Someone has been captured and incapacitated. What do they do, cooperate with their captor or beg to be spared?
They make it abundantly clear that they have absolutely no respect for their captor. They'd never Kneel Before Zod in a million years, and they're not afraid in the slightest to say so. Sure, Baron Bloodlust could kill them where they stand if he decided to, but you wouldn't know that from the insults. This is done when a defeated character laughs or snarks at the one who beat them, often when they're in no position to do so, possibly broken in pain on the floor or behind bars. This could even be for something that has absolutely nothing to do with them. They just can't let the other character get a complete victory.
This can be an important part of the end for the Doomed Moral Victor: if you can't die fighting, you can at least die verbally sparring. Or, failing that, die insulting the villain's mother or spitting in his face. They may be down, and they may be out, but they'll still lose with dignity.
By taking that of the person who beat them.
Some can pull this off without dying, with their taunts serving to throw the captor off-balance. Either this angers them into making a mistake that will enable escape, or to distract them to give the Big Damn Heroes time to arrive and do their thing. Sometimes you might even get a Taking You with Me too for the ultimate in defiant acts before impending defeat.
Note that this isn't exclusive to heroes. Whether it's that even villains can have valour or simply that Evil Is Petty, they can't resist doing the same. Also, this is not exclusively a death trope. It's the insult that's the most important part.
Compare Hannibal Lecture, where the one in the powerless position interrogates their interrogator, Heroic Spirit, I Shall Taunt You, Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?, You Cannot Kill An Idea. A Last Stand is the military version of this trope, where the heroes and maybe a friendly army will fight against the enemy in a battle they know they can't win. Villainous Valor is a similar trope, but with the villain being defiant to the end while Sore Loser is arguably a much less pleasant version of this. The polar opposite of Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Contrast with Screw Your Ultimatum!, where the defiance comes before the fight and where the outcome is still in doubt. See also Defiant Stone Throw, Dying Curse, and Dying Declaration of Hate. And, if it really is the end for the character, it may be capped with a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner.
- In Aldnoah.Zero, Count Saazbuum taunts Slaine for failing to land a killing blow after he shoots and severely wounds Princess Asselyum, though he's on his way to bleeding out. Seconds later, Inaho, held at gunpoint by Slaine, smiles as he tries to draw a gun and is shot.
- Attack on Titan: While the majority of characters are anything but this when faced with a Titan the same can't be said for Eren who won't give up even when in a Titan's mouth about to be chomped.
- A Red Shirt in the Survey Corps goes out stabbing a Titan in the face ranting about how Levi will kill it, which proceeds to happen moments later too.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, Germany fits this trope whenever he's captured and anticipating torture at the hands of the Allies. Italy...doesn't
- Ichigo Kurosaki continues to fight a hopeless battle against his nemesis Ulquiorra, refusing to ever put down his sword. Ulquiorra kills Ichigo to prove his point on humans; Ichigo gets better...ish.
- Surprisingly, Loly does this too. When Yammy is about to kill her, Loly, knowing she's outclassed, says, "I said scumbag."
- Even Aizen gets in on this. While his final defeat had him yelling and screaming This Cannot Be!, by the time he's about to be sentenced for his crimes, he just smiles smugly and suggests the Central 46 have no moral authority to judge him at all. The Central 46 are so intimidated by his calm they increase his sentence... to 20 millenia. It doesn't cow him at all.
- Played with in Code Geass when Kallen is in a Britannian prison, when the door to her cell is opened she goes into a "Do your worst" speech, only to learn that the person she is facing is an old friend of hers.
- The Dragon Ball Z TV special A Solitary Final Battle ~The Father of Z-Warrior Kakarrot, who Challenged Freeza~ (Known as Bardock: The Father of Goku in English) features Bardock, Goku's father who challenged Freeza in a futile attempt to change the fate of the Saiyans.
- In Dragon Ball Super, when Zamasu is grabbed by Beerus and about to be disintegrated by him, he simply shoots a Death Glare to the God Of Destruction. Considering that most other villains would have suffer any form of Villainous Breakdown by now, that's quite an achievement.
- 18 pulled this twice against Semi-Perfect Cell. The first time she hit him with everything she got, actually moving the far stronger opponent and slowing him down long enough for Trunks to come to the rescue. The second time, blinded by the Tayoken that allowed Cell to escape Trunks and unable to sense ki, 18 opts to attack Cell with her fists, and is still trying to hit him after being sucked in by his tail, only stopping after being completely absorded.
- Fairy Tail: King of the Fire Dragons and Natsu's dad, Igneel gets his entire torso ripped away by Black Dragon of the Apocalypse Acnologia in a Single-Stroke Battle before being finished off by his Breath Weapon. Igneel makes sure his opponent never forgets about him by tearing off his entire left arm in that very same exchange, also landing the first permanent injury that Acnologia has ever received.
- Fist of the North Star: Raoh wants to find the identity of the last General of Nanto from an already mortally wounded Juuza. With his last breath, Juuza just joke him.
- Anti-Villain example: Greed in Fullmetal Alchemist is given the choice to either rejoin "Father" or be boiled alive in molten gold for ironic purposes. Badass to the end, he opts for the latter, and spends his final moments laughing at and taunting Father and the other homunculi.
- At the very end when Father forces a rejoining, he purposefully inverts his ultimate shield to weaken Father. Father doesn't take to this well
- A variant happens in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid between Sousuke and Gauron. It's not a surprise that even though Sousuke is the one holding the gun, he's not the one who gets the last laugh.
- Another example occurs in the Burning One Man Force novel, where a heavily wounded Sousuke holds an even more heavily wounded Kurama (ironically, an old associate of Gauron) at gunpoint, asking for vital information. Kurama is initially calmly defiant, then abruptly changes his mind, decides he doesn't care and offers what little he knows to Sousuke.
- Sousuke himself is pretty defiant when cornered, especially in the later novels, when he tends to be almost crushingly outgunned and outnumbered, and almost everyone tries to kill him including his father-figure and his girlfriend. He reaches his high-point during his speech towards Amalgam, broadcasted on an open channel during the final, semi-suicidal attack on Merida island.
- Another example occurs in the Burning One Man Force novel, where a heavily wounded Sousuke holds an even more heavily wounded Kurama (ironically, an old associate of Gauron) at gunpoint, asking for vital information. Kurama is initially calmly defiant, then abruptly changes his mind, decides he doesn't care and offers what little he knows to Sousuke.
- John from Ginga Densetsu Weed keeps fighting Hougen even though he's outnumbered and nearly beaten to a pulp by Hougen's soldiers. Before Hougen beats the crap out of him more, John says that he and the other soldiers of Ohu would never bow down to him.
- Even Jerome's packmates were willing to be torn up by Kaibutsu to keep Ohu safe. They clung onto the arteries in a wound on his flank and keep daring him to tear them off of him.
- Jan Valentine in Hellsing. While most other villains in the manga series goes out like bitches, he goes out like a psychotic badass; flipping Integra Hellsing the bird and calling her a bitch, all while he's bleeding and burning to death.
- Higurashi: When They Cry: Rika Furude, a normally perky little girl has been tazered and poisoned (with a syringe she'd brought herself, no less) by the local Ax-Crazy Yandere, Shion Sonozaki. Then, Shion proceeds to add insult to injury by listing the various ways she intends to torture Rika - when Rika suddenly grabs a huge knife, and states (in perfect adult Japanese) that she will not be staying for said torture. Shion sneers and dares her to act, but instead of attempting an escape, Rika steadies the knife against the wall, and headbutts it sideways several times while Shion laughs hysterically.
- Rena also faces her certain demise this way later in the series, going as far as taunting her killer's plans, beliefs and aspiration to become a god - said killer puts a bullet in her very fast, suggesting that she really struck a nerve.
- In Hunter × Hunter, Kurapika, having incapacitated Uvogin and disabled his strengthening aura, repeatedly interrogates Uvogin to tell him the locations and identities of the other Phantom Troupe members. Uvogin steadfastly refuses, replying to every demand with "Just kill me now." As a last resort, Kurapika places a curse on Uvogin that will pierce his heart, killing him, if he does not answer truthfully. True to this trope, Uvogin still refuses to confess and dies on the spot.
- During the Diamond is Unbreakable arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Rohan, at the verge of being killed by Highway Star and being coerced to betray Josuke if he wants to live, delivers his famous badass one-liner instead:
Rohan: I refuse◊. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to say no to whoever thinks they are hot shit.
- Mauve Shirt Tsuge of Kami-sama no Iu Toori II gets one when she refuses to take part in Sein Kami's final Kamiculum game (Rock Paper Scissors), putting her hands behind her back the whole time and telling him off as a divine entity. This is the first time any mortal in the second part has been so defiant to a god figure, and though Sein Kami kills her for it, she gets the last laugh as it temporarily wipes the smug out of him.
- Garma and Dozle Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam. Garma attempts to crash his ship into the White Base while shouting "All glory to the nation of Zeon"; Dozle actually climbs out of the ruined Big Zam and fires a machinegun at Amuro and the Gundam until the Big Zam explodes, killing him.
- Naruto: In this second panel, a dying Kakuzu just has to lampshade Darui's Captain Obvious statement.
- One Piece:
- In his Dying Moment of Awesome Mr. 2's final words to the Warden Magellan? "Satisfaction". Even more awesome? He actually won that fight and is shown to be alive two years later.
- Trafalgar Law, in typical D fashion, laughs in the face of death. Doflamingo is about to shoot him to death, but instead offers him the chance die via the Op-Op Fruit's Dangerous Forbidden Technique that grants immortality, in exchange for a wish. Law still has it in him to troll him one last time by seemingly agreeing, only to demand that Doflamingo bring Corazon back life and lick the asshole of every single citizen in Dressrosa. Then he taunts him with how he'll never get Caesar back or beat the Straw Hats, before giving him the finger as one final "screw you" to his Arch-Enemy.
- And of course, there was Whitebeard's final screw you to the World Government, shouting that "One Piece does exist!" ensuring them far more of the headaches they'd had since Gold Roger's death years before.
- In Saiyuki, Sanzou is caught by a scorpion lady, and is paralyzed by some sort of spell. Just barely able to talk, he manages to insult the woman enough that she starts beating him up... only for him to turn it around when it turns out the beating dispelled the magic and freed him.
- Samurai Champloo starts on a very interesting note: Mugen and Jin on the verge of being executed. When the local lord asks if they want to beg, Mugen invokes the trope by saying he'd prefer the blade to bowing down to him. Jin achieves it in fewer words by saying, "I agree with him." Most of the first episode details How We Got Here and then goes on to reveal they fight their way free instead.
- Date Masamune does this in the Sengoku Basara anime when Nobunaga is about to poke out his remaining eye.
- Nia in the last episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann responds to the Anti-Spiral's breaking speech with a taunt of her own: "No matter how deeply you probe my body, you will NEVER understand! He will come. Definitely..."
- Pictured above: Blue Beetle. Ted Kord's last words? "Rot in hell, Max." He's referring to Maxwell Lord, the man who shot him.
- In the Frank Miller comic The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman is captured by Lex Luthor and then proceeds to issue several insults to Luthor even though he's helpless. This is part of Batman's plan.
- It can be said that defiance is Lex Luthor's super power. As well as his undying campaign against someone like Superman, in one instance, he is kidnapped by The Joker and tortured for the location of some of the Joker's meaner gadgets. Luthor's response? Tease the Joker about his Foe Yay with Bats.
- The Black Ring: After he's badly mangled in the previous issue, Lex spends Action Comics #894 with Death of the Endless (DC's cheery, sweet Grim Reaper). As he tries several ploys to get her to revive him, she gently reminds him that death just isn't negotiable. With his options exhausted, he tells her to fuck off because one way or another, he will "find a way to beat [death]”. He's only having a near-death experience. Death finds him so fascinating that she just had to chat Luthor up!
- In Red Daughter of Krypton, parasitic abomination Worldkiller-1 is going to absorb and take over Supergirl's body. Kara's words as he moves to do so?
Supergirl: I hopes it chokes on my poisoned—
- In Many Happy Returns, Xenon is about to slay the latest Supergirl he has captured. Before being burned down to ashes, the girl glares at him and tells him where he can go:
Xenon: Ah. It desires to be defiant.
Supergirl: You... can just go... straight to Hell.
Xenon: Oh, as if I haven't heard that before.
- In Infinite Crisis, Superboy-Prime is about to kill Superboy (Conner Kent).
Superboy-Prime: Your world is finished. I'll be the r-r-real Superboy again. I will! M-M-ME!
Superboy: Screw you, "Superboy".
- In Gotham City Garage, James Gordon has been apprehended by Lex Luthor's enforcers and it's clear he's going to be killed off right after being interrogated in relation to his daughters:
The Bat: How did you do it?
James Gordon: Ask your boss. He's the who put source code in everyone's brains.
The Bat: You're saying you created her memories.
James Gordon: I'm saying go to Hell, Bruce. That's what I'm saying.
- From Knightfall:
Bane: (about to break the Bat) Beg for mercy! SCREAM MY NAME!!!
Batman: G-go... to hell...
- Justice League of America: Batman's last words to Darkseid in a Bad Future where anti-life has won and he rules the world:
"You always say you're surrounded by these 'worthless maggots'. Well, that's because you won, and did exactly what you said you'd do. You've recreated the whole world in your image; and what we see in it is your own ugly fa--."
- In Frank Miller's Sin City when Marv is being executed via the Chair. After surviving the first jolt, he defiantly says to his executioners, "Is that the best you can do, you pansies?" The switch is thrown again and he is soon pronounced dead.
- An astonishing case of Defiant Past The End, in the Saint of Killers miniseries companion to Preacher. The titular Saint is so full of hatred that when his soul arrives in Hell, Hell freezes solid. Satan himself is unable to drive the hate from him, and only the Angel of Death agreeing to give the Saint his power in exchange for the Saint leaving Hell allows things to thaw. Bonus points for the fact that the Saint immediately proceeds to kill Satan, almost as an afterthought, before leaving for Earth.
