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Films — Animation
- Cats Don't Dance: Darla Dimple is the poster girl for this trope in the film: She is a spoiled, deceitful, manipulative, child star who hates animals and doesn't want any of them getting HER spotlight, to the point where she has her butler Max flood her movie's sound stage after she deceives Danny into gathering the animal actors into performing an audition for L.B. Mammoth, which gets them blamed and fired afterwards. Only at the "Lil' Ark Angel" premiere does she get what she deserves: A Humiliation Conga that rapidly improves the animals' final musical number for the movie's audience and injures her every time, an Accidental Public Confession of what she did and who she really is (followed by Pudge giving her a stage drop), and the animals' rise to stardom by having them replace her stardom while Darla is demoted to a mere janitor as punishment for her crimes.
- In Antz, General Mandible justifies sending soldiers loyal to the Queen on a suicide mission against a peaceful termite colony just to get them out of the way, assassinating said Queen, and flooding the ant colony to kill off the "weak" workers by claiming it's "for the good of the colony". Near the end, his own second-in-command Cutter has had enough of Mandible's murderous ways and sides with the heroes, saying it's "for the good of the colony". Mandible snaps and screams "I am the colony!", revealing it was all about his satisfying his own ego.
- "Belle, it's about time you got your head out of those books and paid attention to more important things... like me!"
- The Trope Namer is The Emperor's New Groove. The main poster shows human Kuzco in front of a giant "ME". Properly read, the poster says "It's all about me".
- Syndrome a.k.a. Buddy Pine in The Incredibles. As a boy, he constantly pesters Mr. Incredible and implores him to let him be his sidekick. When he tries to show his skills, and almost gets killed doing so, the resulting damage leads to a widespread Super Registration Act which forces Mr. Incredible into retirement and hiding. Yet years later, Syndrome still has the gall to say he got the short end of the stick.
- Helen accused her husband Bob of this in their argument, believing he is prioritizing his desire for relevance as a hero than his family (specifically their son Dash's academics).
- Both Simba and Scar in The Lion King (1994) think this about being king, although Simba grows out of it:
- As a cub, Simba thinks this is what being a king means, and sings a whole song, "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," about how excited he is about being able to get people to do what he wants when he becomes king. Unlike his uncle, he grows out of this mindset...through some pretty harsh circumstances. A lesser example is after he and Nala escape Zazu, where he gives himself the credit calling himself a genius, even though Nala points out it was her idea and he only pulled it off with her.
- Scar wants the throne for himself because he considers it part of his "dues" and thinks of the "prizes" to be had from ruling. He is perfectly willing to kill his brother and try to kill his nephew to get it, and drives the Pridelands to ruin because he's not willing to take the responsibilities that come with the power. In essence, Scar is a Simba without the proper guidance and restraint needed to become a king.
- In Megamind, even after everyone believed Metro Man was dead, Hal seemed to think it was an appropriate time to invite Roxanne to his party. His selfishness is made worse by gaining superpowers.
- In Quest for Camelot, Ruber thinks more of himself than everyone else, and declares Camelot as his during his Villain Song. This is lampshaded by none other than King Arthur himself.King Arthur: Sir Ruber, always thinking of yourself. As knights of the round table our obligation is to the people, not to ourselves.
- In Toy Story 2, Stinky Pete the Prospector shuts the ventilator and makes Woody realize that the Prospector turned on the TV the previous night to prevent Woody from escaping, and framed Jessie. Jessie protests that "This isn't fair!" and an enraged Prospector reminds them that what's not fair is how toys as unpopular as them have to spend a lifetime on a dime store shelf watching every toy other than them be sold, just like he did. But then he makes it clear that HE would rather go to the museum in Tokyo to last forever than end up in another dime store or in storage. The museum needs the whole package including all four of the Roundup Gang dolls, or the deal is off and they end up in storage or in a dime store. So the Prospector will stop at nothing to make sure he gets to the museum, and even goes ax "out of his box" (and already literally out of his box) enough to rip Woody about to prevent him from running, arguing that Woody can be fixed like before.
- Wreck-It Ralph: The phrase "going Turbo" originated when the racing game character Turbo got jealous of a new game stealing his popularity, so he abandoned his game to join the other one, getting both games decommissioned. He so greatly considers himself more important than anyone else that he invades another racing game, Sugar Rush, recoding it so its intended main character (Vanellope) becomes a bullied glitch, and takes over her role as ruler of the game, so that he has yet another chance to be a popular and victorious racer as King Candy.
- Inside Out: Joy is a Well-Intentioned Extremist version. She always wants Riley to be happy, so essentially she always wants Riley to focus on her. She's the one behind all of Riley's core memories, and the conflict of the film is kicked off when Sadness creates a new core memory, which Joy is so opposed to that she yanks it out before it can take and tries to send it to the Memory Dump, thus leading to the rest being knocked loose and being sucked through the tube, with her and Sadness following when she tries to save them.
- Frozen: During The Reveal, Prince Hans reveals his calculated plot to fake his romance with Anna, kill Elsa and become king of Arendelle. Envious of 12 older brothers who never cared for him, he knew that he'll never inherit his kingdom's throne, so he sought to rule somewhere else. When he sees his reflection through a window, he sees only his own face, which shows his self-serving nature. The few good deeds he does throughout the film, such as organizing a mission to rescue Anna or handing out goods to those suffering from the storm, were only done to gain the trust of locals.
- This is a Justified Trope. Given he was ignored by his brothers, it causes him to develop an entitlement mindset and crave the recognition he never felt from his family by upstaging them. He sees others around him as tools in his quest for power, wouldn't hesitate to lie or kill, and during his Motive Rant, he even tells Anna that under no circumstances he will not reconcile with his brothers. However, as pointed out by Anna in her Shut Up, Hannibal! response to him, he is the only one with a "frozen heart."
- Little Angels: The Brightest Christmas: Daniel is introduced as a selfish character who doesn't think about the rest of his family.
- Both the Big Bad and one of the good guys in Rock & Rule have this quality:
- Mok is so self-absorbed it falls squarely into A God Am I territory - this is a man who routinely writes songs solely about how divinely awesome he is, and how everyone must worship him. When people don't completely worship him, he snaps and decides to summon a demon to teach them a lesson.
- Omar only wants to sing his own songs, and when Angel sings "Send Love Through", Omar walks off the stage. He apologizes.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Judge Frollo spares baby Quasimodo only because he believes he may be useful to him later in locating the Gypsies' hideout and because the Archdeacon demanded he do so as atonement for killing the boy's mother on the cathedral steps. This is the only time Frollo had a Heel Realization, but even then, he cared only about his own salvation rather than any actual guilt.
Films — Live Action
- July 22: Anders demonstrates this best after demanding medical attention for a cut on his finger - a cut, as he himself notes, that was caused by the skull fragment of a teenager he murdered.
- James Bond: This is the prime motivation of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, 007's biggest Arch-Enemy and the tyrannical head of SPECTRE, as they always revolve around his personal gain, something for which he is willing to destroy countless lives. Even in Spectre, where it's escalated to a personal grudge against Bond, his Evil Plan to coerce several of the world's major intelligence agencies into working for him so SPECTRE can counteract their plans without any sort of obstacle involves some sort of monetary gain.
- At the end of Brazil, the protagonist is tortured by his old friend and informational retrieval specialist, Jack. As he begs for mercy, Jack angrily calls the protagonist a "stupid bastard" for putting him in the position of being associated with a dissident.
- Citizen Kane: Kanes philosophy of life is to be loved in his own terms. Lampshaded spectacularly:Kane: [pleading] Don't go, Susan. You mustn't go. You can't do this to me.
Susan: I see. So it's you who this is being done to. It's not me at all. Not how I feel. Not what it means to me. [laughs] I can't do this to you? [odd smile] Oh, yes I can.
- The Dark Crystal: Selfishness is probably the core character trait of each individual Skeksis. The accompanying material says that although they hate each other as much as they hate Gelflings, they need each other to maintain their hold over Thra; the minimum number of them to maintain the balance being ten. It's probably the only reason they don't kill each other off completely. Word of God says it's also why urSu, the leader and wisest of the urRu chose to die to unbalance the Skeksis by taking skekSo with him.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe: A recurring theme of the series. Villains often pursue personal needs and desires unlike those who try to stop them. Some heroes also start with this attitude before Character Development kicks in.
- Self-centeredness has long been a character trait of Tony Stark, but initially it was portrayed more an endearing/annoying factor than a true flaw. Such as when he bought a giant tower in order to put his name on it in big letters. As he says, "It's like Christmas, but with more... me."
- Iron Man 2: As the NYPD haul him away, Hammer accuses Pepper of trying to "pin [the blame]" for the Hammer Drone attack on him (while simultaneously complimenting her on her ruthlessness). This, despite the fact that the Hammer drones going rogue, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage and dozens of casualties, was basically entirely his fault. While he didn't specifically intend to cause what was going on, he illegally broke Vanko out of prison and gave a known mechanical genius and psycho access to all his technology, all just to further shady-at-best business practices. The most charitable option is that his plans have Gone Horribly Wrong.
- Thor: Thor is so self-centered that he is willing to kill countless Jotuns, endanger his outnumbered friends and brother, and start a war with Jotunheimafter King Laufey had just excused their trespass and allowed them to leave in peacebecause one of the Jotuns called him princess. He continues to behave self-centeredly on Earth during his banishment until he learns that he cannot get away with that sort of behavior there.
- Thor and The Avengers: Loki is so self-centered that he is willing to destroy (in the first film) or subjugate (in the second one) an entire planet to get the appreciation he thinks he is owned. Taken Up to Eleven in the second case where he is more of a pathological Narcissist.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: Ultron's first goal was "peace in our time" when he started out. By film's end, he firmly refers to his goal as "peace in my time". His primary reason for creating the Vision was so that he'd have a body that would look the part of a savior to those that survived his Colony Drop.
- Doctor Strange: The titular character has a colossal ego before he develops out of it. Both Christine and the Ancient One accuse him of this mindset.The Ancient One: Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.
Dr Strange: Which is?
The Ancient One: It's not about you.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Star-Lord's father's plan is to grow bits of himself on all the planets in the universe, thereby becoming the only living thing, except for Star-Lord, since he needs Peter's energy to activate "The Expanse." He isn't called "Ego" for nothing.
- Thor: Ragnarok:
- Hela is solely focused on herself and putting the blame on everyone else. She wants to conquer the universe by pretty much killing everything else and cannot comprehend why Odin or other Asgardians oppose her. She also gets frustrated that no one remembers her.
- The film features a literal monument to Loki's vanity, and while posing as Odin, he's written an epic tragedy about his "fallen son", ergo, himself. Thor, having deduced that Odin is actually Loki in disguise, almost gets him to give himself away by prodding his ego, making insulting remarks about Loki as though he isn't there.
- Black Panther: Killmonger claims to be fighting for oppressed Africans and condemns the Wakandan government for selfishly hoarding its advanced technology. However, he only cares about himself since he's fine with bossing around other black people, misappropriating African culture, and keeping the Black Panther's powers for himself. When T'Challa points out how the flaws in his methods and that his actions would only bring needless suffering, Killmonger doesn't care and just wants the world to experience his suffering.
- Avengers: Infinity War: According to the commentary of the directors and writers, the real reason that Thanos wants to kill half the universe is not to save it from an Overpopulation Crisis (which he could easily use the Infinity Gauntlet to do), but out of a selfish desire to prove to himself that his idea to save Titan was right... Hence the massive amount of Insane Troll Logic and Artistic License Biology it involves. This is expanded upon in Avengers: Endgame, when past Thanos sees that everyone despises him for what his future self did, actually killed him for it, and that the Avengers are trying to undo his actions, he decides instead of killing half the universe, he'll kill the ENTIRE universe and replace it with one who will be grateful towards him and never know of the universe-wide genocide he committed.
- Waldo Lydecker of Laura is so full of himself, even when he flashes back to Laura's old life, it's through the filter of how great he is.
- The main character of Little Sweetheart is a sociopath, so this is a given.
- Magneto calls Wolverine on this (lampshading the obvious to fans) in X2: X-Men United...Magneto: Mystique has discovered plans of a base that Stryker's been operating out of for decades. Only we don't know where it is. We thought one of you might.Wolverine: The professor already tried [to look for hints about Stryker in my mind].Magneto (sighs): Once again, you think it's all about you.
Wolverine: What do you want with me?Magneto: You? My dear boy, whoever said anything about wanting you? (glance towards Rogue, cue Oh, Crap! expression from her and Wolverine)
- It's also a callback to X-Men, when everyone is certain that Magneto is trying to kidnap Wolverine, only to discover that he's actually after Rogue
- Which is ironic, considering Magneto's ego and inability to believe that Mutants could possibly survive without him is something of a running theme through the first three movies
- The fictionalized version of Mark Zuckerburg in The Social Network has a pretty clear shade of this, expecting everyone around him to conform to his wishes, demands total devotion and praise, and is contemptuous of anyone who doesn't treat him as he feels he deserves. This video nicely sums it up.
- During the climax of Sisters of Death, The Mole (Sylvia) rants to Judy about how the death of Liz seven years ago ruined her life. Apparently, she's the real victim, not Liz (shot in the head during a sabotaged hazing ritual) nor their sorority sisters murdered over the course of the film.
- Richard "Dick" Thornburg from Die Hard is smug reporter whose own fame and glory matter more than the safety of others. In the first movie, he reveals her relationship to John on TV, and thus to Hans by forcing his way into Holly's house, blackmailing her maid, and putting her children in the spotlight.
- In the second movie, he expects special treatment on the plane, and when learns of the terrorists plot, he reveals it to the airport and embellishes the extent of the danger, causing a panic at the airport that impedes John and airport security from taking down the rogue soldiers.
- In The Finest Hours, we get a nice subversion of a particular flavor of this trope: the love interest who tries to halt the plot out of concern for the hero. Miriam's repeated, forceful demands that the rescue effort to save the crew of the Pendleton be called off to keep Bernie out of danger are refused by Bernie's C.O. She gets kicked out of the Coast Guard station over it, and on the way home she hits a snowbank and is bailed out by a worried housewife and her children, whose father is trapped on the sinking ship. This gives Miriam a much-needed reality check that she is not the only person out there with a loved one's life hanging in the balance, and that as dangerous as Bernie's mission is, a lot of other ladies will definitely become widows if he doesn't at least make the attempt.
- As it turns out, Dr. Mann of Interstellar was one of the unfortunate astronauts who landed on a planet that was not suitable for human habitation, but was too much of a Dirty Coward to perform a Heroic Sacrifice and instead forged data about his planet and activated his beacon anyway so the party can drop by and rescue him. When you're willing to put a mission to save the entire human race in jeopardy just to save your own sorry ass, you count as this. Naturally, when the Awful Truth is revealed to the heroes, the "one Precision F-Strike only in a PG-13 film" rule is used to brilliant effect.You fucking coward.
- Scowler from Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie has this as his main personality trait. When he becomes leader of the herd, he gets Drunk with Power to the point of sociopathy.
- Janet Majors in the The Rocky Horror Picture Show follow-up movie Shock Treatment does a musical number called "Me Of Me" in the Denton TV studio after her Evil Makeover.
- Koba from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes claims to be fighting for all apes and genuinely believes it. Even if it was true at one point, by the final act of the movie his one and only concern is venting all his pent up anger and resentment towards humans. By the climax, even his friends aren't safe from his outbursts and the slightest insinuation that he doesn't know best is taken as an affront worthy of death.Koba: Caesar brother to humans! Koba fight for ape! Free ape!
Caesar: You killed ape. Koba fight for Koba. Koba belong in cage.
- In the climax of Equilibrium, DuPont tries to convince Preston that he lives, breathes, and feels, and now that Preston (who's spent his entire life before the movie on emotion-suppressing drugs) knows what it is like to live and feel, he can't kill him because doing so will enact too high an emotional price. DuPont, note, is the ruler of Libria, and so is responsible for the deaths of an awful lot of people who "live and feel".
- Circus of Horrors: The only thing that Elsa cares about is being a star. She becomes consumed with envy any time another woman is billed higher than her, and does not care that Schüler is murdering women who try to leave, so long as she remains the star.
- SHAZAM! (2019): While Billy's biological mom claims she left Billy with the police because she felt he would be better off that way, the fact she didn't attempt to properly hand off custody of him to the state and ensure he'd have a stable environment (and could still visit him) shows she cared more about unburdening herself from being a parent than his well-being.
- Meredith, the Alpha Bitch in Bratz, gets a song literally titled "It's All About Me", in which she brags about how awesome she is, claiming that various female celebrities "ain't got nothing on [her]."
- Rogue One: Tarkin and Krennic care more about screwing each other over and one upping the other than they do about actually making sure everything goes to plan. The long term effects their egos and feuding have on The Empire are quite substantial, to say the least.
- Weekend at Bernie's: Larry's response to learning that his boss has apparently snuffed it is to go on a rant about how inconvenient it is for him and why couldn't Bernie have been considerate enough to hold off on killing himself until Monday.
- Revenge (2017): When Richard goes to talk to Jen after Stan raped her, he has the audacity to ask her to think about what it would do to him if she doesn't keep quiet about it. Unsurprisingly, she doesn't take it well.
- Star Wars: Emperor Palpatine's ultimate goal is to conquer the galaxy, destroy the Jedi, corrupt Anakin Skywalker into his apprentice, and allow the Sith to take their place as rulers. Of course, this is all for his own benefice, as he has no desire to let anyone else rule but himself. The entire series is practically a demonstration of this:
Palpatine: I. AM. THE SENATE.
- The prequels have him manipulate events on Naboo to get the Trade Federation to invade. Knowing full well that Senate bureaucratic proceedings will be grossly inefficient in halting the invasion, he subtly warns Queen Amidala about how events will play out when she attempts to provide evidence of what has transpired. While he's framing it as him trying to help rescue his planet, it's really a ploy to get him elected as Supreme Chancellor.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars demonstrates this further thanks to Darth Maul, who succeeds in conquering Mandalore. As Palpatine had largely ignored him up to that point, he only deals with his former apprentice personally because he poses a threat to his own plans to rule the galaxy.
- And of course, this line in Revenge of the Sith best exemplifies it:
- By the time of the original trilogy, he's all too happy to goad Luke into killing Darth Vader, as he wants to corrupt the boy for his own amusement, giving little care about what happens to his apprentice.
- Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker perhaps best exemplifies this trope when he finally gets to meet Rey, his granddaughter. He wants her to take over from him, but this requires her killing him to do so, which is exactly what he wants to begin with. For upon doing so, he intends to transfer his spirit into her body, so he can rule the galaxy in a fresh new body, regardless of what happens to his own kin in the process.
- Gidi from Mabul shows little concern for how his screw-ups affect other people. When he accidentally cancels the catering for his son's Bar Mitzvah, he says, "I've had a difficult week. You don't understand." Later he says, "I apologized! What more do you want?"