The Brute

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Don't be surprised if I behave like a savage. I am a savage."

Mike Tyson

"He's like a...bear! He's like a big, shaved bear that hates people!"

The Scout on the Heavy

The Brute is Evil's answer to The Big Guy. A Giant Mook with personality, the Brute is huge, all muscle, loves to fight and is very good at it. However, while he may first appear to be The Hero's equal in combat, subsequent battles will establish him as being the Goliath to the Hero's David.

He is usually a bully, incapable of empathy, and, more often than not, also very stupid, though there are exceptions. Super Strength and Nigh Invulnerability are common among powered varieties. Female brutes are rare outside of all-women groups, although not unheard of.

If The Dragon isn't the one that gets sent out to antagonize the heroes on a regular basis, it's this guy. He is usually the lowest-ranking member of the inner circle's hierarchy, and as such generally gets little respect from them, though he may exercise authority over the Mooks.

He is often the first opponent the heroes face after their successes require that someone more capable be sent to take care of them. He tends to be either blindly loyal or just too thickheaded and incompetent to ever stand a chance of overthrowing the leaders. Despite his role as the primary brute force of The Evil Army, he is rarely ever as strong as The Dragon.

One thing to keep in mind with this character type is that it's the role and rank as opposed to just the personality that defines it. Pete from the Walt Disney canon is a classic example of the Brute personality type: a big dumb bully that just loves to throw his own weight around. However, he's generally used as a Big Bad (or, in works like Kingdom Hearts II, The Dragon). As such, in most appearances, he is not technically a Brute.

This character type often shows up as part of the Five-Bad Band dynamic (in fact, his presence is often what defines it). He can also show up as a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, but (like all the other members) will lose most of his threat level by virtue of his quirkiness.

A Brute whose demeanor becomes Implacable Man will quickly ascend to the status of Juggernaut, while the more emotionally volatile risk becoming The Berserker. Be wary too, recruiters, of a Brute who pets the dog, lest he prove to be a closet Gentle Giant.

Compare: Smash Mook.

Examples of The Brute include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Book

  • Blob is usually portrayed this way in X-Men media and adaptations.
  • Rhino, in Spider-Man, has generally been portrayed this way. His Dumb Muscle personality was even used in a Homage to Flowers for Algernon where he briefly became smarter.
  • Validus of the Fatal Five from Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Bambi Baker from Strangers in Paradise is a female example, but then most of the SiP cast is female.
  • Parallax, despite being an Anthropomorphic Personification of fear itself, acts like a bully and is the first of the Sinestro Corps' five leaders to be defeated.
  • Most incarnations of Batman's foe, Killer Croc. When he was introduced in 1983, he was actually portrayed as a dangerously cunning Genius Bruiser with a chip on his shoulder, but as time went by, Flanderization set in as writers focused more and more exclusively on his brute strength at the expense of his other traits, and at his worst (around Batman: Hush), he was written as little more than a hungry animal. The introduction of Bane, another Genius Bruiser, rendered the original characterization of Croc redundant - few people remember that running Batman ragged and breaking his back was how Croc was introduced.
    • The current in-universe explanation/Retcon is that his mutation is degenerative, slowly making his brain more reptilian as well as his body.
    • On the other hand, another of Batman's enemies, the Man-Bat, is usually just a near-mindless beast.
  • Darth Nihl and Darth Stryfe from Star Wars Legacy are the least cunning of the main Sith characters but are their two strongest warriors. Stryfe in particular is single-minded about killing anything that his boss, Darth Krayt, doesn't like.
  • Ironclad from the Incredible Hulk's Rogues Gallery, the U-Foes.
  • Blockade, from the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Titania from the Marvel Universe is a somewhat rare example of a female bruiser.
  • Patch from Scourge's Suppression Squad in Sonic the Hedgehog
  • If a Sin City mafioso needs a big guy to smack the hero around, they will call Manute everytime.


