- 2 Guns: Amidst all the scum that compose the antagonist lineup, cartel lord Papi Greco (of all people) is the one that shows signs of this trope. This is displayed when Deb confesses that she was the one who setup Bobby to steal 43 million dollars from the CIA and then betrayed him and Stig to the authorities afterward; Papi is visibly disgusted and even states that if he were in Bobby's situation (i.e. Papi holding Deb ransom and forcing Bobby and Stig to steal the 43 million back for him) he would have left her to die and rot.
- 12 Angry Men: Towards the end of the movie, Juror #10 goes off on a tirade about how the defendant must be guilty because he's from a slum. The other jurors all slowly but surely turn their backs on him, including Juror #3, who was the most dead set of all the jurors on finding the defendant guilty.
- All Through the Night: When gangster/gambler Gloves Donahue (Humphrey Bogart) confronts Nazi Franz Ebbing (Conrad Veidt), they have the following exchange:
Franz Ebbing: It's a great pity, Mr. Donahue, that you and I should oppose each other. We have so much in common.
Gloves Donahue: Yeah? How's that?
Ebbing: You are a man of action. You take what you want, and so do we. You have no respect for democracy - neither do we. It's clear we should be allies.
Gloves Donahue: It's clear you're screwy. I've been a registered Democrat ever since I could vote. I may not be Model Citizen Number One, but I pay my taxes, wait for traffic lights, and buy 24 tickets to the Policeman's Ball. Brother, don't get me mixed up in no league that rubs out innocent bakers.
- The Alzheimer's Case: As a Hitman with a Heart, Leddo refuses to kill a child and swears that he won't let anybody do it. Harm to a child, to him, is one of the worst things a person could do.
- Annie (1982 film version): Miss Hannigan makes the orphan girls's lives miserable, engineers and fully participates in the plan to kidnap Annie and scam Daddy Warbucks out of a large sum of money, but she's horrified when her brother makes it clear that he intends to kill the little girl and immediately tries to protect her. This was a significant difference from the original play, where Miss Hannigan makes clear that she still supports the plan even after the scam artist in question reveals his plan to kill her.
- Arsenic and Old Lace: The following immortal exchange:
Mortimer: Aunt Abbey, how can I believe you? There are twelve men down in the cellar and you admit you poisoned them!
Aunt Abbey: Yes, I did! But you don't think I'd stoop to telling a fib?!
- Austin Powers:
Fat Bastard: Tell ya what, you keep the money and the mojo and I'll have the baby. *smacks lips*
Dr. Evil: Riiiiight.
- Austin Powers in Goldmember: Dr. Evil, despite having the name "Evil" in his name and also living up to his name, seemed completely disturbed by Goldmember when meeting him in person, once even hesitating in shock, slowly moving towards him and then saying "how about no!" when Goldmember asks if he could paint Nigel Power's doodle gold, and was overall disgusted by Goldmember eating his own skin. Similarly, after he, or rather, Scott Evil, kills a Japanese businessman because the latter wanted a bonus, although he starts his evil laugh, he quickly becomes quite disturbed when Scott was more exhilarated by the death, telling him to stop, as it's "creeping [him] out."
- Avatar: The greedy prospectors who are perfectly willing to drive an indigenous tribe off their home and demolish it to get to the deposits of precious Unobtanium beneath it, and dismiss the possibly disastrous environmental ramifications of their actions, but still spend quite a lot of time and effort to persuade the tribe to leave peacefully, and when they do resort to violence, they take measures to minimize the casualties among the civilians, and the Corrupt Corporate Executive has a My God, What Have I Done? moment when faced with the results of his General Ripper's plan. This is the same executive who earlier seemed irritated that PR concerns forced him to try and negotiate with the "monkeys". It's possible he didn't really see them as really sentient until that point.
- A Walk Among The Tombstones: Jonas is ok kidnapping someone for ransom money, but he's revolted by how sadistic his accomplices are.
- Babylon A.D.: Gun-for-hire Toorop is tracked down in his apartment on Gorsky's orders by a group led by Karl, a mercenary whom Toorop knew previously. It's implied that Toorop threatened to kill him because Karl was murdering infants in the Sudan and blows up entire buildings to get single targets.
Toorop: Oh, you're a disgrace to the profession. You're not a mercenary, you're a fucking terrorist.
- The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: The title character will lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, sexually abuse young women, plant evidence, and commit acts of Police Brutality against the elderly, but he absolutely draws the line at murder.
- Batman Returns:
- The Fat Clown of the Red Triangle Circus Gang (a gang of evil circus performers who seem to take pleasure in their darkly comical methods of murder and mayhem) thinks The Penguin's plan to kill the first-born children of Gotham is going too far, and gets shot for speaking against it.
Fat Clown: Penguin... I mean, killing sleeping children. Isn't that a little, uh...
Penguin (grabbing an umbrella and shooting him): No! It's a lot "uh"!
- Later, Max Shreck who is willing to lie, cheat, and even kill anyone (except his son) is thoroughly disgusted by the same plan.
- Beau Geste: In the 1939 film version, Rasinoff, a Russian recruit of the French Foreign Legion, tells the Geste brothers he knows their sadistic Sergeant Markoff from a prison camp in Siberia, where Rasinoff was an inmate. Markoff was a guard at the camp but was "exiled for cruelty." In the book he had served the Belgian Congo. That area at the time had been a famous scandal of colonial misgovernment even by the standards of the time.
- Beetlejuice: Minor example. When Lydia gives Betelgeuse the implication she wants to die by telling him "I want to get in", he responds with a concerned "Why?" and he in his own way was able to talk her out of it. (Apparently, he knew - as she didn't - that if she killed herself, her fate would be pushing paperwork for eternity.) The real credit for talking her out of it goes to the Maitlands later, but Betelgeuse did look genuinely concerned about why Lydia wants to be dead. Still, he shakes it off and says she must have her own reasons, and seems willing to obligate to her wish if she says his name three times. (Allowing him to escape.)
- Boogie Nights: Jack Horner does not object to the Colonel's affairs with 15 year old girls, but disowns him when it is revealed that he's been caught with nude photos of prepubescent children.
- The Bourne Series: Treadstone is supposed to have transformed Jason Bourne into the ultimate assassin, but the climax of the first film reveals that he failed an assignment because he couldn't bring himself to shoot a father while his kids were watching, possibly because killing the man in front of his children would mean that he'd have to kill the kids too because they'd be witnesses. Notably, the second film reveals that he had no such compunction against killing a target and his wife and making it look like a murder-suicide.
- A Bronx Tale: Sonny is a ruthless career gangster, but he expresses a dislike for Crazy Mario for obviously being an Ax-Crazy psychopath in the making.
- Byzantium: The vampire brotherhood takes great offense to Clara having stolen the gift of immortality, especially given she's a "low-born" woman. But they have no grounds to execute her as she hasn't broken their code. It seems, woman or not, she's a vampire and they don't kill their own kind without cause. So she's told to keep to their rules and exiled.
- Even though they're a house full of morally-dubious, underhanded folks (and Mr. Green), everyone's disgusted by Colonel Mustard's deep, dark secret — stealing essential airplane parts during the war and selling them on the black market.
Colonel Mustard: (After confessing) But that does not make me a murderer!
Mrs. Peacock: Well, a lot of our airmen died because their radios didn't work!
- Mrs. Peacock, a corrupt politician's wife, also tries to pull this a few times on the other guests with exclamations of disgust, and is usually called out on it.
- Coffin Joe: Brazilian horror film icon Zé do Caixão, AKA Coffin Joe in other countries, is a complete sadist whose hideous acts include murder, torture and rape. Surprisingly however, he is utterly disgusted with the idea of violence being used on children, as he believes they are only the gracious thing that mankind has to offer. This even guaranteed him a Villainous BSOD in one film when he learns that one of the girls he kidnapped and murdered earlier was pregnant.
- Con Air: Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom may be the epitome of evil (he himself likes to brag that he killed more people then cancer), but he draws the line at rape. This is made apparent when he warns Serial Rapist Johnny 23 what will happen if he steps out of line: "If your dick jumps out of your pants, you jump out of this plane."
- Conspiracy: This is played with a lot in this World War II docu-drama. Some are stated outright, but a lot are subtly hinted at.
- Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger epitomizes this. Despite being (as Heydrich points out) willing to go along with the persecution, enslavement, and even mass sterilisation of the Jews, it becomes clear from the beginning of the conference that he is the only one there with a moral issue with the planned "elimination" of the Jews, and when it becomes clear his colleagues mean to flat out murder 12 million Jews his utter horror and shame at what he is a part of are obvious and he seems to come the closest of any man present to actually say that this is morally wrong. In Real Life Kritzinger tried to resign immediately after the conference, although historians are conflicted on whether it was because he truly felt the Final Solution was morally wrong or if the timing was just a coincidence.
- Subverted with Stuckart. Throughout the film he is the most vocal and aggressive opponent of the genocide... because he feels slighted its not respecting the laws he helped create. He actively hates the Jews and merely feels pissed off his colleagues don't respect his law.
- While not having any moral objection or qualm about the planned genocide, and generally acting like the biggest and most disgusting scumbag in a room full of supremely evil nazis, even Klopfer is shocked for a moment over just how many jews will be murdered every day in the plan.
- Lange is a ruthless officer currently involved in the genocide, but he finds shooting and disposing of Jewish noncombatants (families and children mainly) to gradually become more and more discomforting. He takes personal offense when Heydrich keeps insisting on euphemisms for the killings, as it does not reflect what he has been doing in the field.
- Eichmann, despite being the biggest supporter of the genocide after Heydrich, becomes uncomfortable when describing the extermination process used in the gas chambers. Heydrich later relates that Eichmann fainted when he saw the results first-hand, which Eichmann quickly denies.
- Josef Buehler points out to the ignorant Luther that it's often distressing for their soldiers, who have some semblance of honor, to shoot unarmed women and children in mass slaughters. His tone seems to indicate he agrees with them.
- The Counselor: A spy-for-hire seduces Brad Pitt's character to get his laptop password. When she delivers it to her employer, however, she's horrified to learn that the job has made her an accessory to a planned murder. She refuses payment on principle and storms away.
