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Not just any Big Badass Wolf, but THE Big Bad Wolf. The one with the Three Little Pigs, or Little Red Riding Hood, or both.

When the Big Bad Wolf appears in works of fiction, there are usually some common themes included, such as his predation on children, pigs and innocent young women in red, his knack for disguising himself (used to fool Little Red Riding Hood), and his powerful lungs (used to destroy the two of the Three Little Pigs' houses).

Since this character is a common target of Alternate Character Interpretation: When adding an example, please specify how the Big Bad Wolf is portrayed.

Please note that the character doesn't have to be either badass nor a wolf to fit this trope. Those are traditional characteristics of the character, but Alternate Character Interpretation can go quite far. Thus: Sometimes but far from always a Sub-Trope of Big Badass Wolf.

The Big Bad Wolf is ultimately the Trope Namer for Big Bad.

Examples of The Big Bad Wolf include:


  • He appeared in one commercial for Super Golden Crisp cereal. Fortunately for Red, she had Sugar Bear to help her deal with him this time. It's hard to find it these days, but you can see it here at the 4:34 point.
  • This commercial for Honey Nut Cheerios. (Clearly, Red has a lot of friends among cereal mascots. Incidentally, the Wolf's voice is done by Kelsey Grammer here, with Red played by a young Carrie Fletcher.

Comic Books

  • Disney has one version who is pathetic and always fails to get the three little pigs. His son, who is friends with the pigs, is ashamed of him.
  • In Fables, The Big Bad Wolf is known as Bigby. He's a great hero, with doing the Big Damn Heroes routine as one of his specialties. But he did very bad things a long time ago, and he is still feared and hated by many.
  • In Promethea, TBBW is a primordial monster, fueled by all fear of darkness and predators. He's pretty much invincible.


  • Freeway, being loosely based on the Little Red Riding Hood story, has Kiefer Sutherland playing Bob Wolverton, a serial rapist and murderer.
  • Hard Candy is one particulary disturbing modern version of Little Red Riding Hood, with a girl who calls herself Haley in the role of Little Red Riding Hood as well as the woodsman. An Internet pedophile named Jeff fills the role of the Big Bad Wolf, luring Haley over to his place under false pretenses and then starts trying to get her drunk. It goes downhill from there, but maybe not exactly in the way Jeff had planned...
  • In The Woodsman, the main character is not the Big Bad Wolf. Or is he? In this dark drama about a man who was recently released from 12 years in prison for raping a child, "The Woodsman" and "The Big Bad Wolf" exist only as underlying archtypes for who he wants to be and who he fears to be.
  • Max Cady repeatedly refers to himself as "the Big Bad Wolf" in the remake of Cape Fear. This actually holds some appeal for Sam Bowden's teenage daughter.

Folk Lore


  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is a book supposedly told by "A. Wolf" that has the wolf claiming that he just had a very bad cold (sneezing) and the pigs were refusing to give him sugar to bake his poor granny a cake. Oh, and he ate the pigs after he sneezed because it's like seeing a cheeseburger lying around.
  • In the Discworld novel Witches Abroad, the main villain warps reality so it'd be like fairly tales. This includes making a wolf think he's a person. The wolf suffers horribly, stuck between species, and begs for a Mercy Kill.
  • In The Sisters Grimm, the Big Bad Wolf is Mr. Canis. He has actually become a good friend with the three little pigs and apparently the story of little red riding hood is very different, the one that everyone knows is a lie that the woodsman made up to make himself famous while Mr. Canis lost all his memories in the incident.

Live Action TV

  • In Supernatural, when a ghost is making a town re-enact fairy tales (not as cutesy as it sounds, this is Supernatural, after all), a young man with a Wile E Coyote tatoo gets hypnotised into being the Big Bad Wolf. He attacks three overweight builder brothers, killing two and injuring one (the Three Little Pigs), then murders an old lady and abducts her granddaughter (Little Red Riding Hood). He's freed from control as Sam stops the ghost, just as Dean, acting out the part of the huntsman, is about to kill him.
  • It shows up in Charmed, and is defeated when it swallows Piper whole, only for her to blow it up from the inside with her powers.
  • In Grimm, the actual creatures who inspired the Big Bad Wolf legends are the Blutbaden, who are basically werewolves by a different name.
  • Once Upon a Time reveals that Little Red Riding Hood herself is actually the storied wolf. Her red cape is what keeps her wolf form at bay.
  • In the early 2000S a Belgian children's puppet TV show, "De Grote Boze Wolf Show" ("The Big Bad Wolf Show") centered around a fairy tale wolf who boasted to be a "Big Bad Wolf", but actually rather THOUGHT he was.
  • A Monty Python sketch for German television, also seen in the film Monty Python Live At The Hollywood Bowl (1982) featured a low-budget version of Little Red Riding Hood where John Cleese plays Little Red Riding Hood and a little dog is used as the wolf.
  • There was a skit in Captain Kangaroo where the Wolf, much like in the MAD example below, blames his smoking habit for failing to blow down the brick house.


  • A Mad Magazine page from 1962 imported the Big Bad Wolf (from Disney's lot in Burbank, apparently) to huff and puff and blow the Berlin Wall down.
    • Years later, in Sergio Aragonés "A Mad Look at Fairy Tales", he tries and fails to blow the Pigs' brick house down, only to stop, gasping for breath; then he storms off, throwing away a box of cigarettes as he does, implying that those are the reason he couldn't.


  • Sergej Prokofiev's musical tale Peter and The Wolf also features a big dangerous wolf.
  • Sam Sham and the Pharaohs' "Little Red Riding Hood" is sung from the point of view of the Big Bad Wolf, and is sung as a sort of love song, where the Wolf decides to disguise himself so Red won't be frightened away. The fact that this would pretty much prove that he's untrustworthy, thus derailing his chances at getting her to trust him, are lost on him.
  • The music video for the VAST song "Pretty When You Cry" has lots of visual references to Little Red Riding Hood.
  • The Green Jelly song "Three Little Pigs" updates the classic folk tale for modern times (to hilarious effect), but keeps the Big Bad Wolf as its Big Bad.
  • The hit single "Big Bad Wolf" by Duck Sauce, complete with a sample of wolf howling!


  • Pursues Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. Basically played straight, although with disturbing overtones about what his actual intentions toward Red are.
  • The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf

Tabletop Games

  • In The Zantabulous Zorceror of Zo this archetype is represented by Shaykosch the Deathless Wolf. An enormous wolf who is defeated by a hero each generation, only to rise again for the next. Though the actual Big Bad name is only used as a term in gameplay mechanics.

Video Games

  • The Path is an unusual indie art game that is a modern horror adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood. You play as six different girls, all with names that evoke the color red, and each girl has a Mind Screw encounter with a "wolf".
  • World of Warcraft has the Opera event in Karazhan, which sometimes tells the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Here, he is specifically stated to be a worgen, one of a playable race of lycanthropes. Looting the corpse will occasionally give a player the Lil Bad Wolf Battle Pet.
  • The Witcher 3, the Big Bad Wolf is one foe Geralt can encounter in the Land of a Thousand Fables; he's nursing a bad hangover, and has a French accent for some reason. As far as combat goes, he's much like the typical werewolf, but rather than being vulnerable to cursed oil, he's vulnerable to beast oil, seeing as, unlike most werewolves, he was never human to begin with.

Web Comics

  • In Annyseed our Big Bad Wolf character is Count Tarrorviene. He seeks the blood of a younger vampire in order to release him from the trappings of his victorian blood machine.
  • In Ever After, The Big Bad Wolf appears to be something similar to the Promethea one — a formless monster of pure fear, which may or may not exist mainly inside the head of the hopelessly-insane Red Riding Hood. Ever After has more-or-less stalled, but Big Bad and his pet chainsaw-wielding crazygirl have also put in a fairly major appearance in the still-progressing Sugar Bits.
  • The backstory for Kell's family in Kevin and Kell says The Big Bad Wolf was one of their ancestors - which made Kell's decision to marry Kevin horrendous in her family's eyes. Cue subplots about tolerance.

Western Animation