[[quoteright:299:[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/da77869b51d89a00a1b73c4374fa5e58.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:299:...Mercy.]]

->''"But why-- but why should any wish to kill me?" said Mowgli.''
->''"Look at me," said Bagheera. And Mowgli looked at him steadily between the eyes. The big panther turned his head away in half a minute.''
->''"That is why," he said, shifting his paw on the leaves. "Not even I can look thee between the eyes, and I was born among men, and I love thee, Little Brother. The others they hate thee because their eyes cannot meet thine; because thou art wise; because thou hast pulled out thorns from their feet-- because thou art a man."''
-->-- Lampshaded in ''Literature/TheJungleBook''

When a character is faced with a creature that should have him running away or cowering in fear (or which could at least finish him off with one bite) but instead engages it -- maybe even beats it -- in an impromptu StaringContest.

Picture the scene: Bob TheHero has been cornered by the villain. The SealedEvilInACan is about to be unleashed, probably in the form of an EldritchAbomination. The villain is locking the hero in a CoolGate to AnotherDimension with no chance of return. The GladiatorGames have commenced and it's one unarmed, wounded person against a whole pride of hungry lions. ''There's nothing anyone can do''. There's no backup, no escape, no BigDamnHeroes. All is lost. The world is undone. The lions are going to eat good tonight. '''[-[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt HE COMES]]-]'''.

And in the other corner, we see Bob, alone and defenseless, seconds away from complete and utter doom, standing with his eyes fixed directly on what's going to kill him. He stares straight ahead, unaffected, unafraid; at the hungry lions, at the EvilOverlord, even at that hideous, inhuman '''''[[EldritchAbomination thing]]'''''.

The seconds tick by. The forces of evil start to squirm a little bit. The lions don't move in for the kill. The villain stops his insane cackling. The UltimateEvil... hesitates. The hero, through sheer {{Badass}}ery, has intimidated something which had an infinitely superior advantage over him.

Where the situation goes from here depends. Perhaps the bad guy turns tail and runs away. Maybe Bob's staredown has distracted the villain long enough for TheCavalry to arrive or the BigDamnHeroes to show up. If the mighty being develops a sense of respect for the lesser character's moxie, then you've transitioned into WowingCthulhu. Or maybe the villain gets over it and kills the hero after all, but they -- and the audience -- will always remember that Bob, though he died, was [[DefiantToTheEnd never defeated]].

A sure sign that Bob is a {{Badass}}. Overlaps with DeathGlare and is often portrayed as a KubrickStare. TheSlowWalk is optional but undeniably makes the moment TwentyPercentMoreAwesome. If the hero goes out staring down and intimidating his killer, it's a good candidate for a DyingMomentOfAwesome.


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!!Examples:

[[AC:AnimeAndManga]]
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', The rare-but-powerful "Conqueror's Haki" grants the ability to do this to anyone who has it. With a sufficiently powerful stare, the user can cause giant monsters to back down in fear, and even cause those with weak constitutions to faint.
* TeenGenius Light Yagami of ''Manga/DeathNote'' stares down Rem, a [[{{Shinigami}} God of Death]]. Mind you, the Death God is a [[TokenGoodTeammate nicer person]] [[KnightTemplar than he is]] and [[spoiler: [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu through his manipulations]] he has turned her into an UnwittingPawn.]]
* Son Goku from ''DragonBallZ'' often ends up staring down at hideous monsters such as Demon King Piccolo or Space Overlord Frieza.
** His Son Gohan inherits the same trait upon ascending into Super Saiyan 2 against Cell, and 7 years later pulls it off again against Majin Buu.
* On two occasions, the titular character of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' stared down the Kyuubi. The first time, Naruto was blackmailing it for chakra; the second time, he was telling it to stop nay-saying.
* This is how the ''Manga/FairyTail'' team, battered and barely able to stand, defeats a still fresh and well-rested Sting in the last day of the Magic Games: they stare him down until he realizes beating them like this wouldn't help him in the slightest and surrenders.

