A captive Batman
relieved of his shirt by Ra's al-Ghul.
Inexplicably, captors often find it necessary to relieve male prisoners of their shirts
and characters whose regular attire requires them to be shirtless
are often imprisoned, chained, shackled or otherwise restrained. There's some question as to whether this phenomenon is due to the need to prevent them from hiding a means of escape, a form of humiliation or punishment
, or if the captors enjoy providing fanservice
or maybe something else entirely
. Or, alternatively, Villainesses Want Heroes
This is almost entirely a male character trope
for obvious reasons
. Compare Go-Go Enslavement
It can be a prelude to, if not an integral part of: Working on the Chain Gang
, Made a Slave
, Slave Galley
, and Gladiator Games
A staple of Sword and Sandal
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!: When Tsuna is captured by Spanner, he wakes up to find himself hand cuffed to a bed wearing nothing but his boxers.
- Happens to Tamahome in Fushigi Yuugi when he is captured by Nakago.
- #7 "Inside Out": Wolverine is interrogated by Omega Red and Fenris after being captured by them, and relieved of his shirt.
- Teen Titans
- vol. 1 #22,: Most of the Titans have been captured by the Church of Blood and the confessor rids Robin of his shirt, and proceeds to restrain, torture and interrogate him. Robin never gets his shirt back on this occasion.
- Fantastic Four
- Ultimate Fantastic Four: Requiem; Dormammu has captured the Human Torch channeled his power to attack New York City. keeping him chained and shackled, shirtless, to an enormous boulder.
- #7: Our titular barbarian is captured and is taken to the capital city, bare-chested, with many chains and shackles involved and also Gladiator Games.
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- vol. 3 Annual #4: Colossal Boy has been captured by Starfinger, so naturally he's been relieved of his shirt, and secured spread-eagle to a frightening instrument panel and tortured.
- Action Jackson (1988): Jericho "Action" Jackson (Carl Weathers) is captured by the bad guys when his girlfriend is taken hostage. The next time we see him, his shirt is off and his wrists are tied to the ceiling of a car factory. His chief captor explains they plan to stage a car accident, and need to burn him alive to make it look convincing. He is saved at the very last minute. No explanation ever given even in the grand explication for why it is necessary for him to be bare-chested.
- Death Walks In Laredo (1966): At the climax of the movie, our hero, one of three brothers who had the valuable mine they inherited from their father stolen by a greedy land baron, is ambushed by the land baron's loyal gunmen. He thought he was going to sneak into the baron's estate, but unwittingly walked into a trap. After being captured and being subjected to a grand explication by the land baron, we next see our hero hanging upside down, with each leg tied to an archway. He has been relieved of his shirt. The henchmen take turns letting him swing back and forth over a fire they start under his head util his brothers arrive to save the day.
- Flash Gordon: Flash, Dale and Dr. Zarkoff go to the great hall where they meet the Emperor and watch tribute from his galactic Empire flow in. Then, Ming decides he wants Dale. He starts a football-esque fight, but an inopportune pass KOs the hero. He gets hoisted by six guards, and Ming, not amused and thankfully despite his daughter's pleas, says the following great line: "This one here has defied us before our subjects, we order him disposed of tonight, by public execution." The next time we see Flash, all of his clothes are gone except a very skimpy pair of black shorts. His hands are in binders lifted up high and he is in an iron mask. After his last request, a final talk with Dale, he is escorted to drumbeat to the gas chamber.
- Hercules: (1983): Hercules (Lou Ferrigno) is wandering about a castle looking for the damsel in distress that the righteous son of Zeus is supposed to rescue when all of a sudden, the floor gives way. It's a trap. Herc falls down and must knock himself unconscious in the fall because the next time we see our steroided-up mythological hero, he's lying on the floor, with steel shackles on his wrists and ankles, chained to floor. He also wears an iron collar that is equally chained to the floor. Just as he wakes up, an entourage led by Minos' (the bad guy)evil henchwoman stomps in. She tells Herc that Minos has given him to her as a gift and that she's really quite pleased.
- Hercules Against The Moon Men: Hercules wears an exomis-style tunic (which covers half of the chest) for most of the film, but after being captured by Samara and the titular Moon Men he is next seen completely shirtless and in chains and then placed in a bizarre torture machine.
- Lethal Ninja (1992): Our two heroes are ambushed by the crazed (former Nazi) mad scientists and his paymaster and surrender while in full ninja gear. The next wee see them, they are stripped of their shirts, and suspended by chains around their wrists over a pool of electrified water, with chains hanging from their feet as well, so that if they move even slightly, one or the other's chains will reach the water and electrocute one of them.
- Masters of the Universe: He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) spends most of the movie in an advanced form of leather loincloth-speedo combination, a pair of bandoliers and a cape. He-Man et al get really out numbered by the forces of evil. In order to spare the lives of his friends, He-Man agrees to return in chains with Skeletor as his slave. Once back home, Skeletor parades He-Man in front of his assembled court to make him a trophy. Dolph has been further relieved of clothing, and is completely bare-chested. His writs have shackles and he is attached by means of cable to the floor. He-Man resists all of Skeletor's demands. Skeletor wants to humiliate He-Man and to have him kneel before him with the whole planet watching. He-Man will have none of that. So, to help him make up his mind, Skeletor decides to laser-whip him.
- Mole Men Vs The Son Of Hercules: Not once, but three times Hercules and his shirtless companion find themselves bound, first after being captured and turned into slaves for the mill-stone their wrists are tied behind their backs which are then tied around their necks, secondly, when they are brought into an arena so they can fight to the death to marry the Queen, and finally when Hercules and his companion are chained and yoked inside a torture-cum-test-of-strength device.
