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When a nice, normal character suddenly goes into a rage, you've hit his Berserk Button.

  • Red - Don't call Frank Moses "Grandpa".
    • Also don't call Marvin Boggs an old man.
    • Or break Frank's heart when Victoria has a gun.
  • Saps At Sea - in this Laurel and Hardy film, do NOT blow a horn of any sort in Ollie's presence. After his nerve-shredding work in a horn factory, the merest sounding of one - "Horns! HORNS!!!" - will turn him into a terrifying berserker ready to beat the crap out of whoever was responsible.
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: Do not call Bernadette by her birth name, Ralph.
    • Incidentally, calling any transsexual by their birth name is definitely a bad move. Not only will you piss them off, you may well be putting them in danger.
  • Phantom of the Paradise: Winslow goes ballistic any time it is mentioned/suggested that the Juicyfruits perform songs from his Cantata. The first time it's suggested by Philbin, he gets slammed against the wall. Later, assembling tiddlywinks in Sing-Sing Penitentiary, Winslow hears on the radio that the Juicyfruits will be opening the Paradise with his music: he bashes a guard unconscious and leaps into the production chute, escaping prison and attempting to trash the Juicyfruits' stored records.
  • The Blind Side: Usually, Michael is the Gentle Giant. But when an armed drug dealer makes sexual comments about Leigh Anne and Collins, an unarmed Michael hulks out and lays out the smackdown.
  • This Is England. Don't mention the Falklands War in front of Shaun.
  • Billy Jack: Do not mistreat children in the presence of Billy Jack. If you do... "I just go BERSERK!!!"
  • Mommie Dearest. Two words: Wire hanger.
  • The Boondock Saints: Threatening either of the McManus brothers will get you utterly fucked up by the other. Just ask Ivan Checkov, who got a toilet dropped on him by a pissed-off Connor for trying to execute Murphy after forcing him to cuff himself to said toilet.
  • Back to School has a teacher played by Sam Kinison who speaks very softly and earnestly until the subject of the Vietnam War comes up, at which point he launches into a screaming rant in Kinison's trademark style.
  • The 2009 Star Trek movie.
    • It is perfectly okay to talk shit about Commander Spock's Momma... as long as you do it while he's under heavy sedatives and has all four limbs tied down. Otherwise, you are going to get curb-stomped. Epically.
    • Kirk was intentionally trying to find a Berserk Button on Spock to show that he was 'emotionally compromised'. He still probably didn't expect what he got when he found it.
    • Captain Nero seems in command of his emotions until you get on the subject of the destruction of Romulus. Which he saw happen. Nero will get very angry if anyone suggests to him that it didn't get destroyed in this timeline. And bad things tend to happen to...well, the universe when Nero gets pissed off.
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: "SHOOT HIM!!!"
  • The 2005 remake of King Kong. When the group gets dropped into insect trench, there are two examples of this: the first is Lumpy, the chef, whose Heterosexual Life Partner Choy (who he was defending the whole film) dies from the fall. When the worms start coming from the mud, he's cut off from what other survivors there are, and surrounded by nightmarish creatures, they make the horrific mistake of trying to eat Choy's body. Lumpy proceeds to go Ax Crazy with a machete, killing several of them even while one of them is eating his leg. He only gets killed when they've disabled one of his legs, an arm, and then got a hold of his head. And even then, he's not screaming in terror: he's swinging the machete howling in anger.
    • The other is Carl, the director. It's debatable whether or not he genuinely valued the footage on the camera more than his crew, but it's indisputable that he was protecting it with his life, and the fall broke the camera, and ruined the film. He's got tears in his eyes and a look of utter despair... then he throws an off-screen elbow at something clawing at his side. Broken carapace flies around, and he promptly turns into Shaolin monk with a bo-staff as he smashes through the small bugs and cold-cocks a massive centipede-thing with one of the camera's tripod legs.
  • Bugsy: Bugsy Siegel hates being called "Bugsy." This was Truth in Television. He got the name because he tended to "bug out" over small things.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? George "Babyface" Nelson is very chipper until someone calls him "Babyface." The real Nelson also hated the nickname, as one can imagine.
  • This was basically the whole plot of the movie The Waterboy.
  • The Cotton Club: Dutch Schultz appears to have made a grudging peace with a rival gangster, but the rival won't stop needling him, casually remarking while grazing the buffet, "Aw, what's a Jew but a nigger turned inside out, anyway?" Schultz goes berserk and stabs him to death. Then again, it was never difficult to rile Schultz, in film or real life.
  • Kill Bill: Do not disparage the American or the Chinese side of O-Ren Ishii's heritage if you are attached to your head and wish to remain so.

 O-Ren Ishii: As your leader, I encourage you from time to time, and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you're unconvinced that a particular plan of action I've decided is the wisest, tell me so, but allow me to convince you and I promise you right here and now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is... I collect your fucking head. (shows Tanaka's head) Just like this fucker here. Now, if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say, NOW'S THE FUCKING TIME!

  • The Naked Gun: Frank Drebin pummels the anti-America cabal members after they insult the United States as weak and cowardly. [1], [2], [3]
  • The Back to The Future films:
    • Marty McFly insists, "Nobody... calls me... chicken!" This is a Shout-Out to Rebel Without a Cause.
    • Also, Buford Tannen, who was berserk to begin with, completely loses it when called by his nickname "Mad Dog," which he earned due to his viciousness and tendency to drool.
  • Undercover Brother:
    • "You mess with the fro, you got to go."
    • Conspiracy Brother has a Hair-Trigger Temper and flips out at seemingly random word choices that have an etymological connection to color. Undercover Brother tells him "Good morning," accusing Undercover Brother of being a spy. According to Conspiracy Brother, the word "good" comes from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word for white, and the expression "good morning" is actually code for killing black people.
    • Mr. Feather, when he realizes that he's being subconsciously influenced by black culture.
    • Lance, the meek Token White member of the BROTHERHOOD. When he's called a "sissy," he pulls a man's heart out of his chest, rips another guy's head and spinal column clean out of his body (c.f. the title creature in Predator 2), and squashes the speaker's head between his hands.
  • Don't call Alvin and Simon's brother Theodore the fatty ratty, or they'll go all Shredder on ya bum.
  • In the 1982 Film Noir parody Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid the protagonist Rigby Reardon (played by Steve Martin) goes into a homicidal rage every time someone mentions "cleaning woman". This is later used by the female protagonist to save them from the Bad Guys by tricking the main villain into saying the words and thus triggering a Bad Guy-killing frenzy.
  • Tall Tale - You can insult Pecos Bill or his friends. You can even insult his momma, or his horse. But don't you EVER insult Texas.
  • In Space Jam, Lola Bunny goes into a basket-busting frenzy whenever anyone calls her "Doll."
  • Serenity:
    • While River's rampage at the Maidenhead bar triggered by a Fruity Oaty Bars commercial was very much a Manchurian Agent style activation of her assassin abilities, the same cannot be said about Simon getting shot by the Reavers during the film's climax, where she got very angry, very calmly.
    • Mal and Zoe also have a Berserk Button in regards to Serenity Valley. When Jayne, in the middle of ripping Mal's leadership abilities, accuses him of getting everyone on his side killed in that battle, Zoe, the other major survivor of the battle, gives him a high-quality Death Glare and tells him very calmly, "You want to leave this room." Jayne gets the hint and backs off.
    • Simon has a general Berserk Button as well in regards to River being put in danger. After the first job Mal takes her on during the movie, a job which almost gets everyone on the job eaten by Reavers, Simon hauls off and decks Mal when he and the others make it back to Serenity.
  • In the movie The Quick and the Dead, outlaw Dog Kelly is so named because of an incident in his Backstory where he was forced to eat his own dog or face starvation. Being as he loved the dog in question, any mention of his nickname or the incident is a good way to seriously piss him off, as evidenced in the deleted scene when Ellen, the heroine, teases him about it.
  • In Tim Burton's Ed Wood, Bela Lugosi is having a good day on set, until a well-meaning prop guy compliments him for playing "Boris Karloff's sidekick." Profanity ensues.
  • Otamyas in Daft Queens does not "like... being... called... Mother... Fucker!"
  • A subversion in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls: In a fight with a crazed Wachootoo tribesman, the tribesman grabs Ace and rearranges his hair into horns, mocking Ace's reputation as the "White Devil." Ace gets up and says that this has gone far enough, "Nobody... messes... with the DO!"... and then proceeds to get further pummeled by the tribesman.
  • As revealed in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, the Apes get angry and defensive (in one case violently so) when called "monkeys."
  • In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar's berserk button was attacking Will or his father. He mangled their neighbor's finger when he got aggressive with Charles.
    • And Blue Eyes' was when she thought the humans were going after baby Caesar.
  • In Meet the Feebles, Heidi's berserk button is Samantha, Bletch's secret mistress. During their first encounter, after Samantha insults her and says Bletch doesn't love her, she calls Samantha a pussy (she is a cat, after all), and throws her in a box. In their second encounter, while Heidi is trying to commit suicide by machine gun, Samantha basically tells her Not with the Safety On, You Won't, and begins to leave. Heidi turns the gun on Samantha and kills her, starting Heidi on a murderous massacre.
  • Hocus Pocus: The generally practical Winnifred Sanderson only fully unleashes her wrath on anyone who dares to call her "ugly," and tortures or pursues the offenders single-mindedly. This eventually leads to her own demise, and that of her sisters.

 The Nostalgia Chick: "Oh, women and their priorities."

  • The Great Mouse Detective features Ratigan (Vincent Price). Ratigan can be quite Affably Evil, but he absolutely flips out when called a rat. (He actually ISN'T one, the only one depicted in the film, though all the rest of the characters are various mice and lizards.) A drunken mouse slips and calls him a rat during his Villain Song. His reaction is all the more effective in that after an initial moment of fury, he calms down... instead, he goes extremely quiet, and coolly, calmly, even lovingly, feeds poor Bartholomew to his Right-Hand-Cat.
  • Hancock. Call him an asshole. One. More. Time. Mary also has one. She doesn't like it when someone calls her crazy.
  • Scanners: Darryl Revok does not sound like Dr. Ruth. He sounds like Revok. Darryl. Revok. ...Er, that's not a reference to the sex-talk Dr. Ruth, by the way.
  • Subverted in Straw Dogs: Dustin Hoffman does go completely homicidal when the lads try to break into his house, but he remains entirely calm throughout.
  • The Joker in The Dark Knight Saga always gets a little bit more serious whenever someone calls him crazy or a "freak." At first, he merely shows annoyance, but the final time he angrily orders a man cut into pieces and fed to his dogs.
    • Ironically, he tells Batman he's a freak "like him." Which kind of fits the Joker's character of changing things along the way if it benefits him.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera:
  • Duck Soup: President Rufus T. Firefly is prepared to go to war over Ambassador Trentino calling him an "upstart." Later Firefly has calmed down and he and Trentino patch things up, realizing that neither of them can remember the word that set things off. Trentino jokingly tries several possibilities, and unfortunately hits on the right one, which starts the war all over again.
  • Forrest Gump: Lieutenant Dan took great offense at Cunning Carla when she asked if Forrest was "stupid or something." Also, Forrest himself unleashed hell on several occasions when he saw someone mistreating his beloved Jenny.
  • In Return of the Jedi, Luke is trying to keep his anger in check to avoid falling to The Dark Side, but then Vader threatens to do something Leia, who is basically the only family he has left. What happens next seems to take Vader by surprise as he cuts off Vader's sentence, knowing Vader was about to say she will turn, or another terrible thing would happen to her.
    • Also in Star Wars (before Anakin turns to the dark side), touch Anakin's loved ones and DIE.
      • Hell, even after he turns loved ones are still a Berserk Button. See the beginning of his duel with Obi-Wan.
        • Not to mention the end of Return of the Jedi. What's strong enough to break Vader's addiction to the Dark Side? His Berserk Button regarding the death of one of his family, even one he's barely seen for over twenty years and never really knew, that's what.
  • Austin Powers: "That makes me angry, and when Dr. Evil get angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, and when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset people DIE!"
  • Spaceballs:

 Princess Vespa: My hair! He shot my hair! Son of a bitch!

