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All Girls Want Bad Boys / Live-Action Films

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  • Subverted in 10 Things I Hate About You with Kat and Patrick. Everyone around them thinks this is what's going on, because they both have a reputation for being mean and/or scary. But in reality, the only reason Kat begins to develop feelings for Patrick is because he starts revealing the genuine emotion and kindness he tends to hide. In contrast, whenever Patrick attempts to use a typical line or act like a "bad boy" - particularly in the beginning of the film - Kat is instantly turned off.
    Patrick: ...You're not afraid of me, are you?
    Kat: Afraid of you? Why would I be afraid of you?
    Patrick: Most people are.
    Kat: Well, I'm not.
    Patrick: (flirting) Well, maybe you’re not afraid of me, but I’m sure you’ve thought about me naked, huh?
    Kat: Am I that transparent? I want you. I need you. Oh baby. Oh baby.
  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin plays with this in a scene in which the titular character is calling out his friends with a slightly angry attitude, at the same time, a girl he met earlier observes him from a distance and swoons over him while telling another girl: "He is such a Bad Boy." Earlier, she fell for him when he was following his friend's advice to act like "David Caruso in Jade".
  • Angel Heart: The dead occultist Johnny Favourite was a real ladies man. Subverted with Epiphany's mother however, who according to her daughter eventually realized with a monster Favourite was.
    Epiphany: You know what they say. It's always the badass that make a girl's heart beat faster.
  • Bachelor Party (Tom Hanks). The band they get for the party sings the song, "Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boys?"
  • Batman Forever has the movie's designated girlfriend Dr. Chase Meridian flip-flopping between Bruce Wayne and Batman, depending on who she thought was more fucked in the head at the time (and getting a twofer? HUGE bonus for her).
  • In Beast (2017), Moll is strongly attracted to rebellious poacher Pascal and stays with him even when she learns about his criminal record and violent streak. As it turns out, she herself isn't exactly a saint. She's not so keen after finding out he's a murderer though.
  • Parodied in Bedazzled (2000); Alison says how she wants a sensitive man who can understand her feelings. The Devil agrees to make Elliot the most sensitive man on Earth. Then she ditches him for a jerkass. Elliot's conclusion is that women don't really know what they want. The Devil agrees.
  • Inverted in Beyond the Lights. Noni wants straight-laced cop Kaz. Kaz, the potential congressman, in turn wants super-sexual R&B star Noni.
  • In Black Rat, Nice Girl Asuka is in love with resident bad boy Ryota. Him dumping her for Saki is a major factor in her being Driven to Suicide.
  • The Boyfriend School (originally titled Don't Tell Her It's Me): shy, overweight cartoonist Gus is persuaded by his romance novelist sister to adopt the persona of Lobo Marunga, a long-haired leather-clad biker from New Zealand, in order to win over the girl he's fallen for. The ruse falls apart eventually, but it definitely does the job of attracting her interest.
  • In the classic 80s teen movie The Breakfast Club, popular 'princess' Claire falls for rebellious 'criminal' Bender. Throughout the whole film he abuses her and calls her all sorts of obscenities, belittling her shamelessly in front of everyone else...which is of course why she ends up passionately kissing him at the end. Molly Ringwald revisiting the film for The New Yorker while respectful of Hughes’s filmmaking still thoroughly criticises her character’s relationship with Bender. She cites the abuse and harassment he gives her as completely unacceptable by today’s standards and the fact Bender “gets the girl” by the end, even worse.
  • Bridesmaids: Deconstructed, Annie's preference for her jerkass boyfriend over the sweet, loving Rhodes is just one of the ways that she shows her self-destructive tendencies, she doesn't know how to act when Rhodes is nice and caring to her, and she doesn't want to break up with her current boyfriend as much as she doesn't want to put her life back on track, which Megan calls her out on. Once she decides to better herself, she goes to Single Woman Seeks Good Man.
  • Ginger proves to be this in Casino. While it's debatable if Sam 'Ace' Rothstein was a bad boy or not, Ginger definitely disrespects him in favor of genuine bad boys. First: her ex-pimp, Lester Diamond. Later: Sam's best friend, gangster Nicky Santoro.