- The Dark Crystal: The Skeksis in may be decadent, genocidal tyrants, but they abhor profanity, calling Aughra "crude" for cussing at them.
- The Dark Knight Saga:
- Dasepo Sonyo: A group of thugs shows up at Poor Girl's house and threatens to burn it down with her, her mother, and her little brother inside unless they pay off her mother's debt to the local loan shark. When Poor Girl comes outside and offers to let them have sex with her in exchange for a few more days to get the money together, the thugs are appalled at the notion and decide to walk away.
- Dead in Tombstone: Guerrero has no problem with stealing the gold from Edendale's bank. However, he draws the line at siezing control of the mine and the entire town, and raping the sheriff's wife.
- Deep Rising: Simon Canton wanted to sink the cruise liner so he could reap the insurance money, but when Finnegan accuses him of trying to kill all the passengers Canton takes offense. He claims that he's just a crook, not a savage; he planned for all of them to live, as they would be safely transported off the ship before anyone could drown.
- Demolition Man: The psychotic criminal Simon Phoenix utterly hates his employer, Doctor Cocteau, his belief in The Evils of Free Will, the fact that he has turned Southern California into sissy-land, and the utter restrictiveness of it all. The only reason he doesn't kill Cocteau at first is because he has a mental block preventing him from doing so, and he gets around it by ordering a Mook to kill Cocteau. And There Was Much Rejoicing.
- The Departed: When Irish mob boss Frank Costello executes two people on a remote beach by shooting them in the back of the head, he notes that one of the victims "fell funny". Costello's right-hand man Mr. French gives him a disturbed look and tells his boss that he might want to talk to someone.
- Die Hard with a Vengeance:
- Played straight by Simon Gruber, the villain, who plants fake bombs in Manhattan schools to distract the police from his daring Federal Reserve robbery, though before this he does use real bombs to blow up a Bonwit Teller storefront and cause a subway platform collapse. Notice McClane's surprise and Simon's candid response on the quotes page.
- Also, when McClane points out that Simon obviously didn't even LIKE his brother —Simon readily agrees with McClane when the latter refers to Hans Gruber as an "asshole" — making Simon's revenge on McClane seem pointless, Gruber's response is that "There's a big difference between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot drops him out of a window."
- And another scene has Simon's henchmen taking the water jug-bomb off McClane and Zeus's hands, only to bring it along with them, when one expresses concern that "some kid could find it". Which in this case makes more sense - they don't want it falling into the wrong hands.
- Drive Angry: It's stated that Satan is simply someone doing his job watching over the damned and despises having children killed in his name.
- Unlike Delacourt, the rest of the Elysian government isn't exactly comfortable with employing a Psycho Fore Hire and shooting down unarmed shuttles full of civilians. Delacourt herself finally decides she's had enough of the psycho as well after he storms into Elysium.
- As much of an asshole Max's supervisor is, he's clearly disgusted with how the Armadyne CEO treats Max in the wake of his radiation.
- It's not much, but Kruger refuses to hurt the girl's mother while she can see it. He makes sure her eyes are covered, even stopping when he knows they aren't.
- Spider has a hard time pushing the button that would kill Max, and so Max does it himself
- Face/Off: Zig-zagged with Castor Troy, an indiscriminately murderous scumbag. He beats up Jamie's boyfriend's for trying to rape her and gives her a knife for self defense. However, earlier in the film he also threatened to rape Jamie to her father's face. He shows that he's serious when, during the standoff in the climax, he licks her face while she thinks Troy is her father. In the opening Troy also shows shock when he accidentally shoots Archer's son, but when he visits the boy's grave with Archer's weeping wife he looks more bored than remorseful, and every scene with Troy's girlfriend indicates that he couldn't give a bent penny about actually raising his own kid. The only definite redeeming trait he ends up with is his love for his brother Pollux.
- The Fifth Element: Played straight when the priest saves Zorg from choking, for which he agrees to spare the priest's life (for the moment).
- Final Destination: Death may be an inscrutable Eldritch Abomination who enjoys killing people in horrific ways for the fun of it, but it apparently finds racism distasteful; case in point would be the fourth film, when Carter is preparing to burn a cross on George's lawn... well, see it to believe it.
- A Fish Called Wanda: Even the sociopathic Otto seems put off by Ken's plan to kill an old lady. Although his main motivation is that he wants her alive so that her eyewitness testimony will keep George incarcerated, his statement "wasting old ladies isn't nice" possibly suggests that he considers such an act below his standards.
- Five Minutes To Live (aka Door-to-Door Maniac): A young Johnny Cash (yes, THAT Johnny Cash) stars as a cruel, sadistic robber/murderer. Near the end of the film, he has a standoff with the police and he believes that they accidentally killed his child hostage (they didn't, the kid was just playing dead). Cash's character immediately becomes enraged and starts firing wildly at the police, screaming at them for having dared to kill a child. When he's gunned down, his last words before dying are "they killed a kid".
