Zazu: (singing depressingly) Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, nobody knows my sorrow... Scar: Oh Zazu, do lighten up. Sing something with a little "bounce" in it. Zazu: Ahem. It's a small world after all— Scar: NO! Anything But That!!
Also in the original, the hyenas become resentful of Scar's reign after he drives the Pride Lands into ruin and starvation. And after Scar is overthrown by Simba, the hyenas, having inadvertently discovered they were betrayed by Scar, use this as an opportunity to get back at him for it and satisfy their hunger all at the same time..
In Rango, The mayor is so corrupt that even Rattlesnake Jake, who claims to be "from hell itself" and is arguably a form of The Grim Reaper, does off with him. Rattlesnake Jake also mentions he hates liars. The mayor despite being willing to leave Rango and Beans in a tank to drown tries to tell off Rattlesnake Jake for threatening to strangle Beans to death in his office. Also, the mayor's secretary Angelique looked visibly horrified when Rango and Beans were put into the tank to drown despite clearly not liking Beans.
In The Incredibles, Mirage might be willing to lure supers to their deaths, but when kids are on the plane targeted by missiles, she starts to have second thoughts. Also, the fact that Syndrome was willing to let Mr. Incredible kill her (out of anger) even though he couldn't do it.
In Pinocchio "Honest" John, an anthropomorphic fox, isn't above robbery and murder. However, he is horrified at the Coachman's proposition of sending kids off to Pleasure Island where they will be robbed of their humanity and forced into slavery doomed to hard labor for the rest of their lives. And when the Coachman finishes explaining it all to them (even grinning menacingly for emphasis), Honest John and Gideon, the fox's anthropomorphic feline stooge, are both cowering in absolute terror. Regardless of their morals, they trick the title character into going there anyway, mainly because they're too scared to refuse the Coachman's proposition after that.
The main plot of Megamind features the titular villain becoming good to stop a "hero" he created from destroying the world.
In Tangled, one of the thugs at the Snuggly Duckling sings a song describing some of the terrible things he's done (although he's repentant about it, as are most of the people in the Bad Guy Bar) but dislikes Flynn for his dream of being rich and entirely alone.
Hook-Hand: Go, live out your dream. Flynn: I will. Hook-Hand: You dream stinks! I was talking to her.
Subverted in The Princess and the Frog. Lawrence may protest Facilier's plan to disguise himself as Naveen and swindle Charlotte out of her fortune, but it's not because he finds it wrong. It's because he worries that he won't get away with it.
In Toy Story 3, Twitch might be one of Lotso's evil henchmen who forces toys to be destroyed by children too young to understand they're destroying them, but when Lotso hits Big Baby, Twitch is aghast, and makes a Heel-Face Turn.
At the end of Red Dawn, 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.
Humorous example in Home Alone: 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.
Harry: 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!
Towards the end of 12 Angry Men, 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.
In 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.
In 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.
Even before Sinclair is exposed, Valentine shows some resentment towards him:
Sinclair: 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) Number-three jerk!
In 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.
Tony "Scarface" Montana, gangster and druglord, refuses to kill women and children, and only kills "People dumb enough to fuck with him".
Mathilda: Do you "clean" anyone? Léon: No women, no kids, that's the rules.
Played straight by Simon Gruber, the villain in Die Hard With A Vengeance, 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.
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.
Lord of War 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.
The absurd levels this can sometimes reach is pointed out in the film Nuremberg. A high-ranking Nazi official and the American soldier who's supposed to be guarding his cell discuss their respective childhoods, and the Nazi mentions how much he loved hunting with his father. The American asks if Hitler hunted at all, and the Nazi responds "No, the Führer considered killing animals unethical." Both burst out laughing.
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!".
In the 1939 film version of Beau Geste, 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.
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.
In the Bond movie 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.
In GoldenEye, Xenia's orgasmic massacre of the Severnaya satellite control center's staff shocks even corrupt General Ourumov.
The Big Bad in The Rock, it turns out, was bluffing. 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.
In 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.
This concept is addressed in M, in which 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?
In the TMNT 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.
Averted in The Usual Suspects. Keyser Soze comes home to find a rival gang raping his wife and holding her and his children hostage. What does he do? (Allegedly) shoot his family himself, then kill the gang members, then kill their entire families and everyone they've ever known or done business with.
The Whole Nine Yards has hitman for hire Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski who 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.