  • Laying a hand on Sonny Corleone's little sister is a good way to get yourself killed. Of course, you can always hope that you can use that against him to get him killed first....
    • Which will then result in getting the baby brother of Sonny and Connie VERY pissed off indeed. Bottom line? Don't mess with the Corleones. Ever.
    • Don't ever tell Michael you aborted his child.
  • In the film version of Mash, a player from the rival team tries to get one of the black players thrown out of the football game by hitting his Berserk Button (calling him a coon) and causing the player to attack him. Spearchucker Jones (played by Fred Williamson) decides that two can play at this game and suggests the player hit his Berserk Button by calling into question the virtue of his beloved sister. This other player attacks him and is himself thrown out.
  • Office Space: Excuse me, I believe you have my Red Stapler.
    • If you happen to be a printer and are reading this, you may not want to jam... ever.
  • Jamal Malik of Slumdog Millionaire remains calm, friendly, sweet and honest throughout most of the film. He even retains his composure while the Indian police are torturing him. However, if someone insults or harms Latika, the girl he loves, he becomes a whirling flurry of fists and angry directed at the source of the transgression.
  • Two things are guaranteed to set off Tony Montana of Scarface. The first is trying to kill a woman or child in his presence, or trying to make him do the same, as he "doesn't need that shit in his life," as a hitman working for Sosa learns the hard way. He also gets increasingly violent whenever anyone so much as touches his sister Gina, to the point that when he caught his buddy Manny with her (after he had married her without Tony's knowledge), Tony gunned him down.
  • In The Lord of the Rings movie, the entire Fellowship flips out when Frodo gets stabbed... again.
    • Sam always flips when Frodo gets threatened, injured, or the like. He's very protective of Frodo.
  • In Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Big Chris is a calm and collected enforcer. When Dog puts a knife to his son, Little Chris' throat, he keeps cool until he gets the upper hand, and then goes completely apeshit.
  • Tommy DeVito of Goodfellas normally has a reputation for having a Hair-Trigger Temper, getting pissed off no matter what is said to him. But when Billy Batts, a made man, talks about a rather humiliating period from Tommy's past when he was known as "Spitshine Tommy" for shining the other mob dudes' shoes, and then tells Tommy to go get his shine box, Tommy goes ballistic, knifing Batts to death in a savage rage. This eventually gets Tommy killed right as he himself is going to become a made man, because you do not kill a made man without a sitdown and an okay from the boss.
  • Do NOT, under any circumstances, make Dr. Frank N Furter jealous. You WILL regret it.
    • This is evident when just simply seeing Rocky with Janet causes Frank to go into a psychotic rage and starts to chase Janet all over the castle.
      • Well, it wasn't just that Rocky was in the same general vicinity as Janet; it was that his creation had obviously slept with her. (Not that Frank's reaction was appropriate, and it was also pretty hypocritical given his routine seduction of Anything That Moves, but the distinction there is at least somewhat important.)
      • He also kills Eddie with a pick axe simply because Eddie was stealing the spotlight.
        • Eddie appearing was bad timing; he was showing off his invention, he used Eddie's brain for that and one of his lovers was Eddie's girlfriend and trying to get over Eddie at the time.
    • Making Riff-Raff jealous is just as bad...if not worse. Case in point, Richard O'Brien had stated in an interview that Riff's main reason for killing Frank was purely out of jealousy.
  • She may be the most peaceful monster in the Toho universe, but it's still a very bad idea to harm Mothra's children or the Shobijin (the two fairies she protects).
    • Likewise, even though he's already got a rather violent temper, Godzilla himself tends to go into Unstoppable Rage mode whenever anything tries to harm his son.
  • Let's just say that harming a child whenever Gamera is around may just very well be the last thing you'll ever do.
  • You can say whatever you like about Frank Hopkins, but leave his horse out of it. Or very, very bad things will happen.
  • Another man whose horse you shouldn't insult, even slightly: D'Artagnan from The Three Musketeers. He won't even challenge you to a duel; he'll just charge with intent to run you through. At least, that's what he does in the Douglas Fairbanks incarnation.
    • Meh, what a snapweed. In the Russian movie he simply responds with a witty remark: "You only ridicule a horse if you are too afraid to ridicule its owner."
    • The funniest thing about that is that D'Artagnan is fully aware of what a crummy horse it is -- he sells it the minute he gets to Paris. He's just looking for an excuse to run somebody through.
  • Professor Marcus, of The Lady Killers (1955), starts to go batshit insane whenever another character calls him 'crazy'. Luckily for the offending party, he is usually interrupted by the narrative before anything serious happens.
  • Teddy Duchamp in Stand by Me goes from mocking to frothing in seconds if you insult his dad's sanity. This is an odd case, since his dad once disfigured him on purpose.
    • Later in the movie, Vern flips out on Teddy when Teddy calls him "pussy" one too many times.
  • Rock and Roll High School. Never try to burn a pile of your students' rock n roll records, or else they will take over the school with help from The Ramones.
  • Lone Wolf McQuade: You can beat him, shoot him, bury him alive, and even shoot his dog and maybe survive, but if you hurt his daughter, you will open the whole can of Chuck Norris whoopass.
  • Otto in A Fish Called Wanda: "DON'T! call me stupid!"
  • In Enki Bilal's Immortal, Horus really doesn't like hearing Anubis' name. And no god can help you if you get them mixed up.

 Horus: Don't ever speak that jackal's name again, you understand? Only my name. Only me.

  • "I TOLD YOU..." (kills all the Nazis in the room) "...DON'T CALL ME JUNIOR."
  • The Goonies. First when Mouth tells Chunk he has naked pictures of his mom taking a bath, real cheap, forcing Chunk to break the door open. Second, averted, when Chunk accidentally breaks the water cooler he was drinking from when Mouth thought of putting chocolate on the floor so he can eat through. "Okay Mouth, that's all I can stand and I can't stand no more!"
  • William from Almost Famous represents this trope nicely. The band Stillwater and their Band Aids use every opportunity to take advantage of him, and he usually lets it happen, but there are moments when he's about had enough:

 Penny: Honey... you're too sweet for Rock 'N' Roll.

Will: Sweet?... Sweet? Where do you get off? Where do you get sweet? I am dark, and dangerous, and pissed off, and I could be very dangerous to all of you! I. Am the enemy!

  • Do not call Jim Stark of Rebel Without a Cause "chicken." His overreaction to this insult gets him into a fair amount of trouble.
  • Don't you dare harm any human in front of Optimus Prime, especially humans who are particularly close to him. He WILL scare the crap out of you, like what he did to Sector Seven, who kidnapped Sam and Mikaela. Or beat you senseless, like what he did to Megatron, Starscream and Grindor when they captured Sam and tried to get his brain.
    • Not to mention he literally destroyed the Fallen, who was endangering the whole human race.
    • And not to mention brutally cleaving Megatron's head in half and then using the latter's gun to blow Sentinel Prime's head off for slaughtering thousands of people and several of his friends.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: Eddie Valiant does not work for Toons.
  • Richard B. Riddick is already a psychopathic serial killer as it, but if you dare to even suggest harm towards children....Well, enjoy your death in record time.
    • The Pitch Black DVD special feature Johns Chase Log explains exactly why Riddick seems to harbour a large amount of animosity to Johns, compared to.... Well, nearly everyone else he meets. The way that Johns managed to draw out Riddick after months of chasing was to threaten to kill children at gun point until Riddick gave himself up. A moment of crossing the Moral Event Horizon if there ever was one. Not to mention that Johns almost certainly would have gone through with it if Riddick had called his bluff, judging by how quickly Johns decides that they should sacrifice the young child of the group.
    • You also don't want to kill a friend of his, because he will upgrade you from undead to full dead. Looking at you Irgun and Lord Marshall. The fight with the former lasted all of three seconds.
  • Muppets from Space. Ed.


  • The Matrix: Call him "Mr. Anderson" one more time, Agent Smith. See where it takes you.
  • Breaking Away: Whatever you do, do not call Moocher "shorty". He will be more than happy to give your face a quick introduction to his fist.
  • A Fistful of Dollars: "I don't think it's nice, y'all laughing. You see, my mule don't like people laughing. Gets the crazy idea you're laughing at him. Now, if you apologize like I know you're going to, then I might convince him you didn't really mean it."
  • Pocahontas Steal Percy's food, or just mess with him in general, and he will get very angry. Of course, being the movie's Butt Monkey and Designated Villain will make him inevitably fail at getting revenge, but you should at least be prepared for some running.
  • South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut: Sheila Broflovski has a Terence and Phillip-shaped Berserk Button... until Chef blamed her for Satan nearly taking over on her rash decision to shoot the two.
  • Alice in Wonderland The Hatter may be as mad as a box of frogs, but he's among the best of the good guys in Underland and will do just about anything for his friends. However, if you mention the day his family was slaughtered, or you make one wrong move toward either Alice or the White Queen...suffice it to say that if his eyes change color, run.
  • Flyboys. Don't enact a racial stereotype on Skinner. You will get floored without warning and faster than you can react.
  • The Invisible: Don't call Annie Newton "broken." You may find yourself beaten within an inch of your life and left in a sewer to die.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Don't touch Hiccup in front of Toothless. Or even NOT in front of Toothless, when they're halfway across the island from each other. In fact, don't touch Hiccup, period. Odds are you'll end up with a very pissed off dragon trying to claw your face off.
  • If you insult C.D.'s nose in Roxanne, prepare to be shown up, then decked!
  • In 1944, both The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello made use of an even older vaudeville routine (allegedly created by Joey Faye) in which the words "Niagara Falls" serve as a trigger for a violent outburst by one of the characters. A variation of the same routine (the keyword was "Martha") showed up in an episode of I Love Lucy, too.
"NIAGARA FALLS!! Sloooooooooowly I turned....."
—Step by step... inch by inch...
  • The author from Throw Momma from the Train has absolutely no intention of doing what the title suggests, no way no how, until Mama suggests a better phrase for his book than either of the two he'd been trying to choose between.
  • Never tell Freeman Lowell (in the film Silent Running) that plants don't matter. Or imply that synthetic food is better than the grown kind. Ever.
  • Despicable Me No matter what you do, don't kidnap Gru's adopted children. He will go Papa Wolf on you and there will be nothing you can do about it.
  • The Big Lebowski: I move we rename this trope "The Sobchak".
  • One particularly hilarious example in Fred: The Movie; when Fred is told his "girlfriend" has moved, he goes on a rampage and destroys his living room. Because of his sunny disposition, he cleans up afterward.
  • Tokyo Zombie: "He did it to you, didn't he?" - said by Mii-chan to Fujio a few times, then used to get him mad in the final fight.
  • Get Smart: Don't ever question or mock the head of Control's credentials or Control itself's credentials, or you should pray you don't get a beatdown in front of your fellow members in the cabinet, as the Vice President learned the hard way.
    • Also, never insult your Dragon's wife, as the leader of KAOS learned the hard way when he insulted his wife one time too many and ended up being punched out of his car hard enough to be knocked over a bridge.
  • In The Protector or Tom Yum Goong, you will not mess with Tony Jaa's elephants.
  • Guest From the Future: Don't call Werther the biorobot a tin can, especially when trying to charge past him. He will grab you, spin you over his head, and throw you across the room.
  • An unusually dark, but still funny example in Where the Truth Lies: "You call any Jew on this planet anything you like, but nobody calls my partner a kike! You understand?" Of course, Vince is repeatedly bludgeoning the man's increasingly bloody face against the floor as he says it.
  • In Monsters, Inc., Boo has one. And Randall figured that out MUCH TOO LATE! Trying to kill Sulley in front of Boo will result in...this. Go to 7:22.
  • Eustace accidentally presses Reepicheep's button when he grabs his tail in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The great Aslan himself gave Reepicheep that tail, and "no one touches the tail, period, exclamation point!"
  • The Lion King: Mufasa gets a couple, first when Scar threatens him, and second when the hyenas threaten his son. Simba gets one when he finds out that Scar murdered his father. Finally, Pumbaa gets one when the hyenas calls him a 'pig', though Timon and Simba can get away with it. Scar gets one whenever he is negatively compared to Mufasa.
  • What finally sets Cheech off in Cheech and Chong's Next Movie is some of Chong's "space coke", which causes him to break through the walls of their house and trash the yard of their neighbor, who had berated the duo throughout much of the movie.
  • There is an especially dramatic one in La Belle et la Bete, the 1946 version of Beauty and the Beast. In this version, as well as in the original fairytale, Belle's father was a merchant and she asked him to bring her a rose when he came back from one of his trips. So when he gets lost and ends up in the Beast's castle, the Beast has no problem with him eating or sleeping there, but he goes beserk when the merchant takes one of the roses in the garden. The roses where what the Beast loved most in the world, so he tells the merchant he will kill him, or give him a chance to bring one of his daughters in his place. Seriously, "you stole my rose, prepare to die".
    • Same thing happens in the Faerie Tale Theatre 1984 version, very likely because the Beast was played by Klaus Kinski. No, seriously. Seriously.
  • He doesn't have much personality otherwise, but Jason Voorhees has a real soft spot for his mother. And, as Freddy Krueger found out, he doesn't like it when people pretend to be her. AT ALL.
  • In the Halloween remakes, don't tease Michael Myers about how his mom is a pole dancer.
  • Thor did not take it well when a Frost Giant mocked his masculinity ("Run home, little princess"). By the end of the film, he lost that and gained a new one that was a harder to press that Loki managed to: threatening Jane.
  • The Bug in Men in Black didn't appreciate it whenever humans swatted or squashed members of his cockroach family. Really didn't appreciate it.
  • DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story - Watching his "wife" with another man and then laughing at Gordon pushed his berserk button. And proceeds to destroy the entire opposing team. By himself.
  • Jason REALLY doesn't appreciate Duncan saying the word "fuck" in Mystery Team.
  • In The Devil's Double, Uday has a Hair-Trigger Temper and is dangerously unstable basically at all times, but when he's told that his father's confidant referred to him as a faggot, he loses his shit entirely and disembowels the guy in front of a room full of people. (Given his his extreme machismo, his disturbing relationship with Latif and...whatever that was with the drag queen, it's not surprising.)
  • In Snatch, you don't ever want to hurt a pikey's family. It may not be immediate, but your demise is a foregone conclusion.

  Turkish: For every action, there is a reaction. And a pikey reaction … is quite a fucking thing.

  • In Punch Drunk Love, Barry seems to have anger issues, lashing out in periodic bouts of impotent rage. After some thugs hurt Lena, we learn that he has been lashing out to manage his rage...because if he doesn't, he can be very, very dangerous.
  • In The Italian Job (2003 film), "Don't mess with Mother Earth, Mother Nature, or the Mother-freakin' Ukrainians!"
  • The titular character's outcry of They Call Me Mister Tibbs is a good example. Call him Mr.Tibbs and it'll be much easier.
  • In Highlander, Connor MacLeod's was when The Kurgan revealed he'd raped Heather -- and then implied that she enjoyed it. Connor would have fought him on the spot if they hadn't been on holy ground.
  • In The Untouchables, in what seems to be a bit of a Delayed Reaction to a berserk button, Al Capone talks about "enthusiasms...enthusiasms...enthusiasms...", and then he brings out a baseball bat, and then...oh,my!
    • And in the same film, the mostly calm Eliot Ness finally cracks and shoves Frank Nitti off a roof when he brags about he'll walk free from court after killing Malone.
  • Insulting Ron's hair in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
    • Don't insult Wes's mother, she's a saint!
  • Cheat on Janine with a sexy aspiring singer in He's Just Not That Into You? She can rationalize it. Like smoking behind her strenously anti-smoking back? It's ON.
  • Gene Wilder's comic screen persona is largely based on the Berserk Button. He almost always plays characters who start out calm until something sets them off. He established this shtick in The Producers ("I'M HYSTERICAL!") and continued to use it in many of his subsequent roles.
  • There's a lovely scene in Sneakers where a guard makes the mistake of addressing Donald Crease [1] as "Midnight".

 Crease (in an extraordinarily quiet and controlled voice): Did I ever tell you why I left the CIA?

Mother: Umm ... no.

Crease (still in the same very quiet voice): My temper.

  • Do NOT piss off the Tarman. He will go after your brains. You should see the look on Scuz's face after Spider interrupted the Tarman's feast on Suicide's brains.

 Tarman: More! Brains!

  • In Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Big Chris is intimidating and aggressive, but ultimately calm and controlled in all his dealings. Until someone makes the mistake of threatening his son.
  • Unless you want a spike through the face, don't call a certain Boglodite "Boris the Animal".


  1. (a Sidney Poitier character!)
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