Follow TV Tropes


Cultured Badass

Go To

Spenser: Has anyone ever told you that you coalesce reality? That you brighten a room and make everything seem lighter and more pleasant?
Susan Silverman: No. They usually only say that I'm good in the sack.
Spenser: [thoughtful pause] They are accurate but limited. And if you give me their names, I'll kill them.

In most media, the average badass is usually a hairy-knuckled brawler unfamiliar with the finer things in life, but not this guy. Like his Trope-brother the Cultured Warrior, the Cultured Badass knows how to be sophisticated, is an expert on gourmet food and art, and knows how to behave himself at a formal affair. In short, he knows how to be a gentleman but he also knows how (and when) to kick your ass.

Just because he enjoys La Bohème and can tell the difference between bottles of 1938 and 1941 Moët et Chandon from the taste sound of it being poured doesn't mean he won't beat you to death with them. Get on his bad side and you will live to regret it if you are lucky. (If you're unlucky, you won't live at all.) In either case, he will fight like a gentleman.note 

Similar to Cultured Warrior, except he's not in the military (though he might be a veteran). Sometimes he's a Badass Bookworm or Genius Bruiser, though not necessarily. Sometimes he's a Warrior Poet, though there's often nothing spiritual about his love of culture...he just likes the finer things. When he's evil (or better, Affably Evil), he's Wicked Cultured and when he's nice or a good guy, he's a Gentleman and a Scholar. If he's in the military, expect him to be an Officer and a Gentleman.

If a woman is a Cultured Badass, she's usually either a Lady of War or Silk Hiding Steel, but this is not always the case.

See also Pop-Cultured Badass.

Compare/Contrast Boisterous Bruiser. And contrast Men Are Uncultured where they lack appreciation for books, poetry, opera, and fine art.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime & Manga 
  • Spitfire from Air Gear is the Flame King of the Flame Road. He's also a hairdresser and plays piano.
  • Saki from Area 88, a London-educated, multilingual prince who is also a skilled fighter pilot.
  • Griffith of Berserk. Elegant, smart, well-read, and one of the best military leaders in Midland's history.
  • From The Big O, Roger Smith and Alex Rosewater definitely enjoy the finer things in life, and while they are on opposite sides of the moral fence, they are both tough enough to get in their sentient mecha and kick your ass!
  • Dutch from Black Lagoon reads the collected works of Mao in his downtime and quotes Marx at Rock and Revy when they complain about labour conditions. This only adds to his aura of mystery, considering his daily life is devoted to running a shipping/piracy company in the biggest Wretched Hive in Thailand.
  • Hagi/Haji from Blood+ operates with an eye for sophistication. His weapon of choice? A cello case.
    • And he does play the cello pretty well, too. Not to mention he loves gardening.
  • Cowboy Bebop's philosophically-minded and jazz-loving Jet Black is a gardening, cooking, ass-kicking machine.
  • Kenshiro Kasumi in Fist of the Blue Sky is a Cultured Badass that can actually pose as a teacher in a girl's university, and can read German fluently enough that he can read the names of poisons on a bottle. He can also pose as a translator, while still retaining the ability to cast a Death Glare potent enough to scare brigands, at which point the trope is lampshaded. And he is every bit as capable of rendering you "already dead" as his post-apocalyptic nephew.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The perfect mixture of culture and badass has been passed down the Armstrong family line for GENERATIONS! In addition to his incredible strength and combat ability, he's also shown considerable skill in carving statues (well, he generally creates them with alchemy, but regardless, they're very high-quality) and can draw extremely realistic portraits of people from memory.
  • Gravion brings us Klein Sandman, who is obscenely rich, has a crap ton of maids, lives in a totally pimped-out castle, and did we mention he's rich? However, he can build and pilot badass mecha, and regularly performs feats of life-threatening insanity as if it were normal.
  • Gundam Expanded Universe:
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam 's George DeSand also qualifies, as he is a self-styled knight.
    • Full Frontal from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn when he is holding Banagher captive, he offers him tea, has no qualms with answering Banagher's questions, and treats him with the utmost courtesy. And just like the actual Char, Frontal is a highly knowledgeable (as well as cunning) philosopher and politician.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
      • Treize Khushrenda is a villainous example who is urbane, enjoys a cup of tea, memorizes all slain for his cause, and can tidily hand Chang Wufei his ass. Then he will take a rose-scented bath.
      • Quatre Raberba Winner and Trowa Barton are heroic examples, who can play the violin and flute respectively on their off time, and then go back out in the Sandrock and Heavyarms to slaughter additional UESA/OZ forces.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: France, with his love and appreciation for art, wine, and fashion, qualifies during his more effective moments — Napoleon's reign being the best example. Austria, the refined Elegant Classical Musician and aristocrat extraordinaire also counts, having once been a magnificent and powerful empire.
  • Jonathan Joestar, the protagonist from Part 1 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, very much qualifies. He's a true English gentleman, studied archaeology in university, and comes from a noble British family. He's also well over 6 feet tall, is built like a truck, and manhandles zombies and vampires.
    • Joseph Joestar from Part 2 qualifies to a lesser extent. He admits he gets a lot of his strategy from being familiar with The Art of War.
  • Koetsuji Akisame from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a philosopher, chiropractor, painter, and sculptor so famous that he would be rich if he were willing to sell his works. He is also good at many musical instruments, theater acting, machinery, math, and physics, among others. Additionally, he can speak Russian and perform a tea ceremony. He is also the best Jujitsu master in Japan, capable of bending steel with just one finger. One of his many feats was to level down a fully-staffed Russian military base all by himself, unarmed, of course.
  • Odds are high in Moriarty the Patriot that if William can find a way to quote Shakespeare before stabbing someone, he absolutely will.
  • Albireo Imma from Negima! Magister Negi Magi likes to drink tea, speak politely, and can control gravity magic. His occupation is librarian, and he'll still kick your ass. Without actually being physically present.
    • After recent events, Negi probably qualifies, as he's a Quintessential British Gentleman who enjoys a cuppa...and is capable of beating the crap out of you if you piss him off.
    • Negi's master Evangeline also qualifies, since she (also) enjoys tea (by Chachamaru), plays a wicked game of Go, and is in the Flower Arrangement Club. She is also one of the most powerful mages in the world with an enormous bounty on her and has earned a ton of titles in her long life.
    • There's also our old nemesis Fate Averruncus, who, similar to and yet also in contrast to Negi, enjoys drinking coffee and has the habit of offering his enemies a drink before a fight, which is sometimes not even his intention.
  • Sanji from One Piece. He's the number one Chivalrous Pervert and Supreme Chef.
    • Additionally, Emporio Ivankov's right-hand, ummmm...person, Inazuma. With a big hairdo, fancy clothes, and a glass of wine eternally clutched in his hands, Inazuma is able to kick ass and take names without spilling so much as a single drop.
    • Much earlier on, we had Captain "Iron Fist" Fullbody. However, after being bumped down to Marine Recruit so that he could work with both Jango and Captain Hina, he appears to have dropped both aspects.
    • Trafalgar Law could easily fall into this, too. He was born and raised in the wealthy city-state of Flevance, lived in a castle-like home, wore tailor-made suits, and his parents were both world-renowned doctors who enrolled him into a prestigious medical academy at a very young age. His vocabulary and intellect, especially with medicine, are pretty much second to none, and he's clearly not as willing to accept disorder or sloppiness as most other pirates. He's also an extremely picky yet polite eater.
  • Any leader of consequence in Ravages of Time, and it frequently goes hand-in-hand with Genius Bruiser.
  • Ren from Skip Beat! Cultured enough that he seems like two different people. One a wonderful heartthrob talented actor who is kind, refined, and gentlemanly. The other scary enough that when he gets angry Kyouko wants to crawl under a rock and die, not to mention his not yet revealed troubled past...
  • Variable Geo: Reimi Jahana is CEO of The Jahana Corporation and it shows. She's almost always dressed in her suit and tie, cruises around in a red convertible, and has a private rooftop rose garden. She also happens to be the two-time defending champion of the VG tournament and is the favorite to win for a third year in a row. That's why her mother had to cheat to get rid of her.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman's Battle Butler Alfred Pennyworth is much more than the skinny, soft-spoken, gentleman's gentleman that he appears to be (he's a former SAS commando, after all). He's so much of a Cultured Badass that he can tell Batman "no" and he'll listen.
    • Bruce Wayne himself isn't exactly an unsophisticated ruffian, either. He's a gifted chess player who mingles with high society nearly every night he isn't dressed up as a bat.
    • Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake and the rest of the Bat-Family aren't slouches themselves in this regard. Well, mostly. Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown are exceptions, due to having little to no exposure to language or culture, and growing up in a lower-class home, respectively. For quite a while, Cassandra couldn't even read!
    • The Penguin is a successful businessman who majored in Ornithology,note  dresses nicely, is well-versed in etiquette, loves tea, can play the violin, studied Shakespeare, has an appreciation for opera, poetry, and world history, and despite his physical appearance, he is an efficient physical combatant capable of overwhelming attackers many times his size and physical bearing. Though as a villain, he's technically Wicked Cultured. And in some cases, he only thinks he's Wicked Cultured.
  • Marvel's Battle Butler Edwin Jarvis was RAF boxing champion three years in a row when he was in the service and subsequently received self-defence training from Captain America.
  • Deathstroke The Terminator aka Slade Wilson is often seen sipping champagne and enjoying the finer things in life.
  • Doctor Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts and former Sorcerer Supreme, is an upper-class former surgeon trained in magic by a Tibetan mystic. To qualify as Sorcerer Supreme he had to, among other tests, transcend love and attachment (by being willing to kill his mentor to save the world), transcend life and death (by fighting desperately against the actual embodiment of death and then completely embracing it as a part of life) and transcend good and evil (by being willing and able to use dark magic to prevent a greater evil without succumbing to temptation or corruption). His manservant, Wong, is much like an Asian version of Alfred.
  • G.I. Joe's Roadblock carries an M2 Browning heavy machine gun around and is also a gourmet chef.
  • Lord Tyger from Marvel's New Men is an evolved anthropomorphic tiger who is unfailingly polite to even his enemies, loves a glass of wine while listening to opera, and quotes famed writers of old. He's also a highly skilled swordsman and hand-to-hand combatant who can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Iron Fist.
  • Cadbury from Richie Rich is not just a Battle Butler, but also able to fight as a "man of action" when the need arises. He's Harvey Comics' version of Alfred Pennyworth.
  • Dwight and Wallace from Sin City are both very well-read and enjoy the arts. A villain example would be Manute who speaks well and is obviously quite intelligent.
  • Abominus from the Transformers Mirror Universe of Shattered Glass. The Shattered Glass Terrorcons are all well-regarded performers of some form or other, and when combined their foppish charm is magnified tenfold.
  • V from V for Vendetta easily constitutes this. Every second line is a quote from some major literary source, he's a fan of the original Zorro film, and can dance too!
  • Wonder Woman is a princess, and thus remains very well-schooled in the ways of etiquette and grace even whilst fending off an alien invasion with her bare hands. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, is even more regal and rigid than her daughter, yet capable of kicking just as much ass.
  • The Wonder Woman (Rebirth) version of Etta Candy is a tough military veteran turned DEO operative who is familiar with the works of ancient poets like Sappho.
  • As well as being a Genius Bruiser, Dr. Hank 'Beast' McCoy has an appreciation for literature. In X-Men: The Animated Series, he would frequently quote obscure poetry as he nimbly swung from rafters and subdued his opponents.
    "With faint heart, averted feet, and many a tear, in our opposed paths to persevere". A minor poet for a minor obstacle.

