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Atomic Alex
02-19-2013, 01:28 PM
We all know the scenario, the main bad guy has the hero cornered or otherwise at a disadvantage and offers to spare his life if he'll join the bad guys cause.

Its easy to see why the hero dramatically spurns the bad guys offer in movie-land but in what we laughingly call the 'real world' surely the hero would just pretend (after some hesitation to make it at least semi-convincing) to sign up to Evil in order to escape his current situation while biding his time to take his nemesis' organisation down from the inside.

So has any movie/tv hero actually done this?

(feel free to swap gender related pronouns in the above post, men don't have the lock on either heroism or scenery-chewing supervillianary but its much harder to type)

CalMeacham
02-19-2013, 01:31 PM
It's more often done as a ruse, I expect, or as a temporary truce, rather than switching sides.


One movie where it appears that hero changes sides is Charade, but, of course, it's purely appearance, and there are several layers of deception.

silenus
02-19-2013, 01:37 PM
Jayne switches sides on Firefly. Several times, in fact. For some definitions of "good" and "bad." He sells out his original employers when Mal makes him a better offer, and he later tries to sell out Simon and River to the Alliance.

For that matter, Luke could be seen as doing this when he goes to Vader in RotJ. His father certainly thought so. Maybe.

Stranger On A Train
02-19-2013, 02:08 PM
Brick, Miller's Crossing, Yojimbo (all of which are based to some degree on Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest), The Maltese Falcon, Out Of The Past, and countless other noir-ish films. It is a central plot point in Casablanca and (reluctantly) The Third Man. It is a common trope in noir, i.e. "playing both sides". In The Big Lebowski, a sort-of spoof of The Big Sleep,the detective played by Jon Polito accuses The Dude of running this kind of game, ("I dig your work. Playing one side against the other, in bed with everybody,") but of course The Dude is clueless and actually being used by everyone else to advance their agendas.

Stranger

Jophiel
02-19-2013, 02:28 PM
This set-up seems common enough that I can't believe I can't think of a good example:

(1) Group of good guys trying to stop some evil
(2) Somewhat troublesome good guy gets his plan rejected or bid for leadership shot down, etc.
(3) Troublesome good guy may or may not leave the group in a huff.
(4) Good Guy Group gets into a tight spot, usually a trap. Troublesome good guy appears and says he has joined the Bad Side where he's respected.
(5) At some point, True Protagonist and New Bad Guy fight, NBG says "Come to our side, it's awesome" but True Protagonist stays firm and defeats NBG in a bittersweet conclusion.

Now obviously this only works if you have an ensemble cast of good guys to draw someone away from.

Morbo
02-19-2013, 02:37 PM
Brick, Miller's Crossing, Yojimbo (all of which are based to some degree on Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest)

Also A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, Last Man Standing...

You also kinda see this all the time in undercover police movies - either the character will be undercover the whole time and you're not sure if he'll go back to being good (Deep Cover, Donnie Brasco, Rush), or a previously unknown undercover character will be forced to dramatically blow his cover (Running Scared, The Departed).

Hal Briston
02-19-2013, 02:38 PM
This set-up seems common enough that I can't believe I can't think of a good example:

(1) Group of good guys trying to stop some evil
(2) Somewhat troublesome good guy gets his plan rejected or bid for leadership shot down, etc.
(3) Troublesome good guy may or may not leave the group in a huff.
(4) Good Guy Group gets into a tight spot, usually a trap. Troublesome good guy appears and says he has joined the Bad Side where he's respected.
(5) At some point, True Protagonist and New Bad Guy fight, NBG says "Come to our side, it's awesome" but True Protagonist stays firm and defeats NBG in a bittersweet conclusion.

Now obviously this only works if you have an ensemble cast of good guys to draw someone away from.Most of the bases are covered in The Matrix.

astorian
02-19-2013, 02:45 PM
How about Wesley, in The Princess Bride?

