[[caption-width-right:350:Being trapped helpless in hell? Just a minor inconvenience for DR. DOOM!]]

->''"I will not yield,\\
To kiss the ground before Young Malcolm's feet,\\
And to be baited with the rabble's curse.\\
Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane,\\
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,\\
Yet I will try the last. Before my body\\
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff;\\
And damned be him that first cries: 'Hold, enough!'"''
-->-- '''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}''', Act 5, Scene 8.

This is one method for avoiding doldrums from having an InvincibleHero. Scenes of Villainous Valor show the antagonists to be outmatched, forcing them to rely on daring, cunning, skill and determination to hold their own against the heroes, or at least [[FaceDeathWithDignity go out with a little dignity]]. They sometimes even [[LastVillainStand continue a hopeless battle]] for higher reasons than spite! This often results in a tense back-and-forth as the heroes' raw power is set against whatever the villains brought.

Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but the mark of Villainous Valor is that it sees the "bad guys" using tropes that you wouldn't expect from them. In fact, if you were just tuning in, you might even be confused about who you're expected to root for. A fight between the KnightInShiningArmor and TheDragon with his SpikesOfVillainy will often leave you cheering for TheHero, but what if TheDragon locks swords with [[ImplacableMan the hero]] and gets between the hero and his [[BigBad master]], to [[HeroicSacrifice allow him]] [[UndyingLoyalty time to escape]]? The scene changes completely.

This often appears in shows where the [[AntiVillain villains are sympathetic]] or [[AntiHero the heroes questionable]]. Nevertheless, this is '''not''' a trope about [[RootingForTheEmpire viewer sympathy]] so much as bravery, ingenuity and [[WeakButSkilled skill]] on the part of a villainous underdog. If the villains are acting more like the soon-to-be-slaughtered protagonists of a horror film, we might be looking at a MookHorrorShow instead. Contrast DavidVersusGoliath, where the hero is the weaker one.

This valour may show up more easily in an EvilVersusEvil fight. The BadassNormal villain may be arrogant, determined, sure of himself and DefiantToTheEnd against the BadassNormal hero, but what if he has to fight against an EldritchAbomination? Perhaps [[TheWorfEffect he is defeated easily]], just to prove that the eldritch abomination means business. Or perhaps... he will be arrogant, determined, sure of himself and defiant to the end, even in the face of armageddon. In that case, he may earn our admiration. And if he even manages to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu punch out]] or [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu scam]] the eldritch abomination, even more so.

Compare WorthyOpponent. See also EvilVirtues. This sort of behavior is the staple of the NobleDemon.

This trope also has a complicated relationship with BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork, wherein villains are capable of being depicted committing actions that are from a logical point of view beneficial to the protagonist and also entirely necessary, but would conflict with a protagonist's moral code; when the villain does this in a self-sacrificing or at the very least supremely cool manner, then it combines the two tropes. However as often as not, the villain really is doing actually reprehensible things that just also happen to require astonishing resolve and bravery to pull off.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Greed's chimeras in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' are [[UndyingLoyalty unswervingly loyal]] to him since he not only freed them from prison but is also [[BenevolentBoss surprisingly good to them]]. Two of them end up taking on Wrath knowing full well they won't last a minute just so Greed can escape, a third attempts a sneak attack to kill him (and fails), and the rest are killed taking on the State Military for pretty much the same reason.
** The soldier taken hostage by Olivier to get the city gates open, who shouts at his men to keep them closed no matter what. Olivier, who'd earlier chastised him for being an armchair general with no thought to what real soldiers go through, is impressed despite herself.
** [[spoiler:King Bradley/Wrath]] is a genocidal bastard and more than a bit of a BloodKnight, but he took on a ''tank'' frontally armed only with a sabre and a stick grenade.
* In the early engagements against the Combat Cyborgs in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'', we're presented with a small group of specialists carrying out a daring mission against a whole world full of mages led by a pair of warriors who could mop the floor with them in a straight fight. (The Numbers who can stand up to Fate and Nanoha are introduced later.) Nevertheless, through a series of hair-raising encounters and desperate escapes, they finally win through and make off with the {{Macguffin}}'s box.
** Mitigated by the fact that they are backed up by a very literal army of robotic drones armed with state-of-the-art antimagic technology and show no compunctions about being willing to open fire on an unarmed transport carrying, among other things, a helpless child; [[spoiler: later revelations about said child's nigh invulnerability notwithstanding.]]
** For instance, and before switching to the good side, Fate Testarossa shows an exceptional amount of bravey, particularly when it becomes evident the Time-Space Administration Bureau is going after her and her own mother and boss using the girl almost like an expendable soldier, she still presses on in finding the Jewel Seeds.
** This is one of the lesser-observed common threads often found in ''Nanoha''. The Wolkenritter in ''A's'' start out stronger on an individual basis than the protagonists, but they're massively outnumbered and, by the middle of the series, outgunned as well. They still carry on their fight, though, until TheReveal.
* This appears many times in the ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' series. Given the [[GrayAndGrayMorality nature of the universe]], it makes sense.
** Several versions feature enemy [[AcePilot aces]] piloting machines that are no match for the Gundams, but able to hold their own thanks to superior skill.
*** Early on, Zechs Marquise of ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Gundam Wing]]'' managed to disrupt Heero's descent despite him being in a 15-year-old mech while Heero was in what may have been the most powerful Gundam at the time and just curb stomped his two wingmen. Then there are the characters like Walker and Otto, who perform {{Heroic Sacrifice}}s because they're that loyal to [[AFatherToHisMen Zechs]].
*** And then there's the final battle, where the Earth's forces exclusively use said 15-year-old mech despite the fact that their enemies are state-of-the-art MechaMooks that give even the Gundams a hard time.
*** Char was introduced this way: the Gundam had been shown invulnerable to the Zaku II used by Zeon at that time, then Char arrives in another Zaku and makes clear the only thing SAVING Amuro is said invulnerability of the Gundam. Later [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by Ramba Ral, who, upon having his Gouf destroyed by the Gundam, remarks that Amuro only won because the Gundam was more powerful. Later inverted in the final battle: Char finally has a mobile suit that is superior to the Gundam, but the only reason Char pulls a draw is that Amuro dragged the fight so the rest of the Federation armada would be able to attack Zeon's space fortress without having to deal with Zeon's most capable shipkiller.
*** Another UC example, from the original series: right after Ramba Ral's introduction, the ''White Base'' is sighted by a group of Zeon soldiers who, knowing that the Gundam was on board and hoping to be allowed to return home, decided to take on the Gundam in spite of knowing well they were underequipped. They nearly destroy the Gundam after nearly dying placing time bombs on it, and after Amuro narrowly disarms the last they decide to be good sports and, dressed as civilians, come to the ''White Base'' to say hi (Bright sees right through it but [[WorthyAdversary allows them to leave]]). Nobody will ever be more successful than them against the Gundam until Amuro use it as a bait to take down [[TheRival Char]].
*** Garma Zabi kamikaze-ing his ship into the ''White Base'' and Dozle Zabi's OneManArmy attack with the Big Zam on TheFederation.
** The early parts of ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 Gundam 00]]'' have this in spades, as the pilots of Celestial Being crash around invincibly and the rest of the world scrambles to keep up. You even see {{Mook}}s making HeroicSacrifices.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]'' has Captain Ben Wooder an EliteMook and MauveShirt who appeared in episodes 17-20. Initially little more than a SmugSnake, Wooder quickly proved to have an intense dedication to carrying out his orders, no matter what he had to do to make them possible. When supremely powerful Cyber-Newtype Four Murasame deserted, leaving the ''Tsudori'' without a pilot for the [[WeaponsOfMassDestruction Psyco Gundam]], Wooder climbed into the cockpit himself, despite having no experience with it and no Newtype powers. That alone would probably qualify him, but it's his exit in Episode 20 that really cements his status. With Four defeated, and the rest of his ship's mobile suits out of commission, Wooder orders the rest of his crew off the ''Tsudori'' and prepares to ram the ''Audhumla'' with it. When Four returns and tries to stop him, he shoots her himself. When Kamille tries to stop the ''Tsudori'' and steal a rocket booster off of it, Wooder climbs into a gun turret and tries to shoot the Mark II Gundam down himself, despite the danger this presents to the ship. His bravery is such that it inspires a number of his men to stay behind and make the HeroicSacrifice with him.
*** Given that he's a BadassNormal in a mook suit facing down a telepathic and telekenetic hero in a SuperPrototype with whom he CantCatchUp, Villainous Valor is [[TheRival Jerid Messa]]'s entire shtick. [[SociopathicSoldier Yazan Gable]], who while unsympathetic, earns the respect of the audience and the undying hatred of the main cast for the ingenuity that he brings to his attempts at taking them down. Like Jerid, he's a BadassNormal, yet he still manages to be a HeroKiller in a show full of psychics.
** Deconstructed in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans'', Carta Issue along with her bodyguards are honourable soldiers who sought to defeat their foes in a honourable duel, which fell into deaf ears when [[spoiler: [[CombatPragmatist Mikazuki Augus]] [[ExtremeMeleeRevenge indiscriminately kills every last one of them]] when they are ''[[KilledMidSentence outside]]'' their mechs [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown as brutal as he can]] [[TheStoic without giving a damn]]. [[KarmicDeath They had it coming]] for [[ItsPersonal killing Biscuit]].]]
* Fights in ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' are often shown more from the villains' perspective, and we get to see their horror/resolve while Alucard goes OneWingedAngel and [[EvilLaugh cackles like a madman.]] You may even feel a whisper of sympathy for the Nazi Vampires as a SR-71 Blackbird crashes down on their heads and a shadowy EldritchAbomination bursts out of the flames to destroy them.
** Sure, some bad guys keep their cool and go out like protagonists, but others, such as Lief and Jessica or Luke Valentine [[MookHorrorShow can't quite manage it.]] While [[spoiler:Anderson]] seems to be a triumphal example in Volume 8, [[spoiler: he equalizes the power difference by using the [[UpgradeArtifact Nail]].]]
* Take a look at the opening scene of the third ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'' movie. Setsunano Takemaru, a normal samurai with a simple sword, charges into a flaming castle ''missing one of his arms'' to confront a powerful Demon Lord wielding freakin' [[ArtifactOfDoom Sounga]]. He was unquestionably a wretched punk who deserved everything that was coming to him, but ''damn.''
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'':
** Cell shows this from time to time, as he's pitted against near impossible odds, yet finds ways to still outsmart his opponents. When he finally reaches perfection and realizes he's no longer the underdog, he gives the heroes more time to prepare as a concession that someone may prove to be a WorthyOpponent. It's later subverted when Cell breaks down and runs out of all his tricks but [[TakingYouWithMe one to defeat Gohan]].
** At times, this might apply to Majin Buu as well. In terms of raw power, he frequently ends up outclassed, and there's often a back-and-forth between the protagonists and Buu over who is actually stronger. Come to think of it, that's what much of the battles in ''Dragon Ball Z'' revolves around. Even matches are rare.
