Yes, even the toughest Bad around can still have a soft spot for dear old Mom. Sure, you have killed scores of men and women using only your right thigh, a roll of twine, and pure gumption, but she held you for nine months and took care of you when you were sick!
A subtrope of Pet the Dog, this is when a tough or intimidating character is made more endearing via a loving relationship with their mother. It is usually just used for a quick punchline, but occasionally the concept is a bit more fleshed-out.
While this trope usually focuses on mothers and their sons, it can just as easily focus on mothers and daughters, or fathers and their children.
This trope is why Your Mom is a universal insult; villains from the petty thief to the serial killer don't take kindly to abuse thrown at their mothers.
Also a subtrope of Even Evil Has Loved Ones. See Mama's Boy for a similar Trope. The mama in question may or may not be a Mama Bear.
When the main villain tries to keep their mama in the dark about being a bad man, then you have a case of Don't Tell Mama. If she finds out anyway, she might react with Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal. It is not usually a bad thing unless it turns into Mommy Issues.
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Anime and Manga
This concept is explored some in YuYu Hakusho when Kurama, a fox-spirit, impregnated himself into his human mother to continue his existence after nearly being killed. He planned to leave and continue his criminal ways once he regained his demonic powers, but found that he had come to love his human mother (Shiori) too much to abandon her, and was even willing to give up his life to save her from an illness. He's willing to give up your life, too, if you threaten her safety in any way.
Lelouch Lamperouge aka Lelouch Vi Brittania, the Magnificent Bastard from Code Geass, has as one of his motives to uncover the truth behind the really messy death of Marianne "The Flash" Lamperouge aka Marianne Vi Britannia, his beloved mother. When he learns that she is alive (albeit, as a "spirit" of sorts) and the Evil Plan she concocted with his father, he kills both of them, not only to stop the plan all together, but as revenge for abandoning him and Nunnally in a war zone to move that plan forward.
In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Jotaro travels all the way to Egypt, enduring constant attacks by enemy Stand users, and then faces off with a time-stopping vampire, all to save his mother. Jotaro's Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality prevents him from ever really admitting that he loves his mother, but his actions speak volumes to her, as she has always has had faith in his inner kindness, and in the end, she was right.
Dio Brando himself: In Part one he harbors a fierce anger towards his father because according to Dio in his own words he "made mother suffer". More likely, his mother would be his only Morality Pet, thus when she died, Dio is free to become a villain extraordinary, which he does with gusto.
Steel Ball Run is even more explicit about this trope with Diego Brando, who actually gets a backstory with his mother. Unfortunately, his mother died from being mistreated and neglected at the farm, causing him to become vengeful and power hungry.
InuYasha: Youkai leaderess Abi-hime's main motivation to strike a deal with Big Bad Naraku was to get the human blood she needed to save the life of her mother, Queen Tekkei, who was not only old but also was poisoned after defeating and eating an ogre. Granted, she's not portrayed as sympathetic and the mother is a giant bird youkai, but Abi's devotion to her mother is still noticeable.
Sesshoumaru is a Master Swordsman who can not only master a sword and its powers the first time he uses it, but he can even tell how sword powers should be wielded just by hearing the ability described. However, one sword - Tenseiga - proves to be truly difficult for him to master. So difficult, in fact, that he turns to his mother for help (who goes on to give him a Die or Flylesson in the value of compassion, the key to mastering Tenseiga). He not only listens to her, but he doesn't resent it either.
Inuyasha himself enters into this territory in the beginning of the series. At this point, he's still a Jerkass and very much an Anti-Hero (before his Character Development occurs). Despite all this, he is shown to truly love and care for his mother despite Kagome assuming he resents her for being human. In fact, Inuyasha's love for his mother is what causes Sesshomaru to use her form to discover the secret of Tessiga from Inuyasha.
Female version. Nao Yuuki from Mai-HiME is said to have been very close to her mother, having become a cynical "lone wolf" and child prostitute of sorts as a twisted revenge after said mother was seriously injured by thugs. This is brought up twice: when Natsuki whom she has attacked and kidnapped once accuses her of being selfish and cruel in her pursuits, causing a pissed off Nao to go into a Motive Rant and explain her backstory, and when Shizuru attacks Nao in retaliation for her attacking and kidnapping Natsuki (twice), killing Nao's CHILD * and* Mrs. Yuuki, which sends the girl into a heartbreaking Villainous Breakdown in which she screams and cries for her mother. Who fortunately gets better when Mashiro intervenes in the Grand Finale, though, letting Nao start all over.
Wholesome Crossdresser version. In Rose of Versailles, Oscar, a normally cool, passive, obedient royal guard, becomes quite outraged when Madame Du Barry, the mistress of the king, drags her mother into her high-stakes court battle against the then-dauphine Marie Antoinette. Oscar storms into Du Barry's private quarters and threatens her at swordpoint [mind, Du Barry is the favourite of the king, and needless to say threatening of any manner should have been punished by death], her sudden display of bloodlust frightening Du Barry such that she gave up the entire scheme despite having the king's protection. Although the very passionate Oscar has and would go on to lose his temper and do stupid/reckless/etc. things over other morally-charged conflicts -such as the murder of a child- this would remain by far the angriest and the stupidest, suggesting that she is a mama's girl above all else.
In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, the Big Bad has a very, very complex relationship with his mother, but he overall thinks highly of her—and, in fact, some of his motivation stems from an Awful Truth that she's a part of.
Askeladd, one of the vilest men in Vinland Saga, loves his former Sex Slave of a mother so much that whenever he makes an oath by her name, he is going to keep that oath no matter what. If he makes an oath on his father's name, however, there's a very good chance he's going to stab you in the back.
Vanilla, the gruff and short tempered sheriff from Kaiba is revealed to have been struggling to earn enough money to buy a new body for his mother shortly before he dies.
Also Popo, who has to take over the world in order to see his mother again. But then her memory chip accidentally gets destroyed...
The main reason the homunculi do what they do in Fullmetal Alchemist is because they love their father. Father just uses them for his goal, as their love makes them loyal to the end. Pride finally figures out that it was Mrs. Bradley who was the person that was giving him the love that they all crave.
Subverted in the 2003 anime version: Two of the homunculi are the resurrections of people whose biological mothers are still alive — Wrath is Izumi and Sig's dead son and Envy is Dante and Hohenheim's — but neither are particularly fond of at least one parent. Wrath instead forms a parent-child bond with Sloth, the homunculus of Trisha Elric, with whom he plays it straight. Envy can't get over his hatred of Hohenheim, and would love nothing more than to kill Hohenheim and his sons with Trisha.
Death Note - Teru Mikami is an inversion — he sees his mother as almost condoning the actions of evildoers by telling him that some things cannot be changed. When she is killed, he inwardly celebrates the death.
Villain Protagonist Light Yagami counts as well, considering that he didn't care that his dad died, and in the live-action movie, he was even willing to put his name on the Death Note.
In Trinity Blood, when Suleyman betrays and rebels against Empress Augusta Vradica, he nevertheless refuses to shoot her, instead Taking the Bullet himself. When she asks why he hesitated, all he replies before dying is: "Is there a child who doesn't love his mother?" Although he was probably not related to the Empress by blood, most vampires in the setting harbor filial feelings towards her.
Suleyman was actually more a Well-Intentioned Extremist who dearly loved the Empire and never discriminated Terrans (which casts him in a better light than most Methuselahs) in the novels, teaching this to his niece and ward Shahrazad. Also that Seth is rumored to be a monster to some people (including Lilith, who was a Messiah in the past, thought so). So their dynamic is much more complex than the anime lets on. There is a bit of parental incest on Suleyman's side (who claims she's the 'woman' he 'loves' earlier, but also the person he detests).
Aya Mikage's villainous cousin Kagami is shown visiting his insane mother in one episode, and it's implied that her legends of the 'celestial maidens' was the original driving force behind Kagami's determination to find them. It's one of the few Pet the Dog instances he gets in the entire series, between backstabbing everyone else.
Also, the YandereMiyori Sahara's Freudian Excuse was her beloved mother's murder at the hand of Ceres, during her first rampage.
The whole reason why Kaioh from Fist of the North Star went Ax-Crazy in the first place. His hatred for the main Hokuto family comes from the fact that his mother died while protecting a young Hyoh and Kenshiro.
Devil Rebirth, a huge monstrous convicted criminal was quite fond of his mother, who defended him despite the fact that he killed 700 people. Surprisingly she looked like a gentle old woman.
In Bleach, the Espada Tia Harribel has an all-female Fracción. The three girls (Apache, Mila Rose and Sun Sun) fight all the time between themselves, but they're very devoted to their mistress and she also cares for them. When they lose and get torched by Yamamoto, even after creating a fearsome Chimera by mutilating themselves, Harribel quietly and coldly goes Mama Bear on her current opponent, Hitsugaya.
Nakago of Fushigi Yuugi. She was the only family he had left, and watching her get raped—and accidentally releasing his powers and killing her in a manner most gruesome out of horror—was the reason he became a psychotic Magnificent Bastard in the first place.