Given a chance to live and see his twue wuv again some day, he agrees to join the crew of the Dread Pirate Roberts, and eventually BECOMES the Dread Pirate Roberts.

In some versions of The Count of Monte Cristo (certainly in the Jim Caviezel version), the newly escaped Edmond Dantes is given a choice between death and joining a pirate's crew, and he elects to join the crew, as a means of biding time and putting together the money and the plan he'll need to wreak his revenge.

Eyebrows 0f Doom
02-19-2013, 02:46 PM
This set-up seems common enough that I can't believe I can't think of a good example:

(1) Group of good guys trying to stop some evil
(2) Somewhat troublesome good guy gets his plan rejected or bid for leadership shot down, etc.
(3) Troublesome good guy may or may not leave the group in a huff.
(4) Good Guy Group gets into a tight spot, usually a trap. Troublesome good guy appears and says he has joined the Bad Side where he's respected.
(5) At some point, True Protagonist and New Bad Guy fight, NBG says "Come to our side, it's awesome" but True Protagonist stays firm and defeats NBG in a bittersweet conclusion.

Now obviously this only works if you have an ensemble cast of good guys to draw someone away from.

I think that happened in one of the X-Men movies with the kid who controls fire. I don't remember which one that one.

astorian
02-19-2013, 02:48 PM
I haven't seen any of the Hostel movies, but isn't there one where the last surviving girl is a millionaire's daughter who stays alive at the end by JOINING the secret society that had been killing all her friends?

Saint Cad
02-19-2013, 02:53 PM
X-Men:First Class. Doesn't Dragonfly join Magneto?

lost4life
02-19-2013, 03:21 PM
I haven't seen any of the Hostel movies, but isn't there one where the last surviving girl is a millionaire's daughter who stays alive at the end by JOINING the secret society that had been killing all her friends?

Great, now you've ruined the plot of a Hostel movie for me....;)

There was a Travolta movie called Basic where IIRC the good guy (girl in this case) joins the bad guys at the end, for real.

Morbo
02-19-2013, 03:24 PM
X-Men:First Class. Doesn't Dragonfly join Magneto?

Forgot about that one. And Pyro joins him at the end of X2 and is still with him in X3.

JeffB
02-19-2013, 03:30 PM
Great, now you've ruined the plot of a Hostel movie for me....;)

There was a Travolta movie called Basic where IIRC the good guy (girl in this case) joins the bad guys at the end, for real.Except the bad guys actually turn out to be good guys.

Miller
02-19-2013, 03:40 PM
Well, Anakin Skywalker is a pretty obvious one.

In the Jet Li film, Twin Warriors, Li plays one of two childhood friends exiled from a Shaolin monastery. After some adventures together, Li joins the rebel army, while his friend becomes the Emperor's enforcer.

In the Flash Gordon movie from the '70s, Dr. Zarkov is brainwashed into serving Ming, but it turns out it was a trick, and Zarkov had beaten the brain washing.

Maserschmidt
02-19-2013, 03:41 PM
It is a central plot point in Casablanca and (reluctantly) The Third Man.

Stranger

Though in The Third Man, Holly Martins reluctantly goes over to the good side...unless you're thinking of some other aspect.

lost4life
02-19-2013, 03:49 PM
Except the bad guys actually turn out to be good guys.

Wait, really? I obviously wasn't paying that much attention. I like my ending better, so I'll stick with that instead of rewatching that confusing mess :)

madsircool
02-19-2013, 03:55 PM
Kellys Heroes

Stranger On A Train
02-19-2013, 04:13 PM
Also A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, Last Man Standing...

You also kinda see this all the time in undercover police movies - either the character will be undercover the whole time and you're not sure if he'll go back to being goodI was trying to remain focused on the specific scenario of the good guy "going bad" in response to duress and then undermining his opponent from within. So an undercover cop (who conceals his "good") identity doesn't really fit. In the "Man With No Name" films, the Eastwood character is really just out for himself; he isn't particularly good in any respect.

