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Polite Villains, Rude Heroes

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Nicodemus: What would you say if I told you that you and I might have a great many common interests in the future?
Harry: I wouldn't say much of anything. I would be too busy laughing in your face.

Sometimes Good Is Not Nice, hence a hero can be obnoxious and rude. Similarly, sometimes a villain could be friendly, polite, and Affably Evil. When either or both of these work their way into to the tone of a conversation between a hero and a villain, you end up with conversations in which the villains sound more respectful than the heroes.

Depending on how this is treated in the context of a story, it could serve as a Pet the Dog moment, or alternatively, it could serve as a sign that the villains really, REALLY don't deserve respect and hence the heroes will not give it to them. Then again, that would by its very nature imply the villain's at least humble enough to be polite to the heroes... or at least not too proud to pretend to be.

Can be a sign that Evil Cannot Comprehend Good — the villain sees the hero as a Worthy Opponent who happens to be working at cross-purposes to him, but doesn't understand the hero's visceral hatred of everything he stands for. It can also be a character flaw for the Anti-Hero, who when confronted by evil may act so tactlessly as to seriously disgrace his own reputation. A particularly common trait of the Villain with Good Publicity, and also one that contributes to the Hero with Bad Publicity, as people will tend to judge you by how they see you act, regardless of your reasons.

Can also be used to emphasize that the villain has held power for a long time already and he feels very confident that the status quo will continue. In that case, any major success by the hero may trigger a Villainous Breakdown later in the story. (Conversely, a hero may be rude because he knows the odds are against him and feels threatened, and later in the story he becomes more polite once he feels sure that he's going to win.)

Or, from a storyteller's perspective, it can just be due to simple Catharsis Factor. After all, it's fun to get to spit your defiance in Evil's face! Having Evil spit right back would just ruin it. Though if the villains are more sympathetic enough, the heroes will attempt to Save the Villain at the end of the climax.

Done poorly, the audience may dislike the heroes more than the villains if the heroes come across as unlikeable, resulting in Jerks Are Worse Than Villains (where the audience hates the heroes or other characters for being jerks more than the villains).

Sometimes, rather than marking the villain as Affably Evil, the moral is that actions speak louder than words; while the villain in the picture might be speaking courteously, there is the small matter that he is still committing some extremely evil deed, making him more Faux Affably Evil. Some works take it so far that the moral seems to be "politeness is deceptive, bluntness is honest" — a message that all those Reality Show contestants who "speak [their] mind and don't care what anyone thinks" must have taken to heart.

See also Soft-Spoken Sadist. Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain is this applied to looks. A Wicked Cultured villain may view rudeness as beneath him. Hammy Villain, Serious Hero can overlap with this.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Death Note, Light Yagami, the cold and manipulative mass murderer with a bad god complex, is almost always polite and well-mannered; while L, the detective trying to stop him and bring him to justice, is usually very blunt and has little regard for others' feelings.
  • Downplayed in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Akaza, the Upper Moon 3 demon (i.e. the third strongest demon under Muzan Kibutsuji's command) is an Affably Evil sort who takes an interest in Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku and wants the latter to become a demon so they can fight each other for eternity, but looks down on the weak. While Rengoku is usually a Nice Guy, he bluntly refuses Akaza's invitation and has nothing but contempt for him.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • A common theme. Goku, the main hero is a country bumpkin with No Social Skills and a tendency towards Brutal Honesty, while several of the series' main villains, like King Piccolo, Frieza, Turles, Cell, Super Buu after he absorbs Piccolo, Beerus and Goku Black, are enemies who have polite mannerisms and often compliment their opponents... usually before brutally torturing and killing them.
    • Inverted with Future Trunks. He is more polite and well-mannered than his enemies.
    • While Trunks, Goten, Abo, and Kado, the main combatants of Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, are all polite, the same cannot be said of their Fusion Dance products Gotenks and Aka. Gotenks is ruder than Goten and Trunks while Aka is more polite than Abo and Kado. Aka also has little regard for the lives or property of bystanders not involved in his affairs, which ticks off Gotenks.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has Edward Elric, the bratty teenage genius protagonist who's brash, short-tempered, and swears quite a bit. He is constantly calling his opponents (and his own father) "bastard" and "third-rate novice". In contrast, the main villain, Father, heals his broken arm, inquires about his health and family, and allows Ed to live and continue his journey while he casually plans the death of over 50 million people. The Fuhrer of Amestris, King Bradley, even invites Edward and his brother Alphonse to tea. There's also Solf J. Kimblee, the Crimson Alchemist, a mass-murdering psychopath who treats Edward's mechanic, Winry Rockbell, with genuine respect and kindness while politely asking Ed to stage a massacre at Fort Briggs. She doesn't even realize she's a hostage without being told. And of course, Shou Tucker is a very welcoming and jovial man and also happens to be a Mad Scientist who turned his own wife and daughter into Chimeras, something Ed wastes no time beating him up over once he finds out.
  • GUN×SWORD seems to fit. Although Wendy and Joshua are nice enough, Van and Ray and to a lesser extent Carmen 99 are pretty jerkish, while the Claw and all of his minions are a really nice bunch.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Chairman Netero and Chimera Ant King Mereum's follows this dynamic. Mereum is nothing but accommodating, offering to take their fight to a place of Netero's choosing, commending him on his incredible strength, and when they've reached the spot for the battle refuses to fight and tries to convince him to join his side through debate. Netero takes his politeness as an insult, does everything in his power to goad him into a fight and ultimately succeeds, loses despite having set the rules for the confrontation, and activates a nuclear device to kill him. In fairness to Netero, Mereum was working to kill the population of an entire country and planned to force the rest of humanity onto reservations.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Inuyasha and his half-brother have no love lost between them. Sesshomaru is formal but contemptuous while Inuyasha is generally rude to almost everyone to begin with. Though Sesshomaru also does insult Inuyasha over being a Hanyo/Half-Demon, so it's kinda hard to think of him as polite when he does that.
    • The Band of Seven get along much better with one another than Inuyasha's group, who are always bickering with each other over the smallest things.
    • Naraku is Faux Affably Evil, acting refined and regal even while talking about how he killed or is about to kill someone, or committing all manner of atrocities and ruining others' lives For the Evulz. This contrasts him with Inuyasha, a foul-mouthed Jerk with a Heart of Gold with No Social Skills who's firmly in the Good Is Not Nice camp.
  • In Muhyo and Roji, Muhyo's old friend and schoolmate Enchu was a Nice Guy while they were attending school together. After Enchu loses his mother and gets passed over for the Executor job, he becomes Affably Evil. Muhyo, however, is a brutally honest, snarky, and rude Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Naruto
    • Kakashi has very tense conversations with Orochimaru and Kabuto on two separate occasions during the Chunin Exam arc while protecting Sasuke from them. The two are at least outwardly polite, albeit making threatening implications, while Kakashi is brusque and standoffish, knowing that they're untrustworthy.
    • Much later on, Kabuto gives Naruto a bingo book with information on Akatsuki and shares some personal epiphanies he's had. Naruto bluntly says he wants to throw Kabuto in jail before rushing and attacking him.
    • Itachi is relatively polite when facing off against Asuma, Kurenai, and Kakashi before the Time Skip, and against Team 7 and Chiyo after the Time Skip. His opponents are far less civil to him, considering that Itachi massacred his clan, and Asuma even sarcastically remarks that he doesn't buy Itachi's desire to avoid fighting them. Of course, considering Itachi's true motives, not only is the "villain" role less certain, but his politeness seems to be out of respect for his former comrades.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt zigzags this one a bit, although that shouldn't surprise anyone given the show's creators. The angels are always contemptuous toward the demons but said demons alternate — sometimes mid-conversation — between subverting this trope, acting respectful, and (extremely rarely) genuinely being respectful toward the angels. It should be noted that in this setting, Heaven emphasizes freedom while Hell is a tyrannical dictatorship, so Lawful Evil vs Chaotic Good (given our heroines, really more Chaotic Neutral) is in full effect.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo: Kyo himself is a sociopathic, badmouthed Blood Knight who more than once insults his opponents, even after he just butchered them to shreds, and is quite abrasive and obnoxious with his own friends. By contrast, most of the Mibu Elite like the Four Elders and the members of the Goyosei tend to be much more polite, cold, and respectful, even the Crimson King, who comes off as a cultured if megalomaniac tyrant. Subverted with Yukimura, who's quite polite and civil, and many of the low-tier enemies, who're just as vulgar and rude as Kyo if not worse.
  • s-CRY-ed plays with this one. At first you have the angry, loud-mouthed Kazuma opposing the calm, controlled Ryuhou. After Ryuhou's Heel–Face Turn, the main villain is Kyoji Mujo, who is Faux Affably Evil at first and then becomes full-blown Ax-Crazy.
  • Sword Art Online Progressive has Kirito and Morte. Kirito's generally a Nice Guy, but he can be somewhat brusque and rude toward his enemies or people who try his patience. Morte's a Faux Affably Evil Pungeon Master who jokes around and uses polite speech on Kirito while threatening to sabotage Kirito's efforts to complete the quest, and planning to kill Kirito during their duel.

    Comic Books 
  • In Chick Tracts, the angels helping the "good guys" tend to be rude and uptight, and aren't above punching sinners/devils like bullies. And many of said good guys are often condescending, disrespectful, and arrogant to the others.
    • Played with in "Somebody Goofed." The Christian doesn't hesitate to tell the boy that the recently dead overdose victim is going to hell, while the man who turns out to be the Devil in disguise seems to be more compassionate. That said, the other man mocks the Christian, proving that he's not exactly polite, either.
  • Usually Inverted in Disney Mouse and Duck Comics stories from Italy (and Italian translations of foreign stories), where the heroes tend to be politer than villains. The only regular exceptions are Donald Duck, whose temper and sarcasm make him about as rude as the average villain, and Phantom Blot, who is just that polite to everyone.
  • When we finally meet the Adversary in Fables, he turns out to be the soft-spoken, grandfatherly Gepetto who is philosophical about the trouble Boy Blue has caused him and just generally acts as hospitable as you can while still keeping your "guest" in a cage. Blue, meanwhile, smirks and spits his contempt at the Adversary all through their conversation.
  • In Sin City, almost all of the "heroes" are brutal and rude, befitting an Anti-Hero status. While the villains tend to be just as nasty, we do have Herr Wallenquist, who is polite to the point of not seeking vengeance after a major defeat.
  • Standing out from the Watchmen Adrian Veidt, the main villain, is gentlemanly, witty, and generally affable, while the protagonist Rorschach is condescending, bigoted and obviously unhinged.

    Fan Works 
  • The very start of the Temeraire fanfic Black Wings, Black Sails draws a contrast between the perfectly genial manners and speech of Will Laurence the Gentleman Pirate against the aviators' and sailors' enraged shouting and name-calling.
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv), Light is outraged over Near's poor manners:
    Light: He was supposed to call me back! I wanted to gloat some more before my flash mob tore him apart! A child I have never met before LIED to me! His parents should've taught him better... Oh! Oh, orphan. Right.
  • Downplayed in Faith and Doubt, as Doubt can only be called a villain in the loosest sense of the word, but he is nothing but calm, courteous, and polite to the heroes, who are rude and believe him to be The Corrupter to Twilight.
  • In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Luke Valentine and Alucard (for a rather loose definition of hero).
    Luke: I'm trying to have a civil conversation with you here.
    Alucard: Oh, so am I. And I'm failing. And I'm sorry for that. It's just that I'm so agitated, because this blond little shit stormed into my room, destroyed my 70-inch plasma wide-screen TV, and is trying to impress me like I'm his alcoholic father.
  • This is one of the main reasons why Izuku Midoriya became the titular villain in Mastermind: Strategist for Hire. Society at large is very prejudiced and rude to Izuku for his lack of a quirk to the point where he can’t even get a minimum wage job, with Bakugo being the epitome of everything that can go wrong with a person and still be considered a prospective hero. Villains, on the other hand, praise and thank Izuku for the criminal plans he creates and willingly pay him what he charges for them note . The Villainous Friendships Izuku created are also a factor since they’re the first people besides his mom who actually like and respect him. While Giran was surprised to learn Mastermind’s true identity, he never unfairly judges Izuku for being Quirkless and gifts him with an untraceable laptop so he wouldn't have to risk getting his identity exposed while contacting his clients at internet cafes; Himiko teaches Izuku how to fight with knives without expecting anything except for his friendship in return; even Shigaraki becomes genial with Izuku when he starts using gaming jargon and allows him to stay independent of the League of Villains.
  • In the Five Nights At Freddys fanfic, Something Always Remains, Mike has an attitude and swears like a sailor, while the Smiling Man is calm, methodical, and only ever drops that demeanor when he's in pain.
  • The Story of Apollo, Daphne and Luca: An Italian Tragedy: After his Character Development and while still quite antagonistic, Vincenzo is quite gallant, well-mannered and courteous, while his love rival Alberto is snarky, confrontational and quite abrasive.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Doctor Sleep: Rose the Hat and Crow Daddy put up at least the pretense of being friendly and easy-going people who just happen to need to eat the souls of children to survive, though there are frequent hints of something dark and spiteful underneath. Dan and Abra, by contrast, are constantly ranting about how much they hate the villains and want them to suffer, and gloat up a storm whenever something bad happens to them.
  • Find Me Guilty: DA Kierney, despite fighting for a genuinely good cause to end a good chunk of The Mafia, is very much a Smug Snake in the way he handles himself. Meanwhile, with the exception of their abrasive boss, the mobsters are portrayed as friendly bohemians with a lot of camaraderie.
  • Inglourious Basterds, has a Nazi, of all people, as one of the more polite characters in the film. When Hans Landa captures some of the heroes, he remarks how much he is impressed by them. The Basterds reveal they don't know nor care who he is and openly insult him. Landa lampshades this by complaining about the lack of mutual respect.
  • During the climax of Dr. No the titular main antagonist offers James Bond dinner and politely explains his evil plan, all while complimenting Bond's skills and even offering the chance to join him. Bond responds to this by insulting him, and as a result, he is imprisoned.
  • The McKenzie Break: Conniving Nazi Willi Schluter is a Faux Affably Evil professional military man, while his opponent Connor is a gruff, boorish alcoholic.
  • In Phone Booth, the protagonist is a rotten liar and the antagonist teaches him the better way to live.
  • Indiana Jones: In Raiders of the Lost Ark, this happens with most of Indy and Belloq's interactions.
    Belloq: How odd that it should end this way for us after so many stimulating encounters. I almost regret it. Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?
    Indy: Try the local sewer.
  • According to the official visual companion, the Operative in Serenity was intentionally written to seem like a better, more refined man than Malcolm Reynolds.
  • Subverted in Ready Player One, since the film is set in a profane-littered environment, though the main character is the most foul-mouthed known character, while the main villain, the director of OASIS, is not as foul-mouthed, even though he did cuss a few times. In the film, this trope should be referred to as "Least Rude Villain, Most Rude Hero".
  • Saw: Jigsaw, his disciples, and their copycats are generally Affably Evil criminals (be it genuine or faux) who normally refrain from behaving rudely and/or cursing unless they're angered or provoked. Their victims and the law enforcement officers/agents after them, on the other hand, are often impolite and prone to swearing a lot, even though they range from Nice Guys to Jerkasses.
  • Star Wars: Count Dooku from the prequel trilogy is far more polite than Obi-Wan, if not more polite than most of the Jedi as a whole.
    Dooku: You have fought gallantly. Worthy of recognition in the archives of the Jedi Order. Now it is finished. Surrender — and your lives will be spared.
    Mace Windu: We will NOT be hostages to be bartered, Dooku.
    Dooku: Then, I'm sorry, old friend.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Eddie Valiant is a bitter and sarcastic alcoholic trying to untangle a web of conspiracy around the murder of Marvin Acme. Judge Doom uses a refined and respectable façade to hide his true nature as a deranged killer Toon.

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: This is the dynamic between Wicked Cultured Captain Nemo and Idiot Hero Ned Land. Nemo is Affably Evil, and Ned Land doesn't pass up any chance to insult Nemo, no matter how petty. Nemo is a Well-Intentioned Extremist that maintains Ned in a Gilded Cage, and then you realize that Dumbass Has a Point.
  • Deliberately invoked in the penultimate book of the Animorphs series between team leader Jake and his infested brother Tom. Tom, playing up his role as Smug Snake to the hilt, is attempting pleasant banter with the Animorphs, but neither Jake nor his team is having any of it. A few pages later, he betrays them and tries to have them all killed.
  • This sort of contrast happens a lot between Harry Dresden and "Gentleman" John Marcone in The Dresden Files. Marcone is usually polite to Harry; Harry rarely shows Marcone much respect in return, since Marcone is a mob boss. This happens a lot between Harry Dresden and practically any villain he talks to; the supernatural big bads of the Dresdenverse generally try to maintain a pretense of civility, and Harry... generally doesn't. Harry actually justifies this by saying that you never show fear or weakness to a predator. His snarkiness is actually an attempt to keep them off-balance and stop them from thinking that he's an easy target.
  • Discworld: in Witches Abroad, Lilith de Tempscire (actually Granny Weatherwax's sister Lily) is the villain, a Happiness Is Mandatory type who thinks she's a good fairy godmother, so she's all about being refined and polite. The heroes are the witches, and they're impolite in different ways; Granny Weatherwax is arrogant, pushy and constantly complaining, Nanny Ogg is a Dirty Old Woman, and Magrat is an awkward Granola Girl who tries to be kind but just isn't very good with people.
  • Galbatorix's conversation with Oromis at the end of Brisingr in the Inheritance Cycle. He tries to convince Oromis to join him using smooth speech — Oromis calls it "A balm of honeyed lies." After this, Galbatorix gives up and his voice is said to have "acquired a harsh, angry cast."
  • Seen in Journey to the West: Sun Wukong (especially before the Character Development kicks in) is very rude, disrespectful, aggressive, and short-tempered, while almost all the monsters that he encounters on his journey are surprisingly good-mannered even if man-eating, some of them bordering with Noble Demon.
  • In Le Silence de la mer, the French uncle and niece who are forced to provide lodgings for a soft-spoken, Francophile German officer resist by completely ignoring him.
  • The chapter "The Voice of Saruman" from The Lord of the Rings comes to mind. Saruman is (faking) pleasantness, the good guys respond harshly.
  • In Playing for Keeps, the villains tend to be Affably Evil and fairly polite to the main characters, in stark contrast to all the "heroes" save Pallas, who, besides the Fantastic Racism towards the protagonists and abusing their power, quickly prove to really care little for the civilians of Seventh City.
  • In the book The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov, Elijah Baley reflects at one point how the supposed "good guy", Dr. Han Fastolfe is unpleasant and antisocial, while Kelden Amadiro, the "villain", seems friendly and accommodating. The "wolf" behind Amadiro's apparent friendliness becomes apparent to Baley later.
  • In Twilight New Moon, when Edward, Alice, and Bella are brought before the Volturi, Aro is very pleasant and is perfectly willing to let them off as long as the Cullens agree to have Bella be turned into a vampire to preserve their secrecy. Edward reacts rather rudely, repeatedly making thinly veiled accusations of Aro being corrupt.
  • Victoria plays this straight with Captain Halsing, the charming and polite Nazi officer, when contrasted to the often abrasive hero of the story, Captain John Rumford. Also compare the Anti-Villain President Warner earlier in the story, who never uses any foul language. Otherwise generally averted.
  • Warbreaker: This is a major twist in the book. Polite, friendly, and affable Denth is the villain who is trying to start a world war that will kill millions of people. Rude, angry, and unhappy Vasher is the hero who is trying to stop it. Compare and contrast their methods of getting Vivenna to help them: Denth carefully steers her towards suggesting his own ideas, making her think they will weaken her enemy in the war that he has convinced her is inevitable, while Vasher throws her into a meeting with a bunch of peasants and says "See, your princess doesn't want war. Now stop being stupid and make peace."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Garibaldi vs. Bester in Babylon 5. Though Garibaldi isn't really rude — he's just rough hewn.
    Bester: If I had my talent working, I could have warned you when he was coming.
    Garibaldi: And if I had a baseball bat, we could hang you from the ceiling and play piñata.
    Bester: A piñata, huh? So, you think of me as something bright and cheerful, full of toys and candy for young children? Thank you! That makes me feel much better about our relationship.
  • The Cylons in Battlestar Galactica (2003) are polite, religious and well-dressed, while the heroes are a scruffy bunch of shell-shocked veterans with a laundry list of personal defects.
  • Breaking Bad has this exchange between Hank and Walter:
    Walter: Hank, my cancer is back.
    Hank: Good. Rot, you son of a bitch.
    Walter: Sorry you feel that way.
  • Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer pitted our sarcastic rebellious teen heroes against Mayor Wilkins, a cheerful and friendly man who sternly disapproves of sexual humor, swearing, and dirtiness... and who also is unrepentantly evil.
  • Dexter: Dexter vs. Doakes. Dexter knowingly cultivates the image of a geeky Nice Guy and family man in order to hide in plain sight, while Doakes is a no-nonsense, abrasive detective who antagonizes most of the people around him. For as much of a jerkass as Doakes can be, his suspicions about Dexter are absolutely right. When Doakes ends up being framed for Dexter's crimes, all but one of his colleagues have little trouble believing that he is the Bay Harbor Butcher.
  • Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor and his Arch-Enemy, the Missy incarnation of the Master, have this dynamic, as the former is a Knight in Sour Armor who is rude and snarky to everyone while saving the universe, while the latter is Affably Evil and generally polite and charming to others, all while casually murdering anyone in her way.
  • Played quite straight in Hannibal. Protagonist Will Graham is gruff, shabby looking, and has No Social Skills, but genuinely cares for people and takes in stray dogs. Hannibal Lecter is a cultured, refined, Renaissance man with impeccable table manners... and a cannibalistic mass murderer who blackmails and exploits his patients.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Not that anyone knew Halbrand is Sauron in disguise, but he is much more personable and patient than Galadriel, who straight-up threatens the Numenorians after a heated argument with Queen Miriel.
  • Supernatural:
    • The show in general. While some monsters are flat-out dicks (such as the crocotta) or non-sentient (such as the wendigo), most demons and sentient monsters tend to be mockingly (or even genuinely) polite, while Sam and Dean make very clear their contempt for them.
    • In the episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One", Sam threatens the Yellow-Eyed Demon while the demon compliments Sam.
      Yellow-Eyed Demon: You're awfully quiet, Sam. You're not mad at me, are you?
      Sam: I'm gonna tear you to shreds, I swear to—
      Yellow-Eyed Demon [chuckles] When you wake up, Tiger, you give it your best shot.
    • Notably, at one point Kevin Tran figures out that "Sam" and "Dean" are impostors (and therefore on the side of the villains) because... they were being too nice and helpful.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: Played for Laughs with Captain Todger, who's horrifyingly rude and politically incorrect, whereas his opponent General Drayfox — acts of proper villainy aside — is polite, well-mannered, and accepting of other lifestyles to an equally ridiculous degree (such as acknowledging that Captain Todger might not necessarily be a man because women can hold ranks and be heroes and that they will be allowed to not kneel before him if their religious or ideological convictions go against such things).
  • The Walking Dead: This was a dynamic that got a lot of play between Michonne, who is standoffish, rude, blunt, and suspicious, and The Governor, who is polite, courteous, sophisticated, and seemingly reasonable when Michonne and Andrea are in Woodbury. The Governor grows to viscerally despise Michonne after she stabbed out his eye and killed his zombified daughter, however.
  • In Spooksville Ann always acts nice to Adam but is a literal witch who almost always has ulterior motives, while Sally is rather rude and sarcastic but actually does care about Adam, and is usually completely right in distrusting Ann.

  • Played for laughs in the MAD article "Movie Heroes are Finks", featuring two pages of typical scenes where the bad guy has the good guy at his mercy, with annotations taking everything polite or nasty in the conversation out of context; to further drive the point home, Mort Drucker only uses caricatures of actors that audiences would instantly recognize as either heroes or villains (Eli Wallach vs. John Wayne, Vincent Price vs. Gregory Peck, etc.). The exchange between Errol Flynn and Edward G. Robinson provides the page image.

  • In the Blind Guardian song "Time Stand Still", Melkor is quite affable and polite, while Fingolfin curses him on sight.
  • The zombie "Bob" in Jonathan Coulton's song "Re: Your Brains" speaks as if narrating an excessively polite corporate email while trying to convince the survivors to leave their safehouse.
  • From Rhapsody of Fire, there are some, well, interesting lines spoken by the main hero against the Big Bad Akron in "The Mighty Ride of the Firelord", including calling him bloody bastard, spitting on him, and threatening to burn him and eat his brains. Granted, he has just raped to death Princess Airin and killed the warrior Arwald, but still.... They also don't hesitate to refer to the Queen of the Dark Horizon as the "God-forsaken Bitch".

  • The musical Hamilton has Samuel Seabury as the polite villain and Alexander Hamilton as the rude hero in "Farmer Refuted." Aaron Burr also comes across as the polite villain to Alex's rude hero in the second act of the play.
  • In the opera La Fanciulla del West, the bandit (love interest of the heroine) is kind, chivalrous, and charming, while the Sheriff of the mining post is a self-absorbed, greedy, would-be adulterer. No surprise about who gets the girl.
  • In Siegfried, the hero Siegfried is rude and contemptuous of his Illegal Guardian Mime, who affects politeness in dealing with him. This is taken furthest in their final scene, where Mime affects polite, friendly and fatherly manners while inadvertently revealing his evil intentions. This leads Siegfried to ask him increasingly angry questions and finally kill him on the spot.
  • Wicked: Elphaba is a caring, compassionate young woman whose nonconformist appearance and personality lead her to become Public Enemy No. 1 in Oz just for refuting the wizard in his attempts to persecute the Animal population. The Wizard, Madam Morrible, and Glinda (though the latter is really more of an AntiHero than a straight-up villain) use charm and proper etiquette to manipulate the people of Oz to keep them in power. Elphaba and Glinda highlight these differences at the beginning of "Defying Gravity".
    Glinda: "Elphaba, why couldn't you stay calm for once? Instead of flying off the handle-"
    I hope you're happy!
    I hope you're happy now.
    I hope you're happy how you've hurt your cause forever,
    I hope you think you're clever!
    Elphaba: I hope you're happy!
    I hope you're happy too.
    I hope you're proud how you would grovel in submission,
    to feed your own ambition!

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: In the Legacy of the First Blade DLC, the Herald is nothing but polite and forthcoming to the Eagle Bearer. The Eagle Bearer, meanwhile, is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge aimed at the Herald, and the entire Order of Ancients, and is nowhere near as polite, potentially killing him at the end of their meeting.
  • In Bayonetta, Bayonetta is pretty flippant and mean to the angels she fights; the big bosses among them, the Cardinal Virtues, are very pleasant in conversation. Also done with Father Balder, who also maintains his manners with Bayonetta while she outright loathes him. Though in Balder's case, he crossed the Moral Event Horizon three times in one scene, and even Sociopathic Hero Bayonetta is disgusted by what he's done.
  • Castlevania:
    • The opening of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, in which Richter barges into Dracula's castle and interrupts the Count's relaxed wine(?) drinking, greeting him with "Die, monster!" He then insults Dracula, to which Dracula replies very calmly and philosophically. Richter continues insulting Dracula until he provokes a fight. Now that's rude!
    • The same is true for every conversation between the protagonists and Death prior to the ending split in Portrait of Ruin. However, Death does have an instance of mocking both Jonathan and Charlotte in the same breath, when, in response to Charlotte scolding Jonathan for antagonizing him by reminding him of what happened to his father, Death mockingly says "To think he needs a little child to admonish him!"
    • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, a perfect contrast exists between the snooty and closemouthed Arikado and the helpful and friendly Graham. That said, Graham's façade starts cracking around the time he stabs and almost kills Yoko, and it completely breaks during the pre-fight dialogue with Soma.
  • Subverted in DmC: Devil May Cry: At first it seems that Mundus is the soft-spoken, polite businessman contrasting Dante, who's much more rude and disrespectful than his previous incarnations and will use swearwords often here and there. The subversions come from later in the game, when we find out that even Mundus isn't above using F-bombs here and there.
  • Hoyt Volker, the main villain from Far Cry 3, is a South African slaver who's willing to make small talk with his thugs and discuss the simple pleasures in life, all the while carrying out atrocities like blowing up a hostage-filled boat or setting fire to his own men. At the climax of the game, after cornering Jason Brody the Player Character at a game of poker, and killing his erstwhile ally, Sam, he alternates between berating Jason in his raspy voice and complimenting his willingness to torture his own brother to maintain his cover infiltrating Hoyt's mutineers. Jason, however, is in no mood to pretend to be polite to Hoyt, and bluntly tells him what he can do with his compliments.
  • Far Cry 4 has a similar case with Pagan Min, the tyrant ruler of Kyrat, who's perfectly polite and friendly to hero Ajay Ghale, largely because Ajay is the son of Pagan's lost love Ishwari. Ajay, however, can't tell when Pagan's being genuinely friendly and when he's being Faux Affably Evil, so he sees no need to reflect Pagan's good manners if he decides not to shoot Pagan Min at the dinner table and hear him out instead.
    Pagan: So, who did you kill, hmm? Was it Amita? Sabal? It doesn't really matter, I already know. I just want to hear you say it.
    Ajay: Fuck you.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • This seems to define the dynamic Edge and Rubicante in Final Fantasy IV. Edge is the 26-year-old Prince of Eblan and a Ninja who, while casual and a bit cocky when interacting with the heroes (especially when Rydia's concerned), he displays recklessness and rage against Rubicante for supposedly having a hand on his parents' death. The same Rubicante who is the best example of Noble Demon in the game despite being one of the four Archfiends an a minion of Golbez and Zemus, as he automatically heals the party in both battles with him and claims sharing no responsibility in Dr. Lugae's experiments which involved Edge's parents. In the sequel, Edge can fight Rubicante solo and the demon even yields his cloak for the Ninja to don, implying they patched things up.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, AVALANCHE are a rowdy, rather sweary bunch, with even more demure characters like Aeris and Tifa talking with tough slang at times. Sephiroth's dialogue, however, is hugely polite and clinical. (He talks more normally in a flashback before his Start of Darkness.) Cloud, as Sephiroth's specific rival, is a Perpetual Frowner with an overly blunt and arrogant way of talking.
  • Legacy of Kain: Raziel is one of the more moral characters in the series, which is saying something considering that it runs on Black-and-Grey Morality, and displays far less respect towards Kain and Moebius than they show him in turn. Of course, the former tossed him into an attempt at eternal damnation and suffering, and both do their damnedest to manipulate him to their own ends, so it makes sense that courtesy isn't the highest on Raziel's priority list.
  • Little Goody Two Shoes: Elise Liedl, for a given definition of hero, is an arrogant, bluntly honest, and Hot-Blooded village girl whose first instinct in a disagreement is to hit back as hard as she can, which causes her problems with her fellow villagers, but she also risks her life to save a kidnapped boy and her chosen love interest, and can develop to overcome her flaws. The demon aristocrats and the witch haunting Kieferberg are posh and polite, but are also ravenous, greedy entities who eat people. This is often shown when Elise speaks directly to them, and the demons speak with manners while Elise openly insults them.
  • During the Hierophant Confidant in Persona 5, Sojiro often gets visits from Youji Isshiki, a seemingly cheerful and friendly old acquaintance of his, and is always fairly cold to the other man. After it becomes clear that Youji isn't going away any time soon, Sojiro warns the Player Character that the other man's friendly nature is just an act. It turns out that the man was Sojiro's old friend Wakaba's brother, who ended up abusing his niece after Wakaba's death due to long-seated resentment of her, and made Sojiro pay him to take Futaba off his hands. While Youji's insults and threats are relatively subtle at first, his façade eventually cracks late in the Confidant, when he calls Futaba a "brat" and a "bitch," and tries to hit her after realizing Sojiro found out about his debts.
  • A staple dynamic of the Rance series. As the titular protagonist is a self-centered Jerkass without much of anything in the way of a moral compass, he is often contrasted by antagonists who are Affably Evil, Noble Demons, or outright Tragic Villains. In almost every instance, Rance eventually ends up defeating his polite villain opponent by playing dirty and exploiting the same qualities that make them seem like better people than him. To further drive the point home, these scenes are often framed in such a way so as to make Rance look like the villain when taken out of context, with the sequence where he stabs Ithere in the back in Rance 03 in particular depicting him under black and red lighting and looking just about as un-heroic as humanly possible.
  • The Third Street Saints in the Saints Row series are a bunch of Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters (or at least, they start out as these), but they're known for making sarcastic comments and rude remarks, and include among their ranks Johnny Gat himself, the epitome of Asian Rudeness and Sir Swears-a-Lot. So very often, the Saints are pitted against an enemy who is, at least on the surface, more polite than them. Such villains include:
    • Benjamin King, the leader of the Vice Kings in the first game. A Scary Black Man bent on controlling the entire city, but he comes across as pretty reasonable provided you don't annoy him. At the end of his arc, he even agrees to step down and give the Player Character the keys to his penthouse before he leaves, and he's trying to put his criminal life behind him. By the time of the fourth game, he succeeds and ends up becoming the President's Chief of Staff. His Co-Dragons, Warren Williams and Big Tony Green, are a lot less pleasant to the Saints, largely because Warren's an "Angry Black Man" Stereotype and the Saint Tony spends most of his time interacting with is the afore-mentioned Johnny Gat.
    • Also from the first game, Alderman Richard Hughes, who politely invites the Playa onto his private yacht, offers them champagne, and then reveals he's going to murder them and put forward his plans of gentrifying Stilwater to get rid of the gangs.
    • Dane Vogel from Saints Row 2, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who wants to gentrify the city of Stilwater by getting the city's gangs to kill one another, then sending in a private army to clean up the winning gang. He's generally quite polite, well-spoken, and very professional. He's much the same in Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, treating Johnny and Kinzie like old friends, even when Johnny's shoving a gun in his face, accusing him of kidnapping the Boss (which he didn't do, that was Satan).
    • Philippe Loren, a Belgian Arms Dealer from Saints Row: The Third. He's the leader of The Syndicate, and is planning on stretching his territory into Steelport, the Saints' new base of operations, but he's a gentleman and is willing to let the Saints live if they agree to give him the majority of their celebrity profits. His Co-Dragons the DeWynter twins even respect him, and he treats them like his daughters. Just don't call him French, or he'll stop being polite.
    • Zinyak, the leader of an Alien Invasion in Saints Row IV. A Genius Bruiser with a refined English accent and a love of classical English literature, who's perfectly polite towards everyone he interacts with, even when he's doing things like beating up the Boss, or blowing up Earth out of spite. The Boss, by contrast, has nothing friendly to say to him.
    • By far the only Big Bad in a Saint's Row game not to fit this trope is Satan himself, a Politically Incorrect Villain and an abusive father to his daughter Jezebel. Makes a nice change of pace, doesn't he?
  • In Shadow Hearts, the hero Yuri is a rough brawler; before he's given a name, he's even referred to as "Rude Hero". His main antagonist is a dapper English Gentleman with a top hat who begins battle with a polite bow. This continues in Covenant, although the villains are much more rude... with the exception of Masaji Kato who Yuri respects and genuinely resents having to fight.
  • The "Crisis At The Portal" trailer for The Burning Crusade expansion of World of Warcraft features a conversation between the dwarf Barley McFrothbeard and a warlock. Barley is rude, confrontational, very likely drunk, and eventually starts shooting the warlock with no provocation. The warlock, on the other hand, is unfailingly polite, well-spoken, and never raises his voice... as he defends the Burning Legion, a rampaging horde of demonic abominations that razes worlds, leaving nothing but barren scorched earth behind, as "just misunderstood".
  • This is the general dynamic between the Affably Evil Dr. Eggman and the heroes of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic himself is a constantly-snarking Badbutt, but most of his supporting cast are no slouches in that department either, with Cream and Big being some of the only exceptions.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, this trope is best exemplified in the Hero Quest 'Inhumanity', in which the Ouroboros hear Consul F out with respect to returning one of his soldiers from captivity. In a clear case of not knowing his audience, F details how Colony 0, under his charge, helps to pull the strings to keep Aionios' Forever War going, and exalts the sacrifice of his soldiers to that end. None of the party responds to his politeness in kind; it's enough to get even the otherwise sweet and mild-mannered Sena to lose her temper at him.
    Sena: Shut up already!
    F: Ah, I must beg your pardon. Have I said something to incur your displeasure...?
    Sena: Snuff all of that and snuff you!
  • Part of the reason why Zero Wing was so badly translated is that CATS is using a very formal and polite form of Japanese, while the Captain and his crew are using a brusque, informal form. Even in the translation, contrast "How are you, gentlemen?" with "It's you!"

    Web Comics 
  • In Sequential Art, Hilary is very pleasant and polite to Art, when they meet at Kat's high school reunion. Kat, on the other hand, starts screaming the word "BITCH!" repeatedly the instant she lays eyes on her. Kat is very polite to everyone else, but Hilary bullied her so much that she became her Berserk Button.

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Doctor Horrible is an intelligent, respectable guy who happens to be a supervillain, while his archenemy, Captain Hammer, is basically a huge jerk who mocks the homeless. Dr. Horrible seems to think of them as dirty and gross, but at least tries to keep his opinions to himself, and is interested in helping improve their situation (by taking over the world and re-ordering society) even if he doesn't want to touch or be touched by them. Their interactions with Penny are even more telling — Dr Horrible is genuinely interested in her but unsure of how to proceed. Captain Hammer, meanwhile, is blatantly disrespectful of her and goes after her just because it gives him one more thing he can rub Dr Horrible's face in.
  • Parodied in The Nostalgia Critic's review of Small Soldiers, with Lady Lovembrace, a Designated Villain Princess Classic, opposite Devil Boner, a manic, shouting, hyper-macho Designated Hero.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: When he is in a good mood, Eustace Strych (a recurring villain) is polite, superficially charming, has stereotypical mannerisms of the highest social status, and speaks in a formal manner; while Jimmy, The Hero, is a blunt Insufferable Genius with No Social Skills.
  • Archer: Everyone who works at ISIS, especially the titular Archer, has strong Jerkass tendencies, with the only exception being the Token Evil Teammate Krieger. KGB agents and other villains tend to be very polite to the heroes, even if they're trying to kill them.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door plays with this. Sector V and the rest of the Kids Next Door can be rather snarky and disrespectful but can be polite and respectful. The Delightful Children From Down the Lane are polite to all adults and keep the attitude towards their foe, but it is easy to see the hate and malice in their voices. Ironically, the Delightfuls aren’t above lying to adults; as seen in “Operation Z.E.R.O.", they suddenly disobey Father when he suggests working with Numbuh One and Numbuh Zero.
  • In Book One of The Legend of Korra, Councilman Tarrlok uses charisma and a carefully cultivated sophisticated persona to bribe, blackmail, and cheat his way to being the most powerful person in Republic City; he doesn't even show off the full extent of his Waterbending prowess until Korra accosts him at his office after work hours. Brash, hot-blooded Avatar Korra struggles with diplomacy and tact due to her sheltered and isolated upbringing, often preferring to solve a dispute through brute force. Korra, however, unlike Tarrlok actually cares about helping the city's citizens rather than treating her position as a vanity project.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Grand Admiral Thrawn is a Wicked Cultured strategic genius who is polite enough to tell off a subordinate for disrespecting a captive rebel in her own house, which the Empire has taken over as a headquarters. The rebel in question, Hera Syndulla, is just as abrasive towards Thrawn as she is towards all the other Imperials she's interacted with. Pretty much all of the Ghost crew are pretty rude and snarky, as a matter of fact.