Choices: All major choices that the heroes are faced with are either unambiguously right or wrong. There aren't any grey areas, and when a Sadistic Choiceis presented, there's always a third option. Furthermore, the heroes will always make the right choice unless they're about to learn An Aesop or pull a Face-Heel Turn.
Characterization: The good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad. If there are any morally ambiguous or grey characters around (such as an Anti-Hero or Worthy Opponent), they will eventually shift firmly to one side or the other. They'll either switch to the side that matches their actual perceived alignment, or turn fully good or fully evil. Minor characters may maintain some degree of neutrality, but the major characters will all be on one side or the other. Occasionally there will be a short scene explaining the neutrality is inherently evil (or, very rarely, good). To avoid an Author Tract some writers prefer to claim that being neutral is similar to supporting the stronger side. However as the Neutral Neutral page on this wiki will show, the reasons for being neutral number in the double digits, not including Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Neutral, or any combination thereof.
Good luck finding any political campaign commercials anywhere which suggest that it is possible to disagree over an issue without being monstrous, or at the very least stupid.
Anime and Manga
This trope is played straight in Digimon Adventure: While the kids and their Digimons represent virtues (Courage, Friendship, Love, etc.) their enemies (Such as Devimon, VamDemon/Myotismon and the Dark Masters) are evil incarnate.
Jojos Bizarre Adventure: This happens a lot over the course of the series, Phantom Blood with Jonathan and Dio being the most blatant, though other parts do share this mindset to an extent. Even Part 5, with the heroes despite being Mafia generally act more like cops against the obviously evil Big Bad.
Elly Patterson of For Better or for Worse saw life in this matter in the fanfic The New Retcons. The two problems were that she could not handle anyone with different viewpoints form her, and that her ideas of what 'black' and 'white' are were so twisted that they might as well be Blue and Orange Morality. This, among other things, contributed to Elly losing her mind for about two years.
The Disney Animated Canon uses this all the time. Pixar uses it pretty frequently too, though their villains are more likely to have sympathetic motivations.
The true exception to "sympathetic motivation" is A Bug's Life, where Hopper says that keeping the ants under control is more important than just getting food from them.
This trope is played with in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Whereas the original movie played the trope straight (Scar and the hyenas are evil; everyone else is good), the sequel sets itself up the same way (lions in the Pridelands are good; lions in the Outlands are bad) but then subverts the trope. The moral of the movie is that the characters' Black and White Morality they started out with is wrong and that they must learn to recognize the shades of gray.
Hercules adds this morality in adaptation. Hercules, Zeus and Hera become purely good. Hadies becomes purely evil. In the origional myths they were a lot more morally ambiguous. The only grey character in the movie is Meg. This is one side effect of being Hijacked by Jesus.
In the Compilation MovieOnce Upon a Halloween, a villain is plotting to do something evil while her magic mirror tries to talk her out of while showing her clips of various Disney movies. In the end the villain decides she doesn't want to go through her plan anymore, but the mirror kills her anyway for even attempting it in the first place.
Films — Live-Action
The Box: Anyone who pushes the button is evil and must be used as statistics in supporting human extinction and anyone who doesn't push the button is good and must be enslaved. "Arlington Steward" even apologizes to the main couple, saying this is how it must be and it cannot be negotiated.
Star Wars: The rebels are good, The Empire is evil. Black And White Morality is enforced by the Force in the case of the Jedi. If Jedi aren't committed 100% to the Light Side, it's only a matter of time before they become insanely evil.
Also deconstructed in A Wizard in Rhyme when a college student gets transported into a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of France, where God and Satan are very real, saying damn really means you are sending said person to hell, and even magic works on this principle. Being from our world, the rigid code causes a lot of problems as he adjusts.
Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series. The American/Lemurian alliance is good, the Grik and any Lemurians or humans who don't support the alliance are bad.
The Dresden Files both follows and averts this. This series and main character clearly believe in right and wrong with commuting certain actions like one human murdering another with magic strengthen the forces of evil and certain creatures like Fallen Angels and Red Court Vampires objectively evil. Averted in the wizards and muggles are, after all, human, and have difficulty knowing the right action and many supernatural creatures like the Winter Fae while evil by human standards operate by Blue and Orange Morality and are not considered objectively evil. It can be hard to remember that in the earlier books, the fights between literal agents of Heaven and Hell were much more commonplace. The books also imply (by way of Sanya) that angels and the like aren't really Good of themselves, but rather its their actions that make them Good, and that they'd still be Good if you replaced "angel" with "superpowerful aliens that look like angels". Despite that, even angels can be harsh and militaristic, with job descriptions such as "general" and "spook". Very evil is still evil and depraved, though. However, this is fairly true to the source material, and fits the Dresdenverse quite adroitly.
Uriel does invoke this, assuring Harry that the Archangel likes Star Wars over Star Trek because of this trope, and because it makes him "feel young". Despite the fact that "Mr. Sunshine" existed since before Creation, given the way that the superpowerful beings of the Dresdenverse interact with time, this is a slightly bizarre statement.
Harry Potter starts out this way. Dumbledore is the Big Good, Harry and his friends are the heroes, the other students are generally nice except for the Slytherins, and Voldemort is the Big Bad. As the series goes on, it adds more and more shades of gray with turncoats on both sides, a corrupt government opposing Voldemort, heroes paying evil unto evil, and Harry discovering that his father and Dumbledore have...complicated backstories. It's still essentially a "Good Guys vs Bad Guys" story, with villains clearly inspired by WWII, and a hero who goes through the whole story, including a civil war, without killing anyone ever.
Eragon tries to give this a significant amount of thought, as a number of characters point out that he's fighting because other people told him to, however right they may be. After a significant amount of angst, Eragon comes to the bizarre and defeatists conclusion that he has to cross the ocean to train the next generation of riders. He left behind civilization, everything he fought for, the chance to shape the creation of the next major golden age, and the chance to get into Arya's (the only woman for whom he could hold genuine affection)tight leatherpants.
The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion: Broadly speaking. The respective villains Sauron, Saruman and Morgoth are evil, and those who oppose them are good. On a closer level this is not so - Sauron, Saruman and Morgoth's Orcs are Always Chaotic Evil, but their human forces are not, which is lost on many a critic. More than one character notes how they must be manipulated or forced to do their will.
Broadly speaking. See the quote at the top of Grey and Gray Morality. The Silmarillion in particular tends to be white, grey and black. (Surely people like Fëanor, his sons, the Noldor in general, Thingol, Túrin, etc. cannot be thought of as all black or all white.)
Outside of the Silmarillion there are many other examples. Gollum, Lobelia and Denethor (in the book, the movie plays him as more of a straight forward villain) are anything but clean cut good or bad guys. Despite its lighter tone The Hobbit averts this a lot more than its darker sequel. Thorin is for the most part noble but also a greedy, proud jerkass who would risk a war to hang onto his gold while Beorn is kind and friendly but kills an Orc who had already surrendered and puts its head on a pike.
Indeed, it would probably be best to say that Middle-Earth has Black-and-White Morality, but only as extremes- Eru and the Valar are pure good; Morgoth and his directly corrupted minions are pure evil; most of the non-divine characters lean strongly one way or the other, but aren't "pure". This ties in to temptation being a major theme of LOTR in particular.
Averted in The Children of Húrin. Túrin is well meaning but also a morally ambiguous Jerkass who blows over the Moral Event Horizon when he murders a lame man in cold blood, his Lancer Androg is a serial rapist and murderer and the group's traitor, Mîm the Dwarf is a Woobie Anti-Villain whose actions are motivated by the relentless persecution his people suffered from the Elves as well as Androg's cruelty. Even after his betrayal he inists that Túrin be released unharmed.
Stieg Larsson's The Millennium Trilogy, like the works of the aforementioned Spillane, is a rather dark tale of good versus evil: the heroes are all noble and well-intentioned, and the villains are all pure evil.
Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Almost all the good guys are handsome/beautiful, and the bad guys are either ugly as sin or ordinary-looking. The choices the characters make are unambiguously good or evil. The characterization of the characters is either good or evil.
