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Film - Animated
- Aladdin steals one loaf of bread and gets a squadron of imperial guards out for his blood. (This seems far more disproportionate when viewed as an adult.)
Aladdin: All this for a loaf of bread?
- The fruit vendor nearly cuts off Jasmine's hand for stealing an apple that she didn't even steal for herself. Both instances are examples of Truth in Television for the time and place the film takes place in.
- Beauty and The Beast:
- So, the Enchantress curses the selfish young Prince for not giving her shelter and turns him into a Beast. Given she had been disguised as a helpless old woman and his actions at the time would've been a death sentence, one can understand her perspective. Cursing the entire staff, including Mrs.Potts children, who had no say whatsoever in the matter was going a tad too far.
- Gaston's opinion on Belle rejecting his advances: "Bah, Belle rejected me. I'm so humiliated! I'm going to forcibly get her father committed, blackmail her into marrying me, and - if that doesn't work - lead an angry mob to kill the guy she does like. Even if this guy has lost the will to live and won't fight back."
- The Interquel The Enchanted Christmas introduced the castle decorator and several staff members who have unfortunately become ornaments. Because he dislikes Christmas and was actually cursed on that day, the Beast has them imprisoned in the attic.
- In the same film, Forte attempts to collapse the entire castle. The reason is because Beast decided to rekindle his relationship with Belle and feel renewed hope at the prospect of becoming human again and ignore Forte's (selfish) attempts to dissuade him from Belle. Of course, he gets his comeuppance when the Beast kills him.
- In Cats Don't Dance, Because she feared the animals would take her stardom, Darla Dimple flooded the stage, getting them practically banned from acting and nearly killing studio exec L.B. Mammoth.
- Done hilariously in The Emperor's New Groove, where a harmless old man accidentally bumps into the Emperor during his song number, and gets promptly thrown out of the nearest window.
Kuzco: You threw off my groove!
Guard: I'm sorry, you've thrown off the Emperor's groove.
Old Man: (as he is falling through the air) SOOOOOOOORRRRYYYYYYYyyy!
- Fortunately, the old man is fine, and after going through some Character Development from the events of the movie, a much nicer Kuzco apologizes to him. Heartwarmingly, the old man never really held it against him and took getting thrown out in good humor.
- When you think about it, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, the three villains in Fantastic Mr. Fox, are the kings of this trope in their efforts to get revenge against Mr. Fox for his pilfering, given how rich they must be. (Boggis eats more of his own chickens in a day than Mr. Fox likely could steal in a month, and he had more than one of those storehouses; what Mr. Fox was doing likely didn't cost him even one percent of one percent of his profit margin.) And yet, the three of them were willing to level an entire forest and use a small army of farm hands in their insane revenge plan.
- Professor Ratigan of The Great Mouse Detective feeds a well-meaning drunk minion to his pet cat for calling him the world's greatest rat.
- Horton of Horton Hears a Who! is outcast, tied down, and caged by the animals in the jungle he lives in, and his clover is taken away and nearly tossed into boiling mud, all because he thinks that some people live on a speck that is located on the clover.
- Syndrome in The Incredibles was just a geeky kid who wanted to be a super-sidekick using his gadgetry. After he's rather roughly dismissed by his hero, Mr. Incredible (who was trying to deal with multiple disasters at that particular moment, one of which had been caused by the kid's clumsy attempt to help, and was also on the verge of being late to his own wedding), he goes to the dark side and spends his life designing technology so he can kill off all the world's superheroes, take their place, and then eventually sell his inventions so that everyone can be super, depriving everyone of their uniqueness. He takes special glee in his attempts to kill/abduct Mr. Incredible's wife and kids.
- Meet the Robinsons: Bowler Hat Guy spent his entire life hating Lewis simply because he is really Lewis's roommate Goob who lost the Little Leagues game due to being kept up all night by Lewis's memory scanner and stayed angry about it to the point where he never got adopted and stayed in the orphanage for the rest of his life.
- Metegol: El Grosso loses a foosball game and holds it as a motive to not only destroy the foosball table and the bar where the game took place, but also the whole town.
- In Mulan, the title character is almost sentenced to death for disguising herself as a man to join the army in the place of her old father. General Shang decides to spare her because she saved his life and fires her instead. This is likely a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance.
- In Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent curses the princess to die because she was not invited to the christening. She spends the next sixteen years obsessing over her revenge being enacted.
- A case of Shown Their Work: Maleficent's behavior is quite fitting of an evil fairy, who is compelled to avenge all slights.
- The movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut has this as their plot. The kids watch an R-Rated movie and start swearing far more than they usually do. In response, the parents decide to blame Canada for their problems and start with arresting Terrance and Phillip, the stars of the movie. Canada responds by bombing the Baldwin brothers' home. The parents respond by getting the US to go to war with Canada.
- The Thief and the Cobbler: Zigzag stepped on a tack accidentally dropped by Tack, and in response, he has him arrested and attempts to convince the king to have him beheaded. When Princess Yum-Yum convinces her father to spare him, Zigzag later has him thrown in the dungeon and tries to feed him to his pet vulture Phido.
Film - Live Action
- The titular premise of the Australian movie Alexandra's Project is a wildly disproportionate revenge scheme.
- In Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Red Queen demands one of her servant's head gets cut off... for stealing her tart.
- In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, main human Dalas' little brother delivers pizza to a girl he likes. Her boyfriend is inside and jokes about the uniform with his friends; he jokes back 'I guess who ordered the sausage lovers pizza', insinuating that he's gay with his friends. His retaliation is to follow him out of the house, beat the shit out of him, and throw his keys into a sewer, meaning he has to walk home and use the window to get in. Point, it's implied that the reason Dalas was in Jail was beating this guy up as retribution for something he did, but still for the incident it was a little cold.
- American History X: The act that kicks off the main plot: Oh, Derek caught a black guy trying to steal his truck? Well, surely he's making him lie on the ground so the police can... Wait, why's he making the guy bite the curb like— Oh, holy SHIT!!
