"Fine! Then go ahead and STARVE!!!"Some people are just plain stubborn. Here you are, trying to feed them, and, even though you can hear their stomachs growling, they claim they're not hungry! Rejecting the sociability of a meal! Just because they're prisoners! They might even suggest that you, Affably Evil in its purest form, poisoned or drugged the food. Other forms of rejection of comforts in captivity are possible: a nicer cell (or The Presidential Suite), a clean set of clothing, etc. The villain may enforce the comforts by force or threats. May be a reaction to No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine. Sometimes a character who claims I'm Not Hungry may be subjected to Force Feeding.
— Beast, Beauty and the Beast
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Anime and Manga
- In Castle in the Sky, Sheeta is offered a plate of food while on the airship. She continues to look out the window. Later, she rejects a nice dress.
- In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, Azmaria is kidnapped by the Big Bad Aion and taken to his hideout. While there, she's taken to their dining room and served a meal, but she refuses to eat it—citing her reasons that her hosts are "bad people" and hurt her friends. The response of Shader, one of Aion's followers, is to tell her that she's "a good kid, and honest" but "food isn't evil or good". She then eats it and discovers that it's delicious.
- In the Ranma ½ movie Big Trouble In Nekonron, China, Akane refuses the hospitality of her kidnappers, first on dignity, and then on the basis that a bowl of rice and a few slices of pickled vegetables is not a real meal. Annoyed at being told to conform, she storms off. Her stomach objects loudly afterwards.
- In one manga story, Ranma tries to use this excuse to get out of having to eat Akane's cooking. It might have worked better if he hadn't ordered and eaten a meal of real food seconds beforehand... while Akane was right there.
- In the 3-part pilot for Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, newbie trainer Dawn offered Piplup some Pokemon food, but due to the Penguin Pokemon's proud nature, he refused. However, his stomach growled, much to his embarrassment and he decided to accept Dawn's offer.
- Bleach's Inoue Orihime. She even manages to combine this with an slap. Of course, Ulquiorra isn't actually hurt by it, and leaves after informing her that he'll force-feed her if she hasn't eaten within an hour.
- Frequently invoked by Alphonse Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, to cover up the fact that he can't actually eat.
- In Monster, Tenma is a bit unreliable about that whole "food" issue anyway, but when he was being held in jail he actively refused to eat for so long that they had to put him on an IV. Which, to be fair, made sense, since he was trying to get in touch with Milch (who he knew would be in the infirmary).
- Rosa Ushiromiya tries to do this in Umineko: When They Cry, after the second arc. Beato is really just amused, though, and has the goats just keep shoving the food down her throat. She has a very good reason for not being hungry, though. The entire meal is just an excuse for Beato to implement some Cold-Blooded Torture by forcing her to eat food made from the remains of her siblings and daughter.
- Nodame Cantabile: Chiaki gets frustrated with Nodame and tries to force-feed her mushroom and cheese risotto after she lies and tells him that she has no appetite, even though she is actually very hungry.
- In the second episode of Gankutsuou Albert is captured by bandits and refuses to eat the food they offer him.
- Sorta invoked by Mariko Shinobu in Oniisama e..., after the disastrous birthday party where she goes Yandere on Nanako. She says she won't eat until she gets Nanako's forgiveness, but both Kaoru and Nanako give her a What the Hell, Hero? instead. (Previously, her mom Hisako tried to appeal to her unsuccessfully, and had decided to give her a dose of Force Feeding but doesn't get the chance since Mariko passes out and has to be hospitalised.
- One Piece:
- Gin refused to eat the food Sanji had given him after he was kicked out of the Baratie. Sanji then told him that it would be stupid to die from hunger because of foolish pride.
- Later, we have the Kid Samurai Momonosuke. He initially refuses to eat the very same Sanji's food, but in this case, it isn't because Sanji and the other Straw Hats are his enemies, but because his samurai pride requires him to take care of himself by preparing his own food.
- In the Dressrosa arc, Rebecca vehemently denies ever being hungry, due to the fact that her mother died trying to get food for her when she was a child.
- In Future Diary Yuno has Yukiteru chained up and he is utterly depressed and broken in spirit so he refuses the food she gives him. She then puts it in his mouth and manually moves his mouth to chew with her hand.
