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Family-Values Villain

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Breakfast with your family is important before a hard day of hunting dissidents and Untermenschen.

Faith: Thanks, sugar daddy.
Mayor Wilkins: [admonishingly] Now, Faith, I don't find that sort of thing amusing; I'm a family man. [jovial] Now, let's kill your little friend!

Some villains have standards. They might have no problem gunning cops down in cold blood, but they aren't going to do anything to children or women. Or they might be willing to blow up a city for a holy cause, but not for money. Somewhere they have to draw the line—because, if that line doesn't exist, good and evil cease to have any meaning at all.

And for a handful of villains, that line is, "Anything the Brady kids learned An Aesop about." Yes, these are bad guys who believe in good old-fashioned family values. Being a kingpin in the international drug trade might be fine, but giving alcohol to minors, most certainly not! It's their duty as a loyal citizen to show respect and admiration for the local police, but nothing says they can't do that and bribe the cops into murdering their enemies. And, of course, sexual intercourse outside of a traditional, heterosexual marriage (especially if it's not done with the intention of baby-making) is strictly prohibited.

Not all examples of this trope are as self-contradictory as the ones above, though. In some cases, promoting family values may be the reason the villain is doing all these horrible things, making them a Knight Templar. And in other cases, the family (wo)man routine might simply be an act, designed to ensure that they remain a Villain with Good Publicity. A third case might be that they display acute symptoms of Moral Myopia, putting "family" and "everyone else" into two completely different categories as far as the standards of moral behavior are concerned.

But then again, some just don't seem to see anything odd about speaking an arcane ritual to summon horrific demons into the mortal plane, then lecture some kids about saying "darn" instead of "damn".note 

Compare Straight Edge Evil, Evil Virtues, Family Man, and Churchgoing Villain. Contrast with Values Dissonance, where an ostensibly family-friendly character can unintentionally appear villainous to some. (For example, a man who forbids his wife to work outside the home, explaining that it's to protect her, or because as her husband he's supposed to be the breadwinner, might come off as sexist and emotionally abusive to certain audiences, whereas he might come off as a very loving and dutiful husband to others.) Almost always certain to be Affably Evil. Occasionally overlaps with Heteronormative Crusader, New Media Are Evil, Marital Rape License, and Honor-Related Abuse. See also The War on Straw.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Claude "Torch" Weaver, one of the Carnival of Killers in Black Lagoon is a devoted Mormon man who won't touch alcohol and is the only person in the cast who never swears. He's also a completely insane pyromaniac who burned his own wife to death.
  • Light Yagami from Death Note, who wants to destroy criminals. He normally focuses on those who commit serious crimes like rape and murder, although he does at one point kills a purse snatcher... and eventually planned to kill people for such horrible crimes as being lazy (by Japanese standards, of course). All in the name of creating a "perfect world."
  • Big Mom from One Piece is the mother to a large family, many of whom are hybrids, and wishes to create a society free of racial prejudice, which she inherited from her early mother figure, "Holy Mother" Carmel. It's a shame that she's completely insane and goes about it in entirely the wrong way. And that both her parental substitutes were themselves evil bastards who only kept her for their selfish desires.

    Comic Books 
  • In contrast to his mostly depraved and foul-mouthed supervillain colleagues, the Doll-Master in Wanted is very much a Family-Values Villain. He's always polite and well-spoken and never swears, and to his family, maintains the image of a normal and wholesome suburban father. Granted, his wife interprets his absences for villainous activities as signs of adultery, and he actually did cheat on her in an expedition to another dimension, but his wholesome persona is genuine. Shame that he's a ruthless criminal who kills without remorse.
  • While their styles of parenting range from hands-off to strict/abusive, the supervillain parents in Runaways maintain normal upper-middle-class lives when not involved in villainy and have typical expectations of their children being successful and want to make the world a better place for them, and believe they are doing what is best for them... by letting the Gibborim destroy and remake it so their kids can live in paradise. The series is practically the poster child for Even Evil Has Loved Ones/Evil Parents Want Good Kids.
  • Ma Dalton from Lucky Luke is an Anti-Villain example. She is a kind, proper, polite old lady, who doesn't hold with her grown sons swearing, who ensures they wash their hands and say grace before every meal, who doesn't want them consorting with women... and she has no problem whatsoever with the family trade of armed robbery (except when her sons do it haphazardly).
  • Played rather disturbingly with Ultron; one of his desires is to have a family of his own like how the Avengers are. Since he's a robot (and despises humans) he builds family members for himself and frequently tries to bring them into his evil plans. Unfortunately for him, Ultron isn't exactly the best father figure. His "children" (the Vision, Jocasta, Victor Mancha) have a tendency to rebel against him and switch sides much to his anger and disappointment.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • The Prince of Egypt: Despite ordering the mass infanticide among the Hebrew slaves, Pharaoh Seti I gives every sign of being a family man who genuinely loves his wife and sons. However, this is a rare example that serves to make him creepier rather than sympathetic due to the cognitive dissonance involved; he ignores the obvious implication that he nearly murdered the baby who later became his favorite son (Moses) because he doesn't seem to consider him a Hebrew at all instead of a Prince of Egypt. His son Rameses also qualifies and dearly loved both his brother Moses and his son.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Brazil: Jack is seen multiple times as a cheery family guy who also has a position as Torture Technician within a byzantine and oppressive government. His Establishing Character Moment is the scene where Sam is asking him some questions while he happily plays with his daughter...and screams emanate from a locked door in his office.
  • From Paris with Love: Wax and Reese pull a gun on a triad boss while he's attending a children's play and try to blackmail him to give up the location of his cocaine suppliers. When he proves too recalcitrant, Reese adds "think of the children" to get him to comply with their demands.
  • A popular trope in gangster movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas. The people involved are murderous assholes of the highest order, but they have a code, and nothing is more important than family.
    Don Corleone: A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.
  • Don Rafael Montero in The Mask of Zorro won't allow children to witness Public Executions he's staged to bring out Zorro, or tell his twenty-year-old daughter Elena that he put her real father in a dungeon to die and that one of his soldiers accidentally killed her mother (Montero also promptly shot that soldier for it).
  • The Big Bad of the 1987 Dragnet movie is the head of a moral advancement movement, providing the perfect cover for a cult leader terrorizing Los Angeles.
  • Donny, the Serial Killer-esque father in Ted, flies into a rage if his son or someone else uses foul language.
  • Inside Man: The bank robber. Despite brutally beating a hostage, executing another one, and robbing the bank, he is concerned about the violent content in a video game a young hostage is playing and resolves to discuss it with the boy's father. Subverted in that the execution of the hostage was staged, and the only thing he actually stole was the contents of the safe deposit box of the bank's founder, which were ill-gotten gains from his days as a Nazi collaborator. The "villain" is a lot less villainous than he appears.
  • The warden from The Shawshank Redemption is ok with brutality, murder, corruption, and extortion, but don't try taking the Lord's name in vain in his presence.
    Warden Norton: I believe in two things: discipline, and the Bible. Here, you'll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.
  • The snobs who run the kids' summer camp in Addams Family Values are smarmily intolerant of anyone who doesn't measure up to their blond-haired, tanned, country-club ideal, which leads them to persecute Wednesday and Pugsley and their Ambiguously Jewish friend, as well as to slip some Condescendingly Compassionate rhetoric about Native Americans into a camp skit about the first Thanksgiving. They also believe in being outwardly wholesome all the time, smiling nonstop and encouraging children to enjoy "clean" entertainment like The Brady Bunch. An Alternate Character Interpretation is that they're not actually villainous and really try to be compassionate, but they're so clueless about anyone who is different from them that their efforts come across as awkward at best.
  • Deconstructed slightly in Scarface (1983). Tony tries to be concerned and caring towards his long-suffering mother and baby sister, though it turns out they don't quite appreciate it. His mother is fully aware of what Tony did to become "a success" and is openly ashamed of his gangster lifestyle. His sister keeps an open mind and loves Tony in spite of his faults but her relationship with Tony winds up costing her her life. Tony attempts to play this Trope straight by refusing to kill a politician while he's riding in a car with his children, only to find the cartel he's allied himself with aren't pleased with this arbitrary sense of morality and promptly gun him down.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming portrays the Vulture as one of these. He was a normal blue-collar worker with a family prior to becoming a dealer in alien weaponry, and he still loves his wife and daughter. He uses his ill-gotten wealth to provide them with a comfortable life, and is willing to let Peter go (on the condition he doesn't interfere with the Vulture again) because Peter was a good boyfriend to his daughter Liz.
  • In Vice (2018), Dick Cheney is depicted as a ruthless, amoral man who does terrible things in his quest for power. When not at work, however, he spends ample time with his wife and daughters and is depicted as a loving family man.
    • After wasting his youth as a wastrel, Cheney shapes up and flies straight so that he can marry Lynne and take her away from her drunken, abusive father. Cheney feels nothing but disgust for Wayne and later tells him never to come near Lynne or his daughters again.

