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Defiant Captive

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Image by Coelasquid. Used with permission.

"Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability."
Group Captain Ramsey, The Great Escape

A character who has been captured but certainly not cowed.

Let's say Alice has been captured, but instead of docilely doing what she's told, she resists attempts to control her. She may attempt to reason with her captor or play mind games from her cell. If they explain The Plan behind her kidnapping, she'll point out everything wrong with it. At most passive, she'll engage in Passive-Aggressive Kombat or a hunger strike. At her most active, she'll try to escape. Whether or not she succeeds is irrelevant; the point is that she's doing all she can to make life difficult for her captor in spite of the situation.

The Badass in Distress will usually be defiant. This can overlap with Defiant to the End if not even the prospect of death can break her. If she is resilient to the point it causes more abuse for whoever tried to capture her, you may be inclined to Pity the Kidnapper. It has been said that the duty of any Prisoner of War is to force their captors to dedicate as many resources as possible to holding them rather than fighting their still free and fighting comrades.

Contrast Damsel in Distress, who generally is too frightened, inexperienced, or helpless to put up a fight; compare Damsel out of Distress, who rescues herself.

Despite the female pronouns used in the description, this is a gender-neutral trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Astro Boy: In the 2003 version episode "Reviving Jumbo"; Astro's teacher, Miss Miyoki, gets kidnapped by Skunk's goons when they plan to use the titular giant robot to break him out of prison, and even Bound and Gagged, gives them quite a hard time of it.
  • Bleach:
    • Rukia's captivity began with her behaving aggressively towards Renji and smack-talking Ichigo when he came to rescue her. However, as her captivity draws on, she becomes more withdrawn and depressed and moves away from this trope completely, eventually resulting in her having a complete breakdown when Gin tricks her into believing he wants to rescue her.
    • Orihime also initially dealt boldly with captivity. She was able to talk down her Hollowfied older brother, stand up for herself and Tatsuki to Numb Chandelier and biting the 11th Division 10th seat when he tries to carry her away to his squad's barracks. This culminates her trying to outlast her captivity with the Arrancars by passively-aggressively accepting Ulquiorra's threats. However, as her captivity draws on, physical and emotional abuse against her begins to escalate and the abuse her friends undergo trying to save her gets worse, eventually culminating with her complete breakdown when Ulquiorra's threat level forces Ichigo into a monstrous form to try and save her.
  • Code Geass: Kallen resists Suzaku's attempts at forcing Zero's identity out of her when she's held captive, even when he threatens to inject her with Refrain.
  • Inazuma Eleven: Tsurugi Kyousuke.
    • In season 3 of GO, he is captured by enemy's planet and forced to marry their queen. He immediately refuses the offer right in front of the queen's face. Until he finds out the queen is not the Big Bad, and eventually agrees to help her saving her doomed planet.
    • In the first series (game only event), he is also taken away by SEED members from Academy Kaiou to receive his punishment for his betrayal. He shows the exact defiant to his captors.
  • Inuyasha: Kagome Higurashi would find herself in captivity rather often in the earlier arcs, having not been trained in martial arts before she got Trapped in Another World. Nonetheless, she still managed to help Inuyasha out a lot and even talked back at her captors frequently. Then she Took a Level in Badass.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Relena, oh Relena Peacecraft. Sure, she can't fight as well as other girls, but she can talk her way out wonderfully and pulls more than one Go Through Me to defend her friends, her Kingdom, or her beliefs. She does this again in The Movie where she steals the villain's communications in order to encourage the Muggles to stop Holding Out for a Hero and do something themselves.
  • One Piece:
    • Franky in Enies Lobby. Even though his captor, Spandam, mocks him and his father figure and kicks him while he is tied up, Franky defies him thrice. First he bites him, then he nearly escapes with a Coup de Boo while tricking him, and then burns the blueprints of Pluton in front of his eyes, all but aware that the last one would get him thrown out of the top of the building he is in. Similarly, Robin, after she is inspired by the Straw Hats, succeeds at escaping Spandam's grasp twice, the second time even delaying him by biting the curb. Even beforehand, she talks back to him in a way that causes him to completely lose his cool.
    • Ace in Impel Down. He fought off a few Marines while in Seastone cuffs, and Warden Magellan had to subdue him himself.
    • Monkey D. Luffy and Eustass Kid are very defiant while imprisoned by Kaido in Wano. They talk back to the wardens and even attack them in self defense, or in Luffy's case to defend an old man he befriended. They do this even under the threat of bein dismembered or executed.
    • During the same arc, Nami falls foul of Ulti, one of Kaido's strongest fighters. While Nami has no qualms to beg to save her life, she will not insult Luffy her captain, in order to be spared. She defiantly tells Ulti to her face that Luffy will definitely become Pirate King, infuriating the other woman.
  • The Prince of Tennis: Little Miss Badass Miyuki Chitose is used as a hostage to force a recovering Tezuka into a hopeless tennis match with some arrogant Jerkasses. She decides to yell at her captors and challenge them to a match, despite suffering from the yips herself.
    Miyuki: Let go of me, you gorilla!
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kaoru Kamiya. She talks back to Jin-e when he abducts her, later manages to undo her soon-to-be Cruel and Unusual Death by paralysis when it seems that Kenshin will fully unleash his Superpowered Evil Side and break his Thou Shall Not Kill vow solely to save her. Also, she does her best to handle herself when kidnapped by Enishi.
  • The Severing Crime Edge: Iwai is captured by the student council president of her school's high-school division. They torture her, but all she does is glare at them with eyes that say "I will not break". Unfortunately this defiance doesn't last very long once they use her love against her.
  • Swan Lake (1981): Despite having been his prisoner for three years after he cursed her to be a swan, Princess Odette continually refuses Rothbart's marriage proposals. It's only when Prince Siegfried's life is endangered that she finally gives in.
  • Sword Art Online: Asuna pretends to be cowed and helpless, just long enough to memorize her cell's passcode. The moment she has a chance, she breaks out and tries to find a control panel from which she can log out. Even when she's caught and nearly molested she manages to get and hide a card that grants admin status.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Nia Teppelin will tell you she's not going to die. To your face. While you're shoving a pistol into her forehead. Or about to snap her in half with your claws. Or about to dematerialize her. She may not be able to fight you, but she will tell you to fuck off (very politely), because Simon's on his way, and that's a wave of pain you don't want to happen.

    Comic Books 
  • Secret Origins: During "The Secret Origin of Green Lantern", a bunch of gangsters have kidnapped a little kid, and Alan Scott goes to rescue her. However, even before he gets there she's already making their lives miserable by being utterly un-intimidated by them.
  • Supergirl storyline The Killers of Krypton'': Harry Hokum captures Supergirl and demands to know what business brought her from Earth to his neck of the galaxy. Supergirl's only response is to spit in his eye.
  • Superman: In Superboy 1980 issue #13, Hal Jordan is captured and tied up by a band of smugglers. One of them talks about making Hal's murder look like an accidental drowning, but Hal smugly says the only thing going down is him, before lunging forward and headbutting his captor's gut.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): When Uvo has Steve and Diana trapped and helpless by their being stuck to a Magnetic Glazite wall, he and his men walk up with guns drawn telling them to give up. As Diana had managed to keep her legs from touching the wall this approach is ill-considered and she manages to kick one into the others and knock four of them down while saying an Amazon never gives up.
    • In The Legend Of Wonder Woman little Suzy mouths off to Queen Atomia after the unrepentantly horrific woman kidnaps her, calling her a mean old lady.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero Barbara Gordon talks back to Mr. Freeze when he kidnaps her, attacks him with the same chains she's shackled with, tries to reason with him once she learns about his ill wife Nora (so she'll be able to help him save her without losing her organs ( and later it turns out a properly done blood transfusion is enough), saves his Kid Sidekick, tries to save him too...
  • Belle, from Disney's Beauty and the Beast refuses to kowtow to the Beast like his servants. Initially going the passive route ("I'm not hungry") she ultimately makes her escape. This attempt was a 'failure' in that she goes back but by then she's no longer a prisoner and more like an honored guest that isn't allowed to leave.
  • Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When she is tied to a pyre, Claude Frollo, who has lusted for her since meeting her, offers to release her in exchange for becoming "his". She metaphorically - and literally - spits on his offer.
  • In Kim Possible: So The Drama Kim's father is captured by Dr. Drakken. He tells him, "My teenaged daughter is not afraid of you; why should I be, Drew?" and mocks him as someone who couldn't get a date in college and probably still can't.
  • The Soothsayer goat in Kung Fu Panda 2. While she never tries to escape, she still doesn't make her imprisonment easy for Lord Shen, lecturing him in an effort to make him change his evil ways and trying to eat his silk robes.
  • Father Christmas in The Nightmare Before Christmas remains pretty calm in the face of Oogie Boogie's taunts and threats.
  • Disney's Peter Pan: Tiger Lily is very calm despite Hook's threats. The only time we hear her speak is when Pan shows up and she gives a drowned-out shout for help.
  • Angel in Rock and Rule is completely uncooperative with Mok's plans for her. In order to get her to sing the Armageddon Key, Mok has to drug her and strap her into his computer system.
  • Lois Lane in many of the "Superman Theatrical Cartoons", but especially in the short "Jungle Drums". After having been captured by Nazi agents in Africa and taken to an interrogation room where she's tied to a chair and made to reveal vital secrets, she remains unfazed. They threaten to use fire on her and she simply tells them to "go ahead". They then tie her to a stake and intend to burn her alive unless she spills secrets, but she simply tells them off again all while being bound to the stake. Luckily, Superman shows up to save the day before the situation escalates further.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Black Hawk Down: Aidid's lieutenant, Atto, spends the movie sitting in an interrogation room enjoying a Cuban cigar and civilly telling General Garrison that it was a mistake to try and intervene in Somalia's civil war.
  • Con Air: Sally Bishop spends most of the movie handcuffed, but she remains absolutely FEARLESS against the cons, including kicking away Johnny-23 when he tries to rape her.
  • Countess Dracula: For all that she is a Damsel in Distress, Ilona makes multiple attempts to escape from her captor. But, being a sheltered noblewoman, she is not very good at escaping and keeps getting caught.