Though in The Third Man, Holly Martins reluctantly goes over to the good side...unless you're thinking of some other aspect.Martins pretends to be won over by Lime, while really just setting him up to be captured by the British in the international sector of Vienna. Since he actually spends most of the film believing Lime to be good (or, at least, not nearly as bad as the major makes him out to be) and really only sells out Lime to "rescue" Anna, it is not really the best example.

However, another that occurs to me is the underrated (if absurd) Hitchcock movie Torn Curtain, in which rocket scientist Paul Newman defects to East Germany in order to get a lecture on the East Bloc's understanding of missile interveption systems. A better example from the Cold War period and genre is the Le Carré adaptation of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold with Richard Burton as the faux turncoat, albeit with a particular twist that I won't reveal for those who have not seen the film.

Stranger

RealityChuck
02-19-2013, 04:26 PM
The Bridge over the River Kwai has Alec Guinness helping the Japanese to build the bridge out of pride, even though the bridge would be used against his own compatriots. The switch from resistance to aid is slow and subtle, but at the end he realizes the horror of what he's done.

epbrown01
02-19-2013, 04:52 PM
Its easy to see why the hero dramatically spurns the bad guys offer in movie-land but in what we laughingly call the 'real world' surely the hero would just pretend (after some hesitation to make it at least semi-convincing) to sign up to Evil in order to escape his current situation while biding his time to take his nemesis' organisation down from the inside.

Wait - don't the bad guys always make you kill someone when you join up, just to prove you're bad? At the very least, they give you an empty gun and try to trick you into it, or see if you try to kill them.

The Other Waldo Pepper
02-19-2013, 08:33 PM
How about Wesley, in The Princess Bride?

Given a chance to live and see his twue wuv again some day, he agrees to join the crew of the Dread Pirate Roberts

How about Hamlet? Given a chance to live and -- well, less "see his twue wuv" and more "crush his enemies, and see them driven before him, and heah da lam'ntations of da wimmin," he agrees to do a good turn for the pirates who captured him.

Ranchoth
02-19-2013, 11:26 PM
•Daffy Duck agreed to join Sinestro (much to the latter's surprise), but that was on TV.

•Catherine Zeta-Jones...towards the end of Oceans 12—under certain definitions of "good" and "bad."

(Damn, that spoiler-box can be cumbersome.)

Colibri
02-19-2013, 11:31 PM
In the "Man With No Name" films, the Eastwood character is really just out for himself; he isn't particularly good in any respect.

In addition, the rival sides he switches between are both bad guys.

Hottius Maximus
02-20-2013, 12:54 AM
At the end of the piece of crap movie "The Legacy" Katherine Ross decides to turn herself over to Satan to get the power.

dasmoocher
02-20-2013, 01:09 AM
Not the major character, but Thufir Hawat in Dune.

Fugazi
02-20-2013, 05:14 AM
This week's episode of Being Human (US) had a flashback to Aiden agreeing to getting turned into a vampire so his men would be spared.

Justin_Bailey
02-20-2013, 09:43 AM
(1) Group of good guys trying to stop some evil
(2) Somewhat troublesome good guy gets his plan rejected or bid for leadership shot down, etc.
(3) Troublesome good guy may or may not leave the group in a huff.
(4) Good Guy Group gets into a tight spot, usually a trap. Troublesome good guy appears and says he has joined the Bad Side where he's respected.
(5) At some point, True Protagonist and New Bad Guy fight, NBG says "Come to our side, it's awesome" but True Protagonist stays firm and defeats NBG in a bittersweet conclusion.

Now obviously this only works if you have an ensemble cast of good guys to draw someone away from.

The Expendables hits all of those beats. The good-guy-turned-bad is redeemed after the big fight (I think they handwave it away as a concussion or something) and comes back in the sequel as a full-fledged good guy.

