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Top 20 Classic Hollywood Tough Guys

Randall . . . Comments

One of the best things about Hollywood movies is the tough guys. The glitz and gloss of Hollywood are known the world over, but the brooding, hard-as-nails tough guy is one of Hollywood’s most admired exports. Whether heroes, anti-heroes, morally-ambiguous loners or downright villains… we all recognize and admire the roles these men played; as boys we look up to them as role models and try to emulate them, and as men we find them reminders of what it means to be a real man in a world sodden with political correctness, feminism, and new sexual politics.

So here’s the salute to the twenty toughest characters you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of…


20

John Garfield

John Garfield

One of the kings of gritty film noir, the small-but-scrappy, streetwise Garfield was the star of the classic “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” playing the doomed Frank Chambers, risking it all for hot-as-hell Lana Turner. Makes the list for steely, I-don’t-care-how-big-you-are-I’ll-knock-you-on-your-ass, street-honed stare and wise guy attitude.

19

Anthony Quinn

Anthony Quinn

Nobody could ever figure out Quinn’s ethnicity (he was Irish-Mexican) because he played so many varied roles, from Arab to Italian to Greek (he was Zorba) and countless others—but the connecting thread for all these different faces was that you just wouldn’t mess with the guy. He was the strongman in Fellini’s classic “La Strada,” a revolutionary in “Viva Zapata,” a boxer in “Requiem for a Heavyweight”… and even his tempestuous Gaugin is a brawler in “Lust for Life.”

18

Sean Connery

(Sc)Sean Connery Photo

Not much exposition necessary here. For most of us Connery is THE James Bond, the original and best, the one whose shoes were never quite filled. Latter day Bond Daniel Craig comes closest, but there’s still no Bond like Connery, who managed to convey at all times the right combination of suave sophistication and menace. You never believed that Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan could kick your ass… but Connery always looked like he could kill you if you crossed him. Makes the list for his classic spy as well as for being practically the template of the crusty old Scotsman in real life… who you still wouldn’t cross.

17

Charlton Heston

Charleton-Heston

Even his Moses was a brawling, takes-no-shit tough guy with a granite-hard attitude towards Pharoah. The pleasure of watching “The Ten Commandments” is the extended stare-down going on between Heston and Yul Brynner (see below). Makes the list for handling not only a recalcitrant Ramses but also for dispatching talking apes, a world-o-vampires, jungle ants and Roman charioteers with equal, no-nonsense machismo.

16

James Coburn

Coburn

Tall and slim Coburn was the wiry sort of tough guy with a disarming grin that might put you at ease for a moment… until you looked in his sharp eyes and saw the danger lurking within. Makes the list for endless cowboy roles, as both hero and villain, (especially “The Magnificent Seven”) and for playing the parody spy Derek Flint: ultra-sophisticate, ultra-genius, ultra ladies man. Smooth and suave with a clear propensity for kicking your ass with whatever obscure martial art struck his fancy.

15

Steve McQueen

Stevemcqueen

Ever-brooding and super-cool McQueen played cops, cowboys, crooks and soldiers… and no matter what the role, he had the car, (or the horse) the girl, the gun and the ‘tude, all balanced to “don’t give me your guff, punk” perfection. He’s the rebellious tough guy, the one with the motorcycle or the hot rod who looks the anti-hero no matter what the part.

14

Edward G. Robinson

Edward G Robinson

Come on… Edward G. Robinson. The original Little Caesar (this one didn’t deliver pizzas) and perennial movie gangster… the pugnacious and pug-like grumbler with just a tiny touch of the psycho behind his knife-edged eyes. Even when playing the good guy he had a threatening demeanor about him (“The Stranger” for instance, or his insurance investigator in “Double Indemnity”)… so odd when you realize this guy, in real life, was an art collector and knew a thing or two about fine wines. Makes the list for all those death scenes in a hail of bullets.

