This is a Stock Phrase, typically said by an older, tougher character, about a younger, supposedly weaker character. The older character could be an Aloof Older Brother or Mentor figure, or it could be a villain taunting his young foe.
May also come in the form "It took guts to do what you did out there", where the older, tougher character relents on their initial contempt and admits their respect for the younger, weaker character. Differs from You Got Spunk in that the latter refers to a villain taunting the captured heroine (or hero in some cases), although the words "spunk" and "guts" are interchangeable in either context. "Guts" may also be substituted with "balls" in some works. Hold Your Hippogriffs can even apply to this sometimes.
Third-person variants are also possible, especially when the older guy doesn't want to admit his respect for the youngster to his face. Another third-person variant is often used for Black Comedy following a particularly gory scene.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kamina says this while having a moment of admiration for his love interest, Yoko.
Kamina: A woman has no place meddling in a fight between men!
Yoko: I'm the one who's doing all the fighting!
Kamina: I like your style, lady. You got a lotta spunk.
- In the climax of Spirited Away, Yubaba says this exact phrase to Chihiro when Chihiro insists on taking the test. (Boh was trying to convince Yubaba into letting Chihiro go without having to take it, and she was considering it, but Chihiro insisted on living up to her end of the deal, even though she wasn't the one who made it.)
- In Zombie Land Saga Saki accuses Sakura of being a blind follower and tool of Kotaro. And then Sakura gives her a verbal smackdown in the form of a rap battle, pointing out she's not nearly as blind as Saki things she is. This earns her Saki's respect, and she agrees to go along with the crazy plan, blurting this phrase in the process.
- My Hero Academia: Out on his first assignment while working for Fatgum, Eijiro "Red Riot" Kirishima takes on a drug-enhanced blade Quirk user. Since his own Quirk (Hardening) doesn't lend itself to subtlety, he faces the villain head-on, tanks everything dished out at him, and just punches him out. One of the bystanders compliments Kirishima's bravery with this trope.
- The Walking Dead has an example riddled with Black Comedy. Negan is insulting Dirty Coward Spencer doesn't have any guts if he wants to be The Starscream to Rick, and promptly guts him. His reaction sells it.
Negan: Oh how embarrassing! There they are! They were inside you the whole time. You did have guts. I've never been so wrong before in my life!
- From Stuart Little 2:
Snowbell: You've got guts, kid! And you've got spunk! Not to mention moxy! You've got guts, spunk, and moxy!
- From Here to Eternity:
Alma: Yes, proper! In another year I'll have enough money saved. Then I'm going to go back to my home town in Oregon, and I'm going to build a house for my mother and myself, and join the country club and take up golf. Then I'll meet the proper man with the proper position, to make a proper wife, and can run a proper home and raise proper children. And I'll be HAPPY because when you're PROPER you're SAFE!Robert E. Lee "Prew' Prewitt: You've got guts, honey. I hope you can pull that off.Alma: I do mean it when I say I need you. 'Cause I'm lonely. You think I'm lying, don't you?Robert E. Lee "Prew' Prewitt: Nobody ever lies about being lonely.
- The infamous "You got a lotta guts, Oscar!" from Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky. Infamous because it was in response to Oscar using his own intestines to strangle Ricky.
- In The Jungle Book (1967), Shere Khan says to Mowgli, "You have spirit for one so small."
- In Tarzan II, Zugor tells Tarzan "You've got pluck, kid." But when Tarzan smiles, the old gorilla then says grumpily "I HATE pluck."
- In Racing Stripes, Tucker says this to Stripes as the latter is about to race Trenton's Pride at the Blue Moon Races.
- For Your Eyes Only: James Bond and Milos Columbo's first encounter starts icy but eventually Columbo reveals Kristatos is the real enemy: a Double Agent for the Soviets. After some verbal fencing, during which Bond points out that Columbo would be in danger if Bond doesn't report in, Columbo points Bond's gun at him. Bond doesn't flinch, so he gives the gun back instead:
Columbo: I'm a good judge of men. Mr. Bond, you have what the Greeks call "thrasos": guts.
Bond: So have you, Mr. Columbo.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Ken: That... was not... permitted!Buffy: Yeah, but it was fun.Ken: You've got guts. I think I'd like to slice you open, and play with them!
- Variant in "Caesar and Me", a 1964 episode of The Twilight Zone: The ventriloquist's evil dummy (now minus ventriloquist) tells the little girl that she has a "hip attitude", and encourages her to become his new accomplice.
- When Milton Berle did a burlesque comedy routine with Fozzie, one of the jokes Fozzie wanted Milton to do prompted him to tell Fozzie this.
- Was always said at the end of episodes of Nickelodeon GUTS, mostly as a Title Drop. "No ifs, ands or buts...these kids got guts!"
- Twice in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the shiftless and greedy Ferengi earn the respect of their polar opposite, the Klingons.
Gowron: A brave Ferengi. Who'd have though it possible?
- First is Quark in "The House Of Quark". When he successfully proves a Klingon named D'Ghor is using money to try and bring down a rival great house. He proves D'Ghor is without honor by tossing his weapon aside and goading him into striking him down. When D'Ghor obliges, he's stopped by Gowron and stripped of his status for being such an honorless prick. Quark gets praise from Gowron for his ballsy plan.
- Right behind Quark is his nephew, Nog. When he bucks up to a group of Klingon's who consider him a joke (Including the very dangerous General Martok), Martok is actually mildly impressed by his bravery and lets him have the win.
- From The Goon Show
Neddie: Egad, Bloodnock, I admire your guts!Bloodnock: Why, are they showing?
Carapar: Despite your bad nerves, you always did have guts. Don't make me spill them out into the sea, okay?
- Elona: If, after being ambushed by bandits, you chose to fight rather than hand over your goods and money, the bandit leader will complement you on having guts.
- Of course, if you're feeling sufficiently cheap, but don't have the levels to actually fight off the bandits, you can refuse to hand over money, then turn tail and run instead of facing the bandits.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Upon a young Link drawing his sword and making an attack, Ganondorf tells him, "You've got guts, kid."
- In Fallout 4, after he and the Sole Survivor defeat an enemy, Nick Valentine has this to say.
Nick Valentine: You've got guts...well, had guts.
- Dawn of War II: Retribution; Kaptin Bluddflagg says a suitably orky version to Autarch Kayleth in the first mission of the ork campaign.
Bluddflagg: Ya got guts, skinny, I'll give ya dat... and they're gettin' all over da place, yeugh!
- Final Fantasy X - Cid likes Tidus's style when it comes to his resolve in protecting Yuna.
Tidus: Gramps, let's move!Cid: Easy, kiddo. Bevelle's defenses are top-notch.Tidus: What's the matter, gramps? You scared? Yuna's there, so we go and get her! And that's all!Cid: Heh! You got guts. Set course to Bevelle! Full speed ahead!
- In the Mass Effect series, a common compliment from krogan is to tell someone that they have a "quad", a slang term for a full set of four krogan testicles. Which is to say, they have balls.
- Another variation: In an episode of Recess, substitute teacher Mr. E tells Mikey that he's "got chops."
- Darkwing Duck says something like this about Gosalyn in the pilot. If I remember right, it's 'If they knew how much spirit you had, I bet they'd be running the other way!', referring to would-be kidnappers.
- The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie:
Dennis: You've got guts, kid. Too bad I'm gonna rip'em out of you.
- After The Real Ghostbusters help the ghost of a private eye stop the ghost of a burglar cursed by an ancient Egyptian artifact he tried to steal.
Blackie: Who were those guys?Sam: The Ghostbusters. They got moxie.