, Nelson Mandela, Nolan Ryan, Michael Jordan, etc. are all examples of a traditional American hero. Heroes are inspiring and uplifting and Americans love to idolize Hoeroes. In the Maltese falcon, private detective Sam Spade is a hero, but he is a different kind of hero. In fact, in comparison to our traditional hero, he is an anti-hero until the very end of the film, when his personal code makes him a hero.
Literature's traditional heroes have similar distinct characteristics. Traditional heroes are typically very bold and brave. Heroes are honest and moral. Even traditional heroes can differ. Some are muscular, some are celebrities, and some endure pain. Heroes take risks and make sacrifices for a greater good, often times defeating formidable obstacles to do so. It is important to realize that we all have heroes and our heroes are usually fairly similar in certain aspects. These traditional heroes play a strong role in media, but may not be the only depiction of a hero.
Through out the movie and essentially up until the end of the film, Sam Spade does not appear to be particularly heroic. His relationship with money alone does not place him at the "hero" status. He takes money from pretty much all of the characters in the film. Additionally, he is interested in the wealth the Maltese Falcon could potentially bring him. At one point during the movie he demands $15,000.00 for his services. Furthermore, Spade is not particularly helpful towards the police. He is unwilling to help them or work with them. Also, Spade's lack of compassion does not characterize him as a traditional hero. He does not seem to feel many emotions.
Sam Spade is widely considered to be a hero in The Maltese Falcon. He measures up well to the traditional hero in certain respects. With regards to personality traitr, he is bold and confident and it is impressive that he is able to readily find work and do so self-employed.