TV time
02-20-2013, 10:51 AM
May I put forth a few (all Westerns I might add)

Posse - While the main guy, Kirk Douglas, did not take the offer, his entire posse did.

There Was a Crooked Man - Sort of, I guess.

The Good Guys and The Bad Guys - The whole basis of the movie with a couple of twists.

Dendarii Dame
02-20-2013, 10:54 AM
X-Men:First Class. Doesn't Dragonfly join Magneto?

Also, at the end, Mystique joins Magneto.

Clothahump
02-20-2013, 11:06 AM
"Hello, Clarice."

Clarice gets all wrapped up with Hannibal Lector in "Hannibal". the sequel to "Silence of the Lambs."

Intergalactic Gladiator
02-20-2013, 11:18 AM
Dolph Lundgren's character in The Expendables turns on the rest of the good guy mercs for a few bucks.

smithsb
02-20-2013, 11:26 AM
Surprised not mentioned yet. CMDR. Data goes over to the cute Bork chick. Fires the torpedoes/missiles to destroy the Enterprise in the past thereby destroying Patrick Stewart and the good guys in the future. When the torpedoes/missiles miss, the Bork chick is shocked - shocked I tells ya. Meltdown follows.

msmith537
02-20-2013, 12:18 PM
Surprised not mentioned yet. CMDR. Data goes over to the cute Bork chick. Fires the torpedoes/missiles to destroy the Enterprise in the past thereby destroying Patrick Stewart and the good guys in the future. When the torpedoes/missiles miss, the Bork chick is shocked - shocked I tells ya. Meltdown follows.

Borg. Bork is what he wanted to do to her.:D

Morbo
02-20-2013, 12:37 PM
Surprised not mentioned yet. CMDR. Data goes over to the cute Bork chick. Fires the torpedoes/missiles to destroy the Enterprise in the past thereby destroying Patrick Stewart and the good guys in the future. When the torpedoes/missiles miss, the Bork chick is shocked - shocked I tells ya. Meltdown follows.

Yeah, and what a prick Data was in that scene. What if the Phoenix had a problem and slowed down a little? What if one of the torpedos blew up accidentally? Or Cochrane saw the torpedos and aborted? Why put Picard through that and risk him being too despondent to react in time to escape? Seems like lots of risk, seeing as how he could've sprung his little trap at any time during that scene.

msmith537
02-20-2013, 01:40 PM
The OP is talking about the main hero, right? Not some tertiary character who betrays them?

The problem with the OPs question is that these scenes happen often enough:
-Heist films - pull off this job or I'll kill you
-Mob films - Welcom-a to the family! If-a you betray me I-a kill you!
-In too deep undercover films - Prove you're with me or I'll kill you
-Playing both sides films - (all together) if you kill (other guy) Ill reward you...otherwise I'll kill you
-Films with ambiguous morality - Which one of us is the real bad guy? Oh it's that even worse guy! Let's kill him together!

But they are usually a short term ruse to either stay alive or get close to someone to kill them. Some examples.


Point Break - Special Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu) willingly goes on a bank robbery with the Dead Presidents to save his girlfriend.

Salt - Salt (Jolie) has to make an extreme sacrifice to prove that she is still loyal to her KGB (or whoever) handlers.

Legend - Lili (Sara) is convincing enough that she is about to kill the unicorn that Jack (Cruise) has to think twice about putting an arrow through her face.

The Hunger Games - Peeta spends the intial couple of innings tagging along with the 'careers'.

In The Line of Fire - Harrigan (Eastwood) shoots his partner to prove he isn't a cop. Although he could tell the gun was empty (well...there could have been one bullet).

The Fast and the Furious films. Toretto (Diesel) is the bad guy. Is there really any reason O'Conner (Walker) just up and quits the FBI to join a ring of car thieves for 6 films?

TV time
02-20-2013, 05:00 PM
Borg. Bork is what he wanted to do to her.:DBoink is what he wanted to do to her. Bork is the guy George W. Bush wanted to put on the highest court of the land.

TV time
02-20-2013, 05:05 PM
I suppose it is open to interpretation, but I always felt that Paul Newman's Harper did not turn in his friend the killer.

Atomic Alex
02-20-2013, 05:32 PM
Wait - don't the bad guys always make you kill someone when you join up, just to prove you're bad? At the very least, they give you an empty gun and try to trick you into it, or see if you try to kill them.

Good point, I'd forgotten about that aspect.

The OP is talking about the main hero, right? Not some tertiary character who betrays them?


Yep, main character, I'm currently watching 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' (I know, I know...) and the Big Bad makes the offer to spare Sean Connery's character if he'll join Team Evil...which despite being massively outnumbered he spurns naturally...

tanstaafl
02-20-2013, 10:06 PM
How about The Watchmen? Basically everyone (except Rorchach) goes along with Ozymandius' plan in the end (though the question of who is good and who is bad is pretty much a central concept of the series).

Mosier
02-20-2013, 10:37 PM
In video games, Arthas agreed to join Ner'zhul in Warcraft 3. He spent a lot of time and effort to track down the source of the plague his people were suffering from. He started the quest noble and heroic, although rash. Over the course of his quest, he sacrificed little bits of his humanity until he finally encountered the source of the plague and ultimately became its champion.

epbrown01
02-21-2013, 12:57 AM
If you're going that route, in the first Infinity Blade the God King pauses during the last fight to give you the "join me" speech. In fact, I think most of the people you fight in the game are people that took him up on the offer.

RikWriter
02-21-2013, 07:26 AM
Boink is what he wanted to do to her. Bork is the guy George W. Bush wanted to put on the highest court of the land.

Unless I am mistaken, Bork was nominated by Bush 41, George Herbert Walker Bush.

DrFidelius
02-21-2013, 07:40 AM
•Daffy Duck agreed to join Sinestro (much to the latter's surprise), but that was on TV.

•Catherine Zeta-Jones...towards the end of Oceans 12—under certain definitions of "good" and "bad."

(Damn, that spoiler-box can be cumbersome.)

... and Sinestro had a whole seduction speech ready, too. Duck Dodgers was a little too enthusiastic about getting in early to a New Galactic Order. (Remember, Daffy is the actor, Duck Dodgers is the character he was playing.)

The Other Waldo Pepper
02-21-2013, 08:19 AM
Unless I am mistaken, Bork was nominated by Bush 41, George Herbert Walker Bush.

You're mistaken; it was Reagan.

MarcusF
02-21-2013, 08:37 AM
What about Bond in Goldfinger? I can't remember if it is in the book or the film but, having been captured in Switzerland, doesn't Bond pretend to go along with Goldfinger in the run up to the Fort Knox heist?

smithsb
02-21-2013, 09:18 AM
There is this old, old, old story about a malevolent trickster god who demands our hero, Abraham, sacrifice a son down on Highway 61 to prove his loyalty. At the last second, Abraham says to the god, "Look behind you!", grabs the son and runs off saving the day.

//I may be misremembering the last part - it was a long time ago//:D

Stranger On A Train
02-21-2013, 09:56 AM
What about Bond in Goldfinger? I can't remember if it is in the book or the film but, having been captured in Switzerland, doesn't Bond pretend to go along with Goldfinger in the run up to the Fort Knox heist?No. Goldfinger has him transported to Kentucky and he is held prisoner at Goldfinger's ranch so that he can be displayed to the CIA that he is unharmed, preventing them from rushing in (and allowing them to run back to chow down on another bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the most blatant product placement until Arrested Development).

