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Every Man Has His Price

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"A man with 'principles' is just another way of saying 'he can't be bought cheap'."
Chester Hoenicker, Flubber

This occurs when a character or group of characters in a narrative are repeatedly able to use their money as "persuasion" for anyone in their way, with little to no resistance from those being bribed. Whether it's getting past the guards at the Supervillain Lair or retrieving vital information from the local townsfolk, these characters always find that money is the universal negotiator especially to those who are Only in It for the Money. This act of shameless coercion is obviously based on the Stock Phrase and heroes and villains alike, it seems, are never shy about finding out what "every man's" price is.

Since large sums of cash can be required for their bribes, it is common to see a character pull out a Briefcase Full of Money when invoking this trope, but this is certainly not required. It is not required that the bribes involve actual cash either, and they can include anything from delicious candy to gratuitous sexual favors.

Note that this trope does not mean a character simply bribes someone during the plot threads. It is only indicative of characters who frequently use bribes to coerce others with impunity. Particularly horrendous abusers of this trope show characters that can regularly bribe their Mooks or other characters to do damn near anything, even with situations where the payment would certainly not be worth the risk or loss (such as jobs with a near-guarantee of death or dismemberment).

A subtrope of Screw the Rules, I Have Money!, although the character doesn't necessarily have to be richer than anybody else.

Compare Buy Them Off, where a character attempts to use a form of bribery to atone for evil actions, and Villain with Good Publicity, for characters who take bribery, coercion, and fraud to a whole different level. Contrast Bribe Backfire, which is what happens when the briber underestimates the price and/or integrity of his/her target and Money Is Not Power, where the situation may be bad enough (or the person is driven enough) that whatever "the price" may be, it is not possible to pay with money (and most certainly will doom a "rich" character).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inverted by the God Hand in Berserk, they believe that anyone can be brought to a point so low that they would give up anything to escape it and are usually right.
  • Played for Laughs in The Case Files of Jeweler Richard with Richard's constant weakness to sweets.
  • In the Alternate History of Code Geass, Benjamin Franklin was bribed by the British Empire with titles of nobility. He then betrayed the American Revolutionary movement. With the information provided by him, the British army organized an ambush where George Washington was killed, thus bringing the American Revolution to a screeching halt.
  • Excel♡Saga: Kapabu's control of Fukuoka City is founded entirely on bribery and blackmail.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Used constantly by Joseph Joestar. Like in the example image of the trope, there are many times when Joseph solves problems by throwing money at them. Including, but not limited to, buying a car to trade for camels, buying an airplane, bribes, a goddamn submarine, and buying a car in the middle of a life or death fight to use as a getaway vehicle. Not to mention all the hospital visits.
    • Stone Ocean: The Green Dolphin Street Prison has the inmates running on a hierarchy within prison walls, prisoners occasionally use money to bribe guards and get past other prisoners to use the phone, and would resort to extortion from other inmates who weren't able to pay back money they borrowed.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Early in the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kaiba was known to use both bribery and blackmail to get what he wanted (in the manga, he even admitted he got his three Blue-Eyes White Dragons cards this way), and Mokuba intended to do the same thing in the manga too (he was far more evil in that version than he was in the anime, at least early on). Kaiba mellowed on this a little as the series progressed (he stopped using methods that were outright illegal, but he still tended to use his wealth to his advantage). Of course, as bad as Kaiba was, his adoptive father was much worse. To Gozuburo's thinking, money was the answer to everything, and there was nothing that couldn't be bought (which was a big factor that led to Kaiba taking him down the first time).
    • This was inverted in the episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX that featured one-shot character Anacis. An incredibly wealthy man (among his possessions were a gold-and-gem-encrusted Duel Disk and a submarine with a private dueling arena) he was also a very shallow and arrogant man who thought anyone could be bought. Unfortunately for him, his attempt to recruit Judai into his new project through bribery (even though the amount he offered was the equivalent of over a million dollars) failed; Judai's loyalty to Duel Academy and his allies was more important than money.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman: Diana gets Savi's thugs into turncoating to work for her by offering them lots more money than what Savi offered.
  • During Grant Morrison's run on Justice League of America, Lex Luthor recruited mercenary The Flash villain Mirror Master as part of his Injustice League. Mirror Master ultimately quit the team; his loyalties were always to the highest bidder, and Luthor was ultimately outbid... by Bruce Wayne. Also a rare usage of this trope as a Pet the Dog moment, Luthor couldn't outbid Wayne because Wayne was giving the money to Mirror Master's favorite charity: an orphanage he grew up in.
  • Zig-zagged and subverted for laughs in The Powerpuff Girls story "Everything Must Go." Mojo Jojo is having a yard sale of all his weapons and robots. Ms. Keane is eyeing one of his robots but notices its rather steep price tag ($2 million). Mojo vehemently defends his pricing saying it was labor intensive and he's even selling it at a loss. Ms. Keane offers 75 cents for it. Mojo takes it.
  • In Violine, the Zongo customs official takes the bribe after being offered enough money.
  • X-Men: The Juggernaut is known and feared for being an unstoppable, invulnerable villain who crushes anything in his path. However, one surefire way to stop him (assuming he's working as a hired gun, and not pursuing a personal vendetta) is to offer him more cash than his current employer is offering.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Helluva Job, Blitzo tries to bring up professional integrity while denying St. Anger's use of the grimoire to get to Earth, but is shut up when Anger shows him a check worth a lot of money.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Professor Oak suffers severe financial problems, which sometimes force him to do things he doesn't like to keep his lab afloat and continue his research work. This is established as early as the second chapter when he's forced to give starter Pokémon to a pair of twins when their father (who is an important politician) threatens to cut his funds.
  • Miss Piggy in The Rainbow Connection paid Shinji's teacher enough money to give up his guardianship of Shinji over to her and lie to Gendo about it, despite the teacher knowing exactly how Gendo would react.
  • Discussed in Someone has heard them scream. Garrus claims that long experience at C-Sec has taught him that anyone can be bribed with something, but that something is not always cash or purchasable with cash.
  • In When Reason Fails, Shoto is initially hesitant to bring Aiko the Outsider of Existence back to UA, but when she offers him the knowledge on how to become a Magister, he immediately says they should allow her to come home with them. Izuku is stunned by his shamelessness.
  • Played for Laughs in With Sprinkles. Every time Xander does something that the crew of the Serenity say is impossible, he passes Mal a roll of gold coins, causing the captain to either buy Xander's blatantly false excuse or make one up. Xander pulling off a Wall Crawl? Must be a malfunction with the gravity controls. Xander pulls far too much out of his pockets? Nothing wrong with having deep pockets.