Played for laughs in Desert Punk, where the leader of a gang doesn't even flinch when a letter addressed to him calls him a long list of scathing insults, but ends up "Hulking Out" when the postscript offhandedly mentions that his mother had a fat belly button. (or in the Englishdub that she was a "dirty whore")
It turns out Portgas D. Ace took the last name of his mother to honor her for extending her pregnancy at the cost of her own life so as to prevent him from being associated with his father Gold Roger. Due to having been told from a young age that his father was a demon and any children he might have had deserved to die for his crimes, Ace hated his blood father and preferred to honor his mother instead. He's not a villain, though he is a notorious pirate.
One of the reasons Doflamingo hated his father for giving up his title as a World Noble was because he believes the relatively squalid conditions they were forced to live in contributed to his mother dying of illness.
Mina, a Contractor introduced in the second season of Darker Than Black gradually comes across as an Anti-Villain, but is icily emotionless and kills without mercy (but also without taking any pleasure in the act). It's implied that she was disowned from her family prior to becoming a Contractor (perhaps because of her lesbianism), and while she doesn't get along with her father, she is taken aback when he tells her that her mother is on her death bed, and to her surprise, this distracts her during a fight with Hei.
The eponymous Villain Protagonist of Kaiketsu Zorori. He seeks out a cute bride and Zorori Castle to make her proud of him And is more than a little overjoyed at the idea of reuniting with her in Heaven.
In Maria†Holic, the only person that Mariya seems to care for is his dead grandmother. So much that he took the whole "spend a year crossdressing in an all-girls school" because it came as a last test of character from her.
In a possible subversion, Kanzaki also has some serious mommy issues — his mother commit suicide by driving her car off a cliff, while Kanzaki was sleeping inside.
Kanzaki's love for his late mother might be more than filial. He remarks that Ryoko looks like his mother, only to propose a scarpia ultimatum to her several pages later. Paging Dr. Freud!
Lucia Ravegroove from Rave Master is one of the most Ax-Crazy homicidal villains in the series, and he doesn't care about his father at all. But he loved his deceased mother very much, to the point that he named the final form of his sword, Dark Emilia, after her.
Marv of Sin City visits his frail old mother. Later he concedes to sign a confession for the villains when they threaten his mother, though he breaks the lawyer's arm first.
Mirror Master, a regular Flash villain, regularly donates money he steals to the orphanage where he was raised.
Doctor Doom, resident Big Bad of the Marvel Universe, spent years of his life trying to rescue his mother from Hell after she made an unfortunate Deal with the Devil during his childhood. Doom eventually succeeds, due to a clever plan but in the process sacrifices her love for him.
In Lord Havok And The Extremists, this is the motivation behind Lord Havok's turn to villainy. Born horribly deformed, his father, the Czar of Russia, rejected him while the Czarina harbored him and paid for his education overseas. When he receives word that the Czar killed his mother, the only person who ever cared for him, he returns to Russia to attend the funeral, kill his father, and utterly obliterate his home country as his revenge.
One issue of a Dutch comic Agent 327 has the villain defeated by one of his own mooks, after said mook heard the song "Always think kindly of your mother" being used to torture the hero.
A couple of Marvel Comics villains use their ill-gotten gains to support their mothers or grandmothers, most notably the Wrecker, an enemy of Thor, and 8-Ball, an enemy of Sleepwalker.
The first sign of Spider-Man and Fantastic Four villain Sandman's eventual Heel-Face Turn was a Christmas story where he broke out of jail to visit his elderly mom, who had no idea he was a villain. It's later established that he changed his name so his mother wouldn't know he was a crook. Much later, before he apparently dies, he asked Spider-Man to tell his mother he was sorry for not being a good-guy.
Bork, a misguided, mutated criminal, in The DCU. Committing robberies to cover for his ailing mother's medical bills, he surrendered only after Batman assured him that she would be taken care of.
Spider-Man villain the Doppelganger is a pitiful mindless creature who knows only rage, confusion, and love for his surrogate mother Shriek, who dotes on him and refers to him as her "son."
This also applies to Spider-man villain Rhino. During the Fallen Son arc mourning Captain America's death, Spidey is visiting the grave of Uncle Ben, and sees Rhino walking through the cemetery. He attacks, thinking he's up to something (despite Rhino pleading that he isn't here to fight), and their fight breaks a gravestone belonging to Rhino's mother... which was the only reason he was there in the first place. When he realizes this, Spider-Man attempts to apologize, but Rhino is, understandably, far too angry to listen.
Iron Man baddie Blacklash/Whiplash, after hearing of a vigilante targeting supervillains, went on a mad robbing spree in an attempt to amass enough money to take care of his mom once he's killed.
In the Carl Barks story "The Money Champ", Flintheart Glomgold is sad for having betrayed his mother's hopes when he used crooked means on his efforts to become the world's richest duck and feels he must get the title so this betrayal won't be in vain.
Daniel "the Battler" Axum from the brief Thunderbolts retool was a colossal, superstrong ex-supervillain and ex-con who made a living out of metahuman fights and spent a lot of his earnings on gifts for his poor mother.
Walter in The Mask Dark Horse comics universe - we never learn anything about this mysterious mute killer in the series other than that he has a "<3 Mother" tattoo on his right shoulder.
Subverted in Ms. Marvel. After Ms. Marvel defeats Moonstone, she ripped away the latter's power source, leaving her to die in 3 days unless she can find it again. Ms. Marvel then puts it on Moonstone's mother's tomb, hoping that this trope would apply and Moonstone would pull a Heel-Face Turn after apologizing to her deceased mother for what she has done. Turns out Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, so Moonstone reclaimed her power source...and smashed her mother's tomb. Moonstone killed her own mother and thought she was a weak failure. She never loved her mother or anyone else except herself.
In Wonder Woman, when Heracles was changed from a god back to a demigod, he wasn't mad about his reduced power, because he was glad to have his mother's blood back in his veins.
The only thing approaching a soft spot the manipulative and amoral supervillain Daken from Dark Avengers seems to have is for his deceased mother, Itsu. He hates his father Wolverine with a passion, yet he seems to have a very loving memory of his mother, in spite of her dying shortly before his birth.
Ares: I'm wondering what woman in her right mind would crawl in bed with that ferret of a man- Daken: That's my mother you're speaking of!
The above quote was also a Crowning Moment of Funny, as nobody present was aware that Daken was actually Wolverine's son at the time. Their expressions were priceless.
A sibling variation with Terra, of Teen Titans fame. Terra used everyone, hated good, and only cared for herself. The only times she showed true compassion were when she interacted with her long lost older brother.
Played straight in The Punisher MAX comic. Leon Rastovich was part of a child pornography ring that was busted. He turned over on a lot of his partners for a lighter sentence, but no matter what the prosecution offered him, he never turned on his mother, who was suspected of involvement.
In Luke Cage Noir, we never see it in action so much as get it spelled out for us. Josephine tells Cage that there isn't a lot to like about a creep like Tombstone... but he was always a mama's boy.
The Hood loves his mother and part of the reason he got into crime (aside from being able to support his wife and daughter) was to take care of her.
Out of all of the Terror Titans, the third Persuader, Elise Kimble, seems to have had a loving relationship with at least one of her parents. Her father utterly adored her, but her mother eventually drove him away, and it was because of her upbringing that Elise became a killer. She actually killed her mom when she found out. When she's reunited with her father years later, he tells Elise that he wanted to take her with him, but she was a dependent, which meant she was worth money to her mother. Her mom threatened to make it look like he was abusing her if he tried to take Elise, so her dad tried to spare her a life of being on the run from the law by leaving. Their happy reunion is cut short when Elise's boss, Clock King, kills her dad right in front of her.
A recent issue of Wolverine revealed that Sabretooth of all people was this. Having his old mother living in one of the most expensive nursing homes in the world and often visiting her when he wasn't out murdering people. She is beaten to death with a hammer by a member of the Red Right Hand.
Fantomex, an amoral mercenary from the X-Men comic books, who was raised to become a heartless weapon, visits his blind, old mother regularly in her world.
In the Havok & Wolverine miniseries, Wolverine gets into a barfight in Mexico after somebody called his mother a puta.note slut
Havok: Logan, you don't even know who your mother was. Wolverine: No reason not to treat her with respect.
Loki, for all his Daddy Issues, even has this once in awhile. Tyr once got Loki to help him overthrow Asgard by saying Odin had dishonored Frigga (aka Loki's adoptive mother). Loki switched sides the second he found out that wasn't true.
The first Dr. Ivo Robotnik from the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. He had two pictures of his mom, one in his bedroom and one in his office, and once the Freedom Fighters attacked, he said that he couldn't run away as he was holding scissors and his mother always told him that he should never run with scissors.
In Death Of The Family, this is James Jr's reason for selling Barbara (his sister) out to Joker.
