The regular, secret hero
March 29, 2011 9:24 PM   Subscribe

Looking for stories/media featuring mundane heroes who enjoy doing secret good deeds, particularly on a local or personal scale. NOT super-heroes (no "secret identities").

I'm thinking of regular people like the titular role of Amélie, though not necessarily in personality, of course.

Bonus points:

* International
* Books/short stories, but TV/film good too
* Folk stories (legends, myths)
* Must be main or close secondary character

I'm casting the net pretty wide because I'm guessing this type of character isn't common...
posted by Ky to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ikiru directed by Kurosawa. About an old bureaucrat trying to build a city park. Great film.
posted by meta87 at 9:39 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ten-year-old Encyclopedia Brown secretly helps the police solve crimes in his homedown of Idaville.
posted by Georgina at 9:43 PM on March 29, 2011

This recent MetaFilter post fits: The Hero of Canton, the man they called Mr. B. Virdot.
posted by amyms at 11:09 PM on March 29, 2011

I will recommend "I Am The Messenger" by Marcus Zusak. A 19-year-old slacker accidentally foils a bank robbery, and starts getting cards giving him missions. Nothing superheroic going on; just a guy with a weird mission.

Zusak got a lot of acclaim for "The Book Thief," which is a great book, but for my money "I Am The Messenger" is the better one.
posted by Jeanne at 3:48 AM on March 30, 2011

You're probably not looking for anecdotes, but I have a "prankster" friend, and one of his favorite pranks is to pay for the meal of complete strangers behind him at fast food drive-thrus.
posted by luvcraft at 8:33 AM on March 30, 2011

Not sure it it fits the bill, but there was an excellent episode of MASH (Death Takes a Holiday) where Charles carries on his family tradition of helping the needy anonymously.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:20 AM on March 30, 2011

I asked a question somewhat similar to this a few years ago.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:44 AM on March 30, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, though as I thought, this is a pretty tough topic.

Sticherbeast: I find that question to be quite unrelated because being a secret, mundane hero to me means that such actions make absolutely no impact upon one's public reputation.

I'll add one find here, a book for youths:
Sunita's Secret
posted by Ky at 6:14 PM on March 30, 2011

The film Amelie
posted by quaisi at 2:34 AM on March 31, 2011

D'oh! And of course that was the example you gave in the question. Sorry.
posted by quaisi at 2:35 AM on March 31, 2011

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