13

Robert Mitchum

Mitchum-Robert

At home equally in roles playing psychotic villains (“Cape Fear”) or menacing preachers (“The Night of the Hunter”) or historic figures (“Midway”) Mitchum is the guy who stares you down and then casually lights a cigarette before informing you just how it is and how it’s going to be… and you know damn well you don’t want to disagree with him. Makes you believe you could follow him on the beaches of Normandy or into an ambush with gangsters… and while he might come out bloodied and beaten up, he’ll still be standing… and you should see the other guy.

12

James Cagney

Cagneysm

Ever the sociopathic gangster with cruel charm oozing from every pore, Cagney gets points for umpteen classic roles where he fights society time and time again… and almost gets away with it. For a moment he’s even on top of the world… before it blows up underneath him. Not the guy you cross under any circumstances, and don’t by ANY means betray him… because he won’t rest until you pay. He’ll put you at ease, make you trust him and think all is well… then he’ll drill you full of holes and laugh while doing it. Points for danger, tight-as-a-tightwire edginess and for knowing how to handle a grapefruit.

11

Richard Widmark

10104290

Remembered for playing a psychopathic gangster who shoves an old lady in a wheelchair down a staircase, Widmark was ever the guy you didn’t want to turn your back on, even when playing the hero. Never a pretty man, never a kind, softhearted role (in real life he was a softie of course) but always the guy you’d want on your side in a street brawl… because you know he’d fight damn dirty.

10

Dana Andrews

Dana

One of my personal faves and, I think, one of the most underrated actors of classic Hollywood, who deserves a larger following… I have literally never seen Dana Andrews in a bad film or a crap role. Andrews had that LOOK in his cold, hard eye… you knew he’d do what he’d have to do, and he’d never shirk from it. Best remembered role: the tough detective in “Laura” who not only solves the murder, but along the way gets to intellectually spar with Clifton Webb, sucker punch Vincent Price, and win drop-dead gorgeous Gene Tierney. Not a bad day’s work.

9

Charles Bronson

Charles-Bronson-Posters

Not one of my personal favorites, but to leave him off would have been sacrilege, I thought. Bronson is the ugly ex-boxer you DEFINITELY want in your corner of the ring when it comes time to deal out justice to punks, gangsters, and all the other low-lifes of society. Give the guy a wide berth, and for god’s sake leave his family alone.


8

John Wayne

Wayne

I am not at all a fan of John Wayne and for me he loses points for his ultra-patriotism–when in truth he never stepped up to the plate during WWII to fight (he instead looked to his career). Even so, he’s got to make the top ten for obvious reasons. Wayne is the original and best bow-legged cowboy whose rolling stroll is dripping with his patented and carefully crafted attitude—he’s all about justice and he does whatever a man needs to do… quietly, calmly and without much more to betray his feelings than that curl in his lip and the narrowing of his eyes.

7

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas

He’s played everything from boxers to Homeric heroes (“Ulysses”), from Spartacus to tortured soul Vincent Van Gogh, from Doc Holliday to a Viking… but regardless of the role he was ever the fighter, ever the clenched-teeth and broad-chested man’s man (well, not so much Van Gogh, but every tough guy has his departure) with more than a little edginess about him; in fact Douglas usually can be described as “seething.”

6

Burt Lancaster

Lancaster

Athletic, good looking, toothy and always ready-for-a-rumble, Burt Lancaster was an ex acrobat, and it shows in how he holds himself, moves, and deals with situations where he’s gotta kick some ass. Dead serious but knows how to have some fun when the time was right, he was both admired leader of men and ladies man extraordinaire. Never doubt, however, that Lancaster was ready to handle shit when it was necessary. He was Jim Thorpe, All American… Wyatt Earp (“Gunfight at the OK Corral”), morally challenged but blusteringly larger-than-life “Elmer Gantry,” the Crimson Pirate, the Rainmaker… just watching him deal with life, women, pressure and problems was like watching a finely-tuned machine run with smooth precision.

5

Yul Brynner

Ybrynner

Makes the list for steely toughness as gunfighter (“Magnificent Seven”), Pharoah, King and con man… and for his shiny shaved pate, which he dares you to comment on (no one ever does). Each word is spoken like being spat, and each movement of his body delivered with shoulders back, chest out, daring you to take a poke at him. (No one ever does). Moses’ god may be the true god, but Brynner’s Ramses is the guy we root for half the time because he’s just so damn impressive a figure.
So let it be written… so let it be done.


4

Humphrey Bogart

Bogie

An obvious choice, Bogie makes it for his Sam Spade, his Philip Marlow, and his Dobbs in “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Also for countless gangster and good guy roles where he outwits and outfights the Nazis, beats the devil, and wins the girl (but, like all tough guys, sometimes has to let the girl go). Although more a figure of romance in “Casablanca,” he makes it on the list also for that classic role where he has to balance personal pain with self-sacrificing nobility… though as tough guy scenes go, few beat the way he man-handles Peter Lorre in “The Maltese Falcon” or how he deals with slimy French collaborators in “To Have and Have Not.” Bogie’s toughness always comes with that edge of vulnerability—sometimes he shakes a little, because he’s human—sometimes he’s scared—but he always shoots it out in the end and he’s still standing.

3

Robert Ryan

Ryan

Another underrated talent from Hollywood’s golden years, Ryan was in a class by himself in the dark and gritty film noir days, when no one could out-do his superb combination of menace, determination, and “I won’t take your crap” attitude… nor did anyone else have his cold, glaring eyes. In real life Ryan was a gentleman and a long-time fighter for Civil Rights… onscreen however, he played everything from anti-semites to racists, and yet always seemed to garner a grudging admiration out of the audience. A boxer in real life, legend has it that Ryan even managed to out-intimidate feisty director Sam Peckinpah during the filming of “The Wild Bunch.” This was a guy you didn’t argue with and you knew if you stood in his way he was going right through you. Ryan deserves a new audience of fans—there are few better tough guys on the screen (in fact, I think only two) and certainly no one today matches up to him (let alone any of the others on this list).


2

Clint Eastwood

Eastwood

What can be said of Clint Eastwood that hasn’t already been said? Like John Wayne, he’s an iconic figure for his loner cops and loner gunfighters—ever the anti-hero, every the man among men who has to step up to the plate and take action when the powers-that-be won’t lift a finger. Hard-edged and snarling, Eastwood is rarely subtle, but he’s more than one-dimensional. Pretty decent with comedic twists on his tough persona (“Every Which Way But Loose”) as well as an accomplished director (he’s got quite a few winners under his belt, most notably the recent “Million Dollar Baby”) Eastwood is a skilled craftsmen, and it’s hard to believe that he’s not least a little like his onscreen persona. I’ve never been disappointed in him onscreen, even when the movie he was playing in wasn’t the best. He always delivers, both in character and out.

1

Lee Marvin

Z082907Lee Marvin

My personal favorite, and I’m not even sure I know why, but I know that Marvin always came off as believable to me—and yet somehow humble. Definitely a real-life tough guy and no poseur, it almost didn’t matter if Marvin was playing bad guy or good guy—the result was the same: unafraid, irresistible, rocklike and imperturbable… a stand-up guy, but one you didn’t want to turn your back on for a moment. The gravelly voice, the eyes that cut right through the screen, that snarling lip… at all times he’s a little bit the no-nonsense Marine that he was in real life, even when lampooning himself in “Cat Ballou.” It’s a pleasure to watch him work.

Contributor: Randall



  • trojan_man

    Great list.
    Lee Van Cleef and/or Jack Palance could be substituted into this list somewhere.

  • Mac

    I would have put Cagney much higher, maybe even number one. It’s funny how for all his iconic status as a tough man he began in Vaudeville and won an (admittedly deserved) Oscar for Yankee Doodle Dandy. White Heat is so intense. And smashing a grapefruit in his girlfriend’s face (was that The Public Enemy?) is the ultimate in mundane cruelty.

    Few actors could touch Robert Mitchem. Of course, I’d rather he touched me.

  • Sarah

    Where’s Chuck Norris? Expected to see him on the list, even just as a bonus…not that it really matters to me, just surprised, is all.

  • longball

    Sylvester Stalone – I wouldn’t eff with Rocky!!!!

    I think Sean Connery should have been higher on the list and how dare you talk about John Wayne like that!!!!

    Yea, Old Chuckie deserves a spot on here too…

  • John

    My dad’s a huge Lee Marvin guy.