  • Kartik Abingdon from One Piece: Parallel Works.
  • Child of the Storm has several, predominantly Loki and Lucius Malfoy, the former of whom enjoys reading and discussing philosophy and classic literature, and negotiates with the Indian Prime Ministernote  over a cup of tea, while the latter is seldom without a Glass of Chianti and constantly acts Wicked Cultured.
    • Thor, to an extent, in that he shows an occasional gift for quite complex philosophy, in contrast to his usual practical and down-to-earth demeanour.
    • Xavier and Beast are also this trope, as per canon, as are Doctor Strange and Dr. Nathaniel Essex aka Sinister, though the latter is Wicked Cultured.
  • Many of the characters from Honor for the Enemy qualify, given that they are based on freaking Vikings. They could take you and any of your best in a fight, and they can sprout elegant poems without breaking a sweat.
  • in The Great Alicorn Hunt, Arguably Rarity and her entire Radiant Guard — they wear the finest haute couture, mingle with royalty, dabble in various genteel hobbies, and every last one is a trained killing machine.
    Dapper Blue: "I am a plainclothes guard, your Grace. I don't have any armor or shield or spear. I can't just batter a threat into submission. That's not what I'm for. I'm a Black Flag specialist. I'm trained to take out my targets hard, fast, and permanently, when necessary."
  • The Powers of Harmony has Rarity's assigned Guards, Elo and Grovi. The former is a noble who gave up the decadent lifestyle, while the latter is a commoner who was trained to be able to pass himself off as a noble. Or their predecessors were, anyway. Both are top-notch fighters.
  • In the Game of Thrones time-loop story Purple Days, Joffrey Baratheon undergoes a tremendous Character Development journey that sees him traveling around the world over dozens of lifetimes assimilating knowledge and experiences in several different places, from the Free Cities of Essos to the Golden Empire of Yi-Ti. He becomes so well-versed in foreign culture that he's started to integrate ideas and practices of the places he has visited into areas of his governance in King's Landing, including cuisine, industry, and military reforms.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail has 10-year-old Chloe Cerise who loves stories, demons and has a lovely singing voice. She also is good with a donut holer that she will use like it's a baseball bat and is willing to get proper combat training to help fight off against The Apex.
  • The title character of The New Man: An Adam Smasher SI is this as per Saburo Arasaka's orders. He is one of the deadliest beings on the planet and his name heralds death for anyone not named Morgan Blackhand. He also knows how to conduct himself in the Japanese tea ceremony and is able to give David, Lucy and Rebecca a crash course in it. Furthermore, his boss ordered him to continue his music career because, in his words, "a samurai must be a poet as well as a warrior."

    Films — Animated 
  • Maria from The Book of Life, enjoys reading, art, and music. Plus, she knows fencing and karate.
  • Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog. He's cultured throughout the movie, but the "badass" part doesn't come until later (after he gets turned into a frog by voodoo witch doctor, Dr. Facilier).
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman: Both title characters apply (especially Peabody). They are both more knowledgeable than most people, yet they still know how to kick whenever they need it.
  • All the kung fu masters from Kung Fu Panda are wise in some matters of philosophy, art, and poetry, even the villains of each movie. The only exception to this is Po, though he gradually works up to become this as well.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Everett Hitch in Appaloosa is the Far West version of this trope.
  • The Scottish warrior William Wallace in Braveheart is foremost a Barbarian Hero, but he is also fluent in Latin and French.
  • In Dead Man, Xebeche quotes lots of William Blake.
  • Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. He starts the movie by winning a non-lethal bout against Sammo Hung; he then discusses Shaolin philosophy with his teacher.
  • The Big Bad of Equilibrium, being a hypocrite, keeps an art collection and reads poetry, quoting Yeats right before the climactic fight. He is also a Gun Kata master, and the only character in the film aside from Brandt in their first duel who even comes close to giving Preston a proper fight.
  • Ghost Dog is a hitman who is also an enormous fan of Samurai culture and philosophy. And that's only the start of it: he also trains pigeons, reads classic literature along with books about philosophy, civil rights struggles, and fantasy novels, and has warrior symbols from multiple cultures in his tiny shack.
  • In The Grey, John Ottway, played by Liam Neeson, is a man who kills large wild animals for a living but also has a love of poetry.
  • In Hard Boiled, when Inspector "Tequila" Yuen isn't gunning down hordes of bad guys Guns Akimbo, he's playing clarinet at his local jazz bar.
  • With the exception of Ariadne, Arthur in Inception seems to be the least capable member when it comes to fighting. He's almost always dressed in a slick suit or his Waistcoat of Style with his hair combed back and seems to be primarily Cobb's smart assistant who manages the high-tech equipment. However, in the first dream level, he dreams up one of the biggest guns, and in the second level he completely owns gravity, making Neo look like a cheap carnival artist.
  • Pretty much every Indiana Jones villain (save perhaps Mola Ram). And Indy himself, when he gets cleaned up.
  • Jules Gaspard d'Estaing, the eponymous gunfighter in Invitation to a Gunfighter, is the son of a black mother and white well-to-do Southern father and was raised with a cultured background, grounded in English and French, taught to play the harpsichord, outwardly appearing erudite and gentlemanly in appearance and manner.
  • Bond. James Bond. Just because the man prefers vodka martinis ("shaken, not stirred"), enjoys regular fine dining, knows the word for "beautiful" in Afghan, thinks drinking champagne at the wrong temperature is "as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs", can identify classic cars on sight, stops to taste the caviar before leaving a room after being attacked by a thug, has "usual suites" in Vienna and Hong Kong, a better taste in wine than any of his successive bosses, a First in Oriental Languages from Cambridge, and a penchant for wearing tuxedos and tailor-made clothes, doesn't mean he can't kick your ass before you even realize what's happening. The movies especially played this up: he came across as more of a selfish Jerkass and a ruthless Professional Killer in the original novels, although he did have his moments and arguably became more heroic as the series went on.
  • Dorian Gray in the live-action adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. When The Phantom's soldiers begin wrecking his house, he strides calmly through the firefight, looking utterly bored as he stabs people left and right. When one of the soldiers fills his entire torso with lead, he just stands there, takes a deep breath, and then cuts off the guy's breastplate and stabs him. As soon as the guy falls, he takes the handkerchief out of his breast pocket, wipes the sword clean with it, and puts it back in a dignified manner.
  • In The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Ms. Ungermeyer chaperones the school trip to Rome because she can expound upon "the delights of la citta eterna note " (as she puts it) while protecting a class of teenagers and keeping them in line.
  • During the bullying scene in Man of Steel, you may notice Clark was reading Plato's works.
  • Steve Rogers is a great motorcyclist, draws really good sketches, can speak conversational French, and has a thing for 1940s clothing and music (the latter two of which are not surprising, given that he's a World War II vet). He's also the immensely physically-powerful and charismatic Captain America from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He can effortlessly deal with a dozen assailants in an elevator, rip a log in half with his bare hands, and even defeat a man wearing Powered Armor in hand-to-hand combat.
    • Luis, a supporting character from Ant-Man turns out to have Hidden Depths along this line. He may seem like a goofball, but he enjoys wine tastings and goes to art shows (he even has a favorite in Neo-Cubism), and he can knock out people much bigger than him and evade crime syndicates in a car chase.
  • In Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, a mercenary poet who thinks he and his buddies got off too light praises Gary Cooper's title character as such in the middle of a drunken, masochistic ramble.
  • In The Proposition, Arthur Burns is an evil bandit, "a monster, an abomination" who thinks profound thoughts, enjoys Watching the Sunset, and keeps a large pile of books in his cave hideout.
  • Holmes in Sherlock Holmes (2009) is quite cultured; he just refuses to live up to the image and prefers the drunk/wasted/stoned eccentric genius style.
  • Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter.
  • In Star Wars (particularly the prequels) Obi-Wan Kenobi is always reserved, impeccably polite, and a fine diplomat who believes that resorting to blasters to win a fight is incredibly crude, being the trope namer for Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age. He is also the man who defeated General Grievous, Darth Maul, and Anakin Skywalker in a personal duel.
  • In The Suicide Theory, Steve is a deranged hitman who has no problem killing anyone for money, but he is a big fan of opera and the works of Voltaire.
  • Doc Holiday in Tombstone as portrayed by Val Kilmer. He speaks Latin, wears a spiffy purple vest, and shoots a double barrel sawed off. And he plays Frederic fucking Chopin on the piano.
  • English Bob from Unforgiven appears to embody this trope, although it is later implied that his debonair, cultured manner may be a facade (and also that he may be less of a badass than his public image would suggest).
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Charles Xavier; it comes with his educated status.
    • Magneto speaks several languages, passionately discusses philosophy, shows considerable knowledge of politics and foreign cultures, and enjoys the occasional game of chess with Xavier.
    • Beast. In X-Men: The Last Stand, he tries to quote Churchill while fighting, and quotes Shakespeare prior to taking off to San Francisco in a deleted scene.

  • Adventure Hunters: Lisa, one of the three adventurers, knows more about antiques than a guy running an antique shop. Justified — she is a treasure hunter, so she has to know what she has in order to make a living.
  • Butler of Artemis Fowl, as well as being a Battle Butler and third most accomplished hand-to-hand combatant on or under the planet, is a cordon bleu chef and has been shown to read classic novels in his free time.
  • Captain Jonathan Flint of the Black Sun. He enjoys a good glass of wine as he does rum, can quote ancient literature (up to and including the King James Bible) from memory, holds a collection of valuable artworks (which he later uses to decorate his spaces aboard the Black Sun) and retains a preference for classical media (basically anything from the First Age of Terra). The latter especially applies to his choice of music; when he isn't out captaining the Black Sun or slaughtering mooks wholesale, he can be found in his quarters listening to songs from certain long lost and "forgotten" artists.
  • In Keith Laumer’s stories of the Dinochrome Brigade, Laumer manages to have an artificially intelligent giant robot tank, designed by humans to fight the alien "Enemy", fit this trope. The "Mark XXXI fighting unit" from the first of the stories is unquestionably badass — upon awakening in an alien research laboratory, it takes it "nearly two minutes" to orient itself, assess the situation, and break out of confinement (totally wrecking the Enemy laboratory), but of course it was damaged and low on power, so its sluggishness is excusable under the circumstances. Finding itself trapped behind enemy lines along with fourteen of its comrades, the Mark XXXI and fellow surviving members of the Dinochrome Brigade rapidly curb-stomp the Enemy on that particular planet, then restore communications with their human creators, who inform them that it has been 300 years since the humans and their alien foes battered each other into a stalemate. Because humans have lost the capability for FTL travel in the war (though they still have FTL communications) the relief ships will not arrive for another 47.128 standard years. The humans also don't bother to tell the surviving Dinochrome Brigade units to put themselves into standby mode:
    ...since we have received no instructions to drop to minimum awareness level pending an action alert, I am free to enjoy a unique experience: to follow a random activity pattern of my own devising...I welcome this opportunity to investigate fully a number of problems that have excited my curiosity circuits. I shall enjoy investigating the nature and origin of time and of the unnatural disciplines of so-called "entropy" which my human designers have incorporated in my circuitry...I have ample power, a condition to which I must accustom myself after the rigid power discipline of normal brigade routine, so I bring my music storage cells into phase, and select L'Arlesienne Suite for the first display. I will have ample time now to examine all of the music in existence, and to investigate my literary archives, which are complete...I should have some interesting conclusions to communicate to my human superiors, when the time comes.
    At peace, I await the arrival of the relief column.
  • A Brother's Price: The princesses are this, it comes with the job. The elder princesses died in an explosion of the opera house. The survivors of that explosion still remember what the opera was about and how moving the aria sung at the time before they left was.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo: Edmond Dantès' second life as the eponymous count has been filled with wealth, culture, and adventure. He's fearless in battle and has the refined tastes of a nobleman.
  • Skothiam Felcraft of Dance of the Butterfly: wealthy head of the prestigious Felcraft family, highly educated, collector of rare books, and a supernaturally gifted mage and hunter of demons.
  • Dead Famous: Inspector Coleridge is an insightful investigator who had to regularly subdue rowdy drunks during his days as a beat cop. He is also a lay minister, gardens, subscribed to a distinguished poetry and non-fiction publisher, and is an amateur Shakespeare actor who shows some amazing showmanship during The Summation. That said, he can be petulant at times in his dislike and incomprehension of modern pop culture.
  • Havelock Vetinari of the Discworld novels.
    What did he know? He'd been classically educated. Then they remembered that that classical education had taken place at the Guild of Assassins, and froze.
    • Mr Tulip from The Truth is a career criminal and the muscle of the pair. He is constantly snorting anything he can get that comes in little bags sold by furtive men on the street (up to and including flour and corned-beef sandwiches). He is also an expert in fine art and antiques.
      Mr Tulip: It's a —ing delightful piece. I feel quite privileged to have seen it, and you were going to use it as a —ing blunt instrument! Keeping it in a —ing cupboard! Honestly, I could —ing spit.
    • Willikins, Vimes's butler, appears to be a calm, ordinary butler until he comes at you with the ice carving knife.
    • Anyone who graduates from Ankh-Morpork's Guild of Assassins.
  • Doc Savage and his aide 'Ham' Brooks, who embodies sartorial perfection even in the jungle and stabs people with a sword cane.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward is a badass fighter if the situation calls for it. He spends his spare time in the library, and likes to annoy people he really dislikes by reciting ancient ballads to them ... for hours. He is also good at languages.
  • Though less obvious than many instances of this trope (because it's overshadowed by his being a Pop-Cultured Badass as well), Harry Dresden, titular character of The Dresden Files, qualifies. He has an extensive knowledge of literature and mythology (the Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that, given that this is an All Myths Are True world, an extensive knowledge of mythology is incredibly helpful), enjoys classical music, can identify the painting styles of different Renaissance masters at a glance, and even used to have a sword cane, which — as Grave Peril shows — he isn't too bad with.
  • Pretty much a staple of the Dune series, including the nobles and their senior retainers and the various factions such as the Bene Gesserit.
  • Elemental Masters novels:
    • Lord Peter Almsley is a highly cultured nobleman. And in Unnatural Issue, he pounds a much larger bully into Steak Tartare without injury (unless you count sore knuckles).
    • Nan likes Kipling's work and is a voracious reader. She's also an ex-Street Urchin who is, despite her age, capable of (temporarily) assuming her Warrior of Light aspect. And that's when she's a kid. Heaven help you if you anger her when she's an adult...
  • In KJ Taylor's The Fallen Moon trilogy Arenadd becomes this, particularly compared to the other Northerners. This is due to his upbringing as a Southern griffiner, if a controversial and outcast one.
  • In Reverte's The Fencing Master, aging but still formidable fencing master Don Jaime Astarloa has the following exchange with his young and beautiful student Adela:
    Adela: One is never unfair enough with men.
    Astarloa: I'd also give anything for sending my card and my seconds to the man that put that opinion in your lips.
  • Jean Tannen from the Gentleman Bastard series. Gourmet chef, master mathematician, and lover of literature — he spends a few fair pages in one book debating with another man on the merits and faults of the Therin Throne's most reputed playwright. He's also built like a bull, skilled with several weapons (but prefers Dual Wielding axes), and is fully capable of dismantling teams of professional assassins single-handed.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • Cinna instigates a rebellion with the power of fashion.
    • Katniss hasn't been well-educated (her class status forbids it) but she extensively analyzes the meaning of a folksong she likes and risks her life several times to protect Peeta because, according to her personal philosophy, his life is more important than her own.
  • Knaves on Waves has many examples, with Trigger and Jacques being the most notable. Jacques is self-educated, and so makes a very deliberate effort to appear as this, to the point of putting on a fake accent. Surprisingly, Carnage also falls into this trope, despite first appearances.
  • The Long Ships' characters Orm and Toke are noted as being badass even by Viking standards, as well as quite accomplished poets. It is also mentioned that it is considered unbecoming for a warrior to not appreciate poetry, and Toke breaks down crying when he hears one of Styrbjörn's men recite a poem and realizes he will never be that good.
  • Many characters in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, such as Fëanor (the Ax-Crazy Magnificent Bastard who rebelled against good deities and Big Bad alike and was also a great linguist, among other things), Faramir, Elrond, etc.
    "Nor were the 'loremasters' a separate guild of gentle scribes, soon burned by the Orks of Angband upon pyres of books. They were mostly even as Fëanor, the greatest kings, princes and warriors..." The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", J.R.R Tolkien.
  • Lord Peter Wimsey, the second son of a duke. Described in Dorothy L. Sayers's novels as speaking multiple languages (including French and Latin), a book collector, a well-known cricket player, very careful of his clothes, and who actually does correctly identify several rare wines based on taste alone in one short story (to be fair, the competition was designed to figure out which of three men was him — his taste for wines being famed all the way across Europe). Takes up detective work as a hobby mostly because he's bored and got a lot of experience doing intelligence work during World War I, and shows no squeamishness about killing the occasional criminal by accident, usually without the criminal ever realising he was dangerous.
  • Prince Vladimir from the Nightfall (Series) can discuss opera and give you writing lessons while beating you to a pulp.
  • Seregil and later also Alec from Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series — always well-mannered, always insisting on wearing gloves (since callused hands would be such a disaster!), always speaking properly — that is when they're not busy with spying, fighting and stealing. Almost any member of Skalan Royalty counts too.
  • Karl May presents his Author Avatar Old Shatterhand / Kara Ben Nemsi that way in his adventure novels: fluent in too many languages to number and well-versed in the cultures of people all over the world, he takes it good-naturedly when comic relief characters mock him as a "bookworm".
  • Professor Lyall of The Parasol Protectorate is remarkably civilized for a werewolf, which are by and large known to be a bit savage. He prefers fish over raw meat, studies the breeding of sheep, and dresses impeccably without even a hint of scruffiness (this is noted to be nearly impossible). Even in wolf shape, he appears sleek and almost fox-like compared to his pack mates.
  • A number of protagonists in Feist's books, most notably Jimmy The Hand/Duke James and his grandson Dashel.
  • Simon Templar, the gentleman thief better known as The Saint.
  • Sherlock Holmes in the novels is portrayed as more cultured than badass, but instances still arise that show the hidden badass within. For example, a goon came in and with some effort bent his fire poker. With little effort, Holmes straightened it, barehanded. He's also a bare-knuckle boxer and master of "baritsu.note "
  • Skulduggery Pleasant: Skulduggery himself. Wears suits, can dance, drives a Bentley, can kick your ass in many different ways, is a skeleton.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Oberyn Martell is a highly educated nobleman and a feared warrior who has discriminating tastes in wine and other forms of high culture.
    • Rhaegar Targaryen was a poet and musician before he realized that, as a prince, he ought to study warfare as well. He went on to become one of the greatest knights in the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Robert B. Parker's hard-boiled detective Spenser is a gourmet cook, an appreciator of classical music, classical literature, and finely brewed beer, a lover of dogs, a respecter of women, and is absolutely capable of breaking you into several small bleeding chunks should the job call for it.
  • Derek Sagan in The Star of the Guardians. Quoting Tosca to his opponent while torturing him is among the things he does.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Grand Admiral Thrawn, who led the Empire after Palpatine's death, was an art collector. But he had more than mental toughness. In a novella called "Side Trip", he disguised himself as a bounty hunter for an extended period and proved to be an excellent shot.
    • Thrawn wasn't just an art collector because he appreciated art in itself (not that he didn't)... he was able to determine the tactical makeup of a race/culture just by analyzing one of their pictures or sculptures. Needless to say, Thrawn is probably the first example of being Badass because he was Cultured, as opposed having either as separate parts of his character.
  • Tarzan can put on airs as Lord Greystoke one minute and rip out your throat with his teeth the next if you piss him off.
  • Jack the Ripper in Time Scout is a very well-read member of London society.
  • Victoria's protagonist John Rumford is a former USMC infantry officer turned vigilante, revolutionist, and eventually general and statesman, as he fights for his people in a bleak post-apocalyptic setting. In addition to his military accomplishments, he also has well-developed interests in history, philosophy, and literature, enjoys classical music, and writes haiku. The same story also has a darker example in Captain Halsing, a cultured officer in a nazi-imitating militia who is to some extent his evil counterpart, and who meditates on Nietzsche's philosophy between daring infiltrations and perilous escapes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When not playing the cello (a Stradivarius cello, to be specific) and tending to his priceless art collection (including apparent examples of lost works by famous painters), Stringfellow Hawke blows shit up in his Big Damn Gunship, Airwolf. Donald P. Bellisario likes his protagonists to be fairly well-heeled.
  • Angel:
    • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce is cultured, almost foppish, yet able to be a badass when he needs to be.
    • Angel himself is an accomplished artist, a voracious reader, and skilled with languages human and demonic. Plus there's his longstanding love of ballet — strong enough to be the core of an entire episode, "Waiting in the Wings", and something he admitted to admiring even without a soul as Angelus. Part of the reason for his diverse abilities is simply his inhumanly long life; the rest is intelligence and perhaps a compulsion to make up not only for his evilness as Angelus but also his wastrel past as the human Liam.
  • The impeccably dressed, bowler-hatted, champagne-drinking John Steed from The Avengers (1960s).
  • In Being Human (UK), Hal is an extremely well-cultured socialite with an extensive knowledge of history, art, blood type, torture, Kia-Ora... He's very well-spoken, and most the time, quite polite... But when he falls off the wagon, he jumps off.
  • Blackadder Goes Forth: Captain Edmund's sarcasm is not the same if it's not as poetic. Gets pretty touching at the end.
  • The Cartwright family from Bonanza are this to a man. They are salt-of-the-earth sorts, and not afraid to do manual labour on the ranch, but they also have a large, lavishly appointed home with a well-stocked library and wine cellar, fashionable town clothes, and expensive modern guns. Ben is shown to be very fond of French wine, particularly Château Lafite.
  • Captain Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a stern,efficient police officer who's personally captured multiple serial killers and is more than capable of handling himself in a fight. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of classical music, literature, and history, and is married to a classics professor.
  • Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Faith as well, kind of.
  • In Dad's Army, when Hodges the air-raid warden lets slip that he once tried to browbeat Mrs. Pike into "being nice to him", Sergeant Wilson stirs uneasily, then says to Hodges "I wonder if you'd be so kind as to stand up for a moment? Thank you, much obliged to you." When Hodges stands up, Wilson then lays him flat with a right hook.
  • Dead Man's Gun: Retired Gunfighter Wilf Otis in "The Bounty Hunter" has a book of Walt Whitman poems and can quote many of them by heart.
  • Robert McCall, the hero of The Equalizer, is urbane and well-read. And an ex-spy with no compunctions at all with ending a person if they become a problem.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Tenth Doctor. Acknowledged in "Fires of Pompeii" when he easily wins a verbal sparring match with Lucius Petrus Dextrus, who notes that the Doctor clearly shows himself to be a man of learning. He also enjoys Agatha Christie and Shakespeare, and is fond of quoting Dylan Thomas and T. S. Eliot when the occasion calls for it.
      • Then again, the "wibbly-wobbly" thing may or may not come from Just So Stories.
  • Firefly:
    Mal: Yes, I read a poem. Try not to faint.
    • Also Shepherd Book. A preacher who discusses ancient Chinese philosophers, and is also a good enough shot that he can unerringly hit his opponents in the kneecap in a tense firefight. It's more than hinted at that he's a Retired Badass with a Mysterious Past.
    • And Simon Tam. Very well educated, dresses nicely, unerringly polite, but able to take on an entire corrupt government without flinching to protect his mei-mei. He also turns out to have one hell of a right hook, as Mal finds out to his cost after a job gone bad puts River in danger. Probably justified by his medical specialisation; emergency rooms can get lively after Last Call.
    • Inara: Not only are members of the Companion’s Guild expected to be well-read, debonair, and charming in the presence of high society, they are expected to be able to fight if needs be: Inara gives Mal lessons in sword-fighting, and knows that "Well-bred petty criminals put the small concealable weapons on the far left of the place setting.” Admittedly she said that in jest... whilst handling a handgun with ease and familiarity.
      • She also thinks well on her feet and keeps the most unexpected things at hand.
        Inara: And that wasn't incense.
      • Her friend Nandi deserves a medal for this trope!
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Oberyn Martell writes poetry and has a taste for fine food, fine wine, and fine women (and men). He is also mentioned to have traveled widely and studied at the Citadel, Westeros' equivalent of a university.
    • Jorah Mormont is very well-read and speaks a few languages.
  • Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass. Wore suits to kindergarten and developed his taste for single malt at the age of twelve, but cross him and you're in for a world of hurt.
  • Grimm:
    • Monroe speaks German, High German, fixes clocks, plays the cello, collects stamps, is knowledgeable about antique cameras, and is a highly proficient chef who makes his own sausages, appreciates fine wine, and such. He's also the Grimm-universe's version of a Big Bad Wolf, capable of ripping your arm off by accident.
    • Then there is Sean Renard, being the illegitimate son of a royal (specifically the king) this goes with the territory. But he is a lover of fine dining, art, is knowledgeable in a variety of matters including history and politics, and speaks fluent French, German, Latin, and Russian as well as English (and potentially more). He's also the Anti-Hero Magnificent Bastard Warrior Prince, who is even tougher than Monroe and one of a very small number of characters who are potentially Empowered Badass Normal Hunter of Monsters Nick Burkhardt's equal.
  • Paladin of Have Gun – Will Travel takes in the opera, ballet, recites poetry and classical literature off the top of his head, displays talent as an artist, and is a legendary Quick Draw artist and gunslinger.
  • Duncan MacLeod, from the Highlander series, is a lover of opera, a reader of poetry, a bit of a gourmand, a lover of fine art, a skilled dancer, a collector of fine antiques, and is qualified to teach history at the college level as well as a multiple black belt who regularly chops off the heads of his enemies with a katana (in the use of which he is an expert, naturally).
  • To a certain extent, the titular character of House. He's definitely not a gentleman, but he's very intelligent, a great doctor, well-read, fond of jazz... and a heavily anti-social Doctor Jerk. Therefore, cultured and badass, even if he doesn't classically fit the trope.
  • Ben Linus of Lost is accomplished on the piano and skilled at chess (fittingly). He's well-read and speaks several languages. He'll also cripple you with his handy telescopic baton, then whip you around and use your gun, still in your hand, to shoot your comrade.
  • The Orville's first chief security officer, Alara Kitan. She can go through concrete walls like paper thanks to her Xeleyan physiology. However, Xeleyans are in reality a Proud Scholar Race so while they consider Alara uneducated, she is still considered highly educated in the Union and she can brutally and painfully dissect an amateurish love poem when she is prompted to.
  • A surprising number show up in Sharpe, most of them as part of the "Officer and a Gentleman"-schtick.
    • Rifleman Harris, one of Sharpe's subordinates, is fluent in several languages and the only one to cart a minor library around Spain. He likes Wordsworth, Voltaire, and, of course, the smutty books by the Marquis de Sade. He is also a member of the elite 95th Rifles and a Chosen Man of that regiment.
    • Captain Frederickson, a grizzled and heavily scarred company commander from the Royal American Rifles, also speaks several languages and spends his free time discussing politics with American expats and French prisoners, admiring the architecture of several Spanish medieval churches, making landscape sketches in pencil and studying to take the Bar exam after the war.
    • Sharpe himself gains shades of this as the series goes on, mostly through interacting with Harris and being immersed in more high-brow environments after becoming an officer. By the time the Peninsular war is over he is regularly seen trading and discussing books with Harris, and even shows some interest in art.
  • Ichabod Crane of Sleepy Hollow. A former Oxford Professor of History and an 18th century Gentleman, Ichabod has a thing for correct manners, enjoys Latin and Greek literature, has read Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, knows multiple languages, and can place a Shakespearian quote right down to the Act and scene. He also regularly battles demonic forces, is a Witness of God in the coming apocalypse, and has gone toe to toe with the horseman of death and lived.
  • Star Trek:
    • Your average Starfleet officer is probably better read and more erudite than your average Oxford professor. But when they're not watching ancient operas or helping Leonardo da Vinci on the holodeck, they're kicking Klingon, Cardassian, and Romulan ass, giving the Borg a run for their money, and otherwise saving time and space as you know it.
    • As far as The Captains are concerned, Picard is easily the most cultured, as he enjoys sipping Earl Grey tea and catching up on Shakespeare after staring down Romulan warbirds or telling Insane Admirals to shove it. Sisko is no slouch, either; he proves to be a keen historian, a talented engineer, a legendary chef, and a trained combatant and military leader who once slugged out Q.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where other cultures are explored in more depth, it's shown that other cultures have their own version of this trope. A true Klingon warrior is well-versed in opera, poetry, history, and the nuances of etiquette (all Klingon-style, of course). Worf and General Martok are leading examples of this. Cardassians, for all their State Sec tendencies, place great value on music, literature, art, family loyalty, and good manners, so badass Cardassians often fall under this trope, such as Garak who can kill a person with his pinky finger while still retaining a huge passion for the literary arts, although Garak has a couple other tropes that fit him more specifically.
    • Also from Deep Space Nine, we have Jadzia Dax, a Trill woman who has a keen interest in Klingon culture. She is fluent in the Klingon language, handy with a Bat'leth, and can drink any Klingon under the table (with bloodwine, no less!). She can also clean house at Tongo (a Ferengi card game) and flawlessly imitate a Romulan.
  • Ianto Jones from Torchwood. Looks great in a suit, makes excellent coffee, and won't hesitate to kick your ass.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Convict's Piano", the infamous gangster Mickey Shaughnessy is an extremely talented piano player.
  • Artemus Gordon of The Wild Wild West is — among other things — a gourmet, an art lover, a scientist, and a very snappy dresser. He's also one of the United States' top-secret service agents.
  • Justin Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place manages to be both this and a Popcultured Badass. A highly intelligent and well-read young man, Justin loves opera music, enjoys drinking tea, possesses a quite highbrow vocabulary, and really enjoys silent movies. He's also a Teen Genius wizard, the last surviving monster hunter, who took a fully transformed werewolf in a fight and helped kill the devil.

  • The stout-hearted, verse-slinging purveyors of Chap-Hop are nothing to trifle with ... but before getting down to manly fisticuffs, they might cordially offer you a bracing cuppa, or some thoughts on the flora/fauna of the Hollow Earth. Let no one say that Professor Elemental or Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer didn't show you a civilised time before subjecting you to his hansom-powered driveby.

  • Malevolent gives us a couple, notably protagonist Arthur Lester, who is a classically trained musician, will recite poetry on occasion, and is overall well read. Then as the series progresses, we are also introduced to antagonists Wallace Larson, a wealthy cultist with a similar penchant for quoting poetry, and Collins, who, when asked about why he choses to do what he does, answers simply "Momento Mori".

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: While some of the Clans, such as the Jade Falcons and Smoke Jaguars, believed that their warriors should never waste time doing anything that wasn't related to fighting, Clan Ghost Bear believed that their warriors should also be artists. Every Ghost Bear warrior was expected to learn an artistic skill like painting, sculpting, music, or poetry and spend their life creating a Great Work in addition to honing themselves to be the best warriors they could.
  • Exalted: The demons of Malfeas love song and music. Don't be surprised if the blood-ape you just summoned to bludgeon an enemy to death suddenly chastises you for playing a lyre off-key.
  • Pathfinder: Shelyn, the Neutral Good goddess of romantic love, beauty, and the fine arts. Her favored weapon is the glaive, after she seized one that traps souls from her Lawful Evil estranged half-brother Zon-Kuthon (nee Dou-Bral); she's been working to free the souls in the weapon ever since, hoping doing so will bring her brother back as she once knew him. She de facto requires this of adventurers who worship her, since creating works of art is a devotional exercise, and one of the explicit tenets of her church's paladin code is to never knowingly allow a work of art to be destroyed unless a greater good can be attained by doing so.
  • Warhammer:
    • Emperor Karl Franz. Patron of the arts, drinker of fine wine, master politician, peerless warrior, and one of the only non-Chaos-aligned humans to ever command the obedience of a dragon.
    • Prince Borgio the Besieger of Miragliano, in addition to being a genius tactician and a nearly unkillable warrior, wrote poetry and cooked his own meals.
    • Prince Lorenzo Lupo of Luccini is an accomplished frontline general, a respected political and military leader, and a passionate antiquarian who has curated an extensive collection of artwork, statuary, and civic relics.
    • The Maiden Guard of Avelorn, and the Handmaidens in particular, are expected to emulate the Everqueen in her role as a paragon of everything elvenkind should strive to be. Thus, besides being deadly warriors and fearless guardians of Avelorn's holy and tainted places, they also pursue spiritual refinement and are accomplished artists.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Blood Angels take up painting to express themselves and have both an arboretum and an art gallery on their fortress-monastery. They're also berserker super soldiers with vampire tendencies. It's assumed that the reason why they don't go around killing literally everything is because of their dedication to the arts that helps them keep the Black Rage in check.
    • The Emperor's Children were like this before Laeran, studying dueling, sculpture, painting, and music, with Fulgrim as a particularly dedicated patron of the arts. While other Legions were resentful of the remembrancer artists, the Emperor's Children basically filed a sheaf of requests for every painter, opera singer, and poet they could find, with even Fulgrim seeking out counsel from a lowly mortal on improving his sculpting skills. After Laeran, they began degenerating into a Legion of Sense Freaks, and by the 41st Millennium, they're a pack of hedonists who think nothing of rendering down a planet's population for space crack, with all their past artistry drowned in the monomaniacal pursuit of sensation.
    • Eldar Harlequins are arguably artists first, who travel the Craftworlds and Webway performing dramatizations of Eldar History and the Birth of Slaanesh. In combat, they are some of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, using their skills with acrobatics and holograms to sow chaos among the enemy. It's quite telling that troops of Harlequins can come and go as they please in Cormorragh, with the Dark Eldar doing nothing more than applauding politely at their performances.
    • The life of a Craftworld Eldar involves selecting a path in life, then mastering it, before moving on to another one. These paths can be related, but equally often are not. That means that an Eldar sniper may very well be more adept at sculpting or writing poetry, but laid those skills aside to pick up a rifle. Averted by the most elite Eldar warriors, the Aspect Warrior Exarchs, who have "got stuck" on one of the Aspect Warrior Paths and let it consume their entire personality, joining their souls to those of the previous exarchs of their particular shrine.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac is an accomplished poet, musician, and philosopher, as well as an elite soldier and the best swordsman in Paris. He can even improvise rhyming verse while fighting a duel.