  • In Under the Dome Second Selectman Big Jim Rennie is a born-again Christian who has refused to swear or drink since his conversion and believes highly in family unity. That doesn't stop him from plotting a hostile takeover of the town, filling the police force with rape-happy Mooks, setting up the largest meth lab in the country, and killing members of his family. It's for "the good of the town," after all.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Umbridge seems to be this type of person. No lying, no swearing, and so on. It's okay for her to lie and so forth because then it's for the greater good.
    • The only redeeming quality the three Malfoys have between them is that they truly love each other. It drives Mrs. Malfoy to lie to Voldemort's face at the end, which is the nail in his coffin.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • This is an interesting secondary hat of the Mandalorians. The name they call themselves literally translates to "children of Mandalore" and they see all who follow the Mandalorian way as kin in one big, war-mongering family. They are also fanatically family-oriented and consider getting married and raising children into the Mandalorian life as a sacred tenet (with the father doing the bulk of it). note  Part of the reason they have such a long-standing disagreement with Jedi is due to the Jedi policy of separating Force-sensitive children from their families and forbidding them contact.
    • When Jabba the Hutt had captured the Heroes of Yavin and enslaved Leia, he handed her over to Boba Fett for the night. When Leia prepared to defend herself against a rape attempt, Fett all but rolled his eyes, told Leia extramarital sex and rape were immoral, scolded her for dating a spice smuggler like Han Solo, then sat beside the door all night so that Leia could have the bed. He may be the nastiest bounty hunter in the galaxy, but he will not abandon his convictions. Later stories show him as entirely faithful to his wife, even after they've become estranged and lived separately for years (this contradicts earlier material where he had never even held a woman).
    • The Yuuzhan Vong from New Jedi Order have a strong streak of this mixed in with being the Combat Sadomasochist Scary Dogmatic Aliens they're better known as. The fundamental basis of Vong society is the Domain—essentially, clan or extended family. Domain loyalty is a huge deal (to the extent that the idea of refusing to aid even a member of your Domain that you hate personally is unthinkable), and Vong characters will go to extreme lengths to protect family honor. This is most exemplified by Warmaster Tsavong Lah, who greatly reveres his father Czulkang, treats him with utmost respect despite their having once bitterly argued over the direction of Yuuzhan Vong policy, and is utterly devastated when the old man dies in battle (Czulkang returns the favor, reserving his last words for his son's ears alone, and then refusing to speak again even to give his crew final orders so he won't break his promise). Furthermore, when one of Lah's spies reports that Han Solo and Leia Organa are not on speaking terms at the moment despite being married, the Warmaster is stunned—after all, by human standards, it's a comparatively mild fight that gets resolved by the end of the book, but to the Vong, that kind of inner-family strife is shockingly dysfunctional. Later in the series, the heroes even note that the Vong's family values may be alien, but they're very strong.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The page image is of John Smith and his family from The Man in the High Castle. When the Nazis take over the United States, John decides to become loyal to the Nazi cause to protect his family under the new regime, going as far as to become a high-ranking SS officer that oversees the genocide of millions of people. This backfires when it turns out that his son Thomas has an incurable disease that he would be exterminated for. He tries to cover it up, killing the doctor who diagnosed Thomas. But ultimately, Thomas has been indoctrinated with Nazi ideals and looks up to his father as a role model, so he turns himself in to be euthanized.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Villain Mayor Richard Wilkins III is really the pinnacle of this trope. He's made deals with dozens of different demons, founded a town specifically so he could lure in people to be killed by monsters, orders numerous thefts and assassinations (including against newborn infants as payment for a demon), and his master plan is to become a giant demon that will devour everyone in sight. But he still believes in setting a good example for the children, is disgusted by "immoral liaisons" at the local motel, and his last words to his vampire army before the final battle are "And boys? Let's watch the swearing."
    • What makes the Mayor interesting is that there's never really any hint that his personality is the mask—it remains consistent throughout, except for a brief, understandable Villainous Breakdown after Buffy puts his Morality Pet Faith into a coma. Unlike many examples of this trope he's not really a Knight Templar or a hypocrite—he's just a generally nice guy whose chief ambition, incongruously, is turning into a gigantic demon snake. In one episode he celebrates an evil scheme well done with a hearty "Gosh I'm feeling chipper! Who's for a root beer!?" When he realizes his plan's gone amok after ascending to demonhood and finding himself face-to-face with a room full of high explosives, his last words and only response is "Well, gosh."
  • In Dexter, Arthur Mitchell, a.k.a. the Trinity Killer, initially seems to be a devoted family man who moonlights as a Serial Killer, which is why Dexter befriends him, to try and learn how to balance his own family life and serial killing. However, Arthur's adherence to family values turns out to be a facade, and he's revealed to actually be a terrifying Control Freak and Domestic Abuser.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this is the Cardassians' Hat (expanded from the Next Generation episode Chain of Command), best exemplified by Gul Dukat - husband, father and totally unrepentant imperialist. Unfortunately, his culture's family values including the duty to murder his half-Bajoran daughter given that she was born out of wedlock and this is therefore considered a personal dishonor. Thankfully he can't do it.
  • René Benoit in NCIS is an international arms dealer who considers himself a businessman.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter White begins the series as an Anti-Hero trying to earn money for his family before he dies of cancer. During his slow transformation into Villain Protagonist, he continues to try to hold his family together in spite of his criminal undertakings.
  • The Addams Family aren't really villains (though they do enjoy torturing, and allude to lots of rather nasty things) they are just dark and WEIRD (and kooky and spooky...), but they are very big on family values in almost all media in which they have appeared (values like family, friends, love, mayhem, manslaughter...) Family psychologists have even lauded the show as one of the rare depictions of a functional, genuinely loving family in a sitcom.
  • In the Japanese series Kamen Rider Double, this was the Nazca Dopant's redeeming quality. He was perfectly willing to sell self-destructive and addicting superpowers to greedy and corrupt adults, but was horrified to find them being given to children as test subjects! Despite being The Dragon at the time, he teams up with Double to save the children. However, Redemption Equals Death his own wife, who remains evil throughout the whole series, kills him.
  • While there is some serious variability in how good they are at it, most of the mobsters in The Sopranos at least attempt to do this.
    • Livia Soprano seems at first to merely be a grumpy old lady. She is very insistent that nobody swears or smokes in her presence. Then she all but encourages her brother-in-law to put a hit out on her own son.
  • In The Straits, Harry is fine with drug-dealing and creative murder, but draws the line at arranged marriage for his daughter, and dealing in sex slaves.
  • In the first season of Leverage, a gang boss is very angry when he learns one of his men took a job beating up a priest. He gets the guy to give the heroes the information they want before saying this man's path to atonement is about to begin.
  • Omar Little from The Wire isn't really a villain, but despite the fact that he's a violent criminal, he can't abide swearing.
    • All of Baltimore's gangsters can be taken into consideration since they all abide by the "Sunday Truce" in which all beef is put aside so the people of west Baltimore (gangsters and citizens alike) can attend church with no fear of violence. When the truce is violated, the two shooters are chewed out and ridiculed mercilessly for such a shame.
  • Supernatural:
    • Azazel. In season one, two particularly evil demons turned out to be his children. He was not happy that Sam and Dean killed one of them.
      Azazel: How would you feel if I killed your family? Oh, that's right. I forgot. I did. Still, two wrongs don't make a right.
    • The Alpha vampire has shades of this as well. He views all vampires as his children and even his Stockholm'd snacks call him "daddy". His own mother Eve is similar but extends this to all monsters.
    • Lucifer makes a number of appeals to familial love to justify his evil acts. In "The End", he tells Dean that his only crime was loving his father too much, and he believes it. In "Hammer of the Gods", he is disgusted that Gabriel would side with "broken, flawed abortions" (humans) over his "own flesh and blood". In "Swan Song", he urges Michael not to fight him because "we're brothers. Let's just walk off the chessboard."
    • In "Inside Man", when Dean questions why Crowley listens to Rowena, he replies "Because she's my family."
    • Rowena herself is an interesting case. She cultivates an image of being a Family Values Villain in order to manipulate her son Crowley and control Hell from behind the scenes, but it's an obvious facade. When pretending to care ceases to be convenient she freely admits that she feels no love for her son and would gladly kill him if it suited her.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • The Governor is this. He hides his villainy behind a facade of Southern charm and seems at times to genuinely care about the people living in the town. He is, however, not averse to committing acts of violence.
    • Joe, the leader of the Claimers, is fine with murder and rape, but will not tolerate lying.
  • Your Honor: Jimmy Baxter is a ruthless mob boss, but also genuinely believes providing a good life for his family is paramount (indeed, he justifies his crimes using this rationale).

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Bowser from Super Mario Bros. may be an Evil Overlord but he does really care about his son.
  • When they're not on the job, many of the mercenaries of Team Fortress 2 try to be this, handing out human molars and inordinate amounts of blood money to trick or treaters, defending Snissmas shoppers from inhuman monsters, escorting unarmed noncombatants through deadly robot hordes, and helping children to conquer their fears through teaching them to commit murder.
  • The Wright crime family in Fallout 2 are an actual family of mobsters who due to their matriarch Ethyl Wright's influence refuse to take part in the gambling, prostitution, and drug trades within the Wretched Hive of New Reno. Alcohol, however, was fair game and their main source of income. Their smaller numbers compared to the other gangs made the Wrights extremely loyal to each other and allowed for keeping family members clean and away from recreational drugs.
  • Pagan Min of Far Cry 4 definitely has it in him to be this, going by his recalling of the time he traveled to America with DePleur to meet the man's family. He even admits that he would have preferred that life to being the dictator of Kyrat, and regrets not going to meet with Ishwari (the protagonist's mother who Pagan loved) to start a family with her and Ajay.
  • Divinity: Dragon Commander: Your dwarven advisor Falstaff is clearly a Corrupt Corporate Executive who happens to be on the heroes' side (as is with most of your advisors and crew), but draws the line at all the family-unfriendly policies; basically, the only thing more important than coin is the family you spend it for.
  • While he's not a villain, Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is heir to a Yakuza family. He isn't bothered in the slightest by any of his family's illegal activities; but underage drinking, underage sex, and driving a car without a license are things he absolutely will not tolerate.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Gaius van Baelsar adopted several orphaned children, and by their dialogue it is clear that he was a caring, even if stiff, father. In the Hatching-tide 2022 event, he[1] even attended to a holiday festival with his daughter[2], with both disguised as chickens.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • General Tarquin puts a "Baby on Board" sign on his war chariot, offers heartfelt apologies to his partner in crime Malack when Tarquin upsets him, is unfailingly polite, and a devoted father. But he also leads a militaristic nation, has escaped slaves burned alive as punishment, and regularly forces women to marry him through torture. In a comic that sums up his relationship perfectly, he is laughing heartily eating ice cream with his son, while walking past a statue of Tarquin beheading someone.
    • Malack himself easily qualifies. Just watch him discuss parenthood with Vaarsuvius, pursue vengeance against Nale for the death of his children, and forcibly turn Durkon into a new member of his vampiric "family" when their moral differences prove insurmountable.
      Vaarsuvius: Have you considered adoption? I'm certain this war climate provides no shortage of orphans.
      Malack: It has crossed my mind, but I'm worried about not having, you know, that special bond...
  • The Soulstealer clan from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures may be card-carrying demons, but they're a very devoted and affectionate family.

    Web Original 
  • The Evil Overlord List contains the line "It's important to spend time with the grandkids." Then again, the reason for keeping at least one grandchild in close proximity at all times is so that when the hero bursts on the scene, the child can ask why dear old granddad needs to die, and while the hero is blathering on about the nature of evil or some such, the child can pull the lever to drop the hero into the crocodile pit.

    Western Animation 
  • The "Red Hood" from Batman: Under the Red Hood, upon taking over the local drug trade, informs the mobsters that they are NOT to sell their wares to kids... or he'll kill them.
  • The Simpsons carried it to comedic extremes with Hank Scorpio, a power-mad super villain... who wanted to make sure all his employees and their families lived safe, comfortable lives. In the parody of a Bond movie villain song, it lists his offering generous benefits and pensions as what tempts people to work for him.
    Scorpio (while supervising defense against a US Special Forces attack while his doomsday weapon ticks down in the background): Well, Homer, I hate to lose you; gonna miss you. But you have to do what's best for your family. And listen, if you could kill someone on your way out, that'd be a big help. (picks up a flamethrower) Bye now! (Laughs maniacally while he attacks the US troops)
  • Young Justice (2010)
    • Black Manta deserves a place here for using a terrorist mission to teach his son a lesson about honesty.
    • The Light strongly approve of family values, albeit in a messed up way as they praise the aforementioned Black Manta for his desire to bring his son into the fold. They later sympathize with a villain whose heroic daughter was killed by a rival villain and offer him a generous cash compensation, despite said hero being one of their mortal enemies who any of them would have killed in a heartbeat, while simultaneously refusing to let him murder the rival villain's son.
  • Father from Codename: Kids Next Door IS this trope. He hates the Kids Next Door and will do everything in his power to wipe them out, sometimes through some rather family-unfriendly horrifying means. However, since he is a father, he dotes on his own kids, the Delightful Children From Down The Lane, and tells them to mind their manners while they carry out acts of villainy, and behave in the presence of adults while they carry out acts of villainy. However, they don't always like Father's rules, which they make clear in several episodes.
    • The above example may be debatable, however, as it's revealed that the DCFDTL are not actually Father's kids, but actually the missing Sector Z of the Kids Next Door, put through a horrifying process called "delightfulization" that turned them into what they are today.
    • A later example both plays this straight and role-inverts it; in one episodenote , it's revealed that Mr. Boss and Numbuh 86 are father and daughter. They make it clear that the fact that their respective organizations are perpetually at each other's throats doesn't stop them from loving one another as family.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): The Legion of Doom doesn't mind Doctor Psycho hypnotizing Giganta to turn her into an obedient wife, but they draw the line and expel him when he uses the C-word on television.