- In Empowered when Ninjette is captured and about to have her arms and legs cut off: "Fuck You." Emp and Thugboy pull off a Big Damn Heroes moment at the last second.
- In Secret Invasion, John the Skrull's comrades acknowledge that this was the only proper way for him to go.
Captain Britain: Oh, no, John. How?
Pete Wisdom: Mocking them.
Captain Britain: Good.
- One of the contests between Scrooge McDuck and archrival Flintheart Glomgold ended with Flintheart losing the bet between them. But the bet was that if Flintheart lost he would have to eat Scrooge's hat, and at that point Scrooge's hat had been shrunk to toy size—"one small mouthful" as Flintheart smirks.
- In a Star Wars Legends short comic, Jobin Mothma, son of the famous Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma, is stationed on Hoth when the Imperials hit them. After doing his duty to the best of his ability, he falls back to the hangars with his few surviving men, only to run straight into Vader as the Falcon blasts away. While running to another hangar, Jobin is shot in the back. He orders his men to take off without him and proceeds to fire his blaster empty at Vader.
Vader: Tell me where the rendezvous is, and I may perhaps be merciful.
Jobin: Save your mercy for someone else. *spits blood in his face*
- In Usagi Yojimbo, Usagi had a situation where he was fighting a villain who had stolen his swords, a despicable insult to a samurai, and found himself disarmed and wounded against the villain. The villain suggests he may be merciful if Usagi got on his knees and begged. To that, Usagi stood upright in perfect defiant dignity saying, "Whatever fate I have, I will face it on my feet." Fortunately, he soon got the advantage to win the day.
- In Marvel Zombies, Magneto goes down yelling and telling the zombies to choke on him.
- The Infinity Gauntlet: Thanos has just massacred almost all of the remaining heroes of Earth. The only one left standing is Captain America. It's clear that he doesn't stand a chance and Thanos will kill him in seconds. What's the last thing Steve lets out before the inevitable happens?
As long as one man stands against you, Thanos, you'll never be able to claim victory.
- In the UK version of The Transformers, the entire universe decides that the time travelling Galvatron and his minions need to go back to where they came from and creates a vortex. Galvatron ends up just yelling at the vortex, trying to defy it even as he's ripped to shreds.
- In V for Vendetta, Evey is imprisoned and tortured but is also inspired by Valerie's story and her lesson about the value of personal integrity, to choose to die behind the chemical sheds than bow to tyranny. At that stand on principle, Evey learns she is truly free as she discovers that the whole experience was V's effort to give her that kind of indomitable strength of character to continue his fight.
- In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Pandora, the face of The New 52, spends her last moments screaming defiantly at Dr. Manhattan, proclaiming that the heroes of the universe will find the hope and strength to overcome and be the heroes they once were and that he was nothing more than a cruel and lonely monster before being blasted.
- Two examples in Red Sonja:
- Plaitius the stargazer's observations led him to a Copernican model of the solar system in defiance of religious teachings. Imprisoned and tortured, he refused to recant his theories even to save his own life.
- Later Sonja meets Death in her fever dream, who offers her a job as an immortal enforcer in thanks for all the people Sonja has killed. Sonja rejects the offer and defies Death's control over her, mostly just because she can.
- Ultimatum: Wolverine had been reduced to a pulp by Magneto, but he was not dead yet. He has just a skeleton and some pieces of meat, and yet he was still alive, and managed to land his claw on Magneto, giving him a serious injury.
- In the Grand Finale of Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv), upon learning of the Shinigami's plot to bring about hell on earth Light Yagami's final acts are to try and stop the Shinigami Invasion.
- Hellsing Ultimate Abridged:
- Played with in Dragonball Z Abridged in Season 3. Tienshinhan keeps snarking at Vegeta. When asked why he does that when he knows Vegeta can kill him, he responds, "At this point, it's a game. If he gives in, I win. And he knows that."
Cell: You know, if you want my personal opinion, 'Kikoho' is a pretty poor choice of last words. But then again, it's far from the worst decision you've made today.
- He later gets a more traditional example after pummeling Cell with his Shin Kikoho technique until he can't even stand.
Tien: Kiko-fuck yourself.
Cell: There, see? That's the spirit!
- In Episode 9 of Sword Art Online Abridged, Kirito realizes that Kuradeel is a Laughing Coffin fanboy who is killing him over ruining the aforementioned player-killer guild; he then starts mocking Kuradeel with the explicitly stated intent of making sure Kuradeel doesn't enjoy killing him. Then Asuna shows up.
- Hivefled; Laneen, Gamzee's Spirit Advisor and half-sister was captured by the Condesce, raped, tortured, and forced into sex acts with her equally non-consenting father. She managed to render herself useless and provoke Condesce into killing her by clawing her own tongue out.
- In I Did Not Want To Die, the protagonist is shot at the beginning and spends the rest of the story making his Last Stand against Federal troops as he gradually bleeds to death. Not once does he surrender, plead, or try to run away.
- The God Empress of Ponykind: With Nightmare Moon's Legions swarming over Manehattan, Dawn Sparkle is offered a chance to join the Traitors and spare the city. She responds by spitting in Nightmare Moon's face and dueling the Mad God in single combat. The scene cuts to the next day, where we learn that she lost and Nightmare Moon left Dawn Sparkle alive long enough to watch as Manehattan is razed and its citizens slaughtered.
- Child of the Storm:
- In chapter 44, both Sif and Harry Dresden pull this on Gravemoss. The former spits in his face after having her heart ripped out and the latter gives him a shit-eating grin and a Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner before his attempt at Taking You with Me - while it doesn't succeed, it is truly epic. Both get better, however.
- In chapter 60, a teenage, powerless Carol Danvers, is exhausted, beaten to hell, barely conscious and halfway frozen to death after a brutal fight with everything from supercharged werewolves to Slender Men and a killer robot based on the Destroyer and piloted by Baron Zemo, faces down a supercharged werewolf, picks up a rock and tells it to bring it on. When it pounces on her, she gives it the famous line from Dog Soldiers: "I hope I give you the shits." She survives, because of the Friend to All Children tendencies of the Winter Soldier, who breaks his brainwashing, executes a Heel–Face Turn and hands out a brutal shitstomping to the werewolf - which is, it should be noted, the size of a 4x4, or thereabouts - with his bare hands.
- In Chapter 12 of the sequel Ghosts of the Past, Russian President Volodya tries to shut down the Red Room and arrest General Lukin, after the latter pisses off Asgard by kidnapping and brainwashing Harry. But with the power of Red Son, Lukin wipes out Volodya's forces and prepares to execute him personally. Rather than beg, however, Volodya instead tells Lukin how his moronic nearsightedness is going to destroy Russia, and he's going to enjoy watching Lukin's downfall from Heaven.
- In the Pony POV Series, during the Final Battle between Shining Armor and General-Admiral Makarov (the Big Bad of his arc), Makarov wants the captive Shining to say "I surrender, Solomon". What Shining says is, "Go fuck yourself". He then proceeds to push himself past his limits and fight Makarov in an even match.
- In the Slender Man fic By the Fire's Light, even as the world falls apart around them, Detective Carl Rourke and Mira Grolinsky refuse to give in to the Slender Man.
- In the The Tomorrow Series fanfic "Game as Ned Kelly," Ellie Linton is Shot at Dawn, and goes out unrepentant, unblindfolded and defiant to the end.
- The same thing happens in the Battle Royale fic "Heads is Heads," only to Mitsuko Souma. Her last words are a shout of defiance.
- Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons:
- Сognitum as reborn Princess Luna: Will you deny me now?!
Blackjack: Of course not. There's no denying that you're a royal cunt.
- Aen'rhien Vailiuri: A villainous example from Third Maje Tillih of the Kazon-Tarrik while Morgan is Neck Lifting him:
Tillih: Die ... in a fire. (Morgan breaks his neck.)
- In Emergence, Yang Xiao Long wakes up in the middle of the Syrian war zone. She grabs an ISIS terrorist and demands to know where she is and what is going on. The man refuses to stop cursing her and calling her a whore, even when she breaks his ribs.
- In Anderson Quest: Killing Vampires and Werewolves and Leprechauns, even after Anderson proves himself too much for the Bloody Crow of Cainhurst, the latter still keeps trying to fight on despite his many injuries.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
- As Kluge prepares to shoot her, Ritsuko tells him that even if she is to die here, she has made sure that Unit 01 and 02 will be able to fight back against the JSSDF invasion, and her Famous Last Words is just clamly saying "Fuck you".
- A villainous version with the Emerald Tablet. It refuses to be afraid as Unit-01 and Shinji is about to finally finishing it off, and even gloats that with its slaying of Unit-02 and Asuka, it has ensured that Shinji will not gain any solace from this victory.
The Emerald Tablet: Do you expect me to be afraid? Shinji Ikari. There are worse things to be afraid of. Because even if you win, you will still be human. You wish so desperately to live that you would sacrifice transcendence beyond all bounds. I have ruined the one you love. Live with that.
- During the climax of The Ultimate Evil (an Alternate Universe Fic of the first two seasons of Jackie Chan Adventures), Shendu (who is empowered to terrifying extend thanks to being bound to his Other and love interest, Valerie Payne) overpowers the entire J-Team during the final confrontation over the Book of Ages. He then catches Jade is his grip and intends to kill her for coming close to snatching away his victory gained from tampering with the Book. As Shendu squeezes her and there seems to be no way out, Jade still has it in her to defy Shendu and call him out of using his rewrites to lure Valerie into his clutches. Fortunately Valerie, filled with suspicions, arrives in time to hear Shendu and Jade's argument, and Shendu directs his attention from Jade to Valerie.
- Ginny in The Very Secret Diary puts up one hell of a fight against Tom Riddle in the final chapters. Even when she's utterly powerless and she knows it, she continues to try and find opportunities to defy him, snark at him, and make things as difficult for him as possible, until he reveals his TRUE identity. Then she starts weeping and begging for her mom.
- This Bites!:
- Even after enduring countless shocks and staring down Enel's 100,000,000 Volt Vari, Cross does not back down, and his last effort is to spit in his face.
- Bartolomeo and his crew intend to make Boa Hancock remember them for the rest of her life when they see her ship heading straight for them.
- Of State: Dalibor Bludvist, Drago's son, has been beaten to a bloody pulp, had his home ransacked and burned down by Viking invaders, watched said Vikings take over his home city, and currently is on the executioner's block while having Snotlout reveal all of his father's crimes to the entire city. He responds by attempting to give the Uttlanders a Rousing Speech against the Vikings.
- In 9, this is how 8 goes. While being presented to the Fabrication machine, he manages to send it a Death Glare and growl just before he gets soul-sucked.
Soldier to Shan Yu: Now all of China knows you're here.
- The soldier in the opening sequence. He knows that he's going to die, but he fights as hard as he can to set off the Great Wall's torch-warning-system, and then stands up to the terrifying Shan Yu before his death. Thanks to him, Shan Yu fails. Without his warning, the Huns' entry into China would have gone unnoticed, and the Emperor would probably be dead because Mulan and company wouldn't have been around to save him. That guy is awesome, and he doesn't even get a name, but he still sets off the alarm-torch. When was the last time a Red Shirt was so awesome?
- The Emperor himself, trapped on a balcony by Shan Yu, provides the page quote. Thankfully, Mulan and company save him before Shan Yu can make him "bow in pieces."
- In Peter Pan, Captain Hook kidnaps Tiger Lily and tries to force her to tell him Peter Pan's hideout by threatening to leave her to drown if she doesn't, and points out that if she does drown, she will be Barred from the Afterlife. Tiger Lily simply turns up her nose and refuses to speak. Luckily for her, Peter saves her just in time.
- Quest for Camelot has King Arthur about to be killed by his treacherous knight Ruber with his own weapon excalibur. Ruber declares that it's time to say hello to his new king. Arthur's response?
"You're no king!"
- From The Transformers: The Movie:
"Silence, or you will be held in contempt for this court!"
"I have nothing BUT contempt for this court!"
- Shrek the Third: Shrek has been put into chains, dragged onto a stage, and is about to gutted by Prince Charming. How does he respond to Charming pointing a sword at him? He proceeds to mock him in front of everybody, that even Charming's minions found amusing. Thankfully, Shrek survives thanks to Artie.
- The Alamo: With just himself and two other men left, captured and about to be killed by the Mexican army, Davy is asked if he has anything to say. He tell them that if the Mexicans surrender, he'll go easy on them. And then the order to kill him is given, see above. Davy Crockett is about to be bayonetted to death by the Mexicans. His words to Santa Anna: "I'm warning you—I'm a screamer."
- Hudson's demise in Aliens consists of swearing, yelling, swearing, shooting anything that moves, swearing, and swearing some more. Even when being dragged through the floor to his death.
- In Bent, Horst gets killed by the guards. But he manages to scratch their face, horrifying them.
- Braveheart is, of course, the definitive example of the Nineties. William Wallace is so heartily defiant, after he's been disembowelled alive, that the mere sound of his shouting is enough to push one of his foes over the edge of his deathbed. (This is considered true in essentials, but painfully inaccurate in particulars.)
- In A Bridge Too Far (Which was based on an actual WWII campaign), the Germans point out to the cut off and outnumbered Allied troops that many lives could be saved by a surrender. The Allied response? "I'm sorry, but we don't have enough room to take all of you prisoner!"
- Children of Men: "Pull my finger!"
- Luke in Cool Hand Luke, complete with Ironic Echo ("What we've got here is a failure to communicate").
- In Creepshow, Richard gets buried up to his neck at low tide. As the water slowly rises, he roars, "I can hold my breath for a long time!"
- Captain Rhodes in Day of the Dead (1985).
Choke on 'em!
- Deconstructed in The Devil's Rejects. As Otis is about to kill a man he has kidnapped, the man insults Otis... who mocks him for it, calling it a meaningless gesture that doesn't make him any less of a powerless victim. Otis then proceeds with the killing like it never happened.
