"They were no colonists; their administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more, I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force—nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind—as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much."
This is an imperialist or colonialist man who has just come to take advantage of the natives with a friendly smile and a rifle on his shoulder. He only cares about winning a quick buck at everyone else's expense and exploiting the poor natives since he is convinced his race/culture is superior. Since he is either rich and powerful or in the middle of nowhere where nobody can hear your screams, he becomes the king of the place. He is likely to be Chased by Angry Natives
either when declaring such dominion or somewhere else along the line.
The character was originally depicted as a Western Caucasian (usually from England, France or Germany) but people from Eagleland
joined the group later. If this is the case, expect some White Man's Burden
excuse for his actions (which usually consists of taking over a place, exploiting the natives and the land, then leaving the place as an economic waste after the natives get fed up and kick him out). Two places you stand a good chance of seeing a non-white version of this trope are Chinese and Korean (both north and south, but mostly north) depictions of the Japanese, especially during the years of Japanese imperialism
. Chinese communists may also be portrayed this way in western films about Tibet.
It's fairly common in works from Africa, India, Latin America and China since those are places where Imperialism hit hardest. It's also a stereotypical Soviet villain.
An evil version of the Gentleman Adventurer
. The racial opposite is Mighty Whitey
and the ideological one is Dirty Communists
. Will likely be good friends with the Egomaniac Hunter
(who may serve as The Dragon
), if he isn't one himself in his spare time.
- The American on the Hot Springs Episode in Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.
- "Francisco Xavier" from Samurai Champloo, who claims to be a descendant of the original Xavier, the Portugese monk who brought Christianity to Japan. His constant condescension and firearms that are impressive by today's standards mark him as a Western-style villain... until it's revealed that he's actually a Japanese guy who was taking advantage of the Christian underground for his own profit.
- Leonard Apollo from Eyeshield 21, all the way. His racism is just so... incredible but compared with Mr.Don, he's nothing.
- Judging by the trailer, it's unquestionably the light in which the antagonists will be portrayed in the upcoming Indonesian anime-style film Battle Of Surubaya (about the Indonesian War of Independence from the Dutch in 1945-1950 and a famous battle involving the British forces who were allied with Holland.)
- Quite a number of The Adventures of Tintin villains are European (usually British) exploiters in China, India and the Middle East, including:
- Colonel Sponz exploits the president of San Theodoros making the entire county a puppet of Borduria. The last time Tintin visited San Theodoros in the 1930's they were on the verge of war with a neighboring nation under the interest of a foreign oil company while an arms dealer was selling arms to both sides.
- Pretty much every policeman or government official associated with the Shanghai International Settlement in ''The Blue Lotus" is represented as corrupt and racist.
- Clayton in Disney's Tarzan.
- John Ratcliffe in Pocahontas.
- Hideously caricatured imperialists cannibalize China in Soviet animator Yuri Merkulov's paper stop-motion film of 1925, China in Flames.
- Andy Osnard from The Tailor of Panama.
- Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now.
- Daniel Plainview.
- Many characters in The Milagro Beanfield War, but especially Kyril Montana, played by Christopher Walken.
- Referenced in Touch of Evil.
- Clark Nelson in Mothra.
- Cornelius Hatcher from The Rundown
- El Gringo in the Mexican film Herod's Law
- Perhaps some of the characters in The Proposition?
- Chinese martial arts movies set between the late 1800s and mid 1900s often have Evil Brit versions of this (see for instance The Legend of Drunken Master and IP Man). Depending on the date of the setting, the Japanese will play this role instead of or in addition to the Europeans.
- The title character in His Majesty O'Keefe, played by Burt Lancaster, is one of these, an American sea captain who cheats and cons and gets himself named king of the island of Yap in his zeal to take over the island's copra trade. He's a little bit nicer than the usual example of the trope, being opposed to slavery and racism, but he still seems to view it as his sovereign right to take what he wants from the island, whether the natives want to go along or not. He eventually is shown the error of his ways...and becomes a Mighty Whitey instead.
- Peachy Carnehan and Daniel Dravot of The Man Who Would be King, who plan to use their British military training and a supply of smuggled arms to take over the tribes of Kafiristan (now a part of Afghanistan).
- Colonel Bockner of the Imperial German Schutztruppe in the 1985 version of King Solomon's Mines.
- The human-hunting Van Pelt in Jumanji. In the animated series, his counterpart is the German hunter Herr Von Richter.
- The South Pacific slave trader Ben Pease in Nate and Hayes, and, to a lesser extent, the German navy personnel who employ him in order to use slave labour to establish island coaling stations for their navy.
