"I'm going to put a price on your head that's so big, when you look in the mirror your reflection's gonna want to shoot you in the face."This person is badly wanted by somebody. Wanted badly enough that they are willing to pay a large sum of money whoever brings in this person. They often don't care if this person arrives dead or alive. The bounty is usually offered by either The Law or a criminal. Or both. This person will often feature on a "Wanted!" Poster. The price will usually attract Bounty Hunters.
— Dean Sanderson, The Mechanic (2011)
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Cowboy Bebop: Every one of the fugitives that Jet and Spike are chasing has this as an incentive for the heroes to catch them. It rarely works out.
- One Piece: A pirate's prestige is tied to the size of the bounty the World Government has placed on his or her head. Likewise, a pirate crew's prestige is indicated by the sum of bounties on all of its current members. The main characters, for instance, started off with more or less zero bounties, and are currently rocking a total of over 1 500 000 000 Global Currency—the most wanted crew in the series so far.
- Trigun: Vash has $$60 000 000 000 on his head for the destruction of a city. Up until the Bernadelli Insurance Corporation declares him a "human act of God" to avoid paying claims on the damage he causes.
- Justice Society of America: One arc sees the entire team getting individual bounties placed on their heads, with the sole exception of Stargirl.
- Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia: El Jefe puts a contract out on Garcia because he knocked up El Jefe's daughter. The protagonist finds out that Garcia is already dead and buried, so he decides to dig him up and remove his head to return for the reward.
- The Dark Knight: After the Joker angers the mob lord Gambol one too many times, Gambol declares that he'll pay $500 000 for the Joker brought to him dead, and $1 000 000 alive so Gambol can get revenge on Joker himself. However, the Joker uses this to his advantage by secretly hiring some of Gambol's goons and pretending to be dead while they bring him to Gambol, allowing him to get close enough to assassinate the mobster.
- For a Few Dollars More: The Man with No Name and Colonel Mortimer team up to go after El Indio and his gang worth $27 000 in total.
- In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Blondie and Tuco run a scam where Blondie turns Tuco in for the reward money ($2,000) and then rescues him from the hangman and they split the bounty.
- In Once Upon a Time in the West, the bandit Cheyenne has a $5,000 bounty on his head. Harmonica uses it to bid for Jill's land.
- The Hateful 8: Daisy Domergue has $10 000 on her head. Major Marquis Warren had $30 000 during the war. The rest of the Domergue gang also have bounties.
- Ransom: Millionaire Tom Cullen receives a demand for $2 000 000 for the safe return of his son. When federal agents kill the only connection to the kidnappers, Mullen tries a new strategy: he broadcasts the $2 000 000 as a bounty to anyone who fingers the kidnappers. Anyone, no questions asked, no charges pressed.
- Maleficent: The dying king promises the throne to the one who kills Maleficent.
- Star Wars: In A New Hope, Jabba the Hutt had put a bounty on Han Solo's head.
- The Three Musketeers (1993): The Cardinal offers a bounty for the each of the Musketeers after they free D'Artagnan.
Cardinal Richelieu: One thousand gold pieces on each of their heads, dead or alive!
Cardinal Richelieu: I prefer dead!
- Unforgiven: After a prostitute is disfigured by two cowboys who get a slap on the wrist by sheriff Little Bill, her coworker prostitutes put out that they'll pay $1 000 to whoever kills them. The Scofield Kid wants that money and eventually talks William Munny out of retirement to help him.
- The Informer: The British are offering £20 for information leading to the capture of Frankie McPhillip. Gypo goes for it.
- In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Sheriff of Nottingham is constantly raising the bounty on Robin Hood's head. First it's 100 gold pieces. Then 500. The 25,000 crowns. It does nothing to sway people's loyalty to him.
- I Shot Jesse James: Everybody in the James clan has one, though Jesse's is the highest at $3,000.
- Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal has disgruntled French Foreign Legionnaires, angry that President De Gaulle chose to accede Algeria to the insurrectionists, hire a British sniper to assassinate the French president. The sniper has a badass reputation as The Kingslayer, and commands a $500 000 fee. The cabal is able to gather the advance by robbing banks, confident that they'll be able to gather the remainder from right-wing businessmen once they've proved themselves by killing De Gaulle.
- Discworld: The Assassins' Guild lives and breathes this trope. The Hogfather had a bounty of $3 000 000. Moist von Lipwig had a conditional $100 000 bounty on his head. Lord Vetinari and The Duke of Ankh, Sir Samuel Vimes had bounties, before being being taken off the lists.
- Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow series: Shane Schofield, and 14 others, get a $18 600 000 bounty for his literal head.
- A Song of Ice and Fire. Anyone who brings in Tyrion Lannister's head will get a lordship.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe: Han and Leia end up getting a price put on their heads by Han's villainous cousin Thrackan Sal-Solo after he declares himself leader of Corellia. He hires Boba Fett's daughter but she's killed and he then tries to hire Fett himself. Fett initially hoped to find his daughter by finding Han but later defected and helped kill Sal-Solo with his granddaughter and Han he learned of 1 000 000 credit price on Sal-Solo's head and that Sal-Solo sold out his (Fett's) daughter to the other side.
- The Executioner. The Mafia has a $250,000 open contract on Mack Bolan, though the Villain Cred of killing the vigilante One-Man Army tends to be emphasized more.
Live Action TV
- Firefly: Simon and River Tam have prices on their heads as a result of him rescuing her from the Academy. It's not specified how much the Alliance is offering for them, but it is enough to get Jayne to rat them out on Ariel and is enough to get a sadistic Bounty Hunter after them. This causes no end of trouble for the rest of the crew.
