Some heroes do what they do for honor
, some for glory
, some For Great Justice
. Others are only looking for the cash. This attitude is held by people who are honestly greedy
, just need a living, or don't want to act like they care. Characters fitting this attitude are often Hired Guns
and the Bounty Hunter
. In fact, the Evil Overlord List
states that bounty hunters should only be hired for money; those that love the thrill of the chase
are too likely to give the prey a chance to get away. Of course even this can backfire if The Hero
is Genre Savvy
and has access to the funds to pay said Hired Guns more
to turn on the villain.
This is a sub-trope of Not In This For Your Revolution
. Money, Dear Boy
is when it happens in Real Life
. Villains who say this are likely to be Punch Clock Villains
, and might show that Even Evil Has Standards
. On the other hand it might show they're a Greedy
creep who doesn't care about anyone
. Contrast the Psycho for Hire
, who while equally villainous, has other motivations. Compare to Signed Up for the Dental
This may also provide an Evil Versus Oblivion
motive if the Big Bad
proposes either to destroy everything, or even simply to destroy the economy. A character following this trope but on the heroes' side may, if asked for further help, claim that said help is Not in My Contract
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- Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope: Han Solo: "Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money." Or so he says.
- It's also justified, as he really needed the money to survive against Jabba the Hutt (let's just say that he needs a lot of money to redeem himself for not delivering spice to Jabba).
- The Star Wars parody Spaceballs provides the quote for this page. Lone Star and Barf originally wanted to claim the reward for rescuing Princess Vespa to pay off a debt to Pizza the Hutt. When the mission is accomplished, Lone Star realizes that he loves Vespa more than the idea of obtaining the reward, only accepting enough from her father for lunch, gas and tolls. (He asks him not to tell her but he does anyway when she gets angry because he left.)
- Tom Cody in Streets of Fire: A Rock and Roll Fable originally agreed to save his former girlfriend, singer Ellen Aim of the Attackers from Raven and his gang, The Bombers, for some cash. After accomplishing the mission, Ellen finds out and she, McCoy, and Tom's waitress sister get pissed for his selfish actions, until he and Ellen confess their real feelings.
- In the Film Noir Murder, My Sweet, Philip Marlowe perfectly describes this. He outright states that he only did it for the cash.
Lt. Randall: You're not a detective, you're a slot machine. You'd slit your own throat for six bits plus tax.
- In The Mechanic, Charles Bronson's character says this is it. His Bastard Understudy however does it for the thrill of existing outside morals and laws, and kills Bronson's character for not living up to that image.
- In Atlantis: The Lost Empire all of the explorers except for The Protagonist are motivated by money.
- An example from Pirates of the Caribbean:
Jack Sparrow: Who are you?
Tai Huang: Tai Huang. These are my men.
Jack Sparrow: Where does your allegiance lie?
Tai Huang: With the highest bidder.
Jack Sparrow: I have a ship.
Tai Huang: That makes you the highest bidder.
- The bath house owner in And The Band Played On.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, right before the big fight, Kim says "We are Sex Bob-omb and we're here to sell out and make money and stuff." She changes her tune in the replay.
- Dee Jay of the Street Fighter movie only worked for M. Bison because he promised him a fortune, and was fully aware that he was a power-mad dictator wannabe unlike the clueless Zangief. This became a case of Laser-Guided Karma as his "fortune" turns out to be stacks of worthless Bison dollars.
- Juno Skinner in True Lies admits to Harold Tasker that she's only helping the terrorists because they are "well-funded raving psychotics."
- From Mad Max: "I'm just here for the gasoline."
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Blondie, Tuco, and especially Angel Eyes. Unlike many villains with this trait it doesn't make him more sympathetic; in fact, it does just the opposite.
- Hard Rain: Jim, says this almost word-for-word several times in the film. Even in the end, when Tom thinks Jim helped save his life:
Jim: You just don't get it, do you? (He grabs the money bags and puts them in his boat.)