Deconstructed in Warrior Cats. Hollyleaf starts out with her absolute trust in the Warrior Code, and believes that all who follow it are good, while those who don't are evil. After using the code to justify most of her actions, she learns that her very birth broke the code, and that someone she had respected had broken one of the code's core principles, but for a good reason. After learning this, Hollyleaf's mind was completely shattered, and she realized that her entire morality was flawed, leading her to attempt to murder her own mother, then flee from the Clans.
Warrior Cats is at first an example of Greyand Gray Morality with Thunder Clan and Shadow Clan each having their good warriors (Firestar, Graystripe, and Yellowfang come to mind) and their bad warriors (Brokenstar, Tigerstar, and Darkstripe) but in the fourth series... Black-and-White Morality is in effect as the Clans go against The Dark Forest cats who are indeed evil. Also in effect during the fight with Blood Clan who are (with few exceptions) very black.
Although the Discworld doesn't follow this in a meta sense, Granny Weatherwax is a firm believer in this. She refutes Grey and Grey Morality by insisting that grey is only white that's got grubby.
Live Action TV
Burn Notice, through and through. Westen and his allies are good, his antagonists are always evil. The villains of the week are almost always dog kicking assholes. If that wasn't enough the true antagonists, the shadowy organization behind the burn, has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. As for Westen's crew, they are always seen by everyone as perfect and never wrong, even though Westen himself has largely selfish motivations for what he does.
There is the little issue of Michael accidentally getting Jesse burned.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel both play with this. Each starts out as a clear-cut example, but later seems to drift to somewhere between this and Black and Gray Morality, with the protagonists usually doing the right thing, but not always, and most of the antagonists remaining dog-kicking villains. Also, despite usually being portrayed as good in the sense that they're well-meaning, the heroes of both shows often encounter situations that are portrayed as morally gray, leading them to disagree with each other on what the good course of action is. A villainous example would be The Judge from Season 2 of Buffy, who kills based on whether a target has humanity or not. Any vampire with sufficiently human traits—like interest in books, or involvement in romance—is a fair target to him, even if they're otherwise serving evil purposes.
Charmed: You are either good or you are evil. Yes, you have to choose and then there's nothing in between. The only ones who don't follow this are the Angel of Death and the Avatars, but they are an entire class of their own, not something in between. To break it down: witches are good, demons are bad. More specifically, anyone who are allies with the Charmed Ones and they like them, they are good. Anyone else is bad. Even the neutral ones because you can't trust anyone who is neutral. Also, all witches after they first get their powers, must decide if they are good or evil within 24 hours.
LOST: While it's unclear whether either character has purely good or purely evil motivations, the entire series has boiled down to an epic, eternal conflict between Jacob, the representation of white and seeming "good guy," and the aptly named "Man in Black," better known as the Smoke Monster, the representation of black and alleged "evil incarnate."
Enforced in Once Upon a Time where doing something morally questionable, no matter what the circumstances are, will turn a good guys heart black; this only applies to the heroes, however, as the antagonists are more morally complex.
Power Rangers Dino Thunder's Mesogog, while still black, was a particularly grey shade of black, as he is the sole villain of the series to not carry an evil business card. He was a dinosaur hybrid who wanted to wipe out us filthy mammals and restore dinosaurs to their rightful place as the dominant creatures, and so thought what he was doing to be right, although his methods and manner make it dark enough to still be evil. Its grey, but only in comparison to the villains whose goals are stated to be "to be as evil as possible, nyahaha".
The grayest Power Rangers villain is Ransik of Power Rangers Time Force. He wanted to take over the world in the present, because in the future, the mutations that result on rare occasion from the genetic engineering process that normally allows for perfect Designer Babies for all are shunned to a degree that would make the mutants of X-Men count their blessings. Ransik's entire gang is gathered from the homeless mutants. He cackles as much as any past villain whose title is "Your Evilness" when causing mayhem, but he's got a reason for his hate and his motivation isn't simply greed or the evulz like many of the others.
Common feature of Soap Operas. Villains have no redeeming quality and absolutely everything they do have one of two motivations: earn even more money (they usually are extremely rich to begin with) or mess with the hero/heroine For the Evulz. The hero/heroine is the epitome of purity, and everything they do is genuinely for the benefit of others. Any wrongs from them will be revealed to be due to being manipulated by the villains.