- Flyboys: Features a dogfight around the middle of the movie. One of the men of the squadron is shot down but manages to land safely. He is then strafed and killed by a the Red Baron... er, Black Falcon. When he comes back up with the rest of his squadron, another German ace, Wolferd, shakes his head as attacking downed pilots who can't fight back was one of the rules of engagement. Another example is a dogfight almost immediately after that part. One of the pilots, Rawlings, manages to stick with Wolferd through a series of evasive maneuvers, even when he attempts to lose him by flying right over a church. Rawlings is able to stick with him, and though his gun jams, Wolferd spares his life because he was good enough to not lose him. In this case Wolferd is less "evil" and more on the opposite side, but is still shown as having stricter standards than his comrades.
- Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives: Jason, at least after being brought back to life, doesn't kill children or animals. This was actually a decision enforced by his prime actor, Kane Hodder.
- From Dusk Till Dawn: Seth Gecko, who doesn't have any compunctions against killing hostages, chastises his Ax-Crazy brother Richard for raping everything in sight and using wanton violence to resolve problems.
I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fuckin' bastard
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Storm Shadow is a ruthless assassin, but refuses to kill women — and is disgusted by Zartan's murder of Cover Girl.
- The Godfather:
- Don Vito Corleone believes that his political connections, which regard gambling as "a harmless vice", will abandon the Family if they learn that hard drugs like heroin are being sold. Even after they agree to the trade, the Dons refuse to allow the drugs into schools or to be sold to children.
- Jack Woltz ends up sleeping with the head of his prized racehorse Khartoum after Tom Hagen (visiting Woltz on unrelated business) witnesses a series of events that imply Woltz molested the child of a woman seeking a role in a film, in exchange for the role.
- Gone Baby Gone: many of the hero's friends are drug dealers and criminals but all are appalled by anyone who would harm a child. Cheese stands out as he is a violent psychopath who responds to such accusations poorly. Some of them, such as Stevie, even try to help by putting up posters and Bubba leads cops to where a child murderer is hiding.
- The Green Hornet Strikes Again!: the Hornet invokes this trope to explain why he's opposing the racketeers' current plan — he may be a murderer and an outlaw, but he's not willing to endanger America by putting vital industries under foreign control. (Granted, his real reason is that he's just pretending to be a gangster.)
- Hard Boiled: Mad Dog refuses to shoot a room full of helpless hospital patients, or allow his boss to do it.
- Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth: When Pinhead says he is not so different from Monroe for using a girl only for pleasure, the latter rejects it and says that what Pinhead did (eating her alive) was plain evil compared to him (using her for sex).
- Home Alone: Humorous example: Harry is willing to rob houses on Christmas and even kill Kevin, but he thinks it's sick-minded to flood the houses after they've robbed them.
What are you laughing at? (Beat
) You did it again, didn't you?
Marv: Harry, it's our calling card!
Harry: You're sick, you know that? Really sick. That's a sick thing to do!
- Hook: Captain Hook has no problem with any immorality per se except exercising "bad form", although he does go against his own rule somewhat out of anger and desperation at one point, so you could argue that it doesn't count.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: Snow's propagandist is visibly shocked when he orders the bombing of the hospital, but he promptly shoots her down by reminding her that she wrote the speech in which he pronounced death on anyone who associated with the Mockingjay.
- In Bruges: Played with. Two hitmen are sent to cool their heels in Belgium after one accidentally shoots a small boy during a hit. Their boss then tells the other one to kill him — the boss is a family man who loves his children and would sooner kill himself than live with the knowledge he'd killed a child, and then he does indeed kill himself due to having blown the head off of a dwarf dressed as a child. There's also a scene of negotiations between in which they decide how best to move their gunfight to a place where a pregnant woman will not be endangered.
- Inception: While "evil" may be a strong word for what's really more along the lines of "morally ambiguous," one telling moment of Cobb's characterization is that though he had just been shown spying on dreams, when offered a chance to shoot the guy who sold him out he said "that's not the way I deal with things."
- Indiana Jones:
- Played straight in the movies, where Rene Belloq and Walter Donovan share Indy's contempt for the Nazis and, even though they work with them, consider them "necessary evils" rather than genuine partners. (Though this may have more to do with their finding the Nazis stupid and crude than with any moral qualms). In one novelization, Bellog claims that the Nazi's are even less civilized than the Hovito tribesmen he worked with in the beginning of the movie.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Elsa Schneider works for the Nazis, she's against their ideology. She claims she "believes in the grail, not the Swastika" (though Indiana doesn’t buy it). She continues to help the Nazis, allowing her to finally get her hands on the grail, but she triggers a Cataclysm Climax trying to leave the temple with it. In a Take My Hand moment, she desperately reaches for the grail above a cliff but falls to her death.
- Inglourious Basterds: It's implied in the script that Hans Landa's reasons for sparing Shoshanna is due to this trope, as he apparently has personal moral problems with killing someone when their back is turned. In the film proper it seems to be more of a random whim, however.
- Inside Man: Madeline is The Fixer for anyone who is able to pay her, resulting in a clientele including individuals like Osama bin Laden's nephew. Even she is appalled when she learns about Arthur's complicity in the Holocaust.
- Ip Man: General Miura shows his displeasure with Smug Snake Colonel Sato's shooting of Master Liu by holding Sato's pistol to the man's own head and threatening to pull the trigger if he does something similar again.
