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Karma Houdini: Film
Note: Before the end of the Hays Code, it was far less common for movies to feature a Karma Houdini as the first rule of the code was that "The villain must always get his come-uppance by the end of the movie." (This usually applied only to the Big Bad, as it would take far too much time showing every single one of the Mooks getting punished.) This, of course, doesn't mean that villainous Karma Houdinis didn't exist in movies from that time period. But they were much more of a rarity until the code was dissolved in The Sixties.

Films — Animation

  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: The entire family of canidae (dogs) are karma-dodgers. The film states this is because dogs are naturally kind and loving, so they get a free pass.
    • Carface (the Big Bad of the film) also ends up in paradise after he's offed, even though he flat-out murdered another dog, held an innocent child captive for weeks, and engaged in all other sorts of nasty business. Karma bites Carface hard in the sequel. It's revealed that he's The Mole for Satan himself and is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves in the end, being dragged kicking and screaming into Hell. He does make a Heel-Face Turn in the animated series, though.
      Itchy: What do you know? And I thought All Dogs Go to Heaven.
    • As it turns out, the first time Charlie died, he only got into Heaven because he was a dog; Annabelle couldn't find a single redeeming quality in him. Of course, he does get redeemed at the end following a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Despicable Me:
    • Miss Hattie runs an Orphanage of Fear, forcing her charges to sell cookies and putting them in the "Box of Shame" if they fail to meet their quota or rebel in any way. She receives no punishment whatsoever. The girls are taken back to the orphanage, due to a phone call from Dr. Nefario - actually done to get them out of the way so he and Gru could pull off their plan to steal the moon. Gru gets the girls back in the end, but Miss Hattie simply disappears afterward and presumably remains at her job, none the worse for the wear.
    • Vector's father, the Bank President who was actually the true mastermind behind what Vector was doing. It comes off as sort of ironic that the truly evil villains are the ones that get off scotfree.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Cinderella: Lady Tremaine is one of the few Karma Houdinis in this canon, getting away with making Cinderella's life a living Hell for 20 years. In the more recent direct-to-video sequels, the closest to punishment she ever got was being humiliated (along with Drizella) in front of the King and the local noblemen after the Fairy Godmother's wand she stole turns them into frogs and then, when reversing that spell, makes them wear Cinderella-like clothing, complete with brooms and all. This actually happens in Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, set not long after the end of the original Disney movie and has Lady Tremaine, aside of abusing the wand's magic, manipulating a remorseful Anastasia (who's been retconned into a Na´ve Everygirl) so she takes Cinderella's place with magic.

      This is somewhat justified in that Cinderella actually does forgive her stepfamily in the original Perrault story. In that version, the younger of the two stepsisters was also much less of an evil bitch than the other one. There have been other interpretations of the story with one of the stepsisters being depicted as either the lesser evil or not so bad.

      This is averted in the Kingdom Hearts series, where all three of them become evil enough to frighten Aqua, and finally get blown up and "sent to Hades" by an Unverse known as the Cursed Coach.
    • Pinocchio's got three of 'em. Foulfellow and Gideon trick Pinocchio twice, first to send him to Stromboli (who lost his star attraction and his investment in Pinocchio when he escapes, so it can be assumed the karma bullet manages to get a decent hit on him), and later to Pleasure Island and The Coachman, who they're in cahoots with. Pleasure Island lures in and encourages boys to behave badly so they'll be transformed into jackasses and sold to salt mines as workers. Yeah, they turn children into slaves, wayward as they may be, and they NEVER get their comeuppance. Arguably tells an aesop that you can't simply defeat or get rid of temptations in life, you just learn not to be drawn in by them.
    • In the original book, the (unnamed) fox and cat end up as miserable street beggars; the cat who used to fake blindness really became blind, and the fox had to sell his tail. They beg Pinocchio to help them, but he essentially tells them "good riddance".
    • According to the book Mouse Under Glass that there was a planned idea that, while heading off to save Gepetto from Monstro, Pinocchio would run into Foulfellow and Gideon again. They try to convince Pinocchio that they can help him, but apparently the third time's the charm, because this time he doesn't listen to them, and when they attempt to chase him down, they get caught by the police.
    • There's also the SNES Pinocchio game where at the end of the Pleasure Island level you get to fight the Coachman and throw him off a cliff to a Disney Villain Death.
    • Lady and the Tramp: The Siamese cats, who completely disappear after getting Lady muzzled and kicked out of the house. At least their owner is implied to have done a Heel-Face Turn at the end and stopped hating dogs so much. The original cut was apparently worse, with the cats being far more malicious. Meanwhile, the rat who attacks the baby towards the end and does get comeuppance was portrayed as a comic bumbler. Walt Disney himself insisted that their personalities be switched with the rat portrayed as sinister (which also added some much needed tension to the climax) and the cats portrayed as more mischievous than evil.
    • Aladdin: Razoul, the Captain of the Guard, throws the hero off a cliff to certain death because Jafar paid him to eliminate the rival. This was when Aladdin was still disguised, so it wasn't even that Razoul was enacting vigilante justice on the thief he'd been trying to catch for years. Nevertheless, though Jafar gets his comeuppance at the end of the movie, Razoul not only escapes justice but retains his position as the resident Inspector Javert type throughout the 2 sequels (though he mellows at the end of the 2nd one).
    • Beauty and the Beast: Played with regarding the Enchantress that curses the Prince into the Beast and gets the entire plot rolling. The Enchantress shows up in an old crone disguise, offers the prince a rose that he doesn't have any real reason to take even if he wasn't a massive Jerk Ass at the time, and turns her away. She does it AGAIN the next night, and when he turns her away yet again she reveals herself and curses him for... what? Being rude to an old woman he had no reason to suspect was a powerful enchantress(A reaction she obviously deliberately tried to invoke) and was pestering him? However, she was in the guise of an old woman seeking shelter on a harsh winter night, so (had she not been an enchantress) refusing her shelter in his massive castle with plenty of room to spare could've led to her death from exposure. In addition, the Aesop of the film is do not judge or mistreat people because of their appearance. Worse is that the Enchantress doesn't just curse the Prince for this, she curses all of his otherwise perfectly innocent servants and anyone else who happened to be in the castle at the time into objects and as well as the castle itself and much of the area around it into a grotesque shadow of it's former self and puts a time limit to breaking said curse to "teach him a lesson", all of which for no reason as far as the viewers are ever shown. Worst of all, the Enchantress gets away scot-free for her terrible actions for all this without even a single mention of her by anyone after the introductory scene.
    • The Black Cauldron: Creeper, The Dragon to the Horned King. When we last see him, he's flying off into the sunset while mocking his now-slain master. Then again, the fact that he was both an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain and the movie's main Butt Monkey makes his escape sting less than it would have otherwise.
  • Gnomeo and Juliet: Benny, Gnomeo's friend, manages to get away scot-free despite committing credit card fraud to buy a $20,000 lawnmower, destroying two entire gardens and nearly inadvertently killing the main characters of the film. He even gets a love interest during the Dance Party Ending. Completely averted in the original, as Ben is a pacifist and is one of the few characters still alive at the end.
