Here's some classics of the archetype, whether charming or aloof. See if you can figure out which movie BBwraGG I'm thinking of, described from the point of view of the heroine.
- He's cynical, brusque and appears selfish, claiming to be helping you only for the money. Yet he turns out to be idealistic too, and shows up in the final battle to save the young hero just in time for the defeat of the bad guys.
- He gambles and womanizes and definitely runs with the wrong crowd. Yet he knows how to be charming and gentlemanly and certainly how to have fun. When he helps recruit for your holy cause, is it just because he wants to win a bet, or does he really care?
- He's haughty, aloof and seems conceited and cold. He appears to have hurt people just to maintain social class distinction. Happily it turns out the full story was secret to preserve a lady's reputation, and his actions really were quite correct. Plus, he has a really great house.
- He's a low-class rebel, part of the summer staff. He's dreamy but when you get closer, he's also hot-tempered, impatient and people believe him to have abandoned his lover and illegitimate unborn child. He didn't though, he was really just helping her.
- He's a beast, literally. But he can turn back into a man if only you truly love him...
In the tragic romances, the bad boy doesn't quite make it either to conversion or to redemption. Rhett Butler continues to mix bad behavior in even after the appearance of good behavior, and ultimately rejects Scarlet due to her own flaws. Rick Blaine is a charming egotist who proves himself not entirely selfish by saving Ilsa and Laszlo, whereas Laszlo is a dull idealist whom Ilsa ultimately chooses.