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Paying for the Action Scene

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He wasn't kidding. That's gonna leave a stain.

"Sorry about the mess."
Han Solo [after blasting Greedo in Chalmun's Cantina], Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

A hero or Anti-Hero gets in a scuffle in a bar, a restaurant, a banquet hall, or another establishment not fit for battle and, after the chaos is over, decides to pay for the destruction left behind. Hero Insurance would typically still be in effect but the hero decides to give the owner a little bit of money in order to pay for the mess. More often than not, this is to make the character look like a total badass, or perhaps a gentleman. Not only did they just beat up or kill an enemy in a typically awesome manner but they decided to toss in a few extra bucks to pay for collateral damage. This can often be an Establishing Character Moment, since the audience can tell the person is not only not to be trifled with, but is also generous enough to take responsibility for the damages. There might also be the possibility that the payment is too small to cover the charges. A Bond One-Liner is optional.

Sister trope to Action Insurance Gag.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The second part of Guts' Establishing Character Moment in Berserk (after he makes a demoness go Out with a Bang) has him enter a Bad Guy Bar, put a few coins on the bar telling the barkeep "for the disturbance". Before the barkeep can ask for clarification, Guts has started attacking the mooks, destroying them and the furniture, leaving one alive (and more than happy to take a message to the Evil Overlord).
  • In Claymore, the group of Claymores sent to hunt down Theresa find the inn she is staying at, and hand the innkeeper a bag of money. The innkeeper protests that it's too much - for that amount of money, you could buy the entire inn. You can probably guess that it ends up being fair compensation.

    Comic Books 
  • Doom Patrol: Robotman writes a check for the damages after crashing through a bookstore window. He also stops to caution some nearby children about the dangers of walking through plate glass.
    Robotman: The check should cover the damages. Sorry about the handwriting. Robot fingers.
  • Wayne Enterprises ends up repairing a lot of the collateral damage Batman incurs.
  • Highwaymen: Able Monroe combines this with Pre Emptive Declaration when he buys a car directly off the showroom floor and adds $4000 to the check "to repair the windows" so he can drive it directly onto the street.
  • Iron Man is known to pick up the tab for the wreckage caused by The Avengers.
  • In Uncanny X-Men #183, Wolverine arranged for Colossus to get into a barroom brawl with Juggernaut after Colossus broke up with Kitty Pryde. After Juggernaut wiped the floor with Colossus, Wolverine tossed the bartender a roll of hundred-dollar bills to pay for the damages. So did Juggs as well.
    • A flashback in Uncanny X-Men #321 shows young Xavier and Magneto in a bar. As Xavier, of all people, is going to start a fight, Magneto gives the confused barman a note for the damages. "Damages?" "Trust me."

    Comic Strips 
  • Played straight and inverted in a Prince Valiant story arc, where Prince Valiant's troop and a band of drunken Vikings have a rhubarb in a travelers' inn. "Val succeeds in holding the stairs, but the stairs fail to hold Val." Prince Valiant gallantly offers to pay for half the damages, while the Viking chieftain requires goading by an armed militia to pony up his half.

    Fan Works 
  • Paul accidentally trashes a New Zork laundromat in With Strings Attached and gets away from the cop who tries to arrest him for it. Later, offscreen, feeling guilty, he has George swing by with money for the owners. He does not, however, worry about the damage to the cop car.

    Films Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • A famous example was included in A New Hope. Han Solo kills Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina, using his blaster to turn Greedo into a chard husk, before tossing the bartender a coin along with the page quote.
    • Every once in a while, someone in the Expanded Universe will do the same thing, usually at a similar cantina. Talon Karrde once quipped, in the aftermath of such an incident, that paying off the aggrieved bartender is "traditional in these cases".
    • Also done by Wraith Squadron in which they use the money from the TIE fighter pilots they just beat up to pay off the bartender. They did this posing as stormtroopers.
  • Subverted in the original Ghostbusters film. The 'Busters destroy half of a four-star hotel in pursuit of a ghost and not only don't offer to pay but they give the manager a lengthy bill. The snooty manager refuses to pay their high wages (to say nothing of the damages), so they offer to release the ghost back into the hotel, making the manager rethink his options.
  • In Sherlock Holmes (2009) with Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock engages in a pit fight in a dingy pub and eventually knocks his opponent through the wood wall. He collects his winnings and leaves some of it on the bar counter, apparently as payment for the wall and the extra bottle he takes from the bar.
  • Superman II. After he gives up his superpowers, Superman is beaten up by a bully in a diner. After he regains his powers he returns to the bar and beats up the bully, causing minor damage. He gives a wad of bills to the diner's owner to pay for the damage.
  • After the big Harmonia Gardens scene in Hello, Dolly!, Dolly tells the staff to put the bill for all the damages incurred on the tab of Vandergelder's Hay and Feed, the store that Horace Vandergelder, the man she's leaving the restaurant with and spent the whole film trying to woo, owns and runs.
  • Subverted in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers. Temporarily embarrassed for funds and very much in need of food and drink, the Musketeers and D'Artagnan's servant Planchet cause chaos in an inn with a long, furious and faked fight...which is a pretext for numerous tricks to purloin said food and drink for later consumption at their leisure.
  • In The Treasure of the Sierra Madre after Dobbs and Curtin beat down their deadbeat employer they take only the money owed to them and then leave something on the bar for the drinks and damage.
  • In Shane, after the rancher and Shane win a fist fight with a dozen of the cattle baron's thugs the rancher says they'll pay for the damage, him and Shane.
  • A preemptive one in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Tony Stark piledrives the Hulk into a skyscraper that is under construction during the fight in Johannesburg, but makes sure beforehand to buy the building before he commits to the act.
  • The wuxia Valley of the Fangs has this in the hero's first fight scene; he defeats a group of corrupt inspectors in a tavern and sends them fleeing, but demolishes an entire wall in the process, the same wall he sends three enemy mooks through. The tavern's boss complains, until the hero gives the boss a massive silver yuanbao at which point the tavern boss shuts up.
  • Played with in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where Victor is at a bar, expecting Logan to come in and start a fight. When he hears Logan approach, he asks the bartender if he's insured. He's not, so Victor mutters that it's a shame, before destroying most of the bar with the brawl.
  • The film version of The Wall depicts the main character having a mental breakdown in a hotel room and trashing the place. His manager and the hotel owner barge in some time later. The owner starts shouting but the manager quickly puts some money in his breast pocket without saying much as a way to shoo him off.
  • A villainous example happens in The Guest. The titular guest takes out some bullies who had been harassing the youngest brother of the Peterson family. He pays the bartender for the mess and even gives him a story to tell the police since minors were in his establishment.

  • One Zany Scheme cooked up by Wraith Squadron in the X-Wing Series is to start a Bar Brawl with some soldiers so they can be waved through the gate of their base by presenting themselves as Shore Patrol delivering the losers of such a brawl home to sleep it off. After beating up a squad of soldiers, they rob their victims and give the proceeds of their robbery to the bar's owner as payment for the damages.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Barney Miller one or more of the perps of the week have had a fight in an establishment which is pressing charges, then are informed that the establishment will drop the charges if they'll pay for damages.
  • In Game of Thrones, Grandmaester Pycelle is intruded upon by Tyrion (who is looking to arrest him) while he is with a prostitute. Just before Tyrion hauls Pycelle away, he gives the prostitute a gold coin "for [her] troubles". He then looks at Pycelle and turns to the prostitute to give her another coin. Granted this was likely done to humiliate Pycelle but Tyrion has always treated prostitutes rather well, so it is not out of character for him. Pycelle gets his own back by mockingly leaving a gold coin for Tyrion, after he's removed from his position as Hand of the King.
  • Played for Laughs in the episode "Raging Bully" of Jack of All Trades:
    Jack: Oh, uh, Croque, this is for the broken window.
    [He tosses a coin to Croque, who catches it.]
    Governor Croque: What broken window?
    [Jack gives an Evil Laugh and jumps out the window, crashing through the shutter.]

  • Some rock musicians or bands have the reputation of trashing hotel rooms with their wild partying. In Joe Walsh's song "Life's Been Good", he mentions this. Presumably it's he who pays for it, but since rich people are often detached from their finances through accountants and such, this is basically like saying he doesn't worry directly about it but has guys taking care of the actual transactions for him — which are probably pocket change to him anyway.
    I live in hotels, tear out the walls
    I have accountants pay for it all

    Video Games 
  • The Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion Mask of the Betrayer has a tavern where the owner will fine you if you start a bar fight and/or vandalize any of the furniture.
  • After Megaman stops a pirate attack on the city in Mega Man Legends, he can contribute to the city rebuilding fund to help repair the damage the pirates caused during the attack.
  • In Metro: Last Light, Artyom visits the bar in the Venice station and is offered the local drink. If the player chooses to go on a binge, Artyom will black out and wake up with the bar thrashed, apparently due to his actions. He has the option to pay the bartender for damages, which nets him a karma boost.
  • In Graves' extended lore scene in League of Legends Paratext, he tips the barman a few coins 'For the door' right before diving through it and knocking it off its hinges to kick off a gun battle outside.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, if Letho is still alive after the events of the previous game, Geralt can take a quest to help him deal with some bounty hunters that are harassing him. They track the bounty hunters to a barn in a nearby village, where Letho gives a child a purse of money and tells him to take his parents and flee the area.
    Geralt: What was that?
    Letho: Compensation. (Letho throws a grenade into a nearby shed, blowing it up and drawing the bounty hunters outside)

    Web Comics 
  • At least once in Nodwick, the fighter Yeagar ends up with the tab for damages after a bar brawl — he is the last guy standing.
  • Invoked and subverted at the beginning of The Sword Interval. Retired Badass David Shimizu gets harassed by three guys in a diner and promptly disables all three, breaking a stool in the process.
    David: So... I feel like this is where I should uh... throw a wad of bills down all cool-like and say "for the damages" but uh...
    (Holds up 'Help Wanted' sign)

    Western Animation 
  • The Teaser of one Arthur episode had them watching trailers for a Bland-Name Product of a James Bond movie. After subduing a villain in a fancy restaurant, the hero tells the manager to put the damage on his tab.
  • The last theatrical Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "Messed Up Movie Makers" had a movie company using the boys' motel as the locale for filming an action TV series. However, the action scenes are causing collateral damage to the property. Heckle and Jeckle have to get rid of them somehow.


Video Example(s):


Fighting for Food

The hungry musketeers have no money for food, thanks to Porthos losing it in an ill-advised wager. He and Aramis stage a fight in a tavern instead, and in the ensuing mayhem, Athos, D'Artagnan, and Planchet steal enough food for a feast while everyone is distracted.
Athos offers a purse to the tavernkeeper to cover the inconvenience, but alas! It is filled with salt!

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