  • Horton Hears a Who!: The Kangaroo constantly calls for the destruction of the speck Horton insists a civilization exists on for only the vaguest of authoritarian reasons. She even continues calling for the speck's destruction after the Whos demonstrate undeniably that they exist. Yet seconds later Horton's giving her a cookie and all is forgiven.
  • The Incredibles: Mirage is an accessory to the murders of dozens of superheroes. Her Heel-Face Turn at the end of the movie doesn't come close to making up for this - though her personality combination of Affaby Evil and Punch Clock Villain does soften the blow a bit.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Lock, Shock, and Barrel get no comeuppance at all for bringing Santa to Oogie Boogie, even though Jack specifically told them not to. Jack doesn't even do anything when they throw snowballs at his face, he just smiles. They are children after all, and it is also implied that they served Oogie Boogie out of fear rather than out of a desire to do evil. Furthermore, this is Halloween Town, morals, values, and cultural norms are focused around scaring people and causing chaos, so they're just following the standard. Tim Burton originally had a scene where Jack, on his way to rescue Sandy Claws and Sally, gives them exactly what's coming to them. It was sadly cut for timing reasons. At some point they leave Ooogie Boogie's lair and bring back help to rescue Jack and Sally.
    Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Here he is! Alive! Just like we said!
  • Pound Puppies And The Legend Of Big Paw: Despite attempting to take over the world using the Bone of Scone, Marvin McNasty, along with Lumpy and Bones, end the movie Easily Forgiven and employed by the very pound they had tried to take over, having made a Heel-Face Turn at the end. This is subverted when you realize that the reason for their Heel-Face Turn in the first place is because the Mean Machine, which turns nice beings mean, does vice versa to mean beings, and all three ended up being put inside as they tried to escape the museum.

Films — Live-Action

  • 21: Cole Williams, the brutal casino security chief is the primary antagonist, who not only makes things very difficult for the protagonists but brutally beats caught card counters and steals millions in winnings from one of the characters, and his only penalty is loss of his job due to being made obsolete by computers. At the end of the film he is shown on vacation in Caribbean with his stolen millions.
  • Forty Days And Forty Nights: Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett's character) is abstaining from sex for Lent. His ex-girlfriend, discovering this, and that there is a bet on about how long he can manage it, goes to his house to attempt to seduce him. Finding him mentally completely out of it, she rapes him. The ex-girlfriend collects her winnings and walks off into the sunset, leaving Matt having to beg his new girlfriend for forgiveness for 'cheating' on her. There is no mention of the ex-girlfriend being punished in any way.
  • 300: The Ephors. We see Leonidas pay them a hefty sack of gold for their counsel against the Persian invasion and they claim their Oracle's prophecy prohibits Leonidas from fighting. This turns out to be a blatant lie as they told him this to sell out Sparta to the Persians for even more gold. As much as they deserve it, we never get to see the rotten old bastards be burned alive for this. Although, considering that what we see them do is part of a story told by Dilios, chances are that they were found out.
  • Alone With Her: After some illegal surveillance, a dognapping, and two murders, the film ends with the Villain Protagonist in a new town, picking a new girl to stalk.
  • American Psycho: The protagonist actually confesses (earnestly) all the horrible things he's done to his lawyer, and still nothing comes of it. Of course, that's assuming he did do all the things he describes.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy:
    • The Public News Anchor never got punished for pushing Veronica into the bear pit.
    • Veronica herself qualifies as one for being the person who got Ron Burdundy fired in the first place for altering his lines. Granted she does admit this to Ron in the end that it was her doing but winds up getting away with it since the plot demanded it. If she had told the news team this or if one of them did tell someone about what Veronica did, she herself would've been fired for framing Ron.
  • Annie: At the end of the 1982 version, Miss Hannigan is not punished for either her role in Annie's kidnapping, or the years she spent abusing the children at her orphanage. Instead of being arrested, she is Easily Forgiven and allowed to attend Annie's celebration party despite all the mean things she did to her. To be fair, Miss Hannigan does make a Heel-Face Turn and try to stop her brother Rooster from killing Annie, and it is implied that she will now be much nicer to the children at her orphanage.
  • Arlington Road: Oliver Lang orchestrates the bombing of the FBI headquarters and frames his neighbour for it, the death of said neighbor and his girlfriend and the kidnapping of his neighbor's son and walks away unpunished to presumably repeat the process with another government building in a different city. It is also heavily implied he did something very similar before the start of the film's storyline.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace: Dr. Einstein appears to get away scot free at the end of the movie, escaping in the confusion as his pal Jonathan gets arrested. He's an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain so it's not as glaring as some of the other examples.
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Throughout the film, Terrence McDonagh steals drugs from his station's property room, bets money he doesn't have on college sports, robs people of their drugs, commits acts of Police Brutality against the elderly, extorts a young woman into having sex with him, extorts a college quarterback into going along with a point-shaving scheme, tips a drug kingpin off about a drug bust, and loses the key witness to a quintuple homicide. At the end of the film, he arranges for a group of gangsters who were trying to kill him to be killed by a different group of gangsters, gets the excessive force complaints against him dismissed, wins $10,000 betting on a single football game, gets his hands on a huge bag of uncut heroin, solves the quintuple homicide by Framing the Guilty Party, and is promoted to captain.
  • The Bad Seed: Averted in the film version, after being played straight in the book and play (and in the 1985 Made-for-TV Movie), thanks to a Hays Code-inspired coda in which she gets struck by a random bolt of lightning.
  • The Badlanders: It's a Western remake of The Asphalt Jungle, in which the now-sympathetic heisters get away with it completely.
  • Barbarella: The Black Queen is saved by the angel in the end, despite her actions as a tyrant and her repeated attempts to kill Barbarella and the angel both. Because, as Pygar explains, angels have no memories.
  • The original Batman film series (1989-1997):
    • Most of the arch-villains do get what's coming to them (which isn't always necessarily death), but the Mooks have a nasty habit of getting away. This started in the 1989 film, when The Joker's black-hatted, black-jacketed henchmen get the heck out of there when the Batplane starts strafing what's left of the Joker's parade. We never see any of those guys again, except for the two or three who later show up in the Joker's getaway helicopter (and it can be implied those last ones just flew off after their boss fell off the ladder to his death). Sure, those goons were pretty incompetent (throughout the entire film they manage to kill only one person, a cop who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time), but they did freely associate themselves with a mass-murderer and laugh along with him through all the atrocities, so it's definitely troubling news that they managed to escape. Commissioner Gordon does assure everyone in the final scene that "our police have rounded up all of the Joker's men", would Gordon know exactly how many men the Joker employed?
    • When the Batboat storms the Penguin's underground base in Batman Returns, the Poodle Lady, the Thin Clown, and several other members of the Red Triangle Gang decide there's no point in fighting anymore, and quietly slip away. And it's very likely they made good their escape, since the police never showed up and Batman was too busy settling his scores with the Penguin and Catwoman to bother with anyone else. So apparently the gang members never faced justice for multiple counts of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder, arson, grand theft automotive, general bullying, and - as Bruce Wayne puts it - "millions in property damage."