In religion, this idea is often called (Manichean) dualism:
God is good, Satan is evil. (Christianity)
Of Christian faiths, Calvinism deserves special mention. In Calvinism, human beings do not have free will to make decisions, and can only be capable of redemption through the grace of God. Thus not only are acts either good or evil, but human beings are, despite any attempt outside of God to be otherwise, evil.
Ahura Mazda is good, Ahriman is evil. (Zoroastrianism)
Abba deRabutta is good, Ahriman is evil. (Manichaeism)
Most Dungeons & Dragons settings: People who go "ping!" on Detect Good are good. People who set off the paladin's slaydar are evil. (People who don't trigger either are either using Undetectable Alignment or are the resident shade of grey, the neutral alignments).
Playable races (such as humans, elves, dwarves, and such) tend to be good, while orcs, goblins, and other 'monstrous' humanoids tend to be Always Chaotic Evil. There are plenty of exceptions, though, with a number of villains from PC races showing up from time to time. The occasional good orc or goblin may make an appearance as well (especially in Eberron, which subverts a lot of the common expectations about alignment and race).
There is a Succubus Paladin created on the Wizards site a while ago that detects as Lawful, Good, Evil and Chaotic via the sundry detect spells. This is because Demon are MADE of Evil and Chaos, while Paladins are philosophically Good and Lawful.
Talisman: The "Lightbearers" alternate ending in the Blood Moon expansion changes the nature of the normally free-for-all game into a cooperative one, where every player must choose a character of good alignment. The players cannot fight each other, and instead can assist each other in combat against the forces of evil, freely exchange items, and work together to win the game as a group before time runs out.
In Torg in the sub-universe of the Nile Empire, based on pulp fiction tropes everyone is either good or evil...until one of the evil scientists of the Nile Empire accidentally infects himself with a meme virus based on the plays of Anton Chekov and becomes the sub-universe's only Neutral character.
Psaro the Man Slayer subverts this partly. He hates humans because they harmed his girlfriend. But going into the arena and beating random fighters to death isn't that nice of a thing to do either. None of his underlings are ever good.
Fire Emblem tends to play with this alot, even with its many morally pure Lords as its protagonists.
Fire Emblem Awakening mostly play this straight; the Halidom of Ylisse worships Naga and is presented as pure and good while the desert theocracy Plegia worships Grima and is portrayed as dark and evil. But there are a few mentions, Emmeryn's predecessor had brutally oppressed Plegia in the past, so relations between the two countries were naturally sour by the time she took over, and according to one conversation speculates that many members of the Grima cult treat it like a normal religion. However none of this is really seen ingame, every Grima cultist member encountered is a Card-Carrying Villain for example.
Galaxy Angel: The Transbaal Empire is good; The Val-Fasq are evil.
Subverted in Golden Sun: seemingly present during the first game, but the second game deconstructs it by having you play the antagonists of the first game, and having the final boss be the mentor from the first game.
Gradius: Planet Gradius is good; Bacterion, Venom, and Salamander are evil.
But what about the Gradian government? Before the Northern Cross War that inadvertently killed nearly of the Wreekians, the Gradius government avoided contact with them because they were primitive. After the Northern Cross War, the Gradius government didn't do much at all for the poor Wreekian survivors; they only wanted to use their ESP power. This would put the Gradian government on the grey morality.
Deconstructed in Grandia II; see the page for more details
Averted in some of the later games. In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the villain we are introduced to is actually just a puppet to the Man Behind the Man, and is actually just a bit mischievous, but is at heart a nice guy who just suffered from loneliness.
King Bulbin in Twilight Princess and Byrne in Spirit Tracks are good examples of bad guys who turn good over the course of their games. The Twili are a good example of Dark Is Not Evil in the Zelda universe too, despite having been banished for hungering a bit too much for power. Not played straight quite as much as one is led to believe...
New Worlds Ateraan has a God of Shadows and a Goddess of Light, niftily color-coded. However, those devoted to the former would likely call Light blinding and evil, so 'good' and 'bad' are not so easily determined.
