Dare to Be Badass

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Well, are you?


"Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved eight hundred lives, including your mother's -- and yours. I dare you to do better."
Captain Pike, Star Trek (2009)

The Hero is called upon to step up to the plate and be awesome. Sounds a lot like the Call to Adventure, you say? Well yes, the two are closely related. The difference is, an Adventure Call is more like, "Hey! You totally want to take on this quest to slay The Dragon and save the princess because it sure beats washing cars and sipping lattes all day (and you might even get a nice check, or even more, out of the deal)."

A Badass Dare is more like, "The Dragon has already stomped out a squadron of fighter jets and a bunch of tanks. And now he's getting ready to eat the princess. But you're our only hope. Now yeah, you can sit here and just keep sipping lattes and washing cars. Or you can take this BFG/BFS and save the world!"

The Dare to Be Badass makes the distinction that the character turning their back on the dare is somehow lesser as a person for not accepting it. Conversely, the character is being asked to step up to awesomeness because, deep down, he/she (to use the words of Captain Christopher Pike) feels like they are meant for something more. Something greater. This will usually punctuate, or trigger, massive Character Development.

While the Call to Adventure usually starts off Hero's Journey, the Dare to Be Badass usually comes at a point when the chips are most certainly down for The Hero, and he/she must be reminded that they can't give up. This isn't always the case, though.

Done right, this can resemble a 30-second Rousing Speech. And thus be highly awesome. Done wrong, well you know what you get.

The Trope Name is in reference to the famous phrase of the classical philosopher Horace, sapere aude or "Dare to be wise."

Compare a World of Cardboard Speech.

Not to be confused with a dare to be stupid.

Examples of Dare to Be Badass include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Essentially all military recruitment ads in every country ever. The tendency is for such ads to demonstrate how Badass you will become if you join the army/navy and even plays up how tough the training is in order to appeal the I Just Want to Be Badass desire in young men. This kind of makes sense since the job is usually quite dangerous and not especially well paid when you start out, so few people would be willing to sign up just to make a living.
    • Also applies to wartime propoganda.


Anime[edit | hide]

  • In Code Geass, Zero's rescue of Todoh and his fellow rebels from the execution they had come to accept is accompanied by a lecture on the nature of miracles. Adult Swim accurately described this scene as Zero berating Todoh for "not being badass enough."
  • At the beginning of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji Ikari receives a challenge like this from his father Gendo, who needs him to pilot EVA-01 to save the city from an Angel attack already in progress. Shinji, however, is 14 (sensitive and easily frightened at that), hasn't seen his father in years by the latter's choice, and was expecting some sort of reconciliation scene. Neither lives up to the other's expectations, then or later.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has Negi on the receiving end of several of these, usually from Evangeline (or a psuedo-Eva created from his memories). Evangeline also gives one of these to Asuna to see if she can survive Eva's Training from Hell. It ultimately boils down to "You can either die, quit and go home, or be Badass enough to survive. Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, I don't like you."
    • As both Negi and Asuna have discovered, it could be worse: she could like you.
  • Kamina's whole character in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is pretty much based around providing this sort of motivation to the other characters. Hell, this could be considered basically the entire message of the series, seeing as all the incredibly awesome stuff they accomplish is caused simply by daring to a Badass.
  • Although it's not a straight example, the soundtrack version of Fly Away from Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt has this in its lyrics. "You'll never find a better time. Make a stand, you'll be fine. You know the game and all it holds. Watch it now as it unfolds."
  • Rika gives an absolutely epic one to Satoko in the manga when encouraging her to stand up against Teppei, her abusive uncle.

Rika: "Are your teeth chattering? Are you knees trembling? You feel a shiver creeping up your spine? All those emotions are what Satoshi felt whenever he had to protect you! And please understand what Satoshi expected from you and what example he wanted you to follow! If you don't understand that, you'll never get any stronger! Show Satoshi how much stronger you've become during this year! Find courage like that of Satoshi AND FILL YOUR CHEST WITH IT RIGHT NOW!"

  • In One Piece Mihawk gives a magnificent one to Zoro after completely defeating him in a duel.

