Badass Baritone

He is a manly man, and he has a manly voice to prove it.

A character of this sort must fulfill two criteria:

  1. Obviously, the character must be a badass.
  2. The character must have a deep voice of baritone register. Bass register is also possible but is rarer and almost always overlaps with being evil.

Such a character may range from Cool Old Guy to Testosterone Poisoning.

See also Evil Sounds Deep, Guttural Growler, Power Makes Your Voice Deep and Voice of the Legion. The Distaff Counterpart would be Contralto of Danger. Contrast Tenor Boy.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has several notable examples.
    • Scar, the legendary Serial Killer that hunts down State Alchemists in revenge for the genocide of his people. He regularly goes toe-to-toe with both Elric brothers and comes close to winning.
    • Also Alex Armstrong, a Boisterous Bruiser noted for his incredible physical strength.
    • Solf. J. Kimblee, a Psycho for Hire that the villains send to hunt down Scar and other troublesome targets.
    • Roy Mustang, considered a war hero but secretly plotting to overthrow the corrupt government by any means.
  • Naruto has numerous examples, with characters like Kakashi actually deepening their voices while in battle. Pain's baritone is no less legendary.
  • One Piece: Crocodile is a former boss of a mass criminal syndicate as well as being a former Warlord of the Sea. He has one of the deepest (if not the deepest) voice(s) in the series to boot.
  • Alucard from Hellsing. A nigh-unstoppable killing machine, he routinely tears his way through anyone unfortunate enough to face him.
  • Naruto: Gaara as dubbed by Liam O'Brien. Also his Japanese seiyuu.
  • Souther from Fist of the North Star has a voice that might well be deeper than is actually naturally possible. Oddly enough, Toki the Kung-Fu Jesus has his own Badass Baritone going on. The main character, Kenshiro, prefers high-pitched "A-TA-TA" sounds.
  • Whenever English dub Version of Goku goes Super Saiyan 3, he invokes this trope by lowering his voice an octave to show he means business. And let's not get started on the badassery that is Super Saiyan 4...
8* Jamieson Price: Voiced Lord Genome, First Hokage, The Count in The Count of Monte Cristo, and a few others.
  • Jotaro Kujo of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the most straightforwardly badass of the Joestar lineage, is invariably cast with a low baritone despite being merely a teenager.
  • Attack on Titan provides several examples.
    • In the Funimation dub, Captain Levi is provided one by Matthew Mercer. He's even called "Humanity's Strongest" by the common folk.
    • Commander Erwin Smith of the Survey Corps has one in both the Japanese and the English versions.
    • Reiner Braun has the deepest voice among the 104th Trainees Squad, to go along with being built like a linebacker. Yoshimasa Hosoya's performance is particularly deep compared to some of his other notable roles.

    Comics 
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has a moment when Whirl tries to imitate Optimus Prime (See Western Animation below) and fails. He lampshades it.
    Whirl: "How can anyone's voice be that low?"

    Film 
  • The 1937 edition of King Solomon's Mines featured Paul Robeson, professional baritone singer, as Ignosi. Ignosi is a brave warrior who returns to Kukuanaland, defeats the usurper King Twala in battle, and reclaims his throne. Since he's played by Paul Robeson, he gets to sing a couple of songs too.
  • Many incarnations of Batman have him lowering his voice while in costume to sound more menacing.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane has a voice amplifier that gives him an extremely peculiar contrast between the trope (in vocal range) and jovial, eloquent word choice and mode of speech, in comparison with Tom Hardy's fairly nasal voice.
    "You think darkness is your ally, but you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man. By then, it was nothing to me but blinding!"
  • Christopher Lee sometimes plays this when he isn't playing villains. His voice is perfect when he plays the Discworld role of Death, since Terry Pratchett has always described Death's voice being deep and foreboding like the slamming of a coffin lid. Also, whenever Death speaks in the novels, his lines are rendered completely in upper-case. And who else, but Christopher Lee knows how to speak in capital letters?
  • Anyone played by Vin Diesel.
  • Thorin, as played by Richard Armitage, in The Hobbit. Warrior, rightful king returning, general monster-killing badass, and a baritone. He even gets to sing a song perfectly suited for his voice.
  • Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (as a rule, any time Samuel L. Jackson is in the film's cast, expect his character to be one of these). Darth Vader is the more villainous example, courtesy of James Earl Jones, but he's still one of the most badass villains on the screen.
  • Kevin Grevioux has an incredibly deep Basso Profundo voice, which led many people watching his character Raze in Underworld to assume it had been altered in some way. He's also a Genius Bruiser, having degrees in microbiology and genetic engineering and having come up with the idea for the movie in the first place.
  • James Bond. With the exception of Pierce Brosnan, all of Bond's incarnations have a deep, manly voice that perfectly suits a Casanova super spy, with Sean Connery's version arguably providing the deepest and manliest voice of them all.
  • Atticus Finch, as played by Gregory Peck, a Badass Pacifist and incorruptible attorney who fights to the bitter end to save an innocent black man's life.