- James Bond film series:
- In several movies, Bond works with a "criminal" who, despite being involved in murder, extortion, protection rackets, female slavery, smuggling, etc., is a good guy because he doesn't deal in drugs.
- Licence to Kill: The villain insists on paying the corrupt DEA agent who broke him out of prison, despite his henchman scoffing at the idea. "I gave this man my word". This is someone whom we've seen beat his unfaithful girlfriend, murder her lover, had a man's wife raped and murdered, and at the time of this discussion, is preparing to torture the man himself.
- Golden Eye: Xenia's orgasmic massacre of the Severnaya satellite control center's staff shocks even corrupt General Ourumov.
- Bond himself, though of course hardly "evil," is still a fairly dark Anti-Hero who, in the '60s films, occasionally used rather sleazy techniques to get with women (although in all fairness that probably says more about the '60s than it does about him). Nevertheless, we know, thanks to For Your Eyes Only, of at least one sexual low he will never stoop to and that is statutory rape, no matter how consensual.
- Just Cause: Bobby Ferguson was was castrated in jail by the other inmates for the rape and brutal murder of a young girl.
- Kick-Ass 2: When The Mother Fucker orders Mother Russia to kill and decapitate Colonel Stars & Stripes, she asks him if she should also kill the Colonel's dog. The Mother Fucker expresses shock and disgust at the idea. This is in contrast to his comic counterpart, who is that evil.
"Jesus Christ! I'm not that evil!"
- Kill Bill:
- Master assassin Bill forbids Elle from killing The Bride while she is unconscious in a hospital bed because "That would lower us."
- Bill's brother is willing to admit that they crossed the line when they tried to assassinate The Bride. Though he also holds her accountable for breaking Bill's heart.
- Killing Them Softly: Jackie Corgan refuses to rough up Markie Trattman for his suspected role in masterminding a Mafia robbery. Arguing that since they're going to kill him regardless of whether or not he was involved (and acknowledge that even if he was, the money was most likely long-gone), beating him up beforehand would just be unnecessarily cruel.
- King Of New York: The title character, a drug lord, excuses the murders of his rivals by claiming that they engaged in even less savory business practices than he did, like human trafficking and child prostitution.
- In Kiss Of The Tarantula, a gang of drunk teenagers decide to break into the local funeral home and steal a casket, manhandling local outcast Susan (who lives there) along the way, not so subtly threatening to rape her sooner or later. When they accidentally kill one of Susan's pet tarantulas, Susan's "ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?" screaming response is enough to [[Shaming the Mob shame them into leaving.]
- Lakeview Terrace: The crazed policeman neighbor played by Samuel L. Jackson does everything in his power to bully and terrorize his young, newlywed neighbors out of a deep seated dislike of their mixed-race marriage. However, when he realizes that he's inadvertently put them in a situation where one of them is likely to be killed, he's sane enough to know things have gone too far and quickly rushes over to rectify things. He loses major points, though, because a few weeks later he ends up putting himself in a situation where he has to kill the neighbors he just saved or be exposed for his crimes.
- Last Action Hero: When the assassin-for-hire Mr. Benedict is released into the real world, a teen-aged prostitute propositions him for a date. His response, "How old are you?"
- Legend: When the leader of the Quirky Miniboss Squad reveals he Eats Babies (or at least is considering it), this oddly horrifies his colleague.
Blunder: I simply adore milk-fed meat!
Pox: What are ya, some kind of animal?
- Let the Right One In: During the dumper fire, some of the others students who bullied Oksar (Owen) tried to save his life when they caught Jimmy and trying to drown him.
- Little Nicky: This classic line:
"Soon you will see things more horrible than you can even imagine... (cut to Clint Howard in drag and dancing barechested)
"...Well maybe not that
horrible, but still pretty bad."
- Little Shop of Horrors: Played for Laughs. In the 1986 film version, sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin) gets a patient named Arthur Denton (Bill Murray). Scrivello's schtick is that he does unnecessary procedures with little to no anesthesia, causing his patients immense pain, which he enjoys. Unfortunately, Denton is masochistic, so Scrivello's tools give him orgasmic pleasure. Disgusted (though he probably just resents the fact that he was robbed of his own sadistic pleasure), Schrivello kicks Denton out of his office. He then says to himself:
- The Longest Yard: In the Adam Sandler remake, Caretaker (Chris Rock) explains it like this to Paul Crewe (Sandler) in the Prison Cafeteria.
Caretaker: You know, I've never seen one inmate walk in here and be unanimously hated by the entire population. I ain't never seen it.
Crewe: How'd I get so lucky?
Caretaker: Oh I ain't saying you did or you didn't. All I'm saying is that you could have robbed banks, sold dope or stole your grandmother's pension checks and none of us would have minded. But shaving points off of a football game, man, that's un-American.