The Overlord (you) is evil, the heroes are (mostly) good. This is one of the few scenarios where you're supposed to prefer the black morality.
The later core games avert this though, with the evil teams having more reasonable and sympathetic motivations. The exception is Ghetsis of Team Plasma, whose villainy neighbors Cipher proportions. Cipher from Pokémon Colosseum is far more evil than anything before them and a sight more evil than anything since, up until Pokémon X and Y gave us Lysandre.
Actually, the series averts it quite often. Eggman is the main villain, but he's usually portrayed as merely being Affably Evil, and often teams up with Sonic and helps him when the world is at risk, as he doesn't seek its destruction, he just wants to conquer it. Knuckles was Eggman's Dragon in his debut game, but he's actually a good guy who got tricked into thinking that Sonic wanted to steal the Master Emerald and Eggman just wanted to prevent it. Gamma is one of Eggman's robots and follows his orders for half of his story, even fighting Sonic at some point, but goes through a Heel-Face Turn and decides to rebel, declaring Eggman his enemy and deciding to "free" his robot siblings (actually animals used as living batteries) by destroying their robotic bodies and releasing them. Chaos is a legendary beast who caused the destruction of a whole ancient civilization, and almost that of the modern world as well, but he's actually the protector of the Chao and the Chaos Emeralds and has no evil on his heart, he just got consumed by rage when an ancient tribe hurt the creatures he was defending in its lust for power. Gerald Robotnikprogrammed the ARK to destroy the Earth and made a deal with Black Doom that would result in humanity being attacked and conquered by an alien race, but it's revealed that he wanted to help everyone by creating the Ultimate Life Form and just went insane when his beloved granddaughter got killed by the government's army, and that he actually created the Eclipse Cannon to warrant that humanity had a way of stopping the Black Arms when they arrived and attacked.Solaris seeks to destroy time and space, but he's actually a good deity who went insane after being performed experiments on. Emerl is a robot designed as a weapon of mass destruction, but gains a kind and heroic personality through the game as a result of hanging around Sonic and his friends and copying their traits, and keeps this one until the end, even after his programming makes him go berserk. Shahra is Sonic's sidekick and main ally for most the game, but is revealed to actually be an ally to the main baddie in the end, only to go through a Heel-Face Turn and join Sonic for real. Similarly, Merlina, who is Sonic's guide and ally in Sonic and the Black Knight, is revealed to be the Big Bad at the end, but her intentions and motivations aren't evil.
Also played straight by the one-off villains in the Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi series. Okay, not quite Count Bleck, but Fawful, Dimentio, the Shadow Queen, Cackletta, and the Shroobs are portrayed very much to the extreme end of the evil scale.
Played with in Touhou. On one hand, the series as a whole follows White and Grey Morality at worst, with copious amounts of Dark Is Not Evil and Not Always Evil, preventing the series from having any true villains. On the other hand, the interactions between youkai and humans in the games are laced with Blue and Orange Morality, with the youkai attacking and sometimes even eating humans because, well, that's what monsters do... and the humans in turn exorcising youkai, even harmless ones, because, well, they aremonsters. note It's strongly implied in supplementary material that the youkai of the setting are the natural opposites of humanity and if youkai and humans didn't distinctly define themselves by opposing each other, the youkai would cease to exist. On the third hand, the character Eiki Shiki possesses the ability to "distinctly judge anything to be Good or Evil", meaning that she sees the world in Black And White Morality. As she is the resident Judge of the Dead whom decides the ultimate fate of every deceased soul in Gensokyo, she gets a lot of mileage out of this.
Valkyria Chronicles tries to avert this trope, but ends up shooting itself in the foot because everyone on the Gallian side who isn't morally upstanding gets murdered and the only Imperials who might have been decent people also die. By the end of the game, Darcsens and non-aristocrat Gallians are good... and everyone else is dead.
In the first two WarCraft games, the Orcs are evil and the humans are good, but by Warcraft III and World of Warcraft, while there are still undeniably evil forces like the Burning Legion and Scourge, it becomes less clear whether the Alliance or the Horde has the moral high ground.