    Literature 
  • Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files is very much a badass, and is described as having a resonant baritone.
    • Also, Sanya. Knight of the Cross with a nice Basso Profundo voice, and the only person manly enough to make Dresden feel inadequate, being roughly of a height with Dresden and muscle-bound enough to make Michael, who is notably strong, look puny, whereas Harry is all wiry muscle.
  • Death from the Discworld is described as having a voice like a lead coffin lid slamming, even if his voice is more felt than heard. It is rendered as All Caps.
  • Private Kolya Vlasov from David Benioff's City of Thieves. Quick-fisted fighter of cannibals who sings in a "strong, confident baritone".
  • Admiral Augustus Khumalo of the Honorverse, whose badassery was severely underestimated by his fellows in the Royal Manticoran Navy, has a voice which is consistently referenced in the text as "deep", even in comparison to other male characters in the series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Arrow, both the Arrow and the Dark Archer use voice changers most of the time while in costume.
    • Stephen Amell does this to great effect for Oliver Queen's private persona, too. The effect is a manifestation of character development, changing from the "normal" voice that closely resembles Amell's natural tone in the initial flashbacks to the present-day tone.
  • Walter White from Breaking Bad becomes this eventually. He starts out with a quiet and non-threatening voice, but as the series goes on and he and his actions become more despicable, he grows into a very intimidating baritone mixed with Guttural Growler.
  • The Fourth Doctor from Doctor Who has an unusual, velvety voice about an octave deeper than all of the other Doctors. For the most part this is used to make the Doctor seem more commanding and suggest a gravitas he might otherwise disguise - yeah, he comes in dressed in a ridiculous outfit handing out sweets and smiling at people, but no-one with a voice like that could possibly be as weak and undistinguished as he initially likes to appear. A couple of the more interesting exploitations: In "The Deadly Assassin" he speaks in a higher pitched voice while trying to appear beneath the notice of some other characters. In "The Robots of Death" he develops one of his more specific New Powers as the Plot Demands when we discover Time Lord larynxes aren't affected by helium, just so he can continue sounding cool in one specific scene. In "The Power of Kroll" he generates a subsonic frequency that shatters a window.
  • Sherlock Holmes himself. You could mistake Benedict Cumberbatch for Alan Rickman if you had your eyes closed.
  • Supernatural: Castiel. Also, Jensen Ackles noticeably starts using a deeper voice in any extended conversation with him. It's like they're trying to out-badass each other. Misha Collins has said that he regrets it- he thought he would only be a guest star and was just trying to sound Bad Ass, but when he was brought back to be a major supporting character he was forced to keep it, and finds using the voice so much to be annoying, difficult and mildly painful.
    Misha Collins: So in the first episode that Castiel shows up in, um — he's trying to communicate with Dean, and in so doing, his voice, his angelic voice, is exploding television sets and breaking windows — and so I, consummate guest star that I am, thought - oh, you know, I'm gonna do this [deepens voice], really deep, gravelly, commanding, kickass, kind of window-breaking voice... And I may be running into medical problems now. It has been brutal on my throat.

    Music 
  • Trace Adkins is a Country Music singer known as much for his bass-baritone voice as for his very tall, muscular stature and often masculine songs (e.g. "Hot Mama", "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk", etc.). Bonus points for having had a pinky finger reattached after an accident, and having survived getting run over by an off-road vehicle.
  • Benjamin Burnley of Breaking Benjamin is known for his deep, soulful voice that can quickly descend into a Metal Scream.
  • Neil Peart of Rush. In hearing him interviewed, his voice has a very deep register. With his tall (6'4") muscular build, he comes across as a Cultured Badass.
  • Matt Berninger from The National is one of the most well-known and acclaimed examples of a not only a baritone, but indeed a badass in modern indie music. You can watch any live performance this band has done, and still be completely blown away by Matt's vocal and stage performance every time.