- Lord of War:
- Subverted throughout the entire film, to the point it could just as easily be called How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Lost All My Standards. Villain Protagonist Yuri Orlov starts out with lots of standards that gradually get flushed over the course of the movie. When selling guns in South America, one client tries to pay Yuri in cocaine. When Yuri protests that he has standards and sells guns, not drugs. After some Aggressive Negotiations, he agrees to take the drugs as payment, and notes that he made a tidy profit from it, implying that he wouldn't have a problem taking drugs as payment again. When he first meets The Generalissimo Andre Baptiste, Yuri is visibly horrified at Baptiste suddenly drawing the gun that Yuri was in the middle of selling and shooting a nearby soldier for flirting with one of Baptiste's women. Yuri goes so far as to talk back to Baptiste and make up an excuse to snatch the gun away. The last time we see him doing a deal with Baptiste, Yuri doesn't flinch from going through with the sale, despite the fact that he knows for a fact that a huge refugee camp mere meters away is going to be slaughtered with the weapons. Even his major But Not Too Evil moment doesn't actually have anything to do with standards. Yuri notes that one person he never sold guns to is Osama Bin Laden, but then specifically notes that it wasn't because of a moral standard, rather it was because back when Yuri was selling guns to Afghanistan rebels for use against the Soviets, Bin Laden's checks were always bouncing.
- Also played with when Simeon Weisz iterates his refusal to sell to any group with whose agenda he disagrees. When called out on the fact that he sold weapons to both sides of the Iran-Iraq War, he states that he wanted both sides to lose.
- Lucky Number Slevin: Mr. Goodkat was a reputable and cold hearted assassin but even he would not kill a child. And he was given the assignment because no other assassin would do it either.
- M: This concept is addressed when the child killer Hans Beckert gives a great, if unsuccessful, Shaming the Mob speech against the gangsters who want to lynch him. He's got severe mental problems; what's their excuse?
- The Man From Nowhere: Ramrowan is happy to slay anyone — except young So-Mi. Ramrowan not only spares her, but kills one of his comrades and takes his eyes to pass off as hers for proof of the kill. And then, when defeated by Cha Tae-sik, Ramrowan does not reveal his mercy or bargain for his life, which is kind of awesome.
- Mother Jugs And Speed: Mother asks why a hamburger stand owner always give him his mayonnaise on the side. The owner responds that he's cheated on his wife and beaten his kids; but putting mayonnaise on a hamburger is a sin that Mother alone will have to answer to God for.
- Muppet Treasure Island:
- The Villain Song "Professional Pirate" includes the line "I could have been a lawyer, but I just had too much heart."
- The opening song "Shiver My Timbers" also says, in regard to Captain Flint and his crew, "The Devil himself would have to call them scum!".
- Mystery Team: Jason believes this about Robert, making a speech about how he doesn't have it in him to kill teenagers. He has it in him
- Once Upon a Time in the West: Reminding us that this isn't about levels of evil, Cheyenne refuses to kill priests, then clarifies that he means Catholic priests.
- Out of Sight: As bank robber Jack Foley is locked into a trunk with US Marshal Karen Sisco, he assures her that he isn't going to rape her. "I've never done that in my life." Additionally, he makes a point of never using a weapon during any of his robberies, not wanting to harm anyone, and at the end of the film, he goes out of his way to stop his fellow robbers from raping a woman, knowing full well that doing so could prevent him from escaping and cost him his freedom.
- The Petrified Forest: Duke Mantee, world famous killer and gangster, thinks Alan is a rat for telling Gabrielle's grandfather to "die and do the world some good." "Talkin' to an old man like that..."
- Pickup on South Street: A pickpocket steals a wallet containing stolen microfilm that a ring of communist spies are trying to spirit out of the country. Instead of destroying the film or turning it in to the cops for immunity, he tries to sell it back to the spies for a big payoff. This shocks even his fellow lowlifes, one of whom remarks, "Even in our crummy business, you have to draw the line somewhere."
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: One of the legends about the Black Pearl is that it's captain was "so evil that Hell itself spat him back out." Though this turned out not to be true.
- Pitch Black: Played with. It's left ambiguous as to whether Riddick refuses to kill the teenage Jack and instead ghosts Johns on moral grounds because he crossed a line, or simple opportunism. His second option gives Riddick control of the group, revenge, and a target off his back. He later rescues Jack yet again, but leaves her to die just as quickly. The second sequel Riddick confirms that he did draw the line at that point.
- Predator: The Predator isn't above stacking the odds in its favor when it hunts the most dangerous game. However, they do not go after helpless victims. This extends to unborn children, as shown in Predator 2, when the Predator refuses to kill an armed, competent, but pregnant police officer. For some it extends past that, to "worthy prey"; in Alien vs. Predator, the "protagonist" Predator ignored the man dying of cancer even as the man attacked him until it became impossible to do so.
- The President's Analyst: A couple of Federal agents out to kill the title character, without ever questioning their orders, correct a young boy's casual racism: "Don't say chinks, son, say Chinese restaurant. Chinks is bigoted."
- Prizzi's Honor: Irene Walker, an assassin, plans out a hit that involves distracting a bodyguard by tossing a baby (actually a doll) and getting him to catch it while she pulls out her gun in the meantime. When the plan is carried out, the bodyguard ignores the "baby" and immediately pulls out his own gun. Afterward, Irene comments that this behavior was disgusting, since if it had been a real baby, it would have been crippled.
