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Jerk With A Heart Of Gold / Film

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Animated Films

  • Big Hero 6:
    • Gogo is portrayed as a tough character who doesn't put up with anything and can come across as a jerk sometimes ("Don't mess it up."). However, we see that she genuinely cares for those close to her - she, along with the rest of the team, are interested in Hiro's microbots, she takes part in the video they send to Hiro after Tadashi's death, helps convince the others to capture Yokai for Tadashi, and even gives Hiro a hug after Baymax shows him Tadashi's videos, something that is stated in the novelization as extremely unlike her.
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    • Hiro can be a bit of this too, considering his illegal bot fighting habits, cocky persona (although this is mostly just a front due to insecurities), and the fact that he removed Baymax's healthcare chip against his will and would have killed Callaghan had the others not intervened.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Joaquin's conceited and his fame has gone to his head, but he's still a good guy under it all. Best shown during the wedding when, despite getting what he wants, he's less than happy because Maria is basically being forced. Before Chakal attacks it looks like he is about to call the wedding off.
    • Carlos has a habit of molding Manolo into the man he wants, but is ultimately a loving father towards him and apologizes to Manolo for trying to change him.
    • General Posada is a bit of a jerk, being very strict with Maria and trying to make her decisions on who she'll marry for her, but he was sincerely saddened when everyone thought Maria died and near the end of the film he accepted Manolo with open arms.
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    • Unlike regular villains, Xibalba only sought to rule his wife's world out of loneliness. He is even undoubtedly (if begrudgingly) impressed after Manolo’s heroism bests him and cheerfully takes part in the battle against Chakal at the conclusion, if indirectly. But, the biggest example that shows Xibalba isn't completely heartless is his love for La Muerte.
  • Anastasia of Cinderella becomes this in the second and third films, especially after her Heel–Face Turn. In the Kingdom Hearts series, on the other hand, she outright attempts to murder Cinderella, a Princess of Heart, without any second thoughts.
  • In The Croods, clan patriarch Grug is incredibly bossy, stubborn, and set in his ways, but everything he does is out of a desire to protect his family and provide for them.
  • Gru of Despicable Me is a Diabolical Mastermind who revels in his status as a Card-Carrying Villain. He's also a Benevolent Boss who treats his minions as individuals rather than Faceless Mooks (though they are used as guinea pigs for experiments) and eventually becomes a true father to the girls he adopts as part of his plan, even going Papa Wolf for them in the end.
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  • Kristoff in Frozen is socially awkward and brutally honest with people, and when he helps Anna on her adventure, he becomes exasperated with her antics. After a while, he genuinely starts to care for her and even falls in love with her.
  • Manny and Diego from Ice Age.
  • The Emperor in The Legend of Su-Ling kinda drifts into this territory. He does care of his son and is mourning over his wife's death. He's trying to find something to fill the hole in his heart and he wants to give his son a suitable bride. Unfortunately, his means to do both are very questionable.
  • The Little Mermaid
    • Sebastian, though he can be a bit crabby at times, he really cares for Ariel.
    • King Triton, as long as you don't talk about humans, can be a pretty nice fella.
  • The titular Megamind is overly dramatic and can be immature, but is actually a good person. The movie is about him realizing it.
  • Mushu in Mulan. His original intentions are to obtain a high position among the guardians but over the course of the film, he becomes protective and supportive of Mulan. In Mulan 2, he even tries to destroy Mulan's relationship with Shang only to be the one to rescue Mulan from an unwanted marriage and prevent an upscale war.
  • The Prophet: The Baker. He's a gruff man but he tries to be fair. He despises Almitra and her thievery has worn away much of his patience. Still, he admires Mustafa and the poet's words ultimately make him cancel the debt Kamila owes to him and when the soldiers fight with the people he makes a point to protect Almitra.
  • Shrek:
    • The title character plays up his bad reputation to keep others off his land. But he ends up risking his life to help not only the Damsel in Distress, but hundreds of refugees as well.
    • To an extent, Snow White in the third film as well. She does come off as arrogant and lazy, but willingly joins Fiona and the rest of the princesses in battle against Prince Charming.
  • Both of the leads in Strange Magic:
    • The Bog King is so much so that he comes across as the central antagonist for the first half of the movie. On top of being dark, ugly and generally terrifying to look at, he's grouchy and cruel to his subjects. He even kidnaps a fairy princess! But then, he's a complete gentleman to said princess, and has his own reasons for his behavior. And once he falls in love, he proves to be a very gentle and caring person.
    • Marianne, to a lesser extent. She's the hero, but she comes across as abrasive and cold, especially to her younger sister. Inside, she's been hurt and is just doing her best to protect Dawn from that kind of pain.
  • The Sword in the Stone: Archimedes for most of the movie he's eternally grouchy and berates both Merlin and Arthur alike; after he ends up saving Arthur (transformed into a fish) from a pike in the castle moat, however, he has moments showing that he's slowly warming up to the boy.
  • Toy Story:
  • John Silver in Treasure Planet, who also happens to be the Big Bad. Sacrifices the treasure he seeked to save the hero. In returns keeps his freedom.
  • Zootopia:
    • Chief Bogo is a curt, no-nonsense police chief and a full-blown By-the-Book Cop who butts heads with the Cowboy Cop protagonist Judy. And yet when she accomplishes a task he never thought she could do, he softens up to her and even tries to console her when her thoughtless words regarding Zootopian predators causes mass-unrest in the city, and he's also saddened when she quits due to that incident. He's also nice to the rest of the police force when the situation calls for it, such as wishing an officer happy birthday. Also, he's nice to Clawhauser despite the latter's oft-embarrassing attitudes.
    • On the darker side, Mayor Lionheart. He treats his assistant mayor, Dawn Bellwether, with little respect, openly calling her "Smellwether" and constantly overworking her. It's also implied that the actions he have made that are inherently good, such as allowing Judy to be the first bunny police officer, are mostly for the good publicity it'll earn him. Still, his concern for the savage mammals seems genuine and he dedicates resources to cure them, providing medical staff and new equipment and keeping them in a safe and remote location where potential casualties are minimized, so there is a glimmer of gold in there.

Live Action Films

  • The Old Man from A Christmas Story.
  • Both Gordon and Jackie from A Shot at Glory are abrasive to different people: Gordon to his family and Jackie to just about everyone except his son. Both are nice guys underneath it all.
  • Cacopoulos from Ace High. Sure, he's a mean bandit who kills his way out of jail and steals Cat and Hutch's money. But after a while he offers to give it back to them and help them along the way. He's generally a nice guy to anyone who doesn't stab him in the back.
  • Ellen Ripley, the protagonist of the Alien films, was intended to come across stiff and unlikable in the first film, and also comes across as cynical and bitter in the sequels. However, she is without a doubt a heroic and selfless person, and one of the most glorious and well-known examples of Mama Bear in all fiction.
    • Parker, from the first film also counts. He is loud-mouthed, greedy and sarcastic but he's a good man at heart. Notably he's devastated by Brett's death and tries his utmost to save Lambert, even taking the Xenomorph on with his bear hands.
  • Bill Sampson in All About Eve is direct, acerbic, and unsentimental, but he genuinely loves Margo, and remains faithful to her even when she's making him miserable.
  • Steve Stifler in American Pie eventually makes the transition into this in American Wedding.
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy:
    • Ron is a sexist, egotistical jerk for much of the movie, but he is loyal to his friends, and ultimately lets go of his sexism to fall in love with Veronica.
    • Wes Mantooth is Ron's arrogant, but less successful rival anchorman. He deeply loves his mother though, and while he hates Ron's guts, he respects him as a fellow journalist enough to not push him into the bear pit, and to save his life in the sequel.
  • Annie (2014):
    • Foster kid Pepper. She is quite obviously dealing with attachment issues, and doesn't want to get close to anyone, so she distances people by being a hardcase.
    • Colleen Hannigan turns out to be one, starting a change of heart after Stacks tells her that Annie genuinely speaks well of her singing (as opposed to complimenting it to butter Hannigan up to prevent her from punishing Annie for not coming home on time).
  • Skeeter Bronson in Bedtime Stories is often sarcastic, rude and defiant of authority, but when he is called on to babysit his niece and nephew Bobbi and Patrick for a few days he reveals a softer side, telling them bedtime stories every night. He also saves his boss's daughter Violet when she's mobbed by paparazzi, and ultimately saves Bobbi and Patrick's school from being demolished (with them inside it).