- In Honey Honey No Suteki Na Bouken, the female protagonist (and her cat) did this at least once while held in captivity.
- Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns. As result of his stepfather's physical and sexual abuse, Jeremy hardly eats anything, even when he is at boarding school during the week. Every time the family is eating a meal or he is seen eating with his roommates at school they comment that he needs to eat more, or asks if he's sick because he's picking at what little food he has on his plate. When not brought up directly, the reader is reminded by how sickly skinny Jeremy appears as the story goes on.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean, Elizabeth Swann tries to reject Captain Barbossa's dinner invitation and gown for it.
Pintel: If that be da case, den you be dinin' wiv de crew. An' yewll be nekkid. (She changes her mind.)
- Elizabeth again in the third film, refusing Norrington's offer of his quarters to remain with her crew in the brig.
- Used in Hellboy. HB isn't a prisoner, but he gets passive-aggressive upon discovering that Agent Myers is taking his Love Interest out for coffee:
Myers: Hey, your chili's getting cold.
Hellboy: I'm not hungry.
Myers: Anything else you need?
Hellboy: Not from you.
- The captured American general in The Mouse That Roared insists on being given treatment of a specific minimum standard, a point to which he stubbornly clings as the rest of his men are treated to the best hospitality that the Duchy of Grand Fenwick has to offer.
- Belle refuses to go to dinner with the Beast in Beauty and the Beast because she's "not hungry".
- James Bond has refused to eat with Fransisco Scarmanga in The Man with the Golden Gun and also not eaten a single bite of a sheep's head offered to him by Kamal Khan in Octopussy. He did tuck in at the dinner Dr. No provided, though.
- In the second Mortal Kombat movie, prisoner Kitana spits Shao Kahn's hospitality right in his face. One can't blame her, considering that her cage didn't have a bathroom...
- Sort of a non-villain example. Near the end of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Helsing and Mina are camped out in the mountains by themselves near Dracula's castle. Helsing tries to feed her, but as Mina currently under Dracula's spell and a half-vampire, she slaps it away growling the line in the process. Then becomes more seductive (thanks to Dracula's three brides nearby manipulating her) before nearly biting into Helsing. Luckily he snaps out of it and manages to take control of the situation.
- As Marian tells Robin in The Adventures of Robin Hood after she has been captured with the Norman treasure-caravan, "I'm afraid the company has spoiled my appetite." (She tries to sneak a bite while he's not looking, though...unsuccessfully.)
- In Iron Jawed Angels the female suffragists claim this and as a result had metal instruments shoved in their mouths and were force-fed raw eggs through a tube shoved down their throat.
- A variant in Captain America: The First Avenger. The captured Dr. Zola of HYDRA turns down the offer for a steak dinner, saying he's a vegetarian. Really it's because he suspects the meat is poisoned. Colonel Phillips proceeds to start eating it instead.
- A non-prisoner example in Love Actually, when Sam is frantically beefing up his drum skills in anticipation of the Christmas play.
- In Shanghai Noon, Lo Fong tries to give food to Princess Pei Pei. She immediately knocks the tray over.
- The Hanoi Hilton. One of the POW's refuses to eat from the well-laden table in front of him, put there for propaganda purposes, despite admitting that he's starving.
- In Suffragette, the imprisoned suffragettes go on hunger strike to enforce being treated as the political prisoners they are. Instead of granting them this little bit of dignity, the government decides to have them force-fed instead.
- Bink and Fanchon of the first Xanth novel turn down Magician Trent's offers for accommodations in general. Then he gives them cake and wine anyway, just to screw with their heads.
- Ella Enchanted: When she is at the finishing school, she does this once.
- C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy:
Rabadash was brought before them in chains. To look at him anyone would have supposed that he had spent the night in a noisome dungeon without food or water; but in reality he had been shut up in quite a comfortable room and provided with an excellent supper. But as he was sulking far too furiously to touch the supper and had spent the whole night stamping and roaring and cursing, he naturally did not now look his best.
- The Arabian Nights tale "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" involves a variant: a visitor informs the host that he can't eat anything with salt in it. Because "sharing salt" is a culture-specific form of Tastes Like Friendship, this is a clue that he's secretly a villain.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Chessman of Mars, when O-Tar declares that Tara shall dine as a princess, Tara declares she sits as a prisoner, not a guest.