  • The first time Dylan in Charlie's Angels (2000) is shown on-screen falling for someone, she doesn't know that he's evil (at first), but by the second movie her taste in guys is a Running Gag and a Discussed Trope In-Universe.
    Alex: Check it out...brown shorts, red board, 11:00. What d'you think?
    Dylan: [looking at the guy] Yummy!
    Alex: That's what I thought. Case closed. Nat, move in, Dylan thinks he's hot.
    Dylan: What do you mean?
    Alex: You always fall for the bad guy.
  • In Cherrybomb (2009), Michelle is in a Love Triangle with Luke and Malachy, who commit various crimes to get her attention.
  • Gender-, race-, and class-inverted in Crazy/Beautiful. It's the poor Latino boy who's the responsible one with the promising future and the wealthy Anglo girl who has the drug habit and truckload of emotional problems. Every adult in the film warns the former to stay away from the latter—including the girl's own father—but, of course, she turns out to simply be a Lonely Rich Kid and everything works out thanks to The Power of Love.
  • Alison falls for Cry-Baby supposedly because she's "Tired of being good." As with most John Waters films, the strange outlaws end up being kind, warm, and unassuming while the respectable suburbanites are sadistic, elitist jerks.
  • Days of Being Wild: The main character Yuddy/York played by Leslie Cheung.
  • Dead Poets Society: Pitts remarks on this trope to try and get Knox to forget Chris: "All the good ones go for jerks. You know that."
  • In the comedy Don't Tell Her It's Me, Shelley Long helps her nebbish brother, Steve Guttenberg, construct an identity as a "dangerous" biker from New Zealand in an effort to sweep another woman off her feet.
  • Irene in Drive (2011) had a husband who was sent to jail before getting involved with the protagonist, who is a criminal and has some serious anger management issues as she and some Mook find out.
  • Duel in the Sun (1946). The protagonist, half-caste Pearl Chavez, is sent to live at a ranch where two brothers become infatuated with her. She rejects the gentlemanly Jesse for the lustful advances of his brother Lewt, with whom she shares Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • In The Edge of Seventeen, protagonist Nadine has a crush on Nick Mossman, who is said to have just gotten out of juvie.
  • The Faculty:
    • Beautifully played with when it comes to Zeke and Marybeth’s brief relationship. He’s the resident super cool bad boy, who smokes and sells drugs out the back of his car while she’s a sweet transfer student from Atlanta who just wants to make friends. Except it turns out Marybeth is the Big Bad, a Eldritch Abomination alien Hive Queen disguised as a human girl who takes parasitic control over the whole school and attempts to conquer Earth itself. Compared to Marybeth, Zeke is as bad as Dennis the Menace.
    • When Zeke is confronted by Miss Burke over his illegal side activities, he negs her by offering her chocolate-flavored laxatives and cherry-flavored condoms, making her visibly uncomfortable. In the film’s final scene, Miss Burke is seen cheering Zeke on as he plays football, implying the two now have a relationship.
    • Gender-Inverted with the dorky nice guy Casey who closes the film having a Smooch of Victory with Delilah, the obnoxious bullying Alpha Bitch who’s done nothing to endear herself to the other characters nor the audience.
  • In Fallen Angel, June Mills loves a career Con Man who married her for her inheritance.
  • Invoked by Anne in The Fisher King.
    Anne: I think men was made in the Devil's image, and women were created outta God. 'Cause, after all, women can have babies, which is kinda like creating. And which also accounts for the fact that women are so attracted to men. 'Cause let's face it, the Devil is a helluva lot more interesting. I've slept with some saints in my day, and believe me, I know what I'm talking about. Egh-boy!
  • Subverted in Footloose as Ariel chooses Ren over her boyfriend Chuck, while Ren is a pretty free-spirited troublemaker, he’s not a violently abusive douchebag like Chuck is.
  • Jenny from Forrest Gump is a rather blatant example of this. For much of the movie, she keeps moving from one abusive lowlife to another, before returning to the protagonist. Jenny's reasons for choosing such men in the first place, is due the effect her violent and sexually abusive dad had on her. Its only after venting her inner grief outside her father's abandoned house, that Jenny is able to consummate her relationship with Forrest.
  • Freddy vs. Jason has a grimly realistic portrayal of this with minor character Gibb and her abusive boyfriend Trey. From the opening of the film he does nothing but insult and emotionally abuse his girlfriend, and still treats her like crap even right after they’ve had sex. Gibb while fully aware of his douchery still can’t help but love him, but thankfully is free of him when Jason pays a visit to her house and makes Trey an Asshole Victim. Though Gibb becomes a grief-stricken Broken Bird as a result.
  • During the The Getaway, starring Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Tilly plays a wife who falls in love with one of the main villains after he kidnapped her and her husband. It got so bad, that she openly has sex with him in front of her husband and begins to insult him. It eventually causes the husband to commit suicide.
    • Same in the original,starring Steve Mc Queen, with the wife being played by Sally Struthers.
    • To a lesser extent with the main couple themselves, Doc and Carol. Although the two are Happily Married and very much in love, the bottom line in, Doc is a bank robber and it's likely that this is a huge part of his appeal to her.
  • In the crime epic, Goodfellas Karen sees Henry pistol-whip her neighbor with a loaded handgun, which he then asks her to hide for him. She admits this turned her on, whereas most women she knew would've gotten out of the relationship quick.
  • Grease:
    • Starts out as a Classic Good Girl Wants Bad Boy. Sandy is as wholesome and sweet as possible; Danny is not. Then it's played with, as he tries to become a jock to get her, while she's learning how to be a bad girl to get him...
    • Grease 2, "Cool Rider". Michelle Pfeiffer's character somehow resists the charms of the sweet British boy, because she's "...lookin' for a dream on a mean machine/ With hell in his eyes/ I want a devil in skin tight leather..."
  • Invoked in-universe in The Green Hornet Serials. Lenore Case (who is not the Hornet's Secret-Keeper in this version) spends both serials convinced for no apparent reason that the Hornet is "a modern Robin Hood". Several male characters suggest her reason for this belief is that she is attracted to him.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Gamora becomes the Love Interest of loveable scoundrel Space Pirate Peter Quill aka Star-Lord despite being well aware of his Handsome Lech behaviour and “Pelvic Sorcery”. Although like the Tony and Pepper example below, Gamora is able to bring out Peter’s better nature and help him grow up and learn responsibility, also Gamora is hardly a saint herself being the former Dark Action Girl and Daddy's Little Villain of Thanos.
  • Heavily deconstructed in Heathers. In this case, the bad boy is a complete psycho, murdering three of the popular kids and intending to blow up the entire school and pass it off as a group suicide. The girl who wants the bad boy soon realises the mess she's got herself into and how much better her life would have been without him.
  • Heaven Knows What: The closest thing to a central theme in the film is that Harley is hopelessly in love with fellow drug addict Ilya, a complete asshole. After Ilya's latest act of cruelty, Mike asks how Harley could still be in love with a guy like that. Harley says that even though she knows that Ilya does bad things, she can't out-think the way she feels. She'll always love him.
  • Becky in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is drawn to and falls in love with the title character, empathizing with Henry's withdrawn nature and seeing him as damaged goods, much like herself. The film's subtitle should provide a clue as to how well it works out for her.
  • In The Hoodlum, Johnny's sweetheart Rosa falls hard for Johnny's big brother Vincent: the sociopathic hoodlum of the title. This ends badly, with her being Driven to Suicide after falling pregnant by Vincent, who now wants nothing to do with her.
  • The Hunger Games: Glimmer seems to have a little thing for Cato in the film.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer: Helen the compassionate croaker queen has a relationship with utter Jerkass Barry who is perfectly willingly to cover up running a guy over and after dumping the body threatens Helen’s friend Julie to keep it secret, by grabbing her throat and screaming into her face! In front of her boyfriend Ray and Helen herself. Doubly subverted though, Helen breaks up with him soon after and the film does show Barry has a softer side when it comes to Helen. Although it’s still hard to feel too bad for Barry when the Hook Man kills him.
  • Iron Man:
    • Tony is a rich jerk who goes through women like candy. And yet women keep on coming after him. Because he's rich. And he looks like Robert Downey Jr.. He could be a saint and he'd still be beating them off with a stick, this trope is just a bonus for him.
    • Subverted with Pepper Potts, who keeps pre-Character Development Tony at arm's length while she works for him. The two become closer after she sees him becoming a much less selfish person, but then she becomes disgusted with him when he goes back to acting irresponsibly in the second movie. (She doesn't know that it's his way of coping with the fact that he's dying) In the third movie, she starts to leave in disappointment when it looks like he's going back to his old behavior, but comforts him when he opens up and explains why he's acting the way he is. While they stay in a steady relationship, she doesn't hesitate to call him out on his stupid moves (like announcing his home address on live air, daring the Mandarin to stop by and fight him).
  • James Bond series:
    • Bond. However, he also steals girls from guys (and psycho lesbians) who're definitely worse.
    • Deconstructed in Casino Royale (2006) with Solange, the wife of Bond's target Demitrios. She has a fling with Bond, lamenting as she does that she had "so many chances to be happy" with "nice guys" but keeps finding herself drawn to "bad men" like Demitrios and Bond instead. Her connection to the two of them gets her tortured to death not long afterwards.
  • The Nazis produced an antisemitic propaganda film called Jud Süß ("Süss the Jew"). However, the propaganda purpose failed; the Villain Protagonist was apparently so sexy that the actor who played him got a lot of fan-mail from smitten women.
  • Played straight and then subverted in Kalifornia. Adele is deeply in love with Early, because she believes he protects her from badder men, even though Early treats her like a slave and beats her the moment she steps out of line. However, after she makes friends with Brian and Carrie on the road trip to California, she finally accepts Early for the evil man that he is and breaks up with him. Early kills her as a result. It's made even sadder after the happy message Adele left on Brian's recorder before she was killed, which is played before the ending credits.
  • Legally Blonde: "Dorky" David, who has a Masters degree in Russian Literature, a PHD in biochemistry, is going to Harvard Law (strange mixture...), gives homes to Somalian orphans, and is fairly attractive, is getting turned down by a girl. Elle overhears and comes over, pretending to be a Woman Scorned, screaming at him about how he never called her back and broke her heart. The girl is immediately more interested (although how much of that is because Elle claims David broke her heart and how much of it is because Elle claims David is very good in bed is open to debate).
    • Elle herself ultimately subverts it when she ends up with Emmett, who was always nice and supportive of her, over her ex, who dumped her and tried to pick her up again as was convenient to him.
  • In Liar Liar, Miranda appears to have a thing for Amoral Attorneys since she proceeds to hit on Fletcher just moments after witnessing his incredible lying skills.
    Miranda: How would you like to make a partner right now? Hmm?
    Fletcher: Oh, I don't know. I should—
    Miranda: Mmmmmm
  • Every now and then in The Little Rascals film series, Darla will prefer Butch over Alfalfa.
  • Averted in the film, The Love of Siam. Ying loves Mew who is anything but a bad boy. However, this trope was played around a bit with Donut and Tong. Tong smokes and drinks alcohol despite him being underage. Therefore, he sort of fit the bad boy archetype. However, he is genuinely a sweet and kind person who protects bully victims, which kind of warrants him a good boy status as oppose to bad boy.
  • Man in the Attic: One first meeting Slade, Lily immediately senses he is a troubled and lonely soul and immediately becomes attracted to him. He turns out to be Jack the Ripper.
  • The Mask of Zorro: Zig-Zagged: Love Interest Elena admits to being first smitten with Zorro when she mistakes him for a bandit, and spends most of the film believing him to be some kind of criminal; however, Zorro is in reality very gentlemanly and polite (after some polishing from his predecessor) and the film's epilogue shows the two being Happily Married.
  • The Mummy Trilogy:
    • Evelyn Carnahan the nice girl librarian becomes attracted to the rugged and uncouth Rick O'Connell who gives her a Forceful Kiss from behind bars. Subverted though as Rick is at worst a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and soon proves to Evy he has Hidden Depths and capable of being a polite well-groomed gentleman in his second meeting with her, when not on death’s row. He saves her from a Walking Wasteland Mummy and they’re Happily Married with a son by the time of the sequel.
    • Played with regarding Anck-Su-Namun and her ill-fated romance with Big Bad Imhotep. While he is traitorous and ruthless and her attraction to him was spurred on by the fact it was forbidden, she was the Sex Slave of Pharaoh Seti I, making her affair with Imhotep and their murder of Seti before committing suicide - all pretty sympathetic. Also Imhotep in spite of his malevolence to others, does nothing but lovingly dote on her. This makes Anck-Su-Namun’s final actions after her resurrection in the sequel i.e abandoning Imhotep to save her own skin, all the more cruelly heartbreaking.
  • Parodied/subverted in Mystery Men: Roy (a.k.a Mr. Furious) would very much like to be a bad boy, and struts around making a fool of himself acting like one in the hope of impressing Monica, the waitress on whom he has a crush. Monica, for her part, is never anything less than dismissive of him...until the point where he finally just starts acting like the sweet nice, guy he ultimately is at heart, at which point she begins to warm to him.
  • In Night Must Fall, Played Straight, but Subverted in the end. Although contrary to her morals, Olivia is into Danny even though she knows that he’s probably a murderer. This stems from part boredom in this small village to part loneliness on her part. But in the end, she realizes that she was romanticizing a very charming criminal, and she was very wrong in doing so.
  • No Man of Her Own: Connie falls for card sharp Babe who's interesting, and unbeknownst to her, a Con Man.
  • Subverted with Ocean's Eleven, yes Danny is a criminal and yes Tess ultimately chooses him over Terry. Thing is though, Terry is an utterly ruthless Casino Manager who cares more about his money than he ever did Tess, making Danny look like a total Nice Guy compared to him.
  • Played straight in Ocean's Twelve as the Inspector Javert of the film Isabel ends up with loveable career criminal Rusty, though given she’s Rusty’s Old Flame and has a father who’s a Master Thief it’s not that surprising they wind up together.
  • In One, Two, Three, the daughter of a Coca-Cola executive falls in love with a Commie from East Germany. And during the Cold War, no one was worse than a Commie.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean plays with it in that Good Girl Elizabeth has a Good Boy (Norrington), a dyed-in-the-wool Bad Boy (Captain Jack Sparrow), and Will, who falls somewhere between them, to choose from. By choosing Will, she gets the best of both worlds.
  • In Plunkett & Macleane, Lady Rebbecca falls for notorious highwayman Macleane.
  • In The Princess Bride The Man in Black Westley assumes Buttercup willingly choose the Evil Prince Humperdink instead of waiting for her true love the sweet stable boy Westley. This not the case however, as Buttercup has always loved Westley and only got engaged to Humperdink after hearing news of Westley‘s death and losing all capacity for joy and love (she also got threatened with death in the book). The Fridge Brilliance is by time Buttercup has reunited with her sweet Westley, he’s taken up the mantle of the Dread Pirate Roberts making him quite the bad boy himself.
  • Rags: While not actually true about Kadee, as she falls for Nice Guy Charlie, he fears that she wouldn't actually want someone like him, but a "good-looking famous guy who'll be mean to them", because "girls are weird like that."
  • Jim Stark, who provides the page image, is portrayed as a violent and menacing, if not downright villainous, figure in the promotional posters for Rebel Without a Cause, no doubt to capitalize on this trope. However, in the film, he's actually a sensitive, kindhearted boy; Judy becomes attracted to him because he's kind to her. Her previous boyfriend was the gang leader Crunch.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera. Amber Sweet has resolved sexual tension with Grave-Robber and unresolved sexual tension with Luigi, who is also undeniably bad. Shilo isn't immune to Grave-Robber's bad-boy charms either. It's implied in Needle Through A Bug that he's grooming her to be his protege.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Apparently, even some boys want bad boys, even if they're a Creepy Crossdresser wearing fishnets and high heels.
  • Discussed in Roger Dodger
    Roger: Ask any woman, What's the single most attractive quality a man can possess? And what do they invariably answer? Sense of humor...and yet, if two lean, mean, play-by-their-own-rules...motorcycle-riding men strolled up to this booth...and beat the shit out of us two humorous guys, right, and asked you out for a ride, you would be weak at the knees.
    Andrea: Well, actually, guys who ride cycles are pretty sexy.
  • Scream cleverly plays with this. The heroine Sidney has a boyfriend in the maladjusted and macabre Billy, but aside from sneaking into her bedroom window he’s a chill dude who cares about her. Except turns out he’s one of the Ghostface killers and has been planning to murder Sidney months even after sleeping with her due to blaming her mother for his parents’ divorce. Upon learning all this they break up in the most effective way possible with Sidney stabbing Billy in the chest with an umbrella, and then shooting him in the forehead for good measure.
  • Subverted in Spider-Man 3: when he gets possessed by the symbiote and becomes a "bad boy", Peter Parker thinks that he's God's gift to women, but the various looks of exasperation and even disgust he gets from most of the women he encounters tell a very different story—probably because, contrary to expectations, he's still a clueless geek, only now that he's "evil" he's an obnoxious and arrogant one. The seventies disco moves and overparted hair style don't particularly help matters. Ironically, all of the women he does manage to charm were already attracted to the "good" Peter anyway.
  • Spy Kids: Carmen has a crush on Gary Giggles, much to the shock of her brother Juni, who's Gary's favorite target for bullying. It gets egregious when Gary crushes Juni's Robot Buddy and smugly hands him the remains while claiming it was an accident, and Carmen believes him. Her response to Juni's protests is "I think I can change him."
  • Star Wars:
    • In the original trilogy, Leia Organa goes for Han Solo (a near-perfect storm of bad-boy beauty) over Luke Skywalker. Then, of course, we find out the true nature of Luke and Leia's relationship, and breathe a collective sigh about the "ewww" moment from which this trope has saved us. She still kissed Luke, though.
    • In the prequel trilogy's Attack of the Clones, slaughtering the Tusken Raiders didn't stop Padmé Amidala from being in love with Anakin. Ultimately leads to tragedy in Revenge of the Sith where he turns to the Dark Side.
    • Played With in The Last Jedi. Rey is willing to overlook Kylo's 'bad boy' demeanor and tries to pull him back to the light side, but she forms a bond with him because of his good traits, ie his understanding and empathy for her loneliness, not his bad ones. When he makes it clear that no, he will not turn to the light, Rey promptly rejects him.
  • Step Up: Played straight with Tyler in the first film.
  • The cops in Superbad "arrest" McLovin after the party, remarking, "That's gonna get you so much ass!" This is them making up for them unintentionally interrupting his first time with a hot girl.
  • Vamps: When Goody tries to warn a club girl who Vadim and Ivan had been in the process of seducing (and had planned to feed on) that they're bad guys, she says she likes bad guys, causing Goody to hypnotize her, ordering her not to go with them, and telling her to pay attention to nice guys from now on with the girl walking past an annoyed Vadim and Ivan, muttering about guys who listen when she says stuff and who compliment her.
  • Troy: Sweet Trojan priestess Briseis willingly loses her chastity to her captor the super violent hothead Greek warrior Achilles, the guy who invaded her country and killed everyone else at her temple. Played with though as Achilles is incredibly gentle with Briseis, willingly lets her go back home and does genuinely love her (to the extent of desperately searching for her during the sacking of Troy) unlike Dirty Old Man Big Bad Agamemnon who sees Briseis as nothing more than a Sex Slave. Also Achilles looking like Brad Pitt likely helped matters.
  • In We're the Millers tattooed bad boy Scotty P. attracts the attention of Casey.
  • Katie in Wet Hot American Summer invokes this trope when choosing Paul Rudd's character over Michael Showalter's nice character. She says she is sixteen and therefore isn't looking for a nice stable boyfriend.
  • In When Evil Calls, Samantha, the timid and sweet-natured daughter of the headmaster, has a crush on the school's bad boy Daniel. His cruel mocking of her causes her to make the wish to be popular, which triggers of the chain of deadly wishes which sweeps through the school.
  • In Youth in Revolt, the reason why Nick creates Francois is because Sheeni requests that Nick be "very, very bad." He complies and she wants him more than Trent after burning down half his town.
  • In Zombieland the (very) mild-mannered Columbus has fallen for Wichita and asks her sister what kind of boys she likes. When she answers "she kind of likes bad boys" he flings a bowl of popcorn in the air in despair.