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Screw the Money, This Is Personal!

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"You think I want money, Mockridge? Not anymore. What I want now... is you."

A character tries to get someone off their back by attempting to offer money and/or power to their pursuer, only to be coldly rejected because the pursuer isn't interested in money — they just really, really want to see their adversary dead — or, at least, suffering. Turns out, the pursuer has a grievance towards their adversary that no bribe will be able to make up for, and in some cases, actually pisses off the pursuer even more, causing them to double down on their rampage.

A variation of this trope involves the pursuer turning down payment for a job or task that would allow them to enact their revenge, or accepting lower pay for it.

As the one offering the bribe is almost always a villain who had greatly wronged the person they're trying to buy off (who is usually The Hero, or at least a heroic character), the latter's refusal to back down from their revenge often goes hand-in-hand with The Villain Must Be Punished mentality. But it is also possible for this scenario to come up in cases of Evil Versus Evil or Evil Is Petty when the wronged party is portrayed as being just as villainous or even worse.

Compare/contrast Screw the Money, I Have Rules!, where a character rejects another's attempt to buy them off due to their integrity rather than anything personal against the one offering the money.

See also Revenge Before Reason, when someone's obsession to exact vengeance comes at the expense of personal gain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: After Steely Dan's last-ditch attempt to get the drop on Jotaro by taking a little girl hostage quickly gets foiled by Kakyoin, Jotaro makes it clear to Dan he's run out of patience with him, and he just wasted his last chance to receive any mercy at all. Steely Dan offers him the money DIO paid him to convince Jotaro to let him go, but the latter tells him outright that all the humiliation and abuse he put him through can't be repaid with money before having Star Platinum inflict a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that lasts 3 pages in the manga and 20 seconds in the anime.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: After Jasley Donomikols's plotting gets Tekkadan ally Naze Turbine killed (which he follows up by having Turbine survivor Laftey gunned down while she's shopping), the Tekkadan cuts ties with the Teiwaz organisation and frees themselves from the Ape Shall Never Kill Ape caveat of being under the organisation's umbrella. To Jasley's horror, his forces are quickly smashed to pieces and his expected reinforcements don't show up because his superior is sick and tired of him being The Starscream. After his own men turn on him for leading them into the whole mess, he desperately tries to plea for a ceasefire and then offers to surrender and turn over all his not-insubstantial assets, and finally even offers to have his fingers all cut off and further mutilated. However, Tekkadan leader Orga assures him that the only reason he even agreed to hear Jasley out was to hear him beg before he dies, and has Jasley killed mid-plea.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, opium dealer Takeda Kanryuu gloats that he has enough money to buy anything, but after massacring most of the Onibanwashu with a Gatling gun at the climax of the arc, he has royally pissed off Kenshin to the point he really wants to kill Takeda, and as he approaches Takeda and he finds out he ran out of ammo, he starts begging Kenshin to be spared and that he'll pay anything. Kenshin's answer?
    Do you know what your money can't buy? That's right. Your life! [smashes all of Takeda's teeth out with his Sakabatou]

    Comic Books 
  • Beast Wars: Uprising: Taking place in an alternate universe where the Maximals and Predacons are second-class citizens under the boot of the Builders of Cybertron (i.e. the Autobots and Decepticons), the Predacon Gnashteeth comes under the wing of the Micromaster Decepticon Double Punch. Double Punch is offered the chance to become a Senator, with the caveat he cut ties with his Predacon "pet". Despite Gnashteeth being instrumental to his success, Double Punch does so. The first hint Double Punch has that he made a terrible mistake is when he arrives home after his first meeting as a Senator to find his bodyguard dead. When Gnashteeth emerges carrying Double Punch's own Tyrant Spear, the Decepticon tries to make him an offer, but the Predacon is long past the point of caring and kills him.
  • This is why gangsters who try to bribe The Punisher get nowhere. Frank Castle wishes nothing more than to kill every single one of those scum bags as payback for the murder of his family, and any money he needs to continue funding his killing spree he just steals from their dead bodies or whatever safes they have around.

    Films — Animation 
  • Big Hero 6 has Yokai AKA Callaghan, who is on a quest to exact vengeance on Alistair Krei, who had indirectly caused Callaghan's daughter to die in a teleporter accident. At the climax, Hiro tries to reason with Yokai, only for the latter to go on a rampage when the oblivious Krei attempts to offer him money.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Dogs of War: While main character Jamie "Cat" Shannon is a mercenary and willing to get as much money as he can out of Sir Manson, it doesn't take much from Manson to talk Shannon into leading the assault on Zangaro after the police beats the living crap out of him while he's doing recon (and has also seen first-hand what kind of monster President Kimba is). When he ends up facing off against Kimba on the climactic assault, Kimba has been driven into a Villainous Breakdown and offers him a small mountain of money to let him go. Shannon just shoots him, and then goes on to screw over Sir Manson (who wasn't going to improve Zangaro with his puppet government anyway).
  • Dumb Money: While no direct bribery takes place, towards the middle of the film, the short squeeze has mostly stopped being about investing in GameStop for many characters, and has become about revenge against Wall Street for the string of financial crises in the early 21st century. Harmony recounts how her father, general manager of a grocery store, was ruined by a hedge fund that bought the chain, stripped its assets, and then declared bankruptcy, erasing his pension.
  • John Wick: Implied. When Viggo finds out that his son Iosef had stolen John Wick's car and killed his dog, he calls John and tries to reason with him, knowing that John is about to embark on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. John listens to him beg for a few seconds before wordlessly hanging up — making it quite clear he won't be bribed or reasoned out of this. Viggo goes to great lengths to protect his son, so John starts hitting Viggo where it hurts: his money. He burns all of it, not even taking pennies for himself, it's all about vengeance.
  • Licence to Kill: Ed Killifer, the Dirty Cop who sold out James Bond's best friend Felix Leiter to notorious drug kingpin Franz Sanchez, allowing Sanchez to have Leiter's leg fed to a shark and his wife raped and murdered, offers to split the bribe Sanchez gave him with Bond in exchange for letting him go. A pissed Bond throws the briefcase of money at him, causing him to fall into the same shark tank that Leiter was lowered into, where he is eaten.
    Bond: You earned it. You keep it, "old buddy".
  • In Man on Fire: Creasy yells out a VERY loud "I DON'T WANT YOUR MONEY!!" when the ex-wife of criminal mastermind "The Voice" pulls out a REALLY large pack of money from a secret location after he takes her and the rest of The Voice's family hostage in revenge for the kidnapping and (apparent) death of Lupita Ramos. He does this right after he shoots off the hand of The Voice's brother with a shotgun while The Voice was on the phone so The Voice would understand that there was no way he would smooth-talk or bribe his way out of this.
  • The Princess Bride: When Inigo catches up to Count Rugen, who killed Inigo's father, and defeats him in a duel, he forces Rugen to offer his wealth and power in exchange for his life. After Rugen promises to give Inigo anything he wants, Inigo replies that he wants his father back and kills him.
    Inigo: Offer me money.
    Rugen: Yes!
    Inigo: Power, too, promise me that.
    Rugen: All that I have and more. Please...
    Inigo: Offer me everything I ask for.
    Rugen: Anything you want...
    Inigo: I want my father back, you son of a bitch.
  • When the Tethered first attack the Wilsons in Us, the family patriarch Gabe attempts to persuade them to leave them alone by offering them money, the beach house, or even his boat! Red just stares at him, and it soon becomes very clear that she (and the rest of the Tethered) are there to make the Wilsons' lives hell out of envy and resentment.
    Zora: No one wants the boat, Dad.