In the Adam Sandler Remake of The Longest Yard, 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.
"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."
In 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.
Mr. Goodkat of Lucky Number Slevin 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.
In 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.
In 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!
The titular Reservoir Dogs 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.
It's implied in the script that Hans Landa's reasons for sparing Shanonna in Inglourious Basterds is due to this trope, as he apparently has personal moral problems with killing someone when their back is turned.
In 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.
In 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 German flyer. When the pilot comes back up with the rest of his squadron, the Red Baron... er, Black Falcon, who led the attack, shakes his head. It's justified, considering that he had a book of morals that he thought all Germans should follow. Attacking downed pilots who can't fight back was one of them. Another example is a dogfight almost immediately after that part. One of the pilots, Rawlings, manages to stick with the Black Falcon through a series of evasive maneuvers, even when the Falcon attempts to lose him by flying right over a church. Rawlings is able to stick with him, and though his gun jams, the Falcon spares his life because he was good enough to not lose him. In this case Falcon is less "evil" and more on the opposite side, but is still shown as having stricter standards than his comrades.
In 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."
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.
In 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.
In the film version of Annie, 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.
In the 1986 film version of Little Shop of Horrors, 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:
In 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.
In 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.
When Crane warns Falcone that Rachel Dawes isn't likely to be bought off, Falcone says there is an answer to that too, and Crane says "I don't want to know." Falcone, for his part, is skeptical that Crane may have any qualms about this, cynically replying "Yeah you do."
This can also be interpreted not as Crane having standards, but as Crane not wanting to know the details so he can have plausible deniability in the event the cops catch on.
Also, when Ducard (aka Ra's Al Ghul) explains his plan for poisoning Gotham, he adds that Crane went along with the plan under the impression that the idea was to hold the city for ransom. If you were to assume Ducard meant that, and assume that the implication of this was that Crane was more okay with "threatening to poison people as a means of profit" than "actually poisoning them," then this would indicate that Crane has standards in comparison to Ducard. Even then, that is not saying much, and it could just as easily be because there's no money in Ducard's plan.
Speaking of Ducard, he doesn't sanction the use of nuclear weapons to achieve his goals, according to the novelization, as he believes that nuclear weapons have the potential to render most of the Earth uninhabitable for most life forms. That's one thing that separates him from his child, who is revealed to have revived the League of Shadows two movies later and is completely willing to implement nuclear holocaust on Gotham.
Following Rachel's death in The Dark Knight, mobster Sal Maroni becomes fed up with the violence the Joker has unleashed and gives up the Joker's location to Commissioner Gordon. It is also subtly implied that Maroni did not wish to hire the Joker in the first place.
In the opening scene to the movie, the Joker has his own henchmen killed during a heist on a mob bank as soon as their part of the heist is complete. The mobster who tries to fend them off is disgusted with their actions, and reminisces about the good old days when criminals still believed in honor and respect.
The Chechen, who previously was the most eager to hire the Joker, turns against him upon hearing his next Evil Plan about how "this city deserves a better class of criminal." Unfortunately, his former men don't have such standards.
Joker himself mockingly says this when giving a What the Hell, Hero? speech to Batman, although knowing him, it's debatable how seriously he should be taken:
The Joker: I wanted to see what you could do, and you didn't disappoint—you let five people die. Then you let Dent take your place. Even to a guy like me, that's cold.
In one of the most iconic scenes of the film, criminal and Scary Black Man Ginty throws away the detonator on his escape vote that would ensure his and his fellow convict's survival at the cost of blowing up a boat full of innocent people fleeing the city. He even rebukes the officer he takes it from, saying he'd do what the officer "Shoulda did ten minutes ago" Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Crowning Moment of Awesome ensues.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane's mystique is established by the fact that he was excommunicated from the League, which Bruce and Alfred take to mean he was too extreme, even for Ducard. As it turns out, Ducard's motives were more personal - Bane was a walking reminder of Ducard's failure as Talia's father.
Selina Kyle/Catwoman, despite having no compunctions against stealing, robbing, and sometimes killing (In self-defense), is thoroughly horrified by Bane's and Talia's methods and goals.
In 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.
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.
General Miura from Ip Man 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.
The crazed policeman neighbor in Lakeview Terrace 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.
In 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."
