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Beware The Nice Ones / Live-Action Films
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  • In the 1979 comedy The Prize Fighter, Tim Conway is a bum fighter who gets set up with fake victories, all so an old gym owner can be tricked into betting his property on a championship fight where not only is the arrogant champ a hundred times better than him, he has a personal grudge to settle. Throughout this parody of the Rocky series with some nods to The Godfather, Conway's character is just a schlub who doesn't ever want to hurt anyone, apologizing to the champ for a mishap not because he can pulverize him, but just because he's that nice a guy. When the fix is revealed, David Wayne's gym owner, his plucky grandson, and Conway's manager Don Knotts all tell him to throw in the towel. Conway, infuriated by the set-up, turns down the chance to back out and instead enters the ring in a fury. Whether it's adrenaline or just actively wanting to teach the jerk and his mobster sponsor a lesson, Conway dodges and weaves past the guy's best and worst, and makes every last blow count. When the champ goes down, the announcer is the most stunned. Mind you, this was Tim Conway opening that can.
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  • In 90% of his movies, Jackie Chan portrays a genuinely well-meaning and kind protagonist who avoids violence as much as possible, and never kills his enemies. But when pushed to fights, he can be a fierce warrior, and give his enemies an incredible beatdown, especially when angered. This is lampshaded in Mr. Nice Guy's trailer.
  • Likewise, Bruce Lee in Fistof Fury plays a gentle Chinese martial arts student who just keeps finding people being racist or abusive towards him.
  • Forrest Gump is the most even-tempered individual you could ever hope to meet, but he has a certain spot that gets him angry, and it's when it comes to anyone hurting Jenny. He is also incredibly strong after being a football star and war hero.
  • Shaun in Shaun of the Dead, whilst not exactly sweet and gentle, is almost supernaturally willing to put up with the slobby, selfish and lazy behavior of his best friend Ed, and will defend Ed to anyone who criticizes Ed for these qualities. Then, Shaun has an epiphany, the Dead rise and start to claim the Earth, and Ed makes the mistake of pushing Shaun's tolerance of his self-centered and increasingly reckless behavior a little too far when he takes a trivial phone call on his mobile and puts everyone at risk:
    Shaun: What you doing, you stupid moron?
    Ed: Fuck off!
    Shaun: You fuck off! Fuck fucking off! I've spent my whole life sticking my neck out for you, and all you ever do is fuck things up! Fuck things up and make me look stupid! Well, I'm not going to put up with it anymore, okay?! Not today!
  • In a similar vein, Silent Bob, of the various movies made by Kevin Smith, finally reaches his limit for Jay's abuse and idiocy and yells at Jay. Though the explosion is short-lived, it is the only time Silent Bob raises his voice.
    • This example is also one of the few times that we see Jay — who never stops crudely mouthing off and throwing his weight around — shocked into meek compliance.
    • Similarly, whenever there is fighting to be done in Dogma, Silent Bob is in the thick of it. He knocks out the Golgothan with his trusty deodorant spray, and throws both Bartleby and Loki from the commuter train. You doubt? Just witness the look Silent Bob gives Bartleby and Loki when they knock out Jay, right before he gets up to tackle one of them.
  • Star Wars:
    • Yoda, when facing a Sith Lord in Attack of the Clones. In Revenge of the Sith, he gets even better, decapitating two troopers with a single blow.
    • Remember that sweet kid Anakin in Episode I? Whatever happened to him?
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi is a calm, friendly fellow who puts up with a truly horrible life without complaint. However, it's never wise to kill people close to him, as Darth Maul and a young Darth Vader found out.
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    • In the original trilogy, Luke is trying to fight Vader calmly and peacefully. Until Vader threatens to corrupt Leia. Luke promptly bellows, charges, beats Vader down, lops off his hand and barely restrains himself from killing him.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, R2 is captured by two assault droids who call him a "stupid little astrodroid". Cue R2 spraying them with oil and firing his jets. Result: two extra crispy and very much dead assault droids.
    • In a more general sense, the whole Mon Calamari race. As exemplified numerous times in the movies and Expanded Universe, the Mon Cals are peaceful by nature and would like nothing more than to live in aquatic bliss in their homeworld's seas. But push them enough, or become evil enough that they start believing smacking you down to be the only morally just decision, and they turn into capable soldiers, master tacticians and the best warship builders in the universe. Then they build up their military and wipe the floor with you — which, needless to say, has elicited massive amounts of respect from the other races.
      Mon Mothma: Make no mistakes, the Mon Calamari saved the galaxy.
    • Rey from The Force Awakens. A naïve scavenger girl who's friendly towards Han and Finn, and who beats Kylo Ren during their first duel. And without any Force training.
  • In Sky High (2005), Leila refuses to use her plant-control powers for violence, even when being taunted by the self-replicating cheerleader Penny. Then Penny slaps her. It turns out she will use them in self-defense. "Big. Mistake."
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has Nathan Wallace, a sweet, loving, gentle, somewhat campy man who dotes on his daughter, Shilo. He also happens to be a Repo Man. In 'Let The Monster Rise', when he realises that Rotti has stolen Shilo from him, he completely snaps. It ain't pretty.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Gizmo, tired of the Gremlins abusing his gentle nature, fashions a flaming arrow out of office materials and burns Spider Mohawk alive.
    Murray Futterman: What happened to him?
    Billy: I don't know. I guess they pushed him too far.
  • At the beginning of Death Wish, Paul Kersey is a kind, patient man who loves his wife and daughter. A conscientious objector, he served in the Korean War as a battlefield medic, and currently makes his living as an architect in New York City. One day, his home is broken into by three men who rape his daughter and kill his wife. Kersey goes to town on the local criminal scum, killing eleven men before being told by the police to leave town. But it seems there are still thieves and murderers in Chicago...
  • John Candy had moments like this in his movies sometimes.
  • Pretty much the entire plot of Carrie (1976).
  • The plot twist in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with Quirrell. He is quiet and nervous throughout the entire film but then it is discovered that it was all a facade: HE is in fact the bad guy and not Snape, who the main characters suspect all through the film, and also he has Voldemort ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD!!!
  • Optimus Prime in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Sure, he's Optimus Prime, who willingly takes orders from humans, and would like nothing more than to find a diplomatic solution to the war that wouldn't mean killing any more of his kind, but let us not forget that he's supposed to be the single greatest Autobot warrior of all time. In Revenge, he fights Megatron, Starscream and Grindor, all at the same time. To a standstill. And kills Grindor. And comes close to killing Starscream before getting backstabbed by Megatron.
    • "GIVE ME YOUR FACE!" is about the most disturbing yet awesome thing you can hear Optimus Prime saying. Also worth mentioning, Prime's threatening challenge: "I'LL TAKE YOU ALL ON!"
      • DOTM: "We will kill them all." That is the most disturbing yet awesome thing you can hear Optimus Prime say. Epic amounts of slagging soon follow. Also at the end of DOTM when Megatron attempts to broker a truce between the two factions:
      Megatron: Besides, who would you be without me, Prime?
      Optimus Prime: Time to find out. (Optimus grabs his axe, buries it in Megatron's head and then uses it to yank it off his body.)
    • Another great example from the Transformers film series is Dark of the Moon's Dutch. Seems meek and mild, until you put him in danger while he's trying to save the world. "That was the old me," indeed.
  • The 1960 Japanese film Yoshiwara: The Pleasure Quarter, directed by Tomu Uchida, can best be described as, "Picture The Blue Angel if it had ended with Emil Jannings taking a samurai sword and going medieval on Marlene Dietrich's ass."
  • The Shawshank Redemption has Andy Dufrense, a mild-mannered, quiet accountant who ends up locked up in the titular Shawshank Prison under the charge of supposedly murdering his wife. Andy's an incredibly selfless, non-confrontational man who couldn't go through with killing his wife even drunk out of his mind and while she was cheating on him, and he's one of the most earnest, selfless people within the walls of Shawshank, tirelessly working to improve the lot for every prisoner at little to no reward for himself. He's also a dangerously intelligent Guile Hero who plays the sadistic warden Norton for years while the latter thinks he has him in his pocket — before escaping Shawshank and utterly ruining Norton and his chief enforcer Hadley.
  • In the first Transporter, Frank Martin completes a delivery, then is asked to carry another package... which blows up his car at a chance moment he's not driving it. Unstoppable Rage ensues. Also Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Jim from 28 Days Later is a fairly gentle-natured guy right up until the last part of the movie when he goes batshit crazy and starts sticking his thumbs in people's eyes. In fairness, he has been through rather a lot
  • In A History of Violence:
    • Tom Stall is an everyday nice guy who saves the staff and customers of his diner from a pair of murderers and thieves early in the film. So as a result it looks like he might count, except that shortly afterward a gangster from Philadelphia shows up, claiming Tom is in fact a former enforcer for The Irish Mob who has been hiding from the mob for years. The film then spends a fair amount of time pondering whether any truly "nice" person could be as coldly lethal and effective as Tom was in dispatching the guys who tried to rob his diner, or if that only comes from a lot of practice doing very nasty things.
      Fogarty: Ask him, Edie - how come he's so good at killing people?
    • The film also has a straight example in Tom's son. Nice, nerdy, would rather make fun of himself than get in a fight. Then he gets pushed too far and puts the school's Jerk Jock quarterback in the hospital, with the possibility of assault and battery charges hanging overhead. Later on, he saves his dad's life by blowing a bad guy's chest out with a shotgun.
  • Straw Dogs could be one of those over-the-top Public Service Announcements on Bewaring The Nice Ones. Dustin Hoffman is a mild-mannered American tourist Fish out of Water in a close-knit rural English village. He puts up with all kinds of crap from them with barely an angry word. Then they invade his home... and break his glasses.
  • This is the way the movie Mongol describes Temujin: for most of the movie he is a sweet kid and latter a nice fellow who just wants to live with his wife, but after being betrayed by father's warriors, having his wife kidnapped and raped and being reduced to slavery twice, he snaps and turns into a full fledged Magnificent Bastard, and manage to conquer/submit/destroy everything and everyone who treated him unfairly.
  • Many of the characters of Crocodile Dundee fit well here, especially Mick, Sue and Donk.
  • That poor abused housewife? Maybe you should stop pushing her once she's hit 50 feet.
  • Nishi in Akira Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well. So quiet, so polite, such a good secretary! But the film is influenced by Hamlet...
    • Wada is kind and mild-mannered, but when he finds out that Shirai was responsible for Wada's own attempted suicide, he snaps and tries to assault him.
  • Clark Griswold, the patriarch and protagonist of National Lampoon's Vacation films, fits this trope very well. Though he is generally laid back and optimistic and just wants his family to have a good time even when they're indifferent to his efforts, Clark has been known to snap and go into into grossly profane tirades when he is sufficiently angered or pushed beyond the limit of his patience, causing his wife to remark "when you get mad you get weird." In the first film when his family wants to give up on the trip to the amusement park following a series of misshaps, he lashes out at them and, using a number of profane expletives, he declares that their trip is no longer a vacation but "a quest for fun." Then in the third film, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, after his various efforts to assure a proper Christmas get together go awry, he has another violent meltdown in which he profanely denounces his boss.
  • Harold of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. You do not want to be on the other side of his Tranquil Fury. Possibly, Neil Patrick Harris as well.
  • Fresh: A 12-year old boy in a gangster-ruled ghetto, getting speed chess lessons from Samuel L. Jackson. Well, he's dead mea... wait, what?
  • In Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz Franz Biberkopf is a once-feared, now-passive ex-con, just released after serving a sentence for the murder of his girlfriend. He endures insult on top of injury throughout the 12-hour film. Only in the epilogue, when it is revealed to him that much of his torment was intentional, does he crack and declare (while grinning and laughing maniacally) that he'll make his tormentor sorry. (Biberkopf is supposed to be a metaphor for the German people in the 1920s.)
  • Maria from West Side Story is the sweet interest to the protagonist, Tony. She doesn't seem to convey too much emotion at first (except when she finds out her brother is killed), but once she sees Tony killed by Chino at the end of the movie, she completely blows up in front of everyone.
  • From Undercover Brother, Lance is probably the nicest and most friendly member of Undercover Brother's crew, but whatever you do don't under any circumstances ever call him a sissy, the result is not pretty. What makes it funny or rather disturbing, it's Neil Patrick Harris that does the results. Says a lot about what Dr. Horrible could do...
  • The Scream series seems to employ this with their killer(s). They are nice and friendly, able to help with whatever. But they harbor a lust for killing and target and kill those closest to Sidney Prescott or those closest to her or just people in the town she's in. Notable case is Charlie Walker. He is just a normal teenager and a Randy clone, which he basically acts like The Meta Guy. Then he stabs Kirby Reed in the stomach, twice. And then reveals himself to be one of the Ghostfaces. Damn.
  • Mothra is the only truly benevolent Kaiju in the Godzilla films preferring to live in peace on her island home with her fairy companions and her worshippers. That is, so long as you don't harm and/or kidnap said worshippers/fairy companions. And, may Ghidorah have mercy on your soul if you dare harm her children.
    • Said worshippers and the fairy companions. They are nice, peaceful, and hospitable, but if you mess with them they have no qualms summoning Mothra.
  • Me, Myself & Irene. The introvert, kind Charlie has put up with so much crap under his life that he finally simply snaps...and adopts a different personality.
  • In Tombstone, law-abiding Wyatt just wants to live a peaceful life with his brothers, and share a home with his lovely wife. He even turns the other cheek when The Cowboys start harassing his town. But when the "Cowboys" finally push him too far, he goes into this chilling tirade:
    Wyatt Earp shoots Stillwell
    Wyatt Earp: All right, Clanton... you called down the thunder, well now you've got it! [points to badge] You see that? It says United States Marshal!
    Ike Clanton: [terrified, pleading] Wyatt, please, I...
    Wyatt Earp: [points to Stilwell] Take a good look at him, Ike... 'cause that's how you're gonna end up! [he kicks Ike] The Cowboys are finished, you understand? I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! [Ike flees for his life] So run, you cur... RUN! Tell all the other curs the law's comin'! You tell 'em I'M coming... and hell's coming with me, you hear?... Hell's coming with me!
  • Taken; Bryan Mills is a nice guy who retired from a high-stress, constantly on call government job to re-establish a relationship with his adored daughter. We see him shopping for her birthday present, barbecuing with some friends. He does use non-lethal force to bodyguard a pop star , but ends up comforting her like the father he is (and could be, to her). Then some Eurotrash scumbags running a sex trafficking ring kidnap his daughter with intent to sell her to the highest bidder, and though he offers them a chance to give her up and walk away, they don't. In the mayhem that follows, Mills doesn't flinch from shooting his FRIENDS when necessary. "Apologize to your wife for me", indeed.
  • Edward Scissorhands is a shy, artistic soul who lets everyone push him around. He seems to have no idea how to fight... until someone he loves is threatened. Then he'll kill the offender with a single arm thrust.
  • In one of the final scenes of the Israeli/German film Walk on Water, soft-spoken, warmhearted Axel kills his Nazi Grandpa, responsible for the murder of thousands of Jews, after discovering that his parents have helped the war criminal to escape justice for decades.
  • Played with in Witness, where a group of teenagers harass the Amish that John Book is staying with, not realizing Book is actually a cop in hiding, and has no qualms giving the main bully a well-deserved ass-whooping, which he promptly does.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class: Magneto is on the receiving end of Beast's homicidal fury when he tries to compliment the latter's blue furry form (which Hank misinterprets as an insult), and McCoy strangles Erik in response. Only Xavier is able to talk Beast down. Jekyll and Hyde indeed.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: After Magneto nearly murders Mystique, Beast goes into a fit of Unstoppable Rage and almost succeeds in drowning her attacker.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • Nightcrawler doesn't want to fight at the East Berlin cage match, but when he's forced to, he wipes the floor with Angel (who is a Blood Knight and a multiple victor). Kurt then apologizes profusely.
      • Jean Grey is very fearful about the "fire" growing within her and the harm it can cause, but when Charles is on the threshold of death's door because of Apocalypse's mental assault, she releases it in all of its glory to rescue her father figure. The Nigh Invulnerable En Sabah Nur is reduced to ashes by the Phoenix's wrath.
      • Professor X is an All-Loving Hero who is extremely dangerous because of (and not in spite of) his magnanimity. Even when his telepathy is negated by Apocalypse's Psychic Block Defense, Charles can still use The Power of Love as a weapon and he defeats the self-proclaimed god with it. Ironically, Xavier is a conditional pacifist who has a knack for inciting others to engage in violence on his behalf. The foremost example of this is the Phoenix, who is his defender in the Alternate Timeline instead of his doom because he avoids the blunder of his original timeline's self. Instead of being motivated by fear and forcibly caging Jean's "dark power" (which brought out the worst in her), Charles is motivated by love and helps her to cope with it emotionally (which brings out the best in her). The Phoenix is the most powerful entity in the movie-verse to date, and now that Jean has gained mastery over it, by extension, it's also under Professor X's command. In the first film, Magneto belittled Xavier for being weak, but in Apocalypse's denouement, Erik recognizes his friend's strength after his love for Charles redeems him during the Final Battle ("You can convince me to do anything"). En Sabah Nur makes a fatal error in underestimating his captive because the former only measures power through brute force, and Xavier is so much more than his mutation; the latter proves to be the superior and the more lethal leader because of his empathy.
  • Django Unchained: Dr. King Schultz is possibly the nicest protagonist from a Tarantino movie. He's also a deadly bounty hunter who you should never draw your guns on, as the Speck brothers found out the hard way, and whose patience should never be crossed as Calvin Candie found out.
  • Horrible Bosses: Sometimes Dale, normally a very mild-mannered and sweet-natured person, snaps. He's played by Charlie Day, which may serve as a warning sign. To the audience, at least.
  • Harry Hart is one of the nicest characters in Kingsman: The Secret Service, when he and an entire church congregation are affected by Valentine's device which turns off their inhibitions and increases their rage, Harry is able to slaughter the vast majority of them quite easily and horrifyingly.
  • Superman in Man of Steel, as is consistent with any potrayal of the character. Even after he's seen rescuing a busload of his friends as a schoolkid, by hauling the bus out of water, he continues to be bullied, but demonstrates remarkable restraint for a boy his age to forego any retaliation, and as an adult, is unfailingly polite and cooperative, even to the military demanding his surrender (to which he obliges). At one point, he saves a soldier who'd been firing at him and sincerely asks if he's alright, much to the soldier's shock. But when Zod makes the mistake of threatening his mother, Clark literally flies into a rage, spearing Zod through two silos, breaking his helmet and subjecting him to a very painful Sensory Overload, all while coldly telling him exactly what's happening to him.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Plenty of nicer heroes. Captain America? An old-fashioned Brooklyn kid who is incredibly polite and humble... and will completely mess you up if you cross a line with him. Thor? A big, grinning puppy dog of a guy — just mind the hammer and the whole weather-related pyrotechnics. And then there's Phillip Coulson. Unassuming, squishy Muggle, looks and acts like a high-school principal. Treats his team like his kids. Completely unflappable dealing with everything from alien invaders (Loki), H.Y.D.R.A. agents, and even Ghost Rider. Establishing Character Moment? Threatening to taze Tony Stark, and watch Supernanny while Stark was drooling into the carpet.
  • Shichiroji from Seven Samurai, while a strict coach, is friendly, well-meaning and an all-round nice guy. However, when Kikuchiyo exposes the stolen samurai armour found at Manzo's house, he snaps. He tackles Kikuchiyo and lashes out at the farmers bringing it by hurling a spear in their direction.
  • Mr. Deeds:
    • Deeds is one of the nicest people in the movie, but harm or say bad language in front of the ladies, or insult his upbringing and he'll answer back by kicking your ass.
    • Jan herself is a nice lady who looks for Deeds, but as Pam discovers, has nothing but contempt for her deceiving the poor guy, and mocks her attempts at an apology.
    Jan: I'm sorry, but all I here is 'blah, blah, blah, I'm a dirty tramp!'
  • Seymour in Mamas Boy is a kind, generous old man who has supported Jeffrey ever since he was a child. However, whenever Jeffrey misbehaves, slacks off or disrespects Seymour, the old man will put his foot down.
  • Hermit the Old Wizard in Adventure In Kigan Castle is a kind old man but he fights dirty. In one scene, he one-ups Granny the Old Witch, who was trying to make Osami join forces with her, by putting Osami under a sleeping spell so that Granny can't talk to him.
  • Baby his real name is Miles from Baby Driver is a lively and good-natured young man with a love of music. He's also been working with criminals for years (although only to work off a debt to Doc). When one of the criminals he's working with, the Ax-Crazy Jerkass Scary Black Man Bats goes too far during one of their heists, holding him at gunpoint and telling him to move the car both of them are inside, Baby absolutely fucking loses it and gives him a Death Glare before impaling him into the back of a truck carrying steel bars. It's extremely gruesome but also extremely satisfying given all the shit Bats had put him with during the movie up to this point. Later on in the same movie, after Buddy threatens his crush Debora after she knocks a gun out of his hand with a crowbar, Baby shoots him with the same gun, causing Buddy to fall onto a flaming truck, which then explodes not too long after.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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