Mihawk: "It's still too early for you to die. My name is Dracule Mihawk! Discover your true self, the true world, become stronger! However long it may take, I shall await you at the top. Surpass this sword! Surpass me! Roronoa Zoro!"


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Dan Dare: A gloriously literal example occurs in Dan's exploits. With the chips truly down, the evil Venusian mastermind, the Mekon, gloatingly taunts Dan over a video link to his ship:

The Mekon: Dare you take that risk, Colonel?...
Dan Dare: "Dare"'s My family name, Mekon...I'm on my way!

  • Marv in Sin City is already a badass but when he learns that the Roark family is behind the death of Goldie, he considers skipping town all together. Since he has few social ties, there was a good chance he could escape. Otherwise, death was certain if he stayed in Basin City. He eventually decides to through with his Roaring Rampage of Revenge despite knowing he won't survive.
  • Fan-favorite |Transformers writer Simon Furman invokes this so regularly, it's reached the point of being an Author Catchphrase. Typically, a character will face a crisis of confidence, begin to surrender, then recalls the accomplishments and sacrifices of his predecessors and dare himself to meet them as well. The Transformers Wiki has a collection here.

"But both Wreck-Gar and Inferno sacrificed themselves to save me. Can I do any less than risk my life to avenge them?"


Film[edit | hide]

  • Braveheart: William Wallace points out that while the Scotsmen could very well run away and live, they should stay and fight because "Every man dies, but not every man truly lives". Also a Rousing Speech.
  • Iron Man

Yinsen: This is your life's work! In the hands of those murderers. What're gonna do about it?? Huh? Is that the way you're going to go out? Is this is the last act of defiance of the great Tony Stark??
Stark: They'll kill me. You. And even if they don't I'll be dead in a week anyway.
Yinsen: (almost smirking) Well, then....this is an important week for you, isn't it??

    • Done even better when a news report shows the devastation being caused by the terrorists. The newswoman says, "....these villagers are left to wonder, WHO; if anyone, will help..." At that moment an infuriated Stark blows out a window with his brand new repulsors in inarticulate rage... and then after thinking a second, very calmly blows out all the other windows in the room as if he were in a shooting gallery. Cut to the Lock and Load Montage, leitmotif blaring, as he dons the Mark III suit for the first time and flies off to Afghanistan to kick some ass.
  • The quote at the top comes from the 2009 Star Trek movie, where Pike asks Kirk whether he wants to continue to be "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest" or put his skills to some actual use. Besides literally daring Kirk to "do better", Pike tells him that if he's even half the man his father was, Kirk will make a great Captain. CMoH/CMoA.
    • Spock Prime telling Kirk to "re"-take the Enterprise can also be this. I mean, what's more badass than trying to piss off a Vulcan?
      • From the same movie. "Either they're going down; or we are."
    • It was done before in Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan when Kirk is clearly suffering a mid-life crisis from being an Admiral. In their own different ways, his two pals McCoy and Spock basically tell him to stop being a typical middle-aged white guy, get up off his ass, and get back to being The Captain we all know and love.

Spock: If I may be so bold, it was a mistake for you to accept promotion. Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny. Anything else is a waste of material."
McCoy: Get back your command Jim, before you become a part of this collection. Before you really do grow old.

Lt. Aldo Raine: We will be cruel to the Germans, and through our cruelty they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us, and the German won't be able to help themselves but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the German will be sickened by us, and the German will talk about us, and the German will fear us. And when the German closes their eyes at night and their tortured by their subconscious for the evil that they've done, it will be with thoughts of us that they are tortured with. Sound good?!

  • Back to The Future - George McFly's mantra that "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything" isn't really one of these, until his son tells him this in a desperate attempt to get him to marry his mother and thus ensure his existence.
    • Subverted in Part III, the local townsfolk of 1885 Hill Valley attempt to use something like this on Marty to get him to duel with Mad Dog Tannen, basically telling him that if he doesn't face him "he'll be branded a coward forever". However, Marty proves his aweseomeness by not going through with the duel. And further subverted in that he still manages to kick Tannen's ass.
  • Alfred does these highly effectively in the new Batman movies...

