Follow TV Tropes


Miles Gloriosus / Film

Go To

    Film — Animated 
  • Gaston in Beauty and the Beast could probably fit this. He is thought of very highly in the village for his various accomplishments (which are not really explained beyond hunting, being good-looking, spitting, eating 60 eggs, stomping around in boots, and decorating with antlers) and is brave enough to hunt down the Beast only when he has a mob in front of him. When he's held over a cliff, he starts crying and begging to be saved.
    Gaston: Let me go! Please! I'll do anything! Anything!
  • Rango starts out his way, concocting a wild story about killing a group of local thugs; a little sheer luck convinces the townsfolk of it and gets him made sheriff. He later subverts the trope after being run out of town by The Heavy when he decides to become the legend he's made up for himself.
  • Roland from the film Strange Magic. He wants to lead an army and claims to have fought off a dozen goblins. He really just hid while all the other guards were taken down by the goblins.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Aliens featured Bill Paxton as Hudson, the wisecracking PFC. In the extended edition, he even claims himself to be the "Ultimate Badass". That said, it's kind of understandable that he would freak out (Game over man! Game over!) the moment the aliens actually showed up, since they are pure horror. However, despite varying between making sarcastic comments and making scared sarcastic comments, he actually proves useful throughout the film, and his "Last Stand" certainly makes him CMOA worthy.
  • Christina in Any Given Sunday is the daughter of a legendary American football owner who led his team, the Sharks, to many championships. She took over the team after he died and carries herself like a no nonsense manager who demands respect and in quick to point out how her father left her in charge. The problem is, no one respects her. While some of it is because of sexism, being she is a woman owner in an aggressively male dominated game, the main reason is because she comes across as a heartless, mercenary who doesn't care about the game of football, the team, coaches, players etc. She is quick to make business deals, one of them being her willingness to sell the team, thinking she is a Magnificent Bastard, but is clearly in way over her head.
  • In Atlantic City, Lou the two-bit hood likes to tell stories about how he worked for the likes of Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel, and how he had to kill people from time to time as part of his duties as a mob enforcer. Towards the end of the film he admits to Sally that he never killed anybody and the sum total of his experience with Bugsy Siegel was ten minutes in a shared holding cell.
  • Biff Tannen from Back to the Future; guy is a sadistic bully who terrorized Marty's dad for years, whom everyone was afraid of, yet as it turned out, had a pretty bad glass jaw.
  • Steve Martin's character in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is doing this as part of a con.
  • Subverted in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A braggart army captain is named Miles Gloriosus, but turns out to be boisterous and violent rather than boisterous and incompetent.
    • He underscores his nature in his introductory, and first line, "Stand aside, I take large steps!"
  • Britt Reed, the titular hero of The Green Hornet movie is pretty close to this throughout the film, boasting about how awesome he is, taking credit for his partner Kato's achievements and generally being a barely competent blowhard. There's even one scene where a villain is about to hit them with a cement truck. Kato picks up a rock to shatter the truck's front window so Britt can shoot his gas gun at the driver, but all we see of Britt is him running away, firing his gas gun in all directions shouting "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!!!!" By the end of the film, Britt does gain a measure of competence.
  • The Interview: While Kim acts as a god to everyone in Korea which would even allow relatives of his to inherent his throne if he were killed, this was proven to be false as he is just as weak-minded as everyone else. He starves his citizens by selling Fake Food and secretly likes listening to Fire Work by Katy Perry. Both of these elements were used by Dave to humiliate him on live TV which made him cry.
  • Played With in Juice. Bishop tends to act extremely cocky when he knows his friends will back him up. Later in the film, when Q and Steel decline helping him, he fights them off and shoots Radames in an ally.
  • John Kreese, the thuggish martial arts instructor from the first three Karate Kid movies is this and a bully of the worst kind. He talks like a Drill Sergeant Nasty among his students, encourages them to fight dirty, and even sunk so low as to order one of them to use an blatantly illegal move on Daniel, hoping to injure him to knock him out of the tournament. But in the beginning of the second movie, it becomes obvious he's hopeless in any kind of actual fight. When Miyagi stops him from strangling Johnny, Kreese tries to punch the old man, only for Miyagi to simply move aside, resulting in Kreese putting his arm through a glass car window; and if that weren't enough, he falls for it a second time, hurting his other arm. Even worse, for him, Miyagi then humiliates him in front of his students, comically tweaking his nose and letting him go when it looks like he's about to really hit him. (Showing himself to be the superior teacher both in skill and morals.)
  • "General" Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights. Koskov implies Whitaker is one of these. Pushkin does more than imply, he goes into extremely unimpressed detail about the multiple ways that Whitaker fails to live up to the image he tries to present.
  • "Brave" Sir Robin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, who has a troupe of troubadours to follow him about and sing of his praises. Unfortunately he runs away at the first sign of danger, and they incorporate his cowardice into their song...
  • In Pixels, both British and American commanders boast about how they're going to beat the alien threat, but when the threat attacks, they panic and aren't even able to run.
  • Captain Harris is definitely this in the Police Academy movies. Ironically, while he chides the more likable cops because they're incompetent, he's no better, and a coward on top of it.
  • The Quick and the Dead:
    • Ace Hanlon is a moderately skilled gunslinger who specialises in trick shots. Despite his constant boasting, he doesn't run from a fight. However this is due to his fatal mistake of thinking he won't encounter a gunfighter who is quicker on the draw than him. Nor does he expect to run into the man who really killed the Terrence brothers, for which Ace has been taking credit. He quickly gets Feet of Clay when confronted by a true ace.
    • Virgil Sparks, the self-proclaimed "Pride of Texas", is another example, who doesn't get past the first round of the tournament.
  • Spence in Ronin, played by Sean Bean, makes himself out to be just as much of a deadly badass as all the other operatives chasing after the MacGuffin. However, he is eventually exposed as a poser and told to get lost, which he does.
  • Tropic Thunder, after the prima-donna actors can't work together in controlled film location, "Four Leaf" Leahy, whose memoir is being turned into a movie, he suggests dropping them in the middle of the jungle, and filming the movie "guerrilla style." After the shoot goes awry, Leahy tries to leave as soon as possible, but he and Codey, the helicopter pilot, are captured by a drug gang, and Leahy reveals to a disillusioned Cody that he never saw combat because he never left the U.S. because he was in the Coast Guard, and served in the sanitation department, and wrote the book as a "tribute" to those that did serve Vietnam.
  • English Bob from Unforgiven. Hero of countless DimeNovels and known as the Duke of Death. However, in spite of his excellent gun skills, he has no stomach for stand-up fighting, preferring to attack drunk opponents from behind.
  • V for Vendetta: Prothero likes to play up his military service and make himself out to be a war hero, when he was only the head warden of a prison camp. While watching himself on the TV while showering, he gloats about how he'd fight V if he ever met him, but when he turns off the set to see V's mask smirking back at him, he's reduced to a gibbering wreck cowering on the floor.
  • In The Wild Hunt, Bjorn is the big cheese of his Viking faction of LARPers and is always talking in Large Ham voice about being a warrior and going on adventures. When shit gets dangerous, however, he completely freezes. A girl lampshades it by screaming at him to justify all his talk and do something.
  • Madmartigan from Willow is a subversion. He spends about half the film bragging about being "the greatest swordsman ever!" and the second half proving it.
  • Curiously, although this Trope is the Inverse of Cowardly Lion, the Trope Namer for that one fit this Trope when he first appeared in The Wizard of Oz, daring both the Scarecrow and Tin Man to fight him, saying he take them both at once (with one hand behind his back, standing on one leg, and with his eyes closed). He lost the attitude quickly when he went after Toto (proving himself a coward) and got slapped by Dorothy for his trouble.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: