Follow TV Tropes


Wicked Cultured

Go To
Doom is such a considerate host. The last bit, though...

"I'm the bon vivant of violence, a licensed psychiatrist
Who dines on highest society to the sound of violins!"

It's not that Evil Is Cool. Rather, this is more like "Evil is Intellectual". Evil is smart, wicked, sarcastic with a biting sense of humor. Evil is smooth and eloquent, if not outright suave. Evil dresses well, has a polysyllabic lexicon, quotes William Shakespeare, sips fine wine, listens to his favorite opera on his downtime (almost always Don Giovanni), and in general is shown to be cultured if not necessarily civilized. This can apply to any villain, Anti-Villain, or associated character types.

May overlap with Dumb Is Good, but it doesn't have to. The hero of the story can easily be a more rugged intellectual, or he reads/writes poetry, which is almost never perceived as an "evil" form of culture (cf. the Warrior Poet trope). Closely related to the Magnificent Bastard, whose sheer tactical and strategic brilliance often sets him inside the trappings of Wicked Cultured (particularly when he catches you and then explains which strategic genius first invented that trap). Faux Affably Evil is a similar overlap of highbrow manners and vicious actions. Villains who try to be this and fail are Wicked Pretentious.

When Aristocrats Are Evil, they almost always follow this trope; when enough of them do, you get a Decadent Court. They are likely to practice Brains and Bondage without any trace of Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Likely to be a Villain in a White Suit as well. If there's a pair of Wicked Cultured villains, they'll often be Bantering Baddie Buddies.

A Wicked Cultured villain will naturally be associated with equally cultured music, with their most likely Genre Motif being classical music. Their Mood Motifs tend to be either harpsichords or, for more grandiose variants of this trope, Ominous Pipe Organs. Villains that are particularly passionate about music would probably enjoy Conducting the Carnage.

This trope often carries some implication of Slobs Versus Snobs: people who enjoy pop culture are average joes and probably the protagonists, but those who like "high" culture are a bit weird, "other", and more likely to be antagonists.

Compare the less sinister Villains Out Shopping, Villainous Fashion Sense, and Man of Wealth and Taste. Contrast with Lower-Class Lout (for an uneducated and uncultured villain) and Pop-Cultured Badass (usually but not always heroic). The exact opposite of this is a Gentleman and a Scholar (unless he is Affably Evil). Someone who keeps trying to be this but whose plans end up less clear, simple, and effective may have a Complexity Addiction, or might only be Wicked Pretentious.

Not to be confused with Sophisticated as Hell, although overlap is possible.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In between various dog-kicking acts (and occasionally burning them) and sending his Ax-Crazy minions after the heroes, Dio Brando of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure enjoys literature, music, and classic art.
  • Monster: Johan Liebert, the title character, is always perfectly dressed, eloquent, blends in perfectly with high society, and is an intellectual. He is fluent in many languages and is an expert on law, business, economics, and psychology.
  • The Major from Hellsing is a textbook example: he dresses immaculately, always ready for A Glass of Chianti, is well-read, refined, eloquent, frighteningly intelligent, but... He's insane and has "EVIL" written on him in two-foot letters. In blood.
  • Creed from Black Cat is definitely shown to be one of the more "cultured" characters in the series. He appears to be the only character in the series that bothers taking a bath (which is filled with rose petals, no less), dresses in sleek, black leather, drinks A Glass of Chianti (with a rose in it), speaks in a much more formal manner, plays the organ well, is skilled with large scale oil painting, carving gold statues, etc.
  • M'Quve from Mobile Suit Gundam is a ruthless Smug Snake under the orders of Princess Kycilia Zabi, whom he's fiercely devoted to. He's also an extremely cultured, polite, soft-spoken man who adores art and souvenirs. His last thoughts as he died in battle were of both his Princess and an old porcelain vase that he wanted to offer to her as a gift.
    • Backstory claims the same about Gihren Zabi, who apparently enjoys dancing, opera, horticulture, and various other types of arts and sciences. For a guy who fancied himself as Hitler's reincarnation, Gihren was as cultured as he was (supposedly) intellectual.
    • Paptimus Scirocco of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam carries himself this way, being well mannered and courteous to all those around him (even those he despises). He also has a thing for old traditions, such as signing contracts in blood (not that he finds them binding, unlike his superior Jamitov Hymen).
    • Mashemyre Cello of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ thinks of himself as this but in reality, he's a bumbling idiot with a thing for roses and an obsession with Haman Karn.
    • Treize Kushrenada of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was the poster child of this trope during his time as a villain. His cultured elements are covered in the Cultured Badass section, while his wicked elements constitute his leading the Specials (essentially the State Security of Wing) in subjugating the colonies and parts of the Earth, his indirectly assassinating the UESA leadership when they were on the verge of a peace settlement and then leading OZ in conquering the Earthsphere in the name of their Romefellar masters. Naturally he has a Heel–Face Turn later on, when he realizes that his actions only made the world turn for the worst, but for a time Treize was a particularly ruthless Gundam villain.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: "Madame, your laugh lacks elegance."
  • Crocodile from One Piece. Drinks wine while the Straw Hats are imprisoned (in addition to a No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine scene with Vivi), names his criminal organization after Renaissance architecture, and dresses in a fashion akin to a mafia ringleader.
  • Black Butler's Sebastian Michaelis is the perfect butler: he can cook the finest cuisine from any country, perform beautifully on the violin, and recite quotes from virtually any body of literature. Oh, by the way, he's a demon.
    • Since this is from manga and anime, to be clear: drag-your-soul-to-Hell demon, not "generic supernatural creature" demon.
  • Aizen of Bleach uses very long words, even longer plans and as a scientist is second only to Urahara (which continuously annoys him, and somewhat justified too, as Urahara plays a vital role in his defeat). As well, during his time in Soul Society, he was an instructor in calligraphy.
  • Solf J. Kimblee of Fullmetal Alchemist has got this down pat. Immaculate white suit? Check. Nice, calming voice? Check. An interest in the alchemical arts, as well as a seeming passion for music? Check. Oh, and he's a psychopath who has made it his life's work to blow up anything and everything for the heck of it. And he can turn people into living bombs.
  • Izaya Orihara from Durarara!! wears fur-lined coats, speaks Russian, reads Oscar Wilde and throws around psychology terms like "misattribution of arousal". He's also Japan's biggest troll.
  • Proist, the eventual Big Bad of Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu. She has a thing for Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony—spoken of its 2nd movement: “While the culture of the Earth is barbaric, this song by that composer Dvorak is magnificent.” When things get serious, she acknowledges that this movement is no longer adequately suited to the moment, and starts up the more dramatic 4th movement. Her personal Eldritch Abomination is even named after the composer himself. Also, she arranges meetings with rebellious subordinates during teatime and coolly responds to having a reckless (and unexpected) guest draw a sword on her by asking him how many sugars he wants in his tea.
  • Invoked by Yahiro Saiga of Special A. He's not actually that bad and that much aóf a jerk, he just pulls a Zero-Approval Gambit. With his love of opera, fine clothing and dining, he certainly looks like an example.
  • Adolf K. Weissman from K, wears fancy-looking clothes and waltzes with an inanimate woman wearing a fox mask. The few glimpses we get of him suggest he is quite unhinged and malevolent. Subverted- he's actually the hero and Big Good - when he was acting crazy, it's because he was Possessed. When his memories return, he still has the nice suits, he can still waltz, and of course, the elegant wine moment at the beginning of episode 12 was from before he got body-snatched.
  • Shogo Makishima, the sociopathic villain from Psycho-Pass, is seen reading Shakespeare and Nineteen Eighty-Four in his spare time; and he's very knowledgeable in philosophy, music, and literature.
    • In The Movie, Desmond Rutaganda is a ruthless mercenary who will do anything, no matter how destructive, for money. He also discusses postcolonial philosophy with a captive Togami.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note can sometimes come across this way, as a sharply-dressed, well-educated Person of Mass Destruction, with a tongue so silver it convinced a god of death to kill herself and evil so faux-affable it sucked good folks into his madness. Another character even comments that Light looks and acts "like he's been groomed for success his whole life," but this mature and intellectual exterior actually masks a childish genius who wants to watch heads roll and doesn't know what it means to be wrong.
    • Teru Mikami, who is extremely similar to Light, not just in his meticulous appearance but also mind-set. Mikami graduated from a prestigious university, became a successful prosecutor and his clothes are never seen in any disarray. Unfortunately, he suffers from the same issues as Light.
  • Goku Black from Dragon Ball Super. He is impeccably polite, intelligent, drinks tea, and is a psychopathic mass murderer.
  • Shuu Tsukiyama from Tokyo Ghoul is the son of a wealthy Ghoul family that is fully entrenched in human society. He enjoys classical music, literature, fine art, fashion, and gourmet meals. In particular, he is a fan of the works of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and is influenced to seek the finest experiences in cuisine. Of course, this usually means ripping out and sauteing the eyes of beautiful women or stalking Kaneki in order to find the perfect setting for devouring his Ultimate Meal. Other Ghouls mock him for his obsession with human High Culture, considering it pathetic.
  • In Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, the Absurdly Powerful Student Council embrace this trope. They like elegant surroundings - right there in the school - and fancy teas. Kinshirou goes in for lots of long words, while Akoya goes in for being beauty and grace incarnate. Arima, the only one of the three confirmed as being from a noble family, gets to play butler.
  • Seraph of the End: The vampire noble Ferid is graceful and refined; he wants to be a painter; his swordplay style is that of royalty (to quote the novel: “It was a style that Crowley had never seen before. The movements were extremely refined. Like some sort of ceremonial fencing taught to royalty.”); He also likes to wear his long hair in ribbons and enjoys drinking blood in a wine glass in his mansion. As for the 'evil' part, he's the manga's resident Hate Sink, a power-hungry sadist with a disturbing fixation on children.
  • William of Moriarty the Patriot. The man quotes Shakespeare while stepping out the darkness to murder people and threatening the life of a man in court. If he can find a way to do so before stabbing you, he will.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: Paintasso dons a grey fedora and trenchcoat, speaks in a French accent and steals artwork. When he gets sprayed with paint, he is overjoyed to have become a living masterpiece and doesn't mind being imprisoned with a mirror to look upon himself in his cell.

