->'''Professor Moriarty:''' Rest assured, if you attempt to bring destruction down upon me, I shall do the same to you. My respect for you, Mr. Holmes, is the only reason you are still alive.
->'''Sherlock Holmes:''' You've paid me several compliments. Let me pay you one in return when I say that, if I were assured of the former eventuality, I would cheerfully accept the latter.
-->-- '''''Film/SherlockHolmesAGameOfShadows'''''

In some works, there's an antagonist who isn't known for being friendly with the protagonists. But sometimes, in situations when one of said protagonists (often the main/lead character, but supporting characters qualify as well) exhibits a heroic or otherwise positive character trait that sufficiently impresses the antagonist, the latter will not be above commending them or otherwise showing his approval of them or their character trait in question. It will particularly stand out if, previously, the antagonist was hostile or (more usually) simply dismissive of the targeted protagonist.

The action may usually be performed by the NobleDemon, but bonus points if it's the BigBad delivering the praise. Note that the commendation is ''sincere'', and is not an attempt by the villain to [[ManipulativeBastard screw with the hero's head]]. The villain may also do it because he and the hero are NotSoDifferent after all. It may also be a PetTheDog moment to show the villain isn't such a bad guy after all ([[NotSoStoic even if he]] [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold won't admit it]]).

A LawfulEvil character, or a character with EvilVirtues, may have this as part of his/her personality, especially in a situation where VillainsNeverLie. This can also be a trait of the FriendlyEnemy (though depending on the work, it probably won't reach GoKartingWithBowser levels). The AntagonistInMourning may also do this as a tribute to the fallen hero (whether the hero is actually dead or not).

May frequently overlap with CombatCompliment and WorthyOpponent, where the praise is given during a fight. Compare VillainTakesAnInterest, where the villain may become interested in being a mentor to the hero, and compare and contrast WeCanRuleTogether, where the villain tries to convince the hero that they would do better working together instead of against each other. Naturally there is also a large overlap with SympathyForTheHero.

Compare AdmiringTheAbomination. Contrast YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame, where a villain praises the hero for a ''negative'' trait or action and the hero feels disgusted as a result. Also different from BaddieFlattery, wherein the villain is still sincere in his praise of a positive trait but the praise comes across as utterly creepy and disturbing (though this ''might'' be a sister trope to that one). And, again, note the second paragraph above.

'''Please note:''' The character to whom the praise is given is generally a true-blue hero. If the AntiHero or the AntiVillain is the recipient of the praise, it's a bit trickier since the former has villainous characteristics while skirting the line between good and evil, and the latter has heroic characteristics while still not being a clearly good guy. If the villain respects something relatively minor about the hero, it's TheOneThingIDontHateAboutYou. If the villain respects another unambiguous villain, that's VillainCred.

!!Examples include:


[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Kenichi of ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'' has gotten this from several antagonists, including three members of the Yami group's One Shadow Nine Fists martial artists and at least one member of Yami's disciple group YOMI.
** Agaard Jum Sai, the One Shadow Nine Fists' Muay Tai master and the RivalTurnedEvil to Ryouzapaku's Apachai Hopachai, is the first noted example among the One Shadow Nine Fists. Shortly after Kenichi defeats Tirawat Koukin, Agaard's student and a member of YOMI, Agaard commends Kenichi on his tenacity and praises his ability as Apachai's disciple, while at the same time telling Koukin there's no shame in losing to such a skilled opponent. [[spoiler:Plus he gives Kenichi pointers on defending himself against a Master-class weapons user moments afterward, himself unable to help directly due to being temporarily paralyzed from his fight with Apachai]].
** The second example is "God Fist" Akira Hongo, the RivalTurnedEvil to Ryozanpakou's Sakaki Shio. When he momentarily derides his student Sho Kanou's RedemptionEqualsDeath sacrifice to protect Miu during the D of D Tournament arc, Kenichi angrily declares that Sho's sacrifice was not a waste and he won't allow Hongo to say it was (interestingly, insulting Sho's memory is in fact a BerserkButton for Hongo). The exchange between them goes this way:
---> '''Hongo:''' (Sho) committed a mistake...and it is my responsibility that the softness inside of him was not totally erased.\\
'''Kenichi:''' ''THAT'S WRONG!'' He...that time, I thought that he was really incredible! As a person and as a man! That's why I don't want you to say that his last action was some kind of mistake!!!\\
'''Hongo:''' ...Sakaki's disciple, huh...your name?\\
'''Kenichi:''' Ryouzanpaku first disciple...Shirahama Kenichi.
** The third example is the [[BigBad One Shadow]] [[spoiler:a.k.a. [[PapaWolf Saiga]] [[DisappearedDad Furinji]]]] himself, who commends Kenichi for his determination in protecting Miu, and later flashes his gauntlets to Kenichi from a distance as a mark of respect. [[spoiler:Possibly subverted, since he was GoodAllAlong anyway]].
---> '''One Shadow:''' A man like you is worth trusting.
