The Top 20 Movie Tough Guys
Movie Cynics (dead link) has listed their favorite tough guys from movies. They explain the criteria for inclusion:
- The list is about characters, not actors.
- No older movie, because the fights didn’t look as realistic back then.
- Pulling a trigger just isn’t enough, which is why there is no entry for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Here’s the list:
- Walker played by Lee Marvin, Point Blank (1967) – Based on the theme of the individual pitted against the large, impersonal organization. Here the central character is an old-fashioned loner of a gunman embroiled with a large-scale, corporate criminal operation behind a respectable-looking ‘front’. Without delving into psychology or motivation, the film places emphasis on action and surface appearances, superbly capturing the glossy, depersonalized feel of a 1967 Los Angeles–a nightmare landscape of concrete, glass and coiling freeways.
- Luke Jackson played by Paul Newman, Cool Hand Luke (1967) – Luke Jackson is a cool, gutsy prisoner in a Southern chain gang, who, while refusing to buckle under to authority, keeps escaping and being recaptured. The prisoners admire Luke because, as Dragline explains it, “You’re an original, that’s what you are!” Nevertheless, the camp staff actively works to crush Luke until he finally breaks.
- Marv played by Mickey Rourke, Sin City (2005) – Four tales of crime adapted from Frank Miller’s popular comics, focusing around a muscular brute who’s looking for the person responsible for the death of his beloved Goldie, a man fed up with Sin City’s corrupt law enforcement who takes the law into his own hands after a horrible mistake, a cop who risks his life to protect a girl from a deformed pedophile, and a hitman looking to make a little cash.
- John McClane played by Bruce Willis, Die Hard (1988) – New York City Detective John McClane has just arrived in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife. Unfortunatly, it is not going to be a Merry Christmas for everyone. A group of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber is holding everyone in the Nakatomi Plaza building hostage. With no way of anyone getting in or out, it’s up to McClane to stop them all.
- Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt, Fight Club (1999) – lonely, isolated thirty-something young professional seeks an escape from his mundane existence with the help of a devious soap salesman. They find their release from the prison of reality through underground fight clubs, where men can be what the world now denies them. Their boxing matches and harmless pranks soon lead to an out-of-control spiral towards oblivion.
- ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky played by Mel Gibson, Mad Max (1979) – A vision of an apocalyptic future set in the wastelands of Australia. Total social decay is just around the corner in this spectacular cheap budget gang orientated road movie. Where the cops do their best to lay down the law and the outlaw gangs try their hardest to defy the system. Leather clad Max Rockatansky husband, father and cop turns judge, juror and executioner after his best friend, wife and baby are killed. Here we see the final days of normality of a man who had everything to live for, and his slip into the abyss of madness. Mad Max is the antihero on the road to vengeance and oblivion. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) – A former police officer is now a lone wanderer, travelling through a devasted Australia after a nuclear war looking for the now-priceless fuel of petrol. He lives to survive and is none too pleased when he finds himself the only hope of a small group of honest people running a remote oil refinery. He must protect them from the bike gang that is terrorising them whilst transporting their entire fuel supply to safety.
- John J. Rambo played by Sylvester Stallone, First Blood (1982)
- Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone, Rocky (1976)
- Paul Kersey played by Charles Bronson, Death Wish (1974)
- George Taylor played by Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes (1968)
- William Wallace played by Mel Gibson, Braveheart (1995)
- Big Chris played by Vinnie Jones; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
- Snake Plissken played by Kurt Russell, Escape from New York (1981)
- Ajax played by James Remar, The Warriors (1979)
- Perry played by Tony Ganios, The Wanderers (1979)
- Michael Vronsky played by Robert De Niro, The Deer Hunter (1978)
- Dae-su Oh played by Min-sik Choi, Oldboy (2003)
- Taylor Reese played by Vin Diesel, Knockaround Guys (2001)
- Sergeant Mike Horvath played by Tom Sizemore, Saving Private Ryan (1998)
- Doc Holliday played by Val Kilmer, Tombstone (1993)