Real Men Get Shot

"Bones heal, chicks dig scars, pain is temporary, glory is forever."

Normally, getting hurt isn't a very glorious thing. After all, if you were really that cool nothing could touch you, right? Well, sometimes getting hurt is cool, and serves to prove just how badass a character really is.

How someone deals with injury can give insight into the character, and show that their awesomeness incarnate is not just a facade. Executed well, this can also provide a dose of realism into an otherwise unbelievable character. Or, it can simply exist to show just how much punishment the character can take or is willing to take. May come paired with Major Injury Underreaction, but just as often the character is in quite apparent pain. Sometimes they try to brush it off, others they're actually incapacitated, or may even die, but in every case they look awesome for it.

This is probably the reason for Macho Masochism. May result in Good Scars, Evil Scars or a Rugged Scar, which, in turn, may hint back at this trope.

To qualify for this trope a character must actually be injured. Shrugging off damage physically may be Made of Iron or Nigh-Invulnerability. Despite the name, this trope is not limited to males or bullet wounds.

Compare: I Can Still Fight!.


  • Whenever Spike gets shot or falls from a great height in Cowboy Bebop, which is a lot.

  • Abraham Sapien, of Hellboy and B.P.R.D., can basically walk off any injury.

  • Every injury ever sustained by John McClane. Ever.
  • Patrick Swayze's character from Road House.
  • Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring. He gets shot in the chest three times... and keeps fighting until he dies.
  • Indiana Jones. The man is pretty regularly rode hard and put away wet, yet as the old commercials used to say, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
  • In The Raid: Redemption, after killing the last of the Machete Gang, Rama collapses in a badly-bruised heap, and only by thinking of his pregnant wife can he find the will to get back up. Which he does, and then he kills more bad guys. The final fight between him, Mad Dog, and Andi is basically a grueling test of endurance.
  • At the end of Running Scared (1986), Costanza (Billy Crystal) comments that he got shot, to which Hughes (Gregory Hines) replies that, "It's about time."

  • The Red Badge of Courage gets its name from the idea that being shot is proof of manhood.
  • Sharpe. He takes enough punishment to kill a lesser Sean Bean character, but always makes it to the end of the novel.
  • Among the Axumites in Belisarius Series, getting one's first battle scar is a rite of passage.
  • In The Good The Bad And The Mediochre, the only two heroic characters to get shot without instantly recovering due to magic are Joseph and Dhampinella, respectively the most badass male and female characters in the book. Joseph yells a bit but goes on to bind the wound himself in a way that implies he's used to this sort of thing, while Dhampinella's only concession to showing pain is that she holds that arm uncomfortably for a while.

Live-Action TV
  • 24: Jack Bauer, both injuries sustained during the course of a series, and coming back from having been kept captive and tortured for the years between two seasons.
  • Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager. (To the Doctor: "I'll be coming back with severe burns.")
  • Played with in Firefly. Captain Mal, who is unquestionaly a badass, tends to power through pain to get a job done. However, after being rather viciously stabbed during a "Duel of Honour", he simply will not shut up about how he got cut, and how much it hurts. Jokingly though. He's just trying to milk it for all the sympathy it's worth.
    Inara: Are you in pain?
    Mal: Absolutely. I got stabbed, you know! [points to bandage] Right here!
  • Jim Brass in CSI. He gets the date of his line of duty injuries tattooed next to them. He got one onscreen in the 7th season opener after getting shot in "Bang Bang" the previous season, and had another already present, possibly an old war wound or an earlier offscreen police injury. It probably would lead to talking about it if they ever gave him a girlfriend.

  • Chris Cagle, "Chicks Dig It"
    Scars heal... glory fades
    And all we're left with are the memories made, oh yeah
    Pain hurts, but only for a minute
    Life is short so go on and live it
    'Cause the chicks dig it

Video Games
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake gets shot, beaten, thrown off a cliff, breaks bones, hell, there's an entire game mechanic revolving around removing foreign objects from your flesh and not bleeding to death. All it does is reaffirm just how tough as nails this guy is.
    • How much damage you've taken changes one of Volgin's lines when Snake is captured. If you've done well, he comments on how Snake takes great care of his body. If you've taken a beating, he comments that a lesser man would be dead by now.
  • Certainly hinted at in Aliens Vs Predator 2 with General Rykov.
  • Red Dead Revolver and its Spiritual Successor Red Dead Redemption has both protagonists' sporting several scars on one side of their face.
  • Ace Attorney Investigations has agent Lang being shot in the leg as he takes a bullet for exposed mole Shi-hina/Calisto Yew. He barely acknowledges the fact.

Web Original
  • In Red vs. Blue, episode 4 of season 9, North was riddled with bullets but is still able to climb out of a Pelican in flight and activate his dome shield to save the ship.
    • Without an AI. Which is later revealed to have stood a good chance of killing him on its own.

Real Life