- In the Star Trek universe, Federation scientists and engineers such as Geordi LaForge revere Zefram Cochrane for inventing the warp drive, which allowed the Federation to form. The Cochrane that Geordi meets in Star Trek: First Contact breaks the pedestal somewhat: he invented the warp drive to get rich and had no idea what would happen because of it.
- In Tropic Thunder, Pecker is offered cash and a G5 airplane if he keeps his mouth shut in Tugg's abduction and murder.
Peck: Let me get this straight. You want me to let my client of 15 years, one of my best friends, die in the jungle alone, for some money and a G5?
Peck: [pause] A G5 airplane?
Grossman:Yes... and lots of money.
- To be fair, if you own a Gulfstream G-V, you need lots of money to feed and house the beast.
- Smokey and the Bandit: When Bo explains why he and Cledus Snow are driving to Texas to bring back a truckload of Coors beer: "For the money, for the glory, and for the fun. Mainly for the money."
- Branch Rickey gives this in 42 as the reason why he wants to add an African-American baseball player to the Brookyln Dodgers. He's lying.
- Pee Wee Reese also cites this as the reason why he won't sign the team's anti-Robinson boycott petition.
- From The Muppet Movie:
Doc Hopper: I'll double your salary.
Max: ...I'll open the door.
- In the Disgaea novels we meet the Ozonne, who believe money is the solution to helping people, not love like all the other angels of Celestia. Ironic since her sister Flonne is the Love Freak.
- The Mistborn trilogy has the Kandra, helping the protagonists only because they're being paid in Atium.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough For Love, Lazarus Long claims that one of the (thousands of) jobs he's held was as a mercenary, that he used it to finance his way through college, and never got higher than corporal because he was only doing it to get enough money for another semester, then he'd quit.
- In Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi, Dannik Jerriko was hired to take out Vader's assassin before she could kill the Arrandas. That's it, that's all, as soon as that's done he's gone and never mind the rest of the danger there, it's what he was paid for.
- Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) once runs into a bunch of saboteurs dedicated to the Tau cause who kill nearly everyone aboard a Starship Luxurious, intending to use it as a giant bomb to take out an Imperial General. Cain escapes and makes it to the escape pods, but there he meets one of the saboteurs, who reveals she's actually a burglar, looting the staterooms and leaving the others to heroically give their lives for the Tau cause.
- Bronn, Tyrion's dragon from A Song of Ice and Fire only works for the person who will pay him the most. Unlike some cases, Bronn is much less moral than his AntiHero employer, and will commit any dirty job so long as he gets a good price for it. Tyrion isn't shocked when Bronn refuses to champion him in spite of their pseudo-friendship since Tyrion's sister, Cersei, has paid Bronn much more for him to not risk his life trying to save Tyrion.
- Miles Straume from LOST, who only joined the freighter crew because he was paid $1.6 million and would be willing to switch sides if he received a better offer.
- Jayne from Firefly. He eventually becomes one of Mal's True Companions.
- Spike at the end of season 4 and the beginning of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Sergei Bazhaev in season 8 of 24, who's only involved initial Big Bad Farhad Hassan because he's set to make lots of money selling him spent nuclear fuel rods. After he gets captured by CTU and sees his deal has fallen through, he actually tries (unsuccessfully) to help Jack recover the rods.
- An episode of Reba made a reference to this:
Reba, after watching a recorded clip of Barbra Jean with her dog: I feel bad for the poor sap who had to tape through all of this.
Kyra: Eighty bucks is eighty bucks.
- You know all those hysterically insane Conspiracy Theories presented on the Glenn Beck show? Beck's admitted that if they didn't bring in the ratings, he'd dump them in a heartbeat because even he knows how loony they are.
- A majority of the villains on Leverage. Notable examples include Marcus Starke's crew, who as a Similar Squad provide a strong contrast with the Leverage team (who are motivated equally by cash and a desire to help people), and Mr. Quinn, a mercenary hired by Sterling to give Eliot the worst beating of his life.