Bond does "seduce" Pussy Galore into turning against Goldfinger by filling the gas canisters with an inert gas instead of the toxic nerve gas that Goldfinger gassed the gangsters with after spending fifteen minutes showing off his diorama of Fort Knox, so there is the counter-trope. However, I personally think that Pussy was less impressed by Bond's sexual prowess than Goldfinger's clear insanity and creepy letching, and just used the opportunity to get herself and the Flying Circus out of trouble. Meanwhile, Bond is knocked cold twice, gets both of the Masterson sisters killed, gets strapped to a table to receive a laser vasectomy, is captured or surprised on countless occasions starting with the pre-title scene (after he is warned not to go back to his hotel), crashes his Aston Martin despite all of the gadgets that Q branch spent tireless hours to build into it, and totally fails to disarm the bomb (done by an American technician by turning a switch). Bond's only actual successes are blowing up the oil refinery, killing Oddjob (which was just fortuitous dumb luck), and beating Goldfinger at cheating at golf. He can't even claim credit for taking out Goldfinger; that was the title character's own stupidity in shooting out a window on his Learjet.

Stranger

astorian
02-21-2013, 10:53 AM
Unless I am mistaken, Bork was nominated by Bush 41, George Herbert Walker Bush.

Nope, it was Reagan. After Bork was rejected, Reagan nominated Douglas Ginsburg, who had to withdraw when his use of marijuana became an issue. The job finally went to Anthony Kennedy, who thereby became (and remains) the most powerful man in America.

RikWriter
02-21-2013, 11:13 AM
Nope, it was Reagan. After Bork was rejected, Reagan nominated Douglas Ginsburg, who had to withdraw when his use of marijuana became an issue. The job finally went to Anthony Kennedy, who thereby became (and remains) the most powerful man in America.

Yeah, I shoulda googled it. But I knew it was back in the late 80s time frame, loooong before W.

panaccione
02-21-2013, 11:25 AM
Hollywood Hogan joined the NWO on the WCW. Does that count, brother?

Ranchoth
02-21-2013, 10:30 PM
... and Sinestro had a whole seduction speech ready, too. Duck Dodgers was a little too enthusiastic about getting in early to a New Galactic Order. (Remember, Daffy is the actor, Duck Dodgers is the character he was playing.)

Acknowledged, but to be fair...

•It's not terribly uncommon to refer to characters by their actors' names, e.g. Schwarzenegger.
•Can we honestly say that Daffy himself would have acted any differently in that situation? :D

Push You Down
02-22-2013, 03:29 PM
Hollywood Hogan joined the NWO on the WCW. Does that count, brother?

Ehh.. not really since he wasn't "offered" a position but was revealed to have been a secret member, but I think Macho Man and Luger joining would fall into this. IIRC both were considered faces at the time they joined.

TBG
02-22-2013, 05:13 PM
Ehh.. not really since he wasn't "offered" a position but was revealed to have been a secret member, but I think Macho Man and Luger joining would fall into this. IIRC both were considered faces at the time they joined.

They weren't joining to take it down or gather info on the bad guys, though, which I thought was an important part of the OP's question. If it's just good guys being offered spots in bad guy groups and accepting, pro wrestling is so full of it that it's barely worth naming individual instances.

Also, when Luger joined the nWo for the first time, it was the face nWo Wolfpac that he joined. He did remain when they later remerged with the heel nWo Hollywood, but he wasn't turning back when he initially joined.

grude
02-22-2013, 09:39 PM
I think this chancellor guy offered Anakin Skywalker some kind of apprentice position, came with a title of Darth and everything.

Renifer
02-23-2013, 08:10 PM
Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

2nd season, Angel loses his soul, shacks up with Spike and Dru.
End of 2nd season, Buffy teams up with Spite to defeat Angelus.
3rd season, Faith, tired of being second fiddle to Buffy, joins the Mayor. (She redeems herself later in the series.)
Mid 3rd season, Angel pretends to woo Faith to get information on the Mayor for Buffy.
Then there's season 6, where Willow ends up being the main villain.

There's a Simpson's episode where someone's trying to kill Homer and Sideshow Bob is chosen to help Homer find the killer.

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