** Much of [[EnsembleDarkhorse Vegeta's]] popularity and various trips around the HeelFaceRevolvingDoor are fuelled by the fact that he is genuinely courageous in a fight, and is a true {{Determinator}} when it comes to pushing himself harder and further to achieve the standards he sets himself.
** Deconstructed with Frieza. While Frieza is a true {{Determinator}}, refusing to give up and continuing to try to fight Goku even after being dismembered by his own attack, his defeat is ultimately brought about ''because'' of his inability to KnowWhenToFoldEm.
* Here's a simple one. In the final episode of ''Anime/{{Noir}}'', Kirika is attacked in close-quarters by a knife-wielding battle nun. After her first attack is dodged, the nun finds a gun in her face while her knife is poised too far away to stand a chance of killing Kirika first. Does she give up and beg for her life? No. She steels herself, moves to flip the knife downwards again and promptly gets shot in the face.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' when Gaara and Rock Lee fight Kimimaro, the latter displays a respectable sense of honor throughout the fight. In the end he is trapped underground, outmatched, when in a final dramatic effort he is stopped dead inches away from killing Gaara by his own disease.
** Actually a lot of the bad guys in the Naruto universe show traces of this. Bad guys like Haku, Zabuza, Nagato, etc all fight with a level of determination that earns the respect of the good guys.
** Kisame is possibly the best example of this trope. AxCrazy kidnapper that thinks nothing of cutting limbs off Jinchuriki so they can't get away he may be, but when backed into a corner, rather than let his enemies forcibly read his mind, he bites off his own tongue to end the mind reading, and commits suicide. Say what you will about the cause itself, Kisame was ready to die for it.
** [[spoiler: Obito regains control of his body and mind from a potential world-destroying EldritchAbomination through ThePowerOfLove. If his status as BigBad wasn't so cemented through all the horrible things he's done, this could be mistaken for the hero's climax.]]
* Seen in episode 4 of ''LightNovel/{{Katanagatari}}'' with the Maniwa Insect Squad and Nanami. [[MuggingTheMonster Sort of.]] [[MookHorrorShow It was quite scary.]]
* Almost certainly intentional, at the end of the first season of ''Anime/CodeGeass'', Lelouch finally gets the upper hand over the arrogant, racist Cornelia... in the most douchy way possible, and inspires her and her men to put up a valiant defence against overwhelming odds that ends up making her look like the hero. Cornelia might qualify as this before as her greatest virtue is her valour, but this is the first time she's truly outmatched.
** One of the reasons Jeremiah Gottwald became [[EnsembleDarkhorse so ridiculously popular]] was that, much like Cornelia, his racism and arrogance was tempered by genuine courage on the battlefield, and his [[MemeticMutation loyalty]] to those he served. Consequently, his ButtMonkey [[TheChewToy Chew Toy]] status at the start of the series seemed somewhat unfair, and fan demand turned him into something much more.
* It's possible to overlook the fact that [[GreenThumb Shi]][[MusicalAssassin rabe]] is actually the bad guy for her fight in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' considering [[spoiler:A. she has [[BrokenBird a legitimate reason for her behavior]] B. was outnumbered six to one C. [[AntiVillain has good intentions]] and D. showed some awesome PluckyGirl and UndyingLoyalty credentials since hse was fighting for the guy [[IOweYouMyLife whom she owes her life to]]. The fact that this resulted in Asuna being put back on the ritual altar without any means of getting her back off of it only hits you a moment later.]]
** Made even better by the fact that the good guys' victory [[spoiler: would have resulted in the magic ritual activating improperly, which would have wiped out almost all life on Magicus Mundus, as it's implied the ritual had gone too far for even the bad guys to stop it.]]
** There's also Fate's first fight with [[ShowyInvincibleHero Jack Rakan]]. Going into the fight, Jack is clearly show to be much stronger than Fate, but Fate keeps fighting despite clearly losing, and actually managed to hurt him, which is definitely impressive since outside of flashbacks to the war and Negi absorbing one the energy from one of his attacks, everything thrown at Jack is treated as NoSell.
* Viral in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''. [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Constantly.]]
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'' has some, starting from Domel, who, after his master plan to destroy the ''Yamato'' backfires at the last moment, try to stop it and the doom it brings for Gamilas by blowing up himself with the ship, to Deslar, who, in spite of being the BigBad of the first series and TheDragon in the second, is an extremely brave character (and, in spite of inferior technology, much more effective against the ''Yamato'' than the generals of the White Comet Empire) who later pulls a HeelFaceTurn. Later the third season gives us one combined with RootingForTheEmpire: we are first introduced to the Bolar Federation as one of their fleets try and fails to fight a Galman fleet (shown crewed by Gamilas people, usually the villains), and, later, one of their officers, Ram, is shown as a sympathetic character who dies in battle after apologizing for unwillingly involving Earth in the war between Bolar and Galman. Only later we find out that the Bolar are space Nazis, and then that the Galman soldiers that attacked the ''Yamato'' are [[WellIntentionedExtremist Well Intentioned Extremists]] working for the post-HeelFaceTurn Deslar.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'': [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass Hannyabal]] versus Luffy in the Impel Down Arc. Hannyabal knew he was outmatched by Luffy but [[{{Determinator}} never gave up]] [[YouShallNotPass trying to prevent Luffy from escaping Impel Down]]. The touching WorldOfCardboardSpeech he gave during the fight certainly helped too!
** Before then, during the Enie Lobby arc, when Chopper was fighting [[LargeHam Kumadori]], Chopper went into his [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Monster Point]] and started kicking Kumadori's ass all over the room. Even though he was up against a 30ft tall monster who was {{No Sell}}ing any of Kumadori's previously dominant moves and was terrifying Kumadori on a subconscious level so he [[PowerIncontinence lost control]] of his PrehensileHair, Kumadori still stood and fought to the end. Kumadori even stated that it was a man's duty to fight against impossible odds. Of course, Kumadori, despite his occupation as a ProfessionalKiller, was always portrayed as LaughablyEvil and a ridiculous if honor-obsessed ham. And considering that he's working for the the legitimate (if corrupt) government in a completely legitimate manner (defending a government facility against pirates) it's hard to call Kumadori evil in the first place.
** Bellamy post TimeSkip is considerably friendlier towards Luffy but still fights him when forced to by Doflamingo. Even after Doflamingo stops controlling him, Bellamy keeps fighting him because he wants to be acknowledged by his boss.
* Kunzite in the anime version of ''Anime/SailorMoon''. He's shown to be stronger than the main five Sailor Senshi, and is arguably stronger than Queen Beryl (unlike the manga which clearly showed her to be stronger than him), but when Usagi gets the [[MacGuffin Silver Crystal]], she clearly has Kunzite overpowered and he has no chance of beating her, but despite that show an amount of determination rivaling the series' heroes' when things are hopeless for them.
* Yami Bakura in the Memory World Arc of ''Anime/YuGiOh'' isn't facing ''that'' bad a disadvantage in the RPG they were playing. He only has a handful of characters against Yami Yugi's entire army, all seven Millennium Items, and all three Egyptian Gods. Bakura's only advantages were a handful of [[ItOnlyWorksOnce one shot gamebreakers]] and knowledge of what was actually going on, but considering one mistake would have led to a quick defeat and it was [[ObviouslyEvil well known he was evil at that point]], it was still a delicate operation until [[BigBad Zork]] was finally summoned.
* Marco of ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}''. Unlike most villains in the series, Marco is fully aware of his own limitations, and of the fact that the opposing teams pose a serious threat to his own continued health. Yet he continues to risk his neck, operating as both safety and quarterback, because he refueses to make his team do anything he wouldn't do himself.
* Starscream of ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'' initially frequently opts for a [[VillainTeleportation "tactical retreat"]], but [[CharacterizationMarchesOn later grows to almost embody this trope]]. Notable moments include [[FoeTossingCharge taking on the entire good guys' team]] in his first CrowningMomentOfAwesome, growing to giant size and takes on everybody at once soon after in an AwesomeMomentOfCrowning, growing ''even bigger'' ([[UpToEleven to the size of a]] ''planet'') to take on a PhysicalGod, and [[TheStarscream living up to his name]] in a massive BeamOWar-turned-PunchParry against his former boss Galvatron [[spoiler: as a DyingMomentOfAwesome.]]
* Haguro from ''Manga/WolfGuyWolfenCrest''. Morality aside, he fights off and kills [[spoiler:a [[BodyHorror horrifically transformed]] Chiba]] with a ''katana''. His goal is to kill a super-powered [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf]] after crying like a baby the first time seeing it.
* A humorous moment in ''Anime/DigimonXrosWars'' occurs after [=FlameWizardmon=] absorbs Tagiru's energy, and then proceeds to throw out every hot-blooded shounen quote in the book, because that's the spirit that empowers him now. Doubles as an example of NotSoDifferent.
* Binolt from ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', a minor ([[AntiVillain Anti]]) villain in the Greed Island arc, has the power to analyze the whole body of his enemies by eating their hair. When he analyzes Biscuit's hair, he knows he will lose, but he still challenges her as a fighter. Biscuit acknowledges this valor and that he isn't just scum.
* [[spoiler: Reiner Braun]] from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' is pretty much made of this trope, being a [[TragicVillain Tragic]] AntiVillain with a strong sense of duty. He's noted for his great determination and courage, as well as always thinking of [[TeamDad others]] before himself. When faced twice with large hordes of Titans, his only thought is for the well-being of his [[VillainousFriendship partner]] and he willingly places himself at a disadvantage to protect them.
* Pops up from time to time in ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}''. One of the most famous being when Ashuraman and Sunshine acknowledge ThePowerOfFriendship for one another and even forfeit their fight against the Muscle Brothers tag team.
* Say what you will about EvilPrince Ruu-Kain in Anime/BlueCometSPTLayzner, but he will NOT cheat if he fights you and he will NOT tolerate anyone [[CombatPragmatist cheating]] in front of him. i.e, when one of his men cheats during a fight, Ru-Kain disapproves and has him jailed.
* In ''Manga/SaintSeiya'', almost every single villain, but the cake goes to Deathmask, who fought on even with a broken arm and leg. {{Justified}} because [[TrainingFromHell their training was so bad they had to be this to survive it]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Given that Franchise/{{Superman}} is practically the poster boy for the InvincibleHero (at least according to some) and [[ComicBook/LexLuthor his arch-nemesis]] is [[BadassNormal an unpowered human]], it would be a shock if this never happened in his stories. Grant Morrison has commented on this and considers it a vital part of Lex's character; you have to, on some tiny level, root for Lex to at least come out of the story ok for the simple fact that he's a normal man trying to battle a demigod, typically armed only with his wits and whatever finances/tools he can get his hands on.
* Admit it, it takes balls to go up against the [[MemeticMutation Goddamn]] Franchise/{{Batman}} when your motif is [[DiabolicalMastermind penguins]] because you have the ''physique of one.''
** The Scarecrow's own phobia is the constant fear of Batman himself. That's right: the one and only thing in the world he himself fears is the thing he is most constantly willfully opposing, and someone whom he frequently seeks out and starts the fight with of his own accord. Although it may not so much be valor as a sort of emotional masochism... He ''craves'' fear.