    • In Batman Forever, those weird, neon-colored street toughs Dick Grayson picks a fight with in the alley immediately scatter when Batman shows up, and make good their escape because Dick vents all his anger on Batman and the scene ends with Batman taking him home. The depressing implication is that those punks never got punished for gleefully attempting to rob (and possibly rape) that teenaged girl.
    • Perhaps the most repellent example of all is that of Spike, the arrogant biker in Batman & Robin who races Barbara Wilson on motorcycles for some prize money; he has his homeboys help him cheat to win and casually directs some sexist remarks at Barbara. We never do learn what becomes of Spike...but since Dick Grayson had to drop out of the race to save Barbara from falling to her death from a bridge and all the other riders had wiped out earlier, it's almost certain that Spike not only never got his comeuppance for nearly causing two people to die due to his reckless antics, but won the race and pocketed the prize money!
  • Black Christmas (1974): Billy, the killer from the original, gets away with murdering 7 people and driving Jess insane. The remake however has him killed at the end.
  • Blame It On Rio: Valerie Harper's character. Granted, what her husband Michael Caine did was wrong, as were the actions of her sort-of-niece, Michelle Johnson. They shouldn't have been together, her age aside. But Harper started all this by cheating on Caine with Johnson's father, then keeping him at arm's length, always being angry with him. Yet she gets to glare, lecture, and sneer at everybody at the end. Caine screwed up by screwing the underage Johnson—given. But the film made it clear her sudden distance and anger based on her own wrong was what left him such a mess that he responded to the girl's seduction. Then again, Rhoda was another Karma Houdini.
  • Born Yesterday: Harry Brock, a Corrupt Corporate Executive, comes to Washington, D.C. to bribe some congressmen into passing a law that would give him and his cartel monopoly control of the international scrap iron market (quite a big deal so soon after World War II). When his fiancee and her new reporter boyfriend scheme to expose him, he slaps her around and threatens to have them both killed, with the fiancee mentioning to the reporter that it wouldn't be the first time he'd done it, either. Although the fiancee does eventually manage to make him back off by holding for ransom the assets he's signed over to her over the years as part of a tax dodge, he is never brought to account for the bribery, the assault, the murder he apparently committed, or any of the other crimes he has committed and she could testify about.
  • Cabin By The Lake and its sequel both end with the Villain Protagonist serial killer Stanley tracked down and stopped from completing his murder spree, but he stages his death and escapes in each film to continue doing it somewhere else. The sequel is especially bad about this: the Film Within A Film based on his crimes has become a major succes with a sequel on the way, and even though he hasn't profited from it financially his crimes have become renowned the world over.
  • Carrie: The 2000 remake sees Carrie survive and get smuggled out of the jurisdiction by a sympathetic Susan after killing hundreds of people. The film makes it clear that she doesn't remember her massacre but jarringly she doesn't exactly seem too remorseful.
  • Chinatown: Noah Cross, the villain. Not only is he responsible for the murder of Hollis Mulwray, he also raped his own daughter, and at the end of the movie he's acquired custody of his daughter/granddaughter, who can expect some severe raping, and gets off completely scot-free. And Jake Gittes can do absolutely nothing about it. Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown.
  • Con Air: Most of the convicts get their comeuppance, except for Garland Greene, a notorious serial killer who targets children and is possibly the most depraved criminal on the plane. Although he let a little girl live earlier in the film, so that's OK...
  • Chicago: Both Roxie and Velma get away with murder and become singing sensations. Billy lies to his client and abuses the justice system with no negative consequences to himself. And Mama Morton gets off scot-free for selling out both girls to each other. The whole point of the play/film is making a satire of a social system that allows such things to happen. On the DVD commentary, the director mentions some fans who theorize that the last scene of Roxie and Velma making a hit show together is just another one of Roxie's fantasies like most of the other musical numbers, and they're really condemned to lives of complete poverty and obscurity. He more or less gives it approval.
  • The Children's Hour: Nothing ever happens to Mary Tilford at the end; as far as the audience knows, she doesn't even get the TV taken out of her room. At least her grandmother has the decency to develop what appears to be a guilt-induced, permanent half-swoon (and maybe even the vapors), but Mary seems to have no consequences at all.
  • Chronicle: Richard Detmer, Andrew's alcoholic and abusive father. All we see from him throughout the film is nothing but him berating and attacking his own son. Even the death of his wife doesn't cover the sheer volume of bad karma he had accumulated, ESPECIALLY during his final scene with him and Andrew in the hospital, where he blames his son for his wife's death.
    • Not exactly true. In his final appearance, he gets dropped from the hospital building by his own son. Even though he was saved, it did give him quite a scare.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Though given there's not much anyone could have done about it, the aliens kidnap people, holding them for 40 years, returning them unaged. They incite a psychological issue in people, destroying families (if Roy Neary's is a standard example). They terrify Barry's mother, abducting her son right out of her arms. All this and they get to leave with nary a complaining word from us humans.
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors is about a murderer who escapes any kind of punishment for his crime.
  • El Crimen del Padre Amaro: Amaro, the eponymous character is a young Catholic priest who, upon arriving to a small town, first successfully blackmails the director of a local newspaper into withdrawing an article that exposed the friendship of the local priest with a notorious drug lord, provokes the firing of the author of said article and his girlfriend Amelia breaking up with him. He turns his father (who helped him in his investigation) into a pariah, it gets worse: Amaro then seduces Amelia (despite her being just a teenager) and impregnates her, fearing for his career's future and his reputation among townspeople he takes Amelia to an illegal abortion clinic where due to a malpractice she starts bleeding uncontrollably and dies in his arms, despite this with the help of a woman he convinces the ENTIRE town that it was Amelia's former boyfriend the one who knocked her up and he was there trying to save her. The final scene has Amaro presiding over Amelia's funeral.
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
    • The Dark Knight: Officer Anna Ramirez, who is revealed to be a dirty cop and is responsible for driving Rachel Dawes to the place of her death, is later confronted over this by Dawes's lover Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face and forced to participate in the threatening of Commissioner Gordon's family. Following this, Two-Face flips his infamous coin to decide whether she lives or dies. She lives, gets a non-fatal but still brutal Pistol-Whipping from Two-Face, and her fate is left unresolved for the rest of the movie leaving most viewers to think she got off scot free. It's heavily implied, however, that Anna's guilt for what she has done will haunt her for the rest of her life.
    • The Dark Knight Rises: Jonathan Crane, AKA Scarecrow is among the inmates Bane frees from Blackgate. He conducts several Kangaroo Courts and then vanishes. While it's possible the police caught him again or he was killed in the ensuing battle between the police and Bane's men, his ultimate fate is never revealed.
  • Death Wish: The three punks whose actions send Paul Kersey into his Roaring Rampage of Revenge (referred to in the credits as "Freak #1", "Freak #2" and "Spraycan") are never brought to justice or killed. Kersey kills some street scum, but never those three. They're just street toughs; they'll probably end up dead by one of their own. This is averted in the four sequels where, if you're a villain, you're not leaving the movie alive.
