%% Image moved to the Film subpage per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1401730057054884300
%% If you have an image to suggest, please create a thread for the appropriate subpage rather than this page.
->''"You have waylaid all his other plans. Now, as a petulant child, he will destroy the game board rather than admit defeat. Be ready for anything. He still believes himself a god, and gods do not fall gracefully."''
-->-- '''Solas''', on the Elder One, ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition''

The tendency of relatively calm and composed villains to lose their cool over the course of the story. Usually happens to arrogant [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]]-type villains (especially if said villain is a SmugSnake), as control of the situation slips from his or her grasp and things come up that they [[DidntSeeThatComing Didn't See Coming]]. Most notable when it happens towards the end of the story to show how pathetic the BigBad is when things are not going exactly as planned ("ThisCannotBe"). Especially apparent if they previously had CreepyMonotone or DissonantSerenity, and [[MoodWhiplash suddenly]] start ChewingTheScenery (when they do this because their plan is ''succeeding'', it's more of a case of DrunkOnTheDarkSide). {{Dirty Coward}}s also suffer from this, especially when they are cornered.

Similar to OhCrap, though the difference lies in that OhCrap moments involve a single moment where the character finds that they are screwed, while Villainous Breakdowns have them see it coming from miles away. The good-guy counterpart is the HeroicSafeMode.

Note that this isn't necessarily an example of DiminishingVillainThreat. On the contrary, some villains become much more terrifying and dangerous when their façade of cunning and civility crumbles. They might even end up dishing out a vicious NoHoldsBarredBeatdown to the Hero(es), engage in some ColdBloodedTorture or, [[DownerEnding goodness forbid]], drop the VillainBall and [[JustShootHim Just FINISH HIM Already]] instead of playing around. It could even lead them to stop holding back their true nature and assuming their true form as the monster they actually were. Thus, a Villainous Breakdown is frequently a trigger for a OneWingedAngel transformation. AffablyEvil and FauxAffablyEvil villains are prone to becoming far more terrifying and disturbing when they undergo one of these because their fairly ''normal'' personality serve to emphasize their breakdown.

A somewhat less common, but not exactly infrequent, form of breakdown results in the exact opposite reaction: the villain lapses into a catatonic state as the shock of their defeat robs them of their wits. Another form of breakdown occurs due to HeelRealization causing a VillainousBSOD. Yet another is the impotent flailing of a defeated villain, left with nothing without power.

The scale of the breakdown generally depends on the nature -- and overall impressiveness -- of the villain. A SmugSnake, being generally inclined to rate their own abilities higher than everyone around them anyway and less equipped to deal with setbacks, will usually break down more frequently and over relatively minor [[SpannerInTheWorks spanners in the works]], with the resulting tantrum usually being less-than-impressive. A MagnificentBastard, on the other hand, is already the type of villain who's not inclined to sweat the small stuff, and will usually respond to most setbacks fairly calmly; however, this merely means that if their plans suffer a particularly impressive implosion, then this will usually make their resulting breakdown all the more epic. Similarly, a relatively minor or small-scale villain may have a breakdown on the level of a temper tantrum or explosive ClusterFBomb rant; a major or larger scale villain, however, will frequently have a breakdown with potentially (and quite literally) [[OmnicidalManiac world-ending consequences]]. As the old saying goes, "The bigger you are, the harder you fall".

In another type, the breakdown won't be one, sudden explosion, but a gradual progression of smaller, gradually increasing breakdowns happening over the course of the story. As their EvilPlan comes closer to failing or their plans fail again and again, they simply get worse and worse as the breakdown continues, until finally, they lose it completely. This normally happens in the buildup to the final confrontation. This can overlap with SanitySlippage, where a character gradually becomes more and more insane as time goes on. And as a special treat, when the villain finally goes so crazy and bat-shit insane that he completely loses it, other characters tend to hit him with a YoureInsane.

Another type of breakdown is when the villain becomes extremely furious when either something happens that isn't part of his plan or his plans end up being ruined, or both. Once pissed off, he may lose his temper and say such phrases as "WhyWontYouDie", "I've had it with you!", "YouBastard!", or even "ThisIsUnforgivable!". Either way, the villain will scream more and more at the other characters in fury before being bested by them. A string of KickTheDog or BadBoss moments is another subtle way of indicating this, if the villain had previously displayed paternalistic feelings toward his men.

For {{Anti Villain}}s, or ones with a FreudianExcuse, a breakdown can either play CryForTheDevil (if their breakdown is pathetic) or cement them on the far side of the MoralEventHorizon (if they went JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope during their breakdown). A subversion of this trope is GracefulLoser.

Heroes have been known to suffer [[HeroicBSOD similar]] [[FreakOut breakdowns]], though (unless they are making a LastStand) they are much less likely to die during one.

'''Note that this is usually done in a climax and just the fact that one occurs is a pretty big spoiler, so read with caution.'''

Supertrope to VillainousBSOD. Not to confuse with BrokenHeel, which is a literal application of the term.

* VillainousBreakdown/AnimatedFilms
* VillainousBreakdown/AnimeAndManga
* VillainousBreakdown/ComicBooks
* VillainousBreakdown/FanWorks
** [[VillainousBreakdown/TheReviewTeam The Review Team]]
* VillainousBreakdown/{{Film}}
* VillainousBreakdown/{{Gamebook}}
* VillainousBreakdown/{{Literature}}
* VillainousBreakdown/LiveActionTV
* VillainousBreakdown/{{Music}}
* VillainousBreakdown/ProfessionalWrestling
* VillainousBreakdown/{{Theater}}
* VillainousBreakdown/VideoGames
* VillainousBreakdown/VisualNovels
* VillainousBreakdown/{{Webcomics}}
* VillainousBreakdown/WebOriginal
* VillainousBreakdown/WesternAnimation