Adam Banjo: [spits blood on Otis] Fuck you!
Otis: That's what they all say. [in a mocking tone] "Fuck you"! Well it ain't gonna save you. It don't scare me none and it don't suddenly make you a fuckin' hero! Do you wanna see what happens to heroes boy?
- Die Another Day: All James Bond has to say after months of brutal torture is an appropriately acerbic Bond One-Liner. General Moon drops the trope name before apparently having Bond marched in front of a firing squad.
- In Die Hard, the terrorist leader Hans Gruber threatens to kill Joe Takagi, head executive at the Nakatomi building, if he doesn't tell Hans the access codes to the Nakatomi vault. Not only does Mr. Takagi adamantly refuse, he outright goads Hans into killing him (although he sounds so calm that he doesn't seem like he's expecting Hans to kill him):
Takagi: I don't know it, I'm telling you. Get on a jet to Tokyo and ask the Chairman. I'm telling you, you're just going to have to kill me.
- A villainous example in the Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact. When Ray Parkins is finally confronted by Jennifer pointing a gun at her:
"So, the bitch is here. [Takes what she knows will be her last swallow of beer] So tell me, how's your slut sister?"
- In Equilibrium, Partridge actually doesn't care when he's eventually exposed, going so far as to calmly quote a Yeats poem in front of Preston. He refuses to bend to Libria's will, even with Preston standing over him with a gun. Part of the reason for his defiance can be better demonstrated in the conversation below, since his questioning with Preston clearly involved trying to get the latter to do the same himself and fight against society instead of with it. We later discover he was part of the Resistance, enabling Preston to have his Heel–Face Turn, join them and help take down the corrupt governing power..
Partridge: You always knew. … "But I being poor have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams." I assume you dream, Preston.
Preston: I'll do what I can to see they go easy on you.
Partridge: We both know they never go easy.
Preston: Then I'm sorry.
Partridge: No you're not. You don't even know the meaning. It's just a vestigial word for a feeling you've never felt. Don't you see Preston, it's gone, everything that makes us what we are, traded away.
Preston: There's no war. No murder.
Partridge: What is it you think we do?
Preston: No. You've been with me, you've seen how it can be, the jealousy, the rage.
Partridge: A heavy cost. I pay it gladly.
- In Escape from Sobibór, a girl named Naomi is offered a chance to live at the cost of her baby, which she was trying to hide. Her response is to spit in the Nazi's face (figuratively and literally).
- The Bruce Lee film Fist of Fury (also known as The Chinese Connection or The Iron Hand) very famously ends with Bruce Lee's character, Chen, the villains defeated and his master avenged, agreeing to take all the blame for the deaths of the karate school, saving his friends. He walks outside to find a row of Japanese policemen with their rifles and pistols trained on him. Realizing he's going to be publicly executed, he lets out a final cry and performs a running jump kick at them, the final freeze frame catching him in mid-air as a crescendo of rifle fire sounds. Though naturally, being Bruce Lee, it's entirely possible that instead of him dying for the ending, he instead horribly slaughtered all of the policemen and the whole scene was cut out for being just too violent for television...
- In Godzilla (2014), when Ford's backed against the wall by an angry Mama Bear mode Femuto, he points a pistol at her, which would have done precisely squat against it. In the novelization, it's taken even further because the "gun" is just his hand.
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; he manages to escape, but when Irina Spalko is about to order her troops to kill Indy:
Spalko: Any last words, Mr. Jones?
Indy: Yeah. I Like Ike!
- Inglourious Basterds: Sergeant Werner Rachtman does this when he is captured by the Basterds and offered to be spared in exchange for information on another German patrol. He makes it very clear to Lt. Aldo Raine and his companions that he isn't about to put any German lives in danger.
- Kill the Irishman: When Danny Greene realizes he's about to be blown up by the car bomb next to his Cadillac, he sees Ray Ferrito driving by with the detonator in one hand and tipping his hat in farewell with the other. Accepting death, Greene pointed his finger like a gun just as the bomb kills him.
- And, thanks to The West Wing, many children of the 80s and 90s now know of a misquote from The Lion in Winter. Quoted properly here:
Prince Richard: [In a dungeon, hearing his captor approach] He's here. He'll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn't going to see me beg.
Prince Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool... as if the way one fell down mattered.
Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.
- In Lockout, Alex captures Emilie and threatens to sic his psychotic rapist brother onto her if she doesn't tell her father (the president of the USA) to call off an attack on the space-jail they are in. Defiant to the end, she tells her dad to blow the jail — including her — out of the sky.
- Colonel Hardy in Man of Steel: He starts off in a helicopter, which Faora then knocks down. He empties two guns (ineffectually) into her as she casually slaughters his men. His response is to stare her down and draw his knife. Even she's impressed. Superman manages to save him, but he does this again later when he really does die.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe
- The Avengers:
Coulson: So that's what it does.
- This seems to be the set-up for the old German man who refuses to bow before Loki in Stuttgart. However, Captain America swoops in to save the old man before Loki can kill him.
- Played straighter with Coulson's death.
- Thor: The Dark World: Frigga fights Malekith and Kurse and when defeated refuses to reveal the location of the Aether. Her last words are "I will never tell you."
- Thor: Ragnarok: Hela completely slaughters the assembled forces of Asgard, but promises to let a wounded Hogun live if he agrees to serve her. Hogun rejects the offer and makes one final effort to attack Hela, only for her to spear him through the chest.
- Avengers: Infinity War: Loki's final words to Thanos while being strangled after attacking him are: "You will never be a god."
- The Avengers:
- In Men in Black II, the pizza parlor owner actually the alien protecting Laura, the Light of Zartha, begs Serleena to let him go protesting that he doesn't know anything. When he realizes she isn't fooled, he drops the act. Speaking with his true voice, he tells her that she's too late and sarcastically apologizes for wasting her time.
- Olympus Has Fallen has the Secretary of Defense, on the hostage situation she and the President are in:
"We may die here, but no way will I let my tombstone say 'she went down without a fight.'"
- Ironically, she's the only hostage other than the President to survive.
- Roma, the head of the Secret Service detail for the White House. Injured and down to his last bullet, he reports the situation to his superiors, and then spins around and shoots one more terrorist. "Fuck you!"
- Pacific Rim: When Striker Eureka is disabled by Leatherback, the two pilots stand on the shoulders of the Jaeger, one of them yelling at the circling Kaiju to bring it on while carrying a flare gun in each hand, with one of them shooting it in the eye while being fully aware it is kind of a bad idea. The two Russian pilots, earlier, also manage to keep landing punches on the Kaiju that's currently crushing the cockpit while holding it underwater for them to drown, right until the Jaeger blows up.
- The Love Interest in Payback is a hooker who attracts the attention of the guy who betrayed Anti-Hero Porter. He's a vicious monster who's only real value to his bosses is that he's a sadist skilled in torture. He's beating the crap out of her and imminent rape is implied. She keeps taunting him about the fact that he's hitting her only proves that he's a powerless, impotent weakling, just as she described him earlier. And then there's Porter himself. Late in the movie, The Syndicate thugs catch him and begin torturing him with a hammer, taking out his toes one by one. What does Porter say after they smash his first toe and start lining up a second?
Porter: This little piggy stayed home.
Bronson: It's starting to look like roast beef.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:
Davy Jones: James Norrington, do you fear death?
James Norrington: (stabs him, and then dies)
Davy Jones: I'll take that as a no.
- There's also the group of pirates at the beginning of the film who sing Hoist The Colours even in light of being hung.
- And a minor example is the unknown soldier from the first movie who rings the bell to call Norrington back to the besieged ship. Injured as he was, the guy could have easily played dead, but he did the one thing that was most likely to help his comrades while being most guaranteed to get himself killed.
- Though she doesn't end up dead, Syrena takes this attitude towards Blackbeard, refusing to give him the tear he needs for the Profane Ritual.
- In Plunkett & Macleane, facing certain execution, Macleane's last words before being sentenced are directed at all attending.
Macleane: I am guilty of one thing for which I am heartily sorry. Namely cheating my friend and fellow highwayman. A man who has more nobility of soul in his little finger, than any of you bloated bastards have in your entire bodies.
- In The Professional, as Léon lays dying:
Stansfield: At your service.
Léon: (handing him something) This is from... Mathilda.
Stansfield: (sees that it's a pin for a grenade) Shit.
- Toward the end of Raising Arizona, the bounty hunter from Hell catches up with Hy. It's a serious mismatch as Hy gets the stuffing beaten out of him — when the bounty hunter pulls him up, barely conscious, by the lapels, he defiantly spits a tooth out into the guy's face.
- In Red Dawn (1984), the Wolverines have been ambushed by helicopters and are scattering. Robert fires his last RPG round at one of the copters, damaging it... and then stands out in the open, engaging an armored helicopter intended to take out armored columns with nothing but his AK. The result is foreordained, but there's no doubt about who's Badass there.
- Played for Laughs on The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming with Pete Whitaker, who keeps on being defiant and insulting to the Russians that have taken over his family's house (and his father who is helping them, to the point that Pete even calls him a Commie collaborator) out of a seriously misplaced case of Patriotic Fervor (the Russians are stuck on the island by accident and wish nothing more than to leave, and Mr. Whitaker is quite willing to help them because 1) the Russians are peaceful and understanding and 2) the Russians are armed, and so it's not a good idea to anger them, like Pete is trying to do...)
- Boris the Bullet Dodger from Snatch., cursing at Tony even after being shot several times with a Desert Eagle. Tony finally decides to take his time to aim properly and puts in a point-blank headshot to make sure he doesn't get up again.
- Speed: In the opening sequence, Mad Bomber Big Bad Howard Payne manages to take cop Harry Temple hostage and Harry tells him "fuck you". This trope is then discussed because Payne laments that modern people can't seem to think of a better "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner than that.
- From Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, both Khan and Spock go out this way.
- Khan especially. His last act is to activate the Genesis Device in one last attempt to kill Kirk while quoting Captain Ahab's last words from Moby-Dick.
- Star Wars:
- In A New Hope:
Princess Leia: Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.
Grand Moff Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life.
Princess Leia: I'm surprised that you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.
- In Return of the Jedi:
C-3PO: But if any of you wish to beg for mercy, the great Jabba the Hutt will now listen to your pleas.
Han Solo: Threepio! You tell that slimy piece of worm-ridden filth, he'll get no such pleasure from us! [to Chewie] Right?
Chewie: [roars in concurrence with Han]
Luke: You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
- The novelization adds a hilarious touch, by having the mostly blind Solo look the wrong way and address his defiant speech to nowhere, so Chewie has to reach and turn him around to properly face the slimy piece of worm-ridden filth he was talking to.
- With that, Luke tops his friends' defiance with this statement to Jabba, "This is your last chance; free us or die!" Jabba laughs at this imputence, but instantly changes his tune as Luke puts his plan into action.
- And later, in the Imperial throne room:
- In A New Hope:
- Super Mario Bros.: Toad continues to rant at and badmouth Koopa as he's being shoved into the Devo Chamber.
- In cinema classic They Live, Rowdy Roddy Piper's unnamed character makes it to the antenna broadcasting the alien mind-scrambling signal and just manages to start it blowing up when he's fatally shot. He raises his arm out of the fire and flips the aliens off, both as a gesture of defiance and as a declaration of victory (since even if he died, the aliens were about to be exposed).
- Jazz in the first live-action Transformers movie.
Jazz: You wanna piece of me? You want a piece?!
Megatron: No! I want TWO!
- Sam has one too, more afraid and less badass but still impressive.
Megatron: Give me the All Spark, and you may live to be my pet.
Sam: (While clinging to a statue at the edge of a building) I'm never giving you this All Spark!
Megatron: Oh, so unwise.
- Sam has one too, more afraid and less badass but still impressive.
- In United 93, once the passengers find out that hijacked planes have been flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they abandon all semblance of cooperation with the al-Qaeda terrorists and start actively planning their attack from the plane's rear. Even as the plane is plummeting towards the ground, they continue to fight for the controls in an effort to both thwart the terrorists and possibly save themselves. Either way, the passengers were going to make for damned sure that that plane was not going to reach its final destination in Washington D.C. Also serves as a Real Life example since the film is a very accurate portrayal of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
- V at the end of V for Vendetta. Mr. Creedy even describes him as, "Defiant to the end."
- Also, Evey. After being captured and tortured by the government, they give her a choice: give them information on V, or be taken behind the chemical sheds and shot. Her response is to calmly say “Thank you, but I'd rather die behind the chemical sheds”. This is subverted though, it in that it turns out V was the one who kidnapped and tortured her, specifically to get her to the point that she would no longer fear death.
- Norwegian war movie We Leave for England from 1946 is built on this trope. The fugitives are herded up by Germans and arrested, and are to be shot, and their defiance comes on stronger and stronger as the movie goes on - until the very end, where one Norwegian spokesperson is hit in the face without blinking before the lot of them is herded out to be shot. The end of the movie shows almost the entire cast vanishing behind a hill, followed by Awesome Music, while a norwegian birch tree is standing over in the last shot of the movie (being an Arc Symbol for Norwegian independence). This ending could arguably have Defiant to the End written all over it (While the protagonists are executed, we carry on...)
- Pick any Norwegian movie telling the story of World War II, made before 1960, and the trope comes through loud and clear. This particular movie has it in abundance.
- In What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted, after being caught by the murderous biker leader.
Apeman: Look at me.
Tania: I wouldn't want your face to be the last thing I see.
- X-Men Film Series
- The Wolverine: Shingen refuses to take Wolverine's mercy and stabs him through the chest as one last act of defiance.
