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- The eponymous ogre of the Shrek films initially just wants to be left alone in his swamp. Then he agrees to rescue a princess in exchange for clearing out the exiles in his swamp, and things spiral from there.
- Basil of Baker Street, from The Great Mouse Detective, is condescending and rude. Children coming to his office to say their fathers were kidnapped are told "I have no time for lost fathers!" Of course, this turns out to be because he's focused on trying to apprehend a local crime lord named Professor Ratigan, whom ironically happens to be very Faux Affably Evil, the polar opposite of this trope.
- In Bambi, The Great Prince of the Forest is a abusive parent by being too aloof towards his son. The 2006 sequel gives him Character Development, turning him into a much more loving father.
- Quite the literal example from Wreck-It Ralph: while the arcade game characters fulfill "good guy" and "bad guy" roles while the game is being played, offscreen their actual personalities greatly vary. Many "bad guys" are nice, gentle people while various "good guys" or "innocent bystanders" are mean, condescending and/or Innocently Insensitive (Felix...). Or in the case of Turbo, who was the main protagonist of his game, psychotic, attention-obsessed, spiteful, murderous and insane.
- God in The Prince of Egypt. See the Religion and Mythology section.
- Shifu in Kung Fu Panda is unquestionably on the side of good, but is irritable, harsh to his students and insulting towards Po.
- Chief Bogo in Zootopia is blunt about his (often negative) opinions, has disdain for niceties, is easily annoyed, appears somewhat prejudiced against small animals at first, and is a stubborn stickler for procedure. Yet, he's one of the most consistently honest characters in the movie, willing to accept he was wrong after being shown proof, and the Token Good Teammate among the city's major authority figures.
- The Man with No Name from the Dollars Trilogy is a classic example of this trope.
- Ace Ventura is a send-up of this sort of character, whether intentionally or otherwise. He talks out of his backside, is inherently immature and even sociopathic, but losing someone he was trying to save drives him into seclusion in a monastery. Said someone was a raccoon...
- Hancock starts off like this. He goes out of his way to help people in need and stop criminals, and he also doesn't commit murder, with one possible exception right near the end of the movie. He's also an alcoholic with a short temper who isn't afraid to use his powers to intimidate people he doesn't like.
- From the first Prophecy movie, regarding biblically correct angels:
"Did you ever notice how in the Bible, when ever God needed to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? A whole existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an angel?""I'm an angel. I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on in your existence is never understanding why."
- Bernie La Plante played by Dustin Hoffman in Accidental Hero. La Plante is an unscrupulous thief who nevertheless can't help but do good deeds like rescuing people from a crashed airliner.
- A major theme of the Dirty Harry series, where the title character is portrayed as frequently doing cruel but justified things. Summed up with a remark he made after punching someone in the face to make it easier to stop him from committing suicide.
"Now you know why they call me Dirty Harry. Every dirty job that comes along..."
- A theme of the Star Wars series. More general examples include the strict Jedi code and the lengths the well-intentioned pro-republic characters are willing to go to in order to keep the galaxy together. (For example, an army of clones whose genetics are modified to make them obedient, as a means of crushing the separatists, was created, and Mace and Yoda didn't object at Palpatine's announcement of this.) In addition, in the novelization for Episode III, Kenobi and Yoda make quite clear they have nothing against sacrificing anyone, including each other, if it would end the war a day earlier.
- Lean on Me portrays Joe Clark as on several occasions being willing to do the right thing when the right thing isn't exactly nice. He expels hundreds of "troublemakers" at a time to improve the school for the better students, orders the school's doors "chained and locked" on being told that someone from inside the school let an expelled student into the school building, and fires a teacher for picking up trash during the school song for which everyone was told not to move.
I cried "my God, why has thou forsaken me?" and the Lord said "Joe, you're no damn good. No, I mean this! More than you realize, you're no earthly good at all unless you take this opportunity and do whatever you have to." And he didn't say "Joe, be polite."
- The titular Batman from the 1989 film definitely qualifies.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- The Avengers (2012), with only Captain America as the exception. Tony Stark is an arrogant, conceited Jerk Ass with problems with authority, but his goal is to make up for his past failures. The Hulk is a raging monster who cannot tell friend from foe during his temper tantrums, but just because he doesn't like you doesn't mean he won't protect you. Thor still has shades of being a Boisterous Bruiser who smashes first and asks questions later, but he follows his heart and demonstrates Undying Loyalty to his family, friends, and to Earth itself. Hawkeye and Black Widow are agents (and former criminals) who won't hesitate to do what needs to be done. Also, Black Widow is duplicitous and very rarely shows anything real about herself. That doesn't stop the two of them from being loyal to each other and to their comrades. And Nick Fury, who employs every single dirty trick to meet his ends. Fortunately, his ends are preserving worldwide freedom.
- Guardians of the Galaxy. Their members are Star-Lord (womanising, cocky thief), Rocket (a bad-tempered thug raccoon who spends his spare time making bombs to blow up moons), Gamora (a cold-blooded assassin raised by Thanos, of all people) and Drax the Destroyer (who gets introduced trying to kill someone in prison, and seems genuinely surprised being a hero means you can't kill people for annoying you). What a bunch of a-holes. They do have their own exception, though, in Groot (though even he's perfectly willing to impale bad guys and smile about it). And they do save the galaxy, when they have to.
- John Rambo. He may be on the good guys side, but the mountain of corpses and Ludicrous Gibs he leaves in his wake proves he's not exactly the nicest guy around.
- While Thorin in The Hobbit is unmistakably one of the protagonists, he can often be incredibly stubborn, proud, harsh, and quick to criticize, as well as discriminating against all things elvish. Well, he is the stereotypical Dwarf.
- Gamera: Gamera is the Friend to All Children and a walking, turtle-shaped natural disaster to everyone else.
- Chuck Hansen in Pacific Rim. The Australian may be doing everything in his power to protect and save humanity from the Kaiju, but don't expect him not to insult or sneer at the people around him, especially if he believes they're incompetent or just not worth his time. The only person he's truly nice to is his English bulldog, Max.
- Action Hero Snow in Lockout is snide, sarcastic, and deeply cynical throughout the movie. He's also constantly rude to the woman he's trying to save, including cutting her hair against her will and punching her to make her pass for a male prisoner.
- Non-Stop: Air Marshal Marks is definitely the good guy, but he has no qualms about roughing up suspects, which does little to endear him to anyone. The crew can barely tolerate him and the passengers think he's borderline psychotic.
- Larry Garfield from Other People's Money is almost the Trope Namer:
Since when do you have to be nice to be right?
- Merlin from Kingsman: The Secret Service. He comes across like a Jerkass to his students, but he is doing so to keep them in reality and to test them to see if they truly are Kingsmen material.
- The Axe and Cross of The Last Witch Hunter has been mankind's bulwark against witches for centuries, but it didn't make them nice. They sentence witches without giving them a chance to speak, they are merciless in their prosecution of magic, they keep dark secrets from Kaulder to keep him working for them and they treat their top hunter as little more than a tool.
- X-Men: Apocalypse: Mystique is brisker and stricter with the young X-Men than Professor X.