- The Prophecy: The angel-turned-rogue Gabriel, as played by Christopher Walken, will, in his own words, wreak havoc on civilizations, kill babies while their mothers watch, and (when he feels like it) rip the souls of out little girls...but he absolutely cannot stand to see people cry, or hear them use God's name in vain:
Watch it with that profanity!
- Queen of the Damned: Lestat is a vampire who has no problem killing people to satisfy his needs, but when he sees that Akasha has wiped out a whole town to allow them both to walk in the sun he asks her why she would want to rule over a kingdom of corpses.
- Ran: Kurogane is perfectly willing to help his lord Jiro murder and backstab his way to power, but draws the line at the murder of his first wife Lady Sue simply to appease Lady Kaede.
- Rashomon: (Based off the story In a Grove) the Samurai's version features the bandit horrified by the samurai's wife as she asks the bandit to kill her husband — this is right after the bandit has raped said woman.
- Red Dawn (1984): At the end, even after all the Soviets the Wolverines have killed, Colonel Bella can't bring himself to kill Jed and Matt when he sees they are just teenagers.
- The Replacement Killers: John Lee gets himself in trouble with crime leader Terence Wei after developing a conscience in time to prevent him from completing the third assignment, killing a police officer's young son with the officer/father hugging him in revenge for the cop having killed Wei's own son.
- Reservoir Dogs:
- The titular have no qualms whatsoever about robbing a bank of thousands of dollars, and most of them feel only a vague dislike (yet no hesitation) for shooting innocent bystanders out of their way in the escape from the heist, but watch how they react to someone refusing to throw in a dollar for the waitress's tip at a restaurant. In fact, in keeping with the recurring theme in Tarantino's works of honor among thieves and scoundrels they seem to have a whole, elaborate code of ethics all their own which they euphemistically refer to as "professionalism".
- Both White and Pink also display antipathy against Blonde for going on an unprovoked killing spree inside the jewellery store once the alarm went off. In Pink's case it seems like more Pragmatic Villainy (shooting someone who's not in your way is just more jail time if they catch you), but White seems to take the killing of "real people" personally.
Mr. White: What you're supposed to do is act like a fuckin' professional. A psychopath ain't a professional, you can't work with a psychopath. You don't know what those sick assholes are gonna do next. I mean, Jesus Christ, how old do you think that black girl was? Twenty? Maybe?
Mr. Pink: If that.
- The Rock: The Big Bad, it turns out, was bluffing about launching nerve gas on San Francisco. Though his second-in-command thought he wasn't... Before the actual takeover, he's seen telling two children to tell their teacher they have to go back to the school Right. Now.
- The Rocketeer: Mobster Eddie Valentine and his gang turns on their boss, Neville Sinclair, after learning that Sinclair is working for the Nazis. As Eddie puts it, "I may not make an honest buck, but I'm 100% American!" followed by a hilarious scene with a mobster and an FBI agent firing at Nazis, looking at each other, shrugging, then going back to killing Nazis. note Even before Sinclair is exposed, Valentine shows some resentment towards him:
Valentine, we're going to do what I
think is necessary. Valentine:
And that includes breaking one of my men in half, huh? The next time you go after one of my men, I'll kill ya. Sinclair:
Don't threaten me, Eddie. Just do your job. Valentine:
Hey, Sinclair? (lights cigar)
If the Feds take me, I'm taking you with me.
I'm gonna tell them everything. Sinclair:
Who do you think they'll believe? A cheap crook or the number-three box office star in America? (leaves) Valentine: (throwing his cigar at the door)
- Scarface: Tony "Scarface" Montana, gangster and druglord, refuses to kill women and children, and only kills "People dumb enough to fuck with him".
- Schindlers List: Subverted. During the liquidation of the Kraków Ghetto, two German soldiers are dragging a teenage boy along, who is suddenly shot by another German soldier. One of the two men then runs up to the shooter, and chews him out about it. It seems like this trope to anyone who can't understand what he's saying in German. In reality he's only pissed off because the shooter almost shot him instead of the Jewish boy.
- S Club Seeing Double: Bradley explains to Tina that what she thought was a clone of Ozzy Osbourne is likely the real one, who also could be a victim of kidnapping, implying that Victor, the mad scientist who made clones of the band, had his limits.
- Sister Act: In the climax, Vince's two goons Joey and Willy are very reluctant to kill Dolores because they just can't get it out of their heads that they're about to shoot a nun, something they just can't do. The fact that she continues to pray during the whole ordeal and Reverend Mother's insistence that she did, indeed find God while at the convent (which may have been true, actually) only made it harder for them. (Eventually they tell her to take the habit off so she won't look like a nun, which might have worked, but then she manages to catch them off guard, slug them both in the stomachs, and make a break for it.)
- The Skulls: The Big Bad who has been terrorizing the film's protagonist expresses disgust at a co-conspirator's choice of a lover, even while freely admitting to his own extramarital activities, "Good lord, man, she's only 19"!. He then uses the information to blackmail him when the other man also displays this trope and develops a conscience about the horrible things they've done.
- Small Soldiers the Commando Elite may be homocidal war toys but they were also programmed with the personalities of heroic, loyal, brave and honourable soldiers. Chip Hazard in particular is an excellent leader. Which means they just won't give up.