- Then there's the black bully, who guns down Derek's little brother. Why? Because he blew smoke in his face. Worse, he did it while the guy was trying to apologize for the act.
- American Justice: Payden shoots Boyd in the face for complaining that he only found cocaine when he wanted money.
- In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the biker who's accidentally pelted by Ron's burrito punts Ron's dog off a bridge. He does get better.
- The Japanese film Audition (or Odishon). Punishing someone for auditioning you, in such a horrible way? That's beyond disproportionate...
- The Avengers: Loki's plot to take control of Earth is largely driven by jealousy and resentment towards his adoptive brother Thor, as well as rage at being deceived about his true ancestry. He wants to subjugate the entire population of Earth—a planet which Thor treasures and protects—thereby wiping out many of the people that Thor cares about. In addition, Loki feels that he was cheated out of his rightful place as the ruler of Asgard.
Thor: So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights?
- In Back to the Future Part III, the newspapers stopped keeping track of the kills by Buford Tannen, Biff's great-grandfather, after he'd shot a newspaper editor who printed an unfavorable story about him in 1884, which was why Marty McFly couldn't find record of Doc Brown's murder by him in 1885.
- Doc's murder also applies. As his tombstone says, he was killed over a matter of $80. What happened, you may ask? Doc shod Tannen's horse, the horse threw a shoe, which caused Tannen to break a bottle of whiskey, and he took his anger out on the horse by shooting it dead. In Tannen's mind, it's Doc's fault all this happened, and therefore he owes him money for the horse and the whiskey.
- In The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood seem to be a magnet for this. Neo-Nazis want to kill them for pushing them into a lake. Jake's ex wants him dead for leaving her at the altar. A country band and bar owner fire on them over a few hundred bucks. The police pursuit of them over reckless driving, evading arrest and petty theft ultimately involves the US Army turning up in force. Lampshaded in the latter case:
"Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved."
- Brazil: Most of the villains are apathetic bureaucrats and Punch Clock Villains. The only outright vindictive people are two plumbers who become furious when the hero uses a paperwork loophole to prevent them from entering his home to fix his ducts. The plumbers eventually return with the proper forms and then utterly destroy his home in the process of their "repairs."
- The Danish movie Flickering Lightsnote had one of the main characters, in anger, pull out a pistol and shoot a mooing cow. The gunman himself, was tried of living in the middle of the woods, on the run from a mafia after a botched deal, and the cow's mooing was the last straw. Poor cow. Literally.note
- The climax of Breaker! Breaker! has love interest Arlene put out a CB distress call to try and save JD (Chuck Norris) from the local corrupt police. Cue responses from every big rig driver in the area, looking to help out favorite son JD and to get some payback on the Wretched Hive of Texas City. They then proceed to drive their rigs literally right through the town, destroying it. Yes, it was a town that ran on hijacking trucks and generally being miserable bullies, but they (the truckers) didn't know how many of the people they'd just terrorized and made homeless were actively in on it.
- In Breaking Dawn - Part 1, Aro orders the death of the secretary because she misspelled "Carlisle" in a note.
"Carlyle? With a Y?"
- In Breakout, John Houston portrays a Corrupt Corporate Executive who forces someone in Mexico to kill someone else, frames his grandson for the murder, puts him before a Kangaroo Court presided over by a judge sympathetic to the old corporate freak, and has him put away for 28 years. The reason? He feared that his grandson, should he take over his company, would drive it into the ground by making changes to its operations.
- Bruce Almighty sees Bruce Nolan get God's powers. Naturally, he uses them on those who have "wronged" him.
- A punk beats up Bruce with his buddies. Bruce, in turn uses his powers to have a monkey fly out of the man's ass. As if that weren't bad enough, afterwards Bruce has the monkey crawl back in.
- A local news team teases Bruce for something that was basically his fault (No-one was forcing him to have a rant live on TV). What does Bruce then do? Get them arrested for possessing hundreds of pounds of marijuana.
- Evan Baxter woud've been an example of this. He teases Bruce on what's implied to be a near-constant basis and arranges for him to hear him get the job they both wanted while he's live on another set. In the final cut, Bruce pays him back by making him embarassing himself via hypnosis. In the original cut, however, he makes blood gush out of his nose uncontrollably, and then lights his head on FIRE. Twice.
- Bubble: The murder that occurs is an example: Martha was annoyed by Rose's requests for favors and occasional rudeness over the course of a week.
- In Buffalo 66, the main character Billy plans to shoot and kill an ex-football player for missing a field goal. Billy lost a huge bet he made because the football player missed. To pay off his debt, Billy had to serve another man's prison sentence. He decides not to go through with his plan in the end.
- In Casino Nicky Santoro stabs a guy a dozen times in the throat with a pen because he was rude. His character was based off a real person, however the event was purely fiction.
- Chicago. One woman murdered her husband for popping gum. This might have just been the one thing on top of many others that made her snap, or she might simply be crazy.
- Lil Ze in City of God shot a member of his gang for irritating him with incessant talking. This is the same Lil Ze who, after he asked a woman to dance at a club and she turned him down, humiliated her boyfriend by forcing him to strip naked on the crowded dance floor at gun point, followed them home, raped her while the boyfriend was made to watch and then murdered the boyfriend's brother and had his gang shoot up his home, killing his uncle. Fucking monster.
- In the original Clash of the Titans, both Zeus and Thetis order not only the deaths of those they feel have wronged them, but also the deaths of the entire populations of the cities that they ruled over, apparently just to drive the point home.
- In Con Air, Vince Larkin is debriefing Sims on the backgrounds of the inmates onboard the flight. One of them is William Bedford, also known as "Billy Bedlam".
Willie Sims: The mass murderer?Vince Larkin: The same. He caught his wife in bed with another man. Left her alone, drove four towns over to his wife's family's house. Killed her parents, her brothers, her sisters, even her dog.
- Cruel and Unusual: Edgar didn't kill his wife intentionally, but this is still treated as murder. Finally, Edgar is sent back to the afterlife for killing himself, but this was to save Doris and Maylon. Because he feels proud of that, it's implied he may never move on. Of course, look at the title...
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle ultimately feels that this is what happens when Bane takes over Gotham - making it all the more ironic that she wanted to see the spoiled, wealthy elite suffer for their hubris. Just not to the extent that Bane makes them suffer.
- In the horror film Darkness Falls, the monster is the "original" Tooth Fairy that the stories are based on, and she'll kill any child who sees her at work. The movie's tagline was "An Eye For an Eye. Your Life For a Tooth..."
- The villainess of the horror movie Dead Silence, Mary Shaw. A kid once heckled her ventriloquist performance, so what does she do? **Kill him and everyone remotely related to him, to extinguish his bloodline for all eternity**.
- With the film Magnum Force, the vigilante cops pull over and shoot criminals who escape the justice system. It borders on Disproportionate Retribution at times: in the opening scene, after Ricca gets acquitted, the cop who pulls his car over shoots not only him, but also his driver, bodyguard and attorney.
- It's made clear in the scene where Harry, Briggs, and Avery are in the morgue looking at the various bodies of the vigilante cops' victims, as Avery notes that some of the shooting victims committed such crimes as truck hijacking, gambling, narcotics, and prostitution.
- In Dogma, Loki has just finished killing the corrupt corporate executives (finks, to him) that he spent a good 5 minutes ranting at, for nearly unspeakable sins. He offers Ms. Price gum, and tells her she has nothing to fear. He then points a gun at her face, and reminds her that she didn't say "God bless you" when he sneezed. He gets called off, but reminds her twice that she got off lucky.
- There's also Bartleby's and Loki's entire plot in the movie, as well as what CAUSED it. See, angels were never given free will, so when Loki at one point questions God whether a proclaimed judgement might be a little excessive and resigns as the Angel of Death, thanks to Bartleby egging him on while they were drunk, God strips them of their semi-divinity and banishes them to Wisconsin forever. (This is a few centuries before even the Native Americans get a chance to show up.) So their plot? Abuse a loophole in Catholic doctrine that would get them back into heaven! The downside is that this would destroy Creation. As in, everything. To quote the Metatron, "Was Wisconsin really that bad?"
- God's punishment to Azrael also seems a bit harsh. He sends the ones who rebelled and fought against him to Hell, fair enough. Azrael gets the same treatment for refusing to fight on either side. Was there something wrong with purgatory?
- In Drag Me to Hell, an old gypsy woman gets back at the main character for denying her a loan extension by cursing her to Hell for all eternity. The loan extension she was denied was her 3rd extension, implying that she never even bothered to pay off her previous two loan extensions before and thus ended up got her just desserts by not being granted a third one.
- The movie opens with a ten-year-old being condemned simply for stealing a gypsy necklace - one that the parents returned as quickly as possible.
- The old gypsy doesn't just curse her. First, she somehow sneaks into the girl's locked car and viciously assaults her, even ripping the girl's ear. Only then does she curse her.
- In fact, when the girl finds out that she can transfer the curse to someone else by giving them the button, she can't seem to bring herself to do it, even to her Jerk Ass coworker. She does, however, supply the button to Ganush's remains, as it works as well dead or alive... at least, that's what she attempted to do.
- In Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd believes that Harry has "taken" Mary from him so he spikes his tea with laxative.
- In Eréndira, a teenage girl is whored out by her grandmother simply for accidentally burning down her house. The ensuing plot is driven by her desire to be free from this life.
- The ending of Extract. Sure, the neighbor was annoying and talked too much, but did he really have to die?
- Natural causes; take it up with the screenwriter.
- Faces of Death IV depicts a Russian peasant being drawn and quartered by horses for tax evasion.
- In First Blood, the main antagonist and his buddy fit the bill, big-time, and their actions pretty much cause the entire mess. Teague harasses Rambo for pretty much no reason, including refusing to let him buy himself a simple meal in his town, and then, kicks him out of it. When Rambo decides to defy him, Teague arrests him for vagrancy, roughly shoves him around, and tries to bully him into giving up his right to remain silent. His buddy, meanwhile, tries to murder Rambo in cold blood when he's become an escaped fugitive. Not because he thinks he's an immediate threat, but because he hurt him in self-defense while making his escape. Keep in mind, this was the man who beat the shit out of him for kicks!
- The Flintstones: The angry mob attempting to lynch Fred was already extremely harsh, but then they decide to hang Barney as well, just because he admitted that it was because of him that Fred was promoted to the executive position. Wilma and Betty manage to arrive just in time to save their husbands and clear everything up.
- In Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning the psychotic Vic brutally murders manchild Joey with an axe due to finding him too talkative. Right when he was finished talking to him and going back to his business!
- That manchild's father attempts to kill everyone at the institution he and Vic were at because of this... and that is after Vic himself is shipped safely to prison.
- The rest of the series also counts, depending on who you ask.
- In the opening of Girl House after a young Loverboy was bullied by two girls he murders one of them.
- God Bless America. Take more than one space when parking your car? Talk loudly with your friends in the theater? Make an ass of yourself on national television? Frank and Roxy will come for your blood.
- In Goodfellas Tommy DeVito beats a guy to death for mentioning how he used to shine shoes and then telling him to go get his shine box. The scary part is that his part was based on a real person who was actually like that. And like Tommy in the movie, this would ultimately get him killed, though unlike the movie, there were other factors involved, including an Attempted Rape on Henry's wife.
- Tommy also shoots a guy in the foot for not getting his drink order right. When he asks the same guy (whose foot is now in a cast) to get him a drink while mocking him, the guy tells Tommy to go fuck himself. It does not end well for him.
- In Good Neighbors, the logical response to your neighbor poisoning your cats is to brutally murder them and then violate their corpse to make it look like a serial murder.
- Hancock shoving people's heads up asses.
- Mary, who rather than tell Hancock what was going on after they first meet, flings him out of her house and into the street.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, after Harry tricks Lucius into giving Dobby a sock by accidentnote , Lucius pulls out his wand and attempts to curse Harry. In the book, he gets blasted by Dobby before he can say anything. In the movie, he manages to get out an "AvadaŚ" before he's blasted. "Avada" is the first part of "Avada Kedavra", the Killing Curse. Killing Harry in broad daylight in front of Dumbledore's office probably isn't the best course of action... but then, Word of God states that the script didn't specify a curse for that scene, so Jason Isaacs just ad-libbed the first one that came to mind. The closed captioning was changed to make Lucius say something like "Vera-"
- Hitch. The title character's love interest Sara has a friend who slept with a guy who dumped her the morning after. On the way out the door, he makes an offhand comment, "Date doctor my ass." Sara makes it her mission to find the date doctor and expose him, blaming him for enabling the scumbag to use her friend. When she finds out it's none other than Hitch, the guy she's been seeing and whom she likes, she trashes him and his completely innocent client in her gossip column. This effectively ruins his reputation and livelihood. And then Hitch takes her back.
- For those who aren't aware, Hitch had explicitly refused to work with the guy because he was a scumbag who only wanted to get laid, making Sara even more horrendously unlikable and making it even more enraging when Hitch takes her back.
- And that friend of hers? A shallow moron who was repeatedly told this guy was probably a scumbag from the beginning. Why is she even concerned with this?
- In Horrible Bosses, Harken kills Pellet just because he thought him to have slept with his wife (courtesy of Kurt leaving Pellett's cellphone in Harken's house).
- In Hostel Part II Beth cuts off Stuart's penis with a pair of scissors because he called her a cunt.
- In Hot Fuzz, Sergeant Angel is convinced there must be some kind of complicated conspiracy linking a series of gruesome "accidents". It turns out that they were all killed for incredibly minor infractions the Neighborhood Watch deemed a threat to the town's perfect reputation. For example, the newspaper editor was killed because he had a habit of making typos, and the actress was killed because she had an Annoying Laugh.
- And also inverted. After Danny almost drunkenly runs over a police officer, he's punished by...having to buy the other officers ice cream for a month.
- In House of Games, the female lead kills The Con whom she lost $80,000 and her heart to.
- The ending text in I Love You Phillip Morris states this is the reason for Steven's unprecedentedly harsh sentence: his ability to fake his own death from AIDS was an embarrassment to the State of Texas and to Governor George Bush, plus the prosecuting DA was the sister in law of one of the men Steven conned. Which might explain why Steven got a life sentence with a 23-hour a day lockup for fraud and prison escapes. A LOT of fraud and MANY prison escapes, but really? Harsh, dude.
- Iron Man 3: Killian's whole vendetta is because Stark blew him off once fifteen years ago. His actual crime spree is more of a combined cover-up for the failures of AIM's Extremis technology and scam/racket to create demand for the super-soldiers AIM can supply. Tony's decision to investigate and openly oppose him brings him even more directly into the line of fire.
- Tony himself, while captured, taunts a guard with this after the guard breaks his borrowed "deluxe Dora the Explorer" watch. "Just for that, I'm going to kill you first."
- In Iron Sky, Vivian Wagner, formerly responsible for the Presidential electoral campaign, has herself transferred to the space battleship USS George W. Bush as the new commander and seeks out to bomb the Nazi moonbase to rubble. The reason: The new Führer Klaus Adler was so rude as to abruptly end the hot affair he had with her and therefore deserves to die, and she assumes he is inside the base. It simply comes in handy that the Nazis happen to launch an attack on Earth just then.
- In Jason and the Argonauts, Phineas is a blind man who is condemned by the gods to have harpies attack him and steal his food every day for the rest of his life. He's not a happy man,, and it shows.
"Zeus, I was a sinner, but I didn't sin every day! Why do you punish me every day!?"
- In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the eponymous characters violently beat the crap out of a number of people for insulting them on the internet, including a priest and two young teenage boys. Admittedly Played for Laughs but it's still jarring to see two grown men beating two much smaller teenagers over something so trivial.
- The characters in John Wick see his Roaring Rampage of Revenge this way. Over the course of the movie he kills about 80 people trying to avenge his dog. Might be justified as he gives his explanation for why It's Personal and he only wanted to kill the guy who killed his dog, the other 79 just got in the way.
- In Kill Bill:
Bill: I'm sorry. I... overreacted.
- Bill has the Bride's fiance and family-in-law slaughtered and the pregnant Bride beaten to within an inch of her life by his assassins before trying to finish her off with a bullet to the head. And all this because she "broke his heart" by running off on him upon learning that she was pregnant.
Bill: Once upon a time in China, some believe around the year one double-aught three, the head priest of the White Lotus Clan, Pai Mei, was walking down the road, contemplating whatever it is that a man of Pai Mei's infinite power contemplates — which is another way of saying "who knows?" — when a Shaolin monk appeared, traveling in the opposite direction. As the monk and the priest crossed paths, Pai Mei, in a practically unfathomable display of generosity, gave the monk the slightest of nods. The nod was not returned. Now, was it the intention of the Shaolin monk to insult Pai Mei? Or did he just fail to see the generous social gesture? The motives of the monk remain unknown. What is known are the consequences. The next morning Pai Mei appeared at the Shaolin Temple and demanded of the Temple's head abbot that he offer Pai Mei his neck to repay the insult. The Abbot at first tried to console Pai Mei, only to find Pai Mei was... inconsolable. So began the massacre of the Shaolin Temple and all sixty of the monks inside at the fists of the White Lotus. And so began the legend of Pai Mei's Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.
- In the campfire flashback in Part 2, Bill tells the story of Pai Mei:
- Ever wonder how Elle Driver lost her eye? In Volume II, you find out: She called Pai Mei a "miserable old fool". Not a particularly strong insult, but for Pai Mei, it's strong enough. Unfortunately for Mei, Elle was just as much a psychopath as he was, and she eventually poisoned him.
- Law Abiding Citizen could have been called Disproportionate Retribution: The Movie. Clyde Shelton's (Gerard Butler) wife and child are murdered and the prosecutor Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) cuts a deal against Clyde's wishes, the result of which is that the accomplice gets the chair while the man who actually committed the murders gets to walk. Ten years later, Clyde gets his well-deserved revenge, but decides that's not good enough and sets about destroying the entire US legal system, leaving Nick alive so that he can witness the devastating consequences of a difficult decision he made 10 years ago. He also kills a lot of people who had little to nothing to do with the deal, including Nick's assistant.
- In Life At 40, a grown woman threatens a 13-year-old boy with physical violence. The reason? The worst thing the boy did (and no other examples are given) was that he said the woman's daughter was on his "not hot" list on Facebook.
- Lock Up: Prisoner escapes in his last two weeks at Treadmore to visit his dying friend and exposes your misconduct? And he gets another five years? If you're Warden Drumgoole, that's obviously not enough. The answer is to get the prisoner randomly transferred to a Hellhole Prison, repeatedly attacked, stabbed, hassled, tortured, lured into a trap to extend his sentence for the rest of his life, and have his friends murdered to provoke him into lashing out.
- Mr. Eddy in Lost Highway is slightly overreacting to a tailgater.
- Madea Goes to Jail: Madea uses a forklift to destroy a random white woman's car for taking her parking lot at Kmart. You can see for yourself.
- In Man of Steel, a drunk trucker harasses and gropes a waitress at a diner. When Clark steps in to defend her, he gets spit on, drenched with beer, and gets an empty can thrown at the back of his head. He's about to do something, but we never know what since the waitress and the cook stop him with an "it's not worth it," so he leaves the diner in a huff. Cut to the next scene where the trucker, and the guy's truck —his means of livelihood and his only way back to civilization— is destroyed, impaled on power-line poles. Admittedly, the guy was about 15 seconds from committing a DUI, and he can still call one of his trucker buddies from the bar to give him a hand.
- The Mask: Stanley, when wearing the mask, indulges in this trope a few times. Mechanics who price gouged him apparently get car parts stuck where the sun don't shine. (In the original comic, the scene is much more violent and quite fatal.) In another scene, he honks a horn so loud at an impatient motorist that the car's windows all shatter.
- In McLintock!, Becky demands that her father shoot Dev for the latter's wild driving and for characterizing her as a trollop. To Becky's shock, G. W. does shoot Dev...with a blank cartridge. Dev decides to spank her in retaliation for her demand.
- In Muppet Treasure Island, after Benjamina Gunn (Miss Piggy) reveals the location of the treasure to Long John Silver in exchange for the freedom of Capt. Smollett (Kermit the Frog), Silver kisses her. But when she spits it out, Silver leaves her dangling off a cliff with Smollett.
- In Murder in the First Henri Young (Kevin Bacon) is sent to prison for stealing $5 from a post office to feed his hungry sister.
- The eponymous Mystery Team has harassed an old man for twelve years for being cranky.
- The whole justice system in the town of Valkenvania in Nothing but Trouble, which uses devices like "Mister Bonestripper" to punish traffic violators.
- In Now You See Me, Rhodes allows Bradley's framing to stand (he was the one who engineered Rhodes' framing in the first place), possibly causing him to spend the rest of his life in jail, because Bradley ruined the career of Lionel Shrike (Rhodes' father), which led to an attempted comeback trick that went wrong, killing him.
- He also defrauds two companies out of millions of dollars, one for a tangential connection to his father's death and the other for refusing to pay out on life insurance on a borderline suicide.
- The Mouse King from the animated film The Nutcracker Prince believes the Nutcracker crushed and bent his tail on purpose, not knowing it was an accident, thus wanting vengeance. He also gets bitter on Clara for not only stopping him from burning the nutcracker, but mostly for injuring his tail.
- In the Ocean's Eleven remake Danny Ocean and his band of thieves are afraid of their target, Terry Benedict, because of his reputation for disproportionate retribution: the story the thieves tell is that he not only terrorized the guy he caught but bankrupted his brother's tractor dealership too, which goes against the band of thieves' casino-owning ally's sense of justice: "In the old days they'd just whack you." The sequel shows Terry and his thugs turning up at one of the Malloy brothers' wedding and threatening them in front of their family.
Terry: I'm gonna charge them interest. A lot of interest.Night Fox: ...is that fair?Terry: I hope not.
- The sequel in general, really.
- The third film may or may not be about this. Willie Bank tricks their friend Ruben (even though Danny warned Ruben this may happen), causing the latter to have a heart attack. As a result, they bankrupt the guy and steal what he loves most - his diamond awards. And being a Jerk Ass that he is, Bank doesn't have any friends who'd be willing to go against Danny and his crew. Apparently, their code requires them to first give the target a chance to redeem himself and pay back what he owes Ruben. However, this crime is supposedly so heinous that some team members don't want to give Bank this option (which he ends up refusing anyway).
- In Oldboy (2003), Oh Dae-su is abducted off the street and held prisoner for 15 years while his family is murdered and he is blamed for it. When he is finally released, he learns that an old schoolmate, Lee Woo-jin, performed the deed as well as hypnotized him into unknowingly sleeping with his daughter. This is all in retaliation for Dae-su idly mentioning that he saw Soo-ah, Woo-Jin's sister, sleeping with another student, who unknown to him was actually Woo-jin. The rumors that followed caused her to kill herself.
- In the Lindsay Lohan remake of The Parent Trap, two twins who do not yet know they are twins are fencing. Girl 1 accidentally pushes 2 into a water trough. 2 walks back to her cabin and changes and in total all damage done is that she spends 30 seconds being wet. She then gets her vengeance by winning a poker game (royal flush beating a straight flush), taking all of 1's allowance and winning an additional bet that forces her to skinny dip in an ice cold lake at night, inviting the whole camp who watch her about to dive nude while teasing her as much as possible, and then telling those girls to steal and hide her clothes. Ouch.
- The retribution for the lake incident was pretty tame in comparison, somehow moving the offending twin and her roommates' beds and dressers onto the roof of their cabin.
- Offended twin goes into the other twin's room at night and booby traps the entire room. Any movement by the girls in the room would cause water balloons to fall from the ceiling, shaving cream and honey to coat everything, and to top it off, anyone unfortunate to open the door gets tarred and feathered. That unfortunate person happens to be the camp counselor. Hilarity Ensues.
- The retribution for the lake incident was pretty tame in comparison, somehow moving the offending twin and her roommates' beds and dressers onto the roof of their cabin.
- Subverted in Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Pee-wee hitchhikes with a guy on the run from the law, and helps him sneak through a police roadblock. When asked what his crime was, he begins to talk about doing something terrible with a knife, then realizes that he's frightening Pee-wee, so he claims that he cut the tag off his mattress. The naive Pee-wee nods in sympathy, saying, "I always thought that was the dumbest law."
- The short film Pencil Face. Girl uses a magic pencil for selfish wishes like a kite and a cake. Girl gets sucked into a black hole
- Phone Booth is essentially a depiction of one of these.
- Apparently, the thing the protagonist is guilty of that deserves death is... almost cheating on his wife.
- The cheating is a specific instance, however, it seems that what the killer is punishing him for in general is hubris, which the ancient Greeks at least considered to be a very grave sin indeed.
- The sniper, apparently, equates almost cheating with filming child pornography (one of his previous victims). However, unlike the other victims, the protagonist gets a chance to redeem himself by admitting his infidelity to his wife.
- Pirates of the Caribbean:
- Barbossa in The Curse of the Black Pearl sees the eponymous curse on him and his crew as this. It's a fair point as the curse was originally to punish the Spaniards who persecuted the Aztecs, so it seems unfair that people who had nothing whatsoever to do with it should be punished.
Barbossa: Punished we were, the lot of us! Disproportionate to our crimes!
- Barbossa saying "disproportionate" would count as comic relief, given they're a bunch of murdering scumbags. Maybe not to the crime of theft, but in proportion to every one of their crimes? Seems fair enough.
- In At World's End, Captain Teague, Keeper of the Code, shoots Sri Sumbhajee's spokesman mid-sentence for merely conveying his master's dissent for following the code.
- Barbossa in The Curse of the Black Pearl sees the eponymous curse on him and his crew as this. It's a fair point as the curse was originally to punish the Spaniards who persecuted the Aztecs, so it seems unfair that people who had nothing whatsoever to do with it should be punished.
- In Problem Child, during the opening montage of young Junior being passed by from parents to parents (after annoying the previous ones enough that they just drop him off to other houses and run off), one of his current adoptive fathers steps on his toys (namely one that looks like a construction bulldozer), to which Junior responds to by getting in a real bulldozer and completely annihilating the trailer.
- In Pulp Fiction, Jules tells Vincent that their boss, Marsellus, threw a guy from the fourth floor because he gave Marsellus' wife a foot massage. Said wife later dismisses it, saying "Only thing Antoine ever touched of mine was my hand, when he shook it, at my wedding." However Marsellus and a guy he's trying to kill, Butch, later face it as once their chase\fight ends up in a pawnshop, the owner knocks them out, puts them bound and gagged in their basement, and calls his partner to rape Marsellus.
- The second adaptation of The Punisher (2004). When the Big Bad's son is killed during a bust that Frank took part in, he and his wife decide to take his revenge by killing Frank's entire extended family. This becomes worse when you realize that Frank wasn't the one who shot him, and he was only shot because he was stupid enough to pull a gun out when he had a dozen SWAT surrounding him.
- Rat Race has some. Taxi driver lost some money after a botched football game. When the referee of said game enters his cab, the driver goes into the desert, takes the referee's shoes, socks and pants and abandons him there. Cheating on a helicopter pilot leads to this. And God help you if you don't buy a squirrel.
- In The Replacement Killers, Triad boss Terrence Wei puts out a contract on Officer Zedkov's seven year old son. Zedkov's crime? Killing Mr. Wei's son, a grown and unrepentant Triad gangster, in a drug bust. The son Zedkov begged NOT go for the gun because he did not want to shoot him. That might not be too bad, but when John Lee refuses the contract on a seven year old boy, Wei orders the execution of Lee's mother and sister back in China.
John Lee: That's how Mr. Wei *deals* with his enemies. Through their families.
- Holy shit, Dr. Vadar from Rock and Roll High School Forever LIVES by this trope! Seriously, she locks her own students in a dungeon, frames them for a massive prank, and eventually tries to kill them simply because they listen to rock and roll!
- For the killer robot of R.O.T.O.R., a minor traffic violation and a $20 bribe is punishable by death.
- In Rushmore, the protagonist Max Fischer shoots The Bully, Magnus Buchan, in the ear with a bb gun and tells him that they are now even. The bully responds, quite menacingly, "Not for long, kemosabe!"
- Toy Santa in The Santa Clause 2 believes that if a kid does anything bad at any time all year, the kid belongs on the naughty list. Thus, every kid in the world ends up on the naughty list. He tells the elves to stop making toys because he's going to give the whole world coal. Bernard and Curtis try to talk some sense into him early on, but he doesn't listen, and eventually goes completely off the deep end.
- The Saw saga is full of these. Jigsaw's modus operandi is to kidnap Asshole Victims and put them in death traps that will at best mutilate them if they escape, but most likely kill them in horrible ways. His victims range for murderers and rapists to sleazy photographers and heroin addicts. He's even kidnapped family members of the victims and put them in harm as well, even if they had nothing to do with the victim's asshole behavior. The retribution aimed at Cary Elwes' character in the first movie seems especially extreme: his "crime" was informing terminal patients that they were going to die. The fact that one of those terminal patients was Jigsaw himself was probably a contributing factor, however.
- The prequel comic book Saw: Rebirth implies that Jigsaw was more disgusted with Elwes' cheating on his wife, though this is still disproportionate.
- Used for humor in Scary Movie 3 when the architect (played by the late George Carlin) described Tabitha's punishment:
My wife took her to the old family farm and drowned her in the well. I felt a simple time-out would have been sufficient.
- The Scream series is built on these.
- Scream (1996): There's a woman who sleeps around town with men. This breaks up a marriage and makes a woman abandon her son. The son decides to kill the sleeping-around woman, gets away with it, then decides to kill a whole bunch of OTHER people, half of which seemingly for the hell of it, and then cap off his murder spree by killing his girlfriend, the daughter of the woman sleeping around despite her having absolutely NOTHING to do with her mother's actions.note
- Scream 2: The mother of the first killer decides to kill the survivor of film 1 in revenge...and a whole bunch of other people too, half of which have nothing to do with the survivor, just 'cause. Though this might be due to her recruiting a budding serial killer as her partner in crime.
- Scream 3: The man who set off Killer 1 (and by extent Killer 2) decides to kill the survivor (and a whole bunch of other people) because she had the gall to survive the first two murder sprees he set in motion and become famous for it. This is fortunately where the revenge-based killers end...but not the end of the survivor's misery, sadly.
- Scream 4 Taken Up to Eleven when the main killer wants to replace the survivor out of jealously and wants to be famous for surviving too. So she kills a bunch of people along with a partner in the same way it happened in the first film, with little differences in order to represent what happens in most movie remakes. Then she planned to kill the original survivor and replace her as the Final Girl. Out of of all the previous killers, she almost gets away with it.
- In Serial Mom, most of the murders committed by the protagonist, Beverly Sutphin, were done for entirely inane reasons. For example, beating a woman to death because she wore white shoes after Labor Day.
- In Scooby-Doo, Scooby punches Fred just for flicking him on the nose to get him to stop barking at a cat during the flight to Spooky Island.
- In the pit-fighting scene, Sherlock Holmes gave up and walked away...at which point his opponent spat at the back of his head. This has consequences: Holmes utterly annhilates the man solely so that he could not spit at him again. The fact that Holmes had spied Irene in the audience a few moments before probably had a lot to do with that. He couldn't exactly look bad in front of her.
Holmes: [voiceover] This mustn't register on an emotional level. [in slow motion] First, distract target. [flicks a handkerchief in front of his opponent's face] Then block his blind jab. Counter with cross to left cheek. Discombobulate. [claps his hands over his opponent's ears] Dazed, he'll attempt wild haymaker. Employ elbow block and body shot. [blocks with his elbow and delivers a body blow] Block feral left. Weaken right jaw. Now fracture. [a cross to the jaw fractures the bone] Break cracked ribs. Traumatize solar plexus. Dislocate jaw entirely. [two more body blows, and a right hook to the jaw hinge] Heel kick to diaphragm. [a heel kick to the opponent's chest sends him crashing out of the ring] In summary, ears ringing, jaw fractured, three ribs cracked, four broken. Diaphragm hemorrhaging. Physical recovery: six weeks. Full psychological recovery: six months. Capacity to spit at back of head: neutralized.(Holmes wipes the loogie off the back of his head with the aforementioned handkerchief, then gets into position; the above-described ensues in the span of five seconds)Crowd: ...
- Hannibal Lecter's taste for rude people.
- The trope is subverted in Hannibal by means of this quirk. One of Hannibal's guards tells Clarice Starling that he once broke Hannibal's arm during a struggle. This is the sort of thing you'd think would get you on Hannibal's menu, but Hannibal told the guard about that particular preference and told him he wouldn't go after him when he escaped because he was polite and apologised.
- In Slumdog Millionaire, Latika plays a prank on Salim by putting chillis on his privates. Salim, in revenge, abandons Latika in a life of slavery at the hands of an evil gangster.
- In Spaceballs, parodying the scenes in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader telekinetically strangles his men for their failures in battle, Dark Helmet laser-jewels his men for the most trivial of mistakes.
- The one instance actually shown wasn't even technically a mistake, he just anticipated an order to inform President Skroob of their progress. Dark Helmet doesn't like people getting ahead of him (or, in his own words, going over his helmet).
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- Normal Osborn/Green Goblin in Spider-Man. Slight him tame him or irritate him and he will maim you and torture you. This applies to Mendell Stromm who told General Solcum that the whole project is "back to formula", General Solcum and the boarders of Oscorp for firing him, and Aunt May because she slapped his hand when he was about to eat the turkey before saying grace (and by the way he was sharpening the knives, you can tell he was thinking about gutting her then and there).
- J Johan Jamenson in Spider-Man 2. The man finally realizes that Spider-Man is really a hero and has been fighting on the good side the entire time...until Spider-Man steals his superhero suit back from the Daily Bugle and JJJ immediately calls him a thief which is funny given that Jonah scammed the suit out of the guy who found it. Although this may have been a relief so that their relationship can go back to the way it was before.
- Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3. Peter exposed Eddie's fraud against Spider-Man (which in itself was the result of Peter in the Venom Suit wrecking a camera that contained a legitimate picture of Venom Suit Spider-Man). Eddie's response? To go into a church and pray to God for Him to kill Peter. Then he got the Venom suit....
- Star Trek's Nero decides to wait 25 years for Spock to come through the same black hole that pulled him into the past, makes Spock watch Vulcan get destroyed, and then moves on to systematically destroy the other planets of the Federation. All of this is because Spock turned up mere minutes too late to save Romulus from a super nova. (Countdown's backstory doesn't count as the film's writers have established it as non-canon material).
- Star Wars:
- So the planet Alderaan is a hotbed of covert support for the Rebellion, but not much more than that since they have no weapons? Clearly the answer is to destroy the entire planet, killing billions and outraging the entire galaxy. Tarkin's justification only works From A Certain Point Of View: the Rebel base on Dantooine is remote, and Alderaan will make a far better example to the rest of the Galaxy. His whole doctrine of fear fits with this message. Fear of the Death Star being used against planets will keep them from rebelling against the Empire. Kinda backfires thanks to Luke and the Rebels quickly destroying the battle station and showing the galaxy the Empire is weaker than originally thought.
- The punishment that Darth Vader usually gives to those who fail or disobey him.
Darth Vader: You Have Failed Me for the last time, Admiral.
- It goes From Bad to Worse. The Emperor is said by Darth Vader to be not as lenient as the latter. Which begs the question, what the hell does The Emperor do that's worse than Darth Vader's force choke?
- Palpatine probably tortures the victims with lightning and then probably has anyone related to the guy killed. At least Vader probably spares family members and the poor sod is quickly executed via Force Choke.
Darth Vader: The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.
- Probably the only funny joke in Suburban Commando parodies this trope:
Big Trouble-Maker: Do you got any idea what we're gonna do to you if we find one itty bitty scratch on them? Any idea?Shep: Let me guess, you're gonna pound my face, break every bone in my body, then you're gonna drag my body down a gravel road, and feed my remains to a wart hog. Is that about right?Big Trouble-Maker: What, are you nuts? This is the 90's, we're gonna sue you.
- The Crimson Bolt from Super isn't the most balanced individual in the world - one of his first acts against "crime" is to teach a couple not to queue jump outside a cinema. By hitting them in the face with a pipe wrench.
- Sweetwater: Sarah kills people for overcharging her, spying on her while she was changing, and working for the man who killed her husband.
- In Swordfish, John Travolta's character explains that this is the entire point of the secret government organization he works for. Whenever someone commits an act of terrorism, their organization responds with an extremely escalated response. This is done so terrorists will think twice before striking, lest they find themselves at war with a shadow organization fully willing to vaporize entire towns in response to a few dead American hostages. This is the whole reason for the entire movie: he needs enough funding in order to arm himself with old Soviet nukes to threaten terrorists with.
- The infamous fight scene from They Live where Roddy Piper and Keith David spend a full five minutes (though it feels more like twenty-thirty) beating each other up happened because Keith David didn't want to wear a pair of sunglasses. And then continued because Piper made the grievous error of accidentally denting David's car in the fight. Aw, shit...
- While most of the victims of Dawn's Vagina Dentata in Film/Teeth totally deserve what happened to them, Ryan just lied about his feelings for her in order to get in her pants. A jackass move, yes, but not something worthy of literal castration.
- Ten Murder Island: The lengths that Tom goes to in order to avenge the suicide of his sister Claire against the people he believes are the reason she did it are...extreme, to say the least. Especially since his reasons for killing them are flimsy at best.
- Thor: Ragnarok: Subverted for laughs. Loki interrupts the Grand Master, to his annoyance. Topaz hands him his execution staff, and he is horrified.
Grand Master: He interrupted me, that's not punishable by death!
- The Uninvited (2009): The ending reveals that Anna, the protagonist, caught her father cheating on her cancer stricken mother with the young caretaker. In a fit of rage, she decides to kill both her father and the caretaker by burning down the house, but causes the deaths of her mother and older sister by accident. It doesn't end there. Anna fools the psychiatrist into thinking that she's cured. Just so she can go back home and "finish what she started." She kills the caretaker and happily goes back to the nut farm, knowing her father is forever broken. And this is all done under the guise of a typical horror film with a redherring.
- The Usual Suspects. In response to an attack on his family and the murder of his son, the Big Bad's response is to kill the rest of his OWN family, kill the hostage takers, their families, their friends and anyone who owed them money. Ouch.
- In War, Inc., Hauser asks some kids for directions. They demand candy as payment. Hauser explains that he doesn't have candy, but gives them a lot of money. Later, Hauser finds his truck is on fire. One of the kids yells, "Next time, bring some candy, asshole!" and flips him off before running away.
- Youth in Revolt features an inverted example. Nick burns down half his town, endangering dozens and causing tens of thousands of dollars in property damage. His punishment? Three months in juvie.
- A graphic designer shows Millennium a series of new logos to choose from. Millennium refuses to use one logo but soon changes its mind. The designer's response? He files a lawsuit that could potentially ban several of its films, including Drive Angry, Elephant White, Conan the Barbarian (2011) (already facing a ban due to a separate ongoing lawsuit filed by Stan Lee Media on the grounds that they technically still own the rights to Conan the Barbarian because the deal that led to Conan Sales Company and then Paradox Entertainment, the film's producer, acquiring the rights to the franchise was never valid due to SLM's bankruptcy protection), Trespass, and The Son Of No One, as well as a few other future Millennium productions, just for using the logo in question.
- In New Jack City, one of the teen dealers in the neighborhood is happy to tell the police protagonist where Nino Brown is hiding. Why? Because he tells them a story of how he saw Nino beat one child savagely, poured gasoline on him and lit a match, all because the child was short five dollars in drug money.
- In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, a boy is sentenced to death. The crime?
Sheriff of Rottingham: He deered to kill a king's dare!
- In Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession, Ivan the Terrible likes these. He jokes to Shurik about having an inventor who built wings (not even a crime) tied to a barrel of gunpowder to "let him fly". An interpreter is mentioned to have been boiled alive for being drunk on duty. To be fair, though, no one wants an international incident just because your translator is not 100%. Worse, it leaves the Tsar without a translator, as they haven't yet found a replacement.
- Wild Tales has a road rage incident getting out of hand. Diego insulted Mario on the road by Flipping the Bird. Mario later proceeds to try to destroy the former's car while he's vulnerable, including pissing and shitting on the windshield. It turns into an Escalating War were both characters end up trying to kill each other.
- In Krampus, the eponymous character's whole schtick is that he kills entire families just for "losing their faith in the spirit of Christmas," even for understandable reasons like being poor and destitute during World War II.
- Circle: A lot of people are killed simply due to being a category the others dislike or pissing them off somehow.