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. Also, while this tope is obviously meant for male characters, it is not impossible for female character to be given this kind of voice, if only because of Rule of Funny.

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


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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. See also Gaara as voiced by Liam O'Brien and his Japanese seiyuu.
  • Alucard from Hellsing. A nigh unstoppable killing machine, he routinely tears his way through anyone unfortunate enough to face him.
  • Yuuki Kaji, who usually voices young males, plays the Big Bad in The Heroic Legend of Arslan and with a much deeper pitch than his usual one.
  • Souther from Fist of the North Star has a voice that seems deeper than what is naturally possible.
    • Oddly enough, Toki has his own Badass Baritone going on as well.
    • The main character, Kenshiro, also speaks in this pitch, but prefers high-pitched "A-TA" sounds whenever he strikes.
    • The narrator speaks in a considerably deep tone of voice in season one, a sharp contrast to the high-pitched screaming he went for from season two-onwards.
  • 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...
    • The English dub also has Piccolo, who has an incredibly deep and booming voice; and Vegeta, who is more of a Guttural Growler. Both were once enemies of Goku, and both gave him a run for his money when they first fought him, and both continue to be badasses after.
    • Beerus and Whis both have deep voices. Beerus is a Guttural Growler and a God of Destruction who is not to be trifled with. Whis's has a more Campy quality to it, but remains deep. He is also Beerus's mentor.
    • The Brazilian and Mexican dubs turned Frieza into one of this.
    • Cell's voice is this in both the Japanese and Mexican dubs. In Japanese, his voice is more booming due to him being voiced by Norio Wakamoto; in the Mexican dub, his voice is more guttural.
  • Hidekatsu Shibata: Voiced The Third Hokage, King Bradley and Igneel.

  • 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?

  • 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 played this when he wasn't playing villains. His voice was perfect when he played 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.
  • Another major Samuel L. Jackson example would be Nick Fury, Badass Normal Big Good to the mostly transhuman heroes of the MCU.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Bahzell Bahnakson, chosen of the war god and demon slayer in David Weber's The War Gods series speaks in deep voice, likely thanks to his unusually huge size.
  • 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.
  • The Duke of Taunton in the Village Tales series is both … when he uses his high head-voice. He is in fact a Basso Profundo Retired Badass. And the retired bit is purely notional.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The cast of Game of Thrones presents a wide array of delightful voices. On the lower side of the register we have:

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation gave us Lieutenant Commander Worf, the only Klingon member of the Enterprise, and the resident Proud Warrior Race Guy. Michael Dorn played Worf so gruff for so long that his voice actually got significantly deeper as a result.
  • Ben Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine once punched Q in the face (while Q acted smug about it, he avoided DS9 thereafter) and is one of the most badass captains in the Trek franchise. It's particularly convincing because he's played by Avery Brooks, whose voice is a rich baritone that even on a good day sounds like distant thunder - and in the later seasons of DS9 Sisko has very few good days.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Fourth Doctor 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.
    • The Twelfth Doctor has a gravelly voice with wide range, which can occasionally drop quite low. It's worth noticing that Peter Capaldi sometimes on purpose imitates Tom Baker's voice, who played the aforementioned Fourth Doctor.
  • 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 badass, 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.

  • Any character played by James Spader is sure to be this, but the best example may be Raymond Reddington from The Blacklist. He has an incredibly smooth, deep voice that is sheer pleasure to listen to, and he is easily the most dangerous character in the show (if you get on the wrong side of him, anyway).

  • Mark Sandman from Morphine was this trope in spades, having a hypnotic, seductive voice that commanded respect and attention.
  • The Swedish singer Roger Pontare is notable for his very deep voice both when talking and singing.
  • 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.
  • Metallica's James Hetfield. Accidentally stepped into a pyrotechnic, and lived.
  • Ringo Starr is this. He is a badass, despite allegedly not even being the best drummer in The Beatles, and listening to him sing will tell you that he is a baritone.
  • 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.
  • Joakim Brodén of Sabaton definitely qualifies. Coupled with his huge physique and massive biceps (not to mention the steel vest he wears onstage), his deep, Swedish-accented voice defies expectations for the metal genre, which typically has higher, almost screechy voices.
  • Gianluca Ginoble of the opera trio Il Volo is the baritone and the other two are tenors.

  • 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 Giuseppe 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 
  • Mass Effect:
    • Expert sniper Garrus Vakarian, infamous mercenary Zaeed Massani, and unmatched assassin Thane Krios have the deepest voices on your team.
    • David Anderson has Keith David's distinctive baritone, and is no slouch in a direct fight despite being a naval officer. Most of his badassery is offscreen or in his history - but direct comparisons to Shepard's service record are easily available.
    • Urdnot Wrex has a very deep, booming voice. Notably, he typically speaks rather quietly, but is no less menacing for it. 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, unarmed.
    • It's a krogan trait. Your other krogan squadmate, Grunt, is a genetically-engineered perfect krogan with an incredible healing factor, and one of only two characters who can wield the Claymore shotgun, the other being Shepard themself. He's voiced by Steve Blum.
    • The Reapers all have voices so deep that they echo off basically any scenery. They are an endless fleet of species-killing living warships who have a billion-year history of slaughter behind them.
  • Auron from Final Fantasy X has a deep, guttural voice. He's a Ronin-themed warrior with all the killing power you'd expect from a Final Fantasy character, plus an armour-piercing sword, who clawed himself back from the grave to keep a promise, and periodically uses the flask of booze on his belt to create nonstandard results, such as fire and black holes.
  • From the StarCraft universe, while most named male Protoss we meet "speak" in a smooth tenor, Zeratul has a deep, slightly gravely baritone voice (voices, rather). On the human side, Gabriel Tosh has a deep voice coupled with a Caribbean accent, while Tychus Findlay's smooth and very deep baritone (almost a basso) is accompanied by a smooth Southern drawl.
    Tychus: Those people aren't ready for the raw sex appeal I'd inject into their gray little lives...
  • Shao Kahn and Quan Chi in Mortal Kombat have this. They are also serve as the announcers for various installments.
  • 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. There was also Marcus, a mutant who'd been a member of the Master's army, then founded his own town after the Master's death, where he still serves as sheriff. Give him a hand, and he can join you in running around melting Enclave goons with a plasma rifle. Being voiced by Michael Dorn certainly helps in the baritone department.
  • 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.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • No one has a baritone like Gaston! Indeed, Gaston has a whole song (sung by him and the rest of the town) describing how badass and uber-manly he is.
    • The Beast himself is a baritone as well. The towering Beast's ferociousness terrifies most other characters into submission with a single roar. Within the movie, he single-handedly drives off a hungry wolf pack threatening Belle, defeats the aforementioned badass Gaston, and rules his staff of household objects with an iron fist.

  • 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.
  • Creator/BRIANBLESSED, complete with giant pieces of ham.
  • 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.
  • Sam Elliott—the voice you think of when you hear (or say), "'s what's for dinner".

Alternative Title(s): Badass Bass