    Comic Books 
  • The Flash's Rogues Gallery:
    • The Top is an incredible genius who is, among other things, a wine connoisseur. This has made him a pariah among the other, more blue-collar Rogues.
    • The Fiddler, as well, was a classically trained violinist and musical virtuoso who sometimes claimed he was Doing It for the Art. This was lampshaded once when Deadshot asks him why, if he's classically trained and had a genuine Strad violin, he calls himself the Fiddler, like " inbred hick".
    • Weather Wizard also fancies himself something of an intellectual.
    • The Shade is a Victorian-era gentleman who has stopped aging thanks to his darkness superpowers, he is droll, well-dressed, cultivates roses, and enjoys fine art and food. However, he only pursued a life of crime because he was bored with immortality, and eventually did a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In many Legion of Super-Heroes continuities, Brainiac 5's unfathomable intelligence causes him to start out as an Insufferable Genius, then slowly become more and more sinister.
  • Fantastic Four: Doctor Doom has four Rembrandts. He used to have five, until he burned one because it offended him.
  • V for Vendetta: V is a Villain Protagonist with a good cause, and he applies this trope to himself, quoting the line, "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste," from the Rolling Stones's "Sympathy for the Devil" (making him a Pop-Cultured Badass as well). He plays the piano, writes his own songs, grows roses, has an enormous vocabulary (most of it starting with "V")... He has a reason— his art collection is 'rescued' from the Culture Police, and his over-eloquent theatrics are meant to be a contrast to the bland and menacing fascist government.
    • In the novelization of the movie, Creedy has shades of this.
  • Vandal Savage is an astute intellectual who is thousands of years old. He also hunts down his descendants so he can eat them.
  • Batman: Ra's al Ghul is always portrayed as this. The Riddler and the Scarecrow often are as well, although they're more Depending on the Writer. The Penguin is sometimes this, but is just as often shown as Wicked Pretentious.
  • Sin City: Manute speaks in a very polite and eloquent manner. He seems to have little regard for hookers and "the dregs of Sin City". When Dwight implies Manute's only serving the Big Bad because she slept with him (her usual M.O.), Manute finds the suggestion vulgar and insulting. Mere sex is no reason to follow anyone.
  • Magneto in Ultimate X-Men, despite his disdain for humanity, has his minions steal all of the greatest works of art that they can before he begins a scheme intended to wipe out the entire human race, reasoning that humanity's only worthwhile creations (to paraphrase his terminology) deserve better than to be destroyed with their makers.
  • Lord Cedric from W.I.T.C.H. has two passions: ancient books and deception. Fittingly, his home on Earth doubles as a bookshop with a preference for ancient books and he has many contacts among booksellers, and has deceived people from the very first story until his death, with one victim falling for his deception in spite of being forewarned to not trust him (Cedric even described exactly what the poor victim was thinking).
  • The eponymous protagonist of Diabolik is a merciless murderer and an Impossible Thief, but is also a collector of fine arts, has created a collection from his most beautiful loot, and took offense at Ginko thinking he'd steal a priceless but objectively horrible golden statue.
  • Thanos is presented this way in Eternals (2021). When he attacks Lemuria and confronts Thena's lover, the Deviant artist Tolau the Delirious, he takes a moment to appreciate and criticise Tolau's latest statue, acknowledging the artistry.
  • Tarn of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is described thusly: "music lover, classical scholar, and mass murderer." One of his favorite methods of execution is reading poetry while altering his voice's frequency to make the victim's spark explode.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Countess Draska Nishki is a high-class woman with expensive tastes that chose to turn to a life of blackmail and spy wrangling in order to continue to be able to afford her lifestyle.
  • While the Evronians from Paperinik New Adventures are introduced as a race of ruthless and brutal Emotion Eater aliens, Branch Leader Gorthan is one: unlike others, he has developed emotions (though not to the extent of humans) and a deep fascination with Earth culture. He's introduced quoting Shakespeare to his confused underlings, in his second appearance he quotes the Little Prince as he's about to crash on Earth and, after revealing that his time is limited, asks for a good book. In the reboot he's a connoisseur of Evronian culture, even going as far as losing himself in a simulation machine which makes him the hero of an ancient Evronian saga. That being said, he's still an evil conqueror from an alien planet.
    [about Earth] "An extremely interesting planet. Too bad we have to destroy it."
  • Say what you want about Bob from Get Jiro!, but he clearly has an appreciation for the foreign cuisine he specializes in. His first scene shows him preparing Blanquette de veau as a demonstration to his staff, practices proper sushi etiquette at Jiro's establishment (which has been established as Serious Business to Jiro) and bemoans to him that it's the kitschy establishments that keep his businesses stable.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has a number, most prominent being Lucius Malfoy, who enjoys fine wines and tends to bemoan the staining of his expensive robes.
  • "Copper & Wine" basically reinvents Maura Isles (Rizzoli & Isles) as this; she is basically the same as in canon, save for the fact that she is a secret serial killer who serves her victims up at dinner parties (although she mostly declines to offer her victims to those she genuinely cares for, such as the Rizzolis).
  • One scene in Mortality deliberately invoked this trope for Professor Moriarty, with a glass of wine in hand (which he fractures because of his angry grip on it). Overall, the fic paints him as very upper-class and as intellectual as he is meant to be.
    • Colonel Moran gets his moments as well, particularly at the Tankerville Club.
  • Jewel of Darkness: At the climax of the Jump City Arc, Midnight takes the time before initiating her master plan to toast it with her minions. And a later flashback shows her attending a production of "Faust" with Slade and reading "The Count of Monte Cristo" while waiting for it to start.
  • Night's Favored Child: The Inquisitor has a collection of fine art, and in his downtime he likes listening to classical music and reading.
  • Hivefled's portrayal of the Grand Highblood has him as this trope; he's far more eloquent and less foul-mouthed than Gamzee, capable of carrying out elaborate plans, deeply religious, always very polite when Leaning on the Fourth Wall, and a great painter. His best work was painted in the blood of a lover he murdered, and when speaking to the readers he implies he plans to rape and torture them to death in the same way he did two and a half thousand teenage trolls and attempted to do to his own children.
  • Callidus Dominus from the Cynical Classicist Doctor Who fanfic series. In Devotee of Augustus he shows a liking for speaking Latin and Wagner's Operas.
  • In Old West, the snake-hunter for hire Mon Hellsing often quotes The Bible to show his disdain toward snakes, naming exactly the sections he's quoting.
  • Konotegashiwa of Tales of the Undiscovered Swords is a samurai-tongue-speaking waka poetry enthusiast who has beautiful penmanship and can doll himself up in Kimono Fanservice when need too, but is also a self-righteous Straw Vegetarian, a bully and a Manipulative Bastard.
  • In The New Adventures of Invader Zim, Norlock puts on airs of this, with the fine suit he always wears, and his insistence on always acting as melodramatically polite as possible.
  • In the Temeraire fanfic Black Wings, Black Sails, William Laurence, as befitting a man who has come to be called the Gentleman Pirate, still does his best to dress respectably, down to wearing a neckcloth and coat, and maintains the polite manner of speech befitting his noble birth. All while ruthlessly plundering and trying to destroy the Atlantic slave trade.
  • Emperor 626 from the Lilo & Stitch fanfic Empire of the Pacific is shown to have an elegant taste in Earth culture despite being an Ax-Crazy tyrant from literally another planet. Throughout the fic, he's shown to enjoy listening to classical music, his palace contains various sculptures and fine arts from across the world, and he consumes lavish alcohol (including a bottle of 1811 Chateau d'Yquem, one of the world's most expensive wines). Interestingly, he doesn't seem to possess anything pertaining to Hawaiian culture, which is where the story is set in.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Grand Duke in Rock-A-Doodle is not just an evil owl who spits black magic and wears a Dracula cape; he also enjoys embroidery and plays a demonic organ that controls the weather. Being voiced by the urbane Christopher Plummer helps.
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West: Cat R. Waul is a cultured, well mannered "gentlecat" who lures New York mice out west in order to turn them all into "mouseburgers" because simply chasing and eating them is an "unnecessary expenditure of calories".
  • Many Disney villains love showing their cultured personalities, including:
    • Aladdin: Up until the climax, Jafar tended to act subtle with how he felt about others, so it comes off as him being a gentleman while hypnotizing the sultan, talking to Jasmine, and drowning Aladdin as Prince Ali. He was also the royal advisor to the sultan which gave him authority over some.
    • The Lion King (1994): Scar is the brother of a king, so of course he'll act like one. Though killing your brother and trying to kill your nephew makes you less of a royal.
    • Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent acts quite elegant and treats the royals with respect.
    • Peter Pan: Captain Hook wears quite the dapper coat and hat, acts quite gentlemanly (until he gets angry) and can play the piano even with his hook.
    • Cinderella: Lady Tremaine acts regal, lives in a mansion with her daughters, and wears expensive dresses while being an Abusive Parent to Cinderella.
    • The Jungle Book (1967): Shere Khan hates humans (simply referred to as 'man') and tries to kill Mowgli, but rarely acts feral about it. In fact he acts pretty civil with Mowgli, and only really gets angry when Baloo shows up.
    • The Great Mouse Detective: Professor Ratigan presents himself as a man of intelligence and culture, which actually enhances his villainy, as it's all a cover for his feral and untamed — "rat" — nature. Being voiced by the great Vincent Price certainly helps.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Film Series:
    • In Batman (1989), the Joker enjoys classical (or at least orchestral) music, and he plays it on three "romantic" occasions: Percy Faith's "A Summer Place" while meeting Vicki in a museum café; Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer" while bringing some flowers (which, in a vile twist, are already wilted) to Vicki's apartment; and a sentimental waltz while he is, uh, ravishing Vicki on the roof of the city's Gothic cathedral. Interestingly, the latter piece — Danny Elfman's "Waltz to the Death" — is actually quite beautiful and grand and would be completely innocent were it not exclusively associated with a disfigured mass murderer. He also quotes Edgar Allan Poe to Vicki in one scene — and, fittingly, it is a line from "The Raven", which is about a deceased sweetheart (Joker had murdered his previous love interest, Alicia, in order to free himself up for Vicki). He's also a fan of Francis Bacon, it seems. He is also mentioned in his police file as having an aptitude for art, which puts an interesting perspective when he and his goons vandalize most of the works at the Gotham Museum of Art (or when he dismisses most of Vicki's photography... except the ones of war and death). Presumably, he fully appreciates and understands all of this stuff on an artistic level, but still felt like smashing it up to bring it up to his own twisted sense of aesthetic standard. When he brings Alicia in, she says "Jack, you said I could watch you improve the paintings." Then there's Jack/Joker's fashion sense. The first thing he does on seeing Knox is critique his tie.
    • In Batman Returns, the Penguin is an aversion, in a departure of his comics characterization at the time: he's portrayed as the grotesquely deformed scion of a wealthy family who dumped him in the river and left him for dead when he was still a baby. Although obviously intelligent and certainly no stranger to fine clothes, this version of the Penguin is quite vulgar, with thuggish manners and distasteful sexual appetites. The character is also portrayed in this manner in the Batman: Arkham City video game. He clearly thinks that he's Wicked Cultured, though.
  • In Highway to Hell, Satan lives in a high-class mansion and waxes philosophic about mankind and its prospects, telling Charlie that the Hell he's seen is merely a kindergarten compared to the true depth of evil.
  • MonsterVerse:
  • The Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter typifies this trope like no other; a cultured and refined genius as well as a homicidal cannibal. Some of his more cultured actions include his charcoal drawings of Florence that he uses to decorate his cell (done from memory), killing and eating an untalented flautist in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to improve its sound, and listening to Bach's "Goldberg Variations" while removing a man's face. His conversations are rife with references to classical works from Shakespeare to Marcus Aurelius, and much more. Wine-lovers note how his "nice Chianti" is a rustic choice for such a sophisticate (only in the film; in the book it was an Amarone). This combined with his mispronunciation of the name suggest to some that he's being facetious and is further mocking Agent Starling's rustic roots.
  • Se7en: John Doe. He uses the works of William Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Dante, the Marquis de Sade, and St. Thomas Aquinas, among others, as inspirations for his crimes.
  • The X-Men Film Series:
    • Magneto always enjoys a good game of chess with Xavier or listening to classical music.
    • Sebastian Shaw in the opening of X-Men: First Class. He assures a terrified boy (who would grow up to be Magneto) that he doesn't share the ridiculous Nazi prejudice against Jews. For some reason, the boy doesn't seem to be reassured. Later in the scene, the camera shifts, and we see that Shaw's office includes a torture chamber...
  • The Pin in the neo-noir film Brick. Something of a subversion, as outside of his basement office, he's clearly quite shy and eager to be liked.
  • Hans Gruber in Die Hard. Classical education, dontcha know. He's also dressed very well and chats cleverly about high fashion. Having Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as a motif, the film composer Michael Kamen called him a lineal descendant of the bad guys in A Clockwork Orange. Funnily enough, the quote he delivers to demonstrate his classical education is inaccurate.
  • Alex of A Clockwork Orange - the only thing he loves more than rape and "the old ultra-violence" is Beethoven's music. His gang, and youth culture in general, garb themselves in perverted trappings of aristocracy, such as top hats, walking sticks, and codpieces.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Cutler Beckett, in contrast to the bombastic Hector Barbossa and monstrous Davy Jones, presents himself as a refined gentleman of a villain, sipping tea aboard his ship before going into battle.
    • In the first movie, Barbossa himself affects this in contrast to his crew when he asks Elizabeth not to use long words, but then responds to her demand that they leave with "I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means 'no'." As well, in the fourth movie, Barbossa quotes William Ernest Henley's Invictus when describing his cutting off his leg to escape from Blackbeard's trap.
    • Davy Jones also happens to be a passionate musician, venting his centuries of anger and bitterness and lamenting the betrayal of his "lost" love by playing his steam-blowing pipe organ at regular intervals.
    • Jack Sparrow has also proven to be relatively cultured on occasion (though his wickedness varies). For example, during his encounter with Koehlner and Twigg in the Fort Charles prison, Jack makes a reference to Dante's Divine Comedy when commenting on the two pirates' "fortunes". Also, he's said to have learned his swordsmanship from an Italian master, and so knows the classical nuances of fencing (thus his commentary to Will Turner during their duel).
  • The Merovingian from The Matrix Reloaded. He owns a restaurant, an S&M fetishist nightclub, lives in a grand mansion, and has a beautiful wife. His manner is that of a smug Frenchman and he effortlessly rebuffs the heroes upon their first encounter. As he points out during their first meeting, even swears in French sound beautiful.
  • Sigfried in Get Smart fits this very well (whereas the original in the TV show was Affably Evil). He is essentially an Evil Brit as a Bond villain and is paradoxically, calm and cultured while being Chaotic Evil. This is particularly apparent at the end when he is in his car listening to and conducting the same music being played by an orchestra in which he has placed a bomb that will kill the president and everyone else inside.
  • Rotti Largo from Repo! The Genetic Opera has a love for Italian culture, dressing in suits from Milan and hosting his own opera.
  • Casanova Frankenstein, in Mystery Men, who is so smart and sophisticated that Captain Amazing asks him how to pluralize words while they are bantering.
    Amazing: Well, we've always been each other's greatest nemesises... nemesisi... nemesi... what's the plural on that?
    Frankenstein: Nemeses.
  • Star Wars:
    • Count Dooku, who notably uses a fencing grip on his lightsaber, and actually salutes Yoda with it at the start of their duel.
    • His master Palpatine/Darth Sidious has shades of this as well — Ian McDiarmid, who played him, has said that Palpatine's only redeeming feature is that he is a patron of the arts, particularly weird alien operas.
  • Scanners: Darryl Revok has a really nice apartment with some modern art here and there.
  • Many, many James Bond villains have taste and class, often used to contrast against the somewhat less (though still quite) cultured secret agent:
  • Khan from Star Trek: The Original Series, both in "Space Seed" and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Eloquent in speech (Ricardo Montalbán at his finest), well mannered and gracious even when those around him act otherwise, and has absolutely no qualms throwing out a classical line or proverb when the situation calls for it. Even in his dying moments, he lasted just long enough to quote Ahab's last words toward the futilely retreating Enterprise.
  • General Chang from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is definitely this. The man could barely get through a given day without gratuitous Shakespeare quoting; even when trying to smash the Enterprise.
  • John Harrison/Khan in Into Darkness is quite well spoken and even paraphrases Moby-Dick when he beams Kirk, Carol and Scotty off the Vengeance.
    Harrison: No ship should go down without her captain.
  • Gordon Gekko in Wall Street wears trend-setting, custom-made clothes, collects art, and dates an interior decorator.
  • Nearly every character portrayed by German actor Sky du Mont (e.g. Sandor Szavost in Stanley Kubrick's movie Eyes Wide Shut).
  • Klytus from the 1980 Flash Gordon manages this by speaking in the arch, refined tones of Peter Wyngarde, and holding a handkerchief to his face during an execution.
  • Norman Stansfield in The Professional has a love of classical music and hard drugs.
    Stansfield: You're a Mozart fan. I love him too. I looooove Mozart! He was Austrian, you know. But for this kind of work, [imitates playing the piano] he's a little bit light. So I tend to go for the heavier guys. Check out Brahms. He's good too. [proceeds to slaughter the family]
  • Col. Hans Landa of Inglourious Basterds is witty and articulate in at least four languages, often engages in philosophic debates with his quarries, and prides himself on having a deep understanding of the human psyche. One of the first things he does in the movie is massacre a family of Jewish people.
  • Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man (1973). He plays the piano, lives in a castle, sings folk songs, is the go-to guy on local history, wears nice suits...
    Lord Summerisle: A heathen, conceivably, but not — I hope — an unenlightened one.
  • In The Abominable Dr. Phibes, the Villain Protagonist is an award-winning concert organist, holds two degrees from prestigious European universities (including one in theology), and enjoys composing poetry and ballroom dancing to music supplied by the clockwork band he has built. He's utterly mad and spends the movie brutally murdering a whole bunch of innocent people.
  • In S.W.A.T. (2003), the tipoff to the identity of The Mole is that, while the other officers take their leisure playing with their children or drinking beer and watching TV, he spends it drinking champagne in a restaurant with a sommelier.
  • Cobb from Following is well-dressed, witty, urbane, and philosophical about the fact that he's a career burglar.
    Cobb: You take it away to show them what they had.
  • Benedict, The Dragon in Last Action Hero, is much more cultured than his mobster boss and frequently irritated by the latter's ignorance.
  • Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, in addition to being a mathematician, chess player, and former boxer, is portrayed as a fan of opera, listening to a phonograph of Schubert whilst torturing Holmes with a meat hooknote . His Dragon, Moran, also qualifies, as he expresses disappointment when one of Moriarty's schemes gets in the way of his plans to see a performance of Don Giovanni.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 is clearly trying to do this to impress Ivan Vanko. Like with everything else, he just winds up looking like a doofus.
    • Loki in The Avengers (2012) shows great knowledge of Midgardian history, noting that humans love to follow strong leaders. In Thor: The Dark World he's shown to be an avid reader. His mother Frigga sends him books to his prison cell to appease him.
    • N'Jadaka/Killmonger in Black Panther (2018), despite a major part of his character being his general disrespect for Wakanda (or most anyone else), reveals a detailed knowledge of old African artifacts as what might be a side effect of his search for loose Vibranium. Of course, he lacks as much cultural respect for those as he does anything else, only concerned with how they might benefit him and stealing one that wasn't from Wakanda simply because "it looked cool."
    • Xu Wenwu, the real Mandarin, in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, shows signs of this, as evident by how he decided to refrain from killing Trevor Slattery — the fake Mandarin from Iron Man 3 — for mischaracterizing him purely because Wenwu found Slattery's one-man performances of William Shakespeare's Macbeth entertaining.
  • Bane in The Dark Knight Rises isn't just a giant thug with a surprising intellect, but one with a witty comeback for every occasion and a fondness for florid speech. He even takes the time to appreciate a boy soprano's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a football stadium... right before he blows that stadium up.
  • In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Superman Returns, Lex Luthor is shown to love Classical music.
  • Captain Ramsay in Crimson Tide listens to Schubert during quiet moments - when not debating the genetics of Lipizzaner stallions with Lt. Commander Hunter.
  • Ulysses Diello the treacherous valet turned spy in Film: 5 Fingers (1952) convinces his German controller that he is an English gentleman of the most elegant and decadent sort.
  • Veteran character actor Terry-Thomas' roles were almost always cultured, upper-class rogues and scoundrels.
  • Schindler's List: During the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto, an SS officer is happily playing on a piano amidst all the executions occurring around him. It was Bach, despite what the two obviously less-than-cultured soldiers at the door said (Prelude to the 2nd English Suite). The music fit right in, its rapid-fire percussive staccato nature lining up with the gunfire and muzzle flashes peppering the night.
  • He's not really suave, but the psychopathic killer of the terrible 80s horror movie Mortuary (1983) listens to classical music.
  • The Untouchables (1987): Al Capone loves an evening at the opera; also Truth in Television.
  • Eddie Temple in Layer Cake, who is an opera lover and has a vast library in his estate; his counterpart in the novel attends opera but doesn't seem to actually like it much, although he has an unusual interest in Buddhism due to a Granola Girl second wife.
  • In Five Graves to Cairo, Nazi general Erwin Rommel tells his staff to arrange a performance of Aida when they get to Cairo, "omitting the second act, which is too long, and not too good."
  • The Rocketeer: The Brute Lothar is first introduced listening to The Magic Flute on the radio while sipping tea from a dainty floral-patterned cup.
  • Victoria Vinciguerra from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) is a chic businesswoman and art collector, as well as a psychotic, nuclear-weapon -toting nazi.
  • The German General Ludendorff as depicted in Wonder Woman (2017) sells this so well that he accidentally "confirms" that he is Ares god of war in mortal form, as Diana new to the world suspected, not a mortal general with a personal love for the classics.
  • In Gangster Squad, as one of its oddly specific parallels to the '87 film of The Untouchables, goes from one of the cops commenting on the ancient Roman penalties for trying to bribe a public official to having a gangster comment while dining on a roast peacock that "[the] Romans couldn't get enough of this stuff".
  • At one point in Wild Thing, two villains are shown playing chess while listening to classical music.
  • Frenchy De Vere in Black Patch owns the saloon, and is implied to be the closest thing to a crime boss the town has. He dresses in fine European fashions, enjoys gourmet food and champagne, and plays the spinet extremely well. He is complete contrast to his boorish and brutish enforcer Holman.
  • In A Blueprint for Murder, the Black Widow Lynne is described as "young, beautiful, intelligent and cultured" and plays classical piano like a virtuoso.