    Film — Animated 
  • Invoked by Percival C. McLeach in The Rescuers Down Under. Counts as a subversion, since he speaks of it but never actually does it.
    McLeach: Everyone's got his price. All I gotta do is offer him whatever he wants... and then not give it to him.
    • Of course, what Cody wants is for the Eagle and her eggs to be safe and he knows telling McLeach will ensure that will not happen. McLeach realizes that he doesn't care about the eggs, he just wants the Eagle and wants them to kill the eggs to have the last poached eagle of her species. Cody wants both... additionally he wants his own freedom. So McLeach releases Cody, telling him that the Eagle was shot this morning and it was on the radio. Cody, with this knowledge, goes straight to the nest, only to learn that the eggs and the eagle are safe... but true to his word, McLeach didn't give him what he wanted. McLeach followed this trope so well, the audience didn't realize it.
    McLeach: I didn't make it all the way to the Third Grade for nothing!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) shows Monte Cristo's servant driving a wagon up to the manor of a Parisian. He tells the owner that he is there to purchase the man's huge ancestral estate, and is laughed at heartily—until the servant opens the back of the wagon, out of which pour coins, huge gems, and other treasure. Cut to the man driving off with the wagon, and the servant with deed in hand.
  • In The Death of Stalin, a pianist refuses to replay a concerto so it can be recorded for Stalin, because Stalin had her family murdered. Until...
    Director: Ten thousand roubles.
    Pianist: Twenty.
  • The frequency and relative ease with which the protagonist in Les Invasions Barbares bribes the people around him to make his father's last weeks the best he can is both funny and rather depressing.
  • Most of the James Bond films feature him using both financial and "non-financial" bribery to further his cause, meaning that the cumulative amount of bribes he has performed over the years is staggering.
    • In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond turns down a million-pound dowry from Marc-Ange Draco to give up his carefree bachelor's life and marry his daughter Tracy, but he is willing to play along in exchange for the whereabouts of Ernst Stavro Blofeld. When Tracy forces her father to give Bond the information anyway, Bond keeps after Tracy, falling in love with her for real and refusing the dowry when Draco tries to quietly slip him the cheque at the wedding.
    • Licence to Kill specifically features a villain known for his "million dollar bribes". His Dragon betrays Felix Leiter to help him escape at the beginning of the film for 2 million. Bond is not amused.
    • GoldenEye has an example where Bond sets up a bank heist with Valentin Zukovsky in order to pay him off for setting him up with Janus. Considering Bond nearly crippled him years before, it went well.
    • This is the reason behind the title The World Is Not Enough and the Bond family motto "Orbus Non Sufficat" (first mentioned in On Her Majesty's Secret Service), i.e. that to bribe Mr. Bond himself, paying him the world would not be enough. Title Dropped near the end of the movie, too.
    • Casino Royale (2006) has a local sheriff whom both MI6 and the Big Bad will want to influence. Bond's contact, Mathis, decides not to start a bidding war and instead forges evidence that they had successfully bribed the sheriff and leaks the evidence to the deputy sheriff, whom Mathis had bribed at a relatively cheap price. It's not always the highest bidder who wins.
  • Jurassic Park: Dr. Alan Grant is primarily focused on his excavation work, but he can be persuaded to go to the dinosaur islands for the right price. In Jurassic Park, John Hammond offers to fund his team's digs for the next three years if he goes to Isla Nublar, while in Jurassic Park III, Paul Kirby basically offers him a blank check to be his tour guide on a flight over Isla Sorna. While Hammond's offer is apparently sincere, Kirby is actually scamming Grant in a desperate attempt to find his missing son.
  • Life Is Beautiful: Played for Laughs as Guido is about to close the restaurant for the night. The maitre'd says a government official has arrived and wants dinner. Guido insists the restaurant is closed until the maitre'd points out that Guido would get a big tip, at which Guido tells him the restaurant is open.
  • Yuri Orlov in Lord of War says at one point that he has never met a single border guard unwilling to look away for a moment in return for an envelope full of US dollars.
    • He does note, however, that some people - like the Interpol agent who takes a personal interest in him - can't be bought with money.
      They say every man has his price - but not every man gets it. Interpol Agent Jack Valentine couldn't be bought, at least not with money. For Jack, glory was the prize.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Cutler Beckett actually quotes this Trope, after he forces Governor Swann to devote all his influence and political power to support the East India Trading Company.
      "Every man has a price he will willingly accept. Even for what he hoped never to sell."
    • This line also feeds into Davy Jones's M.O., which involves finding dying soldiers and offering them a prolonged life if they spend it serving on The Flying Dutchman.
    • Even Davy Jones in the second film has a price as Jack manages to negotiate him into an offer of 100 souls in exchange for his own.
      Jack: So, we've established my proposal as sound in principle. Now, we're just haggling over price.
  • Posse (1975): Jack Strawhorn believes this and attempts to prove it by handing back the $30,000 the posse had raised to pay Nightingale's ransom and telling them to split it among themselves: $6,000 each. He is ultimately proven correct as four of the five posse members abandon Nightingale and ride off with Strawhorn.
    Jack Strawhorn: [to Howard Nightingale] Honest men stay honest only as long as it pays. That's why I'm a thief and you're a liar.
  • Runaway Jury involves an ample amount of Jury and Witness Tampering by the lawyers defending a firearm manufacturer in a negligence lawsuit, and they're frustrated over the interference in their machinations by one juror and his outside accomplice, who offers each side a guaranteed win for a $15 million payment. The Reveal is that, despite accepting the defense's payment, the jury still voted against them - Nick never had control of the jury to begin with. He just wanted to counter the defense's interference in the measure, and ensure that the lawyer retired from practice due to the sleazy tactics he'd employed when his accomplice (actually his girlfriend)'s mother tried to sue another firearm manufacturer a few years earlier.
  • The corporate executive in Small Soldiers solves all problems by throwing money at them. At the end of the film, he passes out cheques to everybody involved to get them to keep quiet about what happened. One of them protests that you can't just buy people's silence like that, then reads the amount of the cheque and decides that actually you can.
  • In S.W.A.T. (2003), a French drug lord is arrested in Los Angeles and announces on national TV that he is offering a 100-million-dollar reward to anyone who can free him from police custody. Chaos erupts as multiple gangs and other lowlifes try to break him out. The titular SWAT team is tasked with delivering the prisoner to a federal prison and he offers them the money to help him escape. One of the SWAT members finds the money to be too much of a temptation and betrays the team.
  • Shepard Lambrick in Would You Rather invokes this trope almost verbatim, as he coaxes his guests through a series of challenges benign at first (offering $10,000 to a vegetarian to eat some foie gras, for instance), then becoming more and more sadistic (how much pain will you subject yourself - or a complete stranger - to in order to "win?").

  • At a party, a man asks a woman:
    "A hypothetical question: Would you sleep with me for one billion dollars?"
    "Wow, that's a lot of money... yes, I guess I would."
    "Would you sleep with me for five dollars?"
    "Just what sort of a girl do you think I am?!"
    "We've already settled that. Now we're just haggling over price."
  • A lobbyist working a state legislature gets wind of a bill that would go against his clients' interests, so he goes around offering campaign funds to willing legislators to drop the bill. A particular official is tricky to get but the lobbyist finally gets him to commit with a $10,000 donation. When the bill comes to a floor vote, the lobbyist is outraged to watch that official vote for the bill. He angrily confronts the man later on to find out the opposition had paid him off with a $50,000 donation. The lobbyist keeps cursing out the legislator, who finally shrugs and answers "you knew I was weak when I took the ten thousand."