- Smokin' Aces: Hitman and Torture Technician Pasquale Acosta is forced to kill the hotel's Chief of Security in order to get to his mark, Buddy Israel. Despite ruthless torture being Acosta's main gimmick, he goes out of his way to kill the Chief painlessly, and holds and comforts him as he dies, all because the Chief was not the person he was hired to kill. Acosta even tells the Chief to close his eyes before he dies, so his killer's face won't have to be the last thing he sees.
- Snatch: Bullet Tooth Tony, a tough guy who is ruthless when it comes to killing or torture is reluctant to hurt a dog when asked to cut it open to retrieve a diamond it swallowed. Possibly a subversion. Tony is reluctant and voices disapproval over the act "It's not a fucking tin of baked beans, what do you mean open him up?!" he does eventually start to do it. The dog's life gets saved from Tony (and his boss Avi) mostly because someone else in the room admits that he has the diamond, and the dog didn't eat it.
- The Social Network: Mark felt that Sean's treatment of Eduardo after the latter gets fired from the company was going too far. He was also disgusted when he heard that Sean was partying and doing drugs with underaged interns.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock:
- Klingon Commander Kruge shoots his gunner after he accidentally destroys the USS Grissom and calls it "a lucky shot", because he wanted prisoners. He even calls his gunner an "animal" afterwards.
- Kruge wanted to take the crew of the Gissom prisoner because he wanted to question someone about Project: Genesis. His trigger-happy idiot of a gunner almost ruined that were it not for the fact that there was an away team on the surface of Planet Genesis.
- Star Trek: Nemesis: Commander Donatara of the Romulan Star Empire manages to convince one of her fellow officers that Shinzon's plan to bring Romulus to even greater power in the Alpha Quadrant will involve genocide, namely Earth. They turn on Shinzon, even helping out the USS Enterprise as it's being pummeled by his ship.
- Sucker Punch: When Blue orders the other orderlies to bring Baby Doll to an empty room so he can rape her, they protest, arguing that they're running the place badly and that they won't let him hurt her anymore. This is after the rest of the movie, where they stood by and let him pimp out and abuse the other girls (possibly, as the last scene does show some disconnect with how reality is, and how Baby Doll perceived everything).
- Suicide Kings: Charlie Barrett, an ex-mob boss who once had an enemy and his family fed to their own dogs, is highly offended by someone lying to their friends. Also, in an alternate ending, he refused to kill a woman.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007 movie): Near the end, when the five guardians tell the Foot Clan to work alongside them for power, Karai says that always keep their word, and that as such they work for Winters, not them.
- This Is Sodom: Played for laughs. The Big Bad's son takes most of the evil plot in stride... until he learns it involves hosting a massive wedding ceremony without paying for any catering. At which point he goes bug-eyed and calls him the Devil himself.
- Training Day: This is how Smiley, the gang banger that Alonzo hires to kill Jake, feels this way about Alonzo.
Smiley: No, that's why I never shake his hand, homes. He don't respect nada.
- Tombstone: One of the Cowboys drops his red sash and falls in with the Earp brothers after someone fires a gun into the Earp household, nearly killing one of the brothers' wives; he flat-out states that attacking defenseless women was something he simply couldn't stomach.
- "Lucky" Ned Pepper from True Grit (both versions) has this infamous line that he threatens Mattie with:
Pepper: I never busted a cap on a woman or nobody much under sixteen, but it's enough that you know I will do what I have to do.
- Unforgiven: At the very end of the movie, the writer tries to latch onto William Munny to tell a romanticized story of his atrocities, like the writer was doing for each of his previous subjects. Munny rejects him completely, acknowledging that what he did was simply evil and shouldn't be glorified.
- Vantage Point: The terrorists driving an ambulance carrying the kidnapped President swerved to avoid hitting a girl crossing the road, flipping the ambulance, foiling their plot, and getting killed in the process. They had no qualms with killing throughout the movie, just not a child.
- The Whole Nine Yards: Hitman for hire Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski refuses to divorce his former wife because, dammit, he believes in those vows ("til death do we part"). He also goes ballistic when he finds out that his wife cheated on him with Oz, despite the fact that he wants to kill her.
- The Woman in Black: Even for the eponymous villain, stealing the souls of Arthur and his son after they are hit by a train, especially after the former tried his very best to appease her, would be stooping below Haman's level.
- X-Men: The Last Stand: Magneto reacts with horror when he notices that Phoenix is about to kill Charles Xavier. In addition, when Pyro indicates that he would have killed Xavier if Magneto commanded him to do so, Magneto immediately rebukes him for the comment, telling him Xavier had done so much for mutants and that his greatest regret was Xavier's death. Although that might be chalked up to another trope.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
- The generals allowed for Stryker to carry out his Weapon X project. However, one of them called Stryker out when telling him that he suspects that Stryker's motivations were basically out of Fantastic Racism. This gets him killed by Stryker.
- Dukes clearly is disturbed by what Stryker does to mutants at his Three Mile Island base.
- Sort of in X-Men: First Class. When Angel defected and witnessed Shaw's brutal murder of Darwin, she was briefly shown to be shocked and somewhat disturbed at what he did.