In Garfield's case, "bad" is subjective (it depends on the situation, really), but he does love his mother dearly. A very long series of strips had him run away from home, get lost, and end up in a touching reunion with her. (The later animated special Garfield on the Town was an expanded adaptation of this story.)
Coldcast of Justice League Elite may be a Scary Black Man, but he still cares for his blind mother. He was also the reason for her blindness; his powers first emerged when he tried to save her from being raped by a gang, and well, he didn't have very good control over all the energy he produced...
Bloom County. Steve, crossed with an Oh, Crap moment for Opus, from the October 14, 1985 strip. Opus tells Steve that a crazy woman is ransacking his room and bellowing like a "great, ugly, squat walrus." Steve asks, "Squat walrus?" Opus says, "Yeah." Steve yells upstairs, "MOM?" and Opus says, "Oh, but a very NICE squat walrus!" In future strips, while his mother nags him endlessly, she is one of the few people Steve is even polite to.
This fic was the result of the author disliking fics in which Japan of Axis Powers Hetalia is portrayed as a monster towards his siblings while simultaneously not wanting to deny that the Japanese did very bad things to the Koreans and Chinese. Japan is technically not much less of a monster in it, but he does love his brothers. Possibly because they're just as bad.
This is a central theme in Past Sins. Another central theme is the question of whether Nightmare Nyx is really bad...
Ultimate Sleepwalker has a male example that shows how Even Bad Men Love Their Papas. The supervillain 8-Ball, a sociopath who's killed at least a dozen people during his armed robberies, and has also done such horrible things as firebombing a hospital for pay, uses some of the proceeds from his criminal activities to pay for the long-term hospital care of his father, whose drinking has nearly killed him.
In Frozen HeartsPrince Hans views his father as one of the few people he respects, and is deeply moved by how his mother still cares for him after everything he's done.
Film - Animated
Disney's Robin Hood has a Running Gag of the evil Prince John remembering his mother and going sucking his thumb because he was The Unfavorite, compared to his brother King Richard. He even does it while attacking his snake right-hand man. And remember, Prince John is voiced by Peter Ustinov. Also an Historical Injoke, as Richard really was Eleanor of Aquitaine's favorite child.
In Disney's Peter Pan, when Wendy is singing "Your Mother and Mine" to her brothers and The Lost Boys, Captain Hook and the other pirates overhear her. Anti-Villain Smee gets emotional, as he lifts up his shirt - and displays the "Mother" tattoo.
And apparently, if the sequel and the prequel novels are to be believed, Hook himself falls under this trope.
The Peter Pan & the Pirates version of Hook keeps a portrait of his sainted mother in his cabin, and, in "Hook the Faithful Son," is tricked into believing his mother wished for him to be a pilot, not a pirate.
In Cosgrove Hall's adaptation of Soul Music, Anti-Villain Satchelmouth Lemon has an identical tattoo, revealed in similar circumstances (although the song isn't specifically about mothers).
One of the most common instances of this trope is the stereotypical image of a large, imposing, angry biker sporting a large tattoo of a heart with "Mom" written in it on his shoulder. One would assume it's not a chest tattoo like Smee's because the giant ZZ Top beard they all seem to have have would cover it up.
The Shrek sequels show that Prince Charming is a complete and utter Mama's boy. In fact, it's his desire to make her proud that leads him to hatch another villainous plan in Shrek the Third. And his last word, before he gets trapped under a tower, is "Mummy?"
Hopper from A Bug's Life loved and/or respected his mother enough to honor her wish to not kill his younger (annoying) brother when she was on her death bed.
A very cynical approach to the trope shows up in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Zira treated all her offspring cruelly, but especially Nuka; yet Kovu and Vitani were the ones who actively rebelled, while Nuka went out of his way for Zira, such as when Kovu first refused to take part in an attack on the pridelands, and Nuka tried to take charge to win Zira's attention, yet died in the process.
Played with in Wreck-It Ralph when Sgt. Calhoun yells at her squad to make their mothers proud and Ralph shouts back that he loves his mother. Averted in that he's only "officially" a Bad Guy, not a bad guy.
Big Baby in Toy Story 3, while Lotso's henchman, qualifies. Before turning, he called his previous owner "Mama". It makes sense seeing that he's a baby doll.
Film - Live Action
2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma. After a member of the posse transporting him to the eponymous prison train insults his mother, shackled Magnificent Bastard Ben Wade promptly throws him into a ravine, and utters this line to justify it.
Wade: Day I die, Byron, I'm gettin' sprung from hell. Byron: I might think that too, if I came from the seed of a drunk gravedigger, and the rancid womb of a whore. Wade:[Whirls round, knocks back his captors, and grabs Byron from behind, holding a knife to his throat] I've always liked you Byron, but you never know when to shut up. Even bad men love their mommas. [hurls him over the cliff edge]
Joe Pesci's murderous psycho, Napoleon-complex character in Goodfellas loves his mama.
James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat. Subverted in that she's just as bad as he is.
In The Naked Gun 33 1/3, Rocco sees his mother fall off a stage, presumably dead, and shouts down to her, "I'm coming, Ma!" — possibly the most devoted mama's boy on this list. It is parody.
In the second The Legend/Fong Sai Yuk movie, when the bad guys kidnap Fong's mom, Fong goes through hell and high water to get her back, including this scene, qualifying as one of Jet Li's greatest fights, where he uses an arsenal of katanas to tear apart an alley full of mooks standing between him and where the bad guys have taken her. While blindfolded. His mother may be even more Bad Ass than he is. When he is defeated by his prospective mother-in-law in the first movie, it's his mum who goes and restores the family honour (disguised as his brother).
In the Silent Hill movie, after the terrible and bloody vengeance that Alessa Gillespie unleashed on Christabella and the whole town that burned her alive for being born out of wedlock many years ago, the only survivors are Action Mom Rose, her daughter Sharon and Dahlia, Alessa's mother. When Dahlia ask Rose why is she the lone survivor out of all the Silent Hill inhabitants, Rose tells her "Mother is God in the eyes of a child."
Boba was a clone himself; his father's price for giving his genes to make the clone army included one "unmodified" clone to be his son.
In Scrooged, the Ghost of Christmas Past shows to Bill Murray's character one of his first Christmas evenings. Murray begins to cry. Earlier, the Ghost had claimed that even Genghis Khan had to cry when he saw his own mother. Murray then claims (unconvincingly) that he's crying over the lump of meat his father got him as his Christmas present, which he didn't appreciate back then.
Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. from Little Shop of Horrors has a shrine dedicated to his deceased mother, who encouraged him to become a dentist due to his sadistic nature as a child.
Tony Montana from Scarface (1983) somewhat loves his mother, even if there are rough edges to their relationship due to her being aware of his criminal activities.
One particularly badass villain from the Fingerprints turns out to be doing everything to get revenge for her mother, who was murdered when she was a child.
Jason and his mother have a close and otherworldly relationship in the Friday the 13th series.
In the first film, the mother kills off kids in vengeance for Jason. The iconic leitmotif "ki ki ki... ma ma ma" is Mama Voorhees imagining Jason telling her, "Kill kill kill... mom mom mom!"
Before the events of Part 2, Jason made a little shrine for his mother's decapitated head and presented his victims to it.
In the crossover movie Freddy vs. Jason, Jason comes back to life because his mother tells him to do it. The "mother" was a image made by Freddy Krueger in order to start a killing spree on Elm Street. That kind of obedience can't be faked. When he found out who his 'mother' really was, Jason was not happy...
Ronnie from Little Children is a convicted pedophile who loves his mother more than life itself, and is fully aware that she is probably the only person in the world who loves him. The film is notable for making a pedophile into The Woobie upon her death.
2009 Star Trek - Though he's not exactly "bad" (more like a Jerkass) for the first half of the movie, the only way to make Spock react in the movie is to insult his mother or imply he doesn't love her. You do not want to do that unless you want the shit beaten out of you. So they kill her off.
Norman Bates in Psycho has always had a special relationship with his mother, keeping her in the old family mansion and taking care of her needs and demands, even twenty years or more after she died.
After being informed by Sidney that she's called the police, Stu (who has apparently lost all rationality and is bleeding to death) pathetically breaks down and sobs, "My mom and dad are gonna be so mad!"
Another example would be Billy, whose motive for killing Sidney's mother (and later Sidney) was that Mrs. Prescott had an affair with his father, which led to his mother walking out on them both. Sidney even calls him a "pansy-ass momma's boy."
American Gangster: Frank Lucas, drug king pin, uses his fortune to buy a Big Fancy House for his mother and fills her room with copies of furniture that was taken from them when he was five, which he had remade from memory. When the dirty detectives invade the house looking for Frank's getaway money they assault his wife, shoot his dog and demolish the furniture. Frank's mom talks him out of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge ("You don't kill cops, even I know that") by threatening to abandon him. It works, and they go to church instead where Frank is arrested by the un-corrupt cops who were investigating him.
In Brick, the Pin, a drug lord, lives with his mom. His mom even goes so far as to serve snacks during his business meetings.