  • Averted Trope in The Bourne Identity when Jason Bourne is caught by men Carlos has paid to kill him.
    "Suppose I paid you. You were at the bank; you know I've got funds."
    "Probably millions, but I wouldn't touch a franc note."
    "Why? Are you afraid?"
    "Most assuredly. Wealth is relative to the amount of time one has to enjoy it. I wouldn't have five minutes."
  • The Cat Who Walks Through Walls: Richard and Gwen bribe their way around Luna, which is kind of justified since they're "on the lam."
  • Played for laughs in Charlie Wilson's War when a Swiss Arms Dealer offers Gust Avrakotos a lucrative job at his company when he leaves the CIA. Gust bluntly tells him to stick it up his ass. Not put out in the slightest, the Swiss then asks if Gust likes blondes. "Well, that's different."
  • In The Codex Alera this idea is acknowledged with regards to the Grey Tower, a reportedly impenetrable prison meant to hold powerful magic users. The men assigned there are some of the most reputable and hard-to-bribe men in the service. Add to that, anyone who tries, the guard can turn, report the attempted bribe, and be paid double it by the government. So, while every man has a price, the government just makes sure they are the highest bidder.
  • This is the standard MO of The Count of Monte Cristo. It almost fails when he struggles to persuade an unambitious and scrupulously honest telegraph operator to accept a bribe.
  • Cradle Series: Reigan Shen is the richest man in the world, so bribery is often his first option—though even he does have a budget, and he sometimes encounters people with a price too high for him. He is rather proud when he bribes Eithan Aurelius, a man who hates him, to throw one of the most important tournaments in the world. We see this event from Eithan's point of view, and it comes off rather differently: He's pretty sure he was going to lose anyway, his allies will be able to carry on without him, and he'll be able to bleed Reigan for an absurd amount of money in the meantime. In fact, due to the gifts Reigan gives Eithan, Eithan is able to foil one of Reigan's later assassination attempts against a rival faction. And Eithan was right; one of his personal disciples wins the tournament anyway.
  • Comes up from time to time in the Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption novella from Different Seasons. In a prison setting, inmates can be convinced to do anything for the right (even meager) reward.
    • The contraband smuggler Red is reluctant to try sneaking a rock hammer to Andy but agrees when promised ten dollars (eight for the hammer and two more as interest).
    • When the rapist Bogs Diamond is found beaten half to death in his cell, Red reasons that it was probably Andy, his victim, who had enough hidden cash to bribe a guard for the key and a couple more guys for the beating.
    • Tommy agrees to cover up evidence of Andy's innocence in exchange for being sent to a more comfortable prison. The film adaptation instead has him trying to help Andy, only to get shot for his trouble.
  • The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth. British mining tycoon Sir James Manson ponders this trope, concluding "If they cannot be bought, they can be broken." Unfortunately for his plans, the mercenary he's hired to overthrow an African dictatorship for his own puppet ruler proves otherwise as he's Secretly Dying.
  • Ender's Game: In Speaker for the Dead, Ender needs to get out to a remote colony world to which no flights are scheduled for a few decades. So, he (through his AI Jane) simply buys a local freight ship and all its cargo for $90 billion. His wealth is such that he can do things like that without even noticing.
  • Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy:
    • "The General (Foundation)":
      • Privy Secretary Brodrig tells Lathan Devers that he has somehow resisted the General's Mind Probe, but that he has a better one, one which 'can make any man talk'. Brodrig's Probe turns out to be a big wad of cash credits; he bribes Devers to tell him what the General is really trying to do.
      • Subverted Trope when Devers and Barr are bribing their way up the chain of Imperial bureaucrats (nobility would have been faster, but their price is beyond the budget). Just a couple of bureaucrats away from the Emperor, the one they're bribing turns out to be a quite incorruptible Imperial Police Lieutenant. The police had noticed their efforts at bribing the lower-ranked officials and arranged a sting operation.
    • "The Merchant Princes": Secretary Jorane Sutt comes to Trader Hober Mallow and tries to convince him to switch over to his camp. The trader remarks that his opinions might be for sale, but the politician isn't offering him profit. Sutt is unable to offer a price high enough to satisfy Mallow so he leaves, threatening to ruin the trader.
    • "Search by the Foundation": When the police are searching the airport for Arkady, the Palvers secretly offer five hundred credits to let them through without problems. Arkady, however, is convinced that the police wouldn't have done that unless releasing her was intentional. She's right; the police lieutenant was a spy for the Foundation working on Kalgan, and merely wanted to establish that she had successfully escaped the planet. Her father is quickly informed so that he wouldn't worry when war between the Foundation and Kalgan begins.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, it's repeatedly noted that even the incorruptible Heralds can be bribed. It's just that the sort of person who would bribe a Herald wouldn't be the sort of person who could think of a bribe that would work.
  • The entire point of Terry Southern's satirical novel The Magic Christian, as well as its film adaptation.
  • In the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. novelization The Dagger Affair, the Affably Evil THRUSH leader Ward Baldwin that Waverly, Solo, and Kuryakin are temporarily allied with makes the point that not all prices are in money. For example, Waverley's price is furthering certain moral ideals and one that can never be met by THRUSH. He notes that even in THRUSH, money is the lowest price; the elite get paid in power. He goes on to say that men who truly have no price are inherently unpredictable and dangerous in the extreme—like the potential threat to all life on earth that they have allied to defeat.
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile: This is basically Sheftu's life philosophy, and he's proven right time and again, only for him to discover Mara is being tortured because she refused to betray him for a bribe.
  • Mother of Learning:
    • When faced with the need to gather information quickly, Zorian shies away from using his telepathy to just Mind Rape mages into telling him all their secrets; even if they'll be reset by the "Groundhog Day" Loop, he won't. Instead, he settles for offering them what would otherwise (outside the time loop) be ludicrous payments.
      Zorian: Yes, but what if you gave them an outrageous offer? The collected secrets of dozens of mages. More money than they'd ever seen in their life. Rare materials that cannot be obtained on the open market. A chance to hire a group of archmages for a task. That sort of thing.
      Xvim: There is some merit to it. Some of these people… I don't think there is anything I could offer them to share their findings with me. Most, though, probably have their price, if one were willing to go high enough, and the offer looked credible.
    • Zorian even manages to pull off a bribe during the Final Battle, giving two divine artefacts to the dragon mage Oganj in return for stepping out of the fight. Red Robe is furious at Oganj's betrayal, but can't stop him from flying away.
  • In the Nero Wolfe story "Immune to Murder", Wolfe says that everyone has their price, but his is well beyond anyone who might want to bribe him.
  • A variation of this features in in the Doctor Who spin-off Past Doctor Adventures novel Mission: Impractical, when bounty hunters Sha'ol and Karthakh make it clear more than once that their honour prevents them accepting bribes from their targets to abandon their current contract. However, when Niccolo Mandell offers them double their current fee to not go after the Sixth Doctor until he's finished the job Mandell has asked him to help with, Karthakh accepts that "bribe" as they're essentially getting paid to do nothing since it's more practical for them to wait until the Doctor's finished his current job and has gone somewhere where it's easier for the assassins to get at him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Tyrion Lannister believes this, coming as he does from the richest family in Westeros. Unfortunately, he makes an enemy of his own sister, the Queen Regent, who is able to outbid him in power and wealth.
    • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is also mostly a believer in this; but, despite being the poster boy of the series for the use of soft power and solving problems with money, Littlefinger actually acknowledges that some people have very different motivations and are too honorable to go for a bribe, whether it's in money, titles, or positions. He also knows how to be more subtle about it, most famously with Nestor Royce. Littlefinger later explains to Sansa that any attempt to bribe Nestor would have inflamed Nestor's very real sense of honor and pride. Now, a little flattery, some appreciation, and dangling the chance for a better life for Nestor's children (thus saving them from becoming Impoverished Patricians), on the other hand...
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Cordelia's assessment of Aral, in Shards Of Honour, is that he cannot be bought at any price - but that there are things for which he will, to his personal shame, pay a heavy cost. That her therapist fails to see the distinction between the two positions is down to the fact that Cordelia is privy to one of Barrayar's most closely-guarded secrets, and can't properly explain. This does not assist her in proving that she's really in love with Aral, and not an unlikely double-agent snared by the unlikeliest of honey-traps. It ends up proving to her that there are heavy costs of her own that she is prepared to pay - like half-drowning said therapist in a fish tank and fleeing the planet of her birth to be with the man she loves.
    • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Tej's father questions her about what it would take to coopt Ivan into using his lineage to the Arqua family's benefit. Tej explains that Ivan has no ambition, thinks ambition dangerous, and that what he wants is comfort (which of course he already has too much to risk). The same is asked of Simon and Ivan is amazed at the idea that Simon could be purchasable. In fact, Simon was purchasable in a way; Simon didn't think the project would hurt Barrayar, was interested in getting an ally for Barryar's future covert-ops, had a personal interest in keeping the Obnoxious In-Laws from interfering in Ivan's new marriage, and he was just plain bored.
    • Memory demonstrates that other bribes besides the normal money, sex, power, revenge, etc, are quite common by telling an ImpSec war story of how an agent was assigned to get an elephant because a foreign diplomat had asked for that as the price of his favor in negotiations. Simon says he could not tell whether or not it was a joke but an elephant was requested and an elephant was given. In the end, he decided the diplomat really did want the elephant, as he meticulously cared for it personally and took it home with him when he left.
      Simon: It expanded my world view, ever after. Money, power, sex... and elephants.
  • The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook has one chapter, "How to Pass a Bribe," where the entire outline seems to be written for a scenario revolving around the reader getting in trouble with a customs official while attempting to smuggle goods out of a third-world country.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Burn Notice:
    • Michael explains that is possible to bribe even the most upstanding officials. To do so, convince them you think the bribe is a standard fee and make yourself as thoroughly unlikeable as possible so that they don't feel bad for ripping you off and making themselves a few bucks richer.
    • In one memorable episode, Michael tries to bribe a foreign official, who responds by pulling a gun on Michael and immediately tries to have Michael arrested. After Michael gets away, they then have Fiona approach the official by pretending to be a CIA agent trying to catch Michael and offers to "cover expenses" if he plays along with their sting. Michael comments that convincing someone that they can make money by doing the right thing even works on the incorruptible.
  • Cheers:
    • This was subverted by Diane in one episode, but she came very close to succumbing. When it was clear that an employer offering her a new job likely wanted sexual favors from her (he asked Sam, who was acting as a reference, whether he had seen her naked), she grabbed the phone and yelled at him:
      Diane: You listen to me! I wouldn't take your job if you offered... (Beat) How much? (Beat again) Plus medical?? (Beat again), then grunts and hangs up in disgust.
    • In another early episode, this is combined with An Offer You Can't Refuse. Norm's boss offered him the position of their company's "corporate killer". (The guy in charge of firing people, not exactly a much sought-after position.) He told Norm that there was a large raise involved, and that he'd be fired if he didn't accept it. Norm's stern response:
      Norm: Sir, I cannot be threatened... And I cannot be bought... But... Put the two together and you've got a deal.
  • Cop Rock: The mayor accepts a bribe in exchange for awarding a building contract. She even gets a song about her habit of taking bribes, “She’s The One”.
  • Daredevil (2015). In "Shadows In The Glass", Wilson Fisk wants Detective Hoffman to kill his partner Blake, which he's reluctant to do because they've been friends for 35 years. Fisk implies that Hoffman will be killed if he refuses and someone else will then kill his friend anyway, so the only question is how much money will be needed to ease Hoffman's conscience.
    Fisk: How much are each of those years worth to you? In round figures.
  • Played for Laughs in Family Matters. The father of Myrtle, who aggressively pursues Eddie, gets Eddie to agree to marry Myrtle via bribery, as he's a wealthy peanut tycoon himself.note 
    Myrtle's Father: I will give you $10 million.
    Eddie: Daddy! *hugs Myrtle's father*
  • Game of Thrones: A matter-of-fact principle of the Lannisters that occasionally gets subverted.
    • In "Walk Of Punishment," Jaime plays it well with a seemingly agreeable Locke only for Locke to cut off his hand; this sadistic act on one of the arrogant highborn he despises giving Locke more satisfaction than any amount of gold.
    • It is totally subverted in Season 4 when the Lannisters find themselves in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos. When Queen Cersei tells her father, Tywin Lannister, to find someone at the bank to bribe or bully, he replies that the Iron Bank won't respond or bend to such tactics.
    • During Joffrey's massacre of Robert Baratheon's bastards, Janos Slynt kills a baby girl in front of her hysterically pleading mother, right after one of his own men refuses to do so, and walks out leaving the poor woman screaming in anguish on the floor. Later, after removing Janos from power and sending him to the Wall, Tyrion asks Bronn if he would be willing to do the same.
      Tyrion: If I told you to murder, an infant girl, say, still at her mother's breast... would you do it, without question?
      Bronn: Without question? No. I'd ask how much.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "The Thing Lay Still", Lestat de Lioncourt, Louis de Pointe du Lac, and Claudia want to be in charge of the city's Mardi Gras ball. Normally, this would be impossible because the festivity is only a month away, and it's presided by the Committee of Raj, which has finalized its plans three years ago. However, the vampire family gains control of the Masquerade Ball after they bribe Tom Anderson and his fellow Raj members.
    Louis: We know you're on the committee.
    Tom: The Committee of Raj is a secret and sacred group of citizens— (Claudia puts a list of the committee members on his desk) ...bound by honor and tradition.
    Louis: Get us a price, get back to us.
    Tom: These things are planned years in advance. Louis, you're a native.
    Lestat: You've expanded your export business, shipping coffins from port back to Europe?
    Tom: Shipping and manufacturing. Double dip. Good margin, product in high demand.
    Claudia: You lost one of your ships recently.
    Tom: Took a torpedo in the rear from one of the Fritz's U-boats.
    Louis: Would you like a new one?
    Tom: (is silent for several seconds while he ponders the offer) I['ll] attempt your no doubt humiliating and reputation-destroying ask.
    Louis: (in 2022 narrating to Daniel Molloy) The Krewe of Raj had been three years in planning their Mardi Gras theme, and they abandoned it within a week once the Parisian law firm of Roget and Albert had transatlantically wired their bribes. From the Marais to the Mississippi, money flooded the town. Unavailable vendors became available.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Pitts makes this assumption when he tries to purchase Keena's watering can. Keena doesn't trust him and doesn't accept his offer, even when he offers 50 silver coins!
  • In the second season of Luke Cage (2016), Luke tells an Italian mob boss that he can't be bought. She points out that he can't say that conclusively, all he can say for a fact is that nobody has found his price yet. In a very roundabout way it turns out Luke does have his price: peace for Harlem, free of the outside mobs.
  • Married... with Children: Mr. Shimokawa (Marcy's boss) collects American classic "junk" and wants to add Al's car to the collection. Marcy will gain her desired promotion if she persuades Al to sell it. (They can't get another car of that kind because half had been recalled and the other dissolved in rain.) When Al finally agrees, Mr. Shimokawa comments that he knew every man had his price. Al replies that every woman has it as well. Marcy has to perform a sensual dance, and Mr. Shimokawa offers the promotion because of how sexy she is. She then subverts the trope by beating her boss and calling it her resignation.
  • Mission: Impossible:
    • "The Play": When escaping from the People's Republic of Tyranny Vitol Enzor bribes the border guard checkpoint commander and tells Jim that bribe money solves any problem in an Eastern Europe nation-state. See recaps here, here, here, and here.
    • "The Pawn": Phelps offers an indirect bribe to the KGB officer who is guarding the nuclear scientist Phelps has been assigned to extract. He is threatened with deportation by the KGB officer who sees through his Obfuscating Stupidity and orders more surveillance. However, Phelps knew the KGB officer could not be bribed and used the conversation to manipulate the officer’s emotions.
      • Later Phelps uses fake evidence to convince the commissar that the KGB officer is about to defect. This evidence includes United States currency. The commissar believes this evidence since the KGB officer resembled Patton in their behavior and personality. In addition, at the beginning of the episode, Phelps says that if they are successful the KGB officer will be sent to a prison camp for failure. Therefore, it can be assumed that the officer was already under suspicion, the fake evidence simply proved the disloyalty.
  • In the series finale of Newhart, a Japanese businessman wants to buy the town and turn it into a country club. The residents refuse, until the businessman offers a million dollars for each home, at which point someone shouts "bring on the bulldozers!" Averted with the Loudons, who still refuse to sell (the businessman opts to build around them).
  • Person of Interest. Harold Finch discovers a politician they are protecting is in the pocket of Decima Technologies, who want him to pass legislation favourable to them. Finch offers to match their price from his Arbitrarily Large Bank Account, but the politician refuses. He believes the legislation is the best thing for the country, and if he's making money on the side, well that's just a fringe benefit.
  • Rhode (1996). Cecil Rhodes discusses this trope with an idealistic underling. As with the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. example, he also points out that not every price is in money; for instance the missionary groups he's working with to advance British colonialism are dedicated to the spread of Christianity.
  • In the Saturday Night Live episode where Owen Wilson is the guest host, he plays himself going to Pixar Studios to record his lines for the upcoming Cars 4: the Spinout, and he slowly realizes that Lightning McQueen has been turned into a creep who hits on any and all female cars around him, and there's even a scene where he hits on some (heavily implied to be) underage high school girls, and another where he goes to court for a sexual harassment charge. When Larry the Cable Guy (not played by Larry himself) is brought in to put him at ease, the script calls for Lightning to openly admit he seduced Mater's sister and called him the "R-word" note  because of "Power", which when Wilson says he will no longer record his lines because Pixar is going out its way to destroy a beloved children's cartoon character. However, when the producer shows him a copy of the contract, Wilson sees that he'll be paid a hefty sum for just that one session, never mind the rest of the script, because, according to the producer: "Disney had a very good year." Wilson goes back to the recording boot and keeps recording lines showing that fame turned Lightning from cocky race car to sex-obsessed freak.
  • In Servant of the People, the oligarchs are firm believers in this and do their best to corrupt the new government.
  • Squid Game:
    • The show has people in desperate situations lured into competing in a series of Deadly Games for a 45.6 billion Korean won cash prize. To drive this point home, a large piggy bank hanging over the players' dormitory fills with money when players are eliminated: the price for each player's life is 100 million won.
    • After the first round, Sang-Woo brings up the rule in which the players are allowed to leave if the majority vote not to continue the game. However, he ultimately votes to allow the game to continue, and it is implied he changed his mind out of his desperation for the prize.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: London Tipton exhibits this and also appears in spin-off The Suite Life on Deck.

  • The song "Selling Out" by Tom Lehrer features a verse with the message that integrity isn't limitless when compared to profitability:
    It's so nice to have integrity
    I'll tell you why
    Cause if you really have integrity,
    It means your price is very high!
  • Roger Waters: "Three Wishes" jokingly alludes to this trope in a Shout-Out to Bob Dylan, who influenced Waters' singing style on the album. However, as Waters had a known grudge against record producer and prior Pink Floyd collaborator Bob Ezrin (who was talked out of producing Waters' previous solo album in favor of working on the first Floyd album after Waters' departure in the middle of a protracted legal battle over the rights to the band name), he didn't mind if people interpreted it as a jab at him.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ted DiBiase's character in WWE bribed quite a few people during his time as a wrestling Heel, to the point that it actually became his routine. His catchphrase, also the first line in his entrance theme, was "Everybody's got a price."
  • The Godfather bribed opponents as well, though with "hos" instead of money.
  • R-Truth bribed Bad Bunny with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin merchandise for the 24/7 Championship belt, which the latter happily traded for.

  • In the Cabin Pressure episode "Edinburgh", Martin refuses to humiliate himself groveling to Mr. Birling for £500. £6000, however, is another matter entirely. Unfortunately, Martin's terrible luck holds out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In the Planescape campaign setting, it's possible to get almost anything you want in Sigil through bribery - information, special treatment from a service, entrance into a place you couldn't otherwise get into, even getting the town watch to look the other way (depending on how honest he is). Probably nowhere in the universe is the expression "money talks" more true than there.
    • White Dwarf magazine #42 article "Irilian". Almost everyone in the town of Irilian can be bribed. The article lists each Non-Player Character's "bribe level" (the minimum amount necessary to bribe that character). If the Player Character pays more money, the chance of successfully bribing the Non-Player Character increases: each additional payment equal to the bribe level increases the success chance by 20%.
  • Exalted's Solar charm Knowing the Soul's Price allows you to do exactly that by revealing the one thing for which its target will do anything. The charm description, however, states that although every man has his price, this price is not necessarily money, and that it is more likely both to be really high and not to be money for persons with high moral standards.
  • This is the hat of the Syndicate from Mage: The Ascension. Their Enlightened science focuses on manipulating economies and individuals through the flow of money and valuable resources; the more powerful ones can literally break reality by throwing money at it. "Hey, fire hydrant! I'll give you two hundred dollars if you'll become a flamethrower!"
  • Shadowrun: 'Everything has a price' is a Central Theme of the setting, and is one of the 'core tenets' of it shown to new players in the 5th edition rulebook. It's pointed out repeatedly in the game's lore that an upside to living in a capitalistic hell-scape where well over half of the population is living near or under the poverty line means almost everyone takes bribes, and a quick transfer of funds from a cred-stick can buy you anything from network access to forbidden technology to making the police 'lose you' shortly after arrest, provided the money you offer will offset whatever inconvenience you're about to cause.
  • Traveller campaign supplement The Traveller Adventure. The section "Zilan Wine" says that PCs can bribe every single government official on the planet Zila, no exceptions.
  • Warhammer Fantasy
    • Greasus Goldtooth is rich enough to bribe any enemy into incompetence thanks to controlling and extracting a considerable tax on anyone using the Warhammer equivalent of the Silk Road, which runs through his territory. This includes most royal guards and is, by name, actually one of his special abilities, which allows him to force Stupidity tests by bribing enemy units near him in the middle of battle.
    • There's also the Lore of Slaanesh spell from the End Times update. Song of Seduction allows a Slaaneshi sorcerer to tempt any enemy unit into switching sides using this trope, even using the Trope Name in its description. "Every man has his price, even if he knows it not, and Slaanesh's wizards can divine such things whilst magic flows strong."

  • In The Barber of Seville, Don Bazile acts as fixer for Doctor Bartholo, and keeps asking him for money on the grounds that his work for Bartholo requires bribing a lot of people. At the end of the play, himself is easily bribed by Figaro and the Count.
  • In Knickerbocker Holiday, the Councilmen distribute hush money to people who ask troublesome questions, including each other.
  • In The Mikado, Pooh-Bah would be insulted if you offered him a bribe, and mortified at the prospect of working for a salary. However, as a man of high moral principles, he is grateful for every such opportunity to practice self-abasement.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed II, you can bribe Heralds to stop announcing your presence to the populace.
    • And then pickpocket them moments later to get all your money back.
    • This is discussed in Assassin's Creed III, where after Connor learns this trick from Sam Adams he states that it feels wrong to rely on bribery and dishonesty.
  • In Batman: The Telltale Series, if Bruce decides to give Gordon evidence of Falcone's crimes, Gordon immediately says this won't make him turn a blind eye to the investigation into the Wayne family. Whether Bruce agrees or says any person can be brought is dependent on the player.
  • The player in Beyond Castle Wolfenstein can bribe any of the elite troops guarding Hitler's bunker with a few Marks if you don't have a legitimate pass.
  • Any machine in the first BioShock can be bought out with a cash payment — vending machines, health stations, and even security drones.
  • Boiling Point: Road to Hell allows the protagonist t bribe any enemy before they turn hostile. It always works, but it's quite expensive, especially for a large group of enemies.
  • The Diplomat unit in the original Civilization could buy off enemy units. When the government type is Democracy, it is quite an efficient way to weaken the enemies' resistance.
  • Similarly, the Probe Team unit in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri can take over enemy units by spending a certain amount of money, although it seems that this involves a bit of mind control as well. Probe Teams can also do this to whole bases (cities), as well. Moreover, the Economic Victory condition amounts to buying the loyalty of every single base on Planet. Naturally, you need scads upon scads of energy credits to do this.
  • The allied Spy unit in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 can buy the loyalty of enemy units, who switch sides permanently. Only Hero Units and those ranked at heroic will be immune to any form of bribery.
  • Getting approval from the demon assembly in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is far easier with bribes (and helpfully tells you when a senator wants or doesn't want an item for a bribe). Of course, considering you're in the Netherworld, this has nothing to do with corruption: if a senator doesn't want to support you and you don't want to bribe them, you can beat the crap out of them too. It's just a normal way of doing business.
    • Unfortunately, the system was completely broken. Even if you bribed a senator fully onto your side, it was still totally random if they would vote for you when the election happened - the percentage just went up a negligible amount for every rank in your favor you moved them. It also made other senators jealous, lowering their favor between the current vote and the next. And beating them up shot their approval of you down. The Dark Assembly was a massive Scrappy Mechanic.
    • By Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness the senators have stopped beating around the bush; you can simply pay out a large amount of cash for a win. Since by the postgame you'll have vast amounts of money, there's little reason not to.
  • Humorously played by Renegade!Shepard in a sidequest in Mass Effect 2.
    Shepard: I just went all the way up to the Presidium for this. Why should I give it to a random Krogan?
    Krogan: I'll pay you a lot for it!
    Shepard: Oh, well, that's different.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the player can bypass the "conversation" mini-game (to make someone like you with the Speech skill) by paying them off (this seems to literally buy you their friendship). Not that they need it after you've created a 100 charm spell.
    • Bribery is also an option for many interactions in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, such as when being arrested for low-level crimes. Depending on the severity of the situation, the bribes can become quite large; the success or failure of the bribe attempt depends, much as in Oblivion, on the player's Speech skill.
  • Several Final Fantasy games, most notably Final Fantasy X, make it possible for the party to bribe MONSTERS to make them leave you alone. FFX even lets you bribe an Optional Boss. In particular, FFX makes bribery an extremely useful ability, as a number of enemies hand over useful items if successfully bribed (the aforementioned Optional Boss coughs up ninety-nine of an extremely rare and valuable crafting material).
    • FFX also included the optional Yojimbo summon. Unlike other summons, you must negotiate a cash payment for his services before he agrees to work for you, and then even after that must pay him for each attack when he's in battle. The more you pay, the more damage he will do. Truly obscene amounts of payment will get him to One-Hit Kill anything - yes, anything - in the game.
  • Mad Gear in Final Fight had the last mayor of Metro City in their back pocket this way. When Mike Haggar took office, he turned down their "little bonus to [his] paycheck", which is why they kidnapped his daughter.
  • The Fire Emblem series is pretty famous when it comes to convincing people to turn traitor on their former friends to work for you but there are many characters in the series that specifically only side with you if you can dish out a couple grand to buy their loyalty. In Awakening the mercenary class' description flat out says they only fight for money.
  • The Godfather game also uses this. Bribing a Dirty Cop gives you temporary immunity from the law as long as you don't overdo it and bribing their chiefs gives a longer duration for that, while bribing an FBI agent completely empties your Vendetta with other gangs and is the easier way to win a Mob War.
  • King of the Castle:
    • The object of the Corruption scheme is for the Patricians of the Coast to bribe the entire Royal court senseless, then publicly accuse the King of being the corrupt one and "save" the Kingdom from chaos. The second part of their scheme involves shifting from bribing lesser members of the palace hierarchy to buying the loyalties of the King's inner circle; the Spymaster is (initially) too savvy to fall for it, while the Chancellor is fiercely loyal to the King, but the Treasurer and the Marshal are more receptive to having their allegiances bought off.
    • The Intimidation scheme, to which multiple factions have access, involves infiltrating the Palace Watch by either bribing or Blackmailing the soldiers to either swear allegiance to the faction's claimant or step aside in favour of someone more easily bought. For the final stage, the nobles can use the purchased loyalty of the Watch to either assassinate the King or render them a Puppet King under threat of assassination.
    • The premise of the Monarch's Golden Choice voting option is to buy votes by offering 500 gold in personal Wealth to all nobles who choose the Monarch's preferred option. (This can be used against the King if the Patricians' Corruption scheme succeeds.)
  • In MADNESS: Project Nexus 2, the Mercenary Origin in Arena Mode has the unique ability to pay dazed enemies a small amount of money to fight for him. Better yet, this ability works on everyone, including GOL3Ms.
  • In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, Chill Penguin says that Sigma has met his price for joining his Maverick rebellion. He does not say what Sigma gave him but does add that working for Sigma is a million times better than piddling around at the South Pole.
  • Mutant Football League allows each team to bribe the referee once per game half. A bribed ref will perform three main functions:
    1. Overlook penalties for pass interference, quarterback kill dirty plays, and cheap hit kills after a play has ended.
    2. Will call out completely nonsensical penalties on the opposing team.
    3. Absolutely will call a penalty that completely negates any legitimate forms of scoring points such as a touchdown, field goal, or safety. At this point, the game will call alert you that the ref is bribed, and the only way to fix this is to bribe the ref yourself, or kill the referee and incur a 15-yard penalty from the new ref who replaces him.
  • Overwatch: In the Storm Rising trailer, Maximilien, a high-ranking member of the criminal organization Talon, says that everyone has their price.
    Maximilien: Everyone you know... everything you do... can be bought and sold. The price of loyalty is always changing.
  • Penny-Punching Princess has this as its main gimmick. Almost any enemy can be tricked into not fighting you if you throw enough money at them. The most recent enemy you bribed can then be used to fight for you as a limited form of Summon Magic.
  • Rise of Nations has the Spy unit, who can bribe most enemy units to your side.
  • The moral system in Saints Row: The Third isn't based on good or evil but rather if The Boss would accept a bribe over mayhem. The game starts with Johnny expressing that they have gone soft since becoming a franchise which The Boss replies that franchise gives them a lot of money. By the fourth game, they dropped the gangster life and used their P.R. to become president instead.
  • In Satellite Reign, you can bribe doctors and scientists to join your research team, as well as the occasional corporate soldier stationed outside a facility to take the night offnote . Don't expect it to be an option with those actually inside the facility grounds, though.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours allows you to pay off gangs or the police in order to lower Heat. Given that, past a certain point on the Heat meters, gangs will attack on sight and cops will react much faster to any misdemeanours, one is likely to use this a lot.
  • Shin Megami Tensei games sometimes have this. You can converse with demons and successfully sweet-talk them into essentially selling themselves and join your forces, whether by literally bribing them with Macca or with an item exchange. Mechanics may vary, even reaching Auction of Evil territory on Devil Survivor.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, demons will even raise their prices if you clash with them on the Order Versus Chaos scale, or cut their price if you match. (Be warned - some demons will accept your bribes, then change their minds at the last second. Fricking Angels.)
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, you still talk to demons to convert them into allies, but some are much pickier. You have 3 types of conversation, talk, joke, and threaten, but certain demons, mainly the higher leveled or the rarest, won't even talk to you unless you use one of the bribing talks, starting with macca and going up, ending in gems, to befriend you. Fortunately, the amount needed is set, and once you get to higher levels, when you start needing it, you can easily get the amount needed to bribe 'em.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you will be taken to Charon The Ferryman should you suffer a Total Party Kill. The man himself is massively overworked, and is quite willing to look the other way to send you back with a lit-okay, a boatload of Macca, or 3DS Play Coins, if you regularly take 10-minute walks with your 3DS. He's still kind enough to offer a tab should you lack the money he demands, but be sure to pay him before you fall in battle again, or risk being Killed Off for Real.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, during Sunry's murder trial on Manaan, it's possible for the player to make the hotel clerk change his testimony if you successfully bribe him.
  • In Superhero League of Hoboken, all monsters have a "Greed" trait. If it's above 0, you can bribe them, but the higher their greed is, the more you'll need to spend. This still counts as defeating them for experience points. Creatures with 0 Greed, on the other hand, can never be bribed.
  • Many of the Total War games allow you to bribe armies and cities to switch sides. Generals and other factors increase the cost/chance of failure of pulling off the bribe, but it is almost always possible.
  • Subverted in The Witcher. Geralt needs to get past an unfriendly guard and pulls out a bag of gold, stating that "money can open every door". When the guard contradicts him, Geralt proves his statement by using the bag to knock him unconscious.
  • XCOM Apocalypse allows you to "make reparations" to the various organizations that make up Mega-City. You can give them money to change their attitude from openly hostile to neutral, or from neutral to allied (which costs a lot more). Even the Cult of Sirius, who are all but allied with the aliens can be made neutral for a short time (they'll become hostile the second you attack the aliens, which is kind of your job, so...). It's entirely possible and, given your budget, expected, to raid other organizations, steal their valuable stuff, sell whatever you don't need, and then buy your way back into their good graces.
  • Zeus: Master of Olympus:
    • Starting in this game, you can (finally) ask other cities for help (such as various goods), although this lowers their opinion of you. You can raise it by giving them goods in return, with the bribes being more effective if you give them items they normally import from you. However, giving them more than four gifts in a year will cause them to refuse further gifts.
    • Attacking enemies can be given a "Begone" Bribe so they won't even appear on the city map. Despite often demanding thousands of drachmae, this is more often than not the easiest solution, as it saves you from using the incredibly clunky combat system and do horrible things to your economy as the militia stop producing to go attack the enemies.

  • Errant Story: Sarine's preferred method of dealing with people with whom she needs something really fast with a minimum of fuss is to bribe them with Lost Technology that, as an elven ranger, is frequently just one of her personal belongings. After one instance, she notes that she's going to quickly run out of bribery material at her current rate.
  • Homestuck: Parodied, Caliborn paid off his session's Jack Noir with candy to murder his sister Calliope, and comments that "every man has his price when it comes to sweets" when describing this afterwards. This is downplayed, however, as Caliborn suspects that Noir would likely have done it anyway, bribe or no bribe.
  • Latchkey Kingdom: Rex, as a talking dog and the Royal Guard, feels patronized when Willa tries to bribe him with a Stock Femur Bone. He's willing to overlook her breaking into the Castle when given a Special Scratch-n-Sniff Issue of Maydog Magazine (featuring double entendre and innuendo!), though.
  • Magick Chicks: At the end of the comic's final volume, Mel makes up with Cerise and lets her off the hook after everything she's done. Faith calls bullshit, demanding that Cerise answer for her crimes... until Tiffany offers her a bribe:
    Tiffany: Aw c'mon... can't we turn a blind eye just this once?
    Faith: [outraged] No way! It's burning at the stake for her!
    Tiffany: [rolls eyes] Sigh... tell you what: be lenient, and I'll talk to Tiffany Winters about giving you a DVD recording of her morning yoga workout. M.M.A.A's honor.
    Faith: [blushing] What would I—
    Tiffany: It's nude yoga.
    Faith: Grrr, cheater.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The title character, Sergeant Schlock, is independently wealthy thanks to his skills at playing the stock market (at one point, he was majority stockholder of the mercenary company who employed him). A Running Gag in the strip is Schlock paying for subcontractors and getaway vehicles with cash without blinking.
    Dr. Bunnigus: Kathryn, it doesn't matter how skillful you are, I can't afford this.
    Schlock: Gimme. **glances at the bill** Add 10%, you get it all in advance, and the penalty clause for screwing us is 'I get to eat you.'
  • Vampire Cheerleaders: For Leonard, it's sex. All Lori and her squad had to do to buy his silence about them being vampires, was spread 'em for him.

    Web Original 
  • In Critical Role: Campaign Three, the group is not above using bribes in order to "convince" people to do what they want. Ashton bribes a tavern owner for the name of a dwarf patron who visited the inn in the recent past, and Dorian bribes a Dreamscape Theater worker to give the group box seats to a play.
  • Nightmare Time: The episode "Yellow Jacket" has Charles making a deal with Ethan to allow Hannah to fight the fighting ring's champion. He initially refuses, since the champion has assimilated every single one of his previous opponents into a hivemind, stripping them of their identity. Hannah eventually makes him accept a deal of $100,000,000.
  • In the Pokémon short film Pokémon Apokélypse, which is a parody of Darker and Edgier, Team Rocket has basically overrun Kanto society with this trope. Giovanni even has a Briefcase Full of Money. Unfortunately, even in this messed-up universe, Ash still has standards.

    Western Animation 
  • Dr. Robotnik almost quotes this trope by its name in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Boogey Mania" when he offers Professor Von Schlemmer diamonds in exchange for converting his Dream Machine into a Nightmare Machine. Von Schlemmer instinctively accepts, but then reconsiders.
  • Arcane: Standard procedure for Silco's gang is to mix the implied threat of violence with a nice little bag of coins. Laws melt away easily as officials and law enforcement look the other way.
  • In an episode of The Critic, Jay finds himself in this situation with his insensitive boss following a public humiliation.
    Jay: You think you can put a price on my humiliation? (Duke hands him a check. Jay looks at it) Wow! That's it to the penny!
  • Count Duckula inverts this in the Danger Mouse episode "The Great Bone Idol" as he asks Baron Greenback what's in it for him if he goes out searching for the Idol:
    Greenback: How about...Australia?
    Duckula: Australia? Bondi Beach... Woolamaloo... kangaroo stew... yes... Done!
  • From the pilot of Gargoyles:
    David Xanatos: Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell.
  • In one episode of House of Mouse, this almost spoken word for word by Scrooge McDuck after he buys the titular club, and Mickey Mouse protests that Pete is the owner.
    Scrooge: Everyone has their price.
    (Pete drives up in a golf cart, dressed like a pimp and hauling around a huge sack of cash with a dollar sign on it)
    Pete: And my price is a big fat bag of cash!
  • When Lex Luthor in Justice League assembles an 'Injustice League' of various criminals, they succeed in capturing Batman, who then proceeds to, among other things, bribe Ultra-Humanite with an outrageous sum. It works. Humanite takes the bribe...and donates it to public broadcasting. Batman, meanwhile, brings down the whole league from the inside. So even supervillains have their price...
    Ultra-Humanite: What do I need with money?
    Luthor: Everybody needs money. The only question is: How much?
  • Rick and Morty: In "Thanksploitation Spectacular", Congress willingly goes along with the Turkey President just because he's giving them all enormous raises.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Lampshaded in a scene between Mr. Burns and the nuclear inspector:
      Inspector: Burns, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to bribe me.
      Burns: Is there some confusion about this? [thrusts the money into the inspector's pockets] Take it! Take it! Take it, you poor schmo!
    • In another episode, an ancestor of Mr. Burns was looking for a fugitive slave and Hiram Simpson knew where said slave was hidden. At first, Hiram invoked the I Gave My Word trope but Col. Burns said that, as a slave owner, he knows how to evaluate a man's price and calculated Hiram's to be "a pleasant surprise". It worked. The surprise happened to be a pair of shoes. Hiram's ex-wife got one of the shoes at the divorce. Instead of laces, her shoe came with a note from Hiram telling her he'd keep them.
    • But sometimes it's not that easy, as when Homer worked at a carnival and Chief Wiggum came for his bribe and, despite Bart trying to help, he just didn't get it.
      Chief: The person [wink] that I'm looking for [wink] is Mr. Bribe. [wink, wink, places hand on money box]
      Homer: It's a ring-toss game.

    Real Life 
  • Economics regards this as a near-universal fact—all motivations can be quantified and converted into money.note  There are even economic analyses of how people could engage in suicide attacks on the basis of rational self-interest.
  • Many defectors have used bribe money to escape North Korea and/or convince North Korean officials to ignore black market deals. Bribery became very common after North Korea's economy started to fail when the Cold War ended. North Korea depended on foreign aid to keep its economy intact. When Russia and China began to charge higher prices for petroleum and other supplies; the infrastructure suffered a breakdown that became worse after the famine. However, the Bribe Backfire can instantly apply if the bribe threatens the North Korean official with public exposure.
  • In China, bribes are paid so black market operations will be ignored.
  • This is common practice in many countries, especially poorer ones. There are many places around the world where the difference between success and failure is dependent on giving the right corrupt official a small cash payout. Where foreigners from richer countries are involved, such a bribe can easily amount to more than said official's paycheck.
    • Often though, it is customary to have a small face-saving device by paying the bribe in something that looks less crass than money. An art object or rare wine bottle might do, for example.
      • On the other hand, it is sometimes a custom to send such an object as a gift after a successful or lucrative business deal. While this can actually be perfectly innocent, the recipient can't accept the gift, because of company policy born of this trope.
    • In some places where bribery is so ubiquitous, it's necessary in order to get an official to actually do their job at allnote . Companies will often have (suitably discreet) line items in their planning budgets to handle the required bribes. This is often because public servants in these countries are ludicrously underpaid, as the government there has no money. At least, no money for lower-level government employees, because usually the people at the top have been lining their own pockets out of the state treasury.
      • Ubiquitous to the point that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the American law that prohibits bribing officials in foreign countries, actually has an exception for bribes that are required for people to do their job.
  • This is also why there are so many "bad Russian driving" videos uploaded to YouTube - because of the rampant use of bribes, installing dashboard cameras was the easiest way to combat the corruption. It's a bit hard to convince a judge that you were at fault when there's video evidence proving that the other guy ran a stop sign.
  • When Ritchie Blackmore was leaving Deep Purple in 1975, he invited the members of their opening act, Elf, to be part of his new band, Rainbow. The offer did not extend to their guitarist, Steve Edwards, whom Blackmore offered a sizable "Begone" Bribe (rumored to be in the neighborhood of $50,000). He took it.
  • Soldiers throughout history have fallen into primarily one of two categories: honor-bound aristocrats and paid ruffians. Considering how bad military pay has been up until just last century, soldiers used to be very easy to bribe. Now, thanks to things like professional militaries, decent wages, and strict accountability, good luck.
    • To this day, irregular and poor troops can be bribed, especially if they aren't sitting on anything especially important, are bored, dissatisfied, or a combination. Works quite easily on freelance mercs, considering how the boss often pays peanuts if anything, and they generally don't have to hold up to ethics inquiries.
  • There are several instances in history of wars being won by bribing the enemy's soldiers to abandon their cause. A prime example would be the brief, largely-abortive war the (New/2nd) 'Guangxi Clique' waged against the Kuomintang in the mid-1930s. Chiang Kai-Shek's 'Silver Bullets' did far more to ensure the collapse of the Warlords' forces than did the efforts of the Kuomintang's troops. Since they were all nominally under the government of the Republic of China, all the country's troops (regardless of who actually paid them and where their real allegiances lay) technically answered to Generalissimo Chiang, it was actually perfectly legal for him to give large bonuses to 'his' commanders as 'rewards for their service and loyalty' - though all said commanders were actually equipped and supplied by and answered to the Guangxi Clique.
  • Philip of Macedon (Alexander the Great's father) used to say that even a donkey can enter the strongest fortress there is. Provided the donkey carries enough gold, of course.
  • The (possibly apocryphal) story goes that when Abe Lincoln was a lawyer, a man came to his second-floor office and offered him a bribe to throw his client's case. When Lincoln refused the man said "Everyone has his price." and raised the offer. This went on for a few moments as the man kept saying that "Everyone has his price" and making a larger offer. Suddenly, Lincoln grabbed the man and threw him down the stairs. When a stunned man asked why Lincoln didn't just refuse the latest offer, Lincoln said, "He was getting too close to my price."
  • A mechanic was asked to do an emergency repair that would require him to work through his lunch break. The customer's bribe was a pizza so that the mechanic could eat while he worked.
    • Stuff like this is actually good business practice. You still have to pay your employees overtime (which is expensive). Minor benefits (such as free meals) make employees much more agreeable to working extra from time to time.
  • Arab-American stand-up comedian Ahmed Ahmed relates a story wherein he - at the insistence of his agent - auditioned for the part of "Terrorist #4" in a movie. He proceeded to the audition and played the part as over-the-top as he could, hoping to troll the casting director. The next day his agent informed him that he got the part. He at first refused, believing it would only contribute to negative stereotypes. He was then informed that he would be paid $30,000 for a week's worth of work, at which point he promptly signed on.
  • Comedian Gabriel Iglesias has referenced the trope in several of his stories.
    • When he first received word from his agent that Saudi Arabia wanted him to perform, he named a ludicrous price in the millions, as he didn't really want to go. To his shock, the Saudis paid the price promptly and without argument (Gabriel later learned he is apparently much more popular in Saudi Arabia than he ever realized).
    • In his famous "Racist Gift Basket" story, in which he made a... well, racist gift basket for fellow comedian G. Reilly as a prank, the receptionist at the hotel happened to be a black woman. He asked her to deliver it, but she initially refused... until he offered her some money.
      Receptionist: Listen here, Nacho Libre, I know you did NOT just ask me to deliver that to a black man!
      Gabriel: I'll pay you $50.
      Receptionist: [Immediately grabs the basket] Where that motherfucker at?


South Park

"I heard you can customize your own lightsaber..."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / EveryManHasHisPrice

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