  • Dickie Roberts Former Child Star: The title character leaves work during his shift valet parking, takes one of his customers cars, and pisses off another driver who threatens him and writes down the license plate (Dickie isn't worried, since it's not his car and the windows are tinted). It turns out the car belongs to Rob Reiner, who gets attacked by the driver and needs a new kidney. Dickie's agent ends up donating a kidney in exchange for giving Dickie an audition. And Dickie ends up getting the part. Rob Reiner never even finds out that Dickie was responsible for what happened to him.
  • Donnie Darko: The last time we see Jim Cunningham, he is crying in his house alone, with nobody aware of the kind of person he is. Everything else that happened as a result of Donnie's actions at the end of the film was for the better.
  • In Dracula Untold, Caligula, who's implied to be a far greater evil than Vlad, escapes and runs free in the world.
  • Entrapment: The master thieves played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery pulled off a grand heist and escaped justice with the help of a crooked FBI agent.
  • Following: "Cobb" from Christopher Nolan's early film. He kills, manipulates others into setting themselves up as his fall guys, and disappears. The police don't even know he exists.
  • A Fool There Was: The Vamp doesn't just break up her lover's marriage, she utterly destroys him, leaving him a hollow-eyed, alcoholic wreck. She even goes back, after she's bled him dry and left him for a new lover, and succeeds in ruining his reconciliation with his wife, For the Evulz. Not a goddamn thing happens to her.
  • Funny Games: It uses this trope deliberately to subvert your expectations of horror films. The film involves the psychological and physical torture of a husband, wife and son by two sadistic young men. The two young men kill every member of the family one by one and receive no comeuppance. In one scene, the wife actually kills one of the psychos, but the other prevents the death of his partner by taking a remote control and rewinding the film to a point before his death happens. In the end, the dominant killer smirks triumphantly at the camera as he prepares to kill again.
  • The Garbage Pail Kids Movie: The kids go to a bar called The Toughest Bar In The World where they punch out several guys for no apparent reason. And do they get punished for assaulting people? No. A patron compliments them for having guts and offers free drinks for everyone at the bar.
  • G.I. Joe:
  • Groundhog Day: Phil Connors initially appears to be one of these; the time loop enables him to do whatever he wants whenever he wants to whoever he wants without ever having to face the consequences. Unfortunately for him, it eventually becomes apparent that the time loop is his punishment. Right around the point he starts repeatedly killing himself, in fact. The movie then becomes about him seeking redemption for his past behavior.
  • Halloween Night: The killer, Chris Vale, kills several people throughout the movie and afterward, tricks the female protagonist into shooting the main character (her boyfriend) by putting his mask and clothes on him while she was blindfolded and escapes. He's last seen hitchhiking and driving off into the sunset after being picked up by a hipster, who at the sight of his horribly burned body, only says that he must've had a good Halloween.
  • Happy Gilmore: The scene where Ben Stiller's sadistic orderly character gets thrown through a window by Happy (and then presumably has the authorities sicced on him) was cut out of the final film for no apparent reason, leaving viewers who don't watch the special edition DVD with the impression that he gets to continue using his charges as slave labor. This is even more jarring when juxtaposed with the fate of the movie's Big Bad, a Jerk Jock type who's certainly mean, but whose comeuppance is rather harsh by anyone's standards (he gets the crap beaten out of him by a mob of Happy's fans, led by the gargantuan Mr. Larson).
  • Harry Potter: Thanks to Spared by the Adaptation, Peter Pettigrew. Rumors have circulated that this is because his comeuppance in the books was found so disturbing by the censors that doing it justice on-screen would've resulted in an R rating.
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer: The eponymous Villain Protagonist Henry. He commits multiple murders along with his partner Otis and gets away with his crimes. His partner Otis isn't so lucky; he is killed by Henry for trying to rape Becky. Later, Henry kills Becky while fleeing the city.
  • House Of Games: The heroine gets away with murder.
  • The Ides Of March: Presidential candidate, Governor Mike Morris, presents himself to the world as an honest, family man who will clean up dirty politics. Instead, he's a Manipulative Bastard who had a sexual affair with an Intern, driving her to commit suicide after he abandoned her. Not only does he not answer for this, he's able to convinces the one guy who could expose him that politics is dirty and he needs to be just as dirty to survive. The guy continues to help Mike Morris become President.
  • In a World...: Dani cheats on her husband Moe. It's unclear how far she got, but we do know that it involved a roughly twenty-minute makeout session and an attempt to "put the tip in." Her cuckolded husband leaves with as much dignity as he can muster, and she finds herself wracked with guilt for most of the movie. By the end of the movie he takes her back. She must have given him a heartfelt apology, a grand romantic gesture, or made a serious promise to work on their relationship issues so that this sort of philandering will never happen again, right? Wrong. She does exactly nothing but mope, her sister records some of the moping and plays it for Moe, and this is enough for him to not only take her back no-questions-asked, but he performs a grand romantic gesture for her.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Lao Che tries to cheat and murder Indiana Jones but gets away scot free.
  • Inspector Gadget: Dr. Claw averts this when he's arrested for murdering Dr. Artemus Bradford and attempting twice to murder John Brown, and it's stated in one novelization that he was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment and (as mentioned in the sequel) served with a bill of attainder. He does play this straight in the second film, though; he tries to rob the entire Federal Reserve in Riverton, and what's the only punishment he gets? Gadget, G2, and Penny run him out of town at the climax of the film, with Claw swearing his usual threat: "I'll get you next time, Gadget... next time!"
  • The International: Even though the CEO of the corrupt International Bank of Business and Credit is killed, the protagonists lose their only lead with his death and are unable to bring down the corrupt bank. In the credits, it's implied that the bank continues to run successfully despite the death of its CEO.
  • Its A Wonderful Life: Mr. Potter from Its A Wonderful Life, despite going against the Media Watchdogs' production code at the time (which stated that a villain must get his comeuppance, to make it clear that he should not be seen as a good role model for young, impressionable viewers). It's no wonder that the Saturday Night Live sketch purporting to show the "lost ending" to the film, with George Bailey (Dana Carvey) and the townspeople bashing down Potter's door with Torches and Pitchforks and attacking him for screwing George over and faking his own paralysis, is seen as one of the high points of the show. Ultimately subverted when you realize that the theme of the movie is that friends and loved ones are the real riches in life. Potter is, by his own hand, a lonely old man with nobody who really cares about him. He doesn't need to have a punishment enacted on him; he's already the poorest man in town.
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: The Bigger Bad, Minister Sorokin, leaves the film unscathed while the Big Bad Cherevin is executed by the former.
  • James Bond:
    • On Her Majestys Secret Service: Irma Bunt. Not the most well-known choice. After all, she is the one who kills Tracy, James Bond's wife, so I can see why many people haven't seen the film, or if they have, try to forget about her. She and Blofeld provide the film with its Diabolus Ex Machina. It's not completely surprising that she's never seen (or even mentioned) in any of the other films in the series, though; the actress playing her, Isle Steppat, died mere months after the film was released. With that in mind, though, it can then be inferred that Bond killed her offscreen before the Cold Open to Diamonds Are Forever in which he grills a few people concerning Blofeld's whereabouts.