- In the Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns", the search for 'La Fin Absolue du Monde' starts out as this for Kirby, to pay off his enormous debts. Later on he becomes increasingly obsessed with the film itself.
- In Star Trek, this is basically the Ferengi's Hat, doing everything just for the pursuit of profit. They will do evil if it will land them cash, but are not willing to just do evil for evil sake.
- Person of Interest: How Zoe Morgan presents herself to the world; it seems she actually has a Hidden Heart of Gold.
- Andamo of Mr. Lucky seems to be all about the money, all the time, though occasionally it becomes apparent that there are a few other things he prizes more highly.
- Basic Dungeons & Dragons adventure The Keep on the Borderlands. The ogre in the Caves of Chaos will fight for whoever pays him the most money.
- Mike the mercenary from the Jagged Alliance series. In the first game, he makes it clear to the player he only works for money- in the second game, Queen Deidrenna has paid Mike to kill the player's troops.
- Wario in general. Pretty much any time he's trying to do something it's either to get some treasure or the reclaim the stuff stolen from him, and anything else that happens (i.e. saving the world) is a side effect.
- The Goblin Alchemist hero in War Craft 3 has "For the highest bidder!" as his warcry.
- The GLA's Hero Unit in Command And Conquer Generals is implied to work for money rather than to further the cause.
- Almost averted in the Ratchet & Clank series. When the Thug Leader is discussing a service with a client opposed to their current employer, he initially declines until he's offered a lot of money.
- In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Cipher and Pixy initially fight in the eponymous conflict for Ustio's money, as Pixy regularly reminds us on the radio. In fact, many regular forces comment on this in disdain... until both of them are so feared/revered for their accomplishments that nobody mentions it anymore (especially if you take the Knight route). The fact that Pixy goes MIA and is replaced with PJ, who is a commissioned Ustio officer, as your wingman probably contributes.
- Fire Emblem series. One particularly good example is Farina from Blazing Sword. The only way to recruit her is to have Hector pay her 20,000 gold. In fact, contrary to what might have worked elsewhere in the series, not even having her sisters talk to her will convince her to join your team! Oh, and once she's on your team, expect her to brag about her pay in her support conversations (besides her sisters and Hector). And just to top it off, her quote during the final battle? Making sure you don't forget her bonus pay! It turns out that Farina has a very good reason to invoke the trope, however: her eldest sister Fiora got in massive debt for saving her and her unit despite her orders at that time, so Farina wants to acquire money to return the favor and release Fiora from it.
- Hugh from Sword of Seals, a Mage with a serious itch to line his pockets. For his recruitment, he wants 10,000 gold. Unlike Farina, you can haggle him down to as low as 5,000 - the catch is that the less you pay him, the crappier his stats will be! (If you decline to pay 5,000, he goes back to trying to kill you.)
- Volke also charges for his services—as a thief in Path of Radiance, 50 gold per lock picked; as an assassin in the same game, 50,000 one-time, and all locks picked afterward are free. Radiant Dawn plays with this characterization, however; while he does cost a 3,000 gold one-time fee for his services for the rest of the game (and you only get him very late in said game), he comes with a weapon that, by itself, normally costs about four times that, and is a worthwhile fighter in and of himself—in short, he's giving you a bargain. Volke also has a Running Gag along these lines; while he charges reasonable prices for his regular services, he charges far higher prices for "tasks" not part of his regular services (such as eating meals with the rest of the company), or to learn his real motivations—in other words, things he doesn't want to do.
- Humorously subverted in Fire Emblem: Awakening. A group of assassins attack the palace to kill the current ruler, but one thief lets on that they were only informed to kill her once they were five feet from her room, and he was led to believe they were just robbing her blind. If the player has Chrom talk to him, he explains his situation to Chrom, who offers to have him join the good side. Gaius (the thief) says he'll only do it for pay. Chrom is a little peeved at this, but reaches for some cash anyway, only to drop a bag. Gaius looks inside and, accompanied by the delightful voice clip of "sugar...", decides to defect to the good side if he gets to keep the bag. The contents of said bag? Candy given to Chrom by his sister. Double Subverted when he says "don't worry about the gold-I'll take that later." Triple Subverted when he says quite obsessively "Unless you have more candy. DO YOU!?". Chrom says he'll check with his sister, securing his spot as the thief on your party.
- Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto Vice City is in theory only for the money, due to his boss's three million dollars getting stolen during a drug deal gone awry. He does builds loyalty with some people, though. In turn, Ray Liotta said he voiced Tommy Vercetti for the money. Which is the opposite of irony. Possibly.
- Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey:
- Jimenez admits outright that he volunteered just because of the pay (he's contrasting himself to the various more idealistic members of the Schwarzwelt expedition). We're not exactly talking the most pleasant human on the planet here...
- Captain Jack and his mercenary squad are the same way, but unlike Jimenez, they're actual villains.
- Gobi in Breath of Fire joins and stays in your party because Ryu owes him money.
- While many Champions in League of Legends are motivated to fight for their city or for influence and power, Sivir is motivated solely by material wealth and riches and has become one of the richest people on Valoran. She no longer works for Noxus after objecting to their war on Ionia; not on moral grounds, but simply because she foresaw that the war would end in a stalemate.
- Mass Effect 2:
- Zaeed Massani only joins up with Shepard because of the pay. This may end up being subverted if you earn his loyalty.
Zaeed: This mission doesn't sound like good business... but your Illusive Man can move a lot of credits.
- Initially this may look like utter stupidity on his part since he is explicitly informed that this is for all intents and purposes a suicide mission...until you talk to him on the ship a few times and he reveals that he's been on a number of so-called "impossible missions" before and has always managed to come out in one piece. He's just that good. (Nevermind that he is usually the only one to get out of his missions alive.)
- His dossier in the Shadow Broker's ship also shows that he's really unconcerned about survival at this point. One of the retirement plans he considered was buying a ship, packing with explosives, and blowing himself up. Not that he's anything close to suicidal. You just can't go and settle down someplace quietly after a lifetime of kicking ass.
- Suicide missions? Those are warmups. The man lived through being held down and shot in the head from point-blank range!
- Kasumi Goto also initially appears to play this trope straight, as she tells you when you initially recruit her that Cerberus is paying her very well for her assistance, but it becomes obvious quickly that she's really more of a thrill seeker who considers the money to be more of a bonus.
- The Bounty Hunter class in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a cross of this and Glory Seeker. They sure as hell aren't loyal to the Empire, and have very little reason to be (especially if you play non-human). Your alignment determines if you're a Hitman with a Heart, a Psycho for Hire, or a Consummate Professional.
- This seems to be the team's motivation to do their work in the Star Fox games. In Star Fox Adventures, Fox constantly whines that he's not being paid enough to save the planet.
- It's easy to forget that Star Fox isn't a team of lone wolf heroes that work for the good of the Lylat System, no matter their personal ties to the villain. Thankfully in Star Fox 64 you're reminded of the fact that Star Fox is just four hired guns looking for some quick pay right at the end of the credits when you get to see the bill for their services, and General Pepper's reaction if you did well enough.
- The summon Yojimbo in Final Fantasy X must be paid for each attack he makes. Which attack he uses depends partly on how much you pay him and partly on his affection level, with higher levels resulting in stronger attacks. His affection level rises when you overpay him or when he uses a strong attack, and it drops when you underpay him or he uses a weak attack.
- In The Babylon Project, The Raiders begin doing mercenary contract work for an unknown employer. At one point they're told to stand down from massacring civilians, and they reply they would miss out on a big payout if they did.
- Magnus in Kid Icarus Uprising. Apparently, he's willing to fight the forces of a evil god for it.
- Seems to be a Subverted Trope when Palutena discusses his motivation and you see his personal ties to the villain of the chapter. He also seems to actually be doing hero work later on, but it's implied his appearance in Chapter 25 is just him being hired again, this time to face off against Pit, though again it's for the benevolent purpose of making sure he's worthy.
- Disgaea 4: New angel Vulcanus is in it only for the Zenons. She's called the Angel of Avarice for a reason. Hard to say if it's to fuel the Great Flonnger or not...
- Pierre, Lara's rival in Tomb Raider, raids tombs for artifacts like Lara does. However, Pierre only raids tombs for the money while Lara does it for appreciation of the past.
- Finn, the main character of Adventures To Go, likes the recognition that comes with completing quests, but he mainly does it because he gets paid to do so.
- Many minor characters in Armored Core series is explicitly described as purely in it for the money. Since Ravens are, after all, mercenaries (or, as one of the Bureau said it, "Dispute Resolution Agents"), fighting purely for the filthy lucre isn't all that unjustified. People who do espouse this kind of view run the gamut from being simply in love with cash, greedy bastard(s) who couldn't care less about others, recently unemployed ex-blue-collar worker that needs to desperately earn a living, a notoriously spendthrifty person who uses only Energy weapons due to them not having an ammo cost, all the way to a Hitman with a Heart.
- Subverted with Wynne D. Fanchon, and otherwise the majority of LYNXes in Armored Core 4/for Answer. Being one step above the rank-and-file soldiers that use MT or Normals, some of them truly takes the Honor Before Reason approach a bit far.
Wong Shao-Lung: "Do you...have any pride, Wynne?"
Wynne D. Fanchon: "Of course. Otherwise, aren't we simply in the business of killing?"
- Borador in Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance II is out to earn as much gold as possible, although his motivation is a bit less selfish than it first appears; his clan owes a massive debt to the elves, and he's just doing his bit to make sure they pay it off. Few people know his clan name, Goblinbreaker, but since avarice is his most obvious trait, he's earned the nickname 'Gold-hand' amongst people who know him.
- Lawrence the helmsman in Skies of Arcadia makes it clear that he doesn't give a damn about Vyse's goal, but he'll follow him to the ends of the earth as long as he's paid.
- Thanks to the diverse, character-specific dialogue trees, Bounty Hunters and Smugglers can be this type of character. Other characters can come close, but those two always have the option to demand payment.
- In Sonic Adventure 2, Rouge the Bat appears to be this at first, going into action to get her hands on the Master Emerald, but she's actually a government spy to find out what Dr. Eggman is up to.
- In Sonic Heroes, Team Chaotix is initially reluctant but is spurred into action when their client offers to "pay them handsomely"—they are working for Dr. Eggman, and Vector knows it, but they are perpetually broke and desperately need the money. They ultimately manage to obtain two Chaos Emeralds and are the extra nudge Sonic needs to defeat the final boss. Eggman WAS going to pay them, but only after he had taken over the world. Vector has enough of him and forcibly removes the money out of his pockets.
- In a subversion, Vector, according to his background, is willing to do anything for money, but he usually does it when there's good deeds involved and he also has a sense of justice as well.
- In Jedi Outcast, Kyle Katarn sarcastically asks Reelo Baruk what a decent crime lord like him is doing associating with the likes of Desann and the Imperial Remnant, and Reelo answers "Making money, of course." He's probably indifferent to who ends up ruling the galaxy.
- The Wealth aspiration from The Sims 2.
- While the Teladi in the X-Universe have a very respectable military and rather large industrial capability, as well as having their entire society organized like a Mega Corp, their borderline obsession with profitsss makes it clear that they are this trope; although it shouldn't be discounted that they are a Proud Merchant Race. It's not surprising to see some rogue Teladi operate as pirates who do whatever unscrupulous activity possible, and all in the name of the almighty buckzoid. The encyclopedia explains that this is mostly only true of Teladi spacefarers, however: planetside Teladi exhibit much more variation and can be as cynical or as selfless as any human.
