"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans, and a nice Chianti."
Many Big Bads
, being more high-class than most heroes, like to sip some wine, usually red, while lounging on their throne
. This makes them seem refined
, even when relaxing
. Heroes and more petty villains go for the more boorish beer, usually because they either can't afford wine or they have no taste for the stuff
Note that red is seen as a lot more sinister than white wine, due to its Color Coding
and general connotations with blood. When a vampire (usually richer and more refined, not one of the biker vamps)
drinks red blood from a wine-glass, it invokes much the same imagery, and it's possible that villains drink red wine specifically to invoke the vampiric example.
Villainesses and neutral Femmes Fatales
also have the option of sipping white wine and champagne ("girly" wines), and seductively drinking from a tall flute glass and peering through the bubbles at the hero.
Another common variant is the Snifter of Brandy, preferably poured from a snazzy, cut-glass decanter.
If these type of villains suffer a Villainous Breakdown
, it's likely that there will be a Dramatic Shattering
of that glass of wine as a metaphor for the breakdown.
Subtrope of Wine Is Classy
. Wine, especially rare and expensive wine (and the ability to identify vintages of it by sight, smell, and taste), has become a cliche commonly associated with the Grey Poupon set. This can be used to indicate someone is a snob
, or simply as a part of the background culture of the story. Further, red wine is more often an acquired taste, possibly hinting that one had the funds to develop it.
In some parts of the world (Australia, for example, and rural France and Italy), wine is cheap and has no class connotations. Also, Chianti is not considered a high-class wine anywhere.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In one scene in Shadowchasers Ascension, Jalie Squarefoot is drinking Demon's Blood from a wine glass; this is the equivalent of fine wine to the aristocracy of Hell, like himself. (It is established early in the fic that devils cannot become drunk by drinking alcohol, and require magical substances to experience intoxication; lower-class devils drink other stuff like gughalaki, their version of whiskey.)
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- In The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter famously announces, "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti," before making a hideous slurping sound.
- In The Matrix Reloaded, the Merovingian sips wine while holding court in the restaurant.
- In Modesty Blaise The Movie, Gabriel (played by Dirk Bogarde) lounges with a glass of blue wine while dispensing his evil orders.
- In The Island, Corrupt Corporate Executive Dr. Merrick is seen watching the Lottery in his private abode, drinking from a wine glass.
- James Bond does this a number of instances.
- In From Russia with Love, he senses something isn't quite right with Red Grant when he orders red wine, specifically A Glass Of Chianti... with fish.
- At the end of Diamonds Are Forever, 007 defeats the bad guys using his knowledge of fine wines. Earlier in the same film, he identifies the vintage of a sherry by taste. When sarcastically told sherry doesn't have vintages, he states that he meant the wine the sherry was made from. Possibly setting up Bond's superior knowledge of wine for later.
- The Big Bad in Race for the Yankee Zephyr spends half the time with a martini glass in his hand, whether traveling downstream in a rubber dinghy or watching his mooks beat up one of the protagonists.
- In Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Dracula says, "I never drink...wine. Ah, what the hell. <sip> It's good!"
- In Inglourious Basterds, Landa pours himself a glass of chianti from a fiasco while questioning Aldo. It's somewhat ironic that he's drinking Italian wine while interrogating a fake Italian.
- In Daybreakers, this is done with actual blood by the high-level vampire Bromley by draining a human victim's blood into a wine glass.
- Lestat pours rat blood in a wine glass in Interview with the Vampire, but it's disgusting to vampires.
- In the original novel of The Silence of the Lambs it was a "big Amarone" and not "a nice Chianti". Still a red wine from Italy, though. The change in the film was probably a case of Small Reference Pools. note
- The titular Count in Dracula, does not eat or drink. He does however know enough about fine wines to provide Johnathan Harker with "a bottle of excellent Old Tokay" to have with supper.
- Double Subverted in Carpe Jugulum, where the human subculture of vampires are considered freaks because they file down their teeth, wear bright colors, stay up past noon, and drink... ''wine''.
Live Action TV
- Stephen Lynch's "Beelz."
My real name is Beelzebub, but you can call me Beelz
I love to watch Fox News and then go club some baby seals
Then I'll take a bubble bath and drink a Zinfandel
Try to wash off that baby seal smell
And then I'll make a toast to me—hey, here's to my hell...th!
- In the Evillious Chronicles, the sin vessel of Gluttony is a wine glass. So, yeah. Not that Banica used it for wine all the time...
- A character from Ace Attorney materializes a brandy balloon from Hammer Space for the sole purpose of swirling it evilly in front of Phoenix immediately after being exposed as a villain.
- Fatman, the bizarrely hedonistic mad bomber boss in Metal Gear Solid 2, carries around a glass of red wine and drinks it as you fight him. Needless to say, it makes a mess of his blast suit in the end.
- This◊ Yoshitaka Amano concept art for Final Fantasy V depicts the main villain, Exdeath, lounging with a goblet of... something. He's probably only doing it for looks since for one thing, he still has his helmet on, and for another he's an evil tree.
- Jonathan Jones and Valentina from Super Mario RPG are both seen holding wine glasses with red liquid in them. Johnny will comment on his drink if you inspect it after the boss fight. It's apparently 100% currant juice. Really.
- Mr X does this in the bad ending of Streets of Rage 3.
- The Nostalgia Chick had a glass of dark-looking eggnog held in her hand during her second part of "Dreamworks Vs. Disney". While she's not technically a villain, but she kicked Nella rather badly during that episode.
- Megatron of Transformers Animated once convinced the Constructicons to switch sides by sharing some of his private blend of oil, and was of course holding a goblet full of it in the standard fashion. The 'goblet' was a barrel twisted into the shape of fine glassware. Classy!
- Beast Wars, Rampage said the second half of the page quote verbatim in the original script for his first appearance, substituting "spark" for "liver".
- An episode of South Park parodies this. Cartman fakes having Tourette's, and is going to be on TV, and plans to say things on live television, and get away with it. When explaining this to Kyle, Cartman is sipping what appears to be wine, Kyle takes a sip from a glass and claims "This is apple juice!"
- Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does this with a glass of chocolate milk while sitting on his throne after turning Ponyville into "the chaos capital of the world". While not wine, his mannerisms give it the same effect. Of course, since Discord's a nonsense-loving Reality Warper, he drinks the glass instead of the milk, which gets thrown away and explodes.
- In The Simpsons episode Monty Can't Buy Me Love, Kent Brockman reads: "This new breed of fun-loving billionaire is a welcome change from the classic joyless miser, brooding in his cavernous mansion, grasping a glass of brandy with his thin, clawlike fingers and a superior smirk on his greedy, soulless face." Cut to Montgomery Burns sitting in his mansion, in that exact pose, glass in hand and uttering a reverberating "bah".
- The first time we see Black Manta unmasked in Young Justice, he's eating a fine meal and sipping wine in his lavishly decorated private quarters.