Batman Begins: Alfred: (after Bruce has gotten his ass kicked by Ra's al Guhl and Wayne Manor burns, while he's trapped under a piece of furniture) Sir: What was the point of all those one-armed push-ups if you can't even lift one bloody log?
The Dark Knight: Bruce: People are dying, Alfred. What would you have me do?
Alfred: Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They'll hate you for it, but that's the point of Batman. He can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make: The right choice.

    • Ducard started the Badass Dare trend with his introduction to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins

Ducard: If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal and if they can't stop you, you become something else entirely: a legend, Mister Wayne.

  • This trope is truly a staple of the Superhero genre. Consider X Men First Class in which Charles Xavier, one by one takes his motley crew of mutants and gets them to reach their true potential, none more memorable than Erik Lensherr. He literally dares him to use his powers to turn a giant satellite dish located at least a mile away. Especially poignant because Erik up to that point was impressed with his own ability to deflect bullets and control smaller metal objects. He never considered doing anything greater than that until Charles suggested it.
  • Captain Mal Reynolds "Aim to Misbehave" speech to the crew of the Serenity has some shades of this. Specifically he tells his crew he's "asking more of them than he ever has before."
  • In Mission: Impossible II, after Anthony Hopkins character gives Hunt his latest oddball mission, Hunt points out that what he's being asked to do is 'pretty difficult'. In what is possibly one of the movie's best lines, he responds, "Well, it's not called "Mission: Difficult", Mr. Hunt. It's "Mission: Impossible"."
  • Star Wars: "Use the Force, Luke.....Let go Luke....Luke -- trust me". Complete with Rousing Music.
    • One of the teaser trailers for The Phantom Menace had Qui-Gon deliver one of these, presumably to Anakin:

Qui-Gon It will be a hard life. One without reward. Without remorse. Without regret. A path will be placed before you. The choice is yours alone. Do what you think you cannot do. It will be a hard life. But in the end you will find out who you are.

Chief Billy Sunday: "A navy diver is not a fighting man. He is a salvage expert. If he's lucky, he'll die young 300 feet below the waves; for that is the closest he will come to being a hero. Now dammit; square that rig and approach the rail!"

  • This is essentially the message of Wanted.
  • "You're a hero for GOD's sake, Hancock! And you will never be at peace till you accept that."
  • Lennox to Sam Witwicky in the climax of Transformers, when the latter protests that he can't take the cube to safety: "Listen to me! You're a soldier now! All right, I need you to take this Cube. Get it into military hands while we hold them off, or a lot of people are gonna die."
    • Even earlier, Sam to Micheala. "Twenty years from now, when you look back on your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the courage to get in the car?"
  • Crimson Tide: Lt. Cmdr. Hunter telling a young radio operator that he needs radio communication. Oddly, he's quoting Star Trek.

Hunter: You're Scotty. I'm Kirk. And I need warp speed on that radio. Now.

Azeem: English! English! Behold, Azeem Edin Bashir Al Bakir. I am not one of you, but I fight! I fight with Robin Hood. I fight against a tyrant who holds you under his boot! If you would be free men, then you must fight! Join us now, join Robin Hood!

    • Robin Hood himself puts in a good one earlier, when he convinces the refugees of Sherwood to join him against the Sherrif:

"The Sheriff calls us outlaws, but I say we are free! And one free man defending his home is more powerful then ten hired soldiers. The Crusades taught me that. I will make you no promises, save one: that when you truly believe in your hearts that you're free, then I say we can win!"

Arm yourself, because no one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you...

  • Henry V: The St. Crispin's Day speech.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

  • Undercover Brother, when everything seems to be going wrong and Lance, the 'token white guy' in the organisation, starts panicking:

Undercover Brother: There are times for falling apart, and there are times for getting' funky. This is one of them funky times. So what's it gonna be? You ready to play some funky music, white boy?

  • The musical number "La Resistance" in South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut subverts this, in that it tends to labour a bit too much on the horrific potential tortures that await the three heroes, with the result that it ends up inspiring everyone except the three people are actually being called upon to be badasses.