** As recently as Chapter 500, the newest member of YOMI [[spoiler:Berserker]] expresses acknowledgment of Kenichi's fighting prowess even as they begin their skirmish at the amusement park where Kenichi and his friends had gone to relax (meanwhile, the other YOMI members are fighting Kenichi's friends).
---> '''[[spoiler:Berserker]]:''' Indeed, you're quite good. No-one has been able to dodge my attacks so perfectly after I trained as a YOMI, so far. I was right in choosing you as my target, Kenichi Shirahama.
* While few of the antagonists of ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' are ''evil,'' characters originally portrayed as {{Jerkass}}es like Kakei or Mizumachi do come to respect their opponents. Also, it's revealed that Clifford, possibly the most antagonistic character in the series, came to respect Sena as a player and [[spoiler: [[BecomingTheBoast invited him to play for Notre Dame.]]]]
** In the DistantFinale, ''Agon'' gets a notable mention.
--> '''Agon:''' "Please. There's no trash on the field that can touch that kind of speed."
** Shin gets these moments for everyone, especially after [[WeakButSkilled Yukimitsu]] manages to see through his plan.
--> '''Shin:''' "Even though you're an enemy... that was ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome brilliant.]]''
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Luffy gets this from at least four major figures over the course of his journey.
** The first is [[BadassNormal Dracule Mihawk]], who as a member of the Seven Warlords of the Sea is technically an enemy of all pirates but who proves himself to be somewhat of a FriendlyEnemy to the Straw Hat crew and to Luffy and Zoro in particular (Luffy due to Mihawk's past association with the former's idol Shanks, Zoro due to Mihawk being impressed with [[{{Determinator}} his tenacity as a swordsman]]).
--->'''Mihawk:''' Youngster, what is your goal?\\
'''Luffy:''' Pirate King!\\
'''Mihawk:''' ''(smirks)'' That is a path of incomparable danger. Even more difficult than to surpass me.\\
'''Luffy:''' I don't care. I will become one anyway!
*** Later on, during the Marineford Arc, Mihawk is again impressed by Luffy's determination, and decides to test him on the battlefield. Despite how Luffy is no match for him, his charisma causes Whitebeard to order his commanders to keep him safe. Mihawk comments that this ability to turn everyone around him into his ally is 'The most dangerous ability on the seas'.
** The second is [[AGodAmI God Eneru]], the BigBad of the Skypiea arc, when Luffy declares that he is going to be Pirate King (this example could also be a CombatCompliment since they're in the middle of a fight at the time).
--->'''Eneru:''' Pirate King? What country does he rule?\\
'''Luffy:''' He is the king of the sea!\\
'''Eneru:''' That doesn't sound half bad... Let's finish this in the sky.
*** In the Kaizoku fan-sub airing of the anime's version of that scene:
---->'''Luffy:''' He (Pirate King) is ruler of the entire ocean!\\
'''Eneru''': I see. A laudable title.
** The third is Rob Lucci, during the Enies Lobby arc, who commends Luffy on his leadership skills and tells him that he (Luffy) is a better leader than Lucci's PointyHairedBoss Spandam.
** The fourth is [[spoiler:Blackbeard]], who commends and encourages Luffy to pursue his dreams no matter what anyone else says. Notable because this happens both before and after Luffy finds out who the person actually is, and the second time may be interpreted as being closer to BaddieFlattery.
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', during his time as TheDragon to Takeda Kanryu, [[TheRival Aoshi Shinomori]] has just unleashed his illusionary sword technique to inflict a (he thinks) fatal wound to Kenshin. Upset at this, Yahiko declares that ''he's'' not going to run away even if Aoshi kills him. Prompting this response from Aoshi (and fortunately Kenshin [[NotQuiteDead gets back up shortly afterward]]):
--> '''Aoshi:''' You've got spirit. Too bad you're going to die here...
** A later example is seen when [[GoodIsNotNice Hajime Saito]] first appears, arriving at the Kamiya Dojo while posing as a medicine man. Sanosuke immediately sees through his disguise and punches him in the face (in the manga, hard enough to send him flying). However, while Saito suffers absolutely no ill-effects from the punch, he commends Sano's strength even as he then outlines [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech why the punch was ineffective]].
---> '''Saito:''' Your punch is worthy of your reputation. However...your punch was born during the peaceful Meiji era. It would not have any effect on a fighter from the Bakumatsu.
** Makoto Shishio, the BigBad of the Kyoto arc, gives an indirect version of this about Sanosuke after the latter has [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome blocked Shishio's henchmen's bullets by punching the ocean surface and destroyed his battleship]]. Shishio freely admits that it was because he underestimated Sanosuke's worth (as well as Kenshin and Saito's {{Genre Savv|y}}iness) why his plan to bomb Kyoto with said battleship ultimately failed.
---> '''Shishio:''' ''(after Sano bombs the ship)'' So he's not just a weakling...
* Wilhelm Josef Von Herrmann, a NobleDemon in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', gives a respectful but laughter filled compliment after being defeated by Negi (Chapter 71 in the manga).
--> I gotta thank you, Negi-kun...[[WorthyOpponent I'll look forward to the day I get to fight you, all grown up]]...don't disappoint me, young man!
* ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'': Two examples stand out, both times delivered by [[WellIntentionedExtremist Raoh]].
** When Raoh first fully appears in the series, he holds Toki, one of Kenshiro's staunchest fighting allies, in considerably high regard--in fact, for him, Toki is the only fighter around who could conceivably match him in a fair duel, the only drawback being that Toki is suffering from a terminal illness caused by nuclear fallout. It helps that Toki was previously seen as a MessianicArchetype and, prior to the nuclear war, was considered (including by Kenshiro himself) to be the most suitable candidate for Hokuto Shinken successor and would probably have gotten it were it not for his illness. (It also says something when even Jagi is acknowledged by Ken to have admired Toki greatly.)
** Raoh also gives this to Ken himself following their final fight (initially, Raoh had been dismissive of Ken being the Hokuto Shinken successor). It pulls multi-duty as a FinalFirstHug as well as a [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming heartwarming]] and [[TearJerker sad]] moment.
--->'''Raoh:''' Come, let me see the face of the man who has defeated Raoh...You are magnificent, my little brother.\\
'''Kenshiro:''' Big brother...
* In ''Anime/JuuniSenshiBakuretsuEtoRanger'', during the first encounter with the extremely powerful [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Genen the Cruel]], the other Eto Rangers have all been driven back, but Bakumaru is staring her down, firmly rooted to one spot. She compliments his bravery before being forced to leave due to other circumstances. It turns out she had him MistakenForBadass; he wasn't standing up to her, he was frozen in peril and fainted standing up because [[FurryReminder he's a mouse and she's a cat]].
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Itachi's interactions with Naruto have been quite polite for an antagonist, and he ends up giving a smile when Naruto declares that he ''[[{{Determinator}} will]]'' bring back [[FaceHeelTurn Sasuke]] to Konoha. As well, he acknowledges Maito Guy's CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass credentials, escaping as soon as the latter shows up when he and Kisame first show up in the series. [[spoiler:This may be a complicated example, though, as [[GoodAllAlong he was never truly a bad guy to begin with]]. It would not be inaccurate to say he was a StealthMentor to Naruto the entire time]].
* In the Virtual World filler arc of ''Anime/YuGiOh'', Noah Kaiba praises Yami Yugi's skill during their duel, then tries to convince him that [[WeCanRuleTogether they could rule together]].
--> '''Noah:''' You possess both the skill and judgement necessary to catch your enemies off guard the second they lose focus. When you think about it, you and I have no reason to be enemies. If you swear your loyalty to me, I'll save all your friends from hell this very instant!
* This basically defines why [[VillainProtagonist Lupin]] of ''Franchise/LupinIII'', is a FriendlyEnemy to [[SympatheticInspectorAntagonist Inspector Zenigata]]. After all, Zenigata's dedicated [[{{Determinator}} and determined]] enough to keep on Lupin's trail no matter how many times the master thief dodges him, but is also [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure reasonable]] enough to realize that many times the criminals they both have to face off against are ''far'' worse than Lupin himself. As a result, Lupin will go out of his way to ensure Zenigata isn't killed, while Zenigata in turn will sometimes seem to allow his rival to escape just so the chase can continue.
* ''Franchise/DragonBall'':
** Vegeta develops this to Goku over the course of the Frieza Saga. He still wants to kill Goku for the hard time he gave him on Earth, but he does genuinely respect Goku's strength and sees him as a necessary ally against Frieza. In the anime, Vegeta sees Goku as a Super Saiyan after he's revived, and rather than be jealous or angry at the sight, he's close to shedding TearsOfJoy.
** Frieza gives subtle ones to Goku after he's brought back to life in both ''[[Anime/DragonBallZResurrectionF Resurrection 'F']]'' and ''Anime/DragonBallSuper''. When Sorbet tells him that Goku has gotten much stronger, Frieza isn't surprised and expects it to be the case. When told the extent of Goku's growth, he's both surprised and impressed. When Frieza realizes what a Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan is and what it implies for Goku, he takes a sincere bow in respect to Goku for having achieved godhood. Of course, he follows it up with an insult about how the God of Saiyans is still a Saiyan, but the sentiment was genuine.
** Out of all the foes Cell fought, he has the most respect for Goku. He has so much fun fighting Goku that he wanted Goku to eat a Senzu so they can keep fighting. When Goku bows out of the Cell Games and tells Cell that there was someone stronger than him, Cell didn't believe him, saying how Goku was stronger than Vegeta and Trunks combined.
