[[quoteright:350:[[UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/01c714fabcd89e12750426703ef10715.jpg]]]]

->''"So, all in all, just a normal day in the life of LeonardoDaVinci. Turn lead into gold, paint the most famous portrait of all time, and invent the first hang glider. And I bet itís not even 9 AM."''
-->-- '''Website/TheAgonyBooth''' [[http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Hudson_Hawk_1991.aspx?Page=2 recap]] of ''Film/HudsonHawk''.

Sometimes a HistoricalDomainCharacter is portrayed by adding a copious amount of {{Badass}}ery and StuffBlowingUp, that was either far lesser or non-existent with the RealLife person. The reasons could range from sloppy research to RuleOfCool.

Maybe a king, who was known for very little else but diplomacy, gets to be a war hero instead. Maybe Mohandas Gandhi [[ComicallyMissingThePoint gets to fight]] [[BearsAreBadNews grizzlies]]. Maybe a pope [[VampireHunter hunted vampires in his spare time]].

KungFuJesus is a subtrope.

Compare BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy for a possible justification of this trope. AdaptationalBadass is when this happens to a character from a previous work. MemeticBadass is when the Badassery is upgraded through MemeticMutation.

See also HistoricalHeroUpgrade and HistoricalVillainUpgrade, both of which this trope may very well overlap with if the character's more heroic or more villainous actions come off as Badass.



!!Examples using real people

[[folder:Media in General / Common Persons]]
* UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla was undoubtedly a major influence on the MadScientist trope, but what a lot of people either forget or choose to ignore is that after he got bored of ''sane'' science, his career totally bombed. Media depicting Tesla often give Thomas Edison (who, in all fairness, was by no means a particularly nice guy in RealLife) a HistoricalVillainUpgrade and posit some kind of grand conspiracy to suppress Tesla's discoveries, when in reality his attempts at creating a DeathRay or WeatherControlMachine or whatever else he was hoping to build that week just plain didn't work. He did some important early work on the physics of radar and may have been the first person to file a patent on a VTOL aircraft, but neither would actually be built until decades later with the actual nut-and-bolts engineering being done by someone else.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Every Heroic Spirit in ''LightNovel/FateZero'' is this, Gilgamesh and AlexanderTheGreat being prime examples.
* ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'': [[spoiler:Sir Isaac Newton]] is an alchemist who uses the power of Atlantis.
* Everyone in ''Manga/TheLegendOfKoizumi''. [[ButtMonkey Except Taizo.]]

* TheManhattanProjects feature robot Wernher Von Braun, irradiated skull Harry Daghlian, [[spoiler: cannibal Evil Twin of]] Oppenheimer, [[spoiler: evil parallel universe]] Einstein, and FDR [[spoiler:AI]] meeting aliens, discovering wormholes and fighting robots zen powered by death monks.
* In ''ComicBook/AtomicRobo'', virtually any historical figure to appear will get this unless they were badass already, but special mention has to go to Creator/CarlSagan, who gets to take a break from talking about the universe to blast the crap out of an EldritchAbomination with a lightning gun ''while'' talking about the universe.

* ''Film/{{UHF}}'' {{parodied| trope}} this with "Gandhi II".
* William Wallace in ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'' (possibly).
* LeonardoDaVinci (post mortem), Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu in the 2011 film adaptation of ''[[Film/TheThreeMusketeers2011 The Three Musketeers]]''.
* Qin Shi-Huangdi in ''{{Hero}}'', as befitting a character in the wuxia genre.
* ''Film/AbrahamLincolnVampireHunter''.
* ''Film/JurassicParkIII'': The real ''Spinosaurus'', despite being huge and powerful, was built for hunting in water and would be quite slow on land. Here, it's depicted as the ultimate superpredator who eats ''T.Rexes'' for breakfast, which would only be possible if the tyrannosaur was standing on a bank.

* ''UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln, [[Literature/AbrahamLincolnVampireHunter Vampire Hunter]]''. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin That is all]].
* ''Literature/BelisariusSeries''. You would think the RealLife Belisarius was badass enough, but this Belisarius defeats an evil cyborg ConquerorFromTheFuture.
* Almost everyone in ''Literature/TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel'' who's a historical figure has taken a level or two in badass. This includes the ones who were badass already, like Joan of Arc, as well as the ones who weren't, like the Flamels and John Dee.
* ''Literature/TheBaroqueCycle'' portrays Peter the Great as a giant BoisterousBruiser with enormous strength. While Peter was in reality extremely tall, especially for his era, he was also very thin and had health problems.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/SpartacusBloodAndSand'': Basically every historical person shown fighting is given a healthy dose of this due to the stylized combat. Marcus Crassus, however, is also portrayed as a tyrannical MagnificentBastard.
* This is the entire premise of ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}''. The emotion-based MagicalRealism of the setting makes every last HistoricalDomainCharacter ever mentioned into a terrifying {{Badass}} and makes their belongings into [[ArtifactOfDoom Artifacts of Doom]].
* America's Founding Fathers are given this treatment in ''Series/SonsOfLiberty''. In reality, they were mostly middle-aged and spent their time debating and writing pamphlets, contrary to the series' portrayal of them as a band of scruffy thirty-somethings who can jump between rooftops and excel in combat.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Whenever a historical figure teams up with the Doctor, they will always prove very capable in a tight spot and help win the day.

* Inversion. {{Venice}} may have had a historical badass downgrade. The stereotype is a gorgeous city where lovers go to, well, make love. It was that in it's heyday as well. But only historians know it as a [[ProudWarriorRace ferocious]] city with a [[BadassArmy Badass Galley Fleet]] and ambitious and avaricious [[MerchantPrince Merchant Princes]], and [[IntrepidMerchant adventurers]] travelling throughout the known and unknown world in [[ProudMerchantRace search of gold.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Most of the cast of ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'', ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' and ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara''. Granted, some of those ancient warriors were actually pretty {{badass}} on their own...
* In real life, [[Literature/TheDivineComedy Dante Alighieri]] was a scholar and historian, who only had some military service. In ''VideoGame/DantesInferno'', not only is he a high-ranking [[TheCrusades Crusader]], he winds up killing many of Hell's [[DemonSlayer demons]] and [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade trapped souls]] with the help of the large SinisterScythe he stole from TheGrimReaper.
* Almost any historical figure who appears in the ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreed'' franchise gets this, as well as either a [[HistoricalHeroUpgrade hero]] or [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade villain]] upgrade. "Almost" any because some, like [[YoungConqueror Cesare Borgia]] and [[LadyOfWar Caterina Sforza]], actually were that badass and didn't need the upgrade, but some others did. Among other things, Leonardo da Vinci actually ''succeeded'' in building a flying machine.

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'': Sir UsefulNotes/IsaacNewton is portrayed as a [[Series/DoctorWho Time Lord]], and gathers various scientists from history to fix the time stream.
* The clone of Ben Franklin from ''[[WebComic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja Dr McNinja]]''.
* WebAnimation/CoxAndCombesWashington presents the titular Washington in increasingly glowing terms, until he's ''Washington, Washington, twelve stories high / made of radiation''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' does this frequently:
** A quick sketch has Creator/BenjaminFranklin practicing his bojutsu in a forest before triumphantly proclaiming, "[[PatrioticFervor For America]]!"
** A DreamSequence of UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush involved him in a [[StarWars lightsaber duel]] against UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln.
** One sketch consisted of a TagTeam match (in the vein of Wrestling/{{WWE}}, no less) with Ben Franklin and (in BigDamnHeroes fashion) Gandhi vs. the Wright Brothers.
** Another was a parody of ''Film/ThreeHundred'' called ''1776''. It was a ''very'' loose retelling of the story of the Declaration of Independence.
* WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} has done this occasionally.
** Creator/BenjaminFranklin invented a weapon he dubbed "The Franklin-ator": a live badger tied to the end of a club.
** UsefulNotes/HarryTruman in "Roswell that Ends Well."
** Inverted and then played straight with Creator/LeonardoDaVinci, who is revealed to be an alien who is one of the least intelligent of his species, but designs and builds a giant killing machine to extract revenge for his ill-treatment.

!!InUniverse examples

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekVoyagerS4E21LivingWitness Living Witness]]". The story focuses on the historical depiction of an encounter with the Voyager crew by an ancient civilization hundreds of years before. The [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade biased depiction]] portrays them as a ruthlessly violent gang of thugs, and the Voyager as an inpenetrable warship armed to the teeth with weapons, and containing a complement of Borg drones at the captain's disposal.

* In ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', we have [[spoiler:Nathaniel Northwest, a supposed badass pioneer and the touted founder of Gravity Falls. In reality he was a waste-shoveling village idiot who was used to hide the existence of the real founder of Gravity Falls and America's most embarrassing secret, the 8th and 1/2 President of the United States, [[CloudCuckooLander Quentin]] [[UnPerson Trembley]].]]