- X-Men: Apocalypse: Epically done by Professor X, who resists En Sabah Nur in any way he can even when the situation is absolutely hopeless and his options are virtually nil. Charles warps the ending of Apocalypse's New Era Speech to try to give the weaker individuals of the populace a chance (however small it may be) to survive, and as he's forced to carry out Apocalypse's bidding, Xavier sends Jean Grey a secret telepathic message to let her know of his location. Professor X initiates a psychic battle with Apocalypse to buy time for Mystique and Quicksilver, who are both in immediate mortal danger because of the god-like mutant. No matter how brutal or violent Apocalypse's Mind Rape is, Charles' spirit doesn't break as long it can still draw breath. Even as his mind is on the verge of death, he still uses what little energy he has left to respond to Apocalypse's threat with a Badass Boast, and Xavier then summons Jean to unleash the Phoenix.
- In John Wick: Chapter 2, The Don Santino D'Antonio spends most of the film bullying the titular dragon — blowing up his house, forcibly recruiting him to kill one of his friends, and trying to have him assassinated once he does — and then, once cornered at gunpoint in a Truce Zone, makes taunting comments about the menu and dares John to walk away. John does not.
- In Heneral Luna, the titular general refuses to go down as he's being killed by soldiers of the Kawit Brigade, drawing his own sword and gun and decrying them for the traitors they are as they struggle to kill a man who just doesn't want to die.
- InGoyo Ang Batang Heneral, we see the titular general as he's liquidating the last of the recently assassinated General Antonio Luna's friends and allies. Manuel Bernal, as he's being tortured and coerced, refuses to give in, preferring to insult Del Pilar, Aguinaldo and all those that follow them. Even when they bring his brother in, Manuel just reminds him to remember what they fought for and to stay strong.
- From netfunny: There were three guys traveling in Africa: a Frenchman, a Japanese, and an American. They are captured by a tribe of fierce headhunters. The witch doctor says to them, "We are going to slaughter you, but you might take some comfort in the fact that we don't believe in waste here, and that therefore every part of your body will go to some use. We will weave baskets out of your hair, we will render your bones for glue, and we will tan your skin and stretch it over wooden frames for canoes. Now we are going to allow you an honorable death, so I will give you each a knife and allow you to say some last words before killing yourselves."
The Japanese guy yells "Banzai!" and commits hara-kiri.
The French guy yells "Vive la France!" and slits his throat.
Then the American guy takes the knife, pokes holes all over his body, and yells, "There's your fucking canoe!"
- A similar joke involves explorers who get Captured by Cannibals and subsequently Stewed Alive. One explorer starts laughing and explains to the other that he just pissed in the soup.
- Harry Potter:
- Harry himself in regards to Voldemort.
- Neville Longbottom towards Voldemort as well.
- Amelia Bones, who between Order and Prince forced Voldemort to come out of hiding to deal with her personally.
- And then there's Gellert Grindelwald, who was considered to be the most powerful and dangerous Dark Wizard in the world before Voldemort came along. When confronted by Voldemort himself, wandless and helpless, instead of going along with Voldy's demands, Grindelwald openly defies him and even laughs in his face.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit – Will Travel. Several human beings are before an intergalactic court that will decide whether the human race will be destroyed. Two of them (a Roman centurion and a modern-day teenager) get angry and chew out the aliens for their high-handedness (the Roman uses language that's not fit for polite company). In a Subversion, the teenager finally asks, as a favor, to be returned home and share his species' fate if the decision goes against humanity. The human race is given a reprieve.
- Húrin Thalion in The Silmarillion gets two of these:
- In the conclusion of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Húrin is left alone on a battlefield that has been completely overrun by the enemy - the hosts of the elves were utterly broken and routed, and most of his fellow men (those who didn't betray the Alliance to Morgoth), lay dead all around him. So what does he do? He keeps swinging his axe against the horde of orcs and trolls all around him, and for every troll he kills he cries "Auré enteluva (Day shall come again)!" He kills over 70 trolls before being taken.
- After being captured, he defies Morgoth himself, mocking him and refusing to say anything about Turgon and his stronghold. Even if this defiance is remembered as a great deed, he pays dearly for it.
- Late in The Bishop's Heir, Llewell of Meara insults Kelson to his face after murdering his own sister at her wedding ceremony. He glares at Kelson from the scaffold just before his subsequent execution.
- In Michael Palmer's book The Fifth Vial, Natalie does this to the Big Bad for two whole chapters before he's finally distracted enough for her to slit his throat with a scalpel.
- Happens on a regular basis in Romance of the Three Kingdoms with several Generals telling those who've defeated them to sit on it and swivel.
- This actually comes up quite often in Star Wars Legends; characters often get killed stupidly, but they're always defiant.
- In the novel Darksaber, General Crix Madine was captured and killed on the bridge of the new Darksaber superweapon. Which turned out to be nonfunctional, making the death of the first (but by no means the last) character with a speaking role in the movies entirely pointless.
Durga: Any last words?
Madine: Not to you.
- A variant in the X-Wing Series novel Iron Fist; Heterosexual Life-Partners Ton Phanan and Garick "Face" Loran were both taking part in an elaborate plan that had them pretending to be pirates to fool Zsinj; when Phanan got shot down over a Zsinj-controlled world, Face followed him down. Phanan was mortally wounded, but if they surrendered to Zsinj and allowed themselves to be captured, he would get medical treatment. Face proposed this plan and was willing to do it, but Phanan said no, that would blow the deception, and the Wraiths would have to come up with a new one and give Zsinj more time to keep doing what he was doing.
- In the Fate of the Jedi series, Lawful Stupid Kenth Hamner meets his end trying to stop the Jedi Council from launching their StealthXes. As result, he ends up falling off a catwalk and is saved by his opponent, Saba Sebatayne. Instead of accepting surrender, Hamner continues to try and stop the launch, knowing full well that Saba can't support him and protect the StealthXes at the same time. Saba chooses the latter option.
- In the novel Darksaber, General Crix Madine was captured and killed on the bridge of the new Darksaber superweapon. Which turned out to be nonfunctional, making the death of the first (but by no means the last) character with a speaking role in the movies entirely pointless.
- Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files has one standard issue response to his villainous captors: lots of snark.
- At one point he starts mouthing off to a bigger bad guy than usual, and everyone is horrified. He points out that if he didn't, the Physical God might feel left out.
- When Harry is offered the power of a fallen angel, a chance to join a group of people who are out to change the world for the better, and to learn the truth of his parent's lives, or he can be killed right then and there, he refuses offer with the quote "[l]ead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." This is followed by Harry's usual eloquence for declarative statements, when the person asked if he was sure, "Fuck off."
- This type of behavior was crucial when dealing with the Skinwalker, who gains power from fear.
- Lampshaded in one of the short stories, when Harry doesn't say anything to the vampire holding him captive. He then spits a load of garlic into her face and says that she should know he's got something up his sleeve if he's not talking.
- In Cold Days, he's in top form. When The Redcap is watching him at the botanical gardens, Harry didn't stop snarking him. Later refused to bow to Maeve on Demonreach.
- I Am Not a Serial Killer: Marci. While we don't see it, John's investigation of the crime scene assures us she refused to go down without a fight. How? There's blood splattered all over the walls and floor, and a mirror is broken. Her killer was trying to frame this as a suicide. While looking at the evidence of a hard-won battle, John remarks with quiet admiration, "good for you".
- The Aiel, from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, personify this attitude. They have a Badass Creed that says, "'Till shade is gone, 'till water is gone (water is very important to them), into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the last Day."
- Roshaun in Wizards at War, after their cover's blown.
- David Weber's Safehold:
- In the second book of the series, By Schism Rent Asunder, Erayk Dynnys, an archbishop, is used as a scapegoat by the Church of God Awaiting for the rebellion of Charis. Though a low-level Sinister Minister throughout the first book, when faced with execution he rediscovered God and, despite being offered a painless death by the Inquisition if he supported their version of events, he instead offered a Facing the Bullet Final Speech denouncing the Church's corruption and was horribly killed for doing so.
- Soldier-turned-devout-priest Hauwerd Wylsynn in the fourth book, A Mighty Fortress doesn't give the Inquisition a chance to haul information out of him through torture, so he instead chooses to die. He takes at least four armed and armored soldiers with him.
- The fifth book, How Firm a Foundation shows Charisian captain Gwylym Manthyr about to face the same punishment the archbishop above did. Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn asked if he wanted to deny any of the claims of blasphemy he was charged with, after having had his tongue cut out so he could do no such thing. Manthyr's response: He spit in Clyntahn's face.
- When Clyntahn himself is finally in this position at the end of Hell's Foundations Quiver, he goes through his arrest and trial with his usual arrogance, smug in the security that, whatever happens to him in this life, the Archangels will have a place for him at their side. The day before his execution, however, he receives two visitors, Merlin Athrawes and Nimue Chwaeriau, who proceed to tell him the truth about the "Archangels" and provide file footage of them to prove it. The experience breaks his attempts at defiance completely, and he's left a gibbering wreck during his execution.
- In I, Lucifer despite being offered a chance at redemption and relief from his constant pain as a mortal, Lucifer instead opts to lead a second assault on paradise before likely facing eternity in the infinite void alone.
- Lucifer in the Left Behind books. He doesn't give Jesus Christ the satisfaction of calling Him Lord until Kingdom Come when his entire Other Light army has been eradicated in a heartbeat.
- Stonefur in Warrior Cats. After being held prisoner, Tigerstar him chance to prove his loyalty, by ordering him to kill two half-clan cats. Stonefur completely ignores him, and asks his former leader for orders, since he will not take them from any other cat. When she asks him to follow Tigerstar's order, he still refuses to kill them, and vows to protect them instead. After that, Tigerstar sends his henchman to execute Stonefur, who despite being imprisoned, starved and barely able to stand, manages to defend himself. Tigerstar then sends another henchman, to pin Stonefur down and slice his throat.
- In one Nightside book, Merlin is confronted by the current Big Bad, Lilith, who tells him that he can live if he bows down and submits. His response:
"There is only one man I have ever bowed to. And you are not fit to polish his armor."
- Wendy in Peter Pan, upon being captured by Hook.
"So, my beauty," said Hook, as if he spoke in syrup, "you are to see your children walk the plank."
Fine gentlemen though he was, the intensity of his communings had soiled his ruff, and suddenly he knew that she was gazing at it. With a hasty gesture he tried to hide it, but he was too late.
"Are they to die?" asked Wendy, with a look of such frightful contempt that he nearly fainted.
- Cruelly defied in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The Ministry of Love beats and tortures all defiance out of anyone who commits thoughtcrime, before they kill them, and wipe all trace of them from history.
- All of the students in Les Misérables, but special awards go to Jean Prouvaire (who dies surrounded by the enemy and yelling "Vive la France! Long live the future!"), Enjolras (who throws away his empty gun and demands the enemy shoot him, even refusing a blindfold,) and Grantaire (who stands up and demands to be shot alongside Enjolras, even though he could have fled).
- Hal Briggs in the Dale Brown book Strike Force flips off the antiaircraft cannon about to kill him.
- Ahab confronts Moby-Dick with lines that are later appropriated by the well-read and Genre Savvy Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
"To the last, I grapple with thee. From Hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee."
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
Rickard Karstark: "Kill me and be cursed. You are no king of mine."
- Rickard Karstark, set to be executed for treason by Robb Stark in A Storm of Swords, goes to his grave still defiant.
Timeon: "Finish it. Send me back to Dorne, you bloody bitch."
- Overlapping with Villainous Valour, one of the Bloody Mummers gets his moment when Brienne leaves him mortally wounded in A Feast for Crows.
- The Stand: Glen Bateman to Randall Flagg.
- Doctor Syn ("The Scarecrow"): Convicted for murder, Black Nick Tappitt goes to the gallows unrepentant and swearing.
- Carl Sandburg's poem "The Man With The Broken Fingers." Some Gestapo agents are interrogating a captured Norwegian Resistance member, demanding that he give them the names of other Resistance fighters. He won't talk, so they break all the fingers on his left hand. He still won't talk, so they break every finger on his right hand. When he still refuses to talk, they break his left arm at the elbow and then at the shoulder, causing him to pass out. After he regains consciousness, they do the same thing to his right arm. He dies at their hands, but this is hailed as a victory by the poet because he never did give them any names.
- Cat of the Night Huntress series demonstrates this quality to Bones when they first meet. This impresses him and is part of the reason he fell in love with her.
Bones: I began to fall in love with you when you challenged me to that stupid fight in the cave. There you were, chained up and bleeding, questioning my courage and almost daring me to kill you.
- In the last book of ArtemisFowl, a minor character called Kolin Ozkopy gives Big Bad, Opal Koboi, a quick zinger before she kills him. In spite of this, she considered it unfinished business because not only was his death instantaneous and painless, but she could no longer deliver a counter-zinger to satisfy her ego.
- Main character Paul Edgecomb from The Green Mile is not especially impressed with this trope. When Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Manchild Politically Incorrect Villain and pedophile/child murderer Bill Wharton is brought into Paul's Death Row block, Paul immediately realizes that Wharton will act out this trope by attacking the guards, screwing with them and other prisoners, or just being a general pain in the ass right up until his execution date. Paul reflects that this "Fight until the end, even though it has no chance of changing anything and then keep fighting some more" sort of thing strikes some people as noble, but he doesn't think it's any more impressive than a cornered animal which knows it's about to die anyway making a last futile attack against a predator. Amusingly enough, the trope gets subverted as Wharton is drugged into a stupor, and later, unrelated to that, a cowardly guard that Wharton had tormented shoots Wharton in his sleep while under the influence of a Stupidity-Inducing Attack.
- In Insurgent, Eric's last words are a sneer directed at Four.
- Happens in a couple of Space Marine Battles novels, as befits the protagonists.
- In Malodrax, Lysander is quick to realize that there's no way for him to win against the Iron Warriors and their slaves, but keeps on struggling anyway because that's just what a Space Marine does. And alas, he's rewarded with a chance at freedom.
- In Battle of the Fang, the defenders, for all their knowledge, are alone, with little to no chance of reinforcements and an army of sorcerers led by a daemon prince of Magic as their enemies. Regardless, they decide to make the Thousand Sons pay for every inch of terrain they get with blood.