** Goku Black, the primary villain of ''Super's'' Future Trunks Saga, has virtually nothing but respect for Goku, to the extent that he comes off as a LoonyFan; every time they come face to face, he heaps praise on him and tries to copy everything he does. He even says that being like Goku is his life's goal. It's taken to truly disturbing levels upon the reveal that [[spoiler: Black is in fact an [[AlternateSelf alternate]] version of Zamasu, who became so fixated on Goku after losing to him in a sparring match that he used a wish on the Super Dragon Balls to [[GrandTheftMe swap bodies with him]].]] He also praises the Super Saiyan Blue form, applauding Vegeta when he assumes it and declaring that it's magnificent to see a warrior race garbed in godly Ki.
* In the 2015 ''Anime/TheHeroicLegendOfArslan'', some Lusitanian soldiers openly admired the captured Shapur for being DefiantToTheEnd, even if he was a "hectic" in their eyes.
** Silvermask has some respect for Narsus's tactical planning and offered Narsus a chance to serve him.
* Boros from ''Webcomic/OnePunchMan'' gives massive respect to Saitama as he is the [[WorthyOpponent first person who has ever given him a good fight]]. He's even fairly nice to him before they even fight unlike his minions. Even [[AGoodWaytoDie when he died he didn't mind because he enjoyed Saitama and his fight]].
* Several villains in ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'' feel respect, if not admiration, for the top hero All Might. Most prominently among these is the "Hero Killer" Stain, who despises heroes he feels have sold out while admiring All Might for being a hero for all the right reasons. Upon meeting him face-to-face, Stain acknowledges Midoriya, secretly All Might's chosen successor, in the same manner. Even those who hate All Might recognize he is ''the'' top hero in the world and that defeating him would be a massive blow to society.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* This characterizes ComicBook/RasAlGhul's attitude toward Franchise/{{Batman}}, as he consistently addresses the Dark Knight as "Detective" as a show of respect to the hero's intelligence and determination. The few times he faces Franchise/{{Superman}} he calls him "Icon." The only other person Ra's extends this honor to is Tim Drake (Robin III/Red Robin), who is regarded by Batman as the one person who will surpass his skills as an investigator.
** This is perhaps best seen in one issue of the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' comic. After Batman is mortally wounded, the Phantom Stranger summons every Robin to help, and they concoct a plan to break into one of Ra's's Lazarus Pits to heal the Bat. While Dick, Carrie, Damian and Jason go in to fight their way through the League of Assassins, Tim and Stephanie guard Batman -- and are confronted by Ra's himself. Instead of fighting, all they have to do is explain the situation to Ra's, who agrees that Batman deserves better and has his own men carry Bruce to the pit.
* In DC's ''Richard Dragon'' series, Richard battles against his [[TheRival Rival]] and ArchEnemy, ComicBook/LadyShiva (also a [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bat-family]] AntiVillain). Both of them have been, at different points in history, considered the greatest martial artists in the world, but Lady Shiva believes that the only true fight is a one-on-one DuelToTheDeath. During their match, Richard gains a decisive advantage and is poised to deliver a fatal attack, the Leopard Blow. With Shiva sure to die, one of her over-protective {{Mooks}} jumps in to save her. An angry Shiva immediately kills the Mook and apologizes to Richard for the interruption. They resume the fight, and this time Shiva comes out on top, killing Richard. She expresses sincere regret that the fight ended this way, because by all rights Richard ''should'' have won.
* SelfDemonstrating/{{Magneto}} has this attitude toward Charles Xavier, despite their widely-differing views on human-mutant relations (it helps that he realizes they both want what's best for mutantkind, even if their methods can't mesh).
* Doctor Doom:
** He usually combines this with WorthyOpponent and TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou, with regard to [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Reed Richards]], due to both of them competing for the title of smartest man in the world (albeit the competition's mostly one-sided on Doom's part).
** He also has a kind of grudging respect toward Comicbook/DoctorStrange, as the sorcerer was willing to aid him in rescuing his mother's soul from Hell.
** He also has respect for fellow brainiacs [[ComicBook/IronMan Tony Stark]], [[ComicBook/AntMan Henry Pym]], and [[ComicBook/IncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]]--the top men in their various fields. Their accomplishments are mere child's play to someone like Doom, but they are worthy of respect nonetheless.
** Doom also respects Luke Cage after getting beat down over 200 dollars that he owes to Luke
* When ComicBook/{{Thanos}} of Titan was dead, his ghostly specter visited the wasted and cancer-ridden Captain Marvel on his deathbed, saying "I've always had great respect for you, Mar-vell. You have always been my greatest foe, my arch nemesis. For one such as you, death should not come gnawing like some vermin. For you, death should be...a glorious event!" Thanos then seemingly restored Captain Marvel to his full health and provided him with his costume so that they might have one last battle together.
* In ''Franchise/TheFlash'', The Flash's RoguesGallery tends to have this as their defining trait toward their nemesis (prominently toward Barry Allen when he was wearing the mask during the Silver Age, but also toward Wally West as well), to the point that their code of conduct forbids them to ever kill ''any'' Flash. It helps that most of them [[EvenEvilHasStandards have standards to begin with]]. (However, this doesn't carry over to their ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]'' incarnations, where they're more than willing to kill Wally West at the first opportunity.) It does carry over to their incarnations in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', albeit limited to Barry Allen (they are dismissive of Jay Garrick and Wally West).
* ComicBook/{{Diabolik}} may be the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast King of Terror]], but really respects [[SympatheticInspectorAntagonist inspector Ginko]], and has been known to get PISSED (sometimes to the point of murder) when someone insults him.

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'', Lucius Malfoy, MagnificentBastard extraordinaire, expresses this - albeit rather reluctantly because he utterly despises the man - towards Director Nick Fury.
** [[EmpoweredBadassNormal Baron Zemo]] is genuinely impressed by [[spoiler: Harry]]'s [[IndyPloy improvisation]], noting it twice, before complimenting him to his face. He's also impressed by [[spoiler: T'Challa]]'s speed and, on their rematch, the improvements he has made to his technique.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11378510/5/Powerless Powerless]]'' upon learning that Xander brought [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy]] back from the dead, [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Jack O'Toole]] compliments his work and mentions that his grandfather would love to talk shop with Xander some time. Of course, he doesn't know Xander simply gave Buffy CPR.
* ''FanFic/KingsOfRevolution'':
** [[ManipulativeBitch Quattro]] becomes so much as a best friend for Lelouch as they're NotSoDifferent from one another.
** [[Anime/StrikerS Jail Scaglietti]] pays his respects to Zero over his achievements at Narita. That extends from using a landslide to eliminate Cornelia's forces [[spoiler:to capturing Cornelia herself ''and'' defeating Nanoha in a one-on-one battle.]]
* ''FanFic/ThisBites'': [[MagneticHero Luffy]] manages to get this a lot:
** [[BloodKnight Lucci and Jabra]] admire Luffy's {{Determinator}} status and fighting ability.
** Crocodile respects Luffy's ability, mostly since it proves he didn't lose to some pathetic rookie but rather the next rising star.
** Sengoku respects Luffy enough to [[spoiler:offer him a Warlord position after Luffy defeats Lily Carnation and has Baron Omatsuri buried with his crew]].
*** This goes the other way in that Cross actually respects Sengoku. [[spoiler:Until Enies Lobby anyway]].
** The Straw Hats cause so much chaos that Doflamingo openly declares that he can't wait to see the sheer madness the Era of the Straw Hats will bring.
** Cross' ToThePain speech to Spandam impresses Sadi-chan enough to have her copy down his ideas and state that if he weren't a pirate, he'd make executive at Impel Down within six months.
** To say nothing of virtually all of the other Supernovas, including characters like Kidd and Bege.
* Mayor Wilkins in the epilogue of ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2172417/18/False-Smiles False Smiles]]'' genuinely congratulates the Scoobies for successfully preventing (or rather, delaying) his ascension. He's genuinely impressed they succeeded and set him back three hundred years.

[[folder: Film]]
* In ''Film/RoboCop3'', there's a Japanese CorruptCorporateExecutive who commissions a ''very'' humanoid-looking robot to destroy Robocop. Naturally, Robo trashes the Japanese 'bot...and when the executive meets Robo in person at the end, he bows in traditional Japanese style as a show of acknowledgement.
* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', [[spoiler:when Colonel Hardy draws his knife on Faora after witnessing her slaughter his men and absorb countless bullets without even flinching, she seems genuinely impressed by his courage.]]
* In ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld''. Though throughout the movie exactly how villainous Loki actually is is put into question somewhat, there is the line:
-->'''Loki''': You lied to me! I'm impressed.
* ''Film/XMen'':
** Magneto and Xavier are former friends who are disapproving of each other's methods in dealing with human-mutant relations. Though they fight one another, they never hate each other, and can see the other's point of view. This is emphasized in ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'', when Magneto chews Pyro out for indicating he (Pyro) would have assassinated Charles Xavier if Magneto had given the word.
--> '''Magneto:''' Charles Xavier did more for mutants than you will ever know. [[spoiler:[[AntagonistInMourning My single greatest regret is that he had to die for our dream to live]]]].
** Bolivar Trask expresses his respect for the mutants in ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast''.
* In ''Film/FastAndFurious6'', one of the BigBad's underlings refers to the protagonists dismissively as "common criminals." Shaw then points out that those "common criminals" came very close to shutting them all down, and tells the underling to show them the respect they deserve.
* Garth from the opening of ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'', who looted the Cross of Coronado and had it stolen by young Indiana Jones. After chasing young Indy across Hell's half acre, over a moving train, and finally to the boy's home, he [[PragmaticVillain convinces the Sheriff]] that he was the legal owner of it and retrieves it with ease. By this point he's thoroughly impressed by Indy's [[PragmaticHero own pragmatism]] and [[TheDeterminator sheer determination]], and gives Indy his trademark [[CoolHat fedora]] and some genuine words of encouragement:
--> '''Garth:''' You lost today, kid, but that doesn't mean you have to like it.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* In the final book of ''Literature/TheDarkIsRising'', ''Literature/SilverOnTheTree'', Will turns down the Dark Rider's HostageForMacGuffin offer. He's impressed. A similar moment occurred in the second book, ''The Dark Is Rising'', when he refused to trade his sister Mary for the Six Signs.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Deryni}} Deryni Rising]]'', [[BigBad Charissa]] finds Morgan in the royal library while he researches Kelson's empowering ritual. During their tense verbal fencing match, she mentions having just looked in on the prince as he slept, and Morgan insists his magical Wards Major are impenetrable.
--> '''Charissa:''' That is probably true. You set your wards most effectively. In fact, even I was impressed with your skill. I had thought a half-breed Deryni incapable of such highly developed expertise.
* Voldemort to Neville (former ButtMonkey) at the end of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'':
--> '''Voldemort''': You show spirit, and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.
* ''Literature/TheBible'' gives us an example in Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Although he overthrew Judah, as documented in Jeremiah 39, he gave orders that the prophet Jeremiah should be well taken care of (it helps that Jeremiah, under orders from God, had [[CassandraTruth tried to convince the Jews to submit meekly to Nebuchadnezzar instead of trying to revolt]]). Later on, in the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar showed regard to Daniel as the man who correctly interpreted his dreams (despite throwing Daniel's three friends into the fiery furnace). Both cases occur ''before'' his HeelFaceTurn, which he himself talks about in Daniel 4.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', Tigerstar (grudgingly) admits that Firestar has great strength and spirit and says that he would need both if they met again.
* [[TheDragon Moridin]] from ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' generally comes off as much more respectful of his [[TheChosenOne opposite number]] [[TheHero Rand]] than he is of his own QuirkyMinibossSquad; while he frequently comes off as deeply exasperated dealing with [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder them]], he saves Rand's life during a brief EnemyMine and later is quite civil when they start showing up in each others' dreams, chatting about his [[StrawNihilist personal philosophy]] and their opposing roles so civilly the narration actually compares them to old friends. (Which they actually were in the Age of Legends, [[EvilFormerFriend before Elan Morin went to the Shadow]].) He remains respectful right up until the FinalBattle, when Rand ''really'' sets him off by calling him [[BerserkButton irrelevant]], because this respect only flows one way- Rand respects the man Moridin once was, but has only a kind of horrified pity for him currently.
* In ''[[Literature/ThePathOfTheEldar Path of the Seer]]'', Thirianna is surprised and impressed by Imperial void shield technology on their warships, which she'd originally thought was beyond humanity's comprehension.
* Darken Rahl to Richard Cipher in the first ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' book, ''Wizard's First Rule''. Rahl's reaction on finding out Richard had resisted torture [[spoiler:by partitioning his mind, a trick that only those with the Gift could pull off]], his reaction is to assure the torturer that he was ''[[DefiedTrope not]]'' going to [[YouHaveFailedMe kill her for failing]] because the failure wasn't her fault, and he shows some respect to Richard for pulling it off.
* Several villains, including Cowl and Nicodemus, express respect for Harry Dresden in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', usually trying to recruit him or asking him to stand aside because they think he's got talent and ability, and would rather not kill someone with so much potential just yet.
* Neither of them fit hero-villain molds neatly, but in ''{{Literature/Dinoverse}}'' [[RebelliousSpirit Janine]] and her old bully [[AlphaBitch Candayce]] have a [[DramaticThunder stormy confrontation]], where it comes out that Candayce is half-scared of Janine partly because she can't control or easily hurt her, half because she admires Janine. Janine would never betray a friend, and she isn't afraid of what people think.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/BabylonFive'' episode "The Illusion of Truth," commentators on the [[PropagandaMachine martial-law-era ISN network]] make a point to praise Sheridan as a great hero of the Earth-Minbari War, but put on "experts" who state that he was psychologically damaged and fell prey to "alien influences" through no fault of his own.
* Zig-zagged a bit in ''Series/StargateSG1'' with Ba'al, who seems to hold SG-1 as a whole in relatively high regard (for a Goa'uld). But looks down on and insults Carter every chance he gets, apparently due to being a chauvinist.
** Lord Yu might be a straighter example, who despite his senility does not appear to be a chauvinist.
* In ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'', the BigBad Chairman Gamou generally treats the members of the Kamen Rider Club in an AffablyEvil manner, but holds a special respect for the main PowerTrio. He worked alongside [[TheSmartGuy Kengo]]'s father, and obviously sees echoes of his former friend in the young man. [[GenkiGirl Yuki]] managed to impress him with her enthusiasm for and knowledge of space exploration, and actually regarded her as a kindred spirit when she said that as a child, she heard voices she was convinced came from aliens trying to make FirstContact (because Gamou heard the same voices in his own youth).