- Rambo: First Blood Part II Rambo enters post-war Vietnam to scout for living American POWs. When confronted by the Vietnamese military, his superiors in Washington decide not to come to his rescue and he is surrounded by soldiers brandishing assault weapons as an American helicopters leaves without him. The next time we see Rambo, he is in a pit of animal waste and mud, submerged to his neck and chained to a yoke at the wrists.Then, the Russians show up. They clean Rambo up and return him his pants and boots, while he remains shirtless, and then lead him in for a preliminary interrogation with our Russian friend with a piano wire about his neck and bound hands. The Russian talks to Rambo and basically tells him that they're going to torture him and execute him, to which Rambo replies with a stoic curse. Then, they strap him to an old bed frame and hook it up to electricity, giving Rambo a shocking time. Eventually, Rambo's Vietnamese girlfriend shows up with weapons and breaks him out.
- Casino Royale (2006) has James Bond stripped completely naked and tied to a chair. This turns into Fan Disservice as Le Chiffre repeatedly whacks James's balls with a rope.
- In the film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Frodo is shirtless during his capture in Cirith Ungol's tower before Sam rescues him and they both don on orc armor to pass the army unharmed. Justified in that the orcs needed the Mythril Vest needed to be delivered to Sauron, who then decides to send his messenger to deliver the vest to the awaiting Fellowship at the Black Gate as proof that Frodo died from the torture when in reality Frodo and Sam have been long gone to Mount Doom.
- Doc Savage: In The Men Who Smiled No More, Doc and his aides are captured, mind-controlled and put to work as part of a slave labour force, wearing nothing but their shorts.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 has The First kidnap Spike and chain him up shirtless. It's quasi-justified in that it needs Spike's blood to drip on the seal. But not fully, since the only thing stopping them from taking the blood from his arm rather than his chest seems to be James Marsters's physique. This is lampshaded by the First, who has taken the form of Buffy, Spike's Love Interest at the time. "She" mentions that the original plan was to use geeky Big Bad Wannabe Andrew, "but you look better with your shirt off."
- A partial example in the season 2 finale. Giles is captured by Angel and has had his jacket, waistcoat and tie removed and his shirt unbuttoned. For torturing purposes presumably.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys:
- "Hercules and the Amazon Women": Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) and Ioluus run into monsters and get into a fight in which Iolaus is stabbed and dies by one of the monsters, which turn out to be women dressed in animal-like armor. Herc is so distraught that he gets captured by these Amazons. They tear his shirt off, yoke him, gag him and bind him to a sled and parade him into town. Everyone gawks at the hunk of man being shown off like some trophy. They bring Herc to see the Queen who interrogates Herc and beats him up a bit. He also spends some time in a cage.
- "Hondo and the Eagle Claw":
- The Wild Wild West: Occurs in almost every episode. Typically James West is knocked unconscious or captured by the bad guy of the week, and finds himself in a dungeon or on an operating table, or hooked to some devious contraption designed to kill him in a new and creative way, but always shirtless. Saved at the last minute by his trusty sidekick.
- The season 5 premiere of Merlin has Morgana imprisoning hundreds of sweaty shirtless men in a mine. Among them include Sir Leon, Gawain and Percival. The fangirls had a collective fit.
- Arrow: The Season 1 finale begins with Oliver having his arms held up with chains, at the mercy of the Big Bad, in one of his numerous Shirtless Scenes. He escapes in a sequence reminescent of his Workout Fanservice scenes.
- The Dragon Lady has Pat Ryan shackled shirtless to the wall of her junk after she captures him Terry and the Pirates.
- Used a lot in the Metal Gear series.
- Happened twice in the first Metal Gear Solid, and justified in both cases. The game takes place on an island in the Arctic Ocean during a blizzard, so without his shirt, Snake wouldn't get very far. In the second time, Liquid wanted to challenge Snake to a one-on-one fistfight, and Snake's suit has built in body armor, giving him an advantage.
- Taken a step further in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where Raiden is stripped completely naked. Also justified here, in that Raiden has a lot of advanced technology wired directly into the suit, and that it's quite cold inside Arsenal Gear where he was being held.
- Also happens in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
- Also happens in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, in proud Metal Gear tradition.
- Happens to both the player character and an NPC in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. In the latter case, she was stripped to her underwear, and jusitifed in-universe that it wasn't because for Fanservice reasons (said NPC is quite attractive), but rather because they were in an outpost in the middle of a Central American jungle. Without clothes, gear, or supplies, she'll die of exposure long before she could make it to civilization should she escape. She did escape, and thankfully for her, she bumped into Big Boss's faction.
- Starcraft II: In the New Folsom Blues level, most of the Dominion prisoners wear bright orange pants and nothing else. Tychus Findlay is introduced this way as well before he's sealed into his Power Armor.
- Every P.O.W in the Metal Slug series plays this straight.
- Biker Mice from Mars
- "The Pits": Two of the Mice are captured, stripped of their shirts, put in chains and sent to work in the titular pit mine.
- Batman: The Animated Series
- "Bane": Robin is kidnapped by Bane and his accomplice. He is stripped of his shirt and dangled by chains over a tank in which they intend to drown him. Justified in that Bane uses the uniform shirt to show Batman that he'd kidnapped Robin.
- "The Demon's Quest Part II": Batman is stripped of his shirt by Ra's al-Ghul's henchmen and put in chains in the dungeons after his capture attempting to sneak into the Lazarus Pit compound. The henchmen also want to remove Batman's mask, but Ra's tells them to leave it, as "it is a mark of honor."
- "Repo Man": Wolverine is captured by Alpha Flight and Vindicator on behalf of the Canadian government. He is next seen strapped to a table, stripped of his shirt, being inspected and interrogated by government scientists.