They may cut your dick in half
And serve it to a pig
And though it hurts you'll laugh
And dance a dickless jig...

  • There are several of these in Rough Riders, most noticeably when Nash stops malingering and rejoins his company in time to take Little Round Top.


Religion/Mythology[edit | hide]

  • The Bible: In the story of Esther, the evil Haman had convinced King Xerxes to execute every Jew in the kingdom, all because one Jew, Mordecai, would not bow to him. Mordecai sent word to Queen Esther, his cousin and surrogate daughter, daring her to (wo)man up and go to the King on her people's behalf.

Then [Esther told the messenger] to say to Mordecai, "All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king."
When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Margo Smith of Time Scout was driven out of her home by her abusive father, who laughed at her dreams of being a time scout.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, the Cylons capture New Caprica, taking the humans there hostage and scaring off the Galactica and the Pegasus. Both ships choose to write off the hostages on New Caprica as losses and continue on their way, which quite frankly, is the smartest thing they can do, as they are ridiculously outnumbered and outgunned. Thenn after thinking it over Admiral Adama has this to say.

This is the Admiral. You've heard the news. You know the mission. You should also know that there is only one way this mission ends, and that's with the successful rescue of our people off of New Caprica. Look around you. Take a good look at the men and women that stand next to you. Remember their faces, for one day you will tell your children and your grandchildren that you served with such men and women that the universe has never seen. And together, you accomplished a feat that will be told and retold down through the ages and find immortality as only the gods once knew. I'm proud to serve with you. Good Hunting!

  • Chuck:
    • Sarah Walker gives one of these to Chuck at the end of the first episode.

Sarah: Some people want to be heroes, and some have to be asked. Well, are you ready to be a hero, Chuck?

    • Jeff does this to get Lester to perform "Africa" in Chuck vs. The Best Friend. He even quote's Eminem's "Lose Yourself".

Jeff: I'm not asking you to do this for yourself. I'm asking you to do this....for me.

  • Star Trek seriously seems to have a thing for this trope; but then again being an classic American adventure story maybe this isn't surprising. Consider the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation; Picard is back in time and ordering the Enterprise to take on a dangerous anomaly which will most likely destroy the ship. He reassures his confused crew with the classic line:

Picard: I cannot explain why we have to do this. All I can say is that I know you can do this. Because... you are the finest ship in the fleet. Now, engage.

    • One of the greatest dares from TNG, the episode "Ethics" in which Worf is paralyzed and as a Klingon decides to commit suicide rather than live an invalid. He asks his best friend, Riker to assist him and further tries to guilt-trip Riker into doing it, saying that a Klingon must protect his honor. Riker unleashes a speech that's part Dare to Be Badass, part "The Reason You Suck" Speech in which he basically tells Worf that if he were really a Badass, he'd try to survive.

Riker:Do you remember Sandoval? Hit with a disruptor blast two years ago. She lived for about a week. Fang-lee, Marla Aster, Tasha Yar! How many men and women, how many friends have we watched die? I've lost count. Every one of them, every single one, fought for life until the very end.

    • "Q Who" (aka The One With the Borg) has an incredible one from Q, of all people, basically telling Picard that even though the galaxy is filled with unstoppably powerful monsters that can kick your ass effortlessly, it's still too awesome not to keep exploring... if you have the balls:

If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross... But it's not for the timid.

    • "Let us make sure that history never forgets... the name... ENTERPRISE."
    • And from the classic Trek episode "Return to Tomorrow", when Kirk wants to make contact with a race of powerful disembodied minds:

"I'm in command. I could order this, but I'm not because Doctor McCoy is right in pointing out the enormous danger potential in any contact with life and intelligence as fantastically advanced as this, but I must point out that the possibilities - the potential for knowledge and advancement is equally great. Risk! Risk is our business. That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her. You may dissent without any prejudice. Do I hear a negative vote?"

    • This makes his advice to his direct successor in Star Trek Generations a Call Back: Trouble has come up, and so even if the new Enterprise-B was just on a quick run around the solar system for the news people, and the most of the Applied Phlebotinum doesn't get in until Tuesday, "Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair."
  • Heroes: Daniel Linderman offers Nathan Petrelli a choice between an ordinary life and "a life of meaning".
    • And of course, the classic line from Hiro to Ando:

Hiro: Fine. Stay here if you want. Be like everyone else. I want to boldly go where no man has gone before.

  • In Season 2 of 24 Jack is suffering a Heroic BSOD after the death of his wife, so he volunteers to fly the nuke into the desert, ready to die CTU Head George Mason, dying of radiation poisoning, slips onto the plane, and says a few words to Jack, telling him that a better man would try to put his life back together.

Mason: Come on, Jack, you've had a death wish ever since Teri died. The way things have been going for you the past year and a half, this probably doesn't look like such a bad idea. You get to go out in a blaze of glory, one of the greatest heroes of all time, leave your troubles behind. You still have a life, Jack. You wanna be a real hero, here's what you do: you get back down there and you put the pieces together. You find a way to forgive yourself for what happened to your wife. You make things right with your daughter and you go on serving your country. That'd take some real guts.

    • President Taylor uses one of these to convince Dalia Hassan to take control of the IRK's government and finish the peace. Consider all that happened before, it could only literally be a Dare to Be Badass.
  • The Doctor Who episode "The Eleventh Hour" has a good one, when the Doctor challenges Jeff to "be magnificent":

Listen to me. In ten minutes you’re going to be a legend. In ten minutes, everyone on that screen will be offering you any job you want but first you have to be magnificent. You have to make them trust you and get them working. This is it, Jeff, right here right now: This is when you fly. Today’s the day you save the world.
And clear your Internet history.

    • This has pretty much been the Doctor's modus operandi since the get-go: convincing ordinary people to be extraordinary and save their world.
      • Churchill got one too (how many shows can you say that for), when the Doctor was indisposed, inspiring Bracewell to take the fight to the Daleks, in characteristic Churchill style.

I don't care if you're a machine, Bracewell. Are you a man?

    • The Doctor does the same again in "Cold Blood", daring the humans and reptilians to reconcile and negotiate rather than give in to their inclinations to just wage war on each other. Sort of a peaceful badassery, but still counts.

There are fixed points throughout time where things must stay exactly the way they are. This is not one of them. This is an opportunity! Whatever happens here will create its own timeline, its own reality, a temporal tipping point. The future revolves around you, here, now, so do good!

  • The pilot of The Unit features two of these, the first from Sergeant Major Jonas Blaine to new guy Bob Brown, getting him ready for his first mission. "The Universe has conspired to bring you here to this moment. You've been wanting this moment your whole life. Well, here it is.". This is then followed by Blaine's wife Molly talking to Brown's wife Kim, who are far away back at the base. Kim is mightily frustrated by the Unit lifestyle and is ready to leave, regardless of what it does to her husband's career in Special Forces. Molly basically tells her to stop whining and chill out and reconsider; resulting in the page quote at the top. The rest of speech is even more brilliant.
  • In the pilot of Stargate Universe, Col. Young tries to tell Gen. O'Neill that the people stranded on the Destiny are simply "not qualified" to be there. His response:

Oh please. I wasn't qualified to take that first team through the Stargate... In the past dozen years or so, we've sent hundred of teams through that thing. Fact is... NOBODY's qualified.

    • Rush gives one of these to Eli later, oddly as part of a pep talk to snap Eli out of his current funk (namely, his recently-dead girlfriend).

You know, we grew up taught to believe that everyone's equal -- that you're no better than anyone else. Of course, that's a lie. Some are better than others, and it's those who recognize what makes them better and learn to exploit that who succeed. You've got so much potential, Eli. You're capable of success beyond your wildest dreams, but the only way that you can achieve that... Well you got to make sure you don't get beaten down. You can't give up, not now when you're so close.

Buffy: Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?

  • In the penultimate episode of Angel "Power Play", Angel reveals his plan to throw a temporary monkey wrench into the Senior Partners' plans for the Apocalypse by killing every member of the Circle of the Black Thorn.

Angel: 10-to-1, we're gone when the smoke clears. They will do everything in their power to destroy us. So...I need you to be sure. Power endures. We can't bring down the Senior Partners, but for one bright, shining moment, we can show them that they don't own us. You need to decide for yourselves if that's worth dying for. I can't order you to do this. I can't do it without you. So we'll vote. As a team. Think about what I'm asking you to do, think about what I'm asking you to give.

  • G'kar in Babylon 5 gets one of these from Kosh. It marks his turning point towards becoming the most heroic character in the series. Made even better as it happens during G'kar's (completely justified) Kick the Dog Mind Rape attack on Londo.

Kosh: You have the opportunity, here and now to choose: to become something greater and nobler and more difficult than you have ever been before. The universe does not offer such chances often, G'kar.

Dean: Chuck, you're the only shot that I've got left.
Chuck: But...I'm just a writer.
Dean: This isn't a story anymore, man. This is real! And you're in it! Now, I need you to get off your ass and fight. Come on, Chuck.
Background music starts to swell...
Chuck: No friggin' way.


Music[edit | hide]

  • "Scots Wha Hae", by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns, purports to be Robert the Bruce's Rousing Speech to his troops before the Battle of Bannockburn. He offers to let any soldier 'wha will fill a coward's grave' flee, and proclaims "We will drain our dearest veins/But they shall be free!"
  • "Special Agent" by Universal Hall Pass: the story of the song seems to be about the titular operative approaching a young woman and offering not only his (her?) services and support (no need to run, I'm a special agent miss... go ahead and charge it on my credit card), but encouragement to... well, it's why the song is in this trope: should you decide you're your personal alchemist... go and earn what you've so long awaited. I know you'll do more than this
  • "Tutelary Genius" by Universal Hall Pass: A Dare to Be Badass speech essentially delivered to oneself: "unbind myself from the hamstrings/of yesterday's hit and run/no, I won't stand to be pinning myself/there's more pressing things to be done"
  • The second chorus of "Spirit Never Die" by Masterplan: Most of the song is sung by a Determinator about himself, but the second chorus goes like this: "Never give up! Never give in!/Rise from the fire if you're gonna win!/Sing with your soul, soon you'll be old/Fight the demons inside you!/There is no limit to what can be done!/Climb every mountain with power so strong!"
  • "Land of Confusion", from either Genesis or Disturbed. "This is the world we live in/and these are the hands we're given/Use them and let's start trying/To make it a place worth living in."


Theater[edit | hide]

De Guiche (who, with the marquises, has come down from the stage): But he becomes a nuisance!
Viscount de Valvert (shrugging his shoulders): Swaggerer!
De Guiche: Will no one put him down?...
Viscount de Valvert: No one? But wait!
I'll treat him to. . .one of my quips!... See here!...

Lise (to the musketeer, who has merely bowed in answer to Cyrano's bow): How now? Is this your courage?...
Why turn you not a jest on his nose?
The Musketeer: On his nose?. . .ay, ay… his nose.
(He goes quickly farther away; Lise follows him.)

Christian: Captain!
Carbon (turning and looking at him from head to foot): Sir!
Christian: Pray, what skills it best to do
To Southerners who swagger?...
Carbon: Give them proof
That one may be a Northerner, yet brave! (He turns his back on him.)
Christian: I thank you.

  • Hamlet constantly tries to talk himself into this mode. That's what the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy is about; suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or just give up and sleep? Takes him a long time to get the point (several acts' worth), but when he does, he commits: "My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!" And then everyone dies.
  • "Man Up" from The Book of Mormon is Elder Cunningham daring himself to be a badass

Elder Cunningham: Watch me man up all over myself!


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Bad Dudes: President Ronnie has been kidnapped by Ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?
  • Final Fantasy X: "Now! Now is the time to choose! Die, and be free of pain, or live, and fight your sorrow! Now is the time! Your future is in your hands!"
  • Strange Journey: Commander Gore will give you a speech daring you to look past the empty promises of power from both the angels and the demons. Agreeing to continue the mission and save Humanity, rejecting both sides' madness and forcing them to realize the power of Mankind never felt so good.
  • The flash game Seven Sins has the main character challenged by a guy in a pub to commit the Seven Deadly Sins in a fortnight. His reward? ETERNAL DAMNATION!
  • Phantom of Mega Man Zero 3 gives one such speech after fighting the title character as a Bonus Boss in a secret test. Awesome? Yes, it is.