- Balrog from Street Fighter operates entirely on what will earn him the biggest paycheck. Once his boxing career derailed he became a full-fledged criminal in Shadaloo because Bison was paying so well. The promise of money is a good way to keep him in his place since he's otherwise none too bright.
- Dex from the webgame Strike Force Heroes 2 is the only member of the title team who isn't in it for the cause. He turns out to be the one tipping off their enemies, the evil organization Globex, for cash. He kills West, the General of the team, and Professor Iagi, whose research the team was counting on against Globex's clones, but is ultimately killed by the Globex Leader, who considered him a great pawn, but too expensive to keep around.
- The Karate Duo (Numbah One) from Bowser's Kingdom show off this trope.
- Frogfucius chastises them for embodying this trope in Episode 9.
- They only help Hal and Jeff in The Movie because Jeff is gonna pay them.
- In Elf Blood, mercenary information saleswoman Carlita Delacroix sells to both sides of the central conflict and is very open about this. She even requests a down payment on information that would ultimately be used to help save a dying client's life.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, November, realizing Perrault has no nobility, offers gold.
- In The Order of the Stick, Haley is apparently only interested in treasure. While she does have a very good reason to gather large amounts of gold, even before then she was greedy. Though she does have a noble streak, and in one case funded a resistance movement out of her own pocket.
- In Schlock Mercenary, Tagon's Toughs play this to the hilt. The one time they weren't, the Reverend thought Tagon had developed a conscience, until he realized Tagon just hated Xinchub more than he wanted the money.
- In Sinfest, he suddenly can sing Britney Spears when she shows she has money.
- Parodied on The Boondocks where we find out Ann Coulter's entire conservative agenda is a ruse to make a lot of money.
Huey: Are you even a Republican?
Ann: Hell no! You think I like going out there, and saying this ridiculous shit?
Huey: Then why do it?
Ann: Cause a bitch got books to sell.
- And again in "It's Goin Down", when a plot to unite and inspire the American people was enacted mainly because a few already rich people would stand to make a lot of money.
Jack Flowers: Don't you have enough money?!
Ed Wuncler: No.
- The Ghost in Iron Man: Armored Adventures abandoned his contract on Tony because Whitney paid him more to do so. He shows up later with a new target, indicating the previous hire was mad about him taking a better offer.
- Then they want him to kill Ironman:
"You don't have enough money for that."
- In the Justice League cartoon, Batman is able to convince the Ultra-Humanite to double-cross the Injustice Gang by offering double what Lex Luthor was paying (which made sure that the Ultra-Humanite got plenty of opera when he went back to prison).
- In The Legend of Korra, professional competitive firebender Mako doesn't care about glory, fame, the art of bending, or anything else - he just wants the cash prize that comes with winning the league, to keep himself and his younger brother Bolin from getting turned back out on the streets.
- One episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo featured a man who sells comic books for a living and claims to hate them and that he's Only In It For The Money. The fact his name is Cashmore does help with the impression. However, he's simply too ashamed to admit he likes comic books.
- Parodied on The Simpsons where Krusty the Clown is quite often shown taking roles that are beneath even him (which is saying something) because his incredibly poor money management skills have left him constantly in debt. In one episode, Bart chastises Krusty for lending his name to an inferior production, to which Krusty replies, "They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house! I'm not made of stone!"
- Transformers Decepticon Swindle is this. True, he's a Decepticon. But as early as G1 he's sold his own teammates for parts when they were paralysed, and will sell out to anybody, for anything. In Transformers Animated it's pretty much stated that he's only classed with the Decepticons because Megatron is his best customer.
- In Gargoyles, MacBeth is a subversion. He takes a job with Xanatos to get the gargoyles out of the castle, but MacBeth wants revenge on Demona, and uses the pretense that he's doing it for the money to get the gargoyles without raising suspicion.
- A rare case on The Spectacular Spider-Man where Sandman only wanted to make a big score and not try to hurt anybody. When his actions caused an oil tanker to catch fire, he saved everybody on board (even Spiderman) and seemingly performed a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the explosion from harming anyone on shore.