  • Early in Die Another Day, Bond is captured by the North Korean military and held in prison for several months, constantly tortured for information. He is finally traded for a North Korean operative, and M tells him that they received intel that someone was leaking information to the North Koreans. They assumed Bond broke under torture, which is why they traded him. Bond reveals he never broke, even though he didn't expect a rescue.
  • Die Hard:
    • Die Hard: Holly can talk back to an unrepentant murdering Hans Gruber on behalf of her colleagues and negotiate, then after an exhaustively terrifying night, punch out the stupid reporter who made the whole situation worse.
    • Live Free or Die Hard: John has been running around killing bad guys, but they have his daughter and put her on the radio to beg her father to give up. Instead, she says "Now there are only five of them" before they can yank the radio away, giving him some much-needed intel. When she defiantly challenges the villain to fight her one on one without any restraints, he remarks that she and John are definitely related.
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Gleahan, when held at Johnson Manor.
  • An early scene in The Great Escape has Bartlett tell the German POW Camp commander to his face that he will be attempting to prove the Germans wrong about the camp being escape-proof, as is his duty as a prisoner-of-war.
  • It (2017): When Beverly wakes up in Pennywise's lair, the first thing she does is try to locate an exit. When that fails, and It catches her, she defiantly tells It that she isn't afraid. Realizing that Beverly isn't bluffing, It is left with no other option than to blast her with the Deadlights so she'll at least stay docile.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Despite being locked with no prospect of getting out in the foreseeable future, Princess Tilde has no problem with insulting Valentine and making it clear she'll never agree with his insane plot.
    • In the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, despite having been kidnapped to serve as Poppy's pet/permanent entertainment, Elton John has literally no problem with giving her and her minions a piece of his mind.
      Charlie: Crocodile Rock, please!
      Elton John: Fuck you!
  • The Phantom: Diana Palmer is kidnapped twice in the course of the story, but she is anything but weak and frightened. Instead, she's a wealthy treasure hunter with a taste for adventure in the Indiana Jones mold. When she's kidnapped for the first time, for instance, she is not scared but very angry: assuming she's being held for ransom, she declares that "you'll not get a red cent" from her family.
  • Elizabeth Swann is like this in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; sassing Barbossa despite being his captive.
  • In Ruthless People, Sam's wife does this to her kidnappers at first, but then teams up with them to ruin her husband for he is wronging her too.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: After Kirk and company corners John Harrison, he surrenders himself freely and provides no resistance as they escort him to the brig. He spends his time there calmly standing in his cell providing a Hannibal Lecture and informing Kirk that he has been an Unwitting Pawn for Admiral Marcus. Oh, and telling the crew that he is actually Khan Noonien Singh.
  • Star Wars,
    • A New Hope: Princess Leia did what she could to keep the secret of the rebel base; standing up to Darth Vader and resisting torture and a mind probe. Too bad Alderaan was blown up despite her efforts.
      • In the Legends novel Death Star a medic is dispatched to treat her after she's tortured. There her defiance is modulated to more on the level of an Annoying Patient, weakened but sarcastic - and when the medic proves sympathetic to her, she starts facilitating his defection. Not that he's able to help her out much, but he does desert the Death Star before it's blown up and join the Rebellion.
    • When captured by Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi she doesn't initially resist, but as soon as Luke kicks off the escape she jumps into action and strangles Jabba with her chains.
      • This trope is also in full force in any of Barbara Hambly's Legends novels. Two things you can absolutely be sure of: 1. Leia will be kidnapped by the Villains of the Book, and 2. She will make their lives pure hell before skewering them with a lightsaber near the climax.
    • The Force Awakens: Rey ends up turning the tables on Kylo Ren when he tries to use the Force to interrogate her, as she winds up getting information from him instead.
  • True Lies Dana is saved by her father, but before that, she steals the key that the terrorists need to detonate their nuclear bomb; not bad for a fourteen-year-old.
  • The Wolverine: Mariko got in a few hits on her kidnappers and even put one of Hanada's assassins in a chokehold. She saves Logan from Silver Samurai.

  • Animorphs: Several Controllers are continually taunted by their hosts, the most effective perhaps being Visser Four's host, an actor who continuously recites Shakespeare's Henry V in his head, driving the Visser so mad that his first stop after getting hold of a time machine is to go back in time and murder Henry.
  • A Brother's Price: Jerin is this when he is captured, using various strategies, trying to manipulate his kidnappers into thinking he's helpless and childlike is one of them. Cira, captured along with him is this, too, but is also a Badass in Distress.
  • Clockpunk and the Vitalizer: Dolores "Clockpunk" Garza. Sure, she spends much of her captive time sitting around or watching TV while being understandably unsettled by The Vitalizer, but she also strings her "Bull" lie along as long as possible and affords herself a means of retribution and escape at the end of it.
  • Codex Alera: Isana, having been kidnapped by the Vord Queen and Invidia, proceeds to play them off against each other, nearly getting Invidia killed, without so much as a single lie.
  • Dark One's Mistress: Clara refuses to become her lord's mistress, making several escape attempts before succeeding. A 'failure' of sorts in that she finds nowhere to go afterwards and returns, goes back but with the understanding that it is a temporary measure and he will allow her to leave.
  • The Dreamside Road:
    • Sheriff Webster actively resists her captors and tries to spread the word about Tucker’s plot with the Liberty Corps.
    • Many of the Nimauk townsfolk and Wintertide Festival captives qualify, but special mention has to go to Georgie Lawson, a retired public servant who escapes and rallies supportive law enforcement.
  • The Dresden Files: Murphy plays around with this trope. Whenever she's in trouble/captured (which is rare) she sends Harry a message that she's playing the part, and not actually cowed. Harry has a chivalrous rush-to-women's-defense impulse.
  • Dr. Franklin's Island: A plane crashes off the titular island and the Mad Scientist who runs it collects and imprisons the survivors once he's sure rescue services won't find them, so he can start human tests without being hampered by ethical considerations. None of the kids want to be turned into Half Human Hybrids. Arnie, picked up weeks before the others, almost escapes on his own but is caught and put in a straitjacket and otherwise physically restrained. Semi and Miranda try to talk their way out and to escape with the help of a Reluctant Mad Scientist's inconsistent conscience. They're caught and put in straitjackets, then transferred to a faux hotel suite for their Slow Transformation. While they make a few more efforts, they're threatened with being imprisoned in straightjackets in solitary confinement and this, plus Miranda's helpless tactic to Cope by Pretending and a sense of irrational respect for their captor, cows them for the duration of their transformation. Once they're actually transformed and they feel there's less that can be done to them, they're more defiant again even as sanity struggles in animal form. Miranda can't think clearly enough to take her chance to escape and get help, but she does set up and sow chaos for the finale.
  • Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons!: In the epilogue, Julius's mother is chained to a training pole back in Rome after she refuses to train to become a gladiator. She demands to Victorious that she be freed or she will kick him.
  • In Desert And Wilderness: While kidnapped, Staś seems to spend every other minute making escape plans. The rest of his time is devoted to caring for his companion.
  • Nightfall (Series): Myra is one at first, disrespecting her vampire captives and refusing to give them what they want. When this leads to more trouble, she pretends to be cowed and learns more subtle ways to manipulate her captors. Once her position in court is firmer, she becomes defiant once again.
  • The Pillars of the Earth: Aliena. There's plenty of distress for this damsel, especially at the hands of the likes of William Hamleigh, but she fights back. She builds her own successful business from nothing.
  • The Ramayana: Throughout all the year she's imprisoned at Ravana's palace, Sita refuses to show the slightest hint of fear towards Ravana (which is quite impressive, given that he's a multi-headed demon who constantly yells at and threatens her), takes every opportunity she can to tell him that what he's doing is wrong and he will get punished for it, and eats only the bare minimum of all the fancy food he offers her necessary to stay alive. Rama later comments that Sita's integrity broke Ravana's spirit just as much as the actual war fought to rescue her: he'd finally found someone he couldn't tempt or intimidate.
  • Ruslan and Ludmila: Ludmila successfully trolls Chernomor and his servants during her time in captivity. It's partly thanks to Chernomor being so Laughably Evil that she can't get properly scared.
  • The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok: Captured by the Northumbrians, Ragnar refuses to tell Aella who he is, or indeed speak to him at all. Even when Aella has him thrown into a snake pit to make him talk, Ragnar continues to ignore him.
  • The Ship Avenged: Amos and his niece Soamosa are captured by Kolnari and separated. The Kolnari have beef with Amos from The City Who Fought but the Big Bad decides to save Soamosa for later. His son Karak enters her cell but has been ordered not to hit her, and without that resort he completely and utterly fails to establish dominance, becoming increasingly taken aback and impressed by Soamosa's coolly civil defiance, unable to tell that she's half panicking and second guessing her own responses. She doesn't visibly react when he points out her Clothing Damage, and when he sneeringly offers to get her new clothes she has a polite, automatic response — "That would be kind of you, thank you" — that floors him and has him deciding to find her new clothing. When he leaves she congratulates herself on not showing fear before the enemy and then bursts into tears. As it happens, Karak is an unusual Kolnari with no attachment to his peoples' ways and rapidly finds himself falling for Soamosa to the point of happily taking her lead and Defecting for Love.
  • The Sorcerer's Daughter: Odette gets kidnapped twice, and both times she isn’t afraid to show the kidnapper her spirit is far from broken — in different ways, ranging from Snark-to-Snark Combat to physical attack. It says a lot about her, considering that each kidnapper (at least at the moment when she is held captive) is a powerful sorcerer.
  • The Sunne in Splendour:
    • Edward IV is facing rebellion from his former mentor Warwick and his weaselly brother George, and he can't fight them so he is Captured on Purpose and manages to keep reminding them he is still king, they can't depose him and even their servants find Edward charming.
    • Anne Neville is held prisoner by her brother-in-law George and he refuses to allow her to see her sweetheart, Richard. Anne enlists the help of her loyal servant Veronique and her sister Isabel to meet with Richard, a move which infuriates George. Eventually, Anne has to arrange her own escape and hides out as a servant until Richard can rescue her.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: This is the usual way of the Damsel in Distress or Distressed Dude. (Hey, it may be a Traditional role, but they don't have to like it.)
  • "Time Lag", by Poul Anderson: Elva's position as prisoner does not prevent her from weaseling concessions out of Bors, and at the end, she casually orders them to take Bors into the corridors and shoot him.
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: Eleven years Rosalie deals with being kidnapped by the queen of birds Seraphine Alavolette by being the most unpleasant prisoner ever: she tears Miss Alavolette's favorite dress, goads crows into laying eggs on Alavolette's throne cushions, makes mud pies using a valuable china tureen, writes gags on the castle's hall and walls, puts hedgehogs in the servants' beds...suffice it say that Miss Alavolette is actually relieved when Rosalie is given back to her father.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Anne with an E: Ka'Kwet is sent to a residential school. While she did ostensibly consent to go, she didn't know what it would be like and becomes a captive when she is not allowed to leave. The nuns cut her hair, change her name, and attempt to forcibly convert her to Christianity. Ka'Kwet staunchly refuses to give up her Mi'kmaq identity. The nuns then attempt to control her with physical abuse.
  • Bonanza: "Death at Dawn": A gang leader kidnaps Ben Cartwright and threatens to kill him if a condemned minion is not let go. To the leader's frustration, Ben refuses to cooperate and applauds his sons', especially Adam, refusal to cooperate and let the Smug Snake murderer go.
  • Hogan's Heroes: Played for Laughs with Crittenden. While it is the duty of a POW to try to escape (which Hogan constantly reminds Klink, and an occasional method of diverting attention from his operations is simulating he's planning an escape), Crittenden diverts all the efforts of the camp at doing so every time he's there, even though his "escape plans" are absolutely atrocious and constantly endanger exposition of Hogan's operations.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Cyrus is a genie waiting in a silver cage for Alice to rescue him, but he also gives his enemies plenty of sass and outwits them on a number of occasions (such as tricking them into sending a monster after Alice that he knows she can handle).
  • The Orville: In the Season 1 episode "If the Stars Should Appear", despite being captured and tortured, Commander Grayson never runs short on snark.
    Hamelac: Where are your friends?
    Kelly: Well, last time I saw them, one of them was banging your mom and the other was high-fiving him.
    (One of Hamelac's goons punches Kelly hard in the face. Again.)
    Hamelac: Where. Are. Your. Friends?
    Kelly: Okay. I'll tell you. There's a little coffee shop, on Lafayette Street in Soho, called Central Perk. My Friends are there. Just, please... don't hurt the monkey.
  • Special Ops: Lioness: Cruz, a trained Marine, fights back hard when she's kidnapped and tortured by unseen captors. It turns out this was a test by Joe.
  • Supergirl (2015): It's revealed in Season 3 that J'onn's father is still alive, having been kept in a prison camp for two centuries, with the White Martians using all manner of means to try to break him in order to reveal the location of the Staff of K'rel. Ironically, it's J'onn bringing his father to their old home that ends up breaking him, by reminding him of what he lost.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021):
    • When held captive by Eamon Valda, Egwene is defiant to his face despite being clearly terrified in the situation (with good reason as he's set on torturing and murdering both her and Perrin). Nynaeve says of Egwene that she will never give in, and she's right.
    • When taken captive by the Seanchan, Egwene fights back all the can against being "trained" (tortured viciously) to break her into being a damana (an enslaved channeler), trying to get free and or attack the sul'dam Renna charged with breaking her multiple times. Knowing she'd be defiant prompted Loial to describe Egwene as Silk Hiding Steel.

