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Big Brother Instinct / Film

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  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, after Simon nearly drowns in a toilet after some bullies gave him a swirly, Alvin is ready to go get revenge, but Simon tells him that violence will not solve anything. It isn't until they see the same bullies picking on Theodore that they both attack the bullies like rabid animals.
  • Aquaman (2018): Defied. Arthur was originally overjoyed to find out that he had a little (half-)brother, and wanted to try to be a brother to him after their mother died. However, when he found out that his brother was a warmongering racist and "... kind of a dick", their relationship quickly soured. The end of the film teases that the brothers may reconcile, so...
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  • Bit: Laurel's brother Mark is (rightly) worried about her new friends (little does he know how bad things are). It's also indicated he was very protective of her and supportive during her gender transition.
  • Aussie horror flick Black Water is actually rather sweet in spots due to it's use of this trope. Initially, we have both Grace and her boyfriend Adam towards Grace's shyer, more panicked sister Lee. However, Lee turns out to have a Little Sister Instinct herself. You see it emerging slowly throughout the film, but once Grace is injured, Lee is willing to face down crocodiles if it means she can get her sister out of there and to a hospital. Turns out she's just much braver for her sister's sake than she is for her own.
  • The Blind Side: With only a split second to act, Michael instinctively saves adoptive little brother SJ from being seriously injured or killed during their car accident.
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  • Bones (2001): Patrick refuses to let his younger sister Tia accompany him during the climax due to how dangerous it is. In a deleted scene, he and Bill also race to help Tia when she's in danger from a fire Jimmy set, and don't get mad when she thinks that she set it by mistake.
  • Frankie in the French comedy The Brain (1969) is so protective of his sister Sofia that he will shoot anyone who dares even set eyes on her. Unfortunately for him, Sofia is The Tease and doesn't care what he thinks of her.
  • A very dark version in Cafe Setareh: Khosro hates his sister's abusive husband so much that he picks a fight with him and unintentionally kills him, which directly and indirectly leads to all of the characters' lives falling apart.
  • The City of Lost Children: One for Denree and Miette.
  • Becca from The Descent is very caring and protective towards her sweet little sister Sam, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the less-experienced caving group. Also, it's fairly subtle, but Beth displays Big Sister Instincts towards anyone in the group who needs it — she's constantly looking after the emotionally fragile (due to the death of her husband and child) Sarah, she gives her jacket to Holly after she breaks her leg and helps her stand and walk (along with Sam, The Medic) and she goes back to help Juno in the crawler fight, even though she doesn't like Juno much.
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  • In Doom, the Staff Sergeant John "Reaper" Grimm fiercely protects his sister Samantha from a group of mutant monsters.
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec: The whole movie revolves about Adèle's quest to cure her sister, who got injured during a friendly (albeit competitive) tennis match between sisters.
  • The titular character of Ginger Snaps is an interesting example. Her protectiveness towards her younger sister is essentially, a snarky sense of humour aside, her only redeeming quality, but even this is rather twisted. They have a suicide pact ("Out by sixteen or dead on the scene"), and as her lycanthropy worsens, she starts killing people if she thinks they even looked at Brigitte the wrong way. She's enjoying killing more and more, so this trope becomes more of an excuse in the end. However, Sam could be seen to have a genuinely altruistic Big Brother Instinct towards Brigitte, as he gives her an awful lot of help, carrying a fair amount of risk, with no benefit whatsoever to himself. However, some people interpret it as him having a romantic interest in her.
  • The Godfather
    • Sonny Corleone launches into one of the most epic No Holds Barred Beatdowns in film history against his brother-in-law after he finds his sister with a black eye. The enemy family Barzini later uses this instinct against Sonny by paying Carlo to deliver a savage beating to his wife in order to easily set up an ambush for Sonny.
    • Michael gets his turn when he has Carlo whacked in the finale, avenging his older brother and ending his younger sister's torment. Subverted when Michael has Fredo assassinated for working against family interests.
  • A somewhat disturbing and sweet take on Michael and Laurie in Halloween (2007). It's shown very clearly in the beginning that Michael loved his baby sister. Even though he murdered just about everyone in the family, he left her alive. This also applies after he breaks out of the mental institute and seeks her out. Unfortunately, when he does meet up with her, he's practically a mute and he's killed all of her friends.
  • The central theme of Hocus Pocus revolves around brothers who would do anything to protect their younger siblings. In Thackery's backstory, he followed Emily into the forest and attempted to save his sister from the Sanderson sisters (to no avail, unfortunately). Hundreds of years later, he forms a sibling-like bond with Dani. He comforts her when she's sad and is successful in preventing Winnifred from forcing her to drink the potion that killed Emily. Dani's actual big brother Max displays the same feelings for her and protects her from the sisters multiple times, even being willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect her.
  • House of Wax (2005): Nick possesses the instinct quite strongly, which makes his behavior towards his younger sister, Carly, look filled with Incest Subtext.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen is deeply devoted to her beloved sister Prim, and she volunteers to take her place in the Hunger Games after Prim's name is called. This is essentially a death sentence and she's fully aware of it. When she's in the arena, she forms an attachment to Rue and becomes her steadfast ally. She's entirely heartbroken when Rue is killed, singing to her as she dies and burying her in flowers, which in Panem is akin to flipping the bird against the Capitol, who only see the tributes as mere entertainment props.
    • And that's without mentioning what she does when Prim is killed in the final book. Despite not trusting President Snow at all (he DID raze her entire district to the ground), she makes damn sure that whoever ordered the bomb that killed Prim would pay the price. Bye, President Coin.
  • I Shot Jesse James provides a villainous example in Frank James, the older brother of Jesse James. While he was just as ruthless as Jesse, it's clear from everybody's interactions that Frank always looked out for Jesse ever since they were kids. In fact, it was his inability to prevent Jesse's death that fuels his mission of revenge against Robert Ford.
  • Jasons Lyric: Jason spends his youth looking out for his troubled younger brother, Joshua (despite he's aware that Joshua is taking the advantage of his good heart). When he knew Joshua would always need him, he almost gives up his chance to be with his girlfriend, Lyric. But, Jason eventually gives up on Joshua when found out the latter has become insufferable that he chooses to walk away from him and moves on with Lyric.
  • A consistent theme in Jeepers Creepers. In the first film, Trish tries her damnedest to convince the Creeper to take her instead of Darry. It doesn't work. And in the second film, Jack Jr. tries to chase down the Creeper when it takes his little brother and then joins their father in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Billy's death.
  • A little brother example in Jumanji with Peter. He shows signs of being protective of Judy after their parents died. In the novelization, Peter actually attacked a classmate who called Judy a liar regarding what had happened to their parents (the classmate was the son of the realtor who sold them their house and knows the real story because of their aunt).
  • Linda in Knives Out is this to Walt, her baby brother. She becomes infuriated when the police imply that he was involved with their father's death. She also refuses to say anything negative about Walt regarding his place in their father's business when the police try to probe for more information.
  • Labyrinth promotes big sister instinct. The entire movie revolves around Sarah trying to rescue her baby half-brother from the Jareth. The manga sequel has more of this than the film, though.
  • Like Normal People: Bobby defends his mentally disabled brother Roger from bullies as a child, and supports him in his fight to get married as an adult.
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • Éomer to Éowyn in The Two Towers. He was furious that Wormtongue was following his sister. For that matter, Éowyn didn't want Wormtongue anywhere near her, either.
      • In the extended edition of The Return of the King, there's also a scene where Éomer finds an unconscious Éowyn after the Battle of Pelennor Fields. He holds her and howls in grief, before getting her medical attention.
    • Boromir to Faramir as well, in a more uncommon male-male example. Boromir is quick to defend and praise Faramir in the face of their father's scorn and dismissal of his younger son.
    • Boromir and Aragorn are this to the Hobbits. Boromir and Aragorn are the ones to teach them sword work and keep them safe during the heavier battles, even carrying them during the snowstorm. Aragorn took on an entire army of Orcs to ensure that Frodo will be able to get away safely and Boromir gave his life to protect Merry and Pippin from the same army.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Switches back and forth between Thor and Loki depending on the film:
      • Zig-zagged in The Avengers, when Thor begins to defend Loki but thinks twice after hearing how many people Loki has killed:
        Bruce: I don’t think we should be focusing on Loki. That guy’s brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.
        Thor: Have care how you speak! Loki is beyond reason, but he is of Asgard and he's my brother.
        Natasha: He killed eighty people in two days.
        Thor: He's adopted.
      • The most prominent example appears in Infinity War when Loki hands over the Space Stone to protect Thor from Thanos, and is then murdered for his efforts. Heartbroken and nearing a total breakdown, Thor goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Mad Titan to deal with his guilt and despair.
    • Like in the comics, Pietro Maximoff acts as this for his twin sister Wanda in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The minute she is taken out by Hawkeye, he carries her off to safety and furiously promises to murder him for her sake.
    • Black Panther — insult or threaten T'Challa's sister Shuri, and you are guaranteed to get your ass kicked... as Killmonger discovered the hard way.
    • In Infinity War, Gamora reveals the Soul Stone's location to Thanos to stop him from torturing her sister Nebula.
    • Nebula returns the favour in Avengers: Endgame as when her evil past self aims her gun at Gamora, Nebula shoots herself down without hesitation.
  • Ouija: Laine to her rebellious younger sister, Sarah, who is a bit annoying. Since their mother's death, she has practically taken the role of mother, be it forbidding Sarah to come out late at night, or stopping an unknown man from taking her to a date. Then the two become the only survivors of the curse and Laine's Big Sister Instinct comes to its fullest when she prevents the Eldritch Abomination from strangling her sister by inviting her for a game of Ouija.
  • A fairly central motif throughout The Proposition. Charlie's motivation throughout the entire film is to protect his younger brother, Mikey. To do this, he may need to kill his older brother. The oldest brother, Arthur, wants nothing more than to protect both of his younger brothers.
    • Averted, though, in the Spiritual Sequel, Lawless. After Jack gets brutally beaten by a Corrupt Cop, his older brothers basically tell him that he has to learn to fight his own battles.
  • In Resident Evil: Afterlife, Chris Redfield is this to his younger sister Claire.
  • In The Search, Steve, an Army engineer in occupied Germany after World War II, takes in a frightened, starving, mute refugee boy.
  • Star Wars: He's only the big brother by about six or seven minutes, tops, but Luke Skywalker definitely qualifies. He's all redeeming and peaceful and unflappable in the face of evil despite a million reasons not to be, but all bets are off when Darth Vader makes an impotent, hinted threat towards his sister. Suffice to say, he doesn't react well. Making Luke's case slightly unusual is that he doesn't actually know that he's the older of the two.
    • Han Solo to Luke Skywalker. Despite always calling him "kid" and having doubts about Luke's plans, Han becomes fond of Luke early on and often goes out of his way to protect or rescue him. In Empire Strikes Back, he risks his own life by going out into dangerously low temperatures to find Luke after he doesn't return to the rebel base. Appropriately enough, he ends up as Luke's brother-in-law.
  • Peter Garret in Vertical Limit climbs up K2 to rescue his sister, Annie.
  • A variant in Warriors of Virtue with Elysia for Ryan. She's initially seen on the good guys' side for a third of movie, but then it's revealed that she's a mole for Komodo. When Ryan is captured, she tries to make him understand her and dies because she prevented Komodo from killing him.
  • Seen in West Side Story when Bernardo interferes in his sister Maria's budding romance with Tony. Double Subverted in that Tony is the only decent member of the Jets, genuinely in love with Maria and with good intentions... but then he ends up killing Bernardo in a fit of rage over the death of his friend.
  • In White Frog, Chaz once beat up a kid who peed on Nick's shoes in third grade.
  • Big Sister Instinct is one of Ree's main motivations in Winter's Bone. She is shown to be constantly worrying about how she'll provide for her younger brother and sister if they lose their house.
  • Trampled on in Wishmaster. As soon as the Djinn threatens Alexandra's sister, she states point blank that she'll kill him if he harms her. Amused, he shows her his true face to show how little threat she poses to him, and she can only respond with a terrified "oh my god".
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
      • For all his (many) flaws, Victor Creed really loves his little brother Jimmy. It's best illustrated in the Civil War part of the opening montage, when Logan is shot and they are (at the time) unaware of their healing factors, Victor's expression says it all.
      • Kayla appears to be willing to do anything to keep her sister safe.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Charles had this for Raven, being very concerned for hiding her mutant form in public and telling her directly that he didn't want anything to happen to her. However, his relationship with his foster sister deconstructs this phenomenon because it caused him to become overprotective to the point where he denied her the chance to embrace her true appearance and be proud of what she was, as well as caused him to ignore her very obvious crush on him. This in turn made Raven turn to Erik as a mentor/love interest and eventually join him in his cause against humanity.
      • Darwin develops this for the younger mutant recruits, especially when Shaw attacked the CIA base. Unfortunately, this only gets him killed by Shaw when he tries to protect Angel from him.
      • By the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Erik had already begun to view Charles as a brother figure. When the Blackbird spiraled out of control, Magneto used his body to shield Xavier from injury, and he immediately halted his attack on the American and Soviet naval forces when Charles was shot.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • When the younger Charles sees Mystique again for the first time in 11 years, he caresses her hair and shoulder as a gesture of comfort while telling her that he will keep her safe among other soothing words. When Magneto then points a gun in her direction, Xavier stands in between the barrel and his foster sister, and Erik later has to use his power to change the bullet's trajectory so that it won't hit Charles in the head. Despite their estrangement, Xavier is willing to die for Raven to save her life.
      • Peter Maximoff is seen playing with his little sister. He's even willing to sit down and watch television with her, which is heartwarming considering how hyperactive the guy is.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • Alex Summers brings Scott to Xavier's school in the hope that his former mentor can help his younger brother cope with his potentially dangerous mutant power.
      • When Apocalypse is asphyxiating Mystique, Charles doesn't even think twice before he expresses his willingness to surrender himself, but then Moira reminds him that he can't do this because the entire planet would then fall under Apocalypse's control. Xavier collapses in tears when he realizes that he can't exchange his life for his foster sister's.
      • Beast behaves this way towards Cyclops. He designs a means to help the young man see without vaporizing everything. During the final battle, the two are constantly by each other's side, which is especially poignant considering Scott's actual older brother and Hank's former teammate Alex had died earlier.
      • Once Magneto pulls a Heel–Face Turn, he stretches his powers to their limits, doing everything he can in order to protect Charles, whom he loves like a brother, from Apocalypse.
  • Zathura: Walter originally acts aloof and is somewhat a bully towards his younger brother, Danny, such that the astronaut whom they meet call him out on this. Then it's revealed that the astronaut is in fact Walter all grown up who angrily used his wishing star to wish that Danny would disappear, which he has thoroughly regretted because that means he is stuck in space forever. He then tries to atone for this by going to the past and influencing Walter to start treating Danny as more than a plaything. Once he learns about this, Walter softens and becomes genuinely caring to Danny.
    • Their older sister, Lisa, is this too, to a lesser extent. Contrasting with her aloofness and obliviousness to the situation, the bit where she's pulling Walter away to safety from the titular Zathura in exchange for getting sucked herself near the end of the film is kind of sweet.


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