  • Brain Donors: Roland T. Flakfizer might be a money-seeking Ambulance Chaser, but he's sincere about pairing up the star-crossed dancers Alan and Lisa.
  • The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy has a few examples:
    • From Shaun of the Dead, Shaun's slob flatmate Ed - annoying, vulgar and mooches off his mate, but he sacrifices himself by staying behind in the pub cellar after he's bitten to give Shaun and Liz the best chance to escape. Also Shaun's stepfather Phillip, who acts like a Wicked Stepfather but still cares for Shaun and makes peace with him before he turns in the Jag.
    • Gary King: He is childish and irresponsible, yet he will stand for the other Four Musketeers.
  • Kar (Seann William Scott) in Bulletproof Monk is a common pickpocket who steals wallets from random passersby and mouths off to people. However, he not only jumps to help the titular Monk save a child about to be run over by a subway train, but also gives a hot dog to a homeless man, and helps the old Mr. Kojima. No wonder the Monk is seriously considering training Kar to be his replacement.
  • Casablanca: Rick Blaine sticks his neck out for nobody.
  • Dean in Cedar Rapids. He might be abrasive and loud with a bit of a drinking problem but he cares deeply for his daughter and friends.
  • Dr Earl Dopler from Clockstoppers is rude, pushy, and repeatedly threatens and endangers the lives of the teenage protagonists, despite one of the teens being the son of his mentor. He’s also much more interested in saving his own skin than he is in helping those who he indirectly endangered. However, the man has been through a lot, and all he actually wants to do is get as far away from the bad guys as he can as quickly as possible. The fact that he charges into the Big Bad’s lab, a place he had previously admitted to being terrified of, in order to save the others at the end of the film is more than enough proof of his good heart.
  • In Clueless, Cher's father Mel is a tough, feared stony divorce lawyer who can make his maid scurry away in fear just by entering the room. However, he's also a devoted father not only to his daughter Cher but to Josh, his stepson from a previous (failed) marriage to whom he remains a loyal father-figure and mentor despite the fact that they have no blood relation together.
    Mel: You divorce wives, not children.
  • King Brian in Darby O'Gill and the Little People.
  • In Dead Air, Radio DJ Logan Burnhardt and his on-air sidekick Gil enjoy teasing and even insulting their more colorful callers, however both seek to do everything they can to help the citizens when the crisis starts, with Logan manning the airwaves to give advice to the survivors who are listening and Gil volunteering to venture out on his motorcycle to save Logan's wife.
  • Sgt. Sean Dignam of The Departed is a good example of this trope. He is incredibly abrasive to pretty much everyone, but at the end of the film after being dismissed from the case, he found Sullivan and brought him to justice showing that he is a dedicated cop and one of the most respectable characters in the whole movie.
  • In the Doctor movies, Sir Lancelot Spratt is blustery, arrogant, and insulting. Yet he goes out of his way to advance Dr. Sparrow's career (in Doctor In The House, he talks the school's president out of expelling Sparrow; in Doctor At Large, he allows Sparrow to work with him in surgery in spite of Sparrow's missteps).
  • Beau Brandenburg in Driven.
  • Dust Devil: According to Wendy, Mark is actually a good man behind his paranoia and temper. He does very little to back this up, however.
  • Bluebeard from the cult animated film Felidae certainly applies. He constantly calls Francis a "Smartass", takes a piss on things to "mark his territory" (sure, it's normal for cats, but still), and refers to humans in a very derogatory fashion (IE: He calls them "Can-Openers" which basically means "Slave"). However, he's also willing to help Francis solve the mystery and even risks his life several times in the film. Especially when Kong, a cat many times larger than him and Francis, threatned the latter.
    • And Kong, who spent most of the movie antagonizing Francis. Upon seeing that his mate was murdered horribly, he began to mourn for her and managed to stop being such an ass to Francis.
  • In Escape from New York and Escape from L.A., it might be buried beneath a very deep layer of jerk but Snake's heart is ultimately in the right place and he probably has the strongest moral fiber of anyone in the films (Which isn't saying much but still): When the chips are down, even though he was ordered to do it he's simply not able to shoot Utopia unprovoked and lets her go instead.
  • Stathis Borhans in the remake The Fly (1986) is probably this trope personified. At first he is a sleazy, jealous, jilted ex-lover of the protagonist's love interest, but after a certain mishap involving a housefly and a teleporter, he becomes a Big Damn Hero and storms into the lab of the man-monster to save the woman he still loves. It does not end well for Stathis.
  • In 50/50, Kyle acts like a boorish jerk, but sticks by Adam's side throughout the movie.
  • Forrest Gump: Lieutenant Dan in the movie, and perhaps surprisingly to some, Forrest in the original novel.
  • There's a reason why Gamera is also known as the "Friend to All Children". This fire-breathing turtle has a soft-spot for kids and will do anything to keep them safe, even put his life on the line. Of course, his attack on Tokyo in the first film causes adults to fear the monster.
  • The Garbage Pail Kids Movie tries to depict the titular Garbage Pail Kids as this by being constantly rude and insulting but having the heart to defend Dodger from the bullying punk Juice and rescuing everyone else incarcerated at the State Home for the Ugly, but one of the film's greatest criticisms is that the Kids' redeeming qualities are greatly undercut by some of the unpleasant things they do, such as vandalizing property and making violent threats toward Dodger.
  • Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters who, for all his sly, often condescending bravado, is very much invested in the well-being of his friends, and doesn't hesitate to put himself in harm's way when the chips are down.
  • Godzilla is not only a city destroying monster, he's also a loving and devoted father. And he's also fiercely loyal to his friends and will come to their aid whenever they are in danger.
    • Not just his friends. He's got a very strong sense of fair-play and picking on a severely weaker monster (like King Ghidorah did to Mothra) is a good way of getting him mad. And you wouldn't like him when he's angry...
    • Curiously, Godzilla himself had no problem fighting two just-born Mothra Larvae in the film directly preceding Ghidorah's first appearance. Maybe he considered it a fair fight at the time? The big guy has always had his own code of ethics in the Showa era though, and from 1965 on, even if he acted a bit grumpy, there was no question that if humanity called on him for help, he'd respond in a heartbeat. And often did so near literally. By the time of his last appearance in 1975, Godzilla had gone from this to straight up being The Hero that not only had humanity's best interests at heart, the humans would openly show concern if he was hurt and try to help out if they could. In the Heisei era though, Godzilla's gold was definitely hidden more often than not.
  • Surprisingly, Yoon Tae-goo from The Good, the Bad, the Weird has some redeeming qualities. Though he insults Man-gil he still cares about him enough to try and save him, and he shows concern for "Granny" as well; at the beginning of the film he urges a Japanese woman to escape while he's robbing the corpses of the people she was travelling with; in the third act he kills a couple of Japanese spies while rescuing a group of children he could have left behind.
  • Walt Kowalski, the main character of Gran Torino is one racist son of a bitch, but we forgive him for it because he's actually a decent guy deep down toward the people against whom he's racist.
  • The titular Hancock is an insufferable prick, with little to no social skills, and well deserving of the dislike of the city folk. However deep down he really is a decent person who aspires to do the right thing, tries to set things right and make things better when offered some help, and apparently has a soft spot for children. He Takes A Level In Kindness over the course of the movie.
  • Phil from The Hangover, who despite his abrasive personality is the Only Sane Man of the trio and encourages Stu to end the abusive relationship he's in, which he eventually does at the end of the first film. Also after spending most of the movie openly mocking and calling down Alan, he tells Stu to back off and leave Alan alone when it's clear the guy is this close to having a breakdown worrying over Doug.
  • The Heat: Mullins is, for lack of a better term, a psychotic bitch, but she genuinely cares about the people in her city, her family, and Ashburn.
  • In the movie Hero, Dustin Hoffman's character is a misanthropic, cynical petty crook, constantly declaring that everyone is out for themselves and no one else. When a plane crashes before his eyes, a young child begs him to save his father and there's no one else to turn to, he goes into the burning wreck and rescues each person he comes across in turn - grumbling the whole time - until he finds the father - then disappears, leaving Andy Garcia to accidentally get stuck with the credit. After Garcia, a genuine Nice Guy, becomes wracked with guilt because of all the undeserved adulation, and ultimately resolves to confess in a suicide note before leaping to his death, Hoffman risks his life again in order to blackmail Garcia into tearing up the note, going back inside, accepting the credit, and keeping up all the "do-gooder" stuff, which Hoffman realizes is Garcia's natural role in life, in contrast with Hoffman's card-carrying Jerkass.
    • Then, at the very end, he's at the zoo when a child falls into a tiger cage and everyone else is panicking. When he realizes no one else is going to help, he begrudgingly marches over to save the day.
  • Indiana Jones is pretty quick to anger, unafraid to fight dirty, broke poor Marion Ravenwood's heart in the past, and will always place Honor Before Reason and do the right thing.
  • Lloyd Abbott in Inventing The Abbotts is an almost comically stereotypical 1950s dad: callous, emotionless, with little respect for his wife and none for his daughters, and also a shameless snob although (or perhaps because) it's implied that he came of modest means himself. But when Doug stands up to him with respect and lets him know he's in love with his daughter, Lloyd lets him know where to find her (and also reveals that he is innocent of the long-ago wrongdoing that Doug and his brother always thought had destroyed their family).
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen is a good person with a huge capacity for love and the devotion of a saint, but personally she's bitter, sarcastic, distant and stand-offish. A lot of the Hunger Games deals with Haymitch and Effie's attempts to make her more 'presentable' to the Capitol.
  • James Bond in his many incarnations, particularly Daniel Craig's.
  • In La Famille Bélier, M. Thomasson despises and insults the students, but he will do everything he can to help Paula Bélier to pass the singing contest.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes has Gilbert Redman (film debut of Sir Michael Redgrave), a good-humoured but arrogant young scholar who is so committed to music that he thinks he is perfectly entitled to make a ruckus in his hotel room at the middle of the night and then threaten to ruin the heroine's reputation when she has him thrown out of his room. However, he is genuinely concerned when the heroine later claims that a fellow passenger has vanished from the train and helps her find the passenger, becoming Fire-Forged Friends with her in the process and eventually falling in love.
  • 2016's Baloo from The Jungle Book (2016) is less of a Beary Friendly Nice Guy than his '67 counterpart, not above tricking Mowgli into getting him food. But he does becomes genuine friends with Mowgli as the movie goes on.
  • (ex) CIA-Agent Snow in Lockout
  • Major Payne:
    • Alex Stone is pretty mouthy, callous, and sometimes even gets abusive to the other cadets, but he does genuinely care about them. He's the first to defend Heathcoat who isn't fit enough to complete the obstacle course and, after the whole squad is going to be severely punished for hiring a biker to beat up the Major, Stone lies and claims he did it by himself to save the rest of them from it.
    • Payne himself. Although he is only doing his job as a Drill Sergeant Nasty he's unable to be anything else than that because that's the only way he's ever lived his life. Beneath all this he's good natured and A Father to His Men, just incredibly brash about it. A subplot of the film is him learning to lighten up and not be this 24/7.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man: While Tony can be a narcissist who's a bit of a showoff, his heart's in the right place and he works hard to make the world better. By The Avengers, he's also indulging in shockingly open and extravagant displays of compassion and thoughtfulness in between smug, self-aggrandizing quips. Age of Ultron reveals that Tony's greatest fear is the other Avengers (whom he fully considers his friends by now) dying and Earth being destroyed because Tony didn't do enough.
      • Iron Man 2: He may not openly display it to Tony Stark during childhood (he sent him to a private school to get him out of the house), but Howard Stark does legitimately care for Tony Stark, as evidenced by his blooper tape/hidden message.
    • In Thor, the titular character an unstable, entitled hothead who rarely thinks before acting. He is also extremely noble, very respectful towards women, loves his brother and friends, and always keeps his word. The events of this movie mostly break him of the "jerk" part of this; while he can still be rash and hotheaded in later movies, he's mostly a Nice Guy who loses the entitlement and (most of) the arrogance while keeping his better qualities and gaining new ones.
    • Though all the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy are this to a certain degree, Rocket takes the grand prize. He starts out mocking the Xandarians and basically telling everybody how much of a rip he doesn't give about them, but when things get bleak he ultimately puts his life on the line to save all the people he said he didn't care about. Also, there's his friendship with Groot, which culminates in him sobbing over Groot's apparent death.
    • Ant-Man:
      • Hope is a huge jerkass to Scott for the first half of the film when he is largely passive towards her, mainly because she is upset because her father vetoed her using the suit to pull of the heist. She warms up to him eventually.
      • Paxton, Scott's wife's new fiance, is very hostile to Scott (with good reason, since he's an ex-con), but is genuinely protective of Cassie and even shields her when Yellowjacket attacks. And when it becomes clear that Scott is the good guy, he gets him cleared of all charges.
  • Mr. Banks from Mary Poppins, at least before character development sets in. He's stubborn, stern, emotionally distant and a control freak, but he means well, cares about his family and wants to see his children prepared for the future.
  • In the film version of M*A*S*H both Hawkeye and Trapper fit this trope (far better than in the TV series). They're both insubordinate drunks, their pranks are downright mean-spirited and they show signs of being both sexist and racist. The defining moment is when they go on a golf trip, casually perform a surgery to save an infant's life against regulations, and still get out on the golf course before dark.
  • Me, Myself & Irene: Charlie's "sons" are foul-mouthed delinquents who depend on their father to stay out of trouble with the law. They are also fiercely intelligent and consistently affectionate (when was the last time you heard a male teenager in a film say "I love you, dad"?) and protective towards their father.
    • Hank, Charlie's alternate personality is every bad trait an authority figure can have, condensed into a supremely messed-up package. However, it becomes clear over the course over the film that Hank is, in his own, psychotic way, deeply concerned about Charlie and encourages him to become more assertive, and feels deeply lonely when he is unable to interact with Charlie.
  • James, Martin's best friend in Nightwatch is a perfect example. He constantly gets Martin in trouble, even getting him thrown out of a restaurant for receiving a handjob from a prostitute , but in the end James gets handcuffed to a pipe and ends up sawing his thumb off to free himself and save Martin and Katherine .
  • Nightwish: Dean comes across as a bit of a dick to his friends, but he does genuinely care about his girlfriend.
  • Now You See It...: Downplayed. Danny is abrasive and anti-social, but is a good guy deep down; he cares about Allison, and is just lashing out due to his feeling of social isolation.
  • On Dangerous Ground: Jim Wilson, a brutal cop from a Vice City falls in love with Mary and softens up just for her.
  • The titular alien from Paul. Some characters describe him as being a nice guy, only incredibly rude.
  • The Pink Panther's Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau is an arrogant man who believes himself to be the greatest detective in the world, or at least is determined to make sure everyone else thinks he is (Peter Sellers's interpretation). In truth, he is a chronically clumsy idiot, which is partially the result of this self-confidence, and gets him and many of the people around him in trouble. He is also genuinely on the side of good, chivalrous with women (even after being betrayed by his own wife), conducts himself with dignity as often as he can, and he simply will not give up no matter what obstacles are in his way.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean, having been described, as far back as the original screenplay incarnation, as having an "honest streak", which seems to serve as the pirate equivalent of a heart of gold, and also as his Achilles' Heel. His Establishing Character Moment is to trust a pair of Navy Seamen with his "effects" to save a perfect stranger from drowning (and get condemned to death for it when they discover his pirate brand), and a Deleted Scene showed he got said brand for liberating cargo from the East India Trading Company. Said "cargo" was human slaves:
    Cutler Beckett: I contracted you to deliver cargo on my behalf. You chose to liberate it.
    Jack Sparrow: (In an unusually serious maudlin tone) People aren't cargo, mate.
  • Lilly Moscovitz from The Princess Diaries.
  • The bandit who turns out to be a big fan of Kathleen Turner's character Joan Wilder (a romance-adventure novelist) in Romancing the Stone.
  • Kikuchiyo in both Seven Samurai and Samurai 7. Easily dismissed as a loudmouth with delusions of grandeur (and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong in that assessment), Kikuchiyo nonetheless is the first to jump to the farmer's cause and decides to go and help them, even though he was initially rejected for the team.
    • Heihachi Hayashida in Seven Samurai is a very mild-mannered man with good intentions, but he has a knack for saying things that end up hurting people. He also loves to pick on Kikuchiyo.
  • Warren Peace from Sky High (2005), especially during the Chinese restaurant scene with Layla.
  • A prime example is Auggie in Smoke (1995), played by Harvey Keitel.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009): Holmes may be a jerk, but he does deeply care for Watson's wellbeing.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy:
    • The first movie shows a great example of how J. Jonah Jameson fits this. As Jameson is chewing out Peter over whether or not Spider-Man's a hero, the Green Goblin busts into the office and demands to know who takes Spider-Man's photos. Jameson's immediate reaction is to lie and protect Peter.
      • Especially telling since he was at the moment being held up by his shirt collar by an obvious maniac, which has his throat constricted so that he can barely speak. He was literally risking his life to protect Peter Parker, a guy he's met a grand total of two times by this point.
      • The novelization looks deeper into his motives: Jameson always protects his sources, and has gone to jail twice for doing so in the past.
    • In the third movie, he's furious that Eddie Brock gave him fake photographs of Spider-Man, commenting that "We haven't printed a retraction in twenty years!" Not only did he fire Brock, but additionally had him shamed on the front page alongside the retraction.
    • Minor example is Mr. Ditkovich who has no problem taking Peter's last $20 (which he needs to last the week) to cover the rent or to shove him out of the way to get into the bathroom first. In the third movie however when Peter, under the influence of the Symbiote, snaps at him for no real reason the man is very quick to not only defend and forgive him, but be worried about him too. Jerk he may be about it, but at the end of the day he's just a good guy at heart trying to make his living as a landlord.
      Peter: You'll get your rent when you FIX THIS DAMNED DOOR!!!
      Ursula: That wasn't cool.
      Ditkovich: good boy. He must be in some kind of trouble.
  • Machete, Danny Trejo's character in Spy Kids.
  • Captain James T. Kirk of the Star Trek (2009) movie fits this trope perfectly. At first, it's almost as if he wakes up in the morning and thinks of new ways to piss off any and every body he encounters. Wrecks his stepdad's car and stands up to the cop who tried to pull him over. Participates in a bar fight that some cadets start (they punched him first) because he kept hitting on Uhura (who's completely uninterested in him). Reprograms an unwinnable test, which is cheating, to prove that he can win it (by thinking outside the box). Shows no remorse when caught because he doesn't feel he's in the wrong. Indeed, Kirk demonstrates the same wheeling, dealing, and conniving traits of a Magnificent Bastard. The differences are — first, Kirk was never out to hurt anyone just for his own ends. Second, it is made clear he's only acting up because he lacks a challenge worthy of his smarts. Most importantly, he uses his cunning to save the universe. This movie states overtly what the series were more subtle about: Kirk's Jerk tendencies are also the qualities that make him The Captain we all know and love.
  • Star Wars' own Han Solo. Compare these two lines:
    When informed that Leia is going to be killed: "Better her than me!"
  • Billy Fish from Streets of Fire. He's an obnoxious, condescending, arrogant pencil-necked geek who views Tom Cody like the street trash the guy actually is. He thinks with his money first, and pretty much never considers how his remarks make other people feel. Except when it comes to Ellen Aim. He's in love with her, and is enough of a Determinator to walk into hell right beside Cody to get her back from the bad guys. He's even sensitive enough to realize that Ellen is still in love with Tom, and is willing to step back because he just wants Ellen to be happy, and if that means she's with Tom, then she's with Tom.
  • Vincent from St. Vincent (2014) is a cantankerous old bastard who generally lives alone, pushing away everyone but his cat and his prostitute. We learn, though, that he's still impressively devoted to his wife, who can no longer even recognize him, and generally treats everyone in his life better than he treats himself. Once Oliver gets to know him, they become fast friends.
  • John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He's a mouthy, arrogant little punk who steals from ATM machines and has no respect for authority. He even gets a pair of men beaten up by the T-101 for calling him a little dipshit. That said, he has the utmost respect for human life, refusing to let the T-101 kill anyone (despite the problems this presents later), risking his life to save Sarah, and preventing her from killing a man even though it would prevent the impending apocalypse.
  • Pat Healy in There's Something About Mary - he's a total sleazebag and will say anything to get in Mary's pants, but he actually grows to love and care for her. In fact, he thinks he's doing her a favor by stealing her from Ted, who he views as a creepy stalker..
  • Macready in The Thing (1982). He blows up an expensive computer for no reason other than it beat him at chess, isn't even sad at the death of Bennings, which was partly his fault for bringing the Norwegian thing back to base, threatens to kill Nauls just because he showed them evidence he was a thing, holds the entire team hostage and kills Clark. However, when Norris has a heart attack, he orders them to untie the doctor, even though there is a high chance he could be a thing, only holds the team hostage because they were trying to murder him, seems concerned when Bennings is shot in the leg, seems very reluctant to shoot Childs when he protests and tells Mac to shoot him, and at the end he is willing to sacrifice his life to stop the thing. He also forgets his grudge with Childs, as they both sit in the freezing snow, knowing they can't survive.
  • Charlotte Mearing from Transformers: Dark of the Moon may give the Autobots and Sam a hard time but unlike Galloway she clearly has respect for them and later apologizes to Sam for dismissing his claims and ultimately assists them in the final battle.
    • The Wreckers are described as "assholes" and don't get along with humans. But they ultimately stay behind to help the Autobots fight off the Decepticons. Their leader even says "We ain't going nowhere".
  • The movie Waitress has two: grumpy diner manager Cal and grumpier diner owner/crotchety old man Joe. Both turn out to be fairly nice guys.
  • In The Waterboy, Bobby Boucher's mother, Helen, spends most of the film being a jerk, convincing Bobby that everyone and everything around him is the devil. It turns out she was doing this because her husband, Bobby's father, abandoned them years ago. When she realizes that keeping him from going to college and playing football is only self-destructive to him and the entire town, she lets up, tells Bobby the truth about his father, and accompanies him to the final game of the season.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie Valiant is shown to be quite a jerk towards Toons because of his old grudge. He's generally mean, sarcastic and filled with anger, so God help you if you hint that he works for Toons. But, however, if you can get to a contact with him, he'll stick with you until the end and you'll find out that he's a nice guy after all, he just still brooding over his brother's death and that's why he appears to be so cold and bitter.
    • On a more extreme note, R.K. Maroon, who hires Eddie to take scandalous pictures of Jessica Rabbit with Marvin Acme to rile up Roger. Only he really wanted to pictures to blackmail Acme into selling his warehouse so Maroon could also sell his studio to Cloverleaf. Once Maroon realized that doing so would result in the destruction of Toontown and the slaughter of Toons, he tries to make things right and gets killed for it.
  • Teardrop in Winter's Bone starts begins the film by nearly assaulting his niece for speaking out of turn. He also casually threatens his wife with violence, which doesn't seem to be unusual in his community. Later in the film, however, he rescues his niece from possible murder, accepting responsibility for her actions in the process. In the end, he brings chicks as gifts for her younger siblings and tries to entertain them with a little banjo.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Wolverine can be rather rude, and he often makes snide remarks, but behind it all, he means well.
    • X-Men: First Class:

      John McCone, like most of the CIA members (barring Moira MacTaggert and the Man in Black) behaving like a jerk, as well as being somewhat sexist. However, despite this, he does call out against more Jerkass members of the CIA whenever they are doing completely Jerkass things (specifically the top brass member William Stryker Sr., when he was keeping Emma Frost incarcerated in what was implied to be an unlawful incarceration practice, and when Stryker decided to have both the US and Soviet forces bombard the shores of Cuba with missiles to eliminate the mutants despite the fact that a human CIA agent [even if she's female] is present on the island with them.)

      Havok bullies Hank and is generally pretty abrasive. Later, he sticks by his friends when Shaw comes, and does grow to like and respect Hank.
  • Sanjuro Kuwabatake in the film Yojimbo is coarse, rude and mean, yet it doesn't stop him from doing the right thing. Case in point, when he angrily orders a family he rescued to escape from the town. He's not any more pleasant in Sanjuro, where, while more altruistic and heroic, would rather sleep around than get anything done himself and behaves in a way unbecoming of a samurai, even insulting the Chamberlain's wife behind her back. However, as their prisoner explains, he chooses to act this way because he's more comfortable with insults than sincere compliments and he really does mean well to the nine sidekicks and to Mutsuta's family in general.
    • Gonji in Yojimbo is a jerk with a heart of gold, too. He's bad-tempered but he was good enough to hide Sanjuro while he was escaping from Ushitora and his men.
  • Tallahassee from Zombieland may act like an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight and Anti-Hero most of the time, but he does become visibly angry when Wichita crushes Columbus' hopes of finding his parents alive. And although the true extent of his loyalty to the girls is questionable, he does seem to genuinely care about Columbus and sticks by him through the whole movie. It's also shown via flashback that he was once a loving father and that the death and likely zombification and mercy killing]]) of his son is what soured him, though whether he's a genuine jerk or just distancing himself from everyone on purpose.
  • Mac Stern from Loose Cannons(1990) is an arrogant and snarky cop, but generates sympathy for Fielding and learns to respect him and his disorder.


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