Yggdra Union starts off with a princess fleeing from The Empire and raising an army to fight back against them. This later gets subverted, as the Empire isn't actually evil and is fighting for what they believe is true justice as well.
Bravely Default: Edea Lee, due to being a naive teenager who was brought up believing the lies she was told by her home country, initially believes there are only heroes and villains. Her Character Development is all about making her realize the other shades of morality in between.
In The Fear Mythos, the character "Achromatic Morality" demonstrates this perfectly — the clue's in the name. In her words, "there are two sides. The side that I am on, which is righteous; and the side I am not, which is monstrous."
Surprisingly subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender . At first, the set-up seems to make the Black and the White quite clear: the Fire Nation is the Always Chaotic EvilEmpire embarking on a campaign of world conquest, and those who fight against them are good. Then the writers seem to spend the entire remainder of the series picking this stark divide to pieces in every direction, with an abundance of quite likable and sympathetic Fire Nation characters and an abundance of utterly loathsome Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe characters. The Fire Lord and his daughter remain the clear bad guys, and Team Avatar the clear good guys, straight until the end, but beyond that the series drifts closer to Grey and Grey Morality than almost any other children's show you could name.
Some of the main characters, primarily Katara, come close to crossing the line more than once.
Zuko alone is a subversion. It seems like the moral the show's trying to send is that life isn't so straightforward and it's important to remember that. Even Azula, the magnificent bitch, gets sympathy. After being betrayed by her friends, abandoned by her father, and given way too much power for her to handle, she has a mental breakdown that all stems from a perceived lack of love from her mother.
Captain Planet was famous for this trope. The bad guys were not only bad, they tended to put together their absurdly complicated plots strictly For the Evulz. Abiding by the EPA's regulations probably would have been cheaper than some of the crackpot pollution schemes these guys concocted.
Another example is the smoking episode "Butt Out", in which tobacco companies are portrayed as affable, proud of tobacco's role in building America, careful to ensure that customers are fully warned about the dangers of smoking, and perfectly fine with not living to old age. The anti-smoking activists are greasy, Wormtongue-esque characters who regularly make up evidence against smoking, try to murder a ten year old boy in the name of some of said evidence, and are overly rude to smokers, even when they're in a place where they're completely in their rights to smoke.
Though in Transformers Animated some of the Autobots are selfish, corrupt, or incompetent, though not in the main cast. Sentinel Prime,we are looking at you. Likewise, while "sympathetic" might be stretching the portrayal of the Decepticons as a whole, they are at least clearly motivated (most of them want to reconquer Cybertron, but some have other motivations).
And in the IDW comics Continuity, the conflict has its origins in Gray and Grey Morality, as the Decepticons were a group that were rising up against the corrupt government that preceded the Autobots.
Many Transformers continuities play with and partially subvert the idea, going right back to the Marvel comic series in the 1980s. It is always with individual characters though so the trope is played straight for the overall factions even if the individuals within the groups don't necessarily all adhere. Also, the trope is played painfully straight whenever Unicron is involved, usually with "Unicron = BAD Those who fight him = good"
The new book Exodus also establishes a whole lot of gray in the origins of the war and looks like a subversion, but later on plays this trope straight. Sort of.
Wander over Yonder plays this for laughs. Wander is clearly "good"—he loves to help people out, adventure and is genuinely cheerful and Sylvia, while snarky, also has fairly good intentions. Lord Hater is a Card-Carrying Villain who see himself as evil and wants to rule the galaxy. He's also a skeleton in a robe, if the "he's the bad guy" message wasn't obvious. On the other hand, instead of frightening, he's an incredibly insecure Psychopathic Man Child. Craig McCrackenhas stated that the dynamics between Wander and Hater are not so much "Good Vs. Evil" as it really is "Love Vs. Hate."
All of the main characters of Xiaolin Showdown explicitly refer to themselves as good or evil. While there is a decent bit of switching sides, (in fact, all four of the monks have been evil for some period of time, thoughfordifferentreasons), once a character turns good/evil they will be very good/evil. For example: Good!Jack is nothing but hugs and rainbows to the point where he weirds everyone else out, and Evil!Omi is a hyperactive Blood Knight who loves to cause destruction and get in fights.