  • Nightfall: Prince Vladimir. He is the Big Bad and a monster, but he is also extremely knowledgeable about and appreciative of history, languages, science, mythology, music, theatre, and literature. He used to be a writer himself, but lost his ability when he became a vampire.
  • Most Forsaken in The Wheel of Time fit this trope perfectly. Not surprising, given that they are from a much more civilized time where they were among the highest-ranked scholars and wizards in the world. Ishamael/Moridin is probably the most obvious; a handsome, well-dressed man who lives in his own elegant palace in the middle of the Blight and is fond of chatting about metaphysics with his Archenemy in between attempts to kill each other, all in spite of being a nihilistic Omnicidal Maniac. Asmodean (a passionate musician who was already a renowned performer as a child) and Graendal (a former psychologist who actually has fairly sophisticated tastes, as much as she'd like you to think she's a vapid hedonist) are up there too.
  • Zeljan Kurst, one of the leaders of SCORPIA in Alex Rider, was formerly the head of the Yugoslavian secret police and one of their chief interrogators. He had a love of classical compositions, particularly Mozart, and would often conduct sessions with one of these playing in the background. Prisoners who survived could never again listen to that specific composition.
  • Lung Tien Lien from the Temeraire series. She’s a Chinese royal dragon the size of two houses, but she achieved the highest marks on the imperial civil service exam (which she took despite her exalted status exempting her from it) and would much rather discuss your doom over a bowl of tea after a pleasant afternoon of reciting poetry. When she allies with Napoleon, she becomes a major threat not because of her personal strength but because now Napoleon has her academic knowledge of Chinese aerial tactics and dragon breeding at his disposal.
  • Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil from Les Liaisons dangereuses. She's obviously the most cultured, clever, and deepest character of the book (Valmont also counts, but he's her villain sidekick). Her choice to pursue a career in evilness was heavily influenced by the philosophers she read. She would probably protect intellectuals and free speech if she wasn't too occupied ruining other persons' lives.
  • Headmaster Maximilian Nero of H.I.V.E. fits this, believing that evil should always be intelligent in its design and stylish in its execution.
  • Subverted in Neverwhere, in which Mr. Croup affects Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and collects priceless Chinese porcelain... to eat. It turns out that he doesn't value high art so much as he relishes the opportunity to destroy it and leave the world culturally deprived as a result. His counterpart, Mr. Vandemar, is Dumb Muscle.
  • The titular Villain Protagonist of the Raffles stories has an appreciation of fine art (and is in fact a fairly skilled painter himself) and peppers his speech with quotes from various poets, authors, and philosophers.
  • Discworld:
    • Havelock Vetinari of Discworld, though he's more of a ruthless pragmatist than evil. He's extremely intelligent and cultured, but also an ascetic with no vices. In particular, his hobby of reading the equivalent of classical music, because actual instruments are just too unrefined. Vetinari was also a trained Assassin, which, on the Discworld, is a gentleman's calling.
    • Odd variation in The Truth: Mr Tulip (an expy of Mr. Vandemar, above) has a deep interest in art, and is able to discuss it at length. Apart from that, he's Dumb Muscle who'll use anything as a drug, and has a vocabulary reliant on the word "——ing". His partner Mr Pin is the smart one, but doesn't have the interest in culture.
    • The Dragon King of Arms in Feet of Clay. A vampire over five hundred years old, he was in charge of Ankh-Morpork's heraldry. As Vimes points out, from a vampire's point of view this is much like following the pedigree of one's pets.
    • Also Lord Hong from Interesting Times, who not only lives in a Decadent Court, but has mastered all the Orientalist arts of his culture. Nobody concentrates!
  • Yawgmoth from The Thran is a scientist and a physician, has a wide knowledge, and learns very quickly. He's going to become the most dreaded Big Bad in Magic: The Gathering history.
  • Captain Nemo of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea conducted most of his discussions with Dr. Arronax in his fantastic library, decorated with the finest original and replica art, a catalog of priceless biological specimens, and his massive organ, on which he played music by the foremost composers. Only a borderline example, because Nemo isn't entirely a villain.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, when Torin fills Ragnor in on the ambitions and conflicts of the Naviagator Houses, he observes of one particularly ambitious and ruthless one:
    a great patron of the arts — all the great lords are.
  • Captain Hook of Peter Pan is generally portrayed as cultured, and often something of an Anti-Villain. In the play, and in the canonical sequel Peter Pan in Scarlet, Hook is said to have attended Eton College, the poshest boarding school in England. Peter, by contrast, is a feral tyrant, ruling by whim but setting strict rules for the Lost Boys. (In some adaptations this is taken farther: Peter is incapable of learning or memory and murders the Lost Boys if they don't follow his rules.)
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, the Emperor's Children, already artistically inclined, and their remembrancers, take a turn for the decadent after visiting a xenos temple. Only those who did not visit it seem to notice.
  • Perturabo, in Angel Exterminatus, proves to have a surprising amount of classical education and a remarkable gift for designing beautiful architecture, given that his Legion's combat specialisation is to sit in a muddy trench hurling bombs at buildings. He's quite bitter about how everyone just thinks of him as Siege Guy and assume he has no appreciation for culture.
  • Several Dean Koontz villains are (or fancy themselves as) this.
  • The Phantom of the Opera. Despite being a homicidal maniac, he has decidedly highbrow hobbies. This is carried over to the Lloyd-Webber show.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Lucius Malfoy's well dressed and well-spoken, and he's also implied to be heavily involved in wizarding cultural affairs (on the board of Hogwarts, donates to St. Mungo's). And damn, is his pimp cane awesome or what?
    • Lord Voldemort, especially in his younger years. His teachers saw him as an eloquent, brilliant, and polite student. In truth, he used his refined manners to manipulate people (his behaviour towards Hepzibah Smith is a wonderful example). And when he wanted to duel with Harry in The Goblet of FireHe insisted that two opponents should bow before each other.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn. The guy collects art. Then he studies it, learns the loopholes in the creators' culture, uses them to steer them into the exact position he wants them, and systematically beats them until they surrender. The one time he was unable to gain insight through a culture's art, he was forced to utterly destroy them, although he still looks at their art and believes that he's finally starting to understand (this species, tellingly, was the Khaleesh—the most well-known of which is General Grievous). He's even able to acknowledge the artistry in his own assassination. Thrawn's Affably Imperial and in some depictions, he's not strictly a bad guy, and always pragmatic.
    • A less morally ambiguous example is Smug Snake Prince Xizor in Shadows of the Empire. He's the head of the vast crime syndicate Black Sun, he sits at the Emperor's feet closer than anyone but Vader, co-owns and dines at the most exclusive restaurant on Coruscant, and in general is just fabulously wealthy and lets it show. There's mention that he forgave some debtor when presented with a thousand-year-old miniature tree, and he muses that values it more than rare gems and would not give it up even if he had to sell the rest of his financial and criminal empire.
    • Trioculus. In addition to the pseudo-Latin name, he actually interrupts his pursuit of our heroes to go hunting.
    • Jerec of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is revealed to enjoy classical music from around the galaxy, even pieces written by traitors to the empire.
    • The Imperial war criminal Kardue'sai'Malloc (the horned alien in the Mos Eisley cantina) is an obsessive collector of music: not only does he own a treasure-trove of rare recordings, but he spent many years following some of the greatest musicians of the age in the hope of attending a performance, and only settled on Tatooine when the artist he'd been hoping to witness there was arrested and executed. After being captured by Boba Fett, Malloc ensures that his collection is donated to a museum.
  • Most/many of Anne Rice's vampires are this. Lestat, at least in Interview with the Vampire, twice puts blood in a glass and offers it to Louis, Armand loves his sparkly rings, Claudia is a well-read, impeccably dressed child who plays Mozart and Liszt. Marius takes this to slightly squicky levels, being a wealthy painter in Renaissance Venice who just happens to keep a sort of harem of pubescent boys. Gabrielle, while spending most of her immortality wandering around in jungles, was a marquise and the only literate member of her provincial noble pre-Revolutionary French noble family.
    • Rice even explores this through Lestat's voice in The Vampire Lestat, as he muses that it's not surprising Louis thought he was lying about his Blue Blood: Louis was a member of the American nouveau riche who put on what they imagined were aristocratic airs, while Lestat came from "a long line of Barons who threw chicken bones over their shoulders" and slept with their hunting dogs.
      • Rice has lots of fun with this. For all his sophistication, Lestat learned English from reading cheesy, low-brow pulp detective dime novels, and loves slang because of it. He describes his own way of speaking as Sam Spade-ish.
  • Not only is Villain Protagonist Artemis Fowl a Teen Genius chessmaster, he's also a fan of fine cuisine, high literature and so on. He also writes music and has designed numerous famous buildings.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter is depicted as a highly intelligent and cultured man, with refined ("even rarefied", as the novel Hannibal puts it) tastes. He shops at exclusive high-end stores and wouldn't miss a good opera for the world. He prefers to eat the rude.
  • Blood Meridian: Judge Holden is an erudite, patient, eloquent, philosophizing, multi-talented, poly-lingual, murdering, manipulative, megalomaniac pedophile.
  • In Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Humbert Humbert is a well-educated, cultured professor of French poetry. He is also a pedophile who marries a woman planning to kill her so he can molest her 12-year-old daughter.
  • A few of Redwall's less barbaric villains; Tsarmina Greeneyes, Ungatt Trunn, Ublaz Madeyes, Vilaya, Vilu Daskar, and Badrang come to mind.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo:
    • The Count himself has impeccable taste and if not an outright villain, is a ruthless Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • The bandit leader, Luigi Vampa, is a polite, nice guy who reads Caesar's Commentaries for fun. He's also a strong believer in punctuality, and if a ransom is not paid on time, he will calmly stab the kidnappee to death or shoot them in the head.
    • Benedetto is a young career criminal who has no trouble posing as a cultured aristocrat.
  • Parodied in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with the Vogons, who love writing poetry. And then reading it to their captives as a form of excruciating torture.
  • Dracula: The Count comes across as a fairly refined, rich old gentleman before he's revealed as a vampire.
  • Alex from A Clockwork Orange dresses in the height of fashion, speaks in a most gentlemanly goloss, and beats and rapes random strangers to the strains of Beethoven's Ninth. He's possibly a Trope Codifier; he was doing all of this almost twenty years before Hannibal Lecter. Alex's affinity for music especially places him into this category, and he will fist you skorry on the rot if you dare to interrupt the opera Das Bettzeug.
    Alex: Bastard. Filthy drooling mannerless bastard.
  • The robot Erasmus in Legends of Dune believes himself to be cultured, while at the same time performing inhumane experiments on his human slaves. Only one human has the guts to tell him that his music sucks and his attempts to be civil are not fooling anyone. While he initially enjoys these arguments, he eventually gets fed up and throws her baby from a high balcony.
  • In Night Watch (Series), Zavulon (or Zabulon) always appears wearing a suit and rarely shows anger. However, he is a scheming bastard who would be considered an outright villain if not for this world's Grey-and-Gray Morality. His Dusk appearance, however, is that of a demon (the author even felt the need to mention his spiked penis). The Movie version shows him more as an anarchist wearing black leather and a bandana.