- In the poem, "The Young British Soldier" by Rudyard Kipling:
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson evidently loved this trope:
- In "The Charge of the Light Brigade":
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
- And again in "Ulysses":
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
- In "The Charge of the Light Brigade":
- In 24 Day 5, Agent Aaron Pierce has been taken hostage by corrupt President Charles Logan after discovering Logan's hand in the terrorist attacks and conspiracy for the day. He's ruthlessly beaten down and personally left with the option of either being executed due to his knowledge or keeping the lid on Logan's involvement and being bought off. His response:
Pierce: There is nothing that you have said or done that is acceptable to me in the least. You're a traitor to this country and a disgrace to your office, and it's my duty to see that you're brought to justice for what you've done. Is there anything else, Charles?
- There's Omar Hassan in season 8...
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Coulson proves that he's maintained this attitude from the movies, as shown when The Clairvoyant is trying to recruit him at gunpoint.
"I'd sooner die than serve HYDRA, you sick son of a bitch."
- Blake's 7 ended with this. After Avon kills Blake over a perceived betrayal (we never really know whether Avon was right), Federation troops swoop in. One by one, the crew is gunned down. At the end, there's a dozen-odd troops, guns up surrounding Avon. He puts on his best Slasher Smile, straddles Blake's corpse, and raises his gun...
- Breaking Bad: Leonel Salamanca hates Walter so much that he crawls towards him as if planning to try to kill him, despite having had his legs amputated.
- Mike Ehrmantraut is a mild example. He just tells his killer to shut the fuck up and let him die in peace. He gets his way.
- "My name is ASAC Schrader, and you can go fuck yourself."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Willow: "You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life; I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer, and now you're nothing."
- In the second season finale, Angelus is brutally torturing Giles for information on how to perform a ritual to destroy the world. When Giles seems ready to break, he comes out with this: "You must perform the ritual... while wearing a tutu. Pillock."
- In a similar example of bravery in the face of torture and the likelihood of death, Spike defies Glory, only breaking his silence to tell her that the Key's human form is Bob Barker.
- As Faith holds Willow at knife point, Willow tries to reason with her. Faith senses another speech coming on, and invites Willow to tell her it's all right, there's still good in Faith, it's not too late to change, et cetera. Willow furrows her brows and says it's way too late.
- The Caesars features multiple examples of characters metaphorically spitting in the faces of the people responsible for their deaths.
- In "Sejanus", the Emperor Tiberius' great-nephew Nero is arrested for treason, then starved to death while imprisoned on the orders of Tiberius' enforcer, Sejanus, purely because he is ahead of Tiberius' grandson Gemellus in the line of succession (Sejanus is the lover of Gemellus' mother Livilla and aims to rule as regent when Gemellus becomes Emperor). Nero, believing that it is Tiberius at whose command he has been imprisoned, shouts curses at the Emperor until he no longer has the strength to do so.
- Nero's mother Agrippina, granddaughter of Augustus, follows suit in the following episode, "Caligula". A political rival of Tiberius since his declaration as Emperor (first believing that her husband Germanicus should be Emperor instead, then pinning her hopes on Nero succeeding him), she is banished to the island of Pandataria at the same time Nero is imprisoned. When Tiberius indicates that he has no plans to reverse Sejanus' decision to exile her, she forcibly starves herself to death to ensure that her blood is on Tiberius' hands.
- Agrippina's other son Caligula gets a defiant death scene in the last episode, "Claudius". With his insane rule as Emperor having finally created more enemies than he can get rid of, the Praetorian Guard decide enough is enough, corner him in an underground passage, and take turns stabbing him. After he has already been stabbed several times, he gasps his final words: "Strike again - I'm still alive!"
- There is a great (non-fatal) example in Castle in the middle of season 3. The episode's villain, an assassin working for the man who had Beckett's mother killed, has kidnapped Ryan and Esposito in order to find out what the good guys know about his employer. Then comes the following exchange:
- Assassin: Now, I'm gonna make you a deal: you tell me what I need to know, one pro to another, and I will put a bullet in your brain. You don't, you jerk me around, and you will be begging me to before this night is up.
Esposito: I'm gonna have to go with option B, bro.
Ryan: Oh yeah, we are definitely gonna jerk you around.
- Ryan and Espo do a lot of it in this scene, from Ryan (after being dunked in a tub of ice water) saying "This is nothing. I went to Catholic school for twelve years, they did this to you just for talking in class." to Espo, having agreed to tell the bad guy what he wants to know, saying "The cops know all about... me and your mom."
- Montgomery got a truly heartbreaking one at the end of season three. He managed to take out all of the bad guys that came for Beckett except the Assassin mentioned above, who manages to fatally shoot him.
Assassin: This was all for nothing. I'm just gonna kill her anyway.
Montgomery: No you're not, and he's not. I saw to that. -pulls out a gun and shoots Assassin point blank-
- Dexter does this as a deliberate ploy when he's caught by the Skinner, using his understanding of serial killers to his advantage. It works.
- Doctor Who:
The Doctor: Actually the most amazing thing about you is that after all this time, you're still bone dead stupid.
- "The Parting of the Ways": Captain Jack's last words to the Daleks' "EX-TER-MIN-ATE"? "I kinda figured that."
- "The End of Time": The Doctor himself gets one, mocking the Master after just having praised him as "brilliant".
- Firefly Simon in "Objects in Space". Mal in "War Stories".
- Simon in "Safe". The only thing that saved him was Mal and Zoe showing up to become Big Damn Trope Namers.
- Game of Thrones:
Rodrick: Gods help you, Theon Greyjoy, now you are truly lost.
- Mirri Maz Duur vows not to scream while being burnt alive, but is eventually unable to hold to this.
- Ser Rodrik goes down literally spitting on Theon for his betrayal. And considering what Theon goes through later, with a Dying Curse.
Olenna: I'd hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple. It must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me, a shocking scene, not at all what I intended. You see, I'd never seen the poison work before. Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.
- Lord Karstark shows no fear at his execution and uses his last words to curse his executioner. However, rather than the usual triumphant moment, it instead cements how far he is beyond the Moral Event Horizon.
- Brienne will never ever go down without a fight. She had every intention of this when she was forced to face a bear with only a wooden sword before her rescue in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", as well as when she was dragged off to be gang-raped.
- Orell uses his final moments to jump into his eagle and attack his assailant's pretty face.
- Tormund is surrounded by enemies and wounded several times, yet he refuses to surrender until he is disarmed by a quarrel to the knee and dragged off, still yelling curses at his captors.
- Subverted by Mance Rayder who surrenders surprisingly quickly when his enormous army is taken by surprise in "The Children". His refusal to Kneel Before Zod right after is somewhat hollow in comparison.
- "You're no son of mine!". Whatever else you think of him, Tywin's decision to denounce the man who just mortally wounded him rather than whimper or plead is worthy of respect.
- Olenna Tyrell before and after she had drank the poison given to her by Jaime Lannister. She wanted Jaime to give Cersei a little message.
- When Brienne finds Stannis, he's wounded and unable to stand up; nevertheless, he's completely dismissive of her and simply tells her to get it over with.
- Justified has Johnny Crowder whose last act is to laugh in his murderer's face after the latter's gang screw up a drug transaction.
- On Lost, Charlie faces capture this way, knowing that he is about to die anyway and that he will have initiated the rescue of his friends.
- Once Upon a Time: Even while at the mercy of Cora, a sorceress who could kill her quite unpleasantly with the wave of a hand, Aurora mocks Cora to her face, and makes it quite clear there is no offer she could make that would win her over. Cora herself comments on Aurora's pluck.
- Paul Kellerman of Prison Break tells the officers driving him from the courthouse that members of the French resistance often smiled before being executed by the Nazis. Moments later, the van is assaulted by armed men. In what was almost certainly a retcon, it turns out they were there to rescue him.
- Stargate SG-1. Jack O'Neill. All the time.
- Ba'al: You dare mock me?!
O'Neill: Ba'al, come on! You should know. Of course I dare mock you.
- Teal'c too: if a Goa'uld really has him on the ropes he might get a snarled "I Die Free" out of him, but he'll probably just stick to pointing out that the 'god' in question is a slimy Puppeteer Parasite.
Jonas: Is it really necessary to further antagonize him? (They are trapped in a pyramid with dozens of Jaffa twenty feet away and a gigantic alien mothership in orbit)
O'Neill: (matter-of-factly) Yes.
- All the Free Jaffa use it as a rallying cry. "I die free!"
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", the Klingons, after causing major damage to the alternate-universe Enterprise, order Picard to surrender or be boarded. Picard's response? Keep shooting.
Picard: That will be the day.
- A major Picard subversion also occurs at the end of the "Chain of Command" two-parter, after Picard is subjected to days of Cold-Blooded Torture, during which the interrogator attempts to force Picard to say that there are five lights on a wall, when there are obviously just four. He manages to expose his captor's own foibles and famously screams out "THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS!" when he is released. It looks like a straight play, until a short scene with Troi at the end, when Picard admits that he was released just in the nick of time, because not only was he ready to surrender and say that there were five lights on the wall, he could actually see five lights.
- Supernatural: Castiel has been captured by the Devil in a ring of holy fire, and Lucifer offers him a job and points out that, having disobeyed Heaven, Cas will be #1 on the hit list if they manage to get rid of Luci. Clearly terrified, Cas just says, "I'll die first". Not as snarky as most examples, but quietly awesome all the same.
Gabriel: Lucifer, you're my brother, and I love you, but you are a great big bag of dicks.
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: "I'll never help you get to John Connor."
- Molly in True Blood. The Authority are preparing to excecute her, and in her final moments she refuses to accept Lilith, instead telling them that they are the opposite of evolved.
- The Walking Dead: Merle goes down in a fist fight against the Governor, and shows no fear even when bloody, beaten, and facing down the Governor's gun.
- When Alexandria is overrun by a massive horde of walkers, Deanna is bitten in the chaos. As her health rapidly deteriorates, she tells the others to leave her behind while they escape from the house they've holed up in, and prepares to shoot herself. However, at the last minute, she instead decides to empty her gun into a hallway full of walkers, and then screaming defiantly at the remaining ones as they close in on her.
- Abraham Ford, whom Negan executes as an example to the rest of Rick's group. Throughout the scene he is challenging Negan and, after Negan chooses him as the victim, merely stares him down and smiles. His dying words, after taking a baseball bat covered in barbed wire to the head? "Suck my nuts." It's implied Negan chose him specifically because he realized Abraham would never break.
- On The X-Files, Mulder does this while on trial for murder. When a panel of judges finds him guilty of a murder he could not have committed, he has this to say:
Mulder: Yes. I'd like to congratulate you, on succeeding where so many before you have failed. A bullet between the eyes would have been preferable to this charade. But I've learned to pretend over the past nine years — to pretend that my victories mattered only to realize that no one was keeping score. To realize that liars do not fear the truth if there are enough liars. That the devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men, which is what we have here today. If I am a guilty man, my crime is in daring to believe; that the truth will out and that no one lie can live forever. I believe it still. Much as you try to bury it, the truth is out there. Greater than your lies, the truth wants to be known. You will know it. It'll come to you, as it's come to me, faster than the speed of light. You may believe yourselves rid of your headache now, and maybe you are... but you've only done it by cutting off your own heads.
- The Minstrel Boy is an Irish folk song telling of the titular minstrel going to war for Ireland, but falls in battle. With a combination of I Die Free, he chooses to make one last act against his murderers by destroying his harp.
''The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain
Could not bring his proud soul under;
The harp he loved ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!"
- In the apocryphal book of 2nd Maccabees, the seven Jewish brothers who were forced to eat food forbidden by their dietary laws under the threat of death all refused to do so, preferring to remain faithful to their God instead. Their mother also joined them in the same defiant rebellion. And before them, Eleazar boldly refused to make it even look like he was eating forbidden food when meat sanctioned by the Law of God was substituted, so as to not cause other faithful Jews to turn away from God.
- In The Addams Family, if the player gets an end-of-ball bonus worth 20 million points or more, Gomez shouts "Who says you can't take it with you?!"
- Shawn Michaels perfectly embodied this trope during the last match of his career at WrestleMania XXVI. Down, out, and all but defeated, he clawed his way up at the feet of what's probably the most dominant force in WWE history (The Undertaker at WrestleMania). Knowing he was going to lose, but (as is definitely his nature) remaining defiant, Michaels mimicked Undertaker's "Throat cut" gesture. Undertaker didn't respond... so Shawn slapped him across the face. You could see the exact moment that Undertaker went from slightly merciful to PISSED OFF. Cue Super Atomic Jumping Tombstone of Death.
- Which was largely a nod to the Wrestlemania two years prior, again with Shawn Michaels, but this time against his friend/mentor/father-figure Ric Flair, facing a mandate that the next time he lost, he was fired. He wanted Michaels, who had long been called "Mister Wrestlemania", specifically because he had to fight the best, or it didn't mean anything. At the end of the match, Flair (legitimately, if tales are to be believed) had trouble even standing and holding his fists up, telling Shawn to "Come on! Pull the trigger!" He knew it was his last match, and it would end in nothing short of an epic climax.
- Then there was the Hell in a Cell Match at WrestleMania XXVIII between Triple H and The Undertaker. Often acclaimed as the most dramatic of all of the Undertaker's matches in WrestleMania history, the final sequence goes as this: Triple H, beaten and broken, with his last breath, lunges towards 'Taker, sledgehammer in hand...and is stopped, 'Taker grabbing the sledgehammer, shaking his head. Triple H, knowing he is beaten, leans against the turnbuckles in the corner, and with one last act of defiance, performs a crotch-chop to 'Taker before having said sledgehammer rammed into his head, being hit with the Tombstone Piledriver, and being pinned.
- Similarly, at SummerSlam 2015 The Undertaker hit Brock Lesnar with a low blow and then applied his 'Hell's Gate' submission hold. With only a few seconds before he would be choked out, Brock chose not to tap but to give him two middle fingers instead.
- Mercedes Martinez has been receiving death threats from the WSU's Midwest Militia for much of the fall. Doesn't really care. Turns out they're pretty serious about that, handcuffing her opponents and the referee during a War Games Match so they can ensure there will be some kind of audience when they beat Martinez to death but she still doesn't quit. Then she's dropped off the top rope on her head, seemingly paralyzed while Jessicka Havok produces a machete. Martinez can't even defend herself any long but she can spit.
- From Les Misérables Enjolras and the members of the ABC during their final stand at the barricades.
Let us die facing our foes
Make them bleed while we can.
Make them pay through the nose.
Make them pay for every man!
Let others rise
To take our place
Until the earth is free!
Shoot me now or shoot me later
- Javert when he outed as a spy while at the barricade and believes (rightfully) that the students plan to execute him.
Every schoolboy to his sport
Death to each and every traitor
I renounce your people's court!
- In the original stage play for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when Riff Raff told him he was going to kill him, Frank responded with, ‘Do your worst, inferior one.’
- Pathfinder. Rovagug's antipaladin code demands this from its adherents:
I will die standing.
- This is the primary ethos of Delta Green in a nutshell. Is humanity screwed six non-Euclidean ways from Sunday? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean you just lie down and let it happen.
- Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution gives us Mama Bear,who has been captured by a shadowy government conspiracy that wants to forcefully indoctrinate her.
- When she's first detained, she's openly disrespectful towards her captors, flipping a therapist off with both hands before using her telekinesis to slap him in the face with a clipboard. She does this knowing that she can't get away yet and with a full understanding that she'll be punished for it.
- When a woman tries to break her spirit by sympathetically telling her that her friends were killed during a rescue attempt, she snaps and horribly injures her. This also strengthens her resolve to keep resisting and it's made clear that her contempt and hostility for the organization incarcerating her are just as strong, if not stronger, than in the beginning of the story.
- Warhammer 40,000:
Eventually Tuska was impaled through the gut by his adversary and pinned to the ground by its cloven hoof. In triumph, the Blood Prince screamed its praise to Khorne, but whilst it was distracted, the warband's remaining Weirdboys unleashed a storm of psychic energy upon the deamon. It roared in rage at their impudence, crushing their minds with a gesture. With his final act, Tuska reached up between the creature's legs with his power klaw and made a gesture of his own.
- The Imperium in general has been likened to a man hanging from a cliff by his fingernails, watched and jeered at by the various cosmic horrors of the setting. He could use his free hand ta hang on a bit longer, but then he'd have nothing to flip them off with.
- Warboss Tuska was an ork with a dream of finding the best fights, and reasoned that the best place to find them was in the Eye of Terror. He did just that, leading his Waaagh! on an interplanetary rampage through the biggest Negative Space Wedgie in the galaxy, until they finally met their match on a daemon world of the Blood Prince, a Daemon Prince of Khorne.
- As punishment, the orks are resurrected every day to fight again. Talk about missing the point.
- Warhammer Fantasy:
Settra said this to Nagash, one of the most terrifying villains in Warhammer Fantasy, Who offered him the position of being a Mortarch, in other words, becoming one of the Nagash's liutenants. Settra gave this response. Nagash flipped out an then proceeded to destroy everything Settra fought for, while keeping him alive.
- SETTRA DOES NOT SERVE! SETTRA RULES!
- World of Warcraft has quite a few examples,this being a world where a Last Stand is pretty common.
Gul'dan: You will be remembered as the king who sacrificed his life for nothing.Varian: [looks Gul'dan in the eye] For the Alliance.
- Sir Zeliek is one of these. Even though he's technically a villain, it's not his choice. He went down fighting and though he was raised into undeath, he still refuses to give up the belief that righteousness will prevail. Tragically, this is what makes him such a valuable weapon to the very evil he fought so hard, since through him the Lich King can control the force of the Holy Light.
- Every raid boss in the game uses this trope: the most powerful abilities are employed as the boss is getting low on health. However, magnificently subverted in the Lich King encounter, where Tirion shatters Frostmourne and the last 10% of the boss's health is the raid simply beating up the helpless boss.
- In Mists of Pandaria, you have Xin the Weaponmaster, who condescendingly terms you puny and your efforts as pitiful. Should you manage to defeat him, he spits blood in your face and snorts "You call that...a fight?"
- In one of the Legion pre-patch cinematics, Gul'dan has Varian Wrynn on his knees, already impaled on several demons' swords.
- Final Fantasy V: Galuf takes on Exdeath solo after the rest of the party falls, and doesn't let a pesky thing like running out of Hit Points stop him until Exdeath retreats, even if it costs him his life.
- Final Fantasy XII: Balthier's reaction to a sword to his throat?
Balthier: Well at least your sword is to the point.
- Balthier can also be heard snarking calmly when he's knocked out in combat:
Balthier: Is that your best?
- Balthier can also be heard snarking calmly when he's knocked out in combat:
- Kratos from the God of War series.
Kratos: A choice from the Gods is as useless as the Gods themselves.
Zeus: Even now as you draw your last breath, you continue to defy me!?
- Eddie Pulaski, one of the antagonists from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is this after Carl causes him to crash and asks for any last words. Eddie's response? "Can I fuck your sister?"
- Emile and player character Noble Six of Halo: Reach display this trope rather well. Emile takes it to Dying Moment of Awesome territory when a Covenant Elite impales him with its sword from behind. Without missing a beat, he spins around and stabs the Elite in the neck, taking it down with him. Six displays it early, when an Elite grabs him/her and pins him/her to a wall, Six punches him in the face. It comes to a head at the game's end, when Six stays behind on Reach to help Keyes escape with the Cortana fragment. He/she takes on the swarming Covenant with a vast array of weapons, ending with an assault rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other, and then his/her bare hands, still punching and kicking at them as they deliver the killing blow.
- Sergeant Johnson in Halo 3. When he's captured by the Brutes, Truth tries to force him to activate the Halos, because only a human can do it. When he refuses, the Brutes attempt to force him to do it by physical force. He just punches their chieftain straight in its face, and then insults it. Even when Truth himself attempts to force him to light the Halos, Johnson remains defiant and even insults Truth himself straight to his face while he's being manhandled by the Brutes from behind.
- The Lone Wanderer invokes this beautifully in Fallout 3. When captured by the Enclave, the Wanderer gets interrogated by Colonel Autumn, and you can defy him in three ways: you can play dumb, you can tell him in no uncertain terms to go fuck himself, or you can tell him a lie. The latter two are extremely satisfying (either from the insult or from hearing Autumn's resultant tirade), considering it's his fault that your father dies. Fortunately, they survive.
- Combined with Big Damn Heroes and Heroic Sacrifice by Zero in Mega Man X, because he's that cool: In the second Vile fight, Zero went ahead to fight Vile. When X follows, he finds that Zero lost and is locked in an electric cage. An Unwinnable fight ensues. When X gets hit with Vile's paralyzer again, Zero catches Vile monologuing and breaks out, latching on to Vile's Ride Armor. He purposely overloads himself to destroy the Ride Armor, but Vile survives. X is understandably pissed and breaks out of the paralyzer and refills his Hit Points, then proceeds to hand Vile his ass.
- This is how Aelia meets her untimely end in Valkyrie Profile before you recruit her as an Einherjar.
- In Persona 3 , Mitsuru Kirijo delivers this line to the Big Bad who is an Eldritch Abomination that is set on bringing The End of the World as We Know It,
We've come this far... I WILL NOT SUBMIT!!!
- Persona 5: In the Bad Ending right up until he's shot in the head, the protagonist will simply glare his assassin from The Conspiracy in the face, rather than give him the dignity of a response.
- Disc-One Final Boss Jarod is a villainous example in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned, and scapegoated for the entire disaster of the Daein occupation by his superiors, Jarod barricades his army inside Daein Keep, gives one last Rousing Speech, and uses catapults to destroy the capital city. When he's finally cornered, his Famous Last Words are an I Regret Nothing speech, and the verbal equivalent of spitting in Micaiah's face.
- Lord Elbert in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Even though he's dying from just having had his energy sucked out to summon a dragon by the Big Bad Nergal, he still manages to give Nergal a grievous wound before telling him he "will oppose him always". By the way, that wound? Takes a long time to heal. It's lategame by the time Nergal's at his full strength again.
- Emily Wong of the Mass Effect series. While an extremely minor character throughout the series proper, the night before Mass Effect 3 went live, she chronicled the first 12 or so hours of the Reaper invasion on the Alliance News Network Twitter page. After getting injured, losing all of her weapons, watching her coworkers and fellow survivors get slaughtered, and, above all else, finding out that her tweets might have allowed the Reapers to find ANN's followers, she decides that, since she's going out anyway, she might as well go out with style. So she takes a skycar and starts flying towards the nearest Reaper. Her final words really seal the deal.
- The Ardat-Yakshi Rila is already half-indoctrinated and barely able to stop herself from attacking her own sister when first awakened. She regains control of herself and, while her sister is dragged away screaming, draws the attention of the approaching Banshees. As one stares into her eyes, Rila seems to be speaking to the Reapers controlling it as she detonates the bomb.
- Jack, if you fail to evacuate the Grissom Academy in time in Mass Effect 3, will be captured by Cerberus, indoctrinated, and turned into a Phantom, essentially an empty shell of herself. In the endgame, you can find video logs of her final day, showing that she remained defiant in her usual vulgar way until the end.
- EDI vows to do this if they can't defeat the Reapers. "I would rather become nonfunctional than help them. I want you to know I will never be a part of the Reaper forces."
- Finally, Shepard himself in the "Refusal" ending.
Shepard: I fight for freedom. Mine, and everyone's. I fight for the right to choose our own fate. And if I die, I'll die knowing that I did everything I could to stop you. And I'll die free.
- In Dragon Age: Origins the Human Noble Warden's defiant response to Arl Howe mocking them for having killed their entire family and claiming their are nothing now that the Wardens are gone as well.
Human Noble: You lie, Howe. To yourself most of all. I am a Grey Warden!
Arl Howe: There it is, right there. That damned look in the eye that marked every Cousland success that held me back!
Duke Prosper: You will all die screaming, I swear it!
- In Dragon Age II, the final boss of the Mark of the Assassin DLC is defeated and hanging from a cliff by one hand;
Snarky!Hawke: I would have tried begging for mercy, but that's just me. *Turns and walks away* Thank you for the lovely party, I'll treasure the belt!
Duke Prosper: *Falls down, screaming*
Varric: And that's what you get for spending your last minute monologuing.
Snarky!Hawke: Looks like the Duke... has fallen from grace.
- Two from Wing Commander III:
- In the introduction, Prince Thrakhath says this of Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux after she spits in his face when gloating about the capture of her and her special forces operatives. The player doesn't see it until later in the game, but after spitting in his face he disembowels her with his claws, in what the Kilrathi consider an honorable death, unlike the disintegration of the other humans.
- In the losing path if captured after failing to destroy Kilrah, the player is given the option for Blair to either give up and meekly accept defeat or to tell Thrakhath "screw you". The former gets Blair disintegrated by guards behind him as not worthy of a "proper" Kilrathi death, while the latter earns him Angel's fate.
- Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, an injured Optimus is dragged before Megatron, and this exchange occurs:
Megatron: No one leaves without my permission!
Optimus: I wasn't asking.
- Megatron himself counts later in the same scene. If you pause in between smashing him with Meroplex's gigantic fist, Megatron will continue to fire at the skyscraper-sized Autobot even though he clearly doesn't have a hope in hell of accomplishing anything.
- In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, during a holorecording showing the Exile's trial and banishment from the Jedi Order, they are ordered to relinquish their lightsaber. Without saying a word, the Exile tells them exactly where they can shove it by stabbing it into the centre stone of the Council Chamber, then turns and casually walks out. More than one Jedi Master appears uncertain whether they want to be irritated or impressed by this.
- In Assassin's Creed III, the second-to-last Templar to be assassinated, Hatham Kenway, stands by his groups vision even after Connor delivers the final blow.
- Taken completely literally in the Chzo Mythos; Trilby, and his stubborn will to live, is giving the Tall Man enough time to transport into reality. To avoid this? He makes himself die on the spot. To spite the Tall Man. Averted because he immediately comes back to life and the Tall Man only actually needed Trilby's blood.
- Borderlands 2 features this, most notably with Handsome Jack, the main antagonist of the series. Upon being beaten in the end, with his plans having crumbled, Handsome Jack doesn't beg or even throw his characteristically cocky insults or snappy jokes at the player; he instead delivers the most violent, hateful, profane, lengthy "Fuck you" speech of the entire game, with pure psychotic insanity laden in his voice and lava and flames splashing about the area, condemning the player and their friends for destroying his vision of order and for ensuring what he views as lawlessness and murder on the planet of Pandora. Whether you choose to kill him or allow your ally to do so, he doesn't beg and he doesn't even flinch.
- Asura's Wrath has a perfect demonstration of this trope with the final battle between Asura and Chakravartin. After Asura rejects Chakravartin's offer of godhood via punch to the face, it begins an epic, all-out showdown that spans all across the Event Horizon with Chakravartin throwing everything he's got at Asura and Asura showing he can tank everything Chakravartin's got and toss it right back. Eventually, after losing a Pummel Duel with Asura, Chakravartin goes One-Winged Angel and reduces Asura to his base form, but even then Asura just keeps on swinging as the fight eventually devolves into a brutal fistfight between the two as Chakravartin's power begins to weaken.note . But even as he starts taking heavy damage, Chakravartin goes down fighting to the end as Asura beats the shit out of him while laying out an epic "World of Cardboard" Speech.
- After finding the masterminds behind the phone calls in Hotline Miami, the player is able to kill the two responsible if they want. Once they shoot one of them, the other simply flips the bird to the player.
- Lilac from Freedom Planet is eventually captured, tortured, mutilated and left completely at the mercy of Lord Brevon, who planned on executing her shortly if not for a Big Damn Heroes moment that prevented it, and she still doesn't stop defiantly mouthing off to him. Brevon even muses that he could hack off all her limbs and she'd still try to to bite him.
- Lex Luthor in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Note that in the Injustice Universe, Lex is a good guy and a longtime friend of Superman, but also helping against his regime. He's about to kill him successfully until Shazam attacks and disables his armor, allowing Superman to injure him mortally.
Superman: How could you? I brought peace to this world!
Lex Luthor: Your peace... is a joke. *dies*
- In Evolve you can do this as the hunter. Even as you lie bleeding out on the ground and the monster is preparing to finish you off, or just watching you die, you can fire your peashooter of a pistol at it until you die.
- Subverted or Double Subverted, depending on how ruthless you are in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. When you begin to crush a rival faction, they'll ask for a truce. If you ignore it and continue, they'll ask for a truce but also try to bribe you with cash or technologies. If you ignore that and it's certain they're going to be utterly destroyed, they'll throw themselves at your mercy and offer you an alliance and all their credits and tech as long as you spare them. If you refuse at this point, they will cut all communications with you and fight from the last ditch.
- The Final Boss of Darkest Dungeon almost always requires you to sacrifice two heroes to it. Some will Face Death with Dignity, telling you to spare the others and accepting their doom calmly. Some will beg for survival. Some will actively demand that you pick them. The Bounty Hunter will just grunt, because he's The Quiet One. And then, qualifying for this trope, there are the Crusader and the Hellion.
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine: after you finally get to fight Warboss Grimskull of the invading Ork horde and beat/slash/shoot him into a pulp, Grimskull still doesn't give up, letting out a defiant "I ain't finished with you yet, Space Marine!" Unfortunately for him, Captain Titus has had enough of this Ork invasion and says, "But I am finished with you, Ork," and blows Grimskull's head off.
- Shirou from Fate/stay night. Practically every time an option like this shows up alongside an Ain't Too Proud to Beg alternative, taking the Defiant to the End option will advance the story and avoid a Bad End. Outside of Shirou, Rin is also a big-time adherent in this trope and continues to spit insults at people even as they've got her cornered. And then there's "Heaven's Feel", where this trope gets subverted quite a few times for both Shirou and Rin.
- When Tex makes her return after a two year absence in Red vs. Blue, she immediately starts a huge fight sequence in which she completely curbstomps the combined Red and Blue teams, including Sarge and Tucker, two characters that fans had speculated might potentially be able to match her in terms of combat skill (turns out, neither are even close). Tucker comes out as the most competent in the fight, though, and no matter how much he gets his ass kicked he just keeps making lewd comments to Tex instead of screaming or panicking like the others.
- Sarge does this to the Maine. He was disguising their true plan by hiding it behind his back with one hand and somehow operating a pump-action shotgun with the other.
- Church does this to the Maine. It's part of his Heroic Sacrifice.
- Maine does this to Tex when his and Wyoming's shenanigans during the sparring match go south.
- South does this to Wash. He shoots her in the head in cold blood.
- Wyoming when captured by Church and Tex.
- Griff ropes Simmons into screwing with the Red firing squad they're standing in front of.
- Tucker to C.T. in the desert fight.
- The mooks to Maine when he drops in during the skyscraper assault.
- Tucker to Felix while he's bleeding out after being stabbed Justified and averted, the former because he's just blown Felix and Locus's scheme wide open, and the latter because he gets medical help before actually dying
Felix: At the end of the day, if I'm stronger than you and if I'm faster than you, then I can kill you! And that's better than anything money can buy!
Tucker: I dunno man, I think I'd rather be rich than a fucking nut-job. What do you think, Church?
- In volume 5 of RWBY, Adam Taurus impales High Leader Sienna Khan in a coup. Her last act while on his sword is to reach for his throat as if to strangle him until he tosses her down a set of stairs and she dies.
- In It's Walky!, Mike used his last breath to hurl taunts and insults at the Martian who was killing him.
- Thief to Black Mage in 8-Bit Theater: "My only regret is that I didn't hate you more."
- Girl Genius: The sentient train The Beast continues to hurl threats even as its brain/control unit is physically yanked from its ripped and mangled body.
- In Marble Hornets Entry #67, Alex finds himself lying on the ground, tied to a chair and on the business end of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge from Masky. Once the beating ends, Hoody pulls out Alex's gun and points it at his face. Alex replies with a Death Glare from the pits of Hell itself.
- This YouTube video. A nerd types the umpteenth "arrow to the knee" joke into a YouTube comment, and the Dragonborn pops out of his monitor, kneecaps him, and Fus Ro Dahs him, and then tells him in explicit detail how he will kill him if he ever types that joke in again. When the Dragonborn asks the nerd at the end, "Do you understand, YOU PUTRID FUCKING CUNT?!?", what's the first thing the nerd says? "I used to be a putrid fucking cunt... BUT THEN I TOOK AN ARROW TO THE--"
- In Worm, Armsmaster displays this trope when the serial killer Mannequin comes after him, taunting Mannequin for his failure to save the world and his twisted need to destroy those that try even as Mannequin beats him half to death and begins to stab him.
- In ＬＯＣＡＬ５８ - Contingency, this is what President Andrew Jackson demands of the American population "in the event of United States complete surrender to insurmountable enemy forces". Urging the people to, time and opportunity permitting, lay down on their front lawns and commit suicide in the name of "preserving the memory of the United States clear and bright.... untarnished and uncompromised." His address ends with the phrase "Even in defeat, we refused to yield. Even in defeat we claim VICTORY."
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Slug captures Wildcat and Batman, and begins lowering them into a pit so they can be eaten by mutant snapping turtles. Wildcat starts insulting Slug, stinging his pride enough to make him pull Wildcat back out so they can fistfight.
- Stinkmeaner takes this trope Up to Eleven in The Boondocks (it's Played for Laughs). After essentially getting himself into an over-matched fight, he curses his opponent Robert repeatedly while getting beaten to death. Upon arriving in Hell, he refuses to succumb to the torture everyone else is facing, and trains up to the point where even the Devil himself is amazed enough to send him back to Earth.
Bane: Cry! BEG! SCREAM MY NAME!!!
- A scene based on Knightfall, the episode introducing Bane to Batman: The Animated Series has Bane basically curbstomping Batman with his enchanced strength, demanding that Batman beg for his life.
Batman: Never!Darkseid: People of Earth - I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips. Here is your savior... cowed, and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the cosmos. I am power unlike any you have ever known: absolute, infinite, and unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare for a long, dark future as my subjects... and my slaves.
Dan Turpin: In a pig's eye!
Ichthultu: Speak to me, child of Thanagar.
- Justice League, "The Terror Beyond". Even after being bound hand and foot by Icthultu, Hawkgirl has nothing but spite for the Eldritch Abomination.
Hawkgirl: Nothing to say! I have a gesture for you, but my hands are tied.
Dr. Moon: Tell me what you know.
- The Question, when captured by Cadmus and subjected to drugs and Electric Torture, responds by raving about nonsensical information of no practical use to anyone. (Alternately, since this version of The Question is a wacky Conspiracy Theorist, he may really believe this is helpful information.)
The Question: The plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces are called "aglets". Their true purpose is sinister!
- In one episode of Family Guy, after the Y2K, Joe Swanson's wheelchair gets melted into the curb, leaving him completely immobilised. A giant mutated rat turns up and looks like it's going to eat him. Joe's response? "BRING IT ON!!" He turns up again alive and well later in the episode, implying he was able to kill or at least fight the thing off.
- Lin Beifong in The Legend of Korra is a non-fatal example. When captured Amon tells her to give up Korra's location and he will allow her to keep her bending. The only thing she says is that he's getting nothing from her and then quietly accepts her fate.
- In this episode of The Powerpuff Girls, some defeated villains join in laughing at the girls when they are embarrassed publicly by the Professor.
- Happens quite a bit in ReBoot whenever Megabyte has the upper hand. He Lampshades it in season 3 when confronted by a grown up Enzo Matrix: "Where's that annoying chatter of yours? Mega Breath this and Mega Both that!"
- In the same season, in the last few episodes Megabyte has captured Mainframe's principle office and removed Phong's head from his body, keeping him alive just to get the portal command codes. He has to use an extraction device, as Phong refuses to cooperate.
Phong: I will fight you... to the last... virus.
- In the same season, in the last few episodes Megabyte has captured Mainframe's principle office and removed Phong's head from his body, keeping him alive just to get the portal command codes. He has to use an extraction device, as Phong refuses to cooperate.
- The Simpsons: Bart Simpson in the episode Bart The Murderer. After he had accidentally ended up in the Springfield mafia's turf, he was taken and interrogated by them, believing that he was a spy. He answered their questions with "eat my shorts" and "don't have a cow". In this case, Bart's insults and tough guy act actually impresses the mafia, convincing them to give him a job as a bartender.
- It also helped that "Don't Have A Cow" and "Eat My Shorts" were the names of racehorses. And that Don't Have A Cow won that day's race, beating out Cowabunga and Yabba-Dabba-Doo.
- In The Smurfs Springtime Special, Gargamel's much-crueler godfather Balthazar tries to use his "magic wand of the future" (his term for a musket) on the Smurfs. He misses them, but hits their pet duck, much to the Smurfs' terror. Then:
Balthazar: Here me Smurfs and hear me well! I am Balthazar, master wizard! (Smurfs look at him with pure hate) Surrender six of your own or you will pay dearly!
Hefty Smurf: Here's our answer, Balthazar! (Throws a snowball at him.)
Clumsy Smurf: Yeah, and here's mine! (Does the same)
The Smurfs all decide to charge him as he prepares to fire again, but luckily, the noise from the first shot woke up a slumbering bear, which is pretty angry; it chases the villains away.
- Princess Sally in the third episode of Sonic Sat AM. When she was captured by Dr. Robotnik, he demanded her to tell where Knothole is located. Sally's reponse: "Sure I will. When you get a life."
- Star Wars Rebels: In "Legacy of Mandalore", even with two lightsabers (Ezra's and the Darksaber) scissored at his neck, and missing several fingers, Gar Saxon refuses to surrender, and would rather die. When Sabine refuses to kill him, he tries to shoot her, and gets shot himself.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Splinter's master Hamato Yoshi was ambushed by the Shredder's men, unarmed, and outnumbered by more than ten to one, but he still wouldn't go down without a fight. And even though he did go down, he was willing to die before he told the Shredder anything, and his last words to the villain were to insult him, saying, "He who lives without honor will die without honor."
- Teen Titans has Cyborg, dismembered and completely at the mercy of Brother Blood, giving Brother Blood a Curse Cut Short.
- This is the standard for all the Titans. But in "Haunted", when Robin is being beaten to an inch of death by Slade or so he thought to the point that Robin doesn't even have the strength to stand anymore, he finally begs Slade to stop and it's one of the most disturbing scenes in the series.
- Inverted in ThunderCats (2011) when one of a pair of lizards, stuck in the stocks, snaps at his groveling companion not to expect mercy from their captors, and angrily gives heroic Catfolk Prince Lion-O an earful about his motives for stealing the Cats' crops that metastasizes into a Screw You, Elves! speech, despite the very real threat of death for confronting the prince of the race who enslaved him. Lion-O's response is to defend the prisoners against an Angry Mob of Catfolk and successfully plead with his father for their release.
- Perhaps one of the best examples of this in W.I.T.C.H. is when Nerissa has captured Hay Lin's grandmother, who was likewise a member of CHYKN, the previous group of guardians. No matter what Nerissa offers her (because she needs Grandma Lin to complete CHYKN once more) she refuses, and she's quite sassy for an old, nearly powerless woman. (Nerissa winds up creating an astral drop of younger grandma Lin since the real one won't cooperate.)
- Wander over Yonder: Near the end of 'The Bot', Bot 13/Beep-Boop returns to Lord Dominator's headquarters with the coordinates to the planet he had scouted out earlier and is just about to give them to her...but thanks to a Heel–Face Turn by Wander, he denies her access. When she furiously demands Bot 13 to display the coordinates, threatening to have him destroyed if he defies her, what does he do? He corrects her that his name is Beep-Boop and deletes the coordinates from his memory right in front of her! This, of course, leads to a Heroic Sacrifice on his part as he is Thrown Out the Airlock...
- Godzilla: The Series: In the episode Future Shock, we learn that Godzilla did this at some point before HEAT arrives in the Bad Future version of 2028 in an attempt to protect the last few million humans from a race of genetically engineered monsters called the Dragmas. He SUCCEEDED. To top it off, it's implied he also did NOT go down alone. Crosses into both Heartwarming and Tear Jerker when we are told all of this after being shown his Memorial Statue....
- Gravity Falls: In "Weirdmaggedon: Part 1", Ford Pines claims he rather choose to die before joinining Bill Cipher and his gang.
- In The Long Long Holiday, Mr. Herbin is gunned down by the Germans while yelling "Viva la France!"
- Early (1st-3rd Century) Christian martyrs in Rome were like this. The same thing applied to a lot of Protestants killed in the Inquisition (and vice-versa, a lot of Roman Catholics killed in Protestant countries), often continuing to preach even while they were being burned at the stake.
- Likewise, a good number of the people killed in witch trials remained this way, too.
- In fact, martyrs in general. Grandfather 'em all, regardless of religion. Special mention: St. Lawrence was captured and roasted alive. His response? "Turn me over, I think this side is done." For this, he has become the Patron Saint of Comedians. And chefs.
- During the Salem Witch Trials, suspected witches were (sometimes literally) pressured to plead either guilty or not guilty so the trial could commence and then have the accused reveal the names of others supposedly involved in witchcraft, which kept the cycle of trials going. Giles Corey refused to plea either guilty or not guilty, knowing he was more than likely to be found guilty and executed no matter how he plead. He would only call out "More weight!" whenever the townsfolk demanded he plea, and as a result his trial never officially commenced and he was thus able to die in full possession of his estate, which would otherwise have been forfeited to the government had he been found guilty.
- The song about Susanna Martin, one of the victims of the Salem trials, ends by saying that "Still in scorn she faced the rope/her comely head held high".
- Russian partisan girl Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, caught by Nazis and cruelly tortured before execution, said from under the gallows:
- Che Guevara.
I know you have come to kill. Kill me if you wish, coward, but know that you can only kill a man.
- Saddam Hussein according to this account.
- The French Foreign Legion's reputation was first established at the Battle of Camaron, when 65 men fought a force of two thousand Mexicans. When they eventually ran out of ammunition, the last five men mounted a bayonet charge. Beaten to the ground, the two survivors were offered one last chance to surrender. Their response? They demanded the right to keep their weapons and escort their commanding officer's body home. The Mexican commander agreed to their terms. It seemed churlish to refuse. Many years later, the Mexican government erected a monument in memory of the French soldiers, and every year holds a parade to commemorate their last stand.
- Michel Ney, one of Napoleon's generals said this before he was executed by firing squad:
Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her... Soldiers! Fire!
- During the Spanish Civil War, the Republicans captured the son of José Moscardó e Ituarte, the Nationalist commandant during the Siege of the Alcázar. The Republican forces called Moscardó on the telephone, and demanded he surrender or they would kill his son. Moscardó asked to speak to his son, who he told; "Commend your soul to God and die like a patriot, shouting 'Long live Christ King' and 'Long live Spain.'" His son's reply? "That, I can do."
- This is something of an Iberian tradition. In 1296, Muslims were laying siege to the Castilian town of Tarifa; they took prisoner the son of Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, the Christian nobleman in charge of the defense, and threatened to kill his son if he didn't surrender. Dad's response? To throw down a knife from the battlements for them to kill his son with. This was his only son. To this day, said nobleman is known as Guzmán el Bueno and is an important figure in Spanish history. It's very likely that Moscardó had him at least partly in mind.
- Amon Goeth, a concentration camp commander and war criminal faced his death with utter indifference and serenity. His last words were "Heil Hitler".
- In 1809, during the Second Siege of Saragossa and at a point where the French had gained undeniable superiority, having even taken parts of the city, French general Verdier sent a message to the Spaniard's defending military demanding the surrender of the city, stating simply «Paz y capitulación.» ("Peace and surrender."). General Palafox's answer? «Guerra y cuchillo.» ("War and knife.").
- When the British were surrounded at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden, the Germans "offered to discuss surrender terms." British commander Lt.-Col. John Frost's reply: "I'm afraid we don't have the numbers to take all of your lot prisoner, old boy. Was there anything else?"
- Similarly, when the American 101st Airborne were surrounded by Germans in the city of Bastogne, the Germans sent a letter offering them the chance to surrender. The reply from Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe has since become a legend within the American military: "To the German Commander: NUTS! Signed, the American Commander". McAuliffe substituted it for "go to hell", since he refrained from using profane language as a rule.note
- The nineteen year old soldier Private Yevgeny Rodionov of the Russian Army. When he, along with three other Russian soldiers, got captured by Chechen islamists during the First Chechen War, he suffered torture for several days because he refused to renounce his Christian faith and convert to Islam as demanded by the islamists. Even when he was threatened with a army knife, he still refused to give up his faith, which got his throat slit by the said knife. Due to his defiance, he has become sort of a national hero in Russia, and many people even demand that he should be canonized to sainthood.
- Though one of the reasons he was not made a saint is that the Russian Orthodox church doubted the story was fiction on part of his mother. The corroborating testimony was "extracted" from captured Chechens after the story already started making the rounds.
- Benito Mussolini, as he faced an execution squad of the Italian Resistance:
Shoot me in the chest!
- Britain in World War II. Churchill's famous speeches are a long manifesto detailing just how Britain would not surrender:
Churchill: We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!
- When Marcus Tullius Cicero was captured by assassins sent after him by Mark Antony, he told one of them: "There is nothing proper about what you are going to do, but do it properly."
- Private John Moyse (or Moyes) of the British Army was captured by the Chinese during the Second Opium War. He was executed when he refused to bow down to a Chinese general. The incident became the subject of a poem, "The Private of the Buffs" by Sir Francis Hastings Doyle.
- Stjepan Filipovic, a Croatian/Yugoslav Partisan during WWII used his last breath before being hanged by Serbian Nazi-collaborators to shout "Death to fascism, freedom to the people." (which would latter become the rallying cry of all of Yugoslavia.) The photo taken seconds before being hanged practically defines this trope.
- Norwegian resistance men. A certain group were set before a firing squad, ready to be executed. History tells they defiantly sung their national anthem until the bullets hit them.
- Most of the Norwegian society shared this opinion in 1814, when they knew they were sold out to Sweden in an international bargain. This defiance paid off in a written constitution, and later on, even more defiance secured them their sovereign right to rule themselves inside a loose union with Sweden. The awesomeness in this hangs on the fact that the Swedes time and again were willing to use military force against them. In one crucial situation, the speaker of parliament had this information handed to him in a secret letter ("Do as we wish or risk another war"). His reaction: to burn the letter, never mentioning it, and voting against the Swedish demands, securing a majority in parliament. Defiant indeed. For the sake of good will, the Swedes grudgingly accepted it (and were more than a little impressed).
- During the Norwegian-Swedish war in 1814, the fortress of Halden stood its ground against Swedish attacks for two weeks without surrendering. This fortress surrendered only after the official capitulation, and the Swedish command honored the Norwegian soldiers for their defiance.
- Several members of the notorious thugee cult in India (who killed their victims via strangulation) who were sentenced to die by hanging, actually leapt from the scaffold after the noose had been fitted around their necks, not only to show defiance, but to prove, at least symbolically, that they were masters of killing by such a method.
- Fabrizio Quattrocchi was an Italian security guard working in Iraq. In 2004, he was captured by terrorists who forced him to dig his own grave and kneel beside it wearing a hood as they prepared to film his death. Before they executed him, he defied them by trying to pull off his hood and shouting: "I'll show you how an Italian dies!".
- Gratien Fernando, the leader of the Cocos Islands Mutiny against the British authority on Sri Lanka. He was a Sri Lankan man who joined the Ceylon colonial forces due to his anti-facist idealism, in hopes that he would fight against the Japanese, but he became disillusioned when he and other natives were victims of British discrimination. Inspired by the Japanese-supported resistance movements in Burma and Indonesia, he and other Sri Lankan soldiers started a mutiny against the colonial authority but it was crushed and Fernando was taken prisoner and executed. His last words were: "Loyalty to a country under the heel of a white man is disloyalty".
- Different historic accounts of the John F. Kennedy assassination indicated that his killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, refused to admit his acts, even as he lay dying (after himself being shot by Jack Ruby) in the garage of the Dallas Police Station. (Although one interpretation, where an officer asked the badly wounded Oswald if he'd like to make a statement and he simply nodded his head "no" as he moaned in pain, could be that he was entering shock.)
- Media accounts published at the time of Timothy McVeigh's execution (for masterminding the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing) noted that McVeigh — after he was placed inside the death chamber — that his face was one of defiance, even as the drugs took effect, and he smirked and held an evil expression until he finally lost consciousness.
- Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy's last words before facing execution was "Kiss my ass".
- The last words of Hannibal Barca after the Roman legions that had been chasing him for years were finally within striking distance, which prompted Hannibal to take poison rather than let himself be captured and paraded back to Rome before being executed, were "Let us relieve the Romans from the anxiety they have so long experienced, since they think it tries their patience too much to wait for an old man's death."
- During The Fall of Constantinople, the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI was told to surrender the city to the besieging Ottomans or face death along with the rest of the defenders. Knowing the hopelessness of the situation, his response was this: "Giving you the city depends neither on me nor on anyone else among its inhabitants; as we have all decided to die with our own free will and we shall not consider our lives." When Ottoman flags were seen flying over the postern gates of the city and Byzantine defences crumbled Constantine reportedly led a final, doomed charge against the invaders, dying in the streets with his soldiers. Suffice to say, he did his ancestors proud.
- Other reports suggest that he hanged himself at this point, but that isn't as cool.
- Nelson Mandela never gave in, even when he thought he was about to be executed for planning uMkhonte we Sizwe's armed campaign, even when he was told he would never leave the hellish Robben Island prison, even when he learned his son had died while he was imprisoned, and in the end it paid off for him. The most noted example of his determination was at the Rivonia Trial, when everyone thought he would be given the death penalty, he stood in the dock and gave his three-hour speech in which he set out his motivations, his ideology, and his vision of the just and free society he would eventually try to create when he was finally released:
"During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
- As he delivered the final line, he looked Judge Quartus de Wet straight in the eye, an action which Mandela later credited with saving his life, as he felt that, directly dared to order his execution, de Wet didn't have enough ice in his veins to go through with it.
- Nathan Hale was a 21-year-old soldier for the Continental Army. He volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission in British-occupied New York and was captured. His last words before being hanged are considered some of the most inspirational in American history, and have been used an rallying cry for over two centuries:
"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."
- Irma Grese, "the Hyena of Auschwitz". A sadistic and perverted Lesbian concentration camp guardian, who had murdered scores of prisoners, she was sentenced to death by hanging after the WWII. She died as an unrepentant National Socialist. Her last word to her executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, was a commanding Schnell! (literally "Speed!", meaning "Have speed with it!"; in our terms, she basically said, "Hurry!")
- In 1968, Alexander Dubček of the government of Communist Czechoslovakia announced a period of political liberalization and reform, granting the citizens freedom of speech, movement, and travel, raising the possibility of a mixed economy and even multiparty politics. This was known as "socialism with a human face". The USSR didn't like that. Not one bit. So on 21st August 1968, they and their allies invaded Czechoslovakia and installed a new puppet government to roll back Dubček's reforms and return to socialism sans human face. Dubček and 25 other senior reformers were kidnapped, taken to Moscow, and made to sign a humiliating "Protocol" rolling back the reforms. Only one man refused, František Kriegel, a politician-doctor who had served in the Spanish Civil War:
"Send me to Siberia or shoot me dead."
- Richard III of England. He was the last English king to die in battle. Despite suffering from scoliosis, an extremely painful condition that causes curvature of the spine (these days it's usually fixed by getting the sufferer to wear a back brace, usually from an early age, but in the 15th century there was nothing to counter it), he didn't go down without a fight; he even managed to unhorse one of Henry Tudor's bodyguards, and came close to actually killing Henry.
- A non-deadly but still depressing example: The Nazis did not take power unopposed. In the final vote that would give Hitler power to make laws on his own (thereby eliminating the last legal barrier to his total control) the communists had already been rounded up and sent to prison or worse. The parties of the center-right had made deals with the Nazis (or so they hoped). The last party that wanted to say something against Hitler and was still present to do so were the social democrats. Otto Wels (1873-1939 in exile in Paris) held a speech culminating in the words "They can take our freedom and our lives. But they cannot take our honor". Given what happened next, this took guts.
- Another with the Nazis: When Paris was fully occupied during WWII, the French destroyed the elevator to the Eiffel Tower, for the sole purpose of making life difficult for the Nazis if they decided to raise their flag on the tower. Without an elevator, the Nazis would have to climb hundreds of stairs.
- Still another regarding Nazis, Hannie Schaft, The Girl With the Red Hair. A member of a Dutch resistance movement who orchestrated many assassinations and sabotage efforts against the Germans, she was eventually caught and shot. As the story goes, two soldiers were tasked in doing so, but the first only wounded her, despite shooting at close range. Supposedly, she told him, "I shoot better than you," before she was killed by his partner.
- When Queen Mary I had Thomas Cranmer burned at the stake for heresy, he said his only regret was that he signed six recantations of his Protestant faith, going so far as to personally put his right hand into the torch that served as the instrument of his execution to punish it for signing those recantations in the first place. He didn't just take his martyrdom for his Protestant beliefs at the hands of Bloody Mary, he owned it, helping the popularity of the Protestant movement grow in the aftermath of his death.
- Pretty much the MO of Japanese forces during World War II. There's a pretty good reason why there were much fewer prisoners taken in by the Allies, as they preferred death before surrender. This attitude actually triggered a Godzilla Threshold: given an invasion of the Japanese mainland would almost certainly result in the aforesaid cranked Up to Eleven (meaning any plan they had for a conventional invasion predicted mass casualties), the Americans instead decided to resort to a couple of atomic bombs in hopes the Japanese would see overwhelming force as a reason to stop.
- A downplayed example, but Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife, could be seen as an example of this. After her marriage to Henry was annulled against her will, she was referred to as Princess Dowager (in reference to her being the widow to Henry's brother Prince Arthur - a marriage she firmly claimed was not consummated), but refused to accept this. On her deathbed, she wrote a final letter to her former husband, and signed it as ‘Catherine the Queen’.
- In 1834, Sol Hauchel a Moroccan Jewish teenager, was falsely accused of converting to Islam. Brought before the Muslim governor for ludicrous charges of heresy, she was offered wealth and privilege if she accepted conversion, apparently because her beauty was legendary among both Jew and Muslim, or face imprisonment and torture. She responded:
I will patiently bear the weight of your chains; I will give my limbs to be torn piece-meal by wild beasts; I will renounce forever the light of day: I will perish of hunger: and when all the evils of life are accumulated on me by your orders, I will smile at your indignation, and the anger of your Prophet: since neither he nor you have been able to overcome a weak female! It is clear that Heaven is not auspicious to making proselytes your faith.
- Eventually she was locked up and isolated. But even then, she refused conversion, even when other Jewish leaders were begging her to convert, and was beheaded as an apostate. She earned the nicknamed "The Righteous Sol".
- During World War II, the British armed merchant cruiser (a passenger ship converted into a light warship to raid enemy shipping) HMS Rawalpindi bit off more that it could chew when it investigated some sightings and found itself staring down the gun barrels of the powerful German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Despite being incomprehensibly outgunned, they refused German demands to surrender and attacked instead, scoring one damaging hit on Scharnhorst before going down. Before his suicidal attack, Captain Edward Kennedy was heard to declare "We’ll fight them both, they’ll sink us, and that will be that. Good-bye".