    Theatre 
  • Charlie Anderson from The Musical adaptation of Shenandoah.
  • Count Carl-Magus in A Little Night Music is certainly a manly man, if conceited and stupid, with a distinct baritone voice.
  • Wotan in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. He's a bass-baritone, the ruler of the Gods, and he even has an eyepatch.
  • Pick a Verdi baritone role. Any of them. Good guy or villain, all badass.
    • Meta-example: any baritone who can sing Verdi automatically qualifies. Rare though they may be, "Verdi Baritones" make ordinary baritones cower in fear.
    • If basses count, Sparafucile from Rigoletto. Assassin AND a man of honour. He never double-crosses anyone.
  • Don Giovanni. He's THE MAN.
  • Vanderdecken in Der fliegende Holländer — manly, dark, mysterious, bass-baritone.
  • Escamillo from Carmen. You know, the guy who sings that impossibly hammy song about how cool toreros are. Standing in front of a rampaging bull as your day job makes you a badass per definition.
  • Les Misérables: Inspector Javert. Baritone or bass-baritone required, and he's badass enough to have his own trope. (Ask Patron-Minette how he arrested seven armed bandits plus a Mama Bear (who counts herself as two) alone.)
  • The indisputably badass Beast from Beauty and the Beast is a solid baritone role, as is the equally badass (though much more arrogant about it) villain Gaston.

    Video Games 
  • Fenris of Dragon Age II has a deep husky voice despite his Bishōnen elf look. But then, one of the things he does on a regular basis is reaching into an enemy's chest and crush his heart.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Legate Lanius from the base game, Joshua Graham from the Honest Hearts DLC and Ulysses from the Lonesome Road DLC are all badass and have very deep voices. Doubly notable for being extremely cool, competent, and collected and none of them use profanity in a game where it is plentiful.
    • Fallout 2 gave us Frank Horrigan, an enormous, mutated high ranking member of the Enclave, with a voice as deep as the ocean. He also fits the Badass criteria VERY, VERY well.
  • Big Band, from Skullgirls, is a Large and In Charge Cyborg with brass instrument-themed armaments and an incredibly deep voice to match.
  • Vhailor from Planescape: Torment definitely counts since he's basically the avatar of justice and wields an axe so heavy that literary no one else can lift it.
    • Even more impressive than the above-mentioned Vhailor is The Transcendent One voiced by Tony Jay. He's also a Physical God.
    • Let's not forget the main character. He may not be an avatar of justice, but he's actually one of the most powerful living beings in all of existence, on par with any of the gods, and capable of literally anything he wills, as long as his belief is strong enough.
    • Dak'kon has a very dark and raspy voice and wields a sword that, if used correctly, can cut a hole in reality.
  • In Skyrim, Ulfric Stormcloak is a manly man and he most definitely has a manly voice to prove it (naturally, since he's voiced by Vladimir Kulich). May overlap with Evil Sounds Deep depending on your stance on the Skyrim Civil War.
    • There's also Kodlak Whitemane, Harbinger of the Companions (which translates to 'unofficial leader of the province's ancient and sacred order of badasses for hire.)
    • Paarthurnax, an old and powerful dragon who helps the main character in his quest. He is a remarkable example because he is voiced by Charles Martinet, who is best known for voicing Mario.
  • Adam Jensen, the One-Man Army Player Character of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, has a very low voice with extra huskiness from the smoking habit.
  • Both Basilio and Lon'qu from Fire Emblem Awakening have very deep voices and great stat growths, with Basilio's badass nature getting mentioned several times in-story.
    • Not to mention Prince Chrom, as voiced by Matthew Mercer. He's the leader of the Shepherds, after all.
  • Mass Effect: Urdnot Wrex has a very deep, booming voice. He also spends the time between the first and second games headbutting his way to dominance over an entire culture of Blood Knights, and his first appearance in the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 involves him taking down an entire shuttle full of heavily armed and armoured mercenaries by himself.
  • Proto Man, Mega Man (Classic)'s older brother who is known for helping him out and giving him advice throwout the latter's adventures and is at least similarly as powerful, is portrayed in Mega Man Powered Up as having a voice like this.
  • Knuckles from the Sonic the Hedgehog series has a noticeably deep voice when voiced by Scott Drier in Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes. This fits his previous characterization as the calm and stoic loner.
    • Shadow's voice tends to be low and booming with the exception of his voice actors David Humprey and Kirk Thorton.
    • In English, Espio sports one of the deepest voices among the other two members of The Chaotix, Vector and Charmy, despite only being 16 (compare this to similarly-aged characters or even Vector, who is four years Espio's senior). Coupled with his lack of eccentricities, this only serves to make Espio come across as even more serious. He's more of a tenor in Japanese.
    • Metal Sonic was suddenly given this in Sonic Heroes but it's Sonic's voice with an electronic makeover.
  • The announcer of each Super Smash Bros. title have deep and wickedly awesome voices.
  • The leader of the Broken Lords of Endless Legend speaks with a deep, slightly echoing voice; the former comes from being a knight, the latter from becoming a suit of Animated Armor. Crosses with Evil Sounds Deep, as the Broken Lords are widely considered to be soulless monsters because they must drain Dust from other creatures to sustain their bodies.
  • The Protagonist from Akatsuki Blitzkampf, the titular Akatsuki, is a former Human Popsicle who travels through East Asia to fulfill the mission he couldn't complete 50 years ago, and kicks ass all around to get that done. His voice is surprisingly deep for a fighting game lead, probably because it creates quite a contrast between his still-youthful looks and his actual age.

    Western Animation 

  • Transformers' Optimus Prime is universally this, especially when portrayed by Peter Cullen, with a voice so deep and weighty it would crush the vocalizers of lesser 'bots.

    Real Life 
  • Despite common depictions, this trope is subverted in the two most legitimately badass American presidents: Abraham Lincoln is said to have had a shrill, nasal voice and Theodore Roosevelt had a mid-range voice - his voice was the first president's to ever be recorded and a sample can be found here.
  • General Patton also had a high-pitched, slightly weak voice, George C. Scott portrayal notwithstanding.
  • Steve Blum. With a voice generally considered to be one of the deepest among current voice actors, he's always cast as playing a badass with few exceptions. He was also in a metal band in his youth, although he didn't sing.
  • Johnny Cash, ladies. His voice is very deep and adds to the effect of the music.
  • James Earl Jones is made of this. There is a reason that he is always associated with Darth Vader, simply because the voice is so iconic and badass.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch. Often cast as a Badass Bookworm or military man, with a very, very deep voice. It only gets distorted further when he plays Smaug, as mentioned further above.
  • The late Mark Dailey of CityTV in Toronto, Canada. Originally a crime reporter and good friend of the Toronto police, he frequently did live voice-overs between programs and, by the time of his passing in 2010, he was a regular anchor on the evening news and was considered "the voice" of the channel.
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson. Back in his high school days, was captain of his High School wrestling team, going undefeated. Having a PHD in Astrophysics doesn't hurt his badass cred either.
  • David Sobolov has a deep voice that he has used to great effect, voicing roles such as Darkseid, Lobo, and Drax The Destroyer.
  • Science has shown this to be Truth in Television. Research shows a strong correlation between the depth of a man's voice and his physical capability. This is due to Testosterone affecting both physical strength and the status of the Larynx. There are notable exceptions, of course, with Mike Tyson, for instance, probably being the most famous inversion, but these are few and far between. Interesting thing to note is that this only applies to men. There doesn't appear to be any strong correlation between the depth of a woman's voice and their Badassery.
  • Michael Dorn. His voice has gotten deeper thanks to playing Worf for so long on Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent films, as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • MICHAEL JACKSON believe it or not was said to have a pretty deep speaking voice, with the effeminate whimper being a put-on due to how much he disliked it. There are a few videos and voice recordings were it can be heard. This one, for example.
  • Voice actor J. Michael Tatum is this, while in Real life he has a medium sounding voice a lot of his roles are deep voiced men.


Alternative Title(s):

Badass Bass