In Sin City, Marv has the crap beaten out of him by crooked cops trying to get him to sign a confession. Marv spits blood at every paper they wave at him, until a slimy District Attorney shows up and threatens to kill Marv's beloved mother. Marv signs the confession almost immediately, but not before braking the DA's arm in several places.
In The Godfather Part II, After Michael Corleone learns of Fredo's treachery, he orders that nothing will happen to him while their mother is still alive. Once we see that shot of Mama Corleone in that casket...
In JCVD, The bank robbers get in multiple heated arguments over the brutal treatment of the hostages - Two of them are Affably Evil, star-struck fanboys, who'd rather get Van Damme to show off his moves than extort the hostages, while the other one opens fire on the cops multiple times, and shoots an escaping hostage in the leg. The arguments become more heated as the film progresses, but they manage to keep it all together. Until the bastard insults another robber's mother. A point-blank headshot is the response from the other robber. His reasoning? "We agreed. Nothing about our mothers."
Defied in Demolition Man. When Huxley is looking over the list of Cryo-Cons, she notes to John Spartan, "Most of these guys don't like you." He answers that most of them don't even like their own mothers.
Julian Karswell, the Satan-worshiping cult leader from Night of the Demon, is very affectionate and kind to his mother.
Subverted as "fear their mamas" in The Fifth Element: Korben Dallas is a muscular blond hero, former soldier, who likes shooting at things and who is afraid of virtually nothing... except of his irritable mom's phone calls, during which he never dares to talk back while she generously berates him as the worst son ever for not calling her enough. Although he probably is simply unable to.
In Analyze This, mob boss Paul Vitti gets very angry when Dr. Sorbel suggests that he might have an Oedipus complex (clearly, Vitti doesn't understand the term, and thinks that Sorbel is suggesting that he is actually sexually attracted to his mother). In a later scene, he's still angry at Sorbel, saying that he's been afraid to call his mother.
A gender-flipped version in Iron Man 2. Ivan Vanko, while bitter towards Tony, is perfectly willing to quietly take care of his invalid father, even though the film implies his father was abusive when he was well. But then his father dies...
Jacob Goodnight of See No Evil has a very good reason to love (or at least respect) his mother: she's the one who turned him into a serial killer in the first place! At first appearing to be a dotty old woman and one of Jacob's potential victims, she is eventually revealed to have been controlling him all along. You see, she's really a religious fanatic who believes that people deserve to die for having even the smallest of faults, and she uses her son as the vehicle for dispensing her twisted brand of justice.
In We're the Millers the One-eyed henchman is very upset when Kenny sheepishly declines a gift basket from the former's mother.
Loki from Thor still loves Frigga, his mother. It's implied she was the more attentive parent, and she gave Loki the throne in Thor when Odin was in the Odinsleep. According to his actor Tom Hiddleston, "Frigga is the only one who still cares; the only one who still sees good in him. Everyone else has let him go."
In The Dark World, Thor gets Loki to cooperate by reminding him that Malekith killed Frigga, knowing that as much as Loki wants power, he wants revenge more. When he is informed of the news, he waits until he's alone before he lets his grief-inspired rage be shown by telekinetically destroying the furniture in his cell. For a character whose main trait is deception and playing with emotions, seeing a genuine reaction to an event is meaningful. It's also revealed that it was Frigga who taught Loki a lot of his magic, so she was the more attentive parent.
Subverted in Welcome to the Punch (2013). Knowing that a Professional Killer had his grandmother prove a false alibi for a murder, they hold her hostage to force his cooperation. The killer does love his grandmother but calls their bluff, knowing that none of them can shoot an old lady in cold blood.
In X-Men: First Class, Magneto is obsessed with taking revenge for his murdered mother. The whole "tortured in a Nazi concentration camp" thing didn't necessarily help either, though.
The Craft: The Ax-Crazy witch Nancy Downs has a pretty good relationship with her mother. When her belligerent stepfather strikes the mother in a mild rage, Nancy uses her newly-received powers to give him a fatal heart attack, and ignores his suffering while checking to see if her mother is all right.
In Charlie's AngelsFull Throttle, the assassin known as The Thin Man has a soft spot for the orphanage where he grew up. He regularly donates money and gifts and the reason he gets involved in the plot is to protect Max since he was also raised at the same orphanage.
Lestat in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles is a mother's boy. He adores Gabrielle, revels in being her favorite son, and still resents every second she's not paying attention to him. He also turns her into a vampire so he never has to live through her dying.
In Beowulf, the mortally wounded Grendel returns to his mother to die. Grendel's mother then takes up the vendetta against Beowulf.
In Good Omens, Nanny Astoreth teaches about Vlad Drakula and Attila the Hun, but omits the points about Drakula always saying his prayers, or Attila being nice to his mother.
Seen (to an extent) in Hogfather; the Lilywhite boys greatly respect their deceased mother, as much out of quivering fear as love. They turn on Mr. Teatime after he snaps and goes, "To blazes with your mam!".
In the first Thursday Next book, The Eyre Affair, one of the main villain's dimwitted henchman wants a motorway services named for his mother as his part of the ransom. It's the only part of the ransom that is granted before the situation blows up.
After being shot in a duel with Pierre in War and Peace, Dolokhov goes delirious in the carriage towards the hospital, murmuring about how he can't die yet because his mother will be heartbroken.
In the Sharpe series, the Drill Sergeant Nasty Obadiah Hakeswill keeps trying to kill Sharpe. He has a picture of his dead mother inside his hat. "Mother, spread your wings and lift me high!" is his catchphrase. He once justifies an act of rape by saying, "Mother, you always wanted me to be happy." His mother helped to save him from the gallows, so he does have a point.
In Second Apocalypse his mother Istriya is the only person Xerius is not ready to execute at the first hint of a suspicion of possible treason. But then, Istriya is the person who made Xerius who he is, and they have a history of mother/son incest.
In Ken Follett's A Dangerous Fortune, the death of Edward Pilaster (a minor villain and son of Evil Matriarch Augusta) is commented on thusly by the heroes:
Hugh: "He loved his mother." Maisie: "Why do you say that?" Hugh: "It's the only good thing I can think of to say about him."
Downplayed in Crime and Punishment: at the beginning, Sympathetic Murderer Raskolnikov is very fond of his mother and sister, but, after his crime, he begins to feel uncomfortable around them and actually feels he is starting to hate them.
The last word of the mad god Torak in the Belgariad is "Mother!" It's identified by Belgarath as a cry to the one thing in the universe Torak thought loved him. (Granted, as a god, Torak's mother is the universe - long story.) He was right - for a split second after Torak's death, everything stops, as the universe mourns her lost child.
Similarly, The Tamuli has Scarpa calling for his mother as he is dying. Subverted in that he had her - and all his sisters - murdered before the start of the series.
In the non-fiction novel Inside Delta Force, the ex-Delta operator Hanley explains an incident from the training where he received a strike against him by the evaluating shrink for being "uncooperative." The reason? He refused to complete the portion of the psych eval which asked selectees to complete the phrase "I love my mother but..." When questioned about this, Hanley replied, "I love my mother. No buts. Don't project your issues onto me." The strike was removed and Hanley went on to pass selection.
Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read wrote in his first book, Chopper: From the Inside, that the best way to find a criminal that didn't want to be found was either to wait outside their mother's house or to put her in hospital. They would always turn up because their love for their mums was so predictable
Dong Zhuo in Romance of the Three Kingdoms is possibly the most vicious tyrant in the book. When he finds out he's going to ascend to emperor, one of the first people he tells is his mother.
Paul Atreides in Dune. Even psychic demigod warlords love their mamas.
The Inquisitor and powerful vampire Witeslaw in the Night Watch series is mostly completely stoic and utterly ruthless, and in his first meeting with the protagonist, casually mentions that he's eaten children. However, in Twilight Watch, she shows a reluctance to interact with an elderly woman and to use the word mother. It's explained that as a young vampire, he lost control of himself and killed his mother, something which fills him with great shame.
Artemis Fowl may be a criminal mastermind, but he'll do anything - including giving up half of his loot or traveling to the past to save an extinct species - to make his mother Angeline healthy and happy again.
The Army of Helaman or Helamen's Stripling Warriors from The Book of Mormon are in fact heroic young men who learned righteousness from their mothers.
Clearly not the case with Left Behind Antichrist villain Nicolae Carpathia, as he and Viv Ivins had engineered Marilena Carpathia's death when he was no longer in need of his mother.
At one point in the Black Company series, Croaker and Lady are arguing about Dominator - former, beliving in Gray and Gray Morality is trying to convince the latter that even he had to have a good side and uses this trope as one of the possibilities. Lady says he probably ripped his mother's throat with his bare hands.
The In Death series: Averted. A number of the murderers in the series have Mommy Issues, and a number of them murdered their mothers first.
"See," said Hook in answer to Smee's question, "that is a mother. What a lesson! The nest must have fallen into the water, but would the mother desert her eggs? No."
There was a break in his voice, as if for a moment he recalled innocent days when - but he brushed away this weakness with his hook.
Septimus Heap: Simon Heap still cares about his mother while he's trying to kill his siblings.
In the third entry in The Sellswords by R. A. Salvatore, Artemis Entreri returns to his hometown of Memnon in Calimshan and butchers the corrupted priesthood of Selûne who made his life hell as a child. What sets him off is when he asks for a prayer for his mother's soul, and the high priest tries to exact payment for it.
One of the major unanswered questions of We Need to Talk About Kevin is what Kevin (a school shooter who seemed to deliberately cultivate the image of The Sociopath) really felt towards his parents. Despite seeming to have tried from infancy to make his mother, Eva, as miserable as possible, even if it hurt him too, many of his actions could be interpreted as a phenomenally twisted means of trying to bond with her in his own way. His relationship with his father is also quite difficult to fathom, as he hid his sociopathy from him and played the perfect son, and years later Eva still can't tell if Kevin was trying to hurt her by causing her husband to mistrust her when she tried to tell him that Kevin was seriously disturbed, or whether Kevin was trying to please his father by concealing what he truly was, or was actually showing some sort of respect for Eva by letting her see his true self. She is also unsure as to whether Kevin's reaction to his father being completely taken in by the charade was simple contempt for his stupidity or emotional pain that his father clearly loved the mask and never tried to look past it. The best example of this ambiguity is The Reveal that before he started the school shooting, he killed his father and his little sister (who hero-worshipped him,) while leaving his mother alive. Whether this was because he loved her more than them and so couldn't bear to kill her, or because he wanted her to live on and suffer, is unclear. The fact that Kevin is a Consummate Liar and Eva is an Unreliable Narrator makes it even more difficult to form conclusions.
Elmer in the novel Elmer Gantry is a self-absorbed sociopath who nevertheless speaks warmly of his mother. Elmer admits to Sharon that she and his mother are the only women he's ever respected.
Female example: in the sequels to The Warded Man, Inevera is a Manipulative Bitch, Evil Sorceress and Lady Macbeth to a Knight Templar warlord, but she legitimately loves her mother, a humble basket merchant, and is even shown going to her for advice on occasion (Inevera, for the record, is a law unto herself and never takes advice from anyone- except her mom). Now, she hated her Father, on the other hand, which was in large part due to how he treated her mother and older brother (and she ended up exacting revenge on him for it).
In the Carl Hiaasen novel Stormy Weather, mobster Ira Jackson goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the real estate agent who sold his mother a defective home and the roofing inspector who didn't do his job properly, after a hurricane destroys the property and kills Jackson's mother.
Thinner: Mobster Richie Ginelli adores his Italian mother and loves to keep her around.
Despite being a hammy bad guy, Hawkfrost from Warrior Cats loves his mother Sasha. In fact, he scolds the ThunderClan cats for chasing her and bids farewell to her when the Clans move.
A fan asked on Vicky Holmes' Facebook page, "Does Tigerstar love his mommy?" The answer was "Oh yes."
Kalide in The Legendsong is quite devoted to his mother, although this is to be expected given that Coralyn is the one with the power and schemes. What is more surprising is the way that Tarsin puts up with her, despite knowing that she and his brother are plotting against him.
The Charlie Parker Series has Jackie Garner and the Fulci brothers, thugs whose only real redeeming factor is their love for their mothers. Arguably, Louis also fits this trope, a hardened assassin whose love and respect for the women who raised him has led him to swear to never kill a woman.
It should be noted that despite his setting into motion a plan to kill him, Garthe flies into a rage and attacks Michael after Michael off-handedly insults his Momma's Boy status.
Danny from Hustle is very close to his grandmother despite being something of a Jerkass on occasion.
Jayne Cobb, the Token Evil Teammate of Firefly, is seen in "The Message" to have a close relationship with his mother, judging by the letter (and the "cunning" knit hat) he receives from her. The other crewmembers are clearly amused by this discovery. In the comic "Better Days", his fantasy ship is called the "Radiant Cobb". When everyone finds this amusing, he protests, "That's my mama's name!"
Blackadder: If I don't make it back, please write to my mother and tell her that I've been alive all the time; it's just that I couldn't be bothered to get in touch with the old bat.
Beautifully inverted by Bernard in Black Books. Whilst filling out his tax form: "Mother's maiden name... Christ, what's her first name? I just knew her as ma! That'll have to do. Ma. [Beat] Possibly deceased."
Later in the same episode, while procrastinating on his taxes, he actually calls his mother, cue '11 seconds later'.
Bernard: "I know... I am... yeah, I know... yes, yes... yep.. Yes I know, goodbye, I have to do my taxes!".
Gabriel Gray (or Sylar) from Heroes is revealed to be a mama's boy in his Season 1 Back Story episode. His whole obsession to be special came from his mother constantly telling him that he was and he needed to prove it to himself. Too bad she got shocked at what he became, tried to attack him with a scissors, which he stopped, but accidentally stabbed her in the chest. To top it off after her death he finger-paints a vision of the destruction of N.Y. city with her blood.
He even loves the mama he never knew so much that he tracks down his biological father so that he can kill him.
Many suspects on Dog The Bounty Hunter, even those with myriad felony charges against them, will often become emotional when family members or loved ones are mentioned when talking to them en-route to jail. Some will even take the opportunity to call them to apologize for their actions before being taken to jail.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike gets along with Buffy's mother, both because she treats him with courtesy (even commiserating when Drusilla dumps him) and because of his close relationship with his own mother, which ended badly after he made her a vampire so that he could live in blissful trinity with her and Drusilla (to Dru's consternation).
In Mash, after Major Houlihan marries, Major Burns has a nervous breakdown, and becomes so bad that Colonel Potter threatens him with a Section 8. Radar solves the problem (at least temporarily) by getting Burns' mother to call and speak to him. (Radar tells Potter that, "Sometimes, a guy just has to talk to his mother.")
Gender Flipped on Angel with Lilah, an Amoral Attorney employed by the forces of Hell. Her mother has Alzheimer's and Lilah pays for her to stay in a nursing home in another city. In one episode the two have a phone conversation, during which the mother apparently starts crying when Lilah tries to explain that she can't visit her that day.
Paulie Walnuts is so nuts about his mother that he gets violent when other wise guys insult their mothers in his presence. That is, until he finds out his "mother" was really his aunt, and his real mother was a nun who broke her vows. Then he goes crazy on both of them. He later makes up with her though.
Played with with Tony and his deeply troubled relationship with Livia. He goes through a lot of effort to take care of her even though she's a cold, manipulative Evil Matriarch. He eventually severs ties with her after she tries to have him killed.
Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #31: "Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother." Subverted in the Expanded Universe by adding, "Insult something he cares about instead." However, Quark and Rom are both mama's boys.
It doesn't hurt that Quark got his lobes for business from his mother. As such, once his mothers business acumen is out in the open, and Quark is willing to accept a female earning profit, she's his only family member who shares interests with him. And unlike the standard example of this trope, Ishka is no saint. While she does push for equal rights for women, it's the equal right to be just as greedy as the men. The love of greed only gives her and Quark more to bond over.
Capt. Picard is no bad man, but he is a Bad Ass. A memorable first season episode saw the always stoic, completely unflappable Picard go completely mushy when he hallucinated and thought he was talking to his mother again.
Worf is like this when he's around the Rozhenkos, his human adoptive parents. It's at least partially forced, as while he genuinely cares about his parents and wishes to honor them, this manifests in a somewhat personally uncomfortable change in behavior. His parents know exactly what he's doing and wish that Worf would realize they'd love and be proud of him anyway. Still, he once beat five teenage boys for referring to his mother in a "disrespectful" way. When he himself was seven.
As Michael from Burn Notice puts it, "Thirty years of karate. Combat experience on five continents. A rating with every weapon that shoots a bullet or holds an edge. Still haven't found any defense against Mom crying into my shirt."
In a later episode, Madeline goes to a man's apartment to get something for Fiona, but instead of giving it to her, he terrorizes her and kicks her out of the apartment. So Madeline turns to Michael for help. Michael, having obtained what he came for, breaks the guy's arm.
In an episode of Life, a scammer got murdered, because he scammed a biker guy's mom.
Even though he is not a "bad" man (just a scary black one), B.A. Baracus from the The A-Team loves his mother so much, he temporarily gives up his fear of flying to quickly get to his mother when she needs help.
Omar Little of The Wire takes his grandma to church on Sundays. When gunmen shoot at him while he does so, their bosses are particularly horrified. Even Evil Has Standards!
Grinning maniac Judge Frasier of This Is Wonderland. Although his own mother is probably long dead, he has a great respect for the bond between mother and child, and tends to be more lenient when moms are on trial.
In Prison Break, The Company implicitly threatens Bagwell's mother. This leads to him threatening dire vengeance should they follow through.
When T-Bag returns on Breakout Kings, he demonstrates just how far he's willing to go to deal with the two former orderlies who sexually assaulted his mother in a nursing home.
Seen in Chuck when John Casey (not actually evil but not the nicest guy on the show) calls his mother during a hostage situation.
"Mom? It's Johnny Boy."
Subsequently subverted when it's revealed that his birth name is Alex Coburn. The call can then be interpreted as him reporting on the situation to Beckman.
Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory is incredibly stubborn, but he listens to his mother, who Leonard refers to as [Sheldon's] Kryptonite. Sheldon is even more devoted to his grandmother, whom he calls Mee-maw. This comes to the forefront when Raj and Howard try to upset Sheldon with Your Mom jokes. When that doesn't work, they start talking about his Mee-maw, which pisses Sheldon off pretty much immediately.
Non-human example: On All Creatures Great and Small, the two vets were chased up a tree by an enraged bull, which the farmer didn't dare approach for fear of being gored. To rescue them, he brought an elderly cow to the paddock, and the bull immediately calmed down and became tractable in her presence. She was the bull's mother.
Inverted in Criminal Minds in one episode: the killer's mother was his first victim.
Inverted and subverted in Battlestar Galactica. Cavil refuses to acknowledge that he loves Ellen as his mother but is implied to have loved her all along and sought her approval, only to believe that Ellen never loved him back. Ellen insists she always cared for Cavil but she can't convince him because she never shared his more morally-grey beliefs and philosophies. The result of those differences make their relationship a supremely messed up one.
The whole Cylon race counts really. They persistently refer to humanity as their parents, yet have gleefully justified their genocide at the same breath.
Clavo Cruz in CSI: Miami. He's a drug dealer, murderer, and generally appalling person, but when his father makes a threatening move towards his mother, he instantly puts himself between them.
In an episode of the original The Outer Limits, a group of Earth soldiers are captured by an alien race. They are tortured and subjected to hallucinations. A young Martin Sheen plays a loud, bigoted soldier who is reduced to tears (and possibly treason) by a visit from his mother (visible only to him).
When a convicted mass murderer escapes from prison, he visits his dying mom at the hospital and asks her to forgive him for his crimes. She refuses, and he goes to shoot a bunch of kids for no reason.
In "Jeopardy," a triple murderer accepts a plea deal for the maximum if McCoy doesn't prosecute his mother for bribing a judge to get his first case thrown out.
An interesting example in Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's clear that Dr. Forrester blames his violent, cruel mother Pearl for making him the hate-filled sociopath that he is. That said, in the episode where she is introduced, Forrester desperately attempts to gain his mother's approval, and in later seasons where Pearl was a recurring character, he was almost HER lackey. Sadly, it's also made painfully clear that Pearl's feelings towards her son are significantly less than favorable. However, when he dies during the course of the series (due to the actor leaving the show), she responds with remarkably powerful grief and rage.
On an episode of ER, the normally Jerkass surgeon Dr. Robert "Rocket" Romano is gleefully describing the elaborate plans he has for his mother to celebrate Mother's Day. At the stunned reaction from the rest of the ER staff, he quips, "I bet you didn't even think I had a mother, did you?". To which one of the nurses muttered, "Can't imagine what she's like."
We learn in season 8 that in human life Crowley's mother was a witch. He speaks of her in passing, but she did pass some of her magical knowledge on to him (which also explains how he came in contact with demons before becoming one himself), implying a close bond.
The twist in "Vatos" when a grandmother comes out of nowhere and manages to defuse the impending shootout between Rick's group and the Latino gang. Then subverted when it is revealed that the gang were actually good people all along trying to protect the residents of an elderly home.
Gender Flipped on Once Upon a Time which gives us “Even Bad Women Love Their Daddy” not enough to not sacrifice him for revenge, however against Snow White.
Bound to show up eventually in Justified given the nature of the setting, and it did with Tanner Dodd, a thug and fugitive from Season 3.
In the British comedy sketch show The Fast Show, the incredibly posh-accented Cockneys go up north, and immediately prior to meeting incredibly-posh-accented Geordies and an incredibly-posh-accented Yardie from Kingston (near Richmond-upon-Thames), they announced themselves as "tough as old boots, but we love our old mums". This is likely in reference to one or more of several real-life East End gangsters who were known to be in thrall to their mothers.
House Of Saddam: Saddam with his own mother at first, before telling her that she "gave him nothing" on her deathbed. Played straight with Qusay and Uday concerning their relationship with Sajida. Uday brutalizes a confidante for setting up his father with a new mistress to protect his mother's honour.
Nas, a famous rapper who's made several very dark/violent songs, made a tribute song to his mother on his album God's Son named "Dance". May induce tears.
Ghostface Killah, a rapper from the Wu-Tang Clan (self-explanatory), made a song "All That I Got Is You" dedicated to his "mommy" on his first album.
The Decemberists' "Mariner's Revenge Song" tells the story of a young gentleman whose mother is seduced by a conman and left to die penniless. He spends the rest of his life haunted by visions of his mother imploring him to hunt down and slaughter the man. Even when he and his quarry are swallowed by a whale, doomed to certain death in its belly, he's almost giddy that he has the opportunity to tell the conman why he's about to torture him to death as his final act.
"And mama don't cry, ya son can handle his/ I got her out the hood and put her in the hills/ Yeah when I was fourteen I told my mom we will see better days/ And sure enough I got Miss Cita in a better place"
And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole. No-one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried. Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading, I denied. That leaves only me to blame 'cos Mama tried.
A fascinating version comes off of Tool's 10,000 Days album. Though Tool certainly doesn't classify under "bad men," the song "Wings of Marie", is certainly a representation of something like this trope. A two part, seventeen minute long Epic Rocking tribute from Maynard James Keenan to his mother, who lived approximately ten thousand days while paralyzed and wheelchair-bound from a severe stroke, it's arguably the most loving and emotionally wrenching song Tool has ever done.
You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never ever choose to be Oh so many ways for me to show you how your savior has abandoned you
Angry (Feet) by Tim Minchin both uses and subverts this.
My mother was a stupid bitch... caring lady She taught me all I know Although I was a little slow, she never gave up She never let me slut - down Although she spent a lot of time at the neighbor's house When my dad was out of town...
Tupac gave us the song "Dear Mama". While Tupac didn't grow up in the best of backgrounds, his undying love for his mother bleeds through in the lyrics. Whether it's her supporting him through the best (and worst) of times, or vice versa, the mother-son bond never broke.
This is true for most Hip Hop/R&B stars who came from rough neighbourhoods/single-parent homes: first thing they do after making it big is to buy a house for their mothers.
The Lonely Island's "Mama" parodies the tendency of otherwise "bad boy" type rappers to make sensitive shout-outs to their moms. They're in the middle of recording such a song when one of the guy's mothers enters the studio unannounced, and she repeatedly gets verbally abused by the guys for doing so.
King Oedipus. (Not like that!) He left home at once when told he was going to kill his father and marry his mother, which he thought meant the people who'd raised him. It didn't work out, but he tried.
Stretching "bad" a bit (if you consider someone bad simply because he was a heavy drinker who liked to party all the time), but Dionysus loved his mother Semele enough to rescue her from The Underworld once he reached adulthood. Plus the excessive revenge he took in Bacchae when his mortal family insulted her...
The Undertaker. In 1998, during the introduction of Kane and the revelation of Paul Bearer being Kane's father, the Deadman received quite a few beatings and insults. But it wasn't until Paul Bearer called Taker's mom a whore live on TV that he sprung into action and gave his former ally the asskicking he deserved. Even the Lord Of Darkness loves his mama.
In Ivory's segment on the WWF Divas: Postcard from the Caribbean 2000 VHS release (see below under Kayfabe), she says that when she was growing up her grandmother would always refer to her as "her little SNOT! She'd say, 'There's my little snot, my little brat'. So when I'm being Ivory with her big mouth, cutting someone up on the mic, I think of my grandma. I'm thinking, 'Yeah grandma, here's your little snot, doing it again.'"
Can even an Archdevil, a ruler of Hell who is, for all practical purposes, Made of Evil, show love for her mother? If the case of Glasya, the ruler of the sixth layer of Hell in Dungeons & Dragons cosmology, definitely. Her mother was the consort of Asmodeus, the Overlord of Hell (her father, naturally), who was murdered by Levistus, the ruler of the fifth layer of Hell centuries ago (a treasonous crime that caused Levistus to become both the ruler and a prisoner of his domain). It's no secret that Glasya utterly despises Levistus for the death of her mother, and one of her biggest goals since becoming ruler of her own layer is revenge, possibly by finding enough evidence of Levistus' treachery (or planting some) to convince her father to eradicate him completely.
Another extreme example from this cosmology is Bahgtru, the orcish god of strength and the son of Gruumsh, the chief god of the orcs. Bahgtru is known for being incredibly stupid, but he has Undying Loyalty towards his father; and one source claims he has even greater loyalty towards his mother, Luthic. (Given that orcs tend to be misogynistic as a species, and Luthic is willingly submissive to her husband, that's really saying something.)
Even in Warhammer Fantasy, you can find bad guys loving their mommas. Malekith is the king of possibly the most evil race in Warhammer (which tells you something), but he is nothing if not absolutely devoted in loving his eternally young mom Morathi. Kinda subverted in that she's as much his concubine as his mother.
In Dead End, gangster Baby-Face Martin returns after ten years to see his mother...and is genuinely hurt when she rejects him for being a killer.
The indie play Murder's in the Heir features handsome Manipulative Bastard and Casanova Jordan Starkweather, a greedy, selfish, enormously cocky playboy who tries to con several people into killing his great-uncle Simon Starkweather for Simon's multibillion dollar estate. He doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone but himself — and his mother, Fiona, the only person in the show he shows genuine affection and caring towards.
Teyrn Loghain and his daughter Queen Anora in Dragon Age: Origins serve as each others' Morality Pets. No matter how much of a self-serving power-hungry Jerkass either is, they still love each other, though power never stops being a conflict between them.
Shown also in the Human Noble origin, where no matter what personality you assign to the Warden, s/he loves both his/her parents very much. S/he's very clearly father Bryce's favorite child, and a large chunk of the origin story is spent protecting mother Eleanor during an invasion. This makes the ending of the origin especially heartbreaking, since the Human Noble is the only origin who has two good, loving parents. They both get murdered.
The Dwarf Noble gender-flips the trope by being the favorite child of King Endrin, the ruler of Orzammar. The love between the father and his middle child is so well-known to the citizens of the dwarven city, most of them expect Endrin to name the Dwarf Noble as heir to the throne rather than firstborn son Trian.
The sequel has Anders, who by the end of the game is an insane demonically possessed terrorist; but even at the height of his madness, his most prized possession is the embroidered pillow his mother made for him, the only thing of his parents' he was allowed to keep when he was taken by the Templars at age twelve and imprisoned in the Circle Tower as a mage. His giving it away to Varric is a good sign that he's become a Death Seeker. This is probably why Varric, notoriously Genre Savvy almost to a fault, refuses the gift and insists that Anders keep the pillow.
Also in the sequel, no matter how hard-ass, violent, or outright psychotic you play Hawke, his/her voice still trembles and sounds as if he/she is holding back tears while searching for their mother after she had been abducted in Act 3.
Sam & Max: Freelance Police - Season 1 Episode 3: The Mole, The Mob, and the Meatball has a professional card shark who is very fond of his late mother. When he gets on the protagonists' bad side and decides to withhold information, they decide to interrogate him with 'Yo Mama' jokes.
Subverted on Grand Theft Auto III - if you listen to the Chatterbox radio station, eventually you'll hear Tony (the local Mafia boss) call in and complain bitterly about being smothered by his 'ma'.
Tony: It's my ma. She don't think I'm a real man. Can you imagine that? I mean, I do a man's job and all, but... she treats me like a little boy! All I get is 'Your pa' this, and 'Your pa' that, and 'You're not a real man, Tony!' And it's driving me... freakin' nuts!
In Liberty City Stories, the prequel where you play as Tony, his mother actually puts out a hit on him (in a Shout-Out to The Sopranos), but retracts it once he becomes a made man.
EarthBound: This is actually a huge part of Giygas' backstory. Earthbound Zero implies that his insanity was caused by his inability to understand or cope with his feelings toward Maria, the human who raised him.
Porky in Mother 3. His favorite restaurant is staffed with robots in his mother's likeness. Sure, it's creepy, but that's about as close to love as he gets.
Before that came Giygas in the original MOTHER. To defeat him, the party had to sing the lullaby his human mother sang to him.
In Fallout 3, your character can be a living, walking embodiment of good, or Satan's favorite mortal. Either way, you'll goes through hell and high water just to find your dad. This being Fallout 3, you have the choice of why. At one point in the game, you also can, if you choose, express explosive anger over your mother dying in childbirth.
Kanji from Persona 4 is an odd example. He loves his mom and he feels sorry for her for all the stuff he puts her through. To make up for it he beats up a biker gang that kept her up at night.
The Sniper. Although considering his father has essentially forsaken him as a "crazed gunman", it's more or less by default.
The Scout too: he is a major Jerkass and a Sociopathic Hero but gets majorly pissed off when he finds out that the enemy Spy is having sex with his mother. Further in-game quotes also suggest he loves his mother very much. Although that freakin' Scout was the Spy, so that would probably have been the Scout's reaction to seeing the pictures anyway.
The Demoman bought a mansion for his mother, and makes her tea.
He holds down three multi-million dollar jobs just to make her happy. She doesn't need the money, having those jobs are her requests.
Dead or Alive - Ayane, generally a cold and bitter girl as a result of her upbringing and the prejudice against her for the circumstances of her birth nonetheless lets the armor crack and the tears slip when she's forced to kill her adoptive father(and the only person that ever showed her concern growing up besides Kasumi and Hayate), Genra, after DOATEC transforms him into the demonic Omega.
Dead Or Alive Dimensions reveals that Ayane also has a good relationship with her biological mother.
The remake of the original Resident Evil gives us Lisa Trevor, a humanoid abomination subjugated to numerous tests for a slew of viruses for years. Although she's chronologically forty and devoid of sanity, she still just wants to see her mother.
In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, the death of Laharl's mother is one of the main reasons he's so emotionally messed up. Likewise, in Disgaea 2, Axel's primary motivation for his acting career is so he can take care of his sick mother. And according to The World of Disgaea 2, the jacket he wears was made by her as well.
In Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulationsit's completely subverted. Dahlia wants to kill Maya for personal reasons, not for her mother's plan to make Pearl the future matriarch of the Kurain clan.
In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Enemy Chatter reveals that at least one of the Joker's mooks is nervous about dumping a suspicious contaminant into the Gotham City water supply because his beloved mother, who lives down by the docks, might get affected by it. The other men laugh at him, and imply his mother is an ugly whore.
Averted by Calender Man in Arkham City. In his own words
""M" was for the murderous look she gave me.
"O" meant only that she was weak and old.
"T" is for her terror as she fought me.
"H" is for her heart that I now hold.
"E" is for her eyes swiftly dimming.
"R" means rot, and soon rotting she will be.
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER", a word that means a corpse to me. Happy Mother's Day, Mommy."
Averted in the sequel game, where one mook tells of how he killed his mother with a poisoned birthday cake.
Perhaps the only redeeming feature of the Glukkon race of the Odd World games is their absolute devotion to their mother. That "Mother" singular, as every Glukkon is the child of Lady Margaret.
The reason main character Batsu gets involved in the events of Rival Schools: United by Fate is because his mother Shizuku is one of the school kidnapping victims. The kidnappers happen to be Batsu's estranged father and his previously unknown cousins.
Red Dead Redemption: John Marston is a pretty polite guy, but still a hardened outlaw through and through; the only people in the game that he doesn't see as either a means to an end or as a disposable nuisance is Bonnie MacFarlane, and his wife and son.
Kratos from God of War. He is shown to care for his mom. When she was turned by Gods into a monster which Kratos had to kill, thus killing his own mother, he was shown to be very devastated by her death, and outraged at Gods. He took her body into his arms. And he also did her will, and decided to look for his brother.
The Agorian Leader in the Battle of Zanifar in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, when you shoot down his ship, ends up sinking into the water, during which he promptly screams for his momma to save him because he can't swim.
Muggshot from the Sly Cooper series. When Bentley is trying to lure him into a fight in the third game (a trick to get him to fight Sly's police officer Love Interest and eliminate both as a threat to their current scheme), all of his insults Muggshot either brushes aside, either with surprising wit, bashing through them with raw ego, or outright dismissing what he said because it was too complicated. Only when Bentley insults Muggshot's mother does he become angry enough to agree to the fight.
Dante from Dante's Inferno is shocked to find his mother condemmed in the Wood of the Suicides. Granted, he had been led to believe that she died of a fever, but it's still a Tear Jerker moment. Especially considering that she did it out of desperation, no thanks to her husband's abuse and mistreatment of her and Dante.
Bringing the head to the place where Lucien was executed and kicking it around the room nets an understandably shocked reaction from Mathieu.
Clive Barker's Undying: Lizbeth kept the animated corpse of her mother in her lair, seated at a dining table and presumably "keeping her company."
In his arcade intro in Ultra Street Fighter IV, Hugo is challenged by a crowd of rogue Mad Gear members. He stomps out of his trailer, making the ground shake with every step. He looms over his foes, and slurps down an entire can of potatoes. There's an ominous moment of silence...and then Hugo starts bawling because he misses his mother's home-grown potatoes!It must be seen to be believed. Turns out that making fun of potatoes is Hugo's Berserk Button.
Kazuya Mishima from Tekken, despite being an unabashed asshole and an incarnation of Devil himself, has a soft spot to his mother, Kazumi. While at first only shown in the non-canon movie, Tekken 7 reveals that he LOVES his mom, and the fact that Heihachi killed her, according to him, was just one of the reasons why he hates his old man.
Female example: in Boy Meets Boy, Tabitha's mother is the Devil. Tabitha loves her and it appears the only thing she fears is her mother being disappointed in her.
Although not a bad man by any stretch of the imagination, Lawful GoodDeadpan SnarkerNodwick complains about being cloned, "Could you at least tell me which helmet is mine? It was a gift from my mom."
Drip, the Sin of Lust in Jack, does not avert or subvert this trope so much as utterly pervert it in the form of his relationship with his grandmother. Her constant emotional and sexual abuse towards him as a child shaped him into becoming the sadistic rapist we met him as, so it's no surprise she ended up in Hell, too. She's now imprisoned in a wall of Drip's infernal lair, but that doesn't stop her from continuing the same abuse—all of it—right where she left off, nor does it make Drip any less cowed by her.
The darker-haired Mystery Solving Teen from Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant "Fuckin' loves [his] grandma, so fuck off."
Ray Smuckles may at times be a bad dude with a rich elitist streak. But true to the trope, he loves his mama so much that when she tells him to back down from running for President, he backs down.
Brian Goldstein, the Big Bad Pirate King in the Union Series exemplifies this. When the ship carrying his mother is seized by a Colonial frigate So they can use his mother as a bargaining chip. causes him to take a level in Badass just to rescue his mother, ultimately being shot for his trouble. His last words to his mother, as she cradles his broken and bleeding body. "Mama, it hurts." Heartbreaking, even for a Big Bad.
The actual Joe (the actor, not the character) has confirmed that he's a momma's boy himself, so there's a good chance it translated into the character. On the commentary for his Man of Steel crossover review, he got extremely pumped up when Superman (one of his idols) defended his mother with extreme force, saying he could empathize.
"You don't mess with my momma!"
In Vaguely Recalling JoJo, J. Geil doesn't care about Joseph when he got infected with the Lovers Stand. He cares about Enya Geil's welfare and takes her to the hospital with Dio after Steely Dan uses the Lovers Stand on her.
Inverted in Gargoyles with Demona and her daughter.
"He once fed an entire village..." "Oh, that's nice!" "To his mother." "That's... less nice, but at least he cares about his mama!"
Johnny Bravo loves his mama; in fact, it's one of his few redeeming qualities. He isn't actively BAD; however, he is obnoxious, vain, and so clueless it can warp the laws of time and space. But he loves his mom.
Subverted with Ma Beagle of DuckTales, who treats her boys like dirt, even though they love her.
Mom, of Mom's Friendly Robot Company on Futurama. All robots love her, so much that it's sickening - and we do mean all of them, from the animated gift cards to the Destructor, a Robotic armour-tank whose very use in battle has been ruled a war crime, and including the Gender Bender robot who wears a pink tutu.
The closest Bender has to a "mother" is the industrial robot who built him. Still, he gets kind of choked up when he gets an X-Mas card from "her" in one episode.
Spoofed in the Looney Tunes short "Deduce, You Say", in which the little old flower seller Dorlock Holmes [Daffy] harasses turns out to be the hulking Shropshire Slasher's beloved Mother. After the ensuing melee dies down, they head off down the street:
"I told the nice gen'lman I'd give meself up now, mother." "You always was a good boy, Slasher."
Louie: Man that's a spirit lifter. I could whack my own mother now. Fat Tony: Funny you should mention that... Louie: What?! Aw, but she makes such great pasta. Fat Tony: It comes in a can. Louie: She's a corpse.
In the episode "Sweets and Sour Marge", the day planner of an evil CEO consists of nothing but "Evil Deeds", except for an hour break for "Lunch with Mom".
Bart Simpson is proud to be America's Bad Boy, but he really does love his mom. Like in the World of Warcraft-expy where he was a Dark Lord and protected his mother's character from goblins and revived her. Then there's the real world where he's willing to defend his mother from an Ultimate Martial Artist. In "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" Bart asks his parents for a tattoo for Christmas and Marge said no. Later Bart gets a tattoo with "MOTHER" written on a heart, hoping it would flatter her. It didn't.
He also knows when his antics goes too far when it upsets her.
A variant: in "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," the criminal Dwight's problems seem to stem largely from being abandoned by his mother as a child. He latches onto Marge as a Parental Substitute after she shows him some compassion during a hostage situation and becomes hurt when Marge doesn't want to visit him in prison.
Averted with Mr. Burns. He never forgave his mother after her affair with President Taft.
On the other hand, he does get very angry with Homer later in the same episode for impersonating her, and at Smithers for putting him up to it.
Whether Krusty counts as "bad" or not is subjective, but he does seem to have a soft spot for his mom. In "Krusty Gets Kanceled", when it is revealed that Luke Perry is his "worthless half-brother" whom he hates, Perry convinces him to let him have a part on his special "for mom's sake". (Of course, he's close to his formerly estranged father too, the entire plot of "Like Father, Like Clown" dealing with that.)
Continuity regarding Nelson's parents tends to vary, but he does tend to at least respect his mom. In one episode when Milhouse's parents divorce, Nelson actually sympathizes with him, and is nearly brought to tears remembering his own mother's addiction. In a later episode, Nelson's dad picks him up and says he's taking him to Hooters, and Nelson is a little upset, saying, "Aw, I don't wanna bother mom at work!"
In Evil Con Carne, Hector is terrified of disappointing his elderly mother. All these years he's been telling her he's a dental hygienist as opposed to an international arch-criminal. Apparently, his mother never watches the news, because Hector's charade works for far longer than it should, even when his mom visits his lair.
Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was revealed to have a still-living mother on the show, whom he presumably loved but who really cramped his style. Possibly a subversion to the trope above: by the end of the episode he teleports her out of the Technodrome and back to her retirement home, then laughs triumphantly and with great relief.
In the 2003 series, the horror-filled/Tear Jerker episode "Insane in the Membrane" focuses heavily on Baxter Stockman's loving memories of his dead mother.
Dr. Drakken of Kim Possible. Despite being out to rule the world and loudly bragging about his supervillain status to anyone who will listen, he still hasn't managed to "come out" to his mom about being a maniacal powermad villain. She thinks he has his own radio show; his real name is Drew Lipsky, and it's implied she mistakes him for Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Professor Dementor has a soft spot for his mother.
And by the same token, her brother Zuko, when he's evil. However, the flashbacks show that Zuko was very devoted to their mother, Princess Ursa, who doted on him. The finale gives us a scene of Zuko asking his father, in prison, a question to which we still don't know the answer: "Where is my mother?"
The series also has an aversion. Yon Rha is not very fond of his abusive hag of a mother, at one point suggesting that another character kill his mother so as to Pay Evil unto Evil. He is very obviously excited by this prospect.
The Legend of Korra: When Noatok Amon rebels against his father, he leaves and tells his brother Tarrlok to come with him. The latter doesn't want to leave his mom despite his father's cruelty.
Subverted to humourous effect in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Robotnik has a mother, but she's bats-in-the-belfry insane and he hates her! He's absolutely terrified of her as well, since she's even worse than he is.
Gary the Rat goes well out of its way to avert this. Gary is often seen talking on the phone with his mother, who will be suffering some important malady, and all he'll do is make a crass remark about how much worse her situation will get, or that he can't wait for her to die, or what-have-you.
In an episode of Darkwing Duck, the villain-vanquishing vigilante is trying to improve his public image, and as a result is not allowed to use his gas gun or karate skills to take down some criminal thugs. He resorts to threatening to tell their mothers, which turns out to be an incredibly effective tactic.
In Season 5 of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, in a bid to get Scorpion to release Aunt May from his grasp, calls the green-garbed crook a coward who would probably send his own mother to fight his battles. Now, this might not seem like much on its own, but it had been established as far back as Season 1 that Scorpion's Berserk Button is being insulted and called names, so one would think that Spidey calling him a coward would have been enough. However...
Scorpion:That does it! ... Callin' me names is one thing, but nobody talks trash about my mother!
Averted on Phineas and Ferb during the L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N. Pageant of Evil. The first event was upsetting a Mom Bot. When Lawrence is nice to her, the announcer proclaims in shock, "He's serving her tea! Without irony!" Doofenshmirtz wins the event with a single sentence: I'm getting married again.
Young Justice: One of the New Gods poses as a thug's mother. When the rest of the New Gods + Superboy show up, he's actually moves to protect her and tells her to get out until the New God in question drops the disguise.
Arktos, the Big Bad of Tabaluga, an Evil Overlord snowman. In a movie adaptation "Tabaluga and Leo", it was revealed that Arktos motivations for the conquest of Greenland were because his mother wanted to do it and he wants to do it all for her. He even sheds icy tears.
In the Ben 10 episode “Last Laugh”, Ben faced the villain Zombozo’s three henchmen, the Circus Freak Trio, one of which was named Acid Breath, a deformed man who was able to spit caustic acid and exhale acidic vapor. There was this dialogue between him and Ben:
Ben: Didn’t your mom ever tell you not to spit?
Acid Breath: Who do ya think taught me in the first place?