  • Honorable Hogwarts: A case could be made for Madeline Frost although she's only successfully been kidnapped once. One of her kidnappers suffered a compound fracture of the leg before she was finally subdued, and then she told off the Big Bad who had orchestrated the kidnapping without showing any fear.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Despite being fourteen years old, Oscar understands the importance of keeping silent when in enemy hands. When captured and interrogated by Salem, he angers her by responding to her surprise at his youth with sarcasm. When she asks him for the lamp's password, he lies and refuses to cooperate even after she tortures him with magic. She leaves him with Hazel, who vents his hatred of Oscar's predecessor, Ozpin, through physical beatings. Although bloodied, bruised, and holding his ribs in pain, Oscar not only refuses to cave but even starts undermining Salem by turning her subordinates against her. With Hazel and Emerald's help, he is able to escape by injuring her so decisively that it takes her hours to regenerate, allowing the heroes to evacuate an entire kingdom's worth of people to safety before she can return.
  • Alador from Wolf Song: The Movie has shades of this trope. After being captured by Cobalt’s squad, he is presented to the Death Alpha who tries to get him to join his side, but no matter what offer he is given, Al refuses. The Death Alpha resorts to using torture instead which ends up killing his captive, far from the desired outcome

  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot gets captured by Damien. While tied up he engages in Passive-Aggressive Kombat by snarking about Damien's fire-based power, makes pop culture references and lies when questioned, and continually tries to escape.
  • Billy Thatcher in morphE. He spends every moment of his time in Amical's manor trying to get one over on his host/captor, whether it be in attempts to escape or lash out at the man responsible for his imprisonment. After setting fire to one of Amical's beloved paintings he was shot for his efforts and immediately went on to fight for his freedom in a game of wits while bleeding out.
  • In Vampire Girl, Levana is apprehended by vampire goons Saul and Paul and brought before the Vampiress, but even so, she outright refuses to answer any of the Vampiress' questions regarding why and how she was transformed into a mortal, or who helped her achieve her transformation. She even SNUBS the Vampiress throughout the interrogation, of which the Vampiress notes as being a display of callous disrespect for Levana's supreme overlord.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed II:
    • In the "Battle of Forlì" DLC, Caterina Sforza's captured daughter Bianca spends her time mocking her captors. She's ten years old.
      Bianca: Is this all the men you have to hold me? Stolti (Fools). It won't be enough. My mamma is fierce. We Sforza women are no wilting flowers! We may look pretty to the eye, but the eyes deceive! Just ask babbo (Father). I hope you don't really imagine I'm scared of you. You'd be very mistaken. My mamma would never let you hurt me. And, if you touch one hair on my little brother's head, she will hunt you down and eat you for breakfast! Capito (Understood)? This is absurd, you know. You'll never survive this. I'll be home in an hour! So, you're basically just wasting your time and mine! I'm getting bored! Don't you have anything to do, while I wait for you to die?!
    • Her nine-year-old brother, by contrast, just cried for his mother. And complained that he had to pee.
  • The ClueFinders:
    • 5th Grade Adventures: Team leader Joni does this briefly when she and Santiago get captured by the aliens behind everything, demanding that their unseen captors release them.
    • Reading Adventures features Non-Action Guy Santiago and Badass Bookworm Leslie as this trope when captured by said game's villain. Interestingly, Santiago, the one who has never shown any combat abilities, is the more vocal of the pair.
  • God of War (PS4): Mimir has been stuck in a tree and tortured by Odin for over a century, but it most certainly hasn't broken his will. When Baldur comes to ask him where Kratos (who unbeknownst to them was just out of sight and eavesdropping) went, Mimir proceeds to mock him and tell him to piss off, because Baldur can't make his captivity any worse and Odin won't let him go or let him die, so Baldur has nothing to offer him.
  • Guenevere: Guenevere can choose to spin her captivity in Book II this way. Whether or not she does, her fellow captive Morgana certainly makes a pain of herself to their captors. And at least one of them will have escaped by the midpoint of Book II.
  • Ikemen Sengoku: The main character is this whenever she gets kidnapped, actively resisting her captors' attempts to break her spirit and trying to find ways to escape on her own before her love interest shows up to rescue her. Sometimes she even helps her more fight-capable love interest defeat the enemy who's holding her hostage, like breaking free from Kennyo's grip on her own and running back to the Oda forces to warn them about his ambush in Nobunaga's route or using her self-defense lessons to incapacitate the Big Bad at the most opportune moment in Mitsuhide's Romantic route.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: When the Archon captures the other Ryder sibling, during the final battle, they spend their time either doing what they can to interfere with his scheme or just insulting him.
  • Robopon: When kidnapped by her own father, Lisa instructs Cody to find bombs and blow up his tower.
  • Super Mario 3D Land: In a twist on her usual Damsel in Distress role, Princess Peach attempts to escape Bowser's clutches on her own, even fighting a group of Goombas with just her parasol. She ultimately fails, becoming trapped in a more secure cage in time for Mario's final battle with Bowser, but it's a surprising effort coming from her.
  • Vagrant Story: Callo Merlose is kidnapped just before the first boss, and remains captive for the entire game; since she's there to investigate the antagonists anyway, she takes advantage of this situation to learn as much as she can. On one occasion she almost reverses the power balance between herself and her captor. Heck, when she's first kidnapped, she straight up tells Ashley to stay on task and not bother about rescuing her!

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Katara when Zuko captures her in The Waterbending Scroll. He attempts to locate Aang by interrogating her, but she simply tells him to go jump in the river.
    • During Aang’s imprisonment in Zhao’s fortress, he blows a gust of wind at Zhao after the man gleefully told Aang that he will be kept alive only to spare the Fire Nation another arduous search for the Avatar.
    • When Toph is captured by Xin Fu (the first time), she demands that he let her out so that she can wipe that smug smile off his face.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Batman always proves far too willful to keep restrained. Best showcased in the episode "Pretty Poison" where not even a fatal kiss from Poison Ivy can prevent him breaking free of her Man-Eating Plant home security system's many Vine Tentacles, tricking Ivy with a false pass out so she'll get too close and he can knock her down, hooking his legs around the nearby sprinklers which provide the necessary leverage to evade the flytrap's snapping jaws, so he could then use a knife hidden in his glove to finally cut himself loose.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Dana Tan; the few times she's a Damsel in Distress for more than a minute, she fights back. When kidnapped by a Stalker with a Crush, she tricks him into leaving her alone and tries to escape through the sewers. When Batman is overcome by giant rats while rescuing her, she creates a torch out of flotsam lying around and successfully drives the rats off of him. In The Movie, she almost gets away from the Joker who grabs her; unfortunately, she gives him so much trouble that instead of kidnapping her, he tries to kill her by throwing her off the balcony.
    • Max Gibson is no slouch, either; on one occasion, she talked her captor into making a Heel–Face Turn. In another, she overpowered her guards, tried to escape, and called out her captor for being crazy.
  • The Legend of Zelda (1989): A few episodes have Zelda get captured by Ganon and tied to a stalagmite. This doesn't stop her from mouthing off to Ganon, not to mention kicking or even biting if he gets too close.
    Zelda: Link will rescue me. He always does, it's his job.
  • Mega Man (Ruby-Spears): Roll gets captured a couple times, but usually manages to make trouble for her captors—and she's an Action Girl in combat.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has an interesting example in the episode "A Dog and Pony Show". The Diamond Dogs capture Rarity and force her to dig for gems for them. Unfortunately for them, she manages to drive them nuts with her over-the-top Drama Queen whining. At the end, it turns out Rarity did that quite deliberately.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "Call to Action": After getting captured, Kanan spends a good chunk of his screentime in "Rebel Resolve" snarking at Tarkin and the Grand Inquisitor while they're interrogating him. After several rounds of Electric Torture, however, he still hasn't broken, but he's stopped talking. In "Fire Across the Galaxy", he still refuses to give any information, even though he didn't know anything to begin with.
    • "Hera's Heroes": Hera, upon realizing that Thrawn has seen through her disguise, defiantly tells him that the Empire will be defeated someday.
    • "The Last Battle": Kanan, Ezra and Rex are forced to participate in a war game the droid general Kalani, leader of a holdout of Separatist droids, has planned. Zeb is held hostage because his species didn't participate in the Clone Wars, and spends this time snarking at Kalani and making an Implied Death Threat.
    • "Zero Hour": After his cover gets blown, Kallus ends up getting held prisoner on the bridge of the Chimaera and Forced to Watch as Thrawn carries out his attack on the rebels. He spends this time relentlessly snarking at Thrawn and Pryce about the situation.
  • Static Shock: "Sons of the Fathers": Richie Foley. It's not his only stint with this trope but it's one of the more successful ones.


Video Example(s):


Why We Followed Adam

Though imprisoned by Skeletor, Man-At-Arms does not hesitate to tell the terrible tyrant why Adam deserves The Power of Grayskull, and why he doesn't.

How well does it match the trope?

4.25 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / DefiantCaptive

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