    Video Games 
  • Gar in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is one of several 'pure melee/dodge' followers who excels in melee combat... but he's the only one who holds and expresses very strong opinions regarding tea.
  • Art of Fighting/King of Fighters:
    • Robert Garcia is amongst the earliest known examples in fighting games, being the original sharp dressed character archetype and previously provided the page image for the Action Fashionista trope. His family is so incredibly wealthy, that he's been known to buy several luxury sports cars, which gets lampshaded in his pre-fight dialog with Ryo in Art of Fighting 2. The guy even fights on the showroom floor of his mansion.
    • King is his female counterpart, who's a bartender at her own upscale establishment. She's almost always impeccably dressed for business and for kicking ass, as she happens to be a champion-level kickboxer. Which is why she's usually the captain of the All Women's Team at the annual King of Fighters tournament.
  • Ezio Auditore, the protagonist of Assassin's Creed II, is a friend of Leonardo da Vinci and can become a patron of the arts by buying dozens of actual Renaissance paintings for his villa.
  • Phoebe from Battleborn is a rich sophisticated heiress in a high cultured gown who is capable of wrecking stuff up with her swords.
  • Andrew Ryan in BioShock. The man might not be much of a challenge physically, but he hits you with a huge mental/emotional revelation that completely changes the way you look at the game on the second playthrough. He's completely nonchalant when you encounter him, playing golf on the other side of his bulletproof glass. Then he proceeds to make sense of everything that's happened in the game so far, all while forcing you to be his captive audience due to using a mind-control phrase, which your Voice With A Radio Connection has also been using to get you to kill Ryan in the first place. Then he makes you kill him. Andrew Ryan is many things, but a coward is definitely not one of them.
  • Bully has the preppies. Sure, they might be the clique of Upper Class Twits, but many are at least reasonably smart, and they train in the "gentlemanly art" of boxing. And also the greasers, as, while they are violent delinquents with a tendency to pick fights and play dirty, would often quote lines from The Outsiders, The Iliad, and the West Side Boys. This makes them, ironically, even more cultured than the wealthy preppies.
  • Guile from Chrono Cross is an example of this. He is a gentleman who drinks and toasts frequently. Despite his refined appearance and cultured speech, in battles, he can teleport his wand into enemy's innards before pulling it back out and turn his wand into swords to slice his enemy.
  • Across every Civilization title, France is always characterised as a nation that has huge cultural output but also a fairly strong military, especially in the Medieval, Renaissance, and Industrial periods.
    • Taken to the logical conclusion in Civilization: Beyond Earth, where Franco-Iberia has the ability to gain a free Virtue for every ten normally acquire through Culture. Including the military-focused ones. An expansionist, Supremacy-focused Franco-Iberia can be a terrifying enemy to fight.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Despite appearances, Sten from Dragon Age: Origins. The man is a true lover of art, as well as a soft-spoken intellectual, despite being a Proud Warrior Race Guy the size of a refrigerator. Though his pseudo-Confucian life philosophy makes him rather stiff-necked with some issues like women fighting and leading in combat though the last is a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance as women are expected to administrate and teach in his culture while the men handle the martial aspects.
    • Hawke from Dragon Age II has an expansive library in their estate, maintains a personal diary, and is shown to be perfectly capable of dealing with the aristocracy of Kirkwall. In their spare time, they regularly battle Blood Mages, slay High Dragons, and end a city-wide invasion by taking down the Qunari Leader in honourable single-combat. In Legacy they even defeat an Ancient Tevinter Magister who was one of the first Darkspawn.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition allows the Inquisitor to become one of these increasingly throughout the game. Every time the Inquisition itself levels up in influence, the player can select a perk; four of these are Knowledge perks which increase the character's understanding of politics, magic, history, and underworld activity. Taking these opens up additional dialogue options, as well as increasing the amount of XP which can be earned by finding codex entries in the game. On top of that, there are several in your main party:
      • Vivienne is a prominent member of the Orlesian court, who can cut you down as easily with a few choice words, as she can with her spells.
      • The Iron Bull, despite his appearance, is actually a very accomplished spy with extensive tactical skills, who can hold his own against the resident The Smart Guy in a game of mental chess.
      • Dorian comes from a high-ranking family of the Tevinter Imperium, spends most of his free time reading in the library at Skyhold, and happens to be a very talented necromancer.
      • Returning character Varric is a merchant prince, commands a spy network, and writes crime serials and romance novels. He also owns a one-of-a-kind crossbow and knows exactly how to use it.
      • Solas spends most of his time alone, exploring the Fade, but that doesn't mean he isn't also an avid reader and talented artist, who thrives in the intrigue of the Decadent Court of Orlais.
      • Among the advisers is Cullen, who plays chess, enjoys music, sings beautifully (though he's only heard briefly), recites the Chant of Light from memory with great reverence, and knows a great deal about military and political history. He's also the commander of the Inquisition's forces and is deeply respected by the officers who serve under him.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Ryo, AKA Gecko Wolf. A cool and suave Henshin Hero who regularly quotes philosophy appropriate to the situation at hand.
  • In Fallout 3, some of the Intelligence options invoke this. A good example is stumping a Brotherhood Outcast when the "ignorant wastelander" in front of her understands her reference to Super-mutants being "Ahab Lyon's White Whale";
    Lone Wanderer: So by that analogy, you expect Lyons to die fighting the Super-Mutants?
    Defender Morgan: Wha-? I thought we had the only remaining copy of that book...
  • The Honest Hearts DLC for Fallout: New Vegas gives us Joshua Graham, a New Canaanite missionary (essentially a post-apocalypse Mormon). He is soft-spoken, erudite, and obviously well-read, with a philosophical streak and a penchant for quoting Bible verses. He was also once the infamously brutal Malpais Legate of Caesar's Legion (where his education was helpful in translating threats of death and orders to conquered tribes). Joshua's put that behind him now, but he rightfully remains perhaps the most feared man in all the Mojave Wastes and will kill without hesitation when he feels it necessary.
    • The Courier themselves, if played with a high Intelligence stat. One instance has the Courier reveal themselves to be familiar enough with the works of Virgil and Cicero to be able to quote them from memory. In Latin.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: In addition to being a One-Man Army who punches out an Eldritch Abomination every other moon, the Warrior Of Light can also be a master artisan, a Supreme Chef, a musical virtuoso, a talented dancer, a Professional Gambler, and an Adventurer Archaeologist.
  • Kyle from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is among the most trusted retainers of the Renais court and a very badass cavalier. He is also very well-mannered and appreciative of art (he collects wood figurines, many of them made by his artist sister Mia), and is best friends with Warrior Poet Forde who is a talented painter.
  • Khoutan Khan, leader of the Mongol invasion as in Ghost of Tsushima, is a deeply intelligent strategist on top of being a brutal warrior, spending a great deal of time learning about the cultures of other nations to determine the best strategies to use against them. During the events of the game, he shows an uncanny understanding of Japanese customs, well beyond what would be common for outsiders in that time period, and at point explicitly says that most of his preparation for the invasion consisted of studying. Truth in Television; this sort of thing really was standard operating procedure for the Mongol Empire, and it was very common for the leadership to be well-versed in a variety of languages and cultural practices. Not only did it make conquest easier, it also helped a lot with actually ruling those conquered territories.
  • Slayer from Guilty Gear. He perpetually smokes a pipe and wears a suit and tie while fighting, and can make his opponent disappear by reading a haiku.
    • Potemkin is very intelligent and also has a knack for drawing, painting, and poetry.
    • Ky Kiske's hobby is collecting tea cups. He's also a master swordsman and able to rival Sol Badguy in a fight despite being an almost entirely unaugmented human.
  • In Jade Empire, Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard definitely presents himself as this.
  • The Disciple from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords certainly counts. Speaking with a generous vocabulary, a soft voice, and greeting the player with a bow, The Disciple constantly shows a wide array of knowledge and savvy. He intellectually points out that the Jedi are flawed but are needed because, even if they make mistakes, Jedi are necessary symbols for the unification of the Republic, and recognizes the importance of the Restoration Project and Onderon. Despite being an upright fellow, his starting class is Soldier a.k.a. the class with the highest base Strength and most weapon specialties and feats in the game. If trained, he can become a Jedi Consular, the class that receives the most Force Powers in the game. He excels in all levels of kicking ass while remaining polite and intellectual.
  • Several from Mass Effect:
    • Shepard. Greatest warrior (all races included) the galaxy ever created, gave the finger to the Reapers twice, is lusted by every species in the galaxy (and every gender), was killed but was deemed badass enough to be brought back to life, familiar with Hobbes, Tennyson, and Machiavelli. Quoting a passage of the Talmud using a translation from Schindler's List also indicates a familiarity with classic films.
    • Liara. Galaxy-known Prothean expert despite being almost a kid (106 human years, which is little more than a child in asari terms) and biotic user.
      • In 2, with help from Shepard, she kills and takes the place of The Shadow Broker. Give her ten minutes and she can start a war.
    • Mordin Solus. Modified the genophage virus. Omnidisciplinary Scientist. Former salarian special forces member. Owns a clinic on Omega. Killed two units of highly trained mercenaries with only a pistol and some toxic gas. Once killed someone with farming equipment. Well, he is, after all, the very model of a scientist salarian.
    • Thane Krios. Can kill anything with his bare hands, is a galaxy-class assassin and a deeply philosophical and religious man, praying before and after his missions and casually quoting Thomas Hobbes at one point during a conversation with Shepard about the fate of his homeworld.
    • Urdnot Wrex, which is particularly surprising considering he's a Krogan. Naturally he's a tough and badass fighter, but he's also introspective, highly intelligent, and even philosophical.
    • Grunt, another Krogan, is similarly introspective, if not as intelligent. He's also a fan of Ernest Hemingway.
    • Both Wrex and Grunt are topped by a random Krogan you only meet for one scene in 2. A representative for the apparent grey-market dealer "Mr. Thax," he's extremely polite and cordial to you in his thanks for sending Thax information that revealed one of his employees was stealing his supplies. What makes him so cool is that underneath the calm veneer, he shows the occasional sign that if the thief isn't sincere enough in her apology, it will be his job to kill her sorry ass.
    • Subverted with General Oleg Petrovsky, main antagonist of the Omega DLC for the third game, who tries his hardest to give off this air. Cultured he is — Badass he isn't. He allows his Cerberus goons to do the fighting for him, and ultimately surrenders rather than directly fight Shepard and Aria.
  • Vulcan Raven from Metal Gear Solid. The man is a seven-foot-tall Inuit/Alaskan Native American who is capable of not only lifting a twenty-millimeter Vulcan cannon, a gun normally mounted on fighter jets, and carrying its refrigerator-sized ammo supply on his back, he's able to do it in the middle of the permafrost layer. Without a shirt. And he can run, too. One would expect that, in order to balance this out, he'd have to be pretty simple-minded; just a dumb brute, right? Wrong. As Naomi tells us, "He's a Graduate Emeritus from Alaska University, so he's a quick thinker, too." He has a thing for philosophy and was trained as an Inuit Shaman, so he has supernatural powers as well. And after he's defeated? He accepts his death with peace in his heart, knowing that he will return to mother earth through the ravens, who are eating his flesh as he gives his dying speech.
    • The Hiimdaisy webcomic ups the ante by having him sing before even fighting.
      "Liiiiisten to your heart, you will understaaaaand~"
  • Professor Layton is a tea-loving gentleman in every regard, as clearly evidenced by the fanciness of his top hat. He has also shown off his extensive fencing skill to the villains of both the second game and the movie; in the latter case he was even handicapped by fighting with a pole he found against a real sword. His greatest display of badassery was arguably ramping his car onto the deck of a giant war-machine in the third game, in order to rescue his kidnapped daughter.
  • Saints Row
  • Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong has two of them in your party:
    • Racter is a Russian academic and engineer turned freelance shadowrunner, who fights using a self-made drone called Koschei. As a scientist, Racter is capable of talking a Player Character's ears off on his favourite subjects and also has an interest in transhumanist philosophy.
    • Gaichû was a political science major (and took classes in Japanese history and literature) before becoming a member of the Renraku Red Samurai, and in particular considers The Hagakure a foundational work. On top of this, he appreciates traditional Japanese arts, in particular Noh theatre (which he sadly cannot enjoy since he became blind). His cabin on the "Bolthole" contains a box full of keepsakes that hint at his interests, including a calligraphy set (which Gaichû keeps because it was a gift, being dreadful at calligraphy even before he went blind).
  • In the Tribal stage of Spore, your tribespeople are equally proficient with weapons and musical instruments.
  • Pictured above: Dudley of the Street Fighter series defines this trope: you try kicking arse in a ruffled shirt and bowtie and having tea whilst wearing gentlemen's sports gloves.
    • Also, Eagle from Street Fighter. His batons are nothing to sneeze at, and he's also rather polite and sharp-dressed.
  • Dohalim il Qaras from Tales of Arise is very much the embodiment of both halves of this trope. For the cultured half, the first thing the audience learns about him before the game came out was through his character biography which described him as being well versed in all kinds of art including music, poetry, and antiques. For the other half, his deeds speak for themselves which include being the only Renan lord to survive, fighting alongside his bodyguard, and joining the main party on their quest to successfully liberate Dahna from Renan rule.
    • The Renan race as a whole seem to at the very least try to embody this trope with some such as Balseph putting more stock in one half than the other. The best example besides Dohalim would be Shionne who is a fashionista who happily gives fashion advice to characters and refuses to fight in anything less than an ornate semi-armored battle ballgown acting as a magic gunwoman who fights using a rifle, bombs, healing magic, and fire magic.
  • Louis, one of the new characters introduced in The Walking Dead: The Final Season. Despite having been alone with his schoolmates for nearly eight years at this point he's not gone nearly so Lord of the Flies as the rest of the group, possessing a strong passion for classical music and seeming to have at least a passing interest in literature, too. He's also so accustomed to killing zombies by this point that he'll cheerfully walk into a crowd of them with very little apparent concern. Averted to a degree when it turns out that he's pretty quickly undone by violent encounters with human enemies, and regardless of your choices will end up with Heroic BSoD for a while after his confrontation with the raiders.
  • In his introduction scene in World in Conflict, French commander Sabatier is forced to cooperate with American troops under Colonel Sawyer's command. After an American officer fails to pay due respect to French culture, Sabatier breaks into an angered monologue in French about American barbarians, until the "barbarian" Sawyer politely asks him to shut the hell up — in fluent French (he then proceeds to reprimand the officer who caused the incident). It is later mentioned that the Colonel is also fluent in Russian and a few other European languages.

