the assessment]]. This is particularly true of works that are [[PanderingToTheBase subtly or unsubtly pandering to one "fashionable" prejudice or another]], or that are aimed at very specific audiences. This is where ValuesDissonance will kick in: a work created by a fundamentalist Christian might have a "sinful" person (stripper, alcoholic, what-have-you) as an irredeemable villain, whereas a work by someone who despises Christians will want his/her audience to assume that ''Christians'' are the evil ones.

See also AcceptableTargets and DesignatedHero. Compare SympatheticPOV and DesignatedVillain.

Contrast with NobleProfession, where a character is stereotypically ''good'' because of their career path.



[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Significant aversion: One episode of ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'' involves slavers who had [[IAmAHumanitarian eaten their "cargo"]] to survive in a snowstorm. However, the episode is devoted to showing that despite how wicked their profession, actions, and plan seem once revealed, they're people as well, with loved ones, hopes, and dreams. Which only goes to show that ordinary people, too, are capable of acts of astonishing callousness -- and conversely, that no matter how callous a person is, they're still a ''person''.
* The Abh from ''LightNovel/CrestOfTheStars'' subvert this trope (though they seem to embrace it at first). They have an interstellar empire acquired through conquest and they ban space travel for everyone but the Abh, claiming it's all for good reason; i.e., trying to prevent a vast and destructive conflict.
** Subverted only to a degree as the world of [=CotS=] is bit [[GreyAndGreyMorality grey]].
* Subverted to hell and back again on ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' (''Part II: Battle Tendency'') with '''ThoseWackyNazis'''! No, really! Have we already mentioned that this manga is bizarre? To elaborate: At first, the Nazis are seem trying to revive an [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ancient race of fossilized Mesoamerican vampires]], most likely for the sake of harnessing their power. However, later on it's revealed [[spoiler:that they were investigating them, from the very beginning, for the sake of finding [[{{Immortality}} a way to eliminate them]], as their resurrection would mean the end of the human race]]. In the end, they come up as heroic and badass. They even give the hero, [[CrazyAwesome Joseph]] [[TricksterArchetype Joestar]], [[spoiler: a cool mechanical hand as a thanks gift after he lost it in the final battle.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Holyland}}'', Yuu is repeatedly opposed by delinquents and gangsters. As time goes on, though, you see exceptions with formerly hostile characters who are at least honourable if not outright pull a HeelFaceTurn. Yuu also wonders at times how similar he is to them.

* The {{Anti Hero}}es of ''ComicBook/SinCity'' have taken on many a Villain by Default in their stories.
** Marv has fought hitmen, a police death squad, a corrupt cardinal and a silent and deadly cannibal whose proclivities the cardinal shared.
** Dwight took on a vicious abuser who [[spoiler:turned out to be a ''hero'' cop]], a team of Irish "rented terrorists", and a syndicate bent on enslaving the girls of Old Town.
** Hartigan's primary nemeses were a pedophilic rapist[=/=]SerialKiller and his corrupt US Senator father.
* Intentionally averted in ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'', at least the comic book. Creator/AlanMoore initially intended to write his Nazi antagonists as straight-up cardboard villains, as per typical views of Nazis, before reflecting that Fascists are people, too, who usually have reasons for their actions a little more complex than [[ForTheEvulz evil for evil's sake]]. However, he does this without actually making them or their ideology any more sympathetic. They're mostly pathetic, insecure losers who use their ideology to compensate or ordinary people who were to cowardly to fight back, and instead just went with the flow. [[SympatheticInspectorAntagonist Inspector Finch]], the most humanized of them all, ultimately realizes that he can no longer ignore [[FinalSolution his government's crimes]], and, when given the opportunity to revive it, chooses to let it collapse.

* The Nazis in the ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' series, naturally. In a scene from ''[[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade The Last Crusade]]'', Indy's father tells the BigBad that he is slimy and evil not strictly because he is a Nazi sympathizer, but because he is an ''American'' Nazi sympathizer (i.e., he is betraying his country). Unlike the German soldiers, he had a choice in the matter.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Any military officer of the Galactic Empire is treated as thoroughly evil. Though one might assume that some are {{Punch Clock Villain}}s, just about every one with any characterization [[KickTheDog kicks a dog]] in some fashion. For example, in ''Film/ANewHope'' one Imperial officer racially abuses Chewie.
** The bounty hunters in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'', including Boba Fett, are portrayed (however briefly) as an unsavory bunch.
** We occasionally meet a nice Hutt, but even they are generally only nice when it's convenient for them.

* {{Grand Vizier}}s on Literature/{{Discworld}}. Arguably, grand viziers ''everywhere'', but it's lampshaded every time one shows up in Discworld, sometimes by the Vizier himself. To the point where a new emperor chose a WrongGenreSavvy {{Cloudcuckoolander}} tourist to be his Grand Vizier on the rationale that someone who didn't ''know'' anything about the job would be ''good''.
** When the Unseen University hires a necromancer as a professor he is contractually obligated to do small evil things on a regular basis since necromancy is considered evil magic. He is actually a pretty nice guy.
* Used and then deconstructed in ''Literature/TheImmortals'' with the Stormwings. Their very nature is to desecrate bodies on the battlefield, and they feed on human fear, so they are universally hated by nearly all humans, and most other creatures. To ensure that they have a ready supply of "food," they actively attack people. However, when Daine meets Rikash she learns that not all Stormwings agree with ''waging'' war and have their own set of honor and values--plus their natures were decided by the human mage who created them.

* It was obvious that Kim Lurker from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' was a villain because he was a LoanShark. A recurring LoanShark.

* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' and most fantasy media, Necromancers (Or {{Necromantic}}s) invariably abuse their powers for fun and profit. Even though it's a player accessible subclass of the Wizard, it's rare to see a "good" necromancer. After all, a necromancer who can't cast spells with the "evil" subtype loses most of the necromancer's best spells.
* Quite simply ''everyone'' in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''. When every major race in a setting is listed in ScaryDogmaticAliens, you know you're not looking at a happy galaxy. And it's not only human POV. For example, Eldars consider humans childish and ignorant at best while sharing humanity's views on other aliens.

* You can pretty much count that any non-human robot in the ''Videogame/MegaManX'' and ''Videogame/MegaManZero'' series are down-and-out Mavericks, no exceptions; they're always either infected by TheVirus, criminally insane, or just plain fed up with humanity and aren't going to take it, anymore. Of course, this could also be considered a case of demonization; several Mavericks have called out the main characters as hunting them with little provocation, simply because the humans are paranoid and don't need a reason to point at a robot not doing what they think they should be doing and calling them "Maverick". And then they die at the protagonists' hands, anyway.
** Although, the animal Reploids of ''Zero'' were evil, they weren't considered Mavericks. You're playing on the side of the Mavericks, the bosses are fighting for humanity.
* In ''VideoGame/MirrorsEdge'' you've got the police which you're more than welcome to beat up, steal their weapons and if the need arises push off the side of a 110 storey building. Fair enough you might think in an "evil" government setting but the main character's sister is also a cop.
* Templars in ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'' are neo-luddites with some legitimate concerns (especially those involving the [[TheCuckoolanderWasRight technocratic conspiracies]]). Their modus operandi is [[KillEmAll quite simplistic]] however.
* Two of the bosses in ''VideoGame/TheSuffering: Ties That Bind'' are the spirits of a slave hunter (Copperfield) and a misogynistic serial-murdering pimp (The Creeper).
* The enemies in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne'' games tend to be TheMafia or other gangsters, mercenaries, {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s and [[spoiler:{{Dirty Cop}}s]] - all the sorts of nasty folk that few people would object to slaughtering.


'''Demonization:''' Oftentimes a character's occupation is not inherently evil, but has been demonized by Hollywood. Some examples would be [[EgomaniacHunter hunters]] (because they're bloodthirsty killers), land developers (who "rape the environment"), [[AmoralAttorney lawyers]] (who prey on others' misfortune, and just because they're lawyers) or [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corporate CEOs]] (because they're money-hungry). And don't forget scientists (especially those dealing with anything nuclear or genetic), who're often depicted as {{Mad Scientist}}s. Once demonized in the story, these ones are treated just as evil as a Nazi, terrorist, etc. For positions of Gods, the ones involving the Dead and Death almost inevitably [[EverybodyHatesHades get this treatment]]. Note that this has a postmodern effect, in that many people may now actually see such professions as wicked in and of themselves; on the other hand (and in all fairness), these tend to be professions that annoy people in the first place.

* ''Film/TheLostWorldJurassicPark'' movie featured a CorruptCorporateExecutive, although their big game hunter Roland Tembo (Creator/PetePostlethwaite!) was rather sympathetic, and if a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IauEY2XoMR8 deleted scene]] had been left in, (3:16 in), he would have been a full out [[SubvertedTrope subversion]]. The novel had someone who wanted to do animal testing, and considered that dinosaurs would be the perfect test subject - they already went extinct, so who's going to argue?
** By way of contrast, [[Film/JurassicPark the original movie]] had a ''good'' hunter (technically a game warden), who died in a HeroicSacrifice, as well as a kindly grandpa [=CEO=] - although he was, admittedly, TheMillstone, and in the original book he was a standard Villain by Default instead, who outright states that he would never run any business that helps people, as people tend to get upset when you charge them high prices for something they really ''need''. That's why he is building a theme park, because he can charge any amount he wants to. He makes a whole speech about how helping people is bad. He also ripped off the computer programmer, which gives the programmer another reason to betray him, which leads to the disaster. He also represents someone who is an intentional fool, someone who refuses to deal with inconvenient ''facts''. He's much more sympathetic in the movie.
** Of course, once we saw a lawyer appear in the first movie we ''knew'' he was going to get eaten; having him sitting on a toilet at the time was just lagniappe. Whereas in the book, the lawyer was a bit more of a JerkAss, but a severe badass who punched out a raptor in one scene in contrast to his {{Dirty Coward}}ice in the movie.
** The BigGameHunter game warden in the first book also survives, and is much more useful. He actually kills a couple of the velociraptors, and indirectly helps Dr. Grant and the kids out when he shoots the T-Rex with a tranquilizer dart, which causes it to fall asleep long enough for them to get on a boat and escape downriver.
* Victor Quartermaine from ''WesternAnimation/TheCurseOfTheWereRabbit'' is depicted as an evil hunter; even though his stated goal is the acquisition of the leading lady's fortune, it doesn't explain his pathological need to shoot bunnies.
* The titular monsters from ''Film/{{Bats}}'' were genetically engineered by a "mad" scientist. When asked why he would create such a creature, his response basically sums up the premise of this trope: "Because I'm a scientist! [[ScienceIsBad That's what we do!]]"
* In lighthearted works set in American high schools or similar adolescent environments, it's TheBeautifulElite (the AlphaBitch, the JerkJock, etc.) who are usually automatically evil. This stereotype is so pervasive that even when a pretty girl or boy is not supposed to be a villain, or might even be TheHero, they will still tend to be depicted as deeply flawed.

* Most episodes of ''Series/TheATeam'' start with a villain beating up shopkeepers or generally being a gigantic jerk. One memorable episode begins with the villains threatening to ''kill orphans'' if another character doesn't sign over an orphanage. Additionally, since ''Series/TheATeam'' are fleeing from the military, and they're the heroes, the military is often portrayed as villainous for being after them.
* Federal officers of any kind on the various ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' shows. One exception was a cameo by the woman from ''Series/InPlainSight''.
* ''Series/CSIMiami'' had a few NSA agents as foes of Horatio during the run since they cleaned crime scenes, took suspects or committed crimes and hid behind the Patriot Act.

* Being a comic book universe with a lot of BlackAndWhiteMorality (as most comic book universes have), the heroes of the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' have faced off against a metric buttload of bad guys who were villains by default. [[EvilLawyerJoke Corrupt lawyers]], gangsters, [[AllBikersAreHellsAngels bikers]], [[ProfessionalKiller hitmen]], big game hunters, [[ThoseWackyNazis neo-nazis]], [[CorruptCorporateExecutive evil businessmen]], white supremacists, [[HollywoodSatanism satanists]], [[ReligionOfEvil various other cultists]], voracious aliens, terrorists of every stripe and creed. And of course your average supervillain is in it for the greed and the breaking things. The number of villains that introduced shades of gray could be counted on one hand.

* Elmer Fudd from ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' is usually a classic "evil" hunter, albeit a stupid one. Often subverted when he thinks he successfully bagged Bugs, since [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone he's always upset about having "killed the wabbit"]] afterwards.
** Also the concern of some WB staff such as Creator/FrizFreleng. While Elmer was designated Bugs' main antagonist, they worried he was so meek and unthreatening that audiences would ultimately start to feel Bugs was bullying Elmer rather than thwarting him. Later foes such as Yosemite Sam, Rocky and Muggsy, and Marvin The Martian were created to counter this by being far more self explanatory villains, while Elmer became more commonly cast in non villainous roles.
* Many of the villains on ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' are industrialists, whose sole motivation seems to be to produce as much pollution as possible. The exception is Looten Plunder, who is of course in it for the money. Hoggish Greedly was also in it for the buck, though he wasn't a billionaire like Plunder, but a less wealthy pioneer in dirty industry. However, their motives didn't remain consistent, and oftentimes, they would harm the environment out of sheer malice.
** This was an EnforcedTrope. The villains produce pollution ForTheEvulz so that children whose parents work in polluting industries didn't think their parents were villains.