* In the ''ComicBook/XMen'' graphic novel ''ComicBook/GodLovesManKills'', Anne is one of the chief "Purifiers" (elite paramilitary soldiers) for the story's BigBad, Reverend William Stryker. She's shown to be cool and ruthless in her attacks on mutants, who (as per Styker's preaching), she genuinely believes to be evil. There's a scene in which she and other Purifiers are in an elevator, taking captives to a basement level of their base, when Magneto ''yanks the elevator out of the building and through the air'' (they don't call him the Master of Magnetism for nothing, baby!) and his erstwhile allies, the X-Men, enter the little chamber, recover the captives, and take the Purifiers prisoner. All, that is, except Anne, who escapes by prying the door open, leaping out of the elevator, and (barely) catching herself on the edge of the base's roof. Wow. The lady may be whack, but she is brave, determined, and impressive. It's hard not to feel at least a little sympathy for her later, when [[spoiler:she discovers she's a mutant herself, and Stryker, her revered mentor, casts her away because of it]].
* Although his role as a villain is [[NobleDemon questionable]], ComicBook/SecretSix's [[AntiHero Catman]] has gone toe-to-toe with the big black [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bat]] every so often, and the fights usually end in a draw. Which may make Catman the poster boy for this, considering [[BadassNormal this]] [[CrazyPrepared is]] [[TheAce Batman]] we're talking about.
* ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths: It's an EvilVersusEvil scenario, but you've got to give Superman's pre-Crisis EvilCounterpart, Ultraman credit, flying into the [[OmnicidalManiac Anti-Monitor's]] antimatter wave in a last attempt to save Earth-3 from destruction. When Power Ring demands to know what he's doing he gives a classic Superman smile and replies "What I have done all my life. I fight to the very end."
* Skurge the Executioner in "The Death and Life of Skurge the Executioner", a ''[[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]]'' graphic novel. Single-handed, he held off an army of the dead. "He had a grin and a gun and the grit to do it."
-->''And when a new arrival asks about the one to whom even Hela bows her head, the answer is always the same: he stood alone at Gjallerbru, and that answer is enough.''
* Marvel villain Whiplash/Blacklash must have solid steel cojones, given that he repeatedly goes up against Iron Man armed with... a titanium whip and nothing else. No power armour, no magic, no lasers, no nothing.
** Similarly, the audience is almost always rooting for Ghost to come out of the story okay despite the fact that he's a supervillain. His odd code of honor, cleverness, and sheer bravery in taking on a guy decked out in power armor means that it's next-to-impossible to not like the guy.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}'', Wilson "ComicBook/TheKingpin" Fisk is many things, but a coward is not one of them. For instance, when he is confronting a criminal committee who is trying to run his criminal organization, their hired killer, Bullseye, steps up behind Fisk and is ready to shoot him in the head. Without breaking a sweat or his cool, Fisk is able to persuade Bullseye to work for him to the point where the maniac happily lights his cigarette and offers to kill his former employers.
* ComicBook/DoctorDoom may be a ruthless would-be conqueror with a senseless vendetta against [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Reed Richards]], but he also is a ferocious force to be reckoned with when the people of Latveria are oppressed by others, as the insane Prince Zorba found out. Or as shown in the page-image above, any time he's faced with a fight.
* In ''ComicBook/GodzillaRulersOfEarth'', you might just, to your own surprise, find yourself rooting for Zilla when he goes up against the original Godzilla in Issue #2, pitting his tunneling skills and strategic thinking against the King of the Monsters' NighInvulnerability, atomic BreathWeapon, and superior size. Despite these odds Zilla--both the antagonist ''and'' TheScrappy in the eyes of most--acquits himself well, outstrategizing Godzilla for most of the fight and eventually escaping.
* The final Creator/BrianMichaelBendis ''[[ComicBook/TheAvengers Avengers]]'' story (for now) has the classic original four Avengers (if Hulk was there it'd be everyone) Thor, Giant Man, Iron Man, and Captain America head to the 'Microverse' to rescue the presumed-dead last classic Avenger, Janet Van Dye. They find her involved in battle with a villain named Lord Gouzer, and assist her in his defeat. They return to the normal world, only to find Lord Gouzer taking advantage of their process to follow them for revenge...and due to plot circumstances, finds himself confronted by both then-current Avengers teams, who had gathered to provide backup if needed. So what does Gouzer do when confronted with 20+ superheroes, seven or eight them VERY heavy hitters? HE CHARGES AND IMMEDIATELY ATTACKS THEM. True, he had no idea who they were, and the assembled Avengers (heh) stomp him into the ground in about ten seconds, but still...points for effort and balls.
* Baron Zemo, archenemy of Captain America and the Avengers, frequently has moments like this. Despite being a normal human being who's only real physical advantage is good combat training, he's always taking on enemies that should be ''way'' beyond his abilities. Captain America is a SuperSoldier who's famous for being the ultimate badass, and yet Zemo never hesitates to grab a blade and leap into battle with Cap. This is a guy who once took on ''[[PhysicalGod Captain Universe]]'' in a one-on-one fight and '''won''', using nothing but his own wits and manipulation skills to briefly get himself imbued with reality warping powers.
* ''ComicBook/BuckGodotZapGunForHire'': Even though you know that [[spoiler:the Pogs are the bad guys]] at that point, it's hard to not get a bit misty-eyed when a single rifle platoon gets sent out to fight [[KillerRobot J-bots]] and [[RealityWarper Uligb mercenaries]]. The platoon leader's response says it all:
-->"Awright, you heard the impossible order! FIGHT!"
* James Roberts and John Barber's {{Franchise/Transformers}} run has several examples:
** Overlord's [[TheDragon Dragon]] Stalker is a brutal sadist who horrifically tortures one of the Wreckers... but when he's wounded and outnumbered by the heroes, he goes down defiantly fighting through a mixture of courage, anger, and sheer insanity. He dies, but manages to kill Wreckers' mole who sold him out before he does. Considering how the rest of Overlord's henchmen flee or beg for mercy the second things go south, it's pretty impressive.
** When the Lost Light crew corners Pharma and First Aid aims a huge freaking gun at him, Pharma shows remarkable courage, mocking First Aid and practically ''daring'' him to go through with it. [[spoiler: His jabs hit their mark and First Aid shoots him dead.]]
** An EvilVersusEvil example is Blip. He's just normal guy who's deluded himself into thinking he's a monster, but when the Decepticon Justice Division finds and horribly tortures him, he [[DefiantToTheEnd stands up to them]] and calls out Tarn as the hypocrite he is. Especially impressive as the previous victim of the DJD, Black Shadow, died pathetically begging for his life despite being far more powerful than Blip.
** When Galvatron is cornered by Optimus and his team, he immediately takes them on despite being badly outgunned. [[spoiler: Subverted/deconstructed, as he only did so because he thought he could make a bargain with them. The second he realizes that Optimus is just going to kill him then and there, he breaks down into terrified begging for mercy.]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Copperhead}}'' has a couple in the second arc.
** Brexinfoyle is an unrepentant criminal who resents Budroxifinicus for [[CategoryTraitor working with the enemy]], [[IShallTauntYou baiting Brex into a fight]], and [[LivingCrashpad using Brex as a landing cushion]]. He refuses to take any of it personally and offers Boo a quick death when ordered to execute him.
** Zolo fearlessly faces down the posse sent to kill him knowing he'll only get one shot off. [[spoiler:He spends it on his brother, sparing the latter from the consequences of the justice system.]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In Chester Gould's ''ComicStrip/DickTracy,'' once the villains' evil plans have been foiled, they often end up going on the run, and are usually quite ingenious in their attempts to get away. This sometimes makes them seem sympathetic, even if we've seen them acting like monsters earlier in the story; Gould was certainly savvy enough to play this up deliberately (such as when the injured Brow is taken in by Gravel Gertie, or when Sleet gets blackmailed while hiding out), but then the villains usually get a couple of KickTheDog moments during the chase, just so we don't forget who we're supposed to be rooting for.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* This is the focus of ''Fanfic/TheTSABActurusWar''. The [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny Democratic Republic of Acturus]] cannot win against the Bureau, but it will do its best to bleed the enemy out as far as possible.
* ''Fanfic/InTheService'' has more than one comment on the bravery and discipline of the common New Belkan soldier. No matter how badly the situation around them goes, no matter how little chance there is they will survive the effort, they will carry out their orders. Some characters think them brave far beyond the point of stupidity. Others think they're the finest soldiers the universe has ever seen, with some of the worst training and leadership.
* ''FanFic/InnerDemons'': One must give [[TheDragon Trixie]] credit -- she will do ''anything'' to fulfill [[EnemyWithin Queen!]][[FaceHeelTurn Twilight]] [[BigBad Sparkle's]] orders, no matter what. This is best demonstrated during the Battle of Fillydelphia, where Trixie takes on ''all'' of the protagonists at once, invoking the [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Storm Avatar]] spell to fight them. Even after the spell drains her and she's been knocked down by the heroes, she -- beaten and barely conscious -- forces herself to keep going long enough to at least partially fulfill Queen!Twilight's orders by [[spoiler: nearly killing Rarity]].
* Two cases occur in short order in the very first episode of ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11021904/1/White White]]''. First the titular character (A hollow [[Manga/{{Bleach}} Ichigo]]) fights an entire shinigami squad and two captains both as revenge for his fellow hollows they slew and to protect Raptor, an adjucha who was leading them. After White and Raptor escape, the latter asks the former to eat him, acknowledging himself as "just a stepping stone on [White's] path to greatness", only asking that White use his power to destroy the shinigami.
* In Creator/TeamFourStar's ''WebVideo/HellsingUltimateAbridged'', after Walter and Seras subdue Jan Valentine, there's this exchange:
-->'''Walter:''' Now, you are going to tell me everything I want to know.\\
'''Jan:''' Alright, what you do is, you go down to the local pharmacy, you ask for something called Viagra, and it'll help you GO FUCK YOURSELF!
* ''{{FanFic/Eugenesis}}'': When Siren and Death's Head corner [[TheDragon Haxian]] to [[spoiler: retrieve the Matrix]], he seemingly shoots himself rather than fight them. Than they go to get [[spoiler: the Matrix]] and Haxian's body violently explodes, mortally wounding Siren; Haxian had known he was done for and [[HeroicSacrifice rigged himself to explode in a desperate attempt to keep the Autobots from stopping his leader]].
* ''Fanfic/GuardiansWizardsAndKungFuFighters'' has an example in [[DiabolicalMastermind Bartholomew Chang]], who absolutely refuses to let the Guardians defeat him during the fight in the subway tunnels. It takes [[spoiler: Nimue shattering his [[ShockAndAwe Gauntlet of Indra]]]] for him to finally cut his losses and run.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In the film ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'', there's a reason why Shan Yu is nowadays considered one of the most badass of Disney villains: he's strong enough to easily break down a barricaded door or effortlessly slice through a massive pillar with his sword. He's also very proud of his army, as shown at the beginning when he thought it was perfect that all of China knew they were coming after the signal fire was lit, and when he flatly refused to avoid the Imperial troops and instead opted to take them head on, knowing that they are the elite of China's armies.
* ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'': The two soldiers sent by [[spoiler: the Duke of Weselton]] to kill Queen Elsa. They go up against a virtual demigod with nothing but crossbows. Then, [[spoiler: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles saves them from the wrath of Elsa's cryokinetic death spikes, even as his real intent is to secure the throne of Arendelle by getting rid of Elsa.]]
* Yzma in ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'' is a comedic villain, but at one point she pursues the heroes down the high sheer wall of a castle via improvised bungee-jumping.
* Ruber in ''WesternAnimation/QuestForCamelot'' is a psychotic (but quite human) murderer who faces down and kills an enormous threatening dragon with his bare hands.
* WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}} certainly qualifies, at least according to [[HotScoop Roxanne Ritchi]]:
-->"The Megamind I knew would never have run from a fight, even one he knew he had absolutely no chance of winning. It was your best quality. You need to be that guy right now."
** Played with here, however, in that she says that as Megamind is about to complete his HeelFaceTurn. But it is still an accurate description of his past behavior.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'' has the Mutant Leader. When Batman shows up at the mutants' lair in his giant tank of a Batmobile and begins taking out his minions, the Leader discovers that he's been [[ThouShaltNotKill using rubber bullets]], which prompts the Leader to walk up to the Batmobile... and start [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech mouthing off to Batman, calling him a coward for not being willing to kill and challenging him to fight man-to-man]] and in the ensuing fight, he would have nearly killed Batman had Robin not intervened. And even in their second fight where Batman has the upper hand and begins fighting strategically, the Leader still holds his own. He may be a violent psychopath, but anyone willing to take on the goddamn Batman has some serious brass ones.
-->'''Mutant Leader''': All this metal, and you don't even use it to kill! It's just a shell to keep you safe?! What's the matter? Ain't you got the stomach for it?! I call you '''''COWARD!''''' Come out here and face me like a man! I kill you! I [[PunctuatedForEmphasis Eat. Your. Heart!]] Prove you can take me! ''Prove you can fight with your hands!'' Come on, man! You're ''boring'' me!
* ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'': Frollo gets a small moment of this in the climax, when the cathedral is under siege. He takes a sword off one of his mooks and uses it to hack through the (considerably heavy) wooden doors of the cathedral, braving a torrent of molten lead being poured down from the top by Quasimodo in doing so. When he gets to the top, he briefly wrestles with Quasi (who is half his age and demonstrably strong enough to ''shake the entire cathedral'' with his exertions) and he fights Quasi and swings with enough force to crack solid stone. Not bad for a lecherous, insane old creep.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Phantom's lackey in ''Film/{{The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen}}'' throws himself between our heroes and the Phantom after [[spoiler: the tables turn on the villain in Dorian Gray's library]]. Instead of being just another faceless, soulless henchman, he screams [[spoiler: "Run James!", and courageously sacrifices himself to allow the villain to escape]]. If we didn't already know the Phantom was the bad guy, a newcomer would be excused for thinking that this villain was an innocent man on the run from armed thugs.
* Freddy Krueger in ''Film/FreddyVsJason'' displays this, oddly enough, when the climatic battle finally goes down. Freddy is a ''lot'' more vulnerable and less practiced with killing somebody face to face than Jason is. Yet, even after being pulled into the mortal world, where he is at a severe disadvantage (for starters, he can actually be ''killed''), he doesn't hesitate for a moment to stand his ground and starts duking it out with [[TheJuggernaut Camp Crystal Lake's killing machine]].[[note]]Hell, before the scene was trimmed he actually started out by TAUNTING Jason for being 'slow, stupid, and having no style', before attempting an unsuccessful GroinAttack, which prompted him to comment 'No balls, eh Voorhees?'[[/note]]
* In the film ''Film/{{United 93}}'' the youngest terrorist (who looks about 14) puts up a disturbingly valiant fight when he's rushed by half the plane's passengers at the end of the film.
* In ''Film/{{Scanners}}'', Revok plots a daring infilitration of [=ConSec=] headquarters to [[YourHeadASplode assassinate]] their last scanner, and then escape. As the head of a major scanner underground he could have sent in underlings, but he decided this was something he had to do himself. Also, toward the end of the movie, it's TheHero who pulls the NotSoDifferent card instead of the villain.
* In ''Film/FiveMinutesToLive'', the evil gangster played by Johnny Cash takes a hostage (six year-old Ron Howard) in order to escape from the police. He quietly tells Ron that he has nothing to fear; Johnny would never kill a kid. When this doesn't stop the police from shooting at him, he's outraged, and you can't help but agree with him.
* Colonel Miles Quaritch from ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' is a killer who attacked a civilian (though the line between military and civilian among the Na'vi is very blurry) target with a massive firebombing. But some people can't help admiring his sheer determination when things don't go his way. At one point he is [[IncendiaryExponent set on fire]] and he waits until his AMP suit is prepared to drop before putting the fire out. It helps that the Na'vi are UnintentionallyUnsympathetic.
* The [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazis]] in several scenes of ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'' come across as very noble.
** The Basterds capture a group of soldiers and threaten to beat them to death if they don't reveal the locations of their compatriots. The officer in charge is very clearly petrified but refuses to betray his men, at the cost of his own life. If he weren't a Nazi, he'd be hero of this scene.
** Shosanna seems impressed by Zoller's tale of bravery, despite her burning hatred for Nazis. Even for the audience, as the film's primary target audience is Americans, given that Zoller is hailed as a hero for single-handedly killing hundreds of American soldiers.
* In Ryuhei Kitamura's ''Film/{{Versus}}'', [[NoNameGiven "The Man"]] finds himself lying battered, lacerated and [[BloodFromTheMouth hacking blood]] before the newly energized hero. However, when the hero tosses him his sword, he rises and prepares to give a good accounting of himself even though he knows he doesn't stand a chance. In the [[DVDCommentary Director's Commentary]], Kitamura described that as the "spirit of Versus." [[spoiler: Also, depending on how you take that business in the epilogue, it's possible that the ''whole movie'' was a case of ValiantVillainy.]]
* When Blonsky (with a little help from some ComicBook/CaptainAmerica serum) first fights the [[TheHulk Hulk]] as a human in ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'', you can't help but be impressed by the guy. Sure, he's a creepy jackass, but this is an almost ordinary man trying to go hand-to-hand with the friggin' HULK!
* The Nigerian gangster boss Obesanjo from ''Film/{{District 9}}''. You really need ''huge'' balls to laugh at the hero while he aims a [[{{BFG}} Big Fucking Alien Gun]] at your head, that had just [[BlownAcrossTheRoom smashed your bodyguards through a wall]] seconds ago.
* Riley Biers from ''[[Literature/{{Twilight}} Eclipse]]''. Fighting for his lover, and actually putting up a good struggle against a werewolf after losing a hand.
* The Jamaican gangster King Willie from ''Film/{{Predator 2}}'', who believes that the titular Predator is actually a demon spirit. Despite this, after it approaches him, he calmly [[SwordCane whips a sword out from his cane]] and duels the damn thing, even though it had single-handedly slaughtered a large portion of his gang as well as the rival Colombian gang.
* Ironbar in ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome''. At one point, while he's hanging from a pipe extended off the side of a speeding train, the train goes over a bridge, and he repeatedly has to hoist his body over metal substructures studded along the span's length. It's impressive that the actor/stuntman was even able to shoot the scene.
* ''Film/MutinyOnTheBounty'': Lieutenant William Bligh is a tyrant who terrorizes his men until the eponymous mutiny. He's then set adrift in a rowboat with some of the men who didn't join the mutiny, so many that the boat's sides are just inches above the water. In this seemingly hopeless situation, he manages to navigate them to Timor without losing a single man. This was TruthInTelevision. In spite of his HistoricalVillainUpgrade, Bligh was a brave and decent man, and a truly incomparable seafarer.
* The Sheikh's NumberTwo in ''Film/{{Taken}}'' puts up quite a fight against Liam Neeson's character, even after being wounded by him. He's fighting for his Sheikh, after all.
* Uncle Les in ''Film/{{Braindead}}'' spends most of the film as just a lecherous, repulsive {{Jerkass}}. Then the climax hits, and he surprisingly becomes quite a zombie-killing badass, with a CrowningMomentOfAwesome where he single-handedly takes out about twenty of them with a pair of cleavers.
* In ''Film/{{Battleship}}'', the aliens show signs of this many times. Throughout the movie, they're clearly outnumbered and outgunned by the combined forces of Earth, and their mission seems to be "fight off the superior human fleets and [[GondorCallsForAid try to send a distress signal]] back to the homeworld". The most apparent part, however, is when they launch ''a'' ''[[BigDamnHeroes rescue mission]]'' ''to save one of their number who had been captured by the human heroes''. The fact that they seem to be {{Noble Demon}}s in a WhiteAndGreyMorality setting certainly helps.
* ''Film/{{Scarface|1983}}'' has a variation of this trope for VillainProtagonist Tony Montana. In by far the most famous scene in the movie, he gets high on cocaine, grabs a [[MoreDakka M16 assault rifle]], and takes on a veritable army of goons alone. Even when badly injured by gunfire, he stands and taunts his assailants. [[spoiler:It takes a shotgun shell to the back at point blank range to finally put him down for good.]]
* Captain Vidal in ''Film/PansLabyrinth''. A monster whole and through, but he's also capable of doing TheSlowWalk into battle, without taking cover, while firing at the enemy. Vidal [[FreudianExcuse inherited a clock]] that his father crashed when he fell in battle to mark the time of his death, and he wanted nothing in life but to die in battle and do the same, passing the clock to his (unborn) son.
* In ''Film/JurassicPark'', the last raptor [[spoiler: attacks the T.rex despite the Tyrannosaurus killing her remaining partner with a single bite and outweighing the raptor by several tons.]]
* Shingen Yashida from ''Film/TheWolverine''. {{Jerkass}} or not, throwing yourself towards an immortal adamantium-boned warrior with just a Katana ''takes some balls''.
* Imhotep from ''Film/TheMummyTrilogy'' is presented as a ridiculously powerful, unstoppable supernatural menace in the [[Film/TheMummy1999 first film]]. In the climax of the [[Film/TheMummyReturns second film]], Anubis takes away all of his powers and makes him a mortal, but he still elects to take on the Scorpion King, and even fights Rick to a standstill.
* ''Film/DawnOfThePlanetOfTheApes'': Koba may have been a psychotic, human-hating monster, but how many bonobo apes do you know that can [[spoiler:take on entire squads of humans behind fortified defenses by holding an assault rifle in each hand]], and [[spoiler:destroy a tank single-handedly]]?
* In ''Film/TheInterview'' the control room technician put up not only a valiant fight against Seth Rogen's character, but a truly vicious one as well. Case in point: he [[spoiler:bit Seth Rogen's character's finger off]] to stop the live feed. To top it off he didn't stop fighting even after he was [[spoiler:planted on a control stick that went up his butt]] and only stopped when shot in the head.
* In ''Film/KingsmanTheSecretService'', Gazelle fights Eggsy one on one during the climax after Merlin takes out all of Valentine's other soldiers by hacking their loyalty implants to explode. It's a very close fight and delays Eggsy long enough that while Valentine is eventually stopped the likely consequences are far more injuries and fatalities across the world.
* The General from ''Literature/LordJim''. Any other villain in a Hollywood movie would have tried to escape when they had the chance. Not the General. When the heroes launched their second attack, he stayed and fought, eventually going out in a blaze of glory while wounded and trying to put out a fuse, instead of trying to save himself escaping through a secret tunnel like Cornelius did.
* The General is very reminiscent of Eli Wallach's earlier role, Calvera from ''TheMagnificentSeven''. Although Calvera usually sent scouts to fight and steal, during the climax he fought along with them.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Jango Fett in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones''. Despite having nothing but good training and his own quick wits, he takes on space warriors with effectively magical powers who usually cut through enemies like himself in an instant. That takes guts, especially in the finale when he fights Mace Windu, one of the most powerful Jedi in the Order, in the middle of a massive, chaotic firefight and manages to hold his own, at least for a bit.
** Captain Needa in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack''. After he botches his job and the ''Falcon'' escapes, he realizes that [[YouHaveFailedMe Darth Vader will almost certainly kill someone for this colossal failure]]. Needa's response? Take responsibility for the screw up and apologize to Vader personally, because if he does than [[AFatherToHisMen Vader won't kill the men under Needa's command]]. Even Vader sounds somewhat impressed when he inevitably executes the captain. "Apology accepted" indeed.
** In ''Film/TheForceAwakens'', Kylo Ren treats the Dark Side like a knight's code of honor (he actually [[SurrogateSoliloquy worries aloud at one point]] that he's being corrupted by the Light Side, then [[spoiler:follows through with a [[TearJerker horrifying interpretation]] of HonorBeforeReason when he tries to prevent this by putting the Dark Side before his family]]). His {{Determinator}} attitude when [[spoiler:starting and eventually losing his duel with Finn and Rey, even after being shot by Chewbacca]] also smacks of this.
** The same film has the random riot control trooper who, upon seeing [[DefectorFromDecadence Finn]] wielding ''Luke fricking Skywalker's lightsaber'', responds by whipping out a shock baton and dueling Finn one on one with it! And ''[[BadassNormal he almost wins]]'', only failing to kill Finn because Chewbacca and Han intervene.
* In ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' Loki risks his life to save Jane and his brother from the Kursed, almost getting [[ItMakesSenseInContext sucked into a black hole grenade]] in the process. In ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', he faces an army of undead warriors and [[spoiler: his sister, the [[PhysicalGod nigh-invulnerable goddess of death]], in order to save the people of Asgard.]] Possessing nerves of steel is also one of [[BigBad Hela's]] only positive traits. At the end of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', when faced with [[spoiler: both an indestructible [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever Surtur]] and [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the prophesized destruction of Asgard]], she flinches for barely a moment before [[DefiantToTheEnd regaining her resolve]], and raising her sword to attack him.]] The fact that Hela and Loki are from the same [[ProudWarriorRace warrior culture]] and were [[spoiler: raised by the same man, who was a war god in Myth/NorseMythology]], probably has something to do with the reason they share this trait.

* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''
** In ''Return of the King'' the Haradrim troops keep fighting after Sauron's defeat, and the author comments how they are brave and noble warriors who just happen to be on the evil side of the fence.
** In ''The Two Towers'', when [[TheCavalry the Éored]] commanded by [[WarriorPrince Éomer]] manage to catch up to and attack the orcs that have kidnapped [[TheSmartGuy Merry]] and [[TheFool Pippin]], most of the orcs break under the attack and try to run. By contrast, Uglúk was mentioned to be one of the few orcs who maintained formation and showed actual combat skill, as he rallied a group of [[EliteMooks Uruk-Hai]] who grimly tried to fight their way into the ([[WhenTreesAttack false]]) safety of the nearby forest. Ultimately, Uglúk died in a dismounted duel with Éomer himself.
* There's a great scene in ''Literature/TreasureIsland'' where the pirates all want the map that they think Jim has, which he doesn't. Long John Silver picked the map from Jim's pocket, but he allows the other pirates to go on thinking that Jim knows where it is, because as long as he's the only one who knows where it is, they can't hurt him.
** There's another bit at the end, where Long John knows his chances of escape will be improved greatly if he shoots Jim in the head, but he can't bring himself to do it. Jim, unwilling to use John's mercy against him, helps him escape anyway.
-->'''Dr. Livesay''': I can almost find it in my heart to hope he makes it.
* In the first trilogy in Creator/SMStirling's ''Literature/{{Emberverse}}'', DarkActionGirl Tiphaine Rutherford (later Tiphaine d'Ath) performs a daring rescue/kidnapping on the good-guy Mackenzies' own land, finds herself outnumbered four-to-one in a confrontation with a quartet of Rangers, and is betrayed by a member of her own band, who attacks while he's in full armor and she's in her civvies. She's not a nice person, and her objectives are often questionable at best, but it's hard not to applaud the combination of courage, dexterity, and quick-wittedness with which she consistently beats the odds.
* In the Creator/DaleBrown novel ''Air Battle Force'', several scenes are dedicated to the Taliban detachment's brave struggle against their numerically and technologically superior enemies.
* Cato in ''Literature/TheHungerGames''. Faced with [[spoiler:a pack of vicious, genetically engineered wolves]] and armed with only a sword, does he freak out and run? No, he calmly and smartly fights back, taking quite a few down [[spoiler:until he is finally overwhelmed]].
* In Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/WarOfTheDreaming'', this role goes to Manannan, king of the [[{{Mooks}} Selkies]], who knows that if the Great War comes about, his people are going to suffer horrible casualties if the Dark Side wins--and be [[GoodIsNotNice exterminated]] altogether if [[LightIsNotGood Light]] wins. He consequently spends the series desperately playing one side against the other in an effort to stave off the war altogether. He fails, but the heroes sympathize with his goal enough to give him OneLastSmoke.
* In ''Literature/SoonIWillBeInvincible'', [[VillainProtagonist Dr. Impossible]] is a supergenius with mild superstrength and limited invulnerability. The fight scene where he goes from quietly drinking his coffee to fighting off a team of superheroes despite being ludicrously outnumbered and overpowered is one of the best in the book.
* The Sardaukar in Franchise/{{Dune}}
* In the opening chapters of ''Literature/TheThreeMusketeers'', the titular characters and D'artagnan are engaged in a duel with five members of the Cardinal's Guard, the traditional enemies of the Musketeers. After four members of the Guards have been wounded, one fatally, all four of the protagonists turn to the single remaining Guard and ask for his honorable surrender since he is outnumbered four to one. The Guard refuses, however, and is ready to fight all of the Musketeers until his superior officer, who had been wounded earlier in the fight, orders him to stand down. He accepts the order, but breaks his sword over his knee rather than surrender it, and his enemies concede his valor and bravery.
* Creator/Elizabeth Bear's ''All The Windwracked Stars'': "... The heroic old woman in her frayed brown sweater, indomitable, uncowed before the armored witch on her iron beast of Hel." Guess which one's the hero.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Daemon}} Freedom]]'' there's one part where the Major is trying to escape the wrath of Daemon operatives who have already captured or killed his partners. The odds are quite against him and he has quite a few close calls, so you can almost want him to make it. Unfortunately, he does and it comes back to bite the heroes in the arse.
* In ''Literature/{{Scaramouche}}'', the Marquis de La Tour d'Azyr is an honest, intelligent, honorable man who (even though he knows he's outmatched) shows no fear in the face of danger.
** This carries over to Mel Ferrer's portrayal in TheFilmOfTheBook.
* Voltan, from David Gemmell's ''Midnight Falcon'', might be a cold-blooded killer and a ruthless enforcer for an oppressive religious order, but when the odds turn against him he shows an admirable bravery in the face of imminent death.
* In ''Captain's Fury'', the fourth book of ''Literature/CodexAlera'', when Gaius Sextus unleashes a fearcrafting on Kalarus' Legions the entire force is instantly routed. Many simply die of fright, and the rest are paniced to collapse and flight. However, one single ''legionare'' resists the mental assault and actually raises his sword in defiance. Amara feels pity for him and regrets that the reward for his courage, which was greater than the entire rest of his Legion, is to be killed effortlessly by the First Lord
* In Margaret Sidney's ''Five Little Peppers and How They Grew'', little Phronsie Pepper interrupts a burglary. One of the burglars rushes at her, "his arm upraised", but the other one grabs him, shouting, "Stop!" They flee, leaving her unharmed and the loot behind.
* In the ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'' series, the fact that many of the villains consider themselves soldiers of God makes them extremely willing to sacrifice themselves. In the first book, the narration (which is a mixture of omniscient narrator and Lyra's own thoughts) describes the Bolvangar guards (who are involved in the most horrifying process imaginable) as "magnificently brave" for the way they maintain discipline and keep firing even as a massive armoured bear is charging towards them while their bullets bounce off.
* In Creator/RobertRMcCammon's ''Stinger'', the character Mack Cade, a sleazy, selfish used car dealer/chop shop owner involved in organized crime and drug cartels, goes into a junkyard where an alien creature has just brutally killed at least one person, in order to find his dog that had bolted off into said junk yard. Before leaving, he gives his prized Mercedes to one of the protagonists and tells him "You gotta know who your friends are, kid. Gotta stick up for them. Think on these things."
* In ''Literature/ThePeopleOfTheBlackCircle'' of the ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' stories, there's the EvilSorcerer Khemsa, who defies his masters, the demonic sorcerers of the Black Circle, for the love of his girlfriend Gitara. When the four demons come to punish them, he fights all four of them to a standstill out of his urge to protect Gitara, failing only when one turns its powers on her and drives her over a cliff edge to her death, which gives them the edge they need to blast him down in turn. Even despite his mutilations, a twisted combination of ThePowerOfLove and ThePowerOfHate compels him to cling to life and to try and claw his way back up the cliff to destroy them for murdering her, and he lasts long enough to give Conan an enchanted protective belt and urge him to use it to slay them. Khemsa is so remarkable that it's probably best the story didn't end in a showdown between him and Conan, because some readers might have found it rather difficult to root for the Cimmerian by that point. (It's not like Conan never betrayed anyone to get what he wanted.)
* In Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/TheSpiritRing'', the BigBad fights [[spoiler: an animated red-hot metal statue]] with a sword. Even the heroine is awed by his courage.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'':
** Everyone in the Seven Kingdoms knows Jaime Lannister is an oathbreaker with shit for honor (and later, rumors fly about his supposed, and true, affair with his sister). The reader knows he WouldHurtAChild who knows too much. But even the Northmen, who hate him perhaps most of all, have to admit he seems utterly fearless in combat and is a ''very'' deadly man with a sword; in a battle meant specifically to entrap him, when he saw he was surrounded, he attempted to fight his way to the northerners' king, hoping to kill him before being killed himself (he failed, and was captured instead).