  • The Dresden Files' Nicodemus, the host and compatriot of a fallen angel, definitely qualifies. He's the scariest and evilest creature in a series full of scary, evil creatures who far outstrip him in raw power, but he does it with impeccable taste.
    • Gentleman Marcone comes off as this, but it will likely never be confirmed because he's, well, Marcone.
    • And Cowl, who prefers Goethe.
  • Although he's a terrifying Body Horror (it's implied that he "ReMade" himself by choice), the gangster Mr. Motley of Perdido Street Station is definitely this. He's well informed about what's going on in the avant-garde art scene and has this very Sophisticated as Hell way of speaking in a cultured voice and with Big Words, he talks about things like his philosophy on life and which of his rivals he plans to kill.
  • In Sherlock Holmes, Holmes insists that all of the incredibly successful criminals are well-rounded, usually in the aristocratic arts. His nemesis Professor Moriarty definitely fits the bill.
  • In the Gentleman Bastard series, Capa Barsavi of Camorr was once a professor of literature and rhetoric. One of his former students, Jaffrim Rodanov, is a pirate captain who loves to discuss classical theatre when he can find someone who shares his interest. Requin, owner of the Sinspire, has a near-obsessive interest in Talathri Baroque art (to the point where he can tell genuine specimens from replicas at a glance). Maxilan Stragos delights in works of artifice and alchemy, and has a whole floor of his palace dedicated to them. Depending on where you draw the "wicked"-line, Locke, Jean and Sabetha can just as easily make the cut too.
  • Lynn Flewelling apparently is in love with them. "Nightrunners" gives us first Lord Mardus. Gentleman, with high intellect and large interests, which are just as broad as those of one main character. Extraordinarily well mannered. Polite even to the prisoner he plans to bloodily sacrifice. Really, if you didn't know he aspires to become the Avatar of a God of Destruction you'd really like him. Later Ulan (who starts out not really a villain but extremely pragmatic. And sadly if the main characters achieved their goal his clan would suffer, so Later it turns out that not only is HE responsible for the mess of Seregil's life, he also doesn't hesitate to support rather nasty experiments just to prolong his life. ... and then we met Yakobin. Nice fellow. Has a good taste in tea. And dislikes beating up his slaves more than necessary—actually he is REALLY civilized and intelligent. Oh, have I mentioned he is an alchemist who creates child-like clones of you to brew medicine from them and kills them when they don't fit your expectations? Just to make you suffer the whole creation process once again?. The Tamír triad gives us Nyrin. Court wizard. Soft-spoken. Well-mannered. Handsome. Apparently a good lover if you happen to be his mistress. Oh... and aspiring to rule from the shadows. And more or less directly responsible for countless assassinations of female members of the royal bloodline.
  • Flashman villain John Charity Spring was on the Oxford don career path before getting booted out and seeking an alternate career in the slave trade. Spring is a brilliant classical scholar who constantly throws Gratuitous Latin tags into his conversation, but he's also a psychopath with a Hair-Trigger Temper. While there isn't a Good Is Dumb contrast (since Flashman is a Villain Protagonist), there is a contrast in intellect, since Flashman is Book Dumb and while he's an Omniglot when it comes to learning to speak living languages, he could never pick up Ancient Greek and Latin.
  • General Zaroff from "The Most Dangerous Game" is your typical aristocratic big game hunter, with an eloquent manner and a taste for the finer things in life. He's also a depraved serial killer.
  • Scaramouche: The Marquis is an honorable, educated, well-read noble. He is also a ruthless killer.
  • Vlad the Impaler in Count and Countess. Cruel, sadistic, and ruthless in his quest to "free Christendom," he is nevertheless learned in the history of past civilizations and can refer to Scripture off the top of his head. And he likes traditional Romanian dance.
  • The murderer in Shadow of the Bear is a philosophically-inclined collector of art and literature.
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel has Machiavelli. Well-dressed, well-spoken in an absurd number of languages, esteemed art collector...and Magnificent Bastard immortal in service to an evil god.
  • After concluding his Dead Person Impersonation in the first novel by forging a will from his impersonee leaving everything to himself, Villain Protagonist Tom Ripley of the Ripliad novels lives the good life in a French chateau, becoming a talented dabbler in art (both as an expert and as a painter), music, and fine cuisine. In between entertaining guests, he likes to amuse himself by carrying out odd jobs for gangsters, and once in a while (i.e. at least once per novel) kills the odd person who gets too close to exposing his past.
  • Kelden Amadiro of Isaac Asimov's Robot Novels is a student of classic literature and Earth history on top of his day job as the galaxy's foremost expert on robotics. In keeping with his Spacer heritage, he treats his most hated enemy, Elijah Bailey, with courtesy and hospitality, despite the fact that he would love nothing more than to see him and every other Earthman excised from the gene pool.
  • Denman Malkuth of Dance of the Butterfly is definitely this. He wears bespoke clothing, engages in many aspects of high culture, and serves as professor of philosophy at a prestigious private university as a cover for his more nefarious goals.
  • Victoria has a cultured Nazi officer who likes discussing philosophy and history. Also played with where the hero himself, Captain John Rumford, is concerned: among other things, he uses his cultured manners to be condescending to women in sophisticated ways, quoting sexist philosophers and poets throughout the ages.
  • Feedle from The Goblins of Labyrinth, who, after robbing and possibly murdering someone, makes sure to write them a poetic little note wishing them good luck in their future endeavours.
  • The Jakoby Twins from Dragon Factory. Rich, perfectly beautiful, intelligent, well-educated and well-dressed, like to surround themselves with beauty - even their secret facility is surrounded by a garden. They are also utterly immoral, use stolen research to create transgenic monsters (and soldiers), and (especially Hecate) kill people for pleasure.
  • Orfeo Culzean from the Ravenor trilogy is a well-spoken and sophisticated intellectual with an appreciation for fine wine, philosophy, and discussions on the nature of fate. He’s also a heretic for hire who knowingly helps Chaos cults like the Divine Fratery bring ruin and misery upon the Imperium.
  • AIDAN of The Illuminae Files is a poetic AI who likes listening to Mozart, playing chess, and discussing philosophy. He'll also do anything, up to and including murdering thousands, to fulfill his parameters of protecting the fleet.
  • Benvolio from Trueman Bradley is a mobster who decorates his penthouse with high-quality reproductions of many famous paintings.
  • Worm: The villain Imp is very uncouth and a school drop-out, but following her boyfriend's death, she decides to become classically educated, because that's the sort of thing they would have liked. She's shown reading classical literature and incorporating that knowledge into her quips and insults, often surprising her teammates with her greatly expanded vocabulary.
  • M. Valerius Magnus in The Arts of Dark and Light. Although he is part of the "good guy" Valerian faction, Magnus gives a fair bit of an impression of this, being a cynical and worldly politician and a rather harsh master to his household, as well as an earnest devotee of philosophy and culture. He becomes a straight example after he defects to the bad guys.
  • Sauron as Annatar in The Silmarillion and later as a "prisoner" in Númenor. Heck even when he's playing desperately for time at the end of The Lord of the Rings he manages to sound pretty suave, if hilariously arrogant: and that's through the mouth of a messenger who apparently looks like a gargoyle. Pair that kind of smooth talk with a Long-Haired Pretty Boy and it's no wonder the Númenoreans or indeed Celebrimbor fell for his lies. He genuinely knows a lot about the world, he helped create it after all, and he's a highly skilled craftsman. He also develops a sadistic streak ten miles wide. In the Second Age, out from under Morgoth's shadow and still at the height of his powers: Sauron is the ultimate Magnificent Bastard and few can resist his charm. In fact, Sauron always did much better when he was talking than when he was fighting.
  • The Speed of Sound novel The Sound of Echoes has assassin and Torture Technician Mr. Elliott, an educated and cultured man who listens to Classical WETA whenever he's in the DC area.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This phenomenon is very common in Soap Operas. Many arch-villains have been featured in this way, including vaguely Italian mobsters Stefano DiMera from Days of Our Lives and Carlo Hesser from One Life to Live, Swedish-born drug smuggler and arms dealer James Stenbeck from As the World Turns and cut-throat businessman Roger Thorpe from Guiding Light. Such wickedly cultured hallmarks of these characters include the almost painfully stereotypical wearing of finely-tailored suits and the drinking of expensive cognac.
  • Some of the villains on Alias fall into this category. Sark is fond of Chateau Pétrus (one of the world's rarest and most expensive wines). Also, in one episode, the protagonists drug a bad guy's Cristal at a performance of the London Philharmonic (he goes there on the third Saturday of every month).
  • Bester in Babylon 5 seems to fit this too. In one appearance, he quotes A Christmas Carol to a guard who doesn't catch the reference, and in another he references "The Cask of Amontillado". This may intersect with Small Reference Pools, however, as both are generally read in High Schools.
    • In the canon Psi Corps Trilogy novels, Bester is shown to be fairly culturally sophisticated, and philosophically thoughtful in his musings.
  • In a third-season episode of Batman (1966), the Joker (chasing a series of clues) has it in him to comment that someone's iambic pentameter is "a little off" and start to correct it before another villain cuts him off.
  • Blade: The Series: Marcus van Sciver is known throughout Detroit as a patron of the arts and a proponent for the city's cultural revival. At the same time, he's a vicious bloodsucking mastermind, whose goal is to overthrow the vampiric aristocracy. Being British helps. He gets Krista to sleep with him after killing her brother and forcibly turning her by telling a sob story about his late wife.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Subverted with Spike, a punkish Mockney yob with a strong resemblance to who inspired Billy Idol. Then double-subverted when we meet him a "bloody awful" would-be poet of implicitly upper-middle-class origin.
    • Played straight with most of the Wolfram and Hart villains. They're normally a bunch of attractive, human (although occasionally soulless) lawyers who play golf, (sometimes with the devil) go to fancy parties (and get butchered) and drink wine. They're usually played as a contrast with the rougher, lower-class heroes. In fact, when Lindsey leaves W&H, he immediately goes back to his roots in a poor, Southern family.
    • Angelus considers himself an artist and declares destroying people physically and mentally to be artwork. He also has a liking for ballet, and Angel freely admits in "Waiting in the Wings" that when he first saw the ballet Giselle in 1890, it moved him to tears.
      Angel: I cried like a baby. And I was evil!
  • Lodz on Carnivàle was erudite, charming, and persuasive. He was also remarkably evil and showed some signs of Nazi sympathies.
  • In Cracker, Albie Kinsella (Robert Carlyle) resents how he thinks people view him as an uncultured and uneducated thug. He makes a point of this when he kills his second victim, a professor, who had dismissed him as such in public, when he recognises the music the professor was playing as Mozart and asked him if he was surprised he knew that (which he was). He both hates that people think of him as scum (in his mind) and blames them when he in turn acts like murdering scum. Unfortunately, his first murder was a hotheaded attack on a shopkeeper over being ripped off by 4 pence. In other words, he's a Deconstruction of the Trope, a working-class killer who both shows signs of being cultured yet is at the same time is becoming every bad thing he thinks society views him as being.
    Albie: Ya treat us like scum we start actin' like scum.
  • Wilson Fisk in Daredevil (2015). One episode starts with him preparing an omelette and selecting from his collection of impeccably tailored suits while the prelude to Bach's "Unaccompanied Cello Suite 1" is playing in the background.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Dragnet gives us Daniel Lumis, who "read[s] a wine list the way most people read the alphabet". He is also a high-functioning Sociopath who leaves a trail of kicked dogs everywhere he goes and expects the cops to respect his sense of superiority.
  • Elementary's version of Moriarty, like most of them, definitely fits this trope. She first appears on the screen impeccably restoring artwork (and is implied to have personally created duplicates of well-known paintings so convincing that they fooled the museum curators), is never dressed in anything less than the most impeccable clothing, and manages to put on a Fake American accent, amongst many other things, convincing enough to fool Holmes (and everyone else in the show).
  • Farscape: Scorpius. Quite apart from his well-cultivated manners and sideline interest in growing crystherium flowers, his time spent travelling the galaxy has given him an in-depth knowledge of many, many cultures; he's even managed to learn the complex and translator microbe-immune language of the Scarrans and the Diagnosans.
  • The Following: Joe Carol was a brilliant and charismatic English professor. Then he started murdering his female students. His MO and that of his followers is to revel in the end of life like Edgar Allen Poe.
  • A French Village: Müller is very intelligent, smooth, can be quite charming and loves champagne. He's also a ruthless Nazi torturer and mass murderer.
  • Most of the massively rich, upper-class Lannisters from Game of Thrones fall somewhere between this and Faux Affably Evil. This being a world with a Decadent Court, it's not surprising.
    • Jaime Lannister implicitly takes pride in his beautiful golden armor being without a single dent. He also pushed a child out of a tower.
    • We first meet the patriarch Tywin Lannister admonishing his son Jamie for his misinterpretation of the philosophical concepts of family honour... as he is skinning a stag. Tywin is also very well-read, particularly when it comes to history.
    • Tyrion Lannister's status as a bad guy is uncertain at best, but he's clearly well-practiced in the art of lying, cheating, and bribing his way out of a tight spot. He is also able to design a special saddle for the crippled Bran Stark, has excellent knowledge of the law, and is a voracious reader. As of the second season, he's also a shrewd tactician in both politics and warfare.
    • As could be expected of a rich young woman from a noble house, Cersei Lannister received an excellent education. She is able to match wits with Ned Stark during a subtext-laden conversation about Ned's education as opposed to his brother's, and understands enough about the military realities of the North to lecture her son Joffrey on the impossibility of occupying the North directly. She's also plotting to kill the King.
    • Averted with Joffrey, however. He's just Ax-Crazy and clearly has no interest in culture.
  • Jeremiah Valeska from Gotham is an example. He was a child prodigy, becoming an engineer before the age of fifteen, and he seems to be knowledgeable in other scientific fields, like physics and chemistry. He’s also a fan of classic movies, and is almost never seen wearing anything but tailored (though eccentrically colored) suits.
  • Dr. Hannibal Lecter, as he appears in Hannibal, is as fitting an example as his literary and film counterparts, if not more so because the series is set before his discovery and incarceration by the FBI. He enjoys the finest wines and coffees, going so far as to create a custom beer reserve that's brewed in Cabernet Merlot barrels to impart a wine flavour (and incidentally brains), enjoys the local opera, at one point being moved to genuine tears by one he found particularly impactful, has gorgeous artworks on display in his home and office and wears very expensive and stylish suits. It all stems from Hannibal's A God Am I and his innate need to demonstrate his superiority over others.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Lestat de Lioncourt is a ruthless vampire who's very passionate about fine clothing and the opera, he's also a musician and a composer, plus he's multilingual (he speaks French, English, and Italian).
  • On The IT Crowd, the German cannibal plays the cello beautifully.
  • The Librarians 2014: Dulaque, the leader of the Serpent Brotherhood, is a Faux Affably Evil megalomaniac who wants to take over the world with magic, true. However, he is also a philanthropist with a large private collection of artwork and artifacts, which he treasures more than human lives.
  • Benjamin Linus of Lost is an extremely polite and gracious host to his many captives, going so far as to feed one of them a beachside breakfast with a real knife and fork. He even plays Rachmaninoff's "Prelude in C-Sharp Minor" on his piano shortly before the Barracks are stormed by Charles Widmore's mercenary strike force... and before he is informed of their breaching of security and promptly reveals a shotgun hidden within his piano bench.
  • NCIS has Rene "La Grenouille" Benoit, an Affably Evil Arms Dealer, patron of opera, and connoisseur of fine alcohol.
  • Oz has Nino Schibetta, imprisoned Mafia Don and the first leader of the Italian gang. He is one of the most, if not the most powerful inmate in all of Oz, and is not only Affably Evil but Wicked Cultured personified. He is fluent in Italian (though it may be because he's implied to be an Italian immigrant), dresses fairly sharp, knows his wine and gourmet cuisine, and is hinted to be a fan of classical music. He is also a fan of inflicting Cruel and Unusual Death on his enemies.
  • Pie in the Sky: DI Crabbe's opponent at the beginning of the series, the criminal mastermind Dudley Hooperman, is suave, well-dressed, and as big a foodie as Crabbe is.
  • Colonel Montoya from Queen of Swords. He is educated, extremely well-dressed, has fine taste in food and wine, and plays the violin like a virtuoso.
  • Although Santos from the Argentinian series Los Simuladores is not evil, he is incredibly calm and cultured, and runs a shady business of The Plan with information gathered via "unorthodox" methods.
  • Schitt's Creek has Sebastian Raine, David's pansexual ex who is a globetrotting photographer who wears an expensive sweater that doesn't look expensive and aims to humiliate Moira with a Diane Arbus-like project.
  • In Smallville, both Lionel and Lex Luthor are examples of this trope as they are billionaires who either begin as or become the Big Bad. Lex's sophistication, in particular, provides a Foil for Clark's midwestern naivete.
  • Stargate:
    • System Lord Ba'al from Stargate SG-1. While he starts out as a fairly typical Goa'uld System Lord, he was unusually subdued, smooth, and well-spoken. Part of his ascendancy to Magnificent Bastardry was that the reveal that he wasn't just a Large Ham or even a Cold Ham; he could also churn out charm by the bucket and developed an abiding interest in Earth, both through encounters with SG-1 and a period of exile on Earth, becoming almost an expert on human high culture. In one of the DVD movies, he forgoes the "Kneel Before Zod" speech and actually invites himself to lunch with the President in the Rose Garden at the White House! What a guy! (His fellow Goa'uld, by contrast, favour the Nuke 'em from orbit approach and consequently think he's insane.)
    • Stargate Atlantis: In "Condemned", the team goes to a planet whose leaders struck a deal with the Wraith. The Wraith who regularly visits the planet enjoys fine cuisine and wines, despite the fact that they provide no nourishment for him. He considers himself a more enlightened and civilized Wraith than his brethren for allowing the planet to live in peace (instead of being constantly submitted to genocidal harvests) in exchange for a small but steady food supply. He admits he does enjoy his dinners with the magistrate, to whom he is courteous and polite, but since he's still a life-sucking monster this is capped off with things like the Wraith pointing out that the previous cook was tastier than his meals, and he threatens to annihilate the whole planet unless they give him more people to feed on so he can "provide" for his Wraith friends.
  • Starsky & Hutch is full of evil rich people who wear suits, work in paneled offices, read classic literature, eat caviar, and listen to classical music.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, several characters are trapped in a malfunctioning holodeck, surrounded by holographic gangsters from Picard's noir holonovel. The man in charge of gangsters (a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo Kasper Gutman) is well-dressed and well-spoken. Crusher gets sick of it and asks why he insists on treating them well before shooting them. He replies that without civility, we may as well be animals.
    • Also, the self-aware Moriarty holodeck program. Seriously, the holodeck can create some really cultured foes.
  • Supernatural:
    • Bela's sophistication, high-end taste, and amorality contrasts sharply with the hardscrabble brothers in Season 3.
    • Crowley, Crowley, Crowley, Crowley, and CROWLEY. The crossroads demon who eventually becomes King of Hell is introduced as living in a spectacular mansion and having rarified taste in everything. His human self however was a drunken lout who died in the gutter.
    • Death, The Horseman drives a classic car, dresses smartly, and has an epicurean's appreciation for human junk food, such as Chicago pizza.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): Most of the Emancipators are college graduates, and they're surprisingly well informed about the tactics and activities of the SLA, including details that were never made public. In fact their leader was a brillian student who'd been radicalized while at college.
  • Spoofed on That Mitchell and Webb Look in the "Evil Genius" skit. A construction worker who's been paid to put in a Trap Door asks the evil genius to call him by his first name:
    Evil Genius: Alas, I abhor informality.
  • The Wire:
    • Brother Mouzone is a Badass Bookworm who dresses in the traditional Nation of Islam suit and bowtie, and reads heavy and serious intellectual books and magazines between gang killings.
    • Stringer Bell was desperately trying to climb out of the gutter and get to this trope, before he was killed by Mouzone and Omar Little. The police are stunned when they search his apartment and find an immaculate office that wouldn't look out of place on Wall Street.
      McNulty: Who the fuck was I chasing?
  • Double Subversion with the Conspiracy on The X-Files: Cancer Man/CGB Spender/Cigarette Smoking Man is something of a self-learned intellectual with an amazing capacity for reciting facts and quotations, but we find out in the episode "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" (though the episode has to be taken with a grain of salt, as it is told by what Lone Gunmen find out about him, but can't be sure it is all accurate) that all he really wants to do is write airport novels about the lone rogue going up against massive conspiracies... it is made pretty clear that he wants to tell the truth about what he knows, but the only way to do this without sacrificing everything is to frame it as bad fiction that gets rejected by publishers. So CGB Spender is a ruthless villain with a façade of culture whose actual personal interests are a subversion of the archetype this trope describes.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Gorgeous George first started playing up the gimmick in the 1940s. Okay, so he was more of a Sissy Villain, but he did wear perfume and employ a butler, and entered rings to Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance.
  • Many British wrestlers, especially British wrestlers wrestling in other parts of the world, from Sir Alan Garfield to Wade Barrett.
  • Triple H, during his early years in WWE. He'll still lapse into it a bit on occasion, such as when he recently quoted H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Angel Orsini, Prodigette, prefers to wind down with polite company in a well-tailored suit with a cigar dipped in cognac. When that isn't possible though, she'll settle for working off stress on any hapless victims within arm's reach.
  • Done in a subtle way with John Morrison when he was a heel: ostensibly a Hollywood "cool dude" with shades and long hair, but occasionally known to speak of his "palace of wisdom" (an image from the poetry of William Blake). Morrison's gimmick/character is a No Celebrities Were Harmed Expy of Jim Morrison, who used that line himself.
  • Cody Rhodes used this as his gimmick between 2010 and 2013. It's really more of a "metrosexual" gimmick (perfect teeth and fingernails, etc.), but he's also known for his rather snobbish New England accent (despite being from Texas!) and occasional Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Aaron "The Idol" Stevens, ladies man, is gone. Damien Sandow's entire gimmick, the "Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses" is this. When he and Cody Rhodes formed a tag team, it was called the Rhodes Scholars.
  • Wonder Ring Stardom wrestler Act Yasukawa drinks rum because it has a strong smell that let's alcohol lovers know it and Yasukawa herself, are from the south side of Shin-Kiba. Somewhat subverted though because even though she's supposed to be a bad guy, practices such as this seem to get her wild cheers.
  • The Precious One Gilbert indulges in fine wines, fine clothes and fine high-performance vehicles for when he feels like harassing members of Orland Colon's family. And he seems to speak many languages, which makes them relatively easy to find even outside of Puerto Rico.

  • In the Alien Worlds episode "Resurrectionists of Lethe", the villain Simon Toddmaster demonstrates an appreciation for classic literature. He expresses annoyance at one of his henchmen not understanding a reference he makes to the works of William Shakespeare and later quotes The Picture of Dorian Gray while conversing with Maura Cassidy.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • The ambitious vampire Daigo was raised in the upper-class, and his hobbies reflect this. He paints in his spare time, practices yoga, and treats his consumption of blood like it's wine tasting.
    • One of Daigo's lackeys, Devin, comes from a political family and enjoys reading and classical music.
    • Inverted with Simon and his Superpowered Evil Side Dark Dragon. Simon is a formal bookworm with an interest in Shakespeare, while the Dark Dragon is rowdy, coarse, and lewd.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Vampire: The Requiem, most Invictus vampires are presented this way, as are the Ordo Dracul and Clan Mekhet; just how evil they are depends on the individual and one's point of view. In the previous edition, Clans Ventrue and Toreador were even more cultured, and the classier Lasombra and Tzmisice really reveled in the Wicked Cultured part.
  • The Gunstar version of the Magnus in Shards of the Exalted Dream, as a sort of motonic physics Expy of Hannibal Lecter, revels in this trope. When people come in to ask him questions about Primordial metaphysics (which, when you're engaged in reshaping one into a war engine, is sort of a big deal), he tends to provide less unpleasant unforeseen consequences when advising people who discuss philosophy with him or sing him an aria from the latest opera.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Dark Eldar, carry themselves with the same sophistication and grace of their good counterparts the Craftworld Eldar, but they're also soul-sucking monsters who consider torture, rape, and violence to be fun pastimes.
    • A number of fallen Primarchs were remarkably well-educated - Horus, Fulgrim, Magnus, Lorgar, and even Perturabo qualified in different ways, with Fulgrim and Horus as patrons of the arts, Magnus as a remarkably erudite Warp-scholar, Lorgar as a theologian of two (very) different religions, and Perturabo as an architect and classical scholar. Of all five, Horus was the only one whose corruption came about without involving it - Fulgrim's art was corrupted into a lust for sensation, leading to the Emperor's Children devolving from artists and musicians into drug-addicts and hedonists; Magnus delved too deep into the Warp and succumbed to Pride, ultimately being deceived and stranded on the tender mercies of Tzeentch; Lorgar learning the Emperor he worshiped actually hated worship caused him to be an overzealous follower of a different creed; and Perturabo's resentment at being continually thwarted in his desire to build something out of marble and graceful curves rather than stone and razorwire led him to loathe most of his brethren and ultimately fall to Chaos.
  • Pathfinder:
    • In the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path, Laori Vaus is an art lover; if asked if she plans to kill the character the party is trying to find, she says no, he's an artist, she just wants to ask about his inspiration admittedly because it ties into an attempt to resurrect an evil dragon, but she also seems to like art in and of itself. She's also an Affably Lawful Evil follower of the god of torture and pain, and is noted for talking in an extremely chipper and upbeat way about how it feels to flay a man alive.
    • This is also the hat of the syrinx, artsy and philosophical owl people who want to enslave all of the other humanoid races for their own good.
    • Ragadahn the Water Lord is a tyrannical, ruthless and murderous beast, and Chaotic Evil to the core, but he's also deeply learned and an accomplished scholar, and one of the greatest sages among the dragons and the fey.
  • World Tree (RPG): Nendrai, large reptilian monsters greatly feared by primes, thoroughly enjoy the benefits of civilization and surround themselves with the best creature comforts that they can. Their floors are covered by fine rugs, their libraries hold all the classics, and their cellars are stocked with rare vintages. They're personable and educated as well, and can be engaged in perfectly pleasant conversation, as long as the other party can convince the Nendrai that it wants a chat more than it wants lunch or a new slave.


    Video Games 
  • A few of Agent 47's targets in Hitman fall under this heading, though they are particularly rare. The most obvious is Don Fernando Delgado from Blood Money, a drug baron who also produces several highly regarded wines, plays the cello as a hobby, and collects rare butterflies.
  • President Shinra of Final Fantasy VII is seen listening to classical music while the Sector 7 Slums are destroyed. Also, Genesis of Crisis Core quotes incessantly from the play Loveless.
    • Also, Sephiroth.
  • Ultimecia of Final Fantasy VIII has a definite sense of luxury and style, even if her fashion sense is a bit odd. Her castle has a large chandelier, a pipe organ, an impressive wine cellar, and an art gallery with pieces she either collected or painted herself.
  • Kuja of Final Fantasy IX, as evidenced by his ridiculously luxurious desert mansion decorated with pristine statuary and wall-to-wall stained-glass windows. He's also got an extensive knowledge of theater, particularly Lord Avon's "I Want To Be Your Canary".
  • Dark Oppressors in Nexus War are supposed to be like this. It doesn't exactly get reflected well in their skillset, but the sort of players that get attracted to the game mean that it gets played straight anyway.
  • Yōko from Onmyōji who is a scholar, says that he has "many hobbies" and even teaches a cute yōkai girl how to dance… only to later abduct her.
  • Doctor Killjoy of The Suffering takes great delight in reciting Shakespearean soliloquies.
  • All three of the villains in Far Cry 3, to varying levels.
    • Vaas Montenegro is fond of delivering a speech on "the definition of insanity" commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and while not precisely canon, he prepares a dinner with first-class presentation for his captives in the live-action promotional videos, and briefly philosophizes on whether all men are brothers.
    • Hoyt Volker, Vaas' boss, famously blows up a boat full of hostages while playing a recording of Ride of the Valkyries. He states, "See, I prefer the European recordings. The brass sections in American orchestras are too bombastic." The last part is rather hypocritical, however, since Hoyt is pretty bombastic himself.
    • Bambi "Buck" Hughes, the Depraved Homosexual crass Australian Psycho for Hire, goes on massive lectures about the history of the ancient Chinese colonists who brought a rare knife that he's after to the Rook Islands whenever he's about to send Jason to find that knife, knows the poetry of Robert Frost ("I know the woods are lovely, dark and deep, mate... but get the fuck up!"), and is pretty cunning as well as brutal. He also gets shirty with Jason whenever he refers to that rare Chinese knife as a knife, because he considers it to be a piece of art.
    Buck: You've gotta hand it to the Chinese. When they disemboweled you, they did it in bloody style. Can you imagine being shivved by this thing? Like Shakespeare stabbing you with his quill.
  • Mad artist Sander Cohen of BioShock covers dead bodies (and sometimes living Splicers) in plaster and poses them as statues, chains poor Fitzpatrick to a piano rigged with dynamite and makes him play until he blows up, sends you on a quest to kill his fellow artists and take pictures of their corpses to add to his latest masterpiece, and in one spontaneous fit of rage sics multiple waves of Splicers on you to Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Flowers". His artistic success amounts largely to riding the wave of Ryan's current moods, but that is a surprisingly good number he has Fitzpatrick playing (until Fitzpatrick misses too many notes).
    • Andrew Ryan too, with his pursuit of objectivist philosophy as an end unto itself, and his beliefs that all artists should be free to express their dreams without fear of censorship. Even his passion for Art Deco architecture is obvious in the appearance of Rapture, despite being built thirty years after Art Deco was all the rage.
  • General Viggo in Fur Fighters tries to come across like this, he succeeds right up until the end when he cracks.
  • The Gravemind from Halo always speaks in trochaic heptameter. He explains to Cortana in Human Weakness that he simply grew fond of poetry after he consumed enough poets from different races and cultures. You could say he developed a taste for it.
  • Played with in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2. Archibald Grims, Smug Snake and card-carrying terrorist without a cause, invites his most cultured subordinate for a spot of tea. He takes this time to explain that he doesn't actually like tea, but he likes to drink red tea because it kind of looks like blood. Meanwhile, his subordinate notices that he's using a teabag, so he can't even get the "cultured" part right.
  • The Spy from Team Fortress 2 initially appears this way, especially in his Meet the Spy video. It kind of falls apart in-game, though, when he winds up shouting insults like a 12-year-old and laughing until he snorts.
    • Heavy, meanwhile, definitely counts. He has a Ph.D. in Russian lit. and enjoys himself a nice peach bellini. This, in-between screaming at the top of his lungs, chewing through people with a giant minigun, and telling stories about choking an Engineer with his own wrench as if it were some kind of bawdy anecdote.
    • Between bouts of administering "accidental" not-medicine and blowing up hearts For Science!, Medic's a violinist.
    • The Engineer, to Blutarch Mann's personal care attendant, regarding a painting in Blutarch's mansion: "Say, ain't that an original Kicasso?" He also has eleven doctorates to explain his building skills.
  • Ganondorf. One particular example would be in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, wherein he is playing the organ while awaiting Link's arrival at the castle to rescue Princess Zelda.
  • Mass Effect:
  • Batman: Arkham City: Subverted with this version of The Penguin - he's a thoroughly coarse and unpleasant individual, even if he'd like to think otherwise.
  • Also subverted with Chatterbox, the clown-faced Soho mob boss in the video game version of The Warriors. He fancies himself a great artist (so much so that he kills anyone besides himself who tries to create anything resembling art in his neighborhood) - but he's grotesquely fat, foul-mouthed, cruel to his own men, and on the whole obnoxious and buffoonish.
  • Unlike the other more monstrous and/or comical villains in the Serious Sam series, Lord Achriman from Serious Sam 4 is a sophisticated and intellectual public speaker who is well-versed in human culture and philosophy. He is also a sadistic Hope Crusher and one of the vilest villains in the series.
  • Relius Clover in BlazBlue, while utterly ruthless, conducts himself with extreme suave style, dresses very well, enjoys opera as a hobby, and the things he dislikes are just 'disorganized book shelves'. He doesn't use crude language to show off how depraved and evil he is, in contrast with Hazama.
  • Conrad Marburg, The Dragon in Alpha Protocol. One mission requires the protagonist to infiltrate his villa, which is decorated from floor to ceiling in neoclassic art and has classical music playing loudly in a number of the rooms.
  • Emperor Zinyak of Saints Row IV has an affinity for wine, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and opera, and even DJs the Steelport simulation's classical music radio station, where he can be heard both reading the opening chapter of Pride and Prejudice and threatening his underlings with summary execution for calling Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor "the Dracula music".
    • The Boss him/herself is a ruthless gang leader who is also a big fan of Jane Austen, though this seems to be the only bit of culture in their life as they don't know one bit about anything listed above. Zinyak is an Austen fan as well, so much so that he used time travel to abduct her for his personal collection.
  • Myst IV: Revelation: Sirrus is a chess player (albeit a patzer), and a brilliant engineer. Who plans to commit Grand Theft Me on his sister through sorcery.
  • Warframe has Grineer scientist Tyl Regor. Creator of the Grineer Manics, he proves to be a rather erudite speaker thanks to his self-experiments, and also proves to have quite the snarky side to himself. What helps in this regard is the smooth, sinister drawl in his voice. Seriously, have a listen to him.

    Visual Novels 
  • Grisaia Series: Series villain Heath Oslo is the head of an international arms dealer/terrorist group, he might be a bit of a phedophile, and his nasty temper occasionally slips up, but otherwise he is well-mannered, soft-spoken, dressed in a stylish red suit and has an interest in art (even uses an antique telephone).

  • Lord Dante Fitzalan, from Midnight's War. An ancient and evil vampire who likes spending his time reading in his personal library, poring over scientific theses, and taking the young women who serve him to the opera as part of their education.
  • Doc Scratch of Homestuck is perpetually dressed in a white tuxedo, lives in an art deco apartment in a mansion, speaks with perfect grammar and near-unflappable politeness, enjoys playing pranks and board games with children, and is an excellent host to his guests. He just so happens to also be The Dragon to an Eldritch Abomination, with the stated objective of bringing about the end of his universe so that his master may feed on reality's corpse. He also kicked off the "Make her pay" subplot, which resulted in one person confined to a wheelchair, one dead, one blind, and one losing an arm and eye as well as being despised by everyone she ever liked.

    Web Original 
  • Both Dr. Diabolik and his daughter Jadis, in the Whateley Universe. Jadis Diabolik is only a high school sophomore and already feared throughout Whateley Academy. She quotes Shakespeare and Yeats and knows who is the finest butcher in all of New York City. However, do not make her mad at you.
  • In Tales of MU, Embries and The Man both qualify. The former has a gloriously-decorated office and snazzy attire, a silver tongue, and a tea set of which he is very fond. He is also an ancient dragon with a taste for human flesh. The Man is a demon who devours the hearts of virgins monthly to sustain himself and impregnated and abandoned the main character's mother twice. He wears a snazzy pinstriped suit and waxes philosophic (sometimes in High Draconic) when speaking with his daughter, however, and like Embries is a master of seduction.

    Web Videos 
  • Matska Belmonde of Carmilla the Series is an elegant, sophisticated vampire who prefers to never be more than a four-hour flight from Paris if she can help it.
  • Double subverted in To Boldly Flee with Christopher Clodd/the Executor — he seems to be a connoisseur of the arts, but it's eventually revealed that he actually considers bad films, such as Manos: The Hands of Fate, or the filmography of Uwe Boll, to massively influential "good" films, believing that fame is fleeting, while infamy is forever.
  • Although Sanders Sides has no true villain, Deceit's Disney villain schtick plays off of this trope. He appears well-read in philosophy, plays the part of a play director in his first appearance, and also has a pretty neat costume.

    Western Animation 
  • The Lich from Adventure Time is intelligent, polite, speaks formally, and has a great knowledge of how everything was before time and life.
    The Lich: [to the King of Ooo] Stop. I have learned much from you. Thank you, my teachers. And now for your education. Before there was time, before there was anything, there was nothing. And before there was nothing, there were monsters. Here's your gold star!
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The Delightful Children From Down the Lane, some of the time.
  • Vlad Masters of Danny Phantom, invoked; his accent is very much cultured.
  • When Barbara Gordon in DC Super Hero Girls meets one Slade Wilson, she finds a well-dressed, well-spoken fellow serving dishes way over her head in an expensively-decorated Big Fancy House... and he's a total ass about it at the first shadow of an excuse, even before they peg each other as the superhero and mercenary who fought a night ago.
  • Monkey from Dexter's Laboratory faced a villain (a super-smart ape) who was very cultured. He did a Heel–Face Turn when Monkey convinced him to embrace his primate instincts.
  • Played with in Exo Squad. Phaeton is highly articulate and literate enough to have a quote from Dante inscribed in the entrance to his bunker. On the other hand, he is NOT a fan of art, which he (quite passionately) declares to be "a useless Terran pastime". This leads to a hilarious moment where Exo Trooper Wolf Bronski, by no means cultured himself, is attempting to save paintings Phaeton has ordered destroyed. During the fights, he yells at the Neo Sapiens, calling them Philistines. Then he turns to the woman with him and asks "Hey, what's a Philistine?"
  • Subverted for laughs with the Professor from the Felix the Cat (Joe Oriolo) cartoons. He pretends that he's going out to the opera while Felix is babysitting his nephew Poindexter, but Felix sees right through it and knows that he's really going to watch a wrestling match.
  • David Xanatos from Gargoyles. As a billionaire, he enjoys the finer things in life, such as living in an authentic Scottish castle (that he had moved - brick by brick - to New York).
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Though all the Demon Sorcerers with the exception of the street-smart Drago come off as relatively regal and sophisticated in their own ways, Tso Lan the Moon Demon in particular comes off as the most refined and dignified of the lot.
  • Justice League:
    • The Ultra-Humanite donates money to public television, enjoys classical music, and once reprogrammed a children's toy to tell them the story of the Nutcracker. He's also a white talking gorilla.
      PBS Announcer: This program was made possible by a grant from the Ultra-Humanite and Viewers Like You.
    • Vandal Savage, as well. He's smart, but his level of culture varies from episode to episode; Wonder Woman certainly feels he's exactly as barbaric as the caveman he ultimately is. "Hereafter" confirms it when Superman looks over his library. "Self-help books? You don't seem like the type."
  • Zaheer from Season 3 of The Legend of Korra is well versed in Air Nomad history and lore, despite not being an Air Nomad himself. These philosophies help him greatly when he gains Airbending via Harmonic Convergence.
  • One-off villain of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Doctor Caballeron is definitely this, since he's a very obvious expy of René Belloq.
  • Captain Hook in Peter Pan & the Pirates as most versions of Hook, is incredibly cultured and voiced by Tim Curry.
  • Megabyte from ReBoot, no question. He's voiced by Tony Jay, after all.
  • V.V. Argost, the primary antagonist of The Secret Saturdays, embodies this. Essentially a cross between Doctor Doom and Vincent Price, this should come as no surprise.
  • The Simpsons: Sideshow Bob and his brother Cecil Terwilliger. Not surprising, as the voice actorsnote  portrayed the cultured (but not wicked) Crane brothers on Frasier.
    Cecil: Perhaps a glass of Bordeaux? I have the '82 Chateau Latour and a rather indifferent Rauzan-Ségla.
    Bob: I've been in prison, Cecil. I'll be happy just as long as it doesn't taste like orange drink fermented under a radiator.
    Cecil: That would be the Latour, then.
  • Chairface Chippendale, nemesis of The Tick, dresses sharply, eats fine food, and is prone to sophisticated dialogue, despite having a chair for a head.
  • Transformers:
    • Beast Wars:
      • All things considered, Megatron certainly fits the bill. From his aristocratic accent to his quoting Earth literature, one doesn't doubt that if it had been possible for him to sip a nice chilled glass of red, BW Megatron would have been. Perhaps while doing the Slouch of Villainy in his command chair or soaking in his energon hot tub. The fact that he bathes with a rubber ducky manages to reduce his cultured aura not one bit, impressively. Also he strokes his T-rex head arm while in his robot form, the same way James Bond villain Blofeld caresses his pet cat.
      • Though he pulls a Heel–Face Turn in the very first episode, Dinobot never the less fits the bill as he was clearly like this before his defection and even as a Maximal he swerves between Token Evil Teammate and Reformed, but Not Tamed, being a Cultured Warrior whose highly educated and quotes poetry and philosophy. With his Last Words after his Heroic Sacrifice he even quotes William Shakespeare:
        Dinobot: Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly, the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest... is silence...
    • The Megatron in Transformers: Animated was obviously inspired by his predecessor. He drinks oil out of a barrel crushed into the shape of a chalice. It also comes up that he's the Cybertronian equivalent of a vintner, brewing his own blends of oil in his off-hours.
  • Phantom Limb from The Venture Bros. is a definite example, once called out for having sold out his villainous principles for high culture accoutrements such as dealing in stolen art instead of 'the old stuff'. (In the same episode, he laments how many of his clients want to own the Mona Lisa for no other reason than it's a famous painting, and not because they appreciate it as art.)
  • Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?'s eponymous villain is a perfect example; if she doesn't undertake a theft because of the sheer challenge of it, she probably swiped it for sentimental cultural value. It's also the only way most of the clues she leaves behind could be deciphered.


Video Example(s):


Ravess threatens a henchman

A Talon soldier interrupts Ravess' violin practice to make a tactical suggestion. For presuming to know better than her and for interrupting, she throws her bow at his head and tosses him a crystal that's about to explode.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BadBoss

Media sources: