Brother Bear 2: Rutt and Tuke pull off a BDH moment near the end when they help Kenai and Nita stave Edka off.
Anastasia: When it seems that Anya is about to fall into the icy river (Rasputin even says"No one can save you!"), Dimitri swoops in to save the day by punching Rasputin in the face. Subverted in that he very quickly gets the living crap beaten out of him, though it does lead to Anya getting her revenge on Rasputin.
Monsters, Inc.: When Randall and Waternoose are about to use the scream extractor on Boo, Sully bursts in with a roar, pulls the machine from its circuits and uses it to pin the two to the wall.
The Rugrats Movie: Two moments - the first had Phil, Lil and Chuckie race back on the Reptar Wagon to rescue Tommy and Dil from the monkeys after realizing they were wrong for leaving the two behind in their anger. The second is when Spike rushes in to save the babies from a very hungry wolf.
In Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph tries to undo the damage he cause in the game Sugar Rush by creating a beacon to attract the swarm of Cy-Bugs which invaded from the game Hero's Duty. To do so, he punches the Mentos ceiling of Diet Cola Mountain. The King Candy/Turbo/Cy-Bug captures him but he breaks free to give the ceiling one last punch as a Heroic Sacrifice, but is saved at the last minute by his little friend Vanellope Von Schweetz.
The Beast from Beauty and the Beast makes his presence known and saves Belle by grabbing the wolf that was attacking her, hoisting it into the air, and roaring in its face. Then he proceeds to beat up the rest of the pack all by himself.
At the end of Kung Fu Panda 2, this happens multiple times in quick succession. First, Po arrives to save the Furious Five from Lord Shen and his army. Then, Masters Ox and Croc come in, followed by Master Shifu. Ultimately subverted however, when Shen blows away all the reinforcements with his cannon, leaving it all up to Po.
Films — Live-Action
In Twenty Thousand Leagues Underthe Sea, Ned Land as played by Kirk Douglas pulls a truly impressive one- we see him break out of a flooding holding cell as the Nautilus is taking on water, break through a glass window with his feet to unlock the door from outside, makes it to the bridge to find the ship under attack by a giant squid- a creature he's never seen before in his life- grabs a harpoon, kills it in one shot, then dives into the water to save Captain Nemo, a man he hates. It turns into a funny moment with this dialogue afterwards;
Every single time Batman smashes through a window involves a Big Damn Hero entrance. The classic example is the scene in the 1989 Batman movie where Bats smashes through a skylight to save Vicki Vale who is being menaced by the Joker in the museum.
Batman Begins: After the Scarecrow's fear toxin has engulfed the Narrows, Gordon is the only unaffected man left on the island. The Commissioner, by radio on the outside, breaks it to him that all the reinforcements he's asking for are already on the island there with him, just as helpless as everyone else and he's on his own.
Commissioner: Gordon...there's nobody left to send in.
The Batmobile roars past him, flies over the raised bridge and to the rescue.
The Dark Knight: The Joker's thugs spring a trap on the police truck carrying Harvey Dent. Just as Dent and the cops are worried that the Joker may actually kill them all, Batman enters with the Batmobile and evens the odds against the Joker.
The Dark Knight Rises: The police are about to take on Bane's army, despite being hopelessly outgunned. Then the Bat swoops in and blows up one of Bane's Tumblers.
The First Superman movie has one for Superman when he flies to rescue Lois Lane from the helicopter which got caught on the roof.
A classic example occurs during the trench run scene in Star Wars. Just when Darth Vader has Luke's fighter in his crosshairs, the Millennium Falcon comes flying out of the sun, piloted by Han Solo, blasting one of Vader's two wingmen, surprising the last one who bumps into Vader, crashing and sending Vader spinning out of control, giving Luke a clear shot at the target needed to destroy the Death Star.
Subversion: In El Mariachi, the prequel to Desperado, the titular character (played by Carlos Gallardo instead of Antonio Banderas) arrives too late to prevent bad guy Moco from gunning down Domino, his love interest, in a fit of jealousy.
A classic version of this occurs in Iron Man where an Afghan village is being terrorized. Just as the head thug is about to execute an innocent villager as his wife and children scream for them to stop, everyone hears something falling out the sky....Iron Man! Who then proceeds to lay the smackdown on all the terrorists in short order.
In Iron Man 3, Pepper gets her spot by punching a remote controlled armor in the chest and throwing a missile straight into Killian's face.
Another good moment comes before, when the "House Party Protocol" is invoked, and an entire legion of Iron Man armors come in for the assist against the Extremis soldiers.
Kung Fu Hustle. In a scene lasting about three to four minutes, there are three Big Damn Heroes moments, one from each of the Three Heroes. The first is easily the most impressive, involving a lighter being caught by a coolie in a scene that would make the aforementioned Firefly crew green with envy, and the hero facing off against something on the order of a hundred gangsters. The others are less impressive, but only by comparison, involving a gay tailor sending a man through and beating the crap out of the gangsters swarming the first man, and a donut-making baker taking on three men armed with thompson machine guns with a pair of blunt sticks meant to roll out dough. Ain't they just Three Big Damn Heroes?
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. When they beam down to the Khitomer Conference. Kirk shoves the blind president out of the assassin's line of fire. McCoy grabs the Romulan ambassador at gunpoint. Spock shouts down Admiral Cartwright after showing Valeris was found out. Scotty sneaks in behind the sniper and knocks him through a window. And Sulu and his crew beam into the exits just as Cartwright's about to book it.
Excelsior just showing up to buy Enterprise and company a little more time qualifies:
Captain Sulu: Alright, now we've given them something else to shoot at.
In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg are back and are slaughtering the Federation starships standing between it and Earth, including the Defiant, being commanded by Worf. The Borg lock on and begin crippling the ship...
Worf: "Perhaps today IS a good day to die. Prepare for ramming speed!"
Helsman: "Sir, there's another starship coming in...it's the Enterprise!" Cue two torpedoes destroying the Borg cutting beam as the massive Enterprise swoops between the two ships (while the TNG theme pounds away in the background), drawing the cube's fire and suffering no damage! Picard then tops this by taking command of the fleet and ordering them to concentrate their fire on a single, non-vital spot, which opens up its secondary power relay to a direct assault from the Enterprise's quantum torpedoes. The formerly "invincible" Borg cube was destroyed within seconds.
In Star Trek: Nemesis, two Romulan Warbirds unexpectedly de-cloak and join Enterprise in a battle that they were losing badly. They were taken out of the fight embarrassingly quickly.
The new Star Trek film has a great moment near the end, after Nero orders a "FIRE EVERYTHING!" at Spock's ship... and the Enterprise drops out of warp with all guns blazing furiously, picking off all of the Romulan torpedoes.
Aragorn has this moment in the first film. The Ringwraith stabs Frodo, and just as he is reaching out (likely to get the Ring that Frodo still wears), Aragorn jumps in, torch and sword at hand and battles the five Ringwraiths, setting most of them on fire.
Sam when he saves Frodo from Shelob (even if he doesn't know at the time).
When the Witch-King and his fell-beast are about to kill an incapacitated King Théoden, and then Éowyn jumps in the way, hacked the beast's head off in merely a few strikes.
End of helm's deep. All is lost, Aragorn looks to the East, and then... Gandalf and Éomer, mother-fucker.
The Battle of Minas Tirath was essentially a series of dueling Big Damn Heroes moments for each side. First, the Rohirrim appear when all seems lost, then Mordor reinforcements arrive with oliphants, then Aragorn shows up leading an army of ghosts...
In Armageddon, right when everything seems lost, seeing as though the first giant drilling machine was lost, AJ shows up with the (previously thought lost) second giant drilling machine to save the day.
Lampshaded in Road to Rio, where Jerry Colonna leads a cavalry charge to save the day, to be still riding there long after everything is settled. "Exciting though, wasn't it?"
In the Transformers Film Series, these are somewhat plentiful and frequently awesome. Film 1 has Bumblebee saving Sam from a pack of angry guard dogs, Bumblebee saving Sam & Mikaela from Barricade, Optimus saving Sam & Mikaela from corrupt government officials (though this one doesn't work out so well), and Bumblebee & Mikaela saving the soldiers from Brawl. Film 2 has Bumblebee saving Sam & his parents from the kitchen appliances brought to life by the Allspark shard, Optimus & Bumblebee saving Sam & Mikaela from the revived Megatron, Jetfire showing up in the final battle to kill Mixmaster and Scorponok, and Bumblebee saving Sam & co. from Rampage & Ravage. ...Bumblebee gets to do a lot of these, doesn't he?