  • Shows up fairly often in the James Bond series.
    • Red Grant in From Russia with Love, who is interesting in that he also has the most direct role in the action.
    • Thunderball has three of them: Jacques Boitier, Count Lippe, and Mr. Janni. Vargas is also Brute-like but he is actually The Dragon.
    • Osato's car driver in You Only Live Twice, played by Peter Maivia, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's grandfather. He can endure several hits of sofa and punching him in the face is quite ineffective (pretty much like Oddjob).
    • Bambi and Thumper in Diamonds Are Forever are a particularly amusing example, and a rare instance of female Brutes.
      • Also, Peter Franks.
    • In Live and Let Die, Dr. Kananga has two of them: Whisper and Baron Samedi.
    • Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker
      • In the former film, he is definetly The Brute, but also The Dragon, while in the latter, he develops into a pure Dragon, with Chang as the Brute.
    • Emile Locque in For Your Eyes Only.
    • Octopussy gives as the three thugs hired by Kamal Khan, to kill Bond. They don't seem very smart, but they are definetly sadistic.
    • Necros in The Living Daylights, depending on whether or not you consider Koskov to be The Dragon.
    • Xenia in GoldenEye is both this and also the Psycho for Hire Dark Chick.
    • Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies.
    • Gabor in The World Is Not Enough.
    • Mr. Kil in Die Another Day.
    • Bond films in general are an interesting case, since they often have a character filling the role of both Dragon and Brute in order to put greater emphasis on the contrast between the mental power of the Big Bad and the physical power of his top henchman. Leaving aside the smart ones like Gobinda in Octopussy—since they're pure Dragon—some classic examples of Bond Dragon-Brutes include Oddjob, Jaws, Dario, Xenia, Stamper and Hans from You Only Live Twice.
  • Bane in Batman and Robin
    • Note that while film!Bane is an incoherent muscle-bound moron, comic!Bane is dangerously intelligent.
      • The Dark Knight Rises not only corrected that problem, but if anything provided us with a Bane who was superior to his comics portrayal.
    • In Tim Burton's Batman, the Joker had Lawrence, who also carried around a boombox to provide the background music.
  • Bonecrusher in Transformers.
    • He hates being the Brute.
    • Brawl might also qualify. He is the most heavily armed Decepticon and the toughest one to kill. It took the combined efforts of the human military and all four non-Optimus Prime Autobots to finally put him down for the count. Of course, his alt mode is a literal tank.
      • Blackout could count seeing as he's the most heavily armed character and the largest one in the movie.
    • In the second film, Grindor acts as this during the 3-on-1 battle in the forest while in the final battle, the role clearly belongs to Devastator.
      • Demolisher could count due to his large size and that he just uses his weight instead of a weapon.
    • Shockwave's Driller in the third film.
  • Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill, for all that she's a petite schoolgirl.
  • Boagrius from Troy.
  • Dredger from Sherlock Holmes
  • Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, has Gunner the zombie. We know that he was cruel and sadistic, even before being a zombie.
  • Leroy in Mystery Team.
  • Lothar in The Rocketeer, who was modeled upon 30s film star Rondo Hatton.
  • Banzai from The Lion King.
  • A Bug's Life gives us Thumper. He's so vicious the other grasshoppers have to keep him on a leash much of the time.


  • Gregor Clegane from A Song of Ice and Fire is this to a tea. He's not on any inner circle, in part because he's too psychotic for that, and because Lord Tywin doesn't really keep an inner circle, (he has one or two people he genuinely consults with, the rest are dupes that he manipulates) however he is Tywin's choice for virtually all of the dirty and bloody work that needs to be done, and shows real taste for and skill at it. He's also the World's Strongest Man, and will gleefully show it off.
    • Similarly, Victarion Greyjoy is this almost to a T for House Greyjoy. They also make an interesting comparison, as they are two very different characters who fall under the same trope type; while Clegane is a vicious and amoral sadist, Victarion is The Fettered, believing wholeheartedly in the grim, Even Evil Has Standards code of honor that the Iron Men share.
    • And Shagga son of Dolf serves as a Boisterous Bruiser style Brute to Tyrion, doing most of his dirty work, while Tyrion and Bronn keep their hands relatively clean. Timmett son of Timmett is somewhere between this and a second Dragon.
  • Adus in David Eddings' Elenium trilogy. "Just put armor on a gorilla and you've got him." He's a mentally-handicapped thug who serves Martel as his best enforcer and killer. Martel considers Adus to be little more than a weapon ("I use him for killing people") and everyone who meets him looks down on him due to his stupidity and lack of hygiene. He has all the hallmarks of the personality type too, being dumb, but a savante when it comes to small unit tactics, willing to cut through his own men just to get to the heroes, and lacking the ability to so much as read.
    • He may be the King of Cthol Murgos, but one could definitely make the case for Taur Urgas being The Brute in Eddings' other major series, The Belgariad. He's got all the hallmarks of the personality: no empathy, totally Axe Crazy, a Berserker in combat, and he also seems to fit in terms of his position and role in the villainous hierarchy: he's the ruler of one of the largest countries subject to Torak, and provides manpower and muscle for the Angarak armies, while still being subject to Ctuchik, Torak's Dragon.
    • In Eddings' stand-alone novel, The Redemption of Althalus Pekhal and Gelta are the ones that Ghend calls in when he and Daeva have a situation that requires straight up brute force, as opposed to cunning or subtlety (which Evil Genius Argan and Dark Chick Koman deal with). Both are relics from the Stone Age, and are vicious, cruel, more than a little stupid, and in Gelta's case prone to fits of psychotic rage. They don't get much more brutish.
  • Lu Bu in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Initially, he is able to handily intimidate all dissenters from taking down Dong Zhou, drive away Cao Cao when Cao Cao comes to assassinate Dong Zhou, and take on Zhang Fei, Guan Yu, and Liu Bei at once. Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Liu Bei are held up as amazing warriors because three on one they didn't flee Lu Bu and forced him to retire. Of course, Lu murders his lord and adopted father for a horse, his next lord for a 16 year old dancer (not that kind), and dies an alcoholic wreck of a man.
  • Ronald Niedermann from The Millennium Trilogy is able to deal out a lot of pain, being able to break normal people's necks like sticks. Coupled with the fact that he is unable to feel pain due to a neuralgic defect, it makes him nearly unstoppable.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born," Khumbanigash.
  • In the Sci Fi novel Malevil, Armand. He serves as the Sinister Minister's enforcer; big, dumb, and cruel, a man who only understands bullying people.
  • Goliath, is probably the most triumphant example of this trope.
    • Not necessarily; all we are really told about him is how big he is and that he's his army's champion.
  • Crabbe and Goyle fill this role in the Harry Potter series, along with actual giants.
  • Tool in Ship Breaker is set up to be The Brute to first Lucky Strike and then Richard Lopez. Subverted, as he's actually a Genius Bruiser and The Unfettered, and is thus works for no one. Regular Halfmen, who are The Fettered fullfill the stereotype better.

Live Action Television

  • Leo Johnson on Twin Peaks. Hired goon, abusive husband, profane loudmouth: the whole package.
  • The appropriately named Eartha Brute from Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?.
  • Branken from Mahou Sentai Magiranger. He'd also qualify for Disc One Final Boss if N Ma hadn't been present, if trapped, from the beginning.
  • It's been noted that Eliot Spencer, The Big Guy in Leverage sometimes acts more like this trope than is usual. The show also provides a number of straight examples, most of whom eventually fight Eliot at one point or another:
    • From "The Wedding Job", there's The Butcher of Kiev, who's probably the most archetypal Brute on the show. A hulking thug in the employ of the Russian Mafia, The Butcher is a Knife Nut who uses his massive size and fondness for meat cleavers to overpower his opponents, and is far too stupid to be anything more than a leg-breaker. He has a personal grudge against Eliot for scarring his face in an earlier confrontation.
    • Mr. Quinn, of "The First David Job" is a nondescript Badass in a Nice Suit retained by Nate's Evil Counterpart, Sterling, for the specific purpose of beating Eliot into submission. Not important enough to be The Dragon he displays enough personality to avoid being a simple Elite Mook, and his role as the muscle puts him firmly in this trope. He later reappears during "The Last Dam Job" to help Eliot when Eliot is recognized by the mark. He and Eliot seem to get along despite their previous conflict.
    • Finally we have Roper, a member of the kidnap gang in "The Carnival Job." He's a Psycho for Hire who seems to have a personal history with Eliot and is probably the best fighter the gang has available, as well as a ruthless Combat Pragmatist (seriously, he attacked Eliot in a funhouse, while he was injured, and still made sure to have a little girl as a hostage). However, he's not the Number Two, and seems to have been contracted for his skills at breaking heads and nothing else, not even appearing until the end of the episode.
  • In the 2010 version of Nikita, Roan fills the role. A Cleaner who Nikita scarred by his own acid and silent badass, the universal reaction to encountering him is to wet your pants and run.
    • Roan may be so deadly that he qualifies as a Hero-Killer. To date, Nikita is the only one who managed to get one-up on him, and even she still runs like hell if she has the chance when he shows up.
      • As of mid-Season 2, it can also be argued that Roan has elements of The Dragon—he's Percy's most loyal and deadliest remaining agent, and the one organized the Guardians into action when Amanda and Oversight locked Percy up.

Professional Wrestling

  • The wrestling term for a Brute is a "Monster Heel." This usually (but not always) overlaps with The Giant wrestling archetype. Notable examples include Kane, early Mankind, The Big Show, Vader, Brock Lesnar, the Great Khali, Andre the Giant, and TNA's Abyss.
  • Another type of Brute that pops up occasionally in professional wrestling is the most physically imposing member of a heel stable, such as Batista's role in Evolution. This can sometimes overlap with being The Dragon to the stable leader's Big Bad, such as Mason Ryan in the current New Nexus.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • Flak in Advance Wars 2. He also appears in Dual Strike, but has no role in the story. (His Limit Break is called "Brute Force".) His role as The Brute is filled in the new Black Hole by Jugger, who has the exact same abilities as him.
  • Heidegger in Final Fantasy VII doesn't do too much direct fighting himself, but fills this role in ShinRa's army.
  • Lexaeus from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is at least head and shoulders taller than the rest of the members, and is the only one who can physically lift his weapon (an axesword). Here's a picture of the Org comparing their height. Despite being The Brute, though, he's not stupid; he manages to cut short the one argument we see around him, and apparently has a head for strategy, given that Zexion goes to him for advice to deal with Riku.
    • Xaldin in Kingdom Hearts II. Sadistic, imposing, and dangerous...but definately NOT stupid.
    • Oogie Boogie served this role in the original game, though ironically being the weakest villain of the group physically, relying on his deadly casino traps to fight.
  • An archetype in City of Heroes/City of Villains is actually called The Brute, though thanks to the variety of powersets available (not to mention the free-reign character creation), all player characters of this archetype doesn't necessarily fit the trope - at least the "big" and "all muscle" parts. You can just as easily make an incredibly agile rapier-wielding Brute. They do love to fight, though - the archetype's entire schtick is that they get stronger as a fight goes on.
    • Subverted even more with subsequent updates of the game. Since Going Rogue in 2010, it's been possible to change your villainous Brute into a hero, and since City of Heroes Freedom in 2011, it's been possible to start as a heroic Brute.
    • On the other hand, NPCs that fall under this trope are generally of that archetype, including The Wretch. Captain Mako (a large muscle-bound shark man) is a subversion though, being a Stalker.
  • Several Cutscenes in Street Fighter Alpha 3 show Balrog playing this role within Bison's Shadaloo organization. Although if you play as him, he will betray Bison in a power grab.
    • Balrog/"Boxer" is definitely The Brute of Shadaloo... anywhere but in Street Fighter Alpha 3. In that game, he's The Dragon (to Bison/"Dictator").
  • Berserker/Hercules from Fate/stay night.
  • Largo the Black Lion from Tales of the Abyss fits the role but also subverts it: A giant man over six feet tall and wielding a Sinister Scythe, he is a Well-Intentioned Extremist Warrior Poet who is usually very calm and collected, and views battle as a means to an end and not as an end in itself. He is also something of a Worthy Opponent. Although he is the first God-General defeated he returns to plague you several times, and in each of his appearances he's usually strong enough to be a match for a full party.
  • Raven from Metal Gear fits this in terms of appearance and group role: a huge man, all muscles, who goes into battle carrying a Gatling gun, and eschews the schemes of the rest of the group. In personality he's a major subversion, being an intelligent Warrior Poet shaman, and possibly an Anti-Villain going by how he says he doesn't actually want to live in the sort of world being created by Liquid and The Patriots, and how he welcomes death, rejoicing in returning to "Mother Earth".
    • Khamsin from the Bladewolf DLC for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a straighter example in that he's a jingoistic, patriotic, simple-minded guy who is obsessed with bringing freedom to people even if he has to kill them in order to do so. An interesting version though in that he's not simply a large and heavy-set guy, but a well-built soldier who has the top half of his body implanted in an enormous mech body that wields an enormous Chainsaw-Ax!
  • Dapang from John Woo's Stranglehold, who also has the distinction of being Wong's Dragon. On the Golden Kane side, we have Ty Lok, who Tequila fights in the third major mission, who isn't as big and powerful as Dapang, but does pack a big whacking machine gun.
  • Roach from Heavenly Sword. Notable for being a rather pitiable Anti-Villain in a game that has some truly hateable villains, including Flying Fox.
  • The Heavy in the page quote from Team Fortress 2 fills this archetype as a playable character, being a Mighty Glacier wielding a big freakin Gatling gun named "Sasha".
    • And he can get another one, its named Natasha.
    • Thing is, while he mostly qualifies for simply The Big Guy of the second variety while on your team, he definitely qualifies as this while on the other team, since while he is generally one of the nicest members of the cast to his other team members, he is taunting and berating to his enemies.
  • The Brutes from Halo. One is pictured above without a helmet. They're scarier without helmets on!
  • In Wild ARMs, Belselk, the first member of the Quarter Knights, is definitely The Brute of the squad. He's a rare case that's actually stronger than The Dragon, and Zeikfried admits this in the remake, calling him the strongest fighter of the Quarter Knights. The heroes were only able to beat him because a trap backfired and left him weaker. The remake had Alhazad revive him after his death at the hands of Boomerang, and he returns near the end of the game to pay Boomerang back then goes on to face the heroes one last time just before the Big Bad.