In the previous film, The Spy Who Shagged Me, he also gets the heebie-jeebies at Fat Bastard's desire to eat Mini Me.
Fat Bastard: Tell ya what, you keep the money and the mojo and I'll have the baby. *smacks lips*
Dr. Evil: Riiiiight.
In 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.
Mad Dog from Hard Boiled refuses to shoot a room full of helpless hospital patients, or allow his boss to do it.
In 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.
In 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.
In 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.
In 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.
From 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..."
Jason believes this about Robert in Mystery Team, making a speech about how he doesn't have it in him to kill teenagers. He has it in him
In Kurosawa's 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.
In 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.
In 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. THE ROMULANS. THE MOST TRIGGER-HAPPY BRUTAL RACES IN THE QUADRANT.
In 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.
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."
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?!
As a Hitman with a Heart Leddo from The Alzheimer's Case 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.
In Kill Bill Vol. 1 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 hold her accountable for breaking Bill's heart.
In 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.
In 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.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, one of the legends about the pearl is that it's captain was "so evil that Hell itself spat him back out." Though this turned out not to be true.
Even for The Woman in Black, 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.
Reminding us that this isn't about levels of evil, Cheyenne from Once Upon a Time in the West refuses to kill priests, then clarifies that he means Catholic priests.
In 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.
In 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.
Unforgiven: At the very end of the movie, William Munny brutally kills several men, but when a writer asks him who did he chose first, (in an effort to romanticize the brutal events that Munny committed) he rejects him by threatening with death. All the players in the movie were eager to justify their Disproportionate Retribution but Munny: He knows that he did evil things once and he’s doing evil things now, and that for that he will go to hell. He will not try to hide that from himself or anyone else.
In 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.
In 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.
In the novel, Al Neri was a New York City police officer who was dismissed from the force for beating a child-killer nearly to death with his flashlight. Neri was subsequently recruited by Michael Corleone as his enforcer.
Played straight in The Fifth Element when the priest saves Zorg from choking, for which he agrees to spare the priest's life.
Castor Troy in Face/Off is a pretty decent guy for an indiscriminately murderous scumbag. He beats up Jamie's boyfriend for trying to rape her, and teaches her to defend herself against future potential rapists with a balisong. He genuinely loves his eccentric idiot-savant brother Pollux, and refuses to kill him after Pollux betrays their location by personally buying their plane ticket, as most terrorists would have. Most notably, he shows genuine shock at accidentally killing Archer's son during an attempt on Archer (the bullet hit Archer but went through him non-fatally and hit Michael in the head), and can barely contain his remorse before the weeping mother when forced to visit the boy's grave wearing Archer's face.
When Mr. Benedict, the assassin-for-hire in Last Action Hero is released into the real world, a teen-aged prostitute propositions him for a date. His response, "How old are you?"
Blunder: I simply adore milk-fed meat! Pox: What are ya, some kind of animal?
In 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).
In 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.)
Jackie Corgan in Killing Them Softly 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.
Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a ruthless assassin, but refuses to kill women — and is disgusted by Zartan's murder of Cover Girl.
Played straight in the Indiana Jones 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).
Simon Canton in Deep Rising wanted to sink the cruise liner so he could reap the insurance money. 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.
In 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.
In the climax of Sister Act, 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.)
This is played with a lot in the World War II docu-drama Conspiracy. 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.
When Pinhead in Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth 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).
This might also be interpreted as Rugen being annoyed with Humperdinck for disrupting his methodical, carefully documented "experiment" on Westley... which just goes to show that Humperdinck doesn't even give one shit about his own allies and will gladly screw them over out of pure selfishness.
In 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.
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!"
Played with in Pitch Black. 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.
Unlike Delacourt, the rest of the Elysian government isn't exactly comfortable with employing human rights violators and shooting down unarmed shuttles full of civilians. Delacourt herself finally decides she's had enough of said human rights violator, too, after his not-so-subtle entry into Elysium causes one hell of a mess, to put it lightly.
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
In Bruges plays with this trope. 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.
Amidst all the scum that makes up the 2 Guns antagonist line, 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 Robert Trench (Denzel Washington) to steal 43 million dollars from the CIA and then betrayed him and Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) to the authorities afterward; Papi was visibly disgusted and even stated that if he were in Trench's situation (i.e. Papi holding Deb ransom and forcing Trench and Stigman to steal the 43 million back for him) he would have left her to die and rot.
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.