** Jaime later reveals that he killed the Mad King because he [[spoiler: was about to murder the entire population of King's Landing]]. Another villainous character who shows valour at the same incident is Hand of the King, Qarlton Chelsted, who, upon hearing of Aerys' plan, resigned in disgust. Aerys killed him for it.
** Clayton Suggs, a knight in service to Stannis Baratheon, is an all-around rotten character with an unhealthy obsession with torture, sacrifice via burning, and invoking CountryMatters on women such as [[spoiler: Asha Greyjoy]]. But faced with what could possibly be an entire enemy army, he immediately rips out his sword and prepares to take them all on to give [[spoiler: Asha]] time to warn the rest of the army.
* ''Literature/TheBelgariad'': Out-Gambitted and realizing he is not walking out of a situation alive, High Priest Ctuchik chooses not to roll over, but gets into a duel with a seven-thousand years old arch-mage who also happens to be Ctuchik's religion's {{Satan}}-analogue, and matches him blow for blow for quite a while. He's only destroyed when in a fit of panic he tries to unmake[[note]]The rules of magic in the series explicitly forbid someone from trying to destroy anything outright - they can kill, pulverise and transform to their heart's content but if they try to literally try to make anything vanish from existence the force rebounds and obliterates the user instead.[[/note]] the CosmicKeystone rather than let it fall into the hands of the AmnesiacGod.
* ''{{Literature/Redwall}}'':
** Vermin leaders are almost entirely AsskickingEqualsAuthority types, but when the time comes to demonstrate this against someone who isn't [[YouHaveFailedMe on their side]] or entirely defenseless fall into two types: snivelling cowards who run and end up HoistByTheirOwnPetard, or actual fighters.
** The best of the latter type is undoubtedly King Sarengo, a ferret who led an expedition into Mossflower, ended up running into an adder and her children, and when the rest of his army lost their nerve, managed a MutualKill against the mother adder (she bit him, he bit her hard enough to break her spine). In addition, his flail twisted itself around the tails of the young adders, binding them together for the rest of their lives and giving Redwall its first hydra.
** Riggu Felis, a wildcat who was betrayed by his own son, whose loyal retainers tried to keep him out of the throne room. Riggu's response was to throw all three down the stairs before they knew what was happening.
** Gulo the Savage, an aptly-named wolverine. GiveChaseWithAngryNatives is a time-honored ploy among Redwallers, running through areas infested with insects or wild creatures to hold off an enemy, and here it worked not because Gulo was afraid of being killed, but because he spent so much time killing the attacking crows that his numbers diminished without him realizing it.
* ''Literature/IronWarriors'': Averted. At one point, an Imperial Guard soldier mentions offhandedly that he has to credit the bravery of the Chaos {{Mooks}}, only for a Space Marine to shut him down hard, telling him that the Mooks are only charging the walls so unflinchingly because they're more afraid of their masters than of the fortress. That said, the Iron Warriors themselves do occasionally demonstrate bravery, or at least [[{{Determinator}} a grim refusal to ever back down]] that can pass for it in [[DarkIsEvil poor lighting]].
* ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'': Jean de Vrailly, while a {{Jerkass}} of epic propotions, has a strict code of honour and never strays from it, even if it means [[spoiler:switching places with the King]] after learning about an upcoming assassination attempt or going to what he knows will likely be his death to protect his army.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': Besides his other NobleDemon traits, Chicago's crimelord John Marcone has this in spades. Sure, he's set himself up to be nearly untouchable by mundane means and over the course of the series wises up to and takes working precautions against supernatural threats as well -- that's only sensible in his line of business, after all --, but from keeping his cool while hanging over a pit as intended werewolf fodder over going into battle right alongside his hired mercenaries to the ups and downs of his relationship with Harry Dresden (possibly the man best qualified to take him down if it ever comes to that) himself, the man also just plain appears to know no fear whatsoever.
* In the poem "Cliche Came Out Of Its Cage," Christian writer Creator/CSLewis compares modern forms of "paganism" (Communism, secularism, etc.) to their ancient forebears (Lewis being a big fan of mythology):
-->''Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits\\
[[DrivenToSuicide Who walked back into burning houses to die with men]],\\
Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals\\
[[YouFightLikeACow Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim]].\\
Are these the Pagans you spoke of? [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Know your betters and crouch, dogs]].''
* The final act of ''Literature/ABoxOfNothing'' by Creator/PeterDickinson involves the heroes trying to catch up to an expedition sent into the desert by the BigBad to search for a "black hole" that will let whomever reaches it first define the shape of a new universe. As the heroes close in, they find the corpses of more and more mooks who have succumbed to the harsh journey. Finally, they come within sight of the black hole and see a last surviving mook trudging towards it, more dead than alive. The mook spots them, and starts sprinting for the black hole, forcing the heroes into a final, desperate race to beat him to it. The main protagonist expresses a sort of horrified awe at the [[DeTerminator sheer strength of will]] displayed, musing that the BigBad has done nothing to deserve minions as brave and loyal as this simple, nameless soldier.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Almost certainly the reason for Spike's early popularity on ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', being simultaneously the first vampire adversary of Buffy to be depicted as more than a soul-less monster, and the first to avoid the {{Curb Stomp Battle}}s that were endemic in season one.
* An episode of the classic UsefulNotes/WorldWarII series ''Series/{{Combat}}'' called "The Cossack" had the most tenacious German soldier of all time. In the teaser, he fails to blow up a strategically important bridge during the German retreat, and tries to complete the task before the rest of the American army comes through. He infiltrates the local Church and disguises himself as the town priest. He manages to keep his disguise with all the Americans around him, making up cover stories for his German accent ("I'm Swiss.") and being near the bridge ("I'm going fishing.") on the fly, even managing to get away with killing the young Catholic GI who sees through him without anyone seeing. It was almost disappointing to see him fail in the end, he'd worked so hard up to that point.
* Happens to [[EvilutionaryBiologist Davros]], of all people, in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "Revelation of the Daleks". Even though he's as nasty as usual, it's hard not to respect him for having apparently found himself completely alone on the planet, with none of his usual allies, and still got himself into the top position.
** This could apply to the Daleks themselves. No matter what The Doctor does to them, they still manage to keep themselves going.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Ramsay in the show is even ''more'' dangerous than the Ramsay of the books, as he has not only butchered his way through Yara's fifty best ironborn reavers, leading from the front without a stitching of clothing protecting his vital organs but also runs roughshod over Stannis's admittedly demoralised and outnumbered army and all without a single scratch on his person to show for it.
** The battle sequence in "Spoils of War" is full of this. A Lannister warhost led by Jaime up against [[DragonRider Daenerys]] and her Dothraki. The affair is a CurbStompBattle for the Lannisters due to [[KillItWithFire Drogon]], but the Lannisters still manage to look awesome. Standouts include Bronn wounding Drogon with a ballista and nearly ending the war then and there, and then Jaime, seeing Daenerys dismounting Drogon and trying to remove the bolt, ''charging against the fully-grown dragon on horseback to strike her down''. Ethically questionable incestuous dick he might be, the man is still a knight and a LivingLegend.
* The villain team of every ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' season usually has at least one member who gets this, although it's often during infighting. Several seasons have an evil General with a Dark Knight gimmick who takes his honor and principles very seriously.
** A good example is Treacheron from ''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy'', who keeps fighting against Leo despite being been badly injured and having his sword broken.
* ''Series/BullyBeatdown'' pits bullies against pro MMA fighters for the chance to win $10,000. Nobody likes bullies, but the deck is clearly stacked against them, and one can't help a twinge of admiration for those who hold their own and don't get stomped outright.
* ''Series/{{Alphas}}'' had a one-off villain called The Caretaker whose job it was to look after Mitchell, an Alpha with the ability to store anyone's memories inside his brain. When Hicks and Cat remove Mitchell from his holding location, The Caretaker comes charging after them. In terms of pure fighting ability, he's outmatched: Hicks has SuperReflexes and Kat, due to her superhuman muscle memory, has a number of devastating fighting moves (and has recently completed the ''entire'' FBI Academy course load in about two weeks, meaning she is now trained in the use of a firearm as well.) The Caretaker has one advantage though: A HealingFactor. The guy shrugs off getting shot, ''having his neck broken'', and '''being rammed with a Mack truck''' all in the name of taking care of his charge. He only dies because Kat exploits the fact that he can't swim while healing.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Most people who face HHH or the Undertaker. ''Especially'' Undertaker. In general, this applies to whenever a beloved mid-carder with perceived superior skills goes up against an opponent they could not legitimately be expected to defeat for story reasons.
* The best example for pro wrestling has to be the match between Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin and Wrestling/BretHart at Wrestlemania XIII, where Austin went in as the heel. The sheer balls he showed throughout the entire match, fighting dirty like a heel but never acting cowardly like one, earned the fans' respect. When he refused to tap out to the Sharpshooter, face covered in blood and eventually passing out from the pain, the fans switched, and in one night, a FaceHeelDoubleTurn was completed in one legendary match.
* Subverted with Muhammad Hassan in 2005. A radicalized Arab-American from Detroit ([[FakeNationality although played by Italian-American wrestler Mark Copani]]), he certainly had good reason to be angered by anti-Arab prejudice at the height of the Iraq War. He denounced other Arab-Americans as Uncle Toms for being ashamed of their native culture, and would enter arenas in a Bedouin headdress and wailing loudly like a muezzin just to outrage bigoted audiences. He even seemingly had the courage to challenge Undertaker to a match for the Number One Contendership to Batista's World Heavyweight Championship at the ''Great American Bash'' in July. But Hassan was a lot more cowardly than he appeared at first glance: he took on Undertaker, yes, but only after garroting him with piano wire and having several black-clad, faceless "sympathizers" beat the tar out of him. 'Taker finally punished him by powerbombing him through the Buffalo arena's entrance ramp, apparently killing him (which was actually a result of ExecutiveMeddling, since WWE thought that the character was in bad taste after a terrorist bombing in London).
* Done ''twice'' with Wrestling/TheShield in 2013 alone; in both cases with Roman Reigns as a focal point:
** On September [=23rd=] the Authority (Triple H and Stephanie [=McMahon=]) essentially threw the Shield to the wolves by attempting to placate the aggrieved faces with an eleven-on-three elimination tag team match... though the Shield had tried to stack the odds by attacking members of the eleven-man face team[[note]]Wrestling/RobVanDam, Wrestling/KofiKingston, Wrestling/DolphZiggler, Wrestling/ZackRyder, Wrestling/TheUsos, [[Wrestling/PrimeTimePlayers Darren Young, Titus O'Neil]], Wrestling/JustinGabriel, [[Wrestling/RonKillings R-Truth]]... and [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson Daniel Bryan]][[/note]] beforehand, they too had to recover from a pre-match attack by the Rhodes brothers as well. Nevertheless they almost evened the odds with quick eliminations of five faces, with Reigns in particular eliminating Titus O'Neill, Justin Gabriel and Zack Ryder with spears in less than a minute without tagging out. It would take Daniel Bryan dropkicking Ambrose and Rollins to isolate Reigns before the faces were able to outnumber him ''just'' enough to pin him, the sheer OhCrap look on Ambrose and Rollins' faces at the sight of this -- ''the only time that Reigns was pinned in his time on the main WWE roster''[[note]]not counting his time on NXT[[/note]] -- signalling that the tide had irrevocably turned; Ambrose and Rollins would go on to eliminate Darren Young, and after Ambrose's elimination Rollins eliminated R-Truth as well before finally being overwhelmed by the remaining Ziggler, Uso brothers and Bryan.