    • Quantum of Solace: Mr. White escapes from custody after the attempt on M's life, evades Bond at the Quantum meeting in Austria, and thereafter simply disappears. Many people thought he would be dealt with in the next movie, but he wasn't.
  • L.A. Confidential: Edmund Exley's father was murdered by a man whose identity was never discovered. Exley gave him the name Rollo Tomasi and subsequently applied the name to anyone who pulls a Karma Houdini. Jack Vincennes invokes the name in order to trick the film's antagonist into unknowingly tipping his hand to Exley.
  • Last Action Hero: Lampshaded when the bad guy kills a random person in the street and realises that there are no police to stop him. For an actual example, the robber at the beginning, who admittedly lets Daniel free himself and leaves in exasperation when it turns out the house has almost nothing worth stealing.
  • The Last Horror Movie: Max, the Serial Killer protagonist of the . Not only does he get away with his murders; within the reality of the story, he also follows you home and kills you after you finish watching the movie.
  • The Last Starfighter: The villain Xur ends up fleeing in an escape pod and is never seen again.
  • Limitless: Eddie steals money and drugs from a dead guy, does drugs, encourages others to do drugs, directly causes the deaths of at least three people, killed a man and drank his blood, cheats on his girlfriend, has sex with his landlord's wife, and in general does some somewhat shady business. And yet, Eddie's almost certainly going to be president one day.
  • Little Shop of Horrors: The Frank Oz version features Seymour, who ends up getting away with killing two people through inaction and gets a happy ending. The sympathetic nature of the character, and the fact that Seymour is not as directly responsible for the deaths as in the original play, makes it much more acceptable than many of the examples on this page. The pre-Executive Meddling ending used the play's The Bad Guy Wins version of the trope, where Audrey II was the Karma Houdini.
  • Little Sweetheart: For a nine year old who tricked the police, blackmailed and robbed two people, got one killed by the police to shut him up, tried to kill her only friend and blackmailed her brother, Thelma gets ice cream.
  • Love And Bullets: Subverted with Joe Bomposa. When Detective Charlie Congers is taken off the case for leaving a trail of bodies in Switzerland and letting a key witness get killed, it looks as though Bomposa's going to get off scot free. Then Congers takes matters into his own hands, first by using a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on his accountant, Louis Monk, while Monk's in the pool and then by dropping off a casket supposedly containing the remains of the key witness while disguised as a hearse driver. Unknown to Bomposa and his men, the casket is booby-trapped, and everyone within its immediate vicinity is blown to bits as Congers drives away.
  • Machete:
    • Several members of Vaughn Jackson's border patrol militia (including his lieutenant) manage to survive the raid on their compound to continue gunning down illegal Mexican immigrants. Albeit, this allows them to deliver a Karmic Death to corrupt senator John McLaughlin. Hey, lesser of two evils, anyone?
    • Torrez's hench-woman, having beheaded Machete's wife on his order and later threatened to do the same to Machete's budding love interest, Agent Sartana, gets to simply walk away without anyone so much as taking a pot shot at her.
    • Osiris, the hitman responsible for Padre's death, gets away without a scratch as well.
  • Machete Kills: Luther Voz, despite being defeated in a sword fight by Machete and having his face badly burned and his plans foiled, manages to escape to space, freezing Luz in carbonite in the process.
  • Man of Steel: Glen Woodburn, the Jerkass who sold Lois out to the military and declared that Superman should surrender to Zod because it is his fault the Kryptonians came to Earth, disappears for the rest of the movie.
  • Marcus: The eponymous character of the 2006 horror film gets away with his murders, but it's not particularly irritating, since all but one of his victims are ridiculously unlikeable.
  • The Mask: Peggy Brandt wins Stanley Ipkiss' trust, makes him open up to her - and then instantly betrays him to Dorian Tyrell for a reward. Her only justification was "I just can't afford to lose my condo - you know how hard it is to find a decent apartment in this city!" Dorian gets flushed later on, along with all his goons... but Peggy just walks out the door with a suitcase of money, and is never heard from again. The scene where Peggy got her comeuppance was cut from the final version. She was thrown into a printing press by Dorian and the audience sees her ground up and turned into newspaper print. The scene was actually cut because the test audience found it too violent and disturbing compared to the tone of the rest of the film. It was made available on the DVD release of the film.
  • Match Point: The protagonist had an affair and his wife never found out about it. When his mistress got in the way of his happiness, he murdered her, their unborn child, and her elderly neighbor (to make it look like a robbery gone bad) in cold blood and escaped justice. This ties into the main theme of the movie-luck is very, very important.
  • Max Payne: Nicole Horne seems to get away unscathed despite her part in the plot, and after abandoning B.B. to his fate.
  • Mean Girls: Janis, who, despite influencing and encouraging Cady to join the Plastics specifically to damage Regina, gets zero comeuppance when she reveals it to the entire crowd of girls following the revelation of the Burn Book. In fact, she gets applauded for it! Cady, in the meantime, is treated as a bitch by everyone because of what she's done, even though Janis admitted that she was the mastermind behind all of it.
  • Mikey: despite murdering 8 people (including a five year old girl) and torturing and killing several animals, the title character doesn't get his comeuppance at the end of the film. Instead he runs off and fakes his death so people won't come looking for him, and assumes a new identity and a new foster family. This is actually the reason why you won't be able to find this film in the UK.
  • Minis First Time: Mini, the Villain Protagonist. She seduces her stepfather, manipulates him into helping her drive her mother insane and kill her, makes him think he's being blackmailed, tricks him into beating a neighbor into a coma, and gets him thrown in jail for it. Not only does she get away with everything looking like an innocent victim; in the end, she gets voted valedictorian by her high school class, despite being a C student.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The French people taunt King Arthur and his knights with offensive insults and catapult animals (and a trojan bunny) at them. And they have reached the Holy Grail at the Castle of Aaaarrrggghhh (however you spell that) before King Arthur and Sir Bedevere do, and prevent them from entering, thus directly defying God, whom King Arthur made clear was the one who set them on their quest. If only King Arthur hadn't killed that famous historian and gotten arrested for it at the end, he and his knights could have brought justice upon them. The frustrating part is, if the grail does give eternal life as it does in Indiana Jones, these guys won't even burn in hell until the machines take over the world. On the other hand, if they happened to have the wrong Grail (one of them did mention earlier that they already had one) and the writer of the Grail's real location had a different castle in mind, they'd most likely age to dust faster than you can say "How do you like them apples, you silly French kniggets?".
  • The Muppets: Subverted by Tex Richman. He makes various uses of sabotage, acts like a complete jerk to The Muppets, causes property damage to The Muppet Theatre to win the deed... and then gets a bowling ball to the head just before the closing credits. It's implied following his subsequent Heel-Face Turn that the bowling ball managed to virtually lobotomize him to the point where he doesn't even remember that his head had previously been injured, giving a new meaning to the subheadline describing what explicitly isn't the motivation for his change of heart. It's also implied that being hit by the bowling ball fixed the problem he had with not being able to laugh. It was mostly cut, but that was largely behind his hatred of the Muppets, not being able to laugh at them as a youth and being mocked for it.
  • Mystic River: Jimmy had previous murdered a person who got him in jail. He paid the man's family $500 per month in his stead and avoided justice for it. Later, he coerces a former friend Dave into confessing to the murder of his daughter. He promises to let Dave go if he confesses. Dave is innocent of the charge but confesses anyway to save his life. Jimmy kills him anyway. For the rest of the movie, he does not get his comeuppance for the two murders. When he discovers that he killed an innocent man out of hastiness to get the culprit, he is deeply remorseful, but his wife convinces him that he did what he felt was right at the time. It is possible he may be brought to justice later, but it's never resolved in the story. Sean makes what appears to be a threatening gesture to Jimmy in the final scene, which implies that there is still plenty more conflict to come.
  • Natural Born Killers: The eponymous characters escape jail, kill a television personality (not that we mind...) on live TV, and walk off into the distance. Sure, an alternate ending showed that a fellow escapee kills them, but the ending of the movie as is implies that two infamous spree killers manage to live Happily Ever After.
  • Neighbors:
    • Mac, egged on by Kelly, breaks the fraternity's water pipe, flooding their basement and causing thousands of dollars of property damage. The Radners would be looking at an extremely serious fine or even jail time, but luckily for them the cops never find out, likely because Delta Psi themselves don't want the police snooping around their house.
    • Teddy would also be facing several serious charges for his air bag prank, including theft, breaking & entering and battery, but Mac never bothers to report it because Police Are Useless.
    • Kelly, who launched a firework directly into a police cruiser.
  • Nick of Time: At the end, the Big Bad behind the assassination plot gets away.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Defied. If it wasn't for neglect of police procedure resulting in a guilty man going free, the career of one of the most notorious villains in slasher film history may stopped before it truly began. When Freddy Krueger was a human child murderer, police searched his home and found the bodies of several of his victims. Here's the thing: they had never obtained a warrant or any other document giving them a legal right to make the search, so the charges were dropped, and he went free. This led to Freddy being killed by an angry lynch mob and him making a Deal with the Devil, turning him into a demonic monster that would be responsible for countless more deaths, all of which would have been avoided if the police had done their jobs right.
  • No Way Out: Defense Secretary David Brice accidentally murders his mistress out of jealousy that she might be seeing another man. His aide's plot to cover up the scandal results in two other deaths, ruins the protagonist's Navy career, and turns half the Pentagon inside-out in a phony Witch Hunt for a Soviet mole. Brice, however, walks away from the affair scot free.
  • Oceans Eleven: The gang from this movie and its sequels, outside of a brief spot in jail in the second film, never see any real retribution for their crimes. However, that's more attributable to Rule of Cool than anything.
  • Odd Girl Out: Nikki. At the end Vanessa has a shouting match with Stacy and declares that she has "nothing that I want" which prompts the rest of the students to applaud her. Nikki however is the far worse of the bullies in the movie and started the bullying but by the end she never gets her comeuppance. It is implied that the bully clique disbands so that takes care of Tiffany's karma (she'll go back to being a wannabe) but Nikki appears to get away scot-free. She won't even have to see Vanessa again since they just graduated.
  • Super 8: 'Cooper' never did much, just killed 3 people at the least and stole a bunch of other shit. After it becomes apparent that he's....technically the good guy in this situation, he's very easily forgiven.
  • An Officer and a Gentleman: Lynette fakes being pregnant in hopes of marrying Sid, a Navy Aviator in training. When Sid quits the program to marry her, she dumps him, leading him to commit suicide. Yet at the end of the movie, her worst fate is to cheer on her friend, who's being carried off in the arms of another aviator.
  • Oldboy: The villain, Lee Woo-Jin, kills himself at the end of the movie, but not out of guilt for having Oh Dae-Su kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, hypnotically manipulating Oh Dae-Su and his daughter Mi-Do into falling in love, killing Oh Dae-Su's wife and best friend (and framing Oh Dae-Su for his wife's death), and many more acts of bastardy—no, it's just that, having exacted revenge from Oh Dae-Su for spreading a rumor that Lee Woo-Jin had been having sex with his sister—which he had been, by the way]], he's got no real reason to live anymore. To say that his death isn't particularly satisfying is an understatement.
  • The Other Guys: A rare comedic example (and political commentary). Big Bad Pamela Boardman (indirectly) drives the entire plot. In the end, she gets a federal bailout for being too big to fail, while her Dragon and Middle Management Mook both end up going to jail.
  • The Parent Trap: In both versions of the film, the parents lied to their daughters for most of their lives, and had their friends and relatives lie to them too, about the existence of each other. Their father and mother moved to separate parts of the country and selfishly hoarded the child they had custody of, all so they wouldn't have to see or hear from one another. For that matter, if the girls hadn't learned about each other on their own, it was made clear the parents would've gone on lying. Yet the parents don't receive any kind of punishment for the objectification of their children, and instead they remarry and the family is united.
  • Paulie: The family comedy has the titular parrot getting abducted by a criminal named Benny and forced to commit crimes for him. When one robbery goes wrong, Paulie is caught while Benny abandons him and gets away clean.
  • Pay It Forward: As far as we know the two bullies are not punished for murdering Trevor.
  • Perfect Harmony: Paul's general assholery tips over into assaulting Marc and then Taylor while wearing a KKK outfit, beating the latter so badly that Taylor is confined to a bed. True, Paul doesn't get to take Taylor's place singing lead at graduation, but he receives no real punishment, and no one even finds out what he did.
  • Perfect Stranger: Halle Berry's character turns out to have murdered at least three people and successfully framed one of the murders on an innocent man, getting away with it all in the end. Whether this character gets their comeuppance later off screen is left open to interpretation.
  • Phone Booth: Stu survives the ordeal and reconnects with his wife, but the Caller himself escapes in the end after killing several people. He inconspicuously visits a medicated Stu just before leaving, threatening to kill him if he doesn't remain a newly upstanding man, and even tells him he doesn't have to thank him for everything he did for Stu. He takes his dissassembled sniper rifle with him, hinting he'll do all of it again somewhere else.
  • Pickup on South Street: Richard Widmark is a pickpocket who accidentally steals a wallet containing microfilm that a gang of Dirty Communists are smuggling out of the country. When the cops pull him in, he tries to goad one into hitting him in order to get the man suspended. When they offer him immunity for the film, he decides to sell it back to the spies instead. When the girl from whom he stole the film (who turns out to be a Minion with an F in Evil) comes to get it back, he alternates between seducing her and slapping her around. Even when the commies murder his best friend in cold blood, he's still willing to sell the film to them, which would have gotten him killed, had the girl not knocked him out and taken it to the cops. And what's his comeuppance for being such an unrepentant louse? He gets the girl and rides off into the sunset scott-free...but not before dropping by the police station to rub the head cop's nose in it.