- The British military officers who orchestrate a fictional occupation of Mongolia in the Russian Civil War setting of Vselovod E. Pudovkin's 1928 Soviet propaganda film Storm Over Asia. They attempt to consolidate their hold on the country by proclaiming the film's fur-trapper protagonist as the direct heir of Genghis Khan and establishing a puppet monarchy.
- The sadistic and genocidal Italian fascist occupiers of 1920s-30s Libya in Lion of the Desert.
- The British are portrayed as behaving like this during the Boer War in the 1941 Nazi propaganda film Ohm Kruger. While in Real Life considerable controversy was stirred up by the British treatment of Boer civilians during this war, it doesn't take a genius to detect the bitter irony of a Nazi propaganda film attacking a foreign enemy for putting people in concentration camps.
- Several of the British colonialists in Gandhi (1982) are depicted this way, mostly by drawing upon real historical examples, such as the infamous Amritsar Massacre of 1919. Perpetrator General Reginald Dyer is depicted as utterly uncomprehending of the moral consequences of his actions when put before a tribunal because of them.
- Kurtz from Heart of Darkness.
- Basically all of the Farang Phalanx in The Windup Girl.
- The racist, drunken, Egomaniac Hunter Míster Danger from Doña Bárbara. While Bárbara, the main villain of the book, has a Freudian Excuse for her actions, he enjoys his horrible acts just because he's bored. By the end of the book, when he realizes that now he Can't Get Away with Nuthin' , he just flees away from the place.
- Basil Fotherington-Thomas in Kim Newman's Alternate History novella Teddy Bear's Picnic, where he has become his world's equivalent of Colonel Kurtz.
- While George Orwell's 1934 novel Burmese Days is intended to be a round condemnation of the whole institution of British colonialism (in this case in Burma), most of the imperialists are depicted as more arrogant, indolent or imbecilic rather than evil. The one unambiguously horrid example is the timber company manager Ellis, whose every utterance is a string of vile racial slurs directed at the Burmese, and who is so consumed by hatred of them that he unceasingly expresses his desire for the opportunity to torture/slaughter them all.
- Adam from Heroes.
- In Doctor Who humans often play this role. In "The Mutants", an episode intended as a critique of Apartheid, the Marshal oppresses the natives of Solos, hunting them down, and intends to change the atmosphere of the planet so it is breathable to humans but not the Solonians.
- The original point of Earth: Final Conflict was to show what it's like to be on the receiving end of a White Man's Burden scenario. The Taelons — and Da'an in particular — genuinely believe they can elevate mankind, and that they've conquered us for our own good. Naturally humanity doesn't see it that way. Later seasons forgot about this and made the Taelons just outright evil.
- Brutus Jones in Eugene O'Neill's play The Emperor Jones is a rare dark-skinned example. He goes from stowaway to Emperor in two years, and puts on the "fuss and glory part" of being Emperor while ruthlessly robbing the natives of their wealth. He intends to flee by the time the natives are ready to overthrow him, which comes sooner than he expected.
- Sir Roderick Ponce Von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard, from Jade Empire, otherwise known as "The Outlander". He washed up on the coast of the empire and attempts to "educate" the "backward" culture.
- This being Jade Empire, you get the chance to prove your culture's worth, first in a heated debate, then by kicking the living excrement out of him. He is however honorable enough that he'll acknowledge his defeat gracefully and will even offer up his rifle as a reward.
- Looten Plunder, and to a lesser extend Hoggish Greedly, from Captain Planet.
- Parodied in a Family Guy Flashback Twist where Peter becomes one for a group of Mexican mice.
- The Family Guy parody listed above was surely a reference to a Looney Tunes classic where Daffy Duck plays this imperialist role to Speedy Gonzales and some other Mexican mice.
- A brief cameo from such a character appears in the Futurama episode "Love and Rocket", when the soon-to-be-stuffed bears at the Romanticorp factory are chased by a safari-suit wearing, snarling elderly Englishman whose blunderbuss is carried by his malnourished Indian attendant.
- In one episode of Peter Pan & the Pirates, Captain Hook, in an attempt to attract sufficient "civilization" to Neverland (to ease his ongoing ennui as a man of culture exiled to a wilderness by his obsession with remaining there until Pan is killed), declares Neverland to be annexed to the British Empire and attempts to literally crown himself its viceroy. This is not particularly outrageous when you consider all the technical pirates, from Sir Francis Drake to "Rajah" Brooke of Sarawak, who were regarded as servants of the British crown and who on occasion personally annexed territories on its behalf. Of course Hook's heavily armed crew are on standby in the event of anyone raising objections to his decree.