- Galavant: Madalena puts a price of 6 gold coins on Sid's head after he runs away. When cornered by peasants who have reason to be hostile to Queen Madalena, Sid tries to convince them to let him go and says 6 gold coins isn't much money anyway. One peasant retorts that 6 gold coins is enough to buy a farm.
- Game of Thrones: After deserting the Lannisters and killing a group of their soldiers he encountered, The Hound becomes one of the most wanted men in Westeros. Tywin places a large bounty on him, deciding that anyone who brings in The Hound's head will get 100 silver stags.
- NYPD Blue:
- When a Serial Killer murders a wealthy man's daughter, the man offers Simone $1 000 000 to kill him instead of arresting him. Simone doesn't do it but also doesn't report the illegal solicitation of a contract, giving the man some slack over his grief. Later, after the killer is arrested, it is all but stated that the wealthy man pays another man whose daughter was also murdered by the same serial killer (and who was an expert sniper during the Vietnam War) to murder him. The assassin confesses and is willing to pay the penalty but refuses to implicate the wealthy man, who is now paying for the murderer's wife's dialysis at a private clinic.
- In another episode a numbers runner has had a contract put out on him and Medevoy is assigned to his protection detail. While the numbers runner and his friends stay with Medevoy playing poker (thus giving them an airtight alibi) one of the numbers runner's employees goes out and kills the other man, thus "cancelling" the contract.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor has had various prices on his head over the years, ranging from £20 to an entire star system.
- In The Wire, Avon Barksdale puts a bounty of $1,000 each on Omar and his crew after they rob his stash-house. He doubles it upon learning that Omar is gay.
- Farscape uses wanted beacons which show holograms of the criminals (usually Moya's crew) with narration explaining the reward for turning them in.
HOLOGRAM: An unprecedented reward is offered for information leading— (Chiana advances recording) —dead or alive, five million currency pledges rests on the Nebari Chiana, who was last seen— (shuts chip off)CHIANA: They're everywhere. In every bar, every port, every ship that can fly. We had nowhere to go but here, and all because of you [Crichton].RYGEL: (smugly) I'm worth seven million. That's frelling with her head, too. (Chiana hits him)
- The Bon Jovi song Wanted Dead Or Alive is about a man wanted... well, you know. Interestingly, the song never comes out and says what it is he's wanted for.
- Shadowrun, 3rd edition supplement Loose Alliances: Matthias Hesse, leader of the Neo-Nazi terror group Nationale Aktion, has a 50 000 Euro bounty on his head due to the group's attacks at the Munich Stadium.
- The Quest for the Silver Empress adventure from Judges Guild Pegasus magazine: One of the NPCs is "Rabid" Grawulf Thornal. Thornal is a criminal who killed the son of a noble during a robbery, resulting in a 5 000 gold piece price on his head.
- Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeon magazine Forgotten Realms adventure "All Things Nice". The Con Artist thief Clavius has a price on his head in twenty different towns. Treblun Gonologon is worth 2,000 gold pieces, dead or alive, to a group of pirates in Baldur's Gate.
- Borderlands 2: The four Vault Hunters from the vanilla game all have ludicrously high prices on their head for a variety of reasons. Axton is wanted for "war crimes" and has $5 000 000 000 as a reward, Zer0 is wanted for "Political Assassination" at $32 000 000 000, Salvador is wanted for "manslaughter, theft, arson, destruction of property, trespassing, cannibalism, public indecency and profanity at $99 000 000 000.99, and Maya is wanted for being a Siren at $720 000 000 000.
- The Division: When players kill non-hostile Division agents in Dark Zone areas, they turn into rogue agents that gives other players incentive to gain experience points/loot/money by killing them. The only way to get the rogue status to go away is to kill the other Division agents or hide and wait for the bounty time to end.
- EVE Online: Any player can put up a bounty on a character's head, which is visible to other players if they view his or her profile.
- Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus: At one point Neftin Prog offers a bonus for whoever can kill Ratchet: 10 000 bolts (which isn't really a lot, honestly). Ratchet then says that it'd be nice to go a day without getting a price put on his head. Earlier in the same area Neftin says that he wants Ratchet's head on a stake and his robot turned to scrap.
- Evolve: All Basilisk Soldiers, such as Slim, have a 10,000 key bounty on their heads due to their role in the attempted rebellion. According to Abe, the bounty is so high because the only people in any position to take advantage of it would have been rooting for the rebels.
- The Looney Tunes episode Rebel Rabbit: Bugs Bunny is infuriated upon learning that the Department of the Interior offers bounties up to $50 for large nuisance animals, but only two cents per rabbit. Bugs sets out to become the biggest nuisance ever, and vandalizes America in hilarious ways. The U.S. Army finally captures Bugs, and imprisons him in Alcatraz. "Meh, perhaps I've gone too far."
- Samurai Jack: Aku placed a price on Jack's head. In one episode, he had to deal with bounty hunter after bounty hunter. In another episode, he encounter another character who also had a price on his head placed by Aku and after their initial clash, they worked together to deal with the bounty hunters going after them in that episode.
- Kaeloo: In Episode 88, Stumpy, Quack Quack, and Mr. Cat, who are bandits in this episode, see Wanted Posters with their names, pictures and rewards: 5000 dollars for Mr. Cat, 6500 dollars for Quack Quack and... 33 cents for Stumpy.