The warehouse one is the best, especially if you don't see it coming. Sam is pinned down, the last several minutes have been very dark, culminating in a sadistic little bot centimeters away from cutting Sam's head open, with no apparent hope...and CRASH! Optimus busts through the ceiling, the heroic music instantly starting at full swing, immediately followed by Bumblebee making an entryway through a wall, and what was 15 seconds ago a quiet and disturbing scene is now a scene full of roaring weapons fire, shots flying everywhere, and hectic action. Oh, and Optimus kicking ass.
This is Optimus's job at NEST. While the human soldiers and smaller Autobots hit the field first, Optimus hangs out in the main NEST cargo plane. If the ground troops aren't cutting it, he's airdropped directly into the thick of things to start kicking ass.
Subverted in the short film Pyrates. Just as a pirate is about to be hanged, his captain and crew arrive to effect a daring rescue, only to find out at the end of the film that they just wanted his part of the treasure map.
In District 9 it looks like Wikus, in his Power Armor, is going to run off and abandon Christopher to certain death. Just as Chris is about to be shot, Wikus has a change of heart and charges back in, using the alien weapons to kill the soldiers in a shower of Ludicrous Gibs.
Gizmo may be a little guy, but he played the Trope to a T in Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Near the conclusion, Kate and Marla were cornered - with Marla partially webbed up - by the Spider-Gremlin, when all of a sudden, Gizmo, who had gotten sick of being bullied by the gremlins all through the entire film, appeared from out of an air duct dressed up like Rambo, and killed the thing with an makeshift bow and arrow tipped with an ignited bottle of white-out.
In The Matrix Reloaded, Neo shows up to save Morpheus and the Keymaker toward the end of the freeway scene.
In The Matrix Revolutions, an indirect version happens. Just as the humans in Zion are about to make their last stand, the encroaching Sentinels suddenly stand down thanks to Neo, who fought his way to the Machine city to negotiate peace in exchange for him killing Smith.
Subverted in Land of the Deadas the heroes rush to join the final battle against the zombie horde, it appears this will be played straight and they will arrive just in time to save the terrified people trapped between the electric fence and the zombies. They actually arrive just in time to watch as the zombies feast on the people and all they can do is give those still alive a somewhat quicker death.
Tom Cruise's return to the scene of the final aerial battle in Top Gun.
Used in the film itself. After Doug has rescued his father, he's faced with the prospect of having to take on a pair of Mi Gs with only 80 rounds left in his chaingun. Cue a squad of F15's showing up and scaring off the enemy fighters.
Dogma serves up a good one. The heroine, Bethany, is about to be beaten to death by some wicked teenage hockey-playing demons. Just as they're about to strike, Jay And Silent Bob leap into action to save the day by beating the crap out of them. "Snooch to the muthafuckin' Noooooooch!"
Played with in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Ron tries this, utterly failing ("I immediately regret this decision!"), the rest of the news team does pretty well, but it's Baxter who saves the day
In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, after crashing a helicopter into a hanger, the T-X advances on John Connor and Kate Brewster, who are powerless to stop it. Then, an even bigger helicopter slams into the hanger, grinding the T-X into dust, and setting the hanger on fire. Guess who pops out?
With the T-1000 chasing after John and drawing a gun, everything looks bleak... until a door busts open and in walks the Terminator, pulling a shotgun from a box of roses.
On a pithy 50cc bike and being chased down by the T-1000 in a truck, John has no idea that help is coming, until the Terminator jumps his bike off a 30-foot ledge and into the aqueduct they're driving in.
The abusive staff of the Pescadero Mental Institute thought it'd be easy doping up Sarah for the millionth time. They didn't bank on the massive shotgun-toting biker cyborg.
Sarah's trapped in a dead-end room surrounded by riot police who are shooting to kill. There's no way out of there, until the Terminator simply bashes the wall in and pulls her out.
John and Sarah are unarmed and cornered by the T-1000 with the Terminator nowhere in sight, until he appears over a steel processing conveyor with his trusty M79 grenade launcher.
In Lethal Weapon, Murtaugh is about to be killed by the Big Bad, who pauses to give his Evil Gloating, ending with the line "There are no more heroes." At that exact moment, Riggs bursts in and dispatches him and his minions.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie Valiant and Jessica Rabbit see the Toon Patrol in their black truck barreling at them when they're in Toontown. Jessica grabs Eddie's arm and tries to drag him off in one direction to flee, while Eddie tries to drag her in the other, jerking his thumb in that direction in the process. Suddenly, Benny the Cab races up and they climb in and they escape being mowed down by the truck in the nick of time.
Benny the Cab: So, Valiant, you called a cab or what?
Later, in the Acme Factory, as Doom tells Eddie and Jessica his plans to wipe out Toontown and replace it with a freeway, Roger blasts into the warehouse through a drainage grate and tries to hold Doom and the Toon Patrol at gunpoint. In this case, this trope is subverted in that one of the Toon Patrol weasels also gets blasted up onto a Ton-of-Bricks hanging from the ceiling that he uses to bury the rabbit, giving Doom the upper hand.
Iron Man makes a big damned entrance in The Avengers when intervening to aid Captain America against Loki in Stuttgart, Germany. He even hacks the Quinjet's PA system to blast out some AC/DC as he makes his rescue.
Iron Man: Make your move, Reindeer Games.
Cap himself gets a good moment prior to Tony's big entrance, diving in at the last minute to save a defiant old German man from being vaporized by Loki and his magic staff.
The best BDH moment is when Bruce Banner arrives to bring muscle to the fight. On a scooter.
Circus has a subversion; Leo is being threatened by a pair of Loan Sharks, when Leo's buddy Moose intervenes and beats up the sharks... because he blames Leo for the death of his mistress and wants to kill Leo himself.
Home Alone: In the first movie, Old Man Marley saves Kevin by knocking out Marv and Harry with a shovel, leaving them for the police. In the second movie, just when the two are about to shoot Kevin, the Pigeon Lady distracts them so Kevin can run to safety, then throws birdseed all over Marv and Harry so the pigeons will attack them; again, the police arrive to arrest them shortly after.
The drone coming to Jack's rescue during the Scavs' ambush on the remains of the New York Public Library, and the drones sent to intimidate the Scavengers when they capture Jack and Julia. Although considering The Reveal that follows, they could be considered more of a Villainous Rescue in action.
When the drone on Tower 49 is reactivated, killing Victoria and getting ready to shoot Jack, Julia saves him by blowing away the drone with the Bubble Ship's guns. The fact that the later Aerial Canyon Chase has the drones getting shot repeatedly with the same guns with little damage making it also an example of Worf Had The Flu, is justified by Harper mentioning earlier that the drone isn't worth much without its armor.
During the final shootout between the drones and the Scavengers on the bunker, one of the drones is about to shoot Julia and some human civilians. Julia picks up a gun and shoots the drone ineffectively... but is enough of a diversion for Sykes to be able to shoot it In the Back with no problem. Beech also mans a turret and shoots it out with one of the drones, destroying it although he ends up injured because of it.
Used in the finale of Daybreakers, when Willem Dafoe's character shows up to save the day.
Done during the final battle of Spider-Man 3, when Harry comes in and saves Peter from being crushed by the Sandman.
As is the norm, Superman gets several moments in Man of Steel.
Pacific Rim: Crimson Typhoon and Cherno Alpha are down, Striker Eureka is disabled, and the Hansons have only just managed to piss off the Kaiju by shooting at it with flare guns. And then Gipsy Danger appears.
The New Guy has Gil Harris unmasked by his enemies at Homecoming. Certain social destruction is imminent - and then Luther and the prison guards show up to save the day.
OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders has Kamen Rider V3 rescue OOO, the Den-O team and the Double Riders with the aid of the other main Riders. Soon after, Kamen Rider Birth arrives, leading the Secondary and Extra Riders to help with the final atack.
In the horror anthology film Body Bags at the end of "The Gas Station" segment, an early customer named Pete suddenly returns to help Anne beat the killer when he remembered he left his credit card behind.
Operation: Dumbo Drop: H.A. gets a moment when the crew finally gets the elephant to the village, but are caught by V.C.s, except him, since he caught his parachute in a tree. He drops down and rushes in.
The Mutos seem unstoppable until Godzilla pimps into town to show them who's boss. The big reveal in the Honolulu airport suggests this trope, but really it's the final showdown in the San Francisco Bay that best captures it, after Ford blows up the Female Muto's egg, she attempts to kill him. Cue atomic breath, allowing Ford to escape.
Ford to Godzilla, ironically enough. When both Mutos were pummeling the snot out of Godzilla, the explosion that Ford caused to destroy all the Muto eggs drew their attention, freeing Godzilla.