[[AC: ComicBooks]]
* The master of DidYouJustScamCthulhu, John Constantine the ''Comicbook/{{Hellblazer}}'', does this when face-to-face with the most powerful beings in the universe, such as {{Satan}} and {{God}}. He stares them in the eye while puffing smoke from his cigarette. He even {{flip|pingTheBird}}s Satan a finger.
* ''ComicBook/{{Casanova}} Quinn'' is forced into a psychic staring contest with a hive mind of evil monks. [[spoiler: Cass wins by having [[http://www.4thletter.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/c1p12.jpg a mind full of spiders.]] ]]
* [[SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom Victor von Doom]] is intimidated by precisely ''nothing''. For instance, when he faced the Overmind, an alien being with the telepathic strength of ''billions'' of aliens, and which had already mind-controlled Reed Richards, he looked it right in the eye and didn't back down. Or when the Purple Man helped him TakeOverTheWorld, then tried to threaten him. Doom took off his anti-mind control mask and looked Purple Man right in the eye.
-->'''Doom''': [[ShutUpHannibal Now...who deserves to rule?]]
** Doom may be hideously evil, but you gotta give the jerk props for his [[HeroicWillpower willpower.]] Dude kept his composure while being ''[[{{Squick}} vivisected]]'' by the Beyonder.
** Also demonstrated in ''ComicBook/MarvelZombies''. Every other villain and hero on earth is consumed by hunger when bitten. Reed Richards takes it like a religious conversion that he needs to spread, Colonel America starts chowing down on government officials hidden in presidential bunkers, Thor's hammer abandons him, and Spider-Man's first meal as a zombie is Aunt May and Mary Jane. Doom? He calmly helps Ash from Evil Dead escape, only revealing he's been bitten and zombified just before Ash is teleported to another dimension.
* When ''Comicbook/SupermanBatman'' go to Apokolips to save Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}. Batman threatens to blow up Apokolips if {{ComicBook/Darkseid}} doesn't give up Kara. Even though the New God pummels him Batman still threatens him. Darkseid later concedes.

[[AC:FanWorks]]
* In ''FanFic/ACharmedLife'' Light does this to Sidoh, a God of Death. Though Sidoh is, admittedly, kind of a pushover.
* In ''{{FanFic/Solitude}}'' [[Manga/DeathNote Light]] does this to [[spoiler: [[RapeAsBackstory his rapist]].]] Light would stare him down everytime they were in a room together and evidently [[spoiler: [[DrivenToSuicide this drove him to suicide]]]].
* In the [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic MLP:FiM]] fan fiction ''FanFic/TheMonsterMash'' tale ''Rarity: Blood and Water'', [[{{Dracula}} Count Drache]] attempts to use his vampiric mesmerism on Fluttershy. She meets his gaze with her own and it's the vampire who looks away.
* In ''{{Discworld}}/TheBigBangTheory'' crossover ''Fanfic/TheManyWorldsInterpretation'', Sheldon Cooper looks Death full in the eye-sockets and refuses to go, as [[AFormYouAreComfortableWith Death is not the manifestation Sheldon expects to meet when his time comes]]. Death is rather confused and backs off. [[note]]Although on that occasion he wasn't there to claim Sheldon's soul.[[/note]]

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* This is how Mowgli defeats Shere Khan in ''Film/TheJungleBook''. Much is made of him being the one who can stare down the tiger and live.
* Creator/GeorgeCScott in the 1980 horror movie, ''Film/TheChangeling'', has the nerve to glare at the [[spoiler: vengeful ghost of a murdered child]] and yell: "Joseph, you Goddamn son of a bitch! What is it you want?" It works [[spoiler: temporarily]].
* In ''Film/{{Hannibal}}'', Hannibal Lecter stares down a vicious Doberman and it curls up in the corner and whimpers.
* V'Ger of ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' effortlessly destroys anything that affronts it--including a Klingon task force of three battlecruisers--on its way to Earth. Depending on the cut of the film you're watching, the energy field that V'Ger creates around itself has a diameter either [[ScifiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale greater than that of the solar system]], or just greater than Earth's orbit around the sun. When it arrives at Earth, the machine casually prepares to obliterate the planet's biosphere. None of that stops [[TheCaptain Jim Kirk]] from playing chicken with V'Ger, and winning; making the leviathan stand down by threatening to not reveal who its creator is if it doesn't.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rango}}''. This is how Rango finally earns the respect of Rattlesnake Jake, having been terrified of him on their first encounter.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* ''Literature/TheJungleBook'' (the ''book''!).
* Aragorn does this to ''Sauron'' with the PalantÝr in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''... sort of. He challenges Sauron by staring into the PalantÝr and has enough willpower to break away from Sauron's visions.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
** Mouse, a dog, gets a few of these in. Two of the most impressive times are once to Leanansidhe, one of the most powerful [[TheFairFolk fae]] in the series, and later to Nicodemus, a man with a literal FallenAngel in his head. {{Justified|Trope}}: Mouse is a Temple Dog, and this is exactly what Temple Dogs are bred for.
** In ''Proven Guilty'', Harry himself does this to Maeve, the Winter Lady. Since she can squish him like a bug, it's a moment of understated awesome for Harry. Though, he does mention in his FirstPersonSmartass narration that he's really just up against a shark, and trying to make himself look nice and inedible and praying that the shark doesn't take a couple bites just to test. Even better, he does this while calmly, quietly, tonelessly talking about how [[spoiler: he killed Aurora, Maeve's peer and equal.]] He ends his little talk by [[OldSchoolChivalry holding a chair open for Maeve]], and asking her to play nice, as he doesn't want a confrontation.
** In "Changes" Harry, [[spoiler:suffering from a broken back, running out of time to save his child, and short on options, calls up Mab to accept her offer of becoming the Winter Knight.]] Of course Mab, being Mab, [[spoiler:asks Harry why she should allow him to enter her service.]] Harry informs her in no uncertain terms that [[spoiler:accepting her offer]] is the least evil of his options, and if need be, he will [[spoiler:exploit his position as one of the few to know the whole secret of the Darkhallow, go curbstomp the Red Court, save his little girl, and come track down Mab for a nice chat as a newly-minted necromantic god.]]
-->'''Dresden''': "If you don't want to do business, I'll go elsewhere. I could still call [[spoiler: Lasciel's coin to me in a heartbeat - and Nicodemus and the Denarians]] would be more than happy to help me. I am also one of the only people alive who knows how to [[spoiler:pull off Kemmler's Darkhallow. So if Nicky and the Nickelheads don't want to play,]] I can damned well get the power for myself - and the next time I call your name, I won't need to be nearly so polite."
** And in ''Cold Days'', Harry stares down ''Mab'', and threatens to [[spoiler:have Demonreach imprison her.]] She actually seems to take the threat seriously.
* And in a reversal of the above, the ''villain'' of ''Literature/WatershipDown'' grants his troops seconds for a vital getaway by confronting a dog. (Though he didn't just stare, he also fought, as the dog later turns up with bites and scratches, drawing a remark from a human observer that it "must have gone for something that put up a fight.")
* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', the Luggage successfully stared down a Basilisk. And Discworld Basilisks have supposedly-fatal stares. And the Luggage [[FridgeLogic doesn't even have eyes.]]
** Rincewind repeatedly reflects on how creepy it is that the Luggage is clearly watching things without having any eyes.
* A big point is not made of it, but in ''{{Literature/Dinoverse}}'' the first time the kids are menaced by a TyrannosaurusRex [[TheRunaway Janine]] just stares defiantly at it. Unlike the others, she can't fight or run.
* Played with in ''Literature/{{Unique}}'', the vampire Ophelia tries looking at Jan with an expression of predatory sexuality, in the hopes of seducing and overpowering him. Jan, being a young Vei­ima­r who has trained to fight things like female vampires, makes it very clear that it's not going to happen.
[[AC:{{Live Action TV}}]]
* [[BadassPreacher Mr. Eko]] not only stares down, but actually ''scares off'' the [[spoiler:Black Smoke]], which is about as close to an EldritchAbomination as ''Series/{{Lost}}'' gets. However, in the next season, [[spoiler:they meet again, and it kills him]].
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'': Hotch gets back to his apartment to find a serial killer waiting for him, a guy so bad he stabbed ''himself'' multiple times to throw police off his tracks. And Hotch shows no fear. Not when the guy shoots the wall right next to his head; not when the guy pulls out his knife, not even ''after the guy starts stabbing him''! It's so badass, even the other characters speak in awe about how badass it is. Reid and Garcia muse maybe The Reaper let Hotch specifically because he didn't even blink.
-->'''The Reaper:''' Is this part of my profile? You can't show me fear?
-->'''Hotch:''' If you don't see fear maybe it's because I'm not afraid of you.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones''
** [[PluckyComicRelief Hot Pie]], [[LovableCoward of all people]], does this to Gregor Clegane. Clegane has made it a habit of coming down to where prisoners are held each day and personally selecting one person to be questioned and tortured to death. Another prisoner tells Hot Pie he's managed to avoid being picked for torture by invoking this trope on Clegane. The next time Clegane comes down to pick a victim both the prisoner and Hot Pie enact this trope. Hot Pie doesn't get picked. The other guy does. [[BringMeMyBrownPants Hot Pie then needs new pants]].
** Arya Stark does this to Tywin Lannister. Tywin's death glares are known to leave even hardened warriors quaking in their boots, and Arya -- a little girl -- stares him down.
* In ''Series/{{Jekyll}}'', Hyde not only stares down a pride of lions but puts them under his mind-control.
* In ''Series/LoisAndClark'', Lex Luthor is introduced staring down a venomous snake which slithers away in fear.
* This is part of the EstablishingCharacterMoment for young [[YoungGun Michael Lee]] in ''Series/TheWire''. Drug kingpin Marlo Stansfield, who owns the west side of Baltimore, is running a ReignOfTerror where he brutally murders anyone who even ''thinks'' of disrespecting or challenging him. (And sometimes their family too.) One day, perhaps convinced by his slightly more humane Dragon, Marlo gives away some money to a group of young kids in a bid to [[VillainWithGoodPublicity get a good reputation on the street]]. Michael, however, not wanting to be in anybody's debt, refuses and begins to walk away. Marlo, none too pleased with giving away money at all, goes to confront Michael. Michael, rather than backing up, fixes Marlo with a DeathGlare. After a few seconds, an impressed Marlo nods, smiles, and lets Michael go. [[YouGotSpunk Afterwards Marlo begins actively trying to recruit Michael into his gang]]. Michael is '''''13''''' at the time.
* [[ColonelBadass John Sheppard]] does this to [[Series/StargateAtlantis wraith queens]] a couple times. It works better sometimes than others, but it still unnerves the wraith pretty good. Or, y'know, keeps them from just straight off eating him.

[[AC:TabletopGames]]
* Gideon Jura, a Planeswalker from the ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' franchise, took up a staring contest with that universe's closest thing to Cthulu: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. It happened at the end of the Battle of Fort Keff. Gideon, spotting the horizon darkening as if to herald the arrival of the great Emrakul, beckons the inhabitants of Fort Keff to flee. Gideon however remains to witness the Eldrazi first hand before Planeswalking away to Ravnica to seek help. This epic staredown is depicted in his first printing: [[http://magiccards.info/m12/en/16.html Gideon Jura]].

[[AC:{{Video Games}}]]
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', this occurs near the end of the ''Leviathan DLC'' when Shepard comes face-to-face with the Leviathan itself. On Rannoch, s/he fights a 160m tall Reaper in a BullfightBoss battle.
* Librarians in ''VideoGame/{{Metro 2033}}'' are on par with the vicious Demons, Moscow's apex predators, in terms of danger level, being tough-as-nails, rather fast, and surprisingly hard-hitters. Your best option is to stare them down until they lose interest (or get intimidated themselves) and leave, as Ulman tells you to. Otherwise, you're in for, if not death, at least a very hard fight.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', Link throws his DeathGlare to the game's BiggerBad [[spoiler:Demise, who is the incarnation of all evil. Demise is impressed, as every single human he'd ever faced before had fled in terror from him. He recognizes Link's courage, admitting that he never expected that from a human]].

[[AC:WebComics]]
* [[HairRaisingHare Bun-bun]] in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' does this to an angry bear, making her (actually him, which may explain it) his crony. He's brought "her" cub along and everyone assumes he's going to go MamaBear at the slightest provocation, but when Bun-bun isn't the least bit intimidated, he's apparently GenreSavvy enough to know a KillerRabbit when he sees one.
--> '''Bear''': "You're on your own!"
--> '''Cub''': "[[ThisIsGonnaSuck Well]] [[SymbolSwearing $#!&]]."
* ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'': [[http://lfgcomic.com/page/588 Richard vs a great eye, wreathed in flame.]]

[[AC:WebOriginal]]
* Some of the finds of the Wiki/SCPFoundation can be dealt with in this manner. In particular, SCP-173 is rendered completely harmless as long as you're maintaining eye contact with it... [[Series/DoctorWho don't blink]].
** Dr. Clef once did this to ''[[OmnicidalManiac SCP-682]]''!

[[AC:{{Western Animation}}]]
* Disney/{{Hercules}}, when riding CERBERUS to meet Hades in the underworld.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Fluttershy has subdued a dragon (whose eyes were larger than her body, so she lectured while pacing on his snout) and a cockatrice (whose gaze was ''turning her to stone'' as she did so, but who still gave up first) by staring them down and scolding them. {{Subverted|Trope}} (twice), however, when she tries to stare down [[MadGod Discord]] -- he only pretends to be horrified to mock her.
* Towards the climax of the Cadmus arc of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited'', Prof. Hamilton stares down Superman, whom he (justifiably) expects to go on a tangent and try to take over the world at any moment.
** A more literal example would be in ''The Terror Beyond'', where Hawkgirl, after she and Solomon Grundy are ensnared in the grip of [[WritingAroundTrademarks Ichthultu]], has this to say:
--->'''Hawkgirl''': ''Nothing to say. [[FlippingTheBird I have a '''gesture''' for you,]] but my hands are tied.''
* On ''BeanyAndCecil'', "Beany Meets The Monstrous Monster" has a little fish called Staring Herring, who uses his talent to hypnotize. He does this to the Monstrous Monster.

[[AC:RealLife]]
* TruthInTelevision: Very few vertebrates can outstare a human (with the exception of fish and reptiles, which have transparent eyelids). You can try this yourself with your dog or cat. However, staring down a large animal is not always smart, because prolonged eye contact is an aggressive signal, and some critters (notably bears, rhinos, gorillas, and highly aggressive guard dogs) may take up the challenge and attack.
* That pride of hungry lions example? [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YY4f4OF0BM It's been done]] by people outnumbered by the lions 5 to 1. Felines prefer to catch their food unawares, avoiding a straight-up confrontation, and to a cat, the target of a stare equals "prey." So if you catch a feline stalking you and stare back, it tends to chicken out.
** In certain parts of India, [[http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/05/science/face-masks-fool-the-bengal-tigers.html masks that look like unblinking faces are worn on the back of the head to divert tigers]] -- the tiger thinks the 'mask' is the face and slinks off since it believes it's lost the element of surprise.
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