  • Lenny in Shadow Hearts 2.
  • Third level boss The Giant from Kung-Fu Master.
  • Crash Bandicoot 1 gives us Koala Kong, while most subsequent Crash games have this position filled by Tiny Tiger.
  • Gades the Sinistral of Destruction from the Lufia series.
  • So far, it seems that every set of Robot Masters in the Classic continuity of the Mega Man series contains at least one Master that fits this trope.
      • And this doesn't even begin to mention the Fortress Bosses and some of the larger enemies!
    • Yellow Devil and its descendants, big time!!
  • Bolo and his Palette Swap Abobo in Double Dragon, and Burnov and Abore in the sequel.
  • The Witcher, has Savolla. It is very unusual for The Brute to be an Evil Sorcerer, but he is still this. He is the first opponent that The Hero faces and he also, aside from being a sorcerer, has also strong-like appearance.
  • Even though Hades is usually portrayed as a Big Bad in fiction, God of War portrays him as The Brute. He relies more on hitting Kratos with his chain blade things than anything else, and his second form relies on NASTY physical attacks.
  • Agatio from Golden Sun: The Lost Age is an unusually clever example, despite Alex and even the official strategy guide writing him off as mere Dumb Muscle. He's sharp enough to fight dirty, hits like a truck... oh, and did we mention he's a Fire Adept with a huge variety of unique and powerful spells at his disposal? The good news is that he defers to authority. The bad news? He thinks Prox plans to Take Over the World, and is quite determined to make it happen...
  • Super Paper Mario: O'Chunks is a classic example, and a rather entertaining one to boot given the fact that he's a burly, rough-and-tough Irishman.
    • Marilyn of the Shadow Sirens is an older example from the second Paper Mario game. She towers over her sisters and Doopliss once he joins the group after Vivian joins Mario, is quite fat, communicates primarily by grunting, and hits the hardest out of the trio and can buff her stats so she can hit even harder than that.
    • Stapler in Paper Mario: The Origami King is this to the Legion of Stationery, a glorified guard dog incapable of speech or strategy among a cast of exhuberant and talkative bosses that deploy every dirty trick to get the upper hand. Still a dangerous opponent with aggressive multi-hitting attacks that deal a lot of damage even when guarded and keep getting stronger as the fight lasts.
  • Balrog from Cave Story is a large soap-bar shaped robot (or something) who also serves as the Doctor's right-hand man, trying to kill the main character on several occasions.
  • Final Fantasy VII's film, Advent's Children, has Loz, one of the three Sephiroth brothers, alongside Kadaj and Yazoo. A Dumb Muscle Lightning Bruiser and Psychopathic Manchild possessing both Super Strength and Super Speed, Loz is the least intelligent and lowest ranking of the three brothers, and spends most of the film beating up anyone that Kadaj or Yazoo tell him to.
  • Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance has General Bertram, one of the Four Riders of Daien, a Brainwashed and Crazy Death Seeker who only speaks in broken Sssssnaketalk. Theoretically Co-Dragons with The Black Knight and Generals Bryce and Petrine, Bertram is too insane to actually lead his troops, and holds his position based solely on his combat skills.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Boisterous Bruiser Magnius fills this role for the Desian Grand Cardinals.
  • Metroid has Kraid.
  • The Dark Brotherhood has at least one of these in both Oblivion and Skyrim. Gogron from Oblivion is your classic example of a brute: he forgoes the typical light armor and hood ensemble of a Dark Brotherhood assassin as well as a small, quiet weapon and instead likes to rush in and obliterate his targets with a battleax while clad in heavy armor. He doesn't really come off as all that intelligent either.
    • Festus Krex in Skyrim is an interesting example as he isn't stupid in the slightest as he is a skilled sorcerer, instead he forgoes subtlety and instead blasts his targets to pieces with powerful Destruction spells simply because he hates sneaking around.
  • Pokémon's Team Cipher has one employed in an Admin role in both Orre games. Dakim from the first game isn't afraid to beat up a man that he needs information from, is very proud of his power, and is obviously huge and bulky to boot. Gorigon from the second is about as big and bulky as Dakim, but also acts animalistic in his battle animations to where he walks on all fours like an ape and beats his chest at the start of a fight! Both also use the same kind of strategy: They have one Pokémon use the powerful Earthquake attack to devastate your Pokémon while having the other Pokémon of theirs use Protect to stay unharmed and alternate the strategy to keep it going.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Transformers:
  • The Rhino, a Super Villain in The Spectacular Spider-Man, definitely qualifies, being especially powerful, threatening and dumb. Other brutish types include his former partner the Sandman, who has the good fortune to be a little more clever and less single-minded, and The Dragon Hammerhead, who is intelligent enough to loyally serve the Big Bad (until eventually betraying him during a gang-war).
  • Siege in The Mighty Ducks cartoon. Not particularly dumb but definitely the biggest and strongest of the Saurians, who prefers brute force.
  • The Fairly OddParents has Francis. He's usually just a bully, but in episodes where he's changed through magic, like "Timmy the Barbarian" or "The Big Superhero Wish" he takes on this role a lot more seriously.
  • General Molotov on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • Thundra in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series is a rare female example. She's the muscle of the villainous Frightful Four.