- In "The Fall of the Shell", Brudoer goes on a hunger strike until his family smuggles a note to his cell begging him to keep his strength up.
- Redwall's The Legend of Luke: Vilu Daskar takes Luke into his cabin for questioning and offers him fruit, which Luke refuses.
- In Dark Ones Mistress, Clara initially refuses all offered food for several days because she's "not hungry".
Live Action TV
- In the Doctor Who serial The Time Meddler, the imprisoned Doctor angrily flings the offered breakfast back in the Monk's face.
- In the "R. Tam Sessions," a tie-in to the Firefly movie Serenity, River destroys her mattress in her room at the Academy because she "doesn't trust it" and is "trying to protect her spine." This is probaby a mixture of this trope and a symptom of her growing madness.
- Or she overheard some stray thought about what they were putting in the mattresses...
- In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Allison from Palmdale," one of Cameron's "memories" of Allison Young involves her refusing to eat a meal that Skynet's machines brought her, instead slamming it against a wall.
- In season three of Lost, Both Jack and Kate initially refuse food offered to them while being held captive by the Others. Sawyer does eat the "fish biscuits" deposited into his cage, but when offered water he takes the canteen and pours it out onto the ground.
- After The Reveal in the The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "To Serve Man", the protagonist is seen on the ship bound for the aliens' homeworld to become someone's dinner. An in-flight meal is offered and an alien telepathically tells him to eat heartily. He responds by angrily flinging the food at the wall. The alien enters the room and scoops the food back onto its tray and asks him to eat again since the aliens don't want him to lose any weight. Realizing the utter hopelessness of his situation, the man gives in and tears into the meal since it's going to be one of his last.
- Malcolm in the Middle: Francis led his classmates in the military school into a hunger strike when their TV is confiscated. At the end of the episode Commandant Spangler was ready to give in to their demands, but when he went to accede he realized that hunger had driven Francis to near-delirium, and he could not even remember what it was they were asking for. Taking advantage of such a state, he gets Francis to surrender by offering him his "magic hat".
- In Brazilian show "A Grande Família", there was one episode where Agostinho Carrara took a test for a Government job. When his family refused to believe he didn't buy an answer sheet, he went into a hunger strike that lasted until the results came and revealed he failed, thus proving his innocence. Arguably, he could have solved it earlier if he told them he only didn't buy because he and the man selling answer sheets didn't agree on a price.
- In a later episode, his mother-in-law went into a hunger strike for unrelated reasons and it seemed people forgot Agostinho's previous one.
- In Orange Is the New Black, Brook Soso leads a small group of inmates on a hunger strike to protest the excessive and indescriminate use of the SHU, the state of bathrooms, and lack of real maple syrup at breakfast. Their hunger strike is deflated when Caputo informs them that the issues they had (that he could take seriously) were being addressed already... only for Sister Ingalls to go on hunger strike demanding better treatment of elderly inmates.
- Person of Interest. A Discussed Trope in "Dead Reckoning". Reese refuses to eat with his captor, who has him strapped into a bomb vest. She says that it's his way of keeping a sense of control by refusing to cooperate in small ways. She points out that Reese's fellow captor is eating, so Reese will also come to accept the hopelessness of his situation.
- A favored tactic of pacifist protesters. Mahatma Gandhi would be the most successful practitioner.
- Saint Catherine of Sienna did this to refuse an Arranged Marriage.
- Everyone has that one friend who will say this(or some variant) if you're about get something to eat and ask if they want anything, only to request some of yours once you get your food. More likely to happen if a "yes" to the question would require them to buy it themselves.
- New Yorkers who grew up in the 70s will remember a commercial for the show "Gemini" that seemed to run forever. One character is offered food, refuses, and says "I'm not hungry I'll just pick" as they dive a fork into another character's plate of pasta.
- Goof Troop: Goofy and Pete were Wrongfully Accused and Goofy entered himself and Pete (against Pete's will) into a hunger strike.
- The Simpsons: Inspired by Cesar Chavez's hunger strike, Homer Simpson of all people started one to expose the local baseball team's plan to move to Albuquerque. He chained himself next to the skeleton of someone who went into a hunger strike for a bathroom-related protest.