  • The Pink Panther: The original film ends with the good guy (Clouseau) stuck in prison after being falsely accused of stealing the eponymous diamond. The actual culprits - including Clouseau's adulterous wife - get to drive off into the sunset, laughing. The culprits- Sir Charles Lytton, his nephew, Clouseau's now ex-wife, and others- do turn up in some of the sequels...and get away every single time, the smug bastards. And the reason they get off scot-free? The princess who owns the Pink Panther knows that Lytton tried to steal it, but she doesn't want him to go to jail, so she herself frames Clouseau at the last possible moment!
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Barbossa in the fourth movie. Not so much in the first.
  • The Player: Hollywood studio executive Griffin Mill murders an unsuccessful screenwriter, then steals his girlfriend. He corrupts an artistic film into a simple, conformist, Lowest Common Denominator movie for the sake of profit. He abandons one of the few virtuous characters in the movie, a character who put her faith in Griffin, allowing her to be fired, and leaves her sobbing in the middle of the street (with a broken heel), because he'd rather be with his wife in his big house. Yes, the wife is the writer's girlfriend, now heavily pregnant with Griffin's child.
  • The Proposition: Nothing bad happens to Eden Fletcher, one of the most horrifying Smug Snakes in all of film. This is a man who had a retarded 14-year old whipped to death. Made even worse considering the sympathetic Captain Stanley is the one who the Burns Gang takes revenge on for the death of Mike Burns.
  • The Purge: By the rules of The Purge, anyone who commits a crime during the 12 hours will become exactly this. Unless someone takes advantage of the Purge to commit a crime against them.
  • Rat Race: Two people commit pretty severe crimes, but are never seen again. Being a comedy this was probably intentional, since their acts are Played for Laughs and portrayed as Laser-Guided Karma themselves.
    • The cab driver who maroons Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character in the desert, probably to die, just because he made a highly unpopular call in a football game that cost him money.
    • The crazy squirrel lady has been implied to willingly cause the deaths of several people by tricking them into driving right off a cliff all because they didn't buy one of her squirrels.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera: The Largo kids, Luigi, Pavi, and Amber, despite being a Serial Killer, a rapist, and a general huge bitch respectively, actually end up coming out of the movie better off than they were before, as their father, the Big Bad, dies, and they take control of his Mega Corp.. This may be acceptable because, as vile as they are they're the comic relief.
  • Reservoir Dogs: Subverted with Mr. Pink. Earlier, he shot a bunch of cops during the robbery and evades the violent fall-out between the other gangsters by hiding in a corner, then appears to escape the movie unharmed with the satchel of diamonds. Listen closely to the last scene - it's very faint, but according to Quentin Tarantino, Pink is shouting at the cops who shot and arrested him. Averted in all of the endings of the video game (Psycho: Gets killed, Neutral: Gets arrested, Professional: Gets away but he accidentally spills the diamonds.)
  • The Talented Mr Ripley: Villain Protagonist Tom Ripley killed some people to assume a new identity and enrich himself thoroughly. In the sequels, he killed to protect his new life, and sometimes as favors for others. He never faced justice.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Riff-Raff and Magenta. Magenta makes meals out of people and Riff-Raff kills three people, two of them completely innocent, and they end up being praised by The Mentor for it!
  • Scarface (1983): The Evil Versus Evil slant, with Tony Montana as A Lighter Shade of Black, true. But the evil-er villain, Alejandro Sosa, has Tony and the rest of his allies killed with a bunch of hired thugs and an assassin (the latter from In the Back), not even giving Tony the chance to lose in a climactic fight between the two of them. In the video game remake Tony survives the assassination attempt, kills the assassin like a punk, and eventually makes his way to Bolivia to ice Sosa personally.
  • Secondhand Lions: This happens and is lampshaded in the flashback backstory. After being thwarted by Uncle Hubb for a second time, the evil Sheikh doesn't come after him again...because he gets distracted by finding oil and becoming one of the richest men in the world. As the lead character puts it: "The bad guy gets filthy rich? What the heck kind of story ends that way?"
  • Secret Window: The film version. After Mort murders his ex-wife and her new husband, he succesfully disposes of the bodies. He continues to live in the town while the locals are terrified of him and gets away with his crimes because the police can't prove anything without solid evidence, but the sherrif makes it pretty clear that he damn well knows what Mort did.
  • Serial Mom: Beverly Sutphin, the protagonist commits seven murders over the course of the movie. When she is arrested and put on trial, she wins the case and gets off scot-free! And then promptly murders again, for someone in the courtroom is wearing white after Labor Day!
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Double subverted in The Film of the Book. At first, Count Olaf brags to the audience how he was legally wedded to an unwilling teenage girl before their very eyes. Then, we see the paper burst into flames, then hear that he is being sent to trial and a "what if?" scenario presents him being forced to endure all he put the children through. All is happy, right? Sadly, Lemony Snickett then narrates that what really happened was that Olaf escaped and is still out there. In the book series, Count Olaf is eventually killed. But it took thirteen books....
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Professor James Moriarty's right hand man Former Colonel Sebastian Moran escapes after killing the assassin who failed to kill Germany's Prime Minister during a peace summit. He will probably come back in the next movie.
  • A Shock To The System: During the course of the film, Michael Caine's Villain Protagonist pushes a hobo in front of an oncoming train, coldbloodedly murders his wife, seduces and drugs a coworker to use her as an alibi, blows up his Bad Boss (and an Innocent Bystander), and has a jolly good time doing it. In the end, he seduces the same coworker again to get her to turn over the only evidence implicating him, puts her on a bus, gets promoted to vice president of his company, and, in the final scene, murders a member of the board of directors for his job (and his corner office).
  • The Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter at the end of Hannibal, what with getting away at the end of the movie and actually living happily ever after with Clarice in the book. This was definitely an example of an author growing overly enamored of their character, and thus many file it under Fanon Discontinuity.
    • In the movie version, he still escapes, even though he has to chop off his hand to do so. When Anthony Hopkins was asked where he believes the villain is, he thought likely some tropical island someplace that he had no intention of ever leaving.
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night: The original film begins with a criminal in a Santa suit robbing a store, nonchalantly killing the clerk, and later attacking Billy's parents, killing them in front of him (shooting his father, and slitting his mother's throat after trying to rape her). This, coupled with other factors, leads to Billy and his brother, Ricky, both going insane, and as far as we know, the Santa killer was never caught.
  • Sin City: Senator Roark escapes unharmed, although his legacy has been destroyed with Junior's death at Hartigan's hands. Apparently, the sequel will actually have Nancy going after him to give him his comeuppance.
  • The Skeleton Key: In New Orleans in the 1930s, a voodoo priest and his wife tired of being servants. They used their voodoo to switch bodies with their masters' two young children, who, "caught" performing a strange ritual on their young masters, were promptly hanged. Approximately 60 years later they commit Grand Theft Me on their (Caucasian) caretaker and lawyer; at the end of the film their old bodies - with the young people now trapped inside - appear to be paralyzed and about to be taken to an institution while their new bodies get to inherit their "employers" property and assets. The kicker is that they used the caretaker's ignorance of voodoo to perform the soul-switching spell on herself (the lawyer was "turned" before they hired the caretaker). Their only punishment is that, once again, they fail to get proper black bodies because the local black population also practices voodoo and they'd quickly figure out what was going on.
  • Sugar Hill: In the 1974 zombie film, the eponymous character had caused several horrifying deaths of a criminal ring with sadistic satisfaction using mostly voodoo dolls and zombies. To top it off, she pays off her Deal with the Devil with a woman, implying the woman used as payment is taken to Hell and raped. And all of this as "justice" for her lover being killed.
  • Swordfish: Covert operative Gabriel Sheer and his associate Ginger (or whatever their real names were) fake their own deaths and get away rich, evading justice. There is an alternate ending where they get away, only to discover that Stanley stole all of the money electronically, leaving them with nothing. They aren't really all that upset about it.
  • The Tailor of Panama: The spy who manipulates the protagonist used the cover of starting a war to become an eccentric millionaire. In the novel, the habitually lying tailor whom he used as a 'source' to ignite said war between the US and much of Latin America, is unable to stop the war. Hollywood attempted to tone down the Karma Houdini-ness by lowering the amount of terrible consequences which happen due to the tailor's wild story spinning to secret agent Osnard, but still comes off as a dog-raping Smug Snake. It takes awhile however, to realise just what he was doing to get his money, as both Osnard and Brosnan are so Affably Evil you have to let it sink in that they've just started a war which will cause just as many deaths as the Drug War, all for $20 million and some additional assets. And he accomplished all this while blacklisted and without any resources! If there's ever a sequel, he has nowhere to go but up! (now there's an interesting dual role to fix the Houdini...Brosnan-Bond on the trail of Osnard.)
  • The Thomas Crown Affair: In both versions of the movie (1968 and 1999), the eponymous Eccentric Billionaire gets away scot-free with his art thievery. In the remake, the woman assigned to tracking him down runs off with him as well.
  • A Time to Kill: The Ku Klux Klan commit kidnapping, murder, arson among other things, but only two of them get arrested at the end of the movie. The Grand Dragon does get killed during a public rally.
  • Top Gun: Iceman was responsible for Goose's death, and yet it is Maverick who faces a board of inquiry instead of him. Thankfully, he's not an Idiot Houdini, as he at least recognizes how serious the fallout is and feels sorry for pushing Maverick dangerously close to the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Transcendence: Bree has committed terrorist acts, orchestrated multiple murders, kidnaps Max and threatens to kill him if Will doesn't kill himself-she doesn't get so much as a wrist-slap as far as the movie tells us. Prior to the climax, Agent Buchanan mentioned the government was working with RIFT to have someone to blame if things went badly. It's possible this played out in the epilogue.
  • Trouble in Paradise: The protagonists are crooks and don't get caught. At the time. this was a violation of The Hays Code and caused the film to be withdrawn from circulation and was not seen again until 1968.
  • 12 Angry Men: The real killer. Well, at least as far as we know, given that we never actually see him.
  • The Usual Suspects: Keyser Soze alias Verbal Kint simply walks away and drives off with Kobayashi.
  • Vertigo: Gavin Elster. In some countries, a final scene was tacked on mentioning that he'd been arrested.
  • Wall Street: Gordon Gekko, an outright villain in the original, did get his comeuppance at the end of the first movie. To the tune of over a decade in jail. In the second movie, he's released, and seems to be making amends for being such a Jerkass...until he abruptly betrays everyone who was trying to give him a second chance, mostly his neglected and jaded (thanks to him no less) daughter. So after putting the other main characters through emotional (and economic) hell, the last 5 minutes of the movie decide to see him get his family back and inexplicably end with everyone happy and content.
  • The World's End: Both the Network and Gary, in different ways.
  • X-Men:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Magneto is last seen, supposedly broken, sitting in a San Fransisco park playing chess. Presumably during the confusion at the end of the battle of Alcatraz he managed to slip away, instead of going back to prison to pay for all the death and mayhem he caused. The end of the movie implies his depowering won't even be permanent, making this even more of an example. Though when next we see him (excluding past scenes) he's shown to be a more heroic character, so something big enough must've happened to him or his ego that between that film and The Wolverine he may have been seeking ways to make amends for his past sins.
    • X-Men: First Class: About half of the Hellfire Club get off scot-free in the end. William Stryker Sr. also faces no consequences for unlawful actions (keeping Emma Frost in a secret prison) and the unethical and horribly unwise decision to have both the Soviets and the Americans bombard the Cuban shore to get rid of mutants despite one of their own human agents being located there (both actions are things that even John McCone, who was a certified jerk, called him out on).
      • In the sequel, Emma, Azazel, Riptide, and Angel all fall victim to a Bus Crash.
  • Ultraman Gaia Battle In Hyperspace: Already a bully to the main character, Tsutomu, Hiroshi actually wished for TWO monsters (Satan-Bizorm and King of Mons) to attack Japan in hopes of having them kill Gamu/Ultraman Gaia, but when you think about it, those two monsters (ESPECIALLY King of Mons) have probably killed thousands of innocent lives in his neighborhood, and the damage worth would cost over millions. Granted for King of Mons's case, this is partially justified, as a wish-granting orb was corrupting Hiroshi and making him act evil. But in the case of Satan-Bizorm, he was fully aware of his actions and he brought him to the real world purely to smite Tsutomu. To further rub salt in this trope, by the end of the movie, Hiroshi winds up becoming friends with Tsutomu!
  • Upstream Color: The thief who stole the life savings of a dozen victims under the effects of hypnosis, leaving them destitute and under the impression that they had a psychotic breakdown, never gets confronted and doesn't suffer any consequences save losing the means to hypnotize any more victims.
  • Von Ryan's Express has two examples. Fascist Italian officer Major Battaglia is sadist and a Smug Snake who forces captive British and American prisoners live under horrific conditions and punishes dissent with time spent in a sweatbox, which has killed many P.O.W.s. When the camp is liberated Ryan talks Fincham out of murdering Battaglia in revenge. As "thanks," Battaglia sells the P.O.W.s and his own former second-in-command out to the SS on, and never gets any comeuppance. At the end of the movie, SS officer Colonel Gortz shoots the fleeing Ryan in the back but like Battaglia survives the movie, his only comeuppance being slightly grumpy when the P.O.W.s get away.
  • The Wicker Man:
    • The whole island tribe in the remake gets away with capturing, horribly torturing and eventually murdering the "Chosen Ones", and even indoctrinating the protagonist's own daughter into starting the sacrificial pyre. In The Stinger, we see them going about on their business as if nothing had happened.
    • The original seems like it has this on the surface... Howie points out to Lord Sumerisle that if the crops fail again, the villagers will turn on him and make him the next sacrifice. Sumerisle's expression seems to imply a comeuppance is just around the corner.

Fan FicKarma HoudiniFolklore

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