  • In The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya invokes this trope. His father, a swordsmith named Domingo, was contracted by Count Rugen to forge a sword with the hilt custom-fitted to his six-fingered hand. Rugen then tried to cheat him on the fee just because he could (Rugen is a nobleman and the Montoyas commoners). Domingo refused to be cheated and Rugen killed him. Years later, when Inigo's sword is at Rugen's throat, he sarcastically suggests that Rugen buy him off with money, and scorns the very idea. By doing that, Inigo forces Rugen to understand just how petty his crime was.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andor: The two native Narkinans Cassian and Melshi encounter note that the Empire has a standing bounty on any escaped prisoners, alive or dead. They decide to help them escape instead, explaining that the Empire's presence has fouled the water and killed off a lot of the fish, leaving them with no livelihood.
  • Breaking Bad: In the final episode, Walt has gotten his revenge on Jack Welker's gang for killing Hank, courtesy of an automated M-60. Jack lies bleeding on the floor and warns Walt that if he kills him, he'll never find the millions in drug money the gang stole from him. Walt shows how much he cares by shooting Jack in the head mid-sentence.
  • In the Burn Notice episode "The Hunter", Michael and a contact he was meeting, John Beck, get chased through the Everglades by a bunch of ex-Spetsnaz enforcers for The Mafiya. After Team Westen manages to get the drop on them and rescue Mike, Beck informs the enforcers they've been Mugging the Monster: he's friends with their boss's boss. The leader offers bribes to let them go, but he isn't having it.
    Beck: All those KGB colonels in the Russian mafia, well, they work for an old KGB general, who happens to be a business associate of mine. Now, I don't want to name names, but he controls about 800 miles of the Siberian oil pipeline. Yeah. Yeah, I do all their import-export work. You nearly cost him a lot of money today. I'm gonna have to give him a call, see how they feel about that.
    Vlad: I give you fifty thousand and I swear you'll never see me again.
    Beck: I know I won't. Get this fool outta here.
    Vlad: Stop. One hundred. Come on. Don't be stupid, come on!
    Beck: There's not enough money in the world!
  • Fargo: In "Aporia," V.M. Varga offers Nikki a lucrative job in his criminal empire in exchange for flash drives containing incriminating financial information about him. She refuses, choosing to extort a smaller amount, and letting Varga know what she wants to do after he indirectly caused Ray's death:
    Nikki Swango: Because I wanna hurt you, not be your pet. I wanna look you in the face and rip out something you love.
  • In Limitless, Sands offers Rebecca a high-paying position on Senator Morra's staff that would require her to quit the FBI and stop her investigation into Morra's connection to NZT. Rebecca suspects that Morra might have been behind her father's murder, so she strings Sands along for a bit and then throws the offer back in his face.

    Myth & Religion 
  • The Bible: The Book of Proverbs mentions this in a warning against adultery; if you sleep with another guy's wife, all the gifts in the world won't turn his wrath aside.
  • Mabinogion: In the fourth branch, Math fab Mathonwy, Lleu Llaw Gyffes was almost murdered by his wife's lover, Gronw Pebyr, who then proceeds to take over his land. When Lleu's uncle Gwydion manages to save his life and nurse him back to health, Lleu demands justice from Gronw. The latter tries to offer him land or silver or gold for his forgiveness, but Lleu refuses, telling Gronw that the only restitution he'd accept is for the opportunity to strike at Gronw with a spear in the same manner he himself had been attacked. Lleu did allow Gronw to put a boulder between them for extra protection, though Lleu's spear manages to go through the stone and kill Gronw.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Empires I: Tributing an enemy AI will trigger the following line:
    "Your petty offering will not sway my determination to crush your empire."
  • Civilization: Other civilizations adjust their asking price for trade goods based on how much they like you and how big of a threat you are. Alienate them enough and they'll refuse to sell you anything for any price.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The City Elf Origin lets you play this trope straight or subvert it when, at the end of your Origins Arc, you confront Bann Vaughn about raping your Best Friend Shianni and he offers you a substantial bribe to just walk away. Since this is a Role-Playing Game, the choice of whether you kill the man who violated your friend (as well as many other women he abducted from your home district) or take the money and leave her in his clutches is up to you.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: In "One Last Thing", Jimmy Pegorino contacts protagonist Niko to ask him to conduct a heroin deal with Dimitri Rascalov, a man whom Niko has been hunting down for some time now. The player is given the choice to either accept the deal, or invoke this trope and kill Dimitri (thus earning no reward, but finally letting Niko have his revenge).
  • Grand Theft Auto V: In Ending "C", Trevor kidnaps Devin Weston by knocking him out and stuffing him in the trunk of a car. When Devin comes to, he offers Trevor huge sums of money and a well-paying job to let him go. Trevor refuses for three reasons: 1) he's already filthy rich by this point, 2) he can't trust Devin after all the times he's stabbed people in the back, and 3) he hates Devin's guts for screwing him and his friends over and trying to have his daughter figure killed.
  • Discussed in Injustice: Gods Among Us by Mainverse!Cyborg and Insurgency!Deathstroke after the former beat up his Regime counterpart:
    Deathstroke: You beat me to it.
    Cyborg: Another contract lost?
    Deathstroke: This one was personal.
    Cyborg: I didn't think anything was personal with you.
    Deathstroke: He made it personal when he tortured me.
  • Interstate '76 ends with Groove defeating Mallochio in a duel. Mallochio offers to pay him money to spare his life. Groove sees one last vision of his sister's ghost and empties his handgun into him.
  • In Max Payne 3, Max confronts a plastic surgeon who has been harvesting organs from kidnapped citizens from the San Paleo favelas. The doctor tries throwing money and begs for his life, but an appalled and furious Max only yells and holds him at gunpoint before letting one of the doctor's victims kill him with a scalpel.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: In the mission "Revenge is a Dish Best Eaten", Arthur, Dutch, John, Lenny and Bill sneak into the mansion of Angelo Bronte to kill him for ratting out their plan to rob the Saint Denis trolley station. When the gang catches him, Bronte asks them to "name their price". John takes him out with one punch and takes his limp body to Dutch. When Bronte wakes up, Dutch tells him that despite all of Bronte's money and hired guns, he was no match for his gang. Bronte offers a thousand dollars to anyone who kills Dutch and sets him free, but nobody takes him up on the offer. After that, Dutch feeds him to the alligators who live in the swamps around Saint Denis.
  • In Ridge Racer Type 4, the Dig Racing Team arc has the executives abuse team manager Robert Chrisman throughout the game. When the player wins the final race, the executives do an about-face and offer Chrisman a raise for the following year. Instead, he lashes out at them and resigns to spend more time with his family.

  • The Order of the Stick: When the Thieves' Guild leader Bozzok is being attacked by his own Flesh Golem, he first orders Grubwiggler the wizard to help him, then desperately tries to buy his aid. Grubwiggler, tired of the guild's intrigues constantly interfering with his magical research, coldly refuses and leaves him to be brutally killed.
    Bozzok: I'll pay you double! Triple!
    Grubwiggler: Farewell, Bozzok. You were never as clever as you thought you were.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Tagon almost never passes up a chance to get paid, even if it means Playing Both Sides to get paid twice, and even if it means taking entirely non-mercenary gigs... but whenever General Xinchub is involved, there isn't enough money in the galaxy to make him even consider helping him. Not even Petey, the richest known entity among the stars, can muster up enough cash to change his mind.
    Tagon: Petey wanted to hire us to rescue Xinchub. He offered me an awful lot of money, but I realized we'd all rather just kill the fat man, or maybe clone him, and kill him twice. I can't believe I let Petey talk me into it at first. I'll see Xinchub rot on a pike before I accept money to help him.

    Web Videos 
  • Beauty and the Beast (Phelous): When Wabuu realizes that Beauty is at the Beast's castle, he plans to Murder the Hypotenuse so he can marry Beauty. The Beast tries to bribe Wabuu into not killing him. Wabuu refuses and murders the Beast anyway.
  • Crossed Lines: Killian Hardgraves wants nothing more in the world than to cut Amber up for scrap metal. Whistler, the diesel who oversees the scrapyard at Masonry Bridge, asks why Killian doesn't sell Amber for a lot of money. Killian states he wants Amber scrapped because his family was on the train that Amber crashed.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In the episode "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?", CEO Daniel Mockridge stiffs Edward Nygma out of millions of dollars of product royalties and fires him when Nygma tries to sue. This pisses off Nygma, who becomes the Riddler and kidnaps Mockridge with intent to kill him. Mockridge tries to buy his freedom but Nygma makes clear that he wishes nothing more than revenge, and even when Batman manages to save Mockridge, the Riddler manages to escape and Mockridge is left a rich man haunted by paranoia and fear that Nygma will return someday to finish the job.
    Bruce Wayne: "How much is a good night's sleep worth?" Now there's a riddle for you.
  • Gravity Falls: In the last episode, Bill Cypher threatens to kill Dipper and Mabel unless Ford lets him enter his mind. Ford agrees, but he actually is Stan, who changed clothes with his twin brother, so Ford would shoot him with the Memory Erasing Gun, destroying Stan's mind along with Bill. The demon panics when he discovers that he is trapped and offers Stan's inner self riches and anything else he would want. Stan, however, is furious because Bill threatened his family and home and disintegrates him with a single powerful punch.
  • Mission Hill: In "Kevin Vs. The SATs" (or "Nocturnal Admissions"), when Posey's legitimate massage business gets confused for a brothel (the ad said "Let Posey's Soft Hands Give You Healing Release" when it's supposed to say "healing relief"), she attracts the attention of a pimp. When the pimp returns for money that he feels Posey owes him, Andy just moons him and slams the door in his face. The pimp then enters the apartment through the window and takes Andy up to the roof. Andy says he'll pay the pimp, but the pimp says he's not interested in money anymore and tries to throw Andy over the side. Luckily for Andy, the pimp throws out his back while getting ready to throw Andy over.