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Real Men Get Shot

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"Bones heal, chicks dig scars, pain is temporary, glory is forever."

Normally, getting hurt isn't a very glorious thing. After all, if you were really that tough nothing could touch you, right? Well, sometimes getting hurt is cool, and serves to prove just how badass a character really is.

How someone deals with injury can give insight into the character, and show that their awesomeness incarnate is not just a facade. Executed well, this can also provide a dose of vulnerability into an otherwise unbelievable character. Or, it can simply exist to show just how much punishment the character can take or is willing to take. May come paired with Major Injury Underreaction, but just as often the character is in quite apparent pain. Sometimes they try to brush it off, other times they're actually incapacitated, or may even die, but in every case, they look awesome for it.

This is probably the reason for Macho Masochism. May result in Good Scars, Evil Scars or a Rugged Scar, which, in turn, may hint back at this trope.

To qualify for this trope a character must actually be injured. Shrugging off damage physically may be Made of Iron or Nigh-Invulnerability. Despite the name, this trope is not limited to males or bullet wounds.

Compare: I Can Still Fight!


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  • Whenever Spike gets shot or falls from a great height in Cowboy Bebop, which is a lot, he usually shrugs it off. Although on a few occasions he is wrapped in so many bandages afterwards that he looks like a mummy.
  • One Piece: The mark of a big badass in the verse is how much damage they could take and still be able to move on; Luffy and Zoro are known best for this. Other characters went like this too, such as Kyros and especially Whitebeard (who's known for having lots of scars in his front but never his back, up until his death).
  • Discussed in Saint Seiya. Lacerta Misty takes great pride on never receiving a wound in battle, to which Seiya counters that Misty is actually afraid of getting hurt, and that wounds are proof of courage and the medals of a warrior.

  • Abraham Sapien, of Hellboy and B.P.R.D., can basically walk off any injury.
  • All-Star Comics: Early on, the Sandman, a Badass Normal hero, frequently gets shot and has to struggle against the injury through the remainder of his case, both in his solo and JSA adventures. Later on, he manages to avoid getting shot quite so often.

    Fan Works 

  • Every injury ever sustained by Die Hard's John McClane is painful, yes, but he never complains about them or lets them slow him down.
  • Patrick Swayze's character from Road House (1989) does not let injuries slow him down.
  • Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He gets shot in the chest three times... and keeps fighting until he dies.
  • Indiana Jones. The man is pretty regularly rode hard and put away wet, yet as the old commercials used to say, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
  • In The Replacements, quarterback Shane Flaco rallies the team in the last game by using the page quote.
  • In The Raid: Redemption, after killing the last of the Machete Gang, Rama collapses in a badly-bruised heap, and only by thinking of his pregnant wife can he find the will to get back up. Which he does, and then he kills more bad guys. The final fight between him, Mad Dog, and Andi is basically a grueling test of endurance.
  • At the end of Running Scared (1986), Costanza (Billy Crystal) comments that he got shot, to which Hughes (Gregory Hines) replies that, "It's about time."
  • In The Quick and the Dead, Spotted Horse openly brags about how many times he's been shot and didn't die. Indeed, during his duel, it takes more than one bullet to actually kill him.

  • The Red Badge of Courage gets its name from the idea that being shot is proof of manhood.
  • Sharpe. He takes enough punishment to kill a lesser Sean Bean character but always makes it to the end of the novel.
  • Among the Axumites in Belisarius Series, getting one's first battle scar is a rite of passage.
  • In The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre, the only two heroic characters to get shot without instantly recovering due to magic are Joseph and Dhampinella, respectively the most badass male and female characters in the book. Joseph yells a bit but goes on to bind the wound himself in a way that implies he's used to this sort of thing, while Dhampinella's only concession to showing pain is that she holds that arm uncomfortably for a while.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jack Bauer from 24 sustains two injuries during the course of a series and comes back from having been kept captive and tortured for the years between two seasons.
  • A gender-inverted example in the Arrow episode "Time of Death". Oliver Queen, John Diggle, and Sara Lance are all sparring and end up sharing the origins of their various scars (IED, grenade, knives, bullets, etc.) Their IT specialist Felicity Smoak feels somewhat left out as the only scar she can boast of is from getting her wisdom teeth removed (three stitches!). She's quite happy when she later takes a bullet for Sara, giving her a genuine badass scar.
  • Jim Brass in CSI. He gets the date of his line of duty injuries tattooed next to them. He got one onscreen in the 7th season opener after getting shot in "Bang Bang" the previous season, and had another already present, possibly an old war wound or an earlier offscreen police injury. It probably would lead to talking about it if they ever gave him a girlfriend.
  • Firefly.
    • Captain Malcolm Reynolds, who is unquestionably a badass, tends to power through pain to get a job done. However, after being rather viciously stabbed during a "Duel of Honour", he simply will not shut up about how he got cut, and how much it hurts. Jokingly though. He's just trying to milk it for all the sympathy it's worth.
      Inara: Are you in pain?
      Mal: Absolutely. I got stabbed, you know! [points to bandage] Right here!
    • Discussed in "Objects in Space". Jubal Early remarks to ship's doctor Simon Tam, unprompted, that you ought to have to get shot—or stabbed, or lose a limb—before you can become an M.D., so that you "know the kind of pain you're dealing with."
      "They make psychiatrists get psychoanalyzed before they can get certified, but they don't make surgeons get cut on. That seem right to you?"
  • Our Flag Means Death: While the show itself doesn't condone this sort of toxic masculinity, in-universe, kindly aristocrat Stede Bonnet's ability to take a sword to the gut (twice!) is proof to his crew that maybe the "Gentleman Pirate" isn't as soft as he seems.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Shortly after graduating from Starfleet Academy one Jean-Luc Picard gets in a fight with a group of Nausicans, which ends with one of the Nausicans stabbing him in the heart. Picard later tells Wesley Crusher than he didn't feel a lot of pain and actually remember laughing at the site of the blade sticking out of his chest. This turns out to be a major turning point in Picard's life and turns him into the man who would go on to command the Federation flagship.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Gender-Inverted Trope with Captain Janeway in "Year of Hell"; she tells the Doctor, "I'll be coming back with severe burns."
    • Star Trek: Picard: Cristóbal Rios shrugs off what should be agonizing pain from a chunk of tritanium shrapnel lodged in his shoulder like it's an annoying mosquito bite. Not surprisingly, he's the most manly character in the main cast.

  • Chris Cagle, "Chicks Dig It"
    Scars heal... glory fades
    And all we're left with are the memories made, oh yeah
    Pain hurts, but only for a minute
    Life is short so go on and live it
    'Cause the chicks dig it

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Snake gets shot, beaten, thrown off a cliff, breaks bones, hell, there's an entire game mechanic revolving around removing foreign objects from your flesh and not bleeding to death. All it does is reaffirm just how tough as nails this guy is.
    • How much damage you've taken changes one of Volgin's lines when Snake is captured. If you've done well, he comments on how Snake takes great care of his body. If you've taken a beating, he comments that a lesser man would be dead by now.
  • Certainly hinted at in Aliens vs. Predator 2 with General Rykov.
  • Red Dead Revolver and its Spiritual Successor Red Dead Redemption have both protagonists sporting several scars on one side of their faces.
    • In Red Dead Redemption 2, during Chapter 3, Arthur Morgan gets knocked out and captured by the O'Driscolls. He tries to escape, but gets shot in the left shoulder and captured again. After being tied up and tortured and denied food, he escapes again and deals with the (now hours old) gunshot wound by cauterizing it with black powder. After recuperating for several weeks at camp, he's back in action good-as-new.
  • Ace Attorney Investigations has agent Lang being shot in the leg as he takes a bullet for exposed mole Shi-hina/Calisto Yew. He barely acknowledges the fact.
    • Deconstructed by Wocky Kitaki in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. He thinks of himself as a true gangster in his family's organized crime syndicate and considers the bullet he took during a previous altercation to be a mark of pride. In truth, the bullet was lodged in his chest near his heart, and every medical worker who examines him reaches the conclusion that he is going to die from his injury soon. In fact, his parents intend to leave the criminal underworld specifically to find a way to save his life.
  • Assassin Asha from Iji can dodge everything you throw at him... except shotgun rounds; he considers dodging them unmanly, even if he's one shot away from getting killed.

    Web Original 
  • In Red vs. Blue, episode 4 of season 9, North was riddled with bullets but is still able to climb out of a Pelican in flight and activate his dome shield to save the ship.
    • Without an AI. Which is later revealed to have stood a good chance of killing him on its own.

    Western Animation 
  • Mr. Cat from Kaeloo, on several occasions where he gets hurt. In one episode, he actually laughs when he gets impaled by a bunch of knives.

    Real Life 
  • During a 1912 campaign speech, Theodore Roosevelt was the victim of an assassination attempt; he was shot in the chest, and survived due to the bullet hitting the eyeglass case and folded speech in his breast pocket. Reaction? He wasn't spitting blood, so he stayed on the podium and finished his speech before going to the hospital. Badass.
    • Finished? When he got shot, he hadn't even started. You know it's a badass talking when he begins a 90 minute speech with:
      Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.
  • Andrew Jackson was even more insane, er, bad ass, having been shot, stabbed, clubbed, and slashed in his multiples fights, battles and duels that he engaged in, to the point people claimed he rattled like a bag of marbles when he walked. Two of his most notable stories were when allowed a fellow duelist the first shot, then plugged both his chest wound and the guy who shot him, and the time he dug a bullet out of his arm during a Cabinet meeting and sent it back to the guy who put it there.
  • The Purple Heart award is essentially a patriotic incarnation of this. It's generally not a medal anyone particularly wants to get (sometimes referred to as the Enemy Marksmanship Award).
    • Two unfortunate soldiers managed to get a record ten Purple Hearts, another received nine and seven more men tied for third with eight each.
  • Due to the obvious nature of some contact sports, players get hurt colliding with each other, and often get a reputation as tough guys for playing through less serious injuries ("less serious" sometimes including broken bones that don't greatly hinder a player's ability to play), not to mention the more routine scrapes and bruises that are unavoidable but don't really rise to the level of injury. As many a rugby fan will tell you, "Football is 90 minutes of pretending you're hurt, rugby is 80 minutes of pretending you aren't".
    • Rugby players in particular have a reputation as tough guys, partly owing to the fact that, while the tackling rules actually result in fewer concussions than American football, the lack of face masks causes players to frequently get hit in the nose or mouth, which can cause a quite an impressive bloody mess without much actual injury beyond a broken nose.
    • Ice hockey players get a similar reputation, particularly in American and Canadian leagues where fighting isn't very severely punished in most cases. Most players won't wear a face mask on their helmet unless the league requires it, so it's inevitable that they'll occasionally catch a deflected shot or pass in the face, and usually just get stitched up on the bench before returning to the game.