You truly did... have the soul of a hero... Go... Cross blades with Omega, and show what that body can do! Will your blade flinch after you know the truth? Do you have what it takes...to be a hero? You must be the one to determine that!

Shepard: I said a badass, not some scout whining like a quarian with a tummy ache!
Tali: I'm Standing Right Here!

    • Garrus gives one to Shepard in the Mass Effect 3 launch trailer.

"Go out there and give them hell. You were born to do this.

  • Final Fantasy XIII: This is an Eidolon's typical response to their corresponding l'Cie slipping dangerously close to the Despair Event Horizon. You either prove to the Eidolon that you have the strength to persevere or they put you out of your misery. Fang only gets the latter right; Hope puts it all together after subduing Alexander.
  • EVE Online's new intro dares the player to be bold.
  • Art thou courageous?
    • To say nothing of a now-infamous commercial for the game in the UK, featuring the tagline: "Wilst thou get the girl... Or play like one?". Not exactly the best choice of words, and was promptly Retconned. The US variant used "Wilst thou soar... or wilst thou suck?" instead.
  • Used in the Demon Hunter trailer for Diablo III. Word of God state that this is one of their primary recruiting methods.

You have a choice. Hunted... or hunter.

  • No More Heroes: So what do you say? Join me. Could be fun. Could kick ass. Could totally suck. And for you there holding the Wii Remote, just press the A button, and let the bloodshed begin!
  • The Courier can use this to convince Orion Moreno to fight for the NCR at Hoover Dam, telling him that he could leave, but doesn't he want to show those pansy-ass NCR troopers how a real soldier fights?
  • In Diablo II, Tyrael berates Marius for freeing Baal, telling him that he must find the courage to undo his mistake. He doesn't.
  • In Dragon Age II, an Aggressive!Hawke can convince the Tal'Vashoth deserter to fight against his former comrades, telling him that kicking their asses would be a good way of establishing his worth as a mercenary.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The Gargoyles do this for Quasimodo, to get him to literally and metaphorically break from his chains and rescue Esmerelda.
  • The Incredibles: Edna Mode's friendly pep talk to Helen Parr.

Helen: *Sobs* Now I'm losing him! Oh, what'll I do, what'll I do?..."
E: What are you talking... about?
Helen: Hm?
E: [Jumping onto table with rolled up newspaper] you are Elastigirl! My God, pull [bat!] yourself [bat!] together [bat!]! 'What will you do' Is-is- this a question?! You will show him that you remember that he is Mr. Incredible and you will remind him who you are. Well, you know where he is, go, confront the problem. Fight- Win! ...And call me when you get back, darling, I enjoy our visits.

  • Transformers Prime: After Jack decides hanging out with the Autobots isn't worth getting up close and personal with the Decepticons, Miko tries to bring him round with one of these. He refuses: it takes Arcee admitting that she isn't ready to lose another friend so soon after Cliffjumper to make him reconsider.
  • In Batman the Brave And The Bold, the Martian Manhunter gives the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who are going to be the new Justice League of America one of these before they go to take on Darkseid. (Immediately after, we Smash Cut to all of them chained up in Darkseid's dungeon).
  • Rango gets one of the most direct Dare to Be Badass speeches ever:

Rango: I’m a fraud! I’m a phony! My friends believed in me, but they need some kind of hero.
The Spirit of the West: Then be a hero.

  • The song "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" in Mulan is largely about this.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Military recruitment commercials are made of this trope.
  • Actually works in real life. Not all the time though, otherwise World of Badass wouldn't be a trope, it'd be a default.
  • When you think about it, this is basically what "clutch" in sports comes down to. Coming back from a disadvantageous situation only to win the game or the fight.
  • Most, if not all of Winston Churchill's wartime speeches.
  • Ditto Franklin Roosevelt, beginning with the "Infamy Speech."
    • And for a peacetime version, his First Inaugural Address: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
  • The motto of the British SAS, "Who Dares, Wins".