    I was always a Clint Eastwood.
    (:

  • Rob S.

    Funny… I wouldn’t have even thought of Dana Andrews. I guess I just haven’t seen many of his films.

  • Jono

    Fred MacMurray did a great performance in Double Indemnity. I woulda had him in there for that.

  • matt

    No Christopher Walken???…my god =)

  • LordCalvert

    The Duke should have been number 1. Just call him a one eyed fat man and see what happens.

  • Mom424

    Great list Randall. Other than Charlton Heston, he’s like William Shatner without the self-deprecating humor. It could be that his political views have tainted my impression of him. He was damn fine in the 10 Commandments.

    I think I would have included Paul Newman, but that could be just because my dad looks exactly like him. You always like what you know. Mind you he’s not always a tough guy.

    Charles Bronson in a tres-shitty actor. Horrible, He was much better in the westerns than the death wish series. He does deserve credit for speaking out against vigilante violence after the Bernard Goetz fiasco/murder. And he does convey menace rather well.

    I would have reversed the order putting Clint Eastwood higher than Lee Marvin but that is just nit-picking.

    Good Job.

  • jeff

    well, you forgot Christian Bale, and secondly john wayne? whos name was marionne? yea one letter away from being a girl, or tony jaa, the only person in real life who could kill you.

  • DiscHuker

    great list randall. some guys i know nothing about. my one issue…please put a different picture of sean connery. he looks like he just farted and is trying to hold back a smile. not a good pic for this particular list.

  • Mom424

    Sarah, Matt; The list is “Classic Hollywood Tough Guys”. We can make our own current list if you like.

    Bruce Willis would be on it, Chuck Norris (although he seems kind of fruity in Walker Texas Ranger. Maybe because he can’t act). Ooo Ooo, Samuel L. Jackson. Christopher Walken (although he has become a caricature of himself) Feel Free.

  • DiscHuker

    before this gets too far, remember the name of the list people…CLASSIC hollywood. this wouldn’t include bale or jaa (though he is amazing) or whomever.

  • I’m happy with Lee Marvin. As I was reading the list I’m scrolling through thinking he better be on here. Good choice for #1. Not only was he a tough guy in the movies but also in real life if you look up his history.

    I know this was a list for CLASSIC tough guy so I’m not saying Michael Madsen should go on the list but he would fit in perfect with this group.

  • Mom424

    Hey Randall; I read a bio on John Wayne. Said he was rather ashamed of his lack of military service. I agree with whomever it was that stated that his contribution as a hero/icon during war time was probably better for the American public than whatever small part he could have played in combat. Or maybe he was just a coward in real life. Who knows.

  • xdarkhorsex

    if Wayne would have gone to war he wouldn’t have been put in harms way, he was too iconic to get killed needlessly. he’d have been put behind some desk somewhere counting shell casings or some such shit. As far as Wayne’s toughness, read about what he did to Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard… knocked him out with one punch. My top three would be Lee Marvin, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, in that order.

  • mregan

    William Holden? Pretty damn attitudinal/tough in Stalag 17 & River Kwai.

  • SoCalJeff

    Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood are my tops.. Bullitt…damn good movie, McQueen is such a tough guy. Love the car chases. Eastwood. Man he’s a tough guy too.

  • kittym

    I’m so happy Lee Marvin was number one! One of my favourites. Also, it was a sad sad day for me when I heard Charlton Heston had died.

  • kiwiboi

    What ? No PeeWee Herman ?

  • JonRok

    Where is James Dean?! :|

  • JwJwBean

    Nice job, Randall.

  • Stefani Holcomb

    Great List!
    I would love to see a current tough guy list, though I doubt the “Tough Guys” for today could compete with the tough guys of “Classic Hollywood”

  • mitchsn

    Clint is my all time favorite actor hands down.

    No one has more expressive eyes/facial features than him. He often does his best acting when he has no lines.

  • Mom424

    trojan_man; Kudos for mentioning Lee Van Cleef. He would make a great addition; I prefer him to either Charlton Heston or Charles Bronson. Jack Palance is pretty cool too.

  • Phillies

    A good list, though I feel John Wayne should be a bit higher. But, it’s your list and it’s not like you put in schlubs. So, bravo

  • Brian

    The fact that Eddie Deezen wasn’t included on this list only reinforces my belief that people need to take this site more seriously.

  • billywitchdoctordotcom

    Excellent list, Randall. Should you decide to make its modern counterpart I think a good inclusion would be Joe Pesci if only for his touch of the crazy in Goodfellas…. “What? Like I never dug a hole before?”

  • trojan_man

    Mom424: Thanks…Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, and of course Clint Eastwood have to be the greatest trio of machismo in a single movie ever. The final gunfight scene had an eternity of music with no spoken lines and it spoke volumes.

  • warrrreagl

    The list is perfect. No one needs to be added. No one needs to be deleted. No one needs to be rearranged.

  • JDS

    Nice list. However, I have to question the toughness of Eastwood and Marvin (especially at nos 1 and 2) after they starred in the musical “Paint Your Wagon”.

    “Gonna paint your wagon / Gonna paint it fine / Gonna use an oil-based paint, ’cause the wood is pine”

    • Colby

      You kidding JDS just imagine the courage it took to put your name to that movie.

  • Phillies

    32. JDS
    hahaha. I think Clint Eastwood (Man with No Name, Dirty Harry, SS agent from In the Line of Fire, Undefeated) and Lee Marvin (Dirty Dozen is all I can think of at the moment) have proven their respective toughness over the years.

  • copperdragon

    Bruce Lee anyone???

    would’ve had Clint #1. agree with Jack Palance.

    when you say “classic”, how current are you going? Connery is mid-sixties/early seventies.

  • f8crusader

    Thanks for including Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews. As you said, very underated, but terrific actor’s. Good list !!!

  • Matt R

    Great list, I think I would have added William Holden and Warren Oates.

  • Shadow

    I saw Lee Marvin for the first time in “The Emperor of the North”, and after that alone, I would have put him at the top of this list!

  • Drwho1300

    Ok, you can’t dis Bronson, Deathwish crap aside, take a look at The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen and Mag 7 again. Tough doesn’t even start. How many of these guys git buried alive and still went back in the tunnel!

  • SocialButterfly

    Excellent list Randall, as soon as I saw the title I knew this would be authored by you!

  • I have to say Randall you thought of all the tough guys would have thought of. The order is of course very debatable depending on your taste in toughness. I also liked your description in the beginning.
    “What it means to be a real man in a world sodden with political correctness, feminism, and new sexual politics.”
    Here is a clip that demonstrates this quite well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmZfJuS4sVc
    The guy in the clip is my #1
    Thanks for putting this list together.

  • Chris

    I think that Sean Connery needs to be closer to number 1 on this list.

  • Jen

    Um, BRANDO?

  • stevenh

    Randall:
    Excellent List, Excellent Comments.

    Sure, I may have come up with different names, in a different order, but I didn’t write the list – you did.

    Thank you.

  • Jen

    Blogball: this is a list of tough guys, not necessarily dickheads. :)

  • Jen, believe me I don’t condone or admire what Cagney does in this scene. I just used this clip as an example of what Randall was talking about as far as political correctness, feminism, and new sexual politics and how things have changed. Plus I think sometimes you can be tough guy and a dickhead at the same time.

  • Andre D

    Uhhh excuse me? This is rediculous… how is Marlon Brando not on this list?
    Godfather, Apocalypse Now, On the Waterfront, Viva Zapata? C’mon… How is Brando not on this list

    Apart from him:
    Bruce Lee
    Robert DeNiro (despite his goofy new crap)
    Toshiro Mifune (although he mostly made movies in Japan)
    Ray Liotta
    Tom Hanks… haha just kidding

    But yeah… MARLON BRANDO

  • CK

    Randall – Finally your list made it!

    I’ve never heard of Lee Marvin but apparently I should! Is it just me or do almost all these badasses have either a cigarette or a gun in their hand?

    Also, and I think this probably is only me, is it ironic that the underrated Dana Andrews whose name is (now) more of a girl’s name is in a movie with an actress whose name is