** On November [=24th=] at Survivor Series, the Shield were paired with The Real Americans[[note]]Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger[[/note]] against Jimmy and Jey Uso, Cody and Dustin "Goldust" Rhodes, and Rey Mysterio. When Dean Ambrose argued with the ref over a call, Cody Rhodes rolled him up for a quick elimination after which The Real Americans were dispatched in short order as well, leaving Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins alone against a still-intact face quintet. Cue Reigns going on a tear by single-handedly taking out Cody Rhodes and Jimmy Uso with spears, Seth Rollins taking out Jey Uso with a curbstomp before himself going down, Reigns quickly avenging Rollins by spearing Goldust, and then intercepting an attempted 619 by Rey Mysterio with... you guessed it, a ''fourth'' spear, leaving Reigns the sole survivor.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Though the [[TheEmpire Imperium]] is most often presented as crumbling, it is still the most powerful faction in ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000''. In stories set from the 'Evil' faction's POV, we can often see just how much firepower the Imperials can bring to bear against them. And the fact that it's a [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Galaxy]] for them too.
** In the TabletopGame/{{Inquisitor}} guide ''[[http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1320038_Using_Space_Marines.pdf Using Space Marines]]'', the author recommends this as a way to deal with ludicrously powerful Space Marine [=PCs=]. We are reminded that [[HonorBeforeReason Space Marines don't sneak about]], so the enemy will likely have plenty of chances to lay ambushes and traps before the rampaging behemoth.
** Virtually any faction in Warhammer gets moments of this really.
* [[http://www.tuckerskobolds.com/ Tucker's Kobolds]] are a textbook case. Even though they were no match for the high-level adventurers in a straight fight, they used the terrain to their advantage and set up a variety of clever traps to make the [=PCs=]' lives hell.
* Most ''TabletopGame/RocketAge'' villains tend to have some very admirable traits, even the ''Nazis''. One is an absolute gentleman for example, while another might be unspeakably brave despite his cruelty. However their deficiencies in... other areas tend to leave them somewhat less palatable.

* The title character in ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'' gets a moment of this at the climax of the play. Despite being subjected to two NoManOfWomanBorn moments in rapid succession (including the TropeNamer) leading him to realize that his opponent would probably win and Macduff's offer of clemency, he refuses to stand down. This is appropriate since while it does not undo his horrific acts it does confirm his status as a TragicHero.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'':
** While this is a series with BlackAndGrayMorality, the soldiers of the Brotherhood of Nod, the 'bad guys' of the game, show during ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'' exceptional bravery, just consider the bulk of Nod military is formed of civilian militia from the ravaged and impoverished Yellow Zones armed with assault rifles, portable missile launchers and light vehicles(they are backed by some elite forces), these guys first manage to outmatch for some time the Global Defense Initiative, which is a coalition of the world greatest powers, and then they hold their ground against a massive alien invasion force with technology capable to disrupt the laws of physics and GDI's full operative military power. It helps that their leader, [[DarkMessiah Kane]], is a ''[[MagnificentBastard very]]'' cunning strategist, and most of their generals are competent as well.
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'': the [[TerroristsWithoutACause GLA]]. Yes, they're absolute monsters and are in no way sympathetic, but they end up taking on both [[UsefulNotes/ChineseWithChopperSupport China]] and the [[UsefulNotes/YanksWithTanks United States]], with only hideously outdated weaponry, guerilla tactics and vast numbers. The GLA even manage [[spoiler:to bring a crushing defeat to the American forces in Europe, although they are soon crushed themselves by the Chinese afterwards]].
* Maleficent in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'', especially in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep''. She never gives up on her ambitions, or allows herself the luxury of true failure. Evil as she is, you have to respect that. She even fought Sora face-to-face in the first game without hesitation or fear. Remember that Sora hasn't just defeated all her allies and most of her Heartless troops before the battle but also he had the help of [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast Beast]], a nine foot tall creature with claws and teeth who has no problems taking down even the strongest Heartless with just one punch. It takes guts to fight something like that.
* The Turks in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', who lack the mako-enhancements and materia arsenal of the heroes but still put up a good fight when confronted.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'':
** In some games, the player gets dragon units, in these cases one also has to admire the guts of the {{mooks}} for being able to stand toe to toe with (or even outmatch) a creature that is three times their size.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblem: [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]]'' subverts this slightly, as the ones having villainous valor are good guys (well, one group of them) forced into being bad. 2 countries against 3? Even match for the enemy. 1 1/2 countries against 4 1/2? They absolutely DEVASTATED the enemy army.
* In the freeware RPG ''VideoGame/LastScenario'', the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Omega Team]] does this twice in quick succession. First, after the heroes ''defeat the BigBad'', they rally to defend him and fight as a full team for the first time, resulting in a BossFight many times more difficult than their leader. They manage to escape after losing, but the weight of their unconscious leader allows the heroes to catch up before long. [[spoiler:So the alleged traitor Helio stops to perform a HeroicSacrifice, using a PsychoSerum that he knows will only allow him to stall the heroes while his comrades escape, and will kill him even if he wins. But not before delivering a combination between VillainousBreakdown and WorldOfCardboardSpeech proving his unwavering loyalty to his team and their leader.]]
* The short roguelike ''VideoGame/SmartKobold'' features a tribe of kobolds which your character could kill effortlessly in a straight fight - so, their cave has guards posted to raise an alarm the moment you walk in, and when it goes off the kobolds immediately start snatching up all their weapons, valuables, and babies, and retreat (setting traps as they go) to a large room where they can easily snipe you to death. Where this really crosses the line from cleverness to outright valor, though, is that [[spoiler: if you corner one of their mages or archers, he'll often snap his wand or bow in half, so you can't use it when he dies (and you'll need a ranged weapon to have any hope of winning)]]. [[HeroicSacrifice The implications of this are profound]].
* Several antagonists are quite valiant in their efforts to defeat the main party in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''. The final boss in particular. Just before he dies, he states that he doesn't regret any of his actions and would do it all over again if he could.
* In ''VideoGame/TransformersWarForCybertron'', Megatron spends the first half of the game being outmatched and trying to accomplish "impossible" goals (such as controlling [[TheCorruption Dark Energon]], [[StormingTheCastle storming Autobot City]] and defeating [[HumongousMecha Omega Supreme]]) only to come out victorious in all three tasks, despite everyone (both allies and foes) pointing out that the odds are against him. In the sequel, ''VideoGame/TransformersFallOfCybertron'', he gets off to a rocky start, but soon one-man armies his way nearly to total victory. And whatever else you can say about him, Megatron leads from the front, and shows no hesitation in trying to slug it out with whatever is against him, be it Optimus Prime, Omega Supreme or Metroplex.
* Partially Subverted in ''VideoGame/GodOfWar 2'' due to the [[VillainProtagonist ways of Kratos]]. With [[NotHimself Zeus]] being the King of the Greek Parthenon it would be hard for any one to defeat him [[spoiler: unless you're the son of the god himself.]]
* Since the bad guys [[AntiVillain are depicted simply as soldiers serving their country]] enemies in the ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' series often display this, be it going after the seemingly [[AcePilot invincible pilot(s)]] to turn the tide of the faltering war, or to defend against an attack on a vital or sensitive installation. At one point in ''VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar'', the enemy stays in a vital munitions storage dump due to it's strategic importance despite it blowing up around them, since their comrades on the front lines need these supplies.
* Something of a subversion, since [[GreyandGreyMorality nobody is really a ''hero'']], but in ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'', during the Boss' raid on the [[BadassBiker Brotherhood]] headquarters, [[VillainProtagonist The Boss]] ends up cornering their leader Maero. Matt, who was little more than the gang's tattoo artist jumps on him/her and tells Maero to run. [[spoiler: it becomes something of a HeroicSacrifice when The Boss cracks him in the head with a brick, killing him]].
* In ''[[VideoGame/DawnOfWar Dawn of War 2]]: Chaos Rising'', [[TheDragon Eliphas]] is fought twice and both are difficult battles, even for Terminator-equipped squads. The Blood Ravens regard him as a dangerous foe because of this. In the next expansion pack, ''Retribution'', Eliphas is a VillainProtagonist in the Chaos single-player campaign, and here he takes on several powerful armies and BiggerBad Kyras, [[WorthyOpponent who respects Eliphas' strength and guile]].
** From the original Dawn of War II, The Eldar get in on this trope during the Battle of Angel Forge. Farseer Idranel blankly refuses medical aid in favour of hurrying their goals, and she too serves as a tough boss fight when you reach her, holding off your entire force alone. The lady may be an arrogant, [[MoralMyopia myopic]], human-hating bitch, but one thing she isn't is a coward. Also notable is pre-AscendedExtra Ronahn taking potshots at your force from a window, shouting that his mentor (who you assassinated in a previous mission) was the best of them and that he would avenge him or die trying.
** If you play as the Dark Eldar in ''Soulstorm'' and defeat the Chaos Stronghold (which is very likely given the close proximity of the two faction's territories), it is mentioned that the Chaos forces "fought heroically" to push back the Dark Eldar tide, to no avail. It compounds just how evil and wicked the Dark Eldar are when the [[ReligionOfEvil forces of Chaos]] seem downright heroic in comparison.
** No love for the Ork Warboss from ''VideoGame/Warhammer40000SpaceMarine'' who takes on [[spoiler:dozens of Khornate daemons, gets piled on and seemingly falls to his death, and ''then climbs back up unharmed'' and takes on the Chaos Sorcerer who summoned them and makes a good account of himself?]]
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' has a couple moments during the Grozni Grad escape sequence. First you see the enemy soldiers dragging their wounded allies from the burning hanger and yelling to them not to give up, and then you watch a helicopter swoop in front of [[HumongousMecha the quickly advancing Shagohod]] to rescue ''[[NoOneGetsLeftBehind a single soldier]]'' so he won't be run over.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has [[MyMasterRightOrWrong General Nazgrim]] in the Siege of Orgimmar. Unlike every other boss who's been corrupted or is simply flat-out evil, Nazgrim is simply doing his job and will not let anyone invade Orgimmar while he lives. He even congratulates the players when they win.
* In ''[[VideoGame/StarCraftI Starcraft: Brood War]]'', Kerrigan spends most of the game at a large disadvantage compared to her enemies. It's only with a lot of guile and manipulation that she's able to play these enemies off one another, before ultimately taking control over the Zerg broods and becoming the most powerful individual in the Koprulu Sector.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' flips this around on its head. [[spoiler: If you go for the Genocide ending, which turns you into a despicable murderer out to KillEmAll, you end up having to fight Sans, who seeks to punish you for your various atrocities, and turns out to be the single hardest boss in the entire game, thus making ''you'' the valorous villain in this scenario.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', various [[TheEmpire Garlean]] forces, along with the [[spoiler: Heavens' Ward of Ishgard]] display this trope; in particular Gaius van Baelsar and his lieutenants. Arguably ''anyone'' that willingly engages the Warrior of Light fits this trope, considering the player's reputation as a GodSlayer.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/CheshireCrossing'', The Wicked Witch Of The West repeatedly faces off against Mary Poppins. Poppins is depicted as a stern, overpowered witch who flattens her opponents with brute force, and shows off in both magical matters and mundane with little flourishes that [[SmugSuper let others know just how in charge she is]]. The Witch of the West on the other hand is made out to be a bitter underdog, defeated before at least once, who spends her time in search of arcane secrets and power sources. When they encounter each other for the first time while in Oz, Poppins is able to knock the Witch of the West around until the Witch of the West gets the drop on her with a bucket of water. [[KillItWithWater Oz has special rules]], and Poppins hasn't done her homework.
* In ''Webcomic/AMiracleOfScience'', one may find it hard not to root for [[MadScientist Doctor Haas]] as he strives to take over the world despite being hunted down by not only the police, but also a [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens godlike]] HiveMind. (It helps that the comic is the TropeNamer for ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder, providing an explanation for his actions beyond simple two-dimensional villainy.)
* In ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'', althought not villains per se, the dvergar who choose to fight the drow rather than trading with them shows this. Even after being reduced to a remnant by the desperate, fleeing dokkalfar (and later outright invading drow) and having no mana, they still are a real danger to drow trade caravans and get in a few good blows against the [[{{Ranger}} Highland Raiders]]. The last is a bit like Somali pirates attacking a US battleship in terms of power levels.
** Also demonstrated by a leader of the Hermiones, a humanoid race that's been moving into the areas once controlled by dokkalfar. Despite first getting his people [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=9682 burned]] and then [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=9705 subjected to]] an EmotionBomb that knocks everyone (including the other two elves) out cold he [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=9707 keeps attacking]] and is only [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=9709 stopped]] by a two-sided attack via a sword to both the back and the noggin, and even though his dialog is left untranslated it's implied he gets out one final curse against the elves.
*** Of course, he is not the villain, but a human who only wanted to save his family from being enslaved. It's debatable whether he is even a villain, made more dissonant(if not outright bad plot writing) by our main character Ariel who became against cruelty and slavery a few episodes earlier ending up butchering humans who merely wanted back their families which the "innocent" Drow would sell to slavery.
* Caliborn in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. Though he may be a petulant, [[ItsAllAboutMe sociopathic]] {{Jerkass}}, he's also a {{Determinator}} who defeats his session of Sburb despite nearly impossible odds - including his own [[AmbiguousDisorder implied mental issues]].
* Tweedle in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' is an arrogant, ruthless, would-be conqueror of Europa, but he certainly has no lack of courage.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'' has shades of this. As horrible as the demons might be, they fight heroically against the humans' modern technology [[spoiler:and get pasted]]. Later, it causes divisions between those humans who respect this and those who do not.
* In [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSDfxde8fSg this video]] that is violently opposed to the [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]] [[MemeticMutation arrow to the knee meme]], a [[HollywoodNerd short, fat, nerdy guy]] goes to type the joke into a Website/YouTube comment when the game's main character bursts out of the screen, [[{{Kneecapping}} kneecaps]] the nerd with arrows to both knees, then begins to strangle the nerd and tell him how much he sucks for [[NeverHeardThatOneBefore liking meme jokes]]. He goes to [[CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon make some gory and violent death threats]] should the nerd ever do it again. The nerd responds by [[DefiantToTheEnd making an arrow to the knee joke]]. Sure, it gets him KilledMidSentence, but as the top-rated comment on the video says "I have to admit, the nerd has balls."
* Displayed by UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler of all people during his second appearance in ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory''. He's ready to rap (against Darth freakin' Vader) only seconds after having been thawed from carbonite, a process that is agonizing, debilitating, and blinding. He then goes on a veritable roll, hitting every single one of Vader's {{Berserk Button}}s, culminating by declaring the Sith Lord's life to be a giant EpicFail and referring to him as both "Annie" and "TheEmperor's Whore." It gets him dropped into the Rancor Pit, but damn.
* ''Literature/{{Worm}}'':
** This is regularly displayed by supervillains who show up to battle [[{{Kaiju}} the Endbringers,]] which are steadily killing humanity as a whole and generally kill one-fourth of the capes that join the fight against them per battle. Villains are generally less coordinated than the heroes, so they take more casualties, but they ''keep showing up.''
** On a more personal level, there's [[VillainProtagonist Skitter,]] who in one case spends two minutes sparring with Mannequin, a SerialKiller who has [[WasOnceAMan turned himself into the perfect counter to her powers]] and is one of the most deadly people on the planet, in order to protect civilian refugees.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* We often see [[HeroicComedicSociopath Brock]] [[OneManArmy Sampson]] from the henchmen's point of view in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers''. The most notable case of Valiant Villainy here would probably be Henchman Number 1's stand against him, or maybe the lightsaber thing.
* The [[CainAndAbel Zuko vs Azula]] fight at the end of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' season 3 would count as this. [[spoiler:Azula is [[VillainousBreakdown clearly losing her mind]], and the fight. It's hard not to feel bad for her all of a sudden, over the course of the last couple episodes, especially since even as he makes the challenge Zuko still thinks that if she were sane he wouldn't be able to fight her.]]
** In the same episode, after [[spoiler:[[NiceJobFixingItVillain Ozai unlocks Aang's Avatar State]], he manages to dodge [[SuperMode Avatar State]] Aang's SphereOfPower for several minutes, even managing to get a few attacks off. Still doesn't work.]]
** There's Zuko's attempts at defeating Aang in the first season despite getting curbstomped every time they meet. This along with Zuko's woobie status can easily drive a viewer to root for him simply out of sympathy.
** Lesser villains get their share of valorous moments, as well. For example, the thoroughly unpleasant prison warden from "The Boiling Rock" declares that he would rather jump into the boiling lake surrounding his prison than let a single prisoner escape. When he's taken hostage he proves his boast true when he orders his men to drop the gondola they're riding into the lake, even though he would die as well.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Avatar's sequel, has some valiant villains as well.
** Season 1 has the Equalists, nonbenders who regularly get into fights with not only benders, but the Avatar herself - who has mastered three elements at the series start - and hold their own. Two of them have an all out fight against Korra (said Avatar) and Mako (a firebender of formidable skill) and manage to match them for a bit, though they're eventually forced to retreat.
** Season 3 has Zaheer. Before gaining airbending from Harmonic Convergence, he was a skilled martial artist, nonbender, and member of the Red Lotus who managed to gain the trust of three powerful benders ([[UnholyMatrimony winning the heart of one of them.]]) and led them on an ill-fated mission to capture Korra when she was younger. After gaining airbending, he immediately and singlehandedly breaks his cabal out of their prisons to finish what they started. He is always seen on the front lines with his gang and even provides cover when their plan to capture Korra in Zaofu goes awry. [[spoiler: Even during his final confrontation with Korra, who is in the Avatar State and in an UnstoppableRage mode that makes Aang's worst look mild, Zaheer doesn't back down and continues his attempts to kill her, nearly succeeding had it not been for the intervention of Jinora and the Airbenders.]] Zaheer is many things, but coward is not one of them.
** Season 4 has [[TheConqueror Kuvira]], who commands the entire Earth Kingdom (renamed [[TheEmpire the Earth Empire]]) but seems to think little of going alone into battle with a half-dozen opponents. At one point she goes one-on-one against [[KungFuJesus Korra]] for control of Zaofu, and announces to her troops that she wouldn't send any of them into a battle she wasn't prepared to take on as well. She absolutely refuses to give up, even in the very rare times where it's clear that she's outmatched. At worst, she makes strategic retreats or a fallback plan, but never outright surrenders [[spoiler:until Korra makes her go through a HeelRealization]].
--->'''Korra:''' Kuvira! Give up!\\
'''Kuvira:''' (''Quietly'') Never.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'', the VillainEpisode "Task Force X" followed a band of BadassNormal {{Boxed Crook}}s employed by WellIntentionedExtremist GovernmentConspiracy Cadmus to infiltrate the Watchtower and steal a magical artifact from inside. The episode goes to great lengths to show how the normal humans are awed by the Metahuman leaguers and how they (in their own worlds) "feel like they're infiltrating Mount Olympus". The episode commentary has the writers going into detail on how and when they were invoking this trope.
** It could be argued that it's deconstructed: Everyone in the team is TheSociopath and they really '''can't care''' for each other. Everything they do, is egoist, not heroic in a sense of helping others. The mission plan developed by ClockKing ''counts'' on this: as long as everyone looks for himself, ''and only for himself'', the plan will work and everyone will be safe (the heroes aren't going to kill them, after all). Unfortunately, [[TokenGoodTeammate field commander Rick Flagg, Jr.]] is not a BoxedCrook nor [[TheSociopath a sociopath]], he's a normal person who believes MyCountryRightOrWrong. So he insists on extending the plan because he believes [[NoOneGetsLeftBehind in getting his team out alive]]. This causes the disfigurement, or death, of one member of the squad. NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished, indeed!
** Though that only happens because said member [[TooDumbToLive insisted on using their last explosive to kill a League member instead of escaping]] - and of course the most [[FauxAffablyEvil dickish member]] of Task Force X [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness shooting the explosive the former had on her]], as the rest [[VillainExitStageLeft of the group teleports away]]. Less to do with Flagg being the "good guy" (relatively speaking) of group, and more to do with the inherent toxicity and destructiveness of having a group of [[PsychoForHire sociopaths]] in a team together performing dangerous missions.
** It's perhaps telling that once the mission is over, the first thing Flagg does in debriefing is to ''slug'' said dickish team member right in the gut, unable to hold his contempt back any longer.
* The trecherous general from ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan''. Yes he betrayed Galaluna, but he could have fought and killed Lance easily with his PowerArmor or let the Mutrati tear him apart, instead he opts to fight him in a fair sword fight. Granted he was considered much more skilled than Lance, but it takes guts to take on a prodigy like Lance with just a sword when he could have finish him off without a second thought.
* In ''{{WesternAnimation/Gargoyles}},'' [[TheStoic Owen]] seems to just be [[XanatosGambit Xanatos]]' butler for the first several episodes; however, when he catches the gargoyles trying to take the [[SpellBook Grimorum Arcanorum]] and they challenge him to stop them, he calmly [[TheGlassesComeOff takes off his glasses]], [[BattleButler holds up his fists and fights them for it]]. He doesn't win, of course, but it's the show's first hint that Xanatos keeps him around for more than paperwork and [[DeadpanSnarker dry humor]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' Black Manta's men carry themselves very much like a professional, competent military force who are all personally and unwaveringly dedicated to his cause even in the face of superheroes who outclass them.