** As for [[TheHero Gentaro]], in one episode he outright goes to Gamou to try and resolve a conflict between Yuki and the MonsterOfTheWeek, the Chairman seemingly impressed by Gentaro's honest and forthright nature. Not to mention TheMovie, where Gentaro is in danger of dying and needs the help of 40 people with strong feelings for him; when time is running out and they're one person short, Gamou appears and offers his services of his own free will. The fact that his efforts worked speaks volumes.
* [[TokenEvilTeammate Garak]] in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' often compliments those who say they don't trust him, with "There's hope for you yet." He gives a similar compliment to Dr. Bashir in "Our Man Bashir" after the latter shoots him non-lethally, and then lets Garak know he ''might'' have been shooting to kill.
* Displayed posthumously in ''Series/{{Rome}}'': Having triumphed over her long-time rival, Servillia, [[spoiler: who killed herself after Brutus' death at Philippi]], Atia nonetheless suffers a reversal of fortune. But when she bounces back, this time locking horns with her new daughter-in-law, Livia, she combines this with a BadassBoast of her own:
-->'''Atia:''' I know who you are. I can see. You're swearing now that someday you'll destroy me. Remember: '''far better women than you''' have sworn to do the same. ''Go and look for them now.''
* In Series/DowntonAbbey Thomas is a condescending ass to everyone, and loathes the aristocracy, but he does respect conviction. When his time in the military places him under the command of Matthew, Thomas would later relate, in private, that Matthew was a good, honorable man, and when he's injured Thomas wishes him well in his recovery. He was stationed with Lady Sybil at the local hospital, and together they cared for dozens of injured soldiers from the war. [[spoiler:Her death crushes Thomas]] who remarks that she was one of the few genuinely kind people he's ever known in his life.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Jon Irenicus from ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' 2 reacts with both respect and thunderstruck amusement when the player releases all the captives from Spellhold Asylum. Consider: this is a fantasy world with monsters, necromancy and sorcery, and THIS is where they lock up the crazies. "You've released them all. How ''deliciously'' mad of you..."
* Dhaos from ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'' praises the heroes for saving the WorldTree from its death, something he wanted to ''avoid'' in the first place. This doesn't stop him from engaging them in a FinalBoss fight seconds later.
* Some of the character-specific win quotes in ''[[Franchise/StreetFighter Super Street Fighter IV]]'' qualify.
-->'''Vega:''' ''(to Chun Li)'' Your beauty and strength impress. I shall remember this day.\\
'''Juri:''' ''(to Ryu)'' I enjoy taking on fighters like you. You actually put up a fight.\\
'''Seth:''' ''(generic post-fight quote)'' I did not expect you to put up such a fight. You have impressed me.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'', after Connor kills [[spoiler:his father Haythem]], before he dies he tells Connor that he's proud of the qualities Connor has (having great conviction, strength, and courage).
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'', [[spoiler: Torres]] uses his last breath to praise Edward for finally fighting for a cause greater than himself.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', you can earn the respect of the Qunari Arishok [[spoiler:(the FinalBoss of Act II)]] by always staying honest and blunt with him and his people. Doing so even earns you the achievement "[[WorthyOpponent A Worthy Rival]]".
** "I have a growing lack of disgust for you."
* From ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3:''
** [[Comicbook/DoctorStrange Shuma-Gorath]] to [[VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}} Hsien-ko]]: "As a bride to one of the Old Ones, you would be given many dimensions as a dowry."
** Shuma-Gorath to [[VideoGame/GargoylesQuest Firebrand]] (AntiHero): "You put up a decent fight, demon. Now [[KneelBeforeZod bow before me]] and I shall [[WeCanRuleTogether grant you a position in my new order."]]
* Implied in ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory'', where the security system in Bowser's Memory Banks is a DualBoss fight against crude, blocky representations of Mario and Luigi. Keep in mind Bowser has an ego about as big as he is, which all but guaranteed that his mind would choose a representation of Bowser to defend itself, or maybe an army of his minions. But it chose Mario and Luigi, showing that Bowser has a lot of respect for their fighting skill, at least on a subconscious level.
* In ''Videogame/StreetFighterXTekken'':
-->'''Heihachi (to Ryu):''' Heh, if I'd met you 10 years later, it would've been bad news. Good thing you're still a pup.
* In ''Videogame/MassEffect3'', The Illusive Man constantly shows respect for Shepard and believes that they should be working together to save the galaxy from the Reapers (unaware that by this point he's been indoctrinated by them). Averted however by Kai Leng, who seems to be offended at the idea of showing respect to Shepard, who he sees as a traitor to both Cerberus and humanity, [[UnderestimatingBadassery and underestimates at almost every step of the way.]]
** The Reapers also show this, albeit in a more limited way considering [[EldritchAbomination what they are]] and their ([[NighInvulnerability not completely unjustified]]) egos. They note that Shepard has genuinely hindered their plans and will turn their guns away from entire fleets to attempt to kill him/her.
-->'''Harbinger''': [[AC:Shepard. You have become an annoyance.]]
* [[BigBad Dagoth Ur's]] relationship with the PlayerCharacter in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' is... complicated, but one can make an argument that at least his reaction to you stating that you are a self-willed hero making your own fate fits here (he expresses admiration for it, even as the context means you're saying that all his previous offers and compliments weren't actually for you).
* In the Warlords of Draenor expansion of ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the leader of the titular Warlords, [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Grom Hellscream]], is known as the Warlord with the iron will. He is fearless in battle, and even when his raiding party is exterminated, he's crucified on a tree in a desert, and starved until he's little more than skin and bones, he is strong enough to kill his captor with his teeth and escape. So it means that much more when, after the players defeat his army and he's captured by the traitor Gul'dan, his defiant speech is no longer about himself, but about how the players are an even more unstoppable force that Gul'dan has no hope against, using the same sort of descriptors used to define himself in legends.
* The FinalBoss of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}: Eternal Punishment'' claims after going OneWingedAngel that the party is the first to ever see this form before proclaiming "Die with my highest praise!"
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearRising'' [[spoiler:Senator Armstrong spends his last moments praising Raiden's ability to follow his own path and gives him his blessing for the latter's plans to bring down the war economy once and for all.]]
* Rubicante of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' is a NobleDemon who believes in fair fights and respecting his foes, taking time to compliment Cecil and his companions at multiple points. In fact, while the other Four Elemental Fiends spend their last words in bewilderment about how they could lose, Rubicante wishes his opponents well and praises their bravery and strength.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'': Demise, the Demon King, is legitimately impressed with Link when they meet, as Link is the only human in history who has ever stood up to him rather than fleeing in terror. This is enough for him to offer to fight Link in a duel, giving Link time to prepare rather than attacking immediately. Doesn't stop Demise from cursing Link's entire family line with an eternally resurrecting incarnation of pure rage and hatred upon his death.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'': While whether she's a ''villain'' is debatable, Oryou Sonozaki is used to getting her way in everything, mostly because everyone is ''terrified'' of her. In ''Minagoroshi-hen'', when Keiichi appeals to her to rally the village to help Satoko, she asks what he would do if she refused. He immediately replies that he would bash her head open and install Mion as the new head of the Sonozaki family. Though she reacts in fury at the time, Keiichi is later told that it was this proclamation that convinced her to support him. In private, Oryou tells her daughter Akane (Mion's and Shion's mother) that if she should die in the near future, Akane should look after Keiichi.
* The ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'' antagonist [[TheSocialDarwinist Wesker]] respects his [[EvilMentor former]] students' determination [[spoiler:and sacrifices an opportunity to kill one of them, Jill, so he can turn her to his side instead]].
-->'''Wesker:''' ''(monologuing)'' And unfortunately I had to give up my lovely members of [=S.T.A.R.S=].
* In the final mission of ''Videogame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'', the Ethereals openly praise the Volunteer and his/her squad as they fight through the Temple Ship, because [[spoiler: the Volunteer and, by extension, all of humanity, have proven to be a species strong and intelligent enough to serve as the basis for their next generation of bodies.]]
* ''Videogame/XCOM2'' takes this even further, with the Ethereals personally commending the [[NonEntityGeneral Commander him/herself]] for their skills during the final battle while [[spoiler: controlling a repurposed Ethereal Avatar]], and even trying to recruit him/her back to their side after the Commander was rescued in the game's introductory mission.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Bavandersloth from ''Literature/AngelOfDeath'' admires the protagonist Cody for his potential as a [[TheChessmaster chessmaster]].
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': The apparent main villain, [[spoiler:Salem]], hates humanity for unspecified reasons and wants to see them all suffer. However, she does not hesitate to acknowledge mankind's strengths, and admits that, when unified, humanity is powerful. She even displays an acute understanding of how a small amount of hope can turn the despondent into determined warriors, calling it "undeniably mankind's greatest attribute", which is rather unusual for a villain like her.

[[folder: Webcomic]]
* In the contest in Track 2 of ''Webcomic/TheRockCocks'', the Rock Cock's competition the Rocket Rollers were at first smug in their apparent superiority. When the Rock Cocks play, the entire audience was so into it they all [[spoiler:start taking off their clothes and begin to "release their newly acquired sexual frustration"]]. At first bewildered and spiteful, the Rocket Rollers [[spoiler:become so turned on they start masturbating back-stage]].

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* David Xanatos (yes that [[XanatosGambit Xanatos]]) of ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' respects [[TheHero Goliath]] and to a degree the rest of his clan.
* In ''Joker's Wild'', an episode from ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', Cameron Kaiser has a casino built [[spoiler: originally with a medieval theme, but then redecorated]] in a Joker Theme. He makes a few dismissive remarks about the Clown Prince of Crime, has one of his goons let the Joker escape. The Joker intends to destroy the whole place [[spoiler: which was the plan of Kaiser after the cost of building the casino nearly bankrupted him, [[InsuranceFraud to collect the insurance money]]]]. The Joker's reaction when he finds out he was being manipulated? To tell Kaiser, "It was a scheme worthy of me."