     Visual Novels 
  • Played with in regards to Mortelli in Daughter for Dessert. He’s a cop who has no problems with getting physical or in-your-face when required by the job, but one of his earliest assignments was to infiltrate a chess club to root out suspected Russian spies. He learned a lot about playing chess on the way.


     Web Original 
  • Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III from Critical Role. In case the Overly Long Name doesn't make it obvious, he's noble-born, and educated appropriately for someone of his station. He's well-spoken, proficient in the History skill, speaks several languages (including Celestial), enjoys sketching the landscapes of Tal'dorei, and according to Word of God, dances quite well. He's also an accomplished tinkerer who invented the world's first guns and uses them with deadly efficiency.
  • Cassidy Cain from Grandmaster of Theft. Cultured: She's an heiress who attended a private school, speaks in an eloquent tone, dresses in expensive & fancy clothing, drinks tea, and intellectual who treasures knowledge in addition to being well-read in philosophy, psychology, and plenty of other topics. Badass: She's an experienced thief who developed her own martial arts style, trained ever since she was young, Plucky Girl, and can do Le Parkour alongside use said knowledge to her advantage.
  • This is part and parcel of being in the Protectors of the Plot Continuum, since you have to be cultured to know what constitutes a charge and what doesn't, and badass to put the skids under the source of the Canon Defilement.
  • There are several examples in Survival of the Fittest. Version three's Bobby Jacks is a skilled professional boxer who weighs in at an imposing 6'3" and 205 pounds, and when the game starts he's one of the most deadly players in the early stretch, fighting with trickery and good tactics. He's also well-read enough to relevantly quote Shakespeare from memory. Version six's meanwhile-only character Roderick Kanuho is an excellent wrestler and MMA fighter who enjoys literature and poetry just as much as his chosen sports; he has even tried his hand at writing and has considered undertaking a project in which he translates Shakespeare's works into the Navajo language.
  • Phase of the Whateley Universe. Raised from an infant in the wealthiest family on earth, he's intelligent, urbane, well-read, and loves opera and classical music. He's a gourmet and a brilliant businessman. This makes him utterly unprepared to be a high school girl in a Superhero School.
  • Marc Lapointe from you could make a life. Loves watching Le Film Artistiques and reading equally artistique literature. Is also easily the most talented player on his hockey team.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Yakko Warner from Animaniacs is this, on top of being a Pop-Cultured Badass like his siblings. For instance, he speaks fluent Japanese.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has many examples:
    • Iroh loves tea, has an appreciation for music, likes to share many pieces of wisdom from his decades of experience, and will utterly wreck you if you push him far enough. He's the most badass character on a show full of badasses, but his softer side is what really makes him such a compelling character, and it's the one we see most often.
    • Aang is shown to be quite knowledgeable of other cultures including pre-war Fire Nation.
    • Toph Beifong's background of living in a very high-class family gives her decent knowledge to be able to blend into high society.
    • Piandao, who enjoys painting, calligraphy, rock gardening, and confronting one hundred Fire Nation soldiers.
    • Tenzin, who has inherited his father Aang's knowledge of culture and tradition (especially around the still largely extinct Air Nomads) as well as his knack for diplomacy. He's also currently the world's sole Master Airbender, and his skills are such that he's taken on numbers of mooks and Humongous Mecha (and beat the latter back when even Korra and Lin were struggling against them) at a time, as well as landed a huge blow on Big Bad Amon (who is largely untouchable due to his Bloodbending) in their brief encounter.
    • Zaheer, a foil for Tenzin who is obsessed with the Air Nomads and twisting their philosophy of freedom into a plan to rid the world of its leaders. He even ends up acting as an Evil Mentor to Avatar Korra, since he can teach her spiritual techniques Tenzin doesn't know.
  • Exo Squad brings you the Neo Sapian Marsala: Well-spoken, and extremely intelligent (even by his genetically engineered standards). That said, he is still taller and stronger than any normal human and is a capable E-Frame Pilot. You could probably add Wolf Bronski into the mix as despite his rough exterior, the fact you can set a watch to him belching, he is well educated when it comes to trains and has a thing for the arts.
    • While knowledge of trains could be seen as more of a hobby than a sign of culture, his appreciation of art does show Hidden Depths.
  • Gargoyles: Goliath is one of the greatest warriors on the planet, but when he's not fighting bad guys and protecting his home, he's in the library reading every book he can get his hands on.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has Uncle, the resident Old Master who is a fan of classical Chinese Opera. He was even part of an acting troupe in his youth.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Adrien Agreste speaks multiple languages, plays the piano, is a skilled fencer, and is also secretly Chat Noir, one-half of Paris's primary line of defense against Hawk Moth and the various akumatized villains.
  • From My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Twilight Sparkle never found a book she didn't read and is totally dedicated to academia, Rarity is a fashionista all about high society and the arts. Even Princess Luna herself has shown cultural tastes, taking Celestia to Equestria’s versions of Wicked and Pagliacci. And they will be as violent as the rating will allow when a danger presents them no alternative. Rarity particularly was the first of the mane six to attack an enemy, kicking an enormous Manticore in the face in the second episode and her choice of fighting style against the changelings was a haymaker.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: Has Burt the Elephant, a soft-spoken and normally gentle creature, Burt has a love for Victorian literature (specifically Dickensian) and was thrilled at the idea of participating in a Dickensian Christmas. As well as being an accomplished artist, who dreamed of having one of his works hung in a museum. He's also well, a gigantic elephant.

    Real Life 
  • King Ashurbanipal of the Neo-Assyrian Empire was equally famous for the cruelty with which he treated his conquered foes and his singular devotion to literature in a time when almost nobody else cared about reading. He amassed one of the world's earliest libraries with texts scavenged from across the empire and pillaged from foreign lands — sometimes, if another ruler had a text Ashurbanipal really wanted, he'd suggest that maybe they should offer it to him as a gift if they didn't want their head on a spear. If you've read The Epic of Gilgamesh, you can thank Ashurbanipal, since it's one of the many ancient texts that survived thanks to his library.
  • Theodore Roosevelt. Graduated from Harvard. Wrote several books including history books. Was a skilled amateur scientist (who might have become a genuine scientist if he were interested.) Owned several exotic animals, exotic meaning dangerous and badass, such as bears and badgers. Was also a combat veteran, a skilled horseman, and was once shot in the chest at a public event and kept giving his speech for an hour and a half (it helped that the bullet passed through the text of the 90-minute speech tucked into his jacket, which blunted some of its momentum). While president, he once boxed with a bear. The fight left him blind in one eye for the rest of his life, and he would take up Judo thereafter. He was also a skilled negotiator who hammered out a treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. TR recruited his famous Rough Riders cavalry regiment largely from two groups: cowboys and Harvard football players. He personally had been both.
  • The Roman general Scipio Africanus was a great lover of Greek culture and a great reducer of the number of Greek-trained Carthaginian mercenaries. Not to mention the fact that he was a gentleman that, when his troops offered him a young woman upon the capture of a city, he returned her to her fiancé, instead of brutally raping her and executing the fiancé. Note that by the standards of the time, this was a gentlemanly reaction, rather than simply a case of Everyone Has Standards.
  • Retired U.S. Marine Corps General (now Secretary of Defense) James Mattis, who served in the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan. Apart from serving as a distinguished military commander, Mattis was renowned for being a very studious gentleman, with a personal library of over 7,000 volumes; he even produced required reading lists for Marines under his command.
  • Ulysses S. Grant was the first Four-Star Badass in American history, and was well-known for his skills as a general and fighter. He was also very philosophical in private, had strong opinions on social issues like slavery and racism, was a master equestrian, as well as a talented writer and artist. In fact, his writing was so good that his memoir is widely considered one of the best in American history, and even Mark Twain (who was close friends with Grant) believed Grant's writing was a work of art, and helped him publish it before he died of cancer in 1885.
  • King Jan III Sobieski of Poland, whose claims to fame include leading the combined armies of the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to a resounding victory against the numerically superior Ottoman Turks at the Siege of Vienna in 1683, is said to have been a highly cultured lover of poetry and food, and an enthusiastic amateur astronomer. The constellation Scutum (Latin for "shield") in the southern summer sky is supposed to represent his coat of arms; it is one of only two constellations that commemorate historical (as opposed to mythological) figures, the other being Coma Berenicesnote .
  • Date Masamune is as well known for being cultured as he was badass; he would hold elaborate banquets, he wrote letters to the Pope in the hopes of forming an alliance, and would read poems to Tokugawa Ieyasu on his deathbed.
  • The monk Bodhidharma is not only considered to be the founder of Zen-Buddhism but also Shaolin Kung-Fu. Due to being a foreigner to China and either Indian or Iranian, he is often depicted as a big man with a bushy beard and an ill temper, which also makes him a Genius Bruiser as well.
  • Gene Tunney (who was World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1926 to 1928) was a lover of literature and poetry, a practiced actor, and an accomplished singer. He once forcibly dragged someone over to a window just to show them a beautiful sunset. The moral of this story is, as has been repeatedly stated, just because they like the finer things doesn't make them any less badass, and also that if a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion tells you to look at a sunset, you look at the goddamn sunset.
  • Editorialist, social critic, philosopher, and political radical Dwight Macdonald was in the habit of inviting intellectuals he disagreed with to come to his house and fight.
  • In fact, being able to handle yourself in a fight used to be part of the requirements of a proper gentleman. Check this article for a discussion of this point.
  • The wealthy elites of many historic societies were expected to be both capable warriors as well as cultured aristocrats.
    • Most Hellenic Greeks — especially Athenians — took this to the limit. There are numerous documented accounts of generals debating poetry and philosophy at length with their officers, on the eve of a huge battle.
    • While the Scottish Highlanders have been stereotyped as savages and of course sometimes justly (it has to be sometimes true after all), it was not unknown for Highland nobles to be cultured folk, well-educated in famous universities. While still being as badass as a true Scotsman should be.
    • Samurai, especially during relatively peaceful times; one's education and cultural skills, such as tea ceremony and flower arrangement, became as important in determining honor and status as one's actual strength in battle.
    • Medieval and Renaissance knights were mostly born into nobility and therefore schooled in social graces from an early age. This form of knighthood could be considered to start with the crowning of Charlemagne and his efforts to establish a more strongly unified Western Europe through social reform. Earlier knight equivalents, such as of the Migration Period, do not fall under this trope. Otherwise, this certainly applies in full force by the 14th century, where social and spiritual considerations became teaching points of the greatest fightmasters of the era.
    • The western gentleman was expected to be genteel as well as defend his honor with skill at arms. Many gentlemen who required a profession went into the military for at least a time.
  • Chessboxers.
  • Doc Hammer is the co-creator of The Venture Bros.. He is also a self-taught classical painter and musician with an extensive knowledge of artists, painters, musicians, musical composition, and classical literature, and knows martial arts.
  • Doc Holliday. They didn't just call him "Doc" because they thought it was a cool name. Before graduating as a qualified dentist, he received an extremely good secondary school education — as his father was loaded — whereas most of the other prominent figures of the Wild West were comparatively fairly ill-educated. He could play the piano, was well versed in Shakespeare, studied mathematics, history, rhetoric, and grammar, and spoke Latin fluently as well as possessing very good French and Ancient Greek. He was also very refined in his demeanour, displaying the manners of a Southern Gentleman.
  • Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. A noble prince who was known for building villages to aid peasants, had been celebrated by the pope, and had improved culture and lifestyle of his entire country during his reign, marks him as cultured. The title "the impaler" and being credited as one of the major real-life sources that the world's most notorious vampire (Dracula) was based, probably marks him as a badass. And if not, there's the fact that he has a listed victim list that ranges from 40,000 to 100,000, showing he's more than willing to raise and wipe out armies.
    • He also managed to keep the tiny Principality of Wallachia independent in an age when it was literally on the front lines of the ongoing war between Catholic Europe and the Muslim Ottoman Turks. He's revered in Romania to this day for this accomplishment.
  • Sir Winston Churchill. Describing all the badass things he did would take too long and the cultured thing? Well, he did get the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 — in addition to being an accomplished painter.
  • According to tradition, the female Greek poet Telesilla of Argos. When her city was attacked and most of its soldiers killed, she took up a sword and led the young women into battle, eventually driving off the enemy. (Which enemy, you ask? The Spartans.)
  • Richard Boone, the gruff bad guy in innumerable Westerns, war movies, and TV shows, was in real life an Actors Studio graduate who performed Shakespeare and Euripides onstage, taught acting at several colleges and pursued writing and painting as secondary careers. Also a decorated World War II veteran, so not necessarily less badass in real life. Boone's most famous role — Paladin in Have Gun – Will Travel — was a pretty accurate reflection.
  • He is an Actual Pacifist so he never engaged in war, but German public radio and TV personality Jürgen Domian frequently lectures his callers in ethics backed up by actual philosophical discourse. All delivered with his strong, deep voice, and subversive snarking in between his Rousing Speeches.
  • Alexander the Great received schooling from none other than Aristotle in his youth. He was also an avid reader and huge fan of Homer — he brought a copy of the The Iliad with him everywhere during his travels. He made sure to understand and immerse himself in the cultures of the places he conquered: talking with ascetic priests in India, appropriating Babylonian fashion, joining the Egyptians in their religious ceremonies and more (he even let them crown him as pharaoh!). He is also supposed to have known part of the Andromeda of Euripides by heart well enough to perform the excerpt(s).
  • Saul of Tarsus, aka Saint Paul. Before his conversion to Christianity, he was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who persecuted Christians, and after his conversion survived great hardships. In his youth, he was a disciple (personal student) of the very influential rabbi Gamaliel. Growing up in Tarsus, he was immersed in Greek culture as well as Jewish, and could quote the Greek poets and philosophers; 1 Corinthians 15:33 preserves a line from the comic playwright Menander's Thais, and at one point during his Areopagus sermon he quotes Epimenides and Aratus to underscore his point.
  • Aron Ralston, the man who in early 2003 was in a rock-climbing accident in Bluejohn Canyon in Utah, culminating in him amputating his right forearm in order to survive. The man was most definitely a badass to have risked his life climbing mountains and rock formations as a recreational hobby, but he was also a highly educated and talented man. As a child, he learned to play the piano. He was an engineer who had graduated from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University; he earned degrees in mechanical engineering and French and minored in Piano. To put it more concisely, he was a trained engineer fluent in French and an accomplished pianist. And even after losing his right forearm, he continues climbing mountains to this day.
  • This was an Invoked Trope for the Mongol Empire, where it was standard practice for warlords to study the art, culture, and languages of enemy nations when invading them to determine their weaknesses, Grand Admiral Thrawn-style. In fact, the Mongols could sometimes go too far with this trope; many regiments had to be regularly cycled in and out of conquered territories to prevent soldiers from Going Native by immersing too much in the local cultures.
  • Alan Page. Defensive end with the Minnesota Vikings for the bulk of his Pro Football Hall of Fame career (finishing it with the Chicago Bears). While still playing for the Vikings, he earned a law degree and worked as an attorney during his offseasons before entering that profession full-time. In 1992 he ran for an open seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court and won. And won three more elections to stay in his seat before retiring upon reaching Minnesota's mandatory retirement age for judges of 70 in 2015.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Refined Badass


Captain Amelia

Captain Amelia is the no nonsense, snarky, sophisticated, battle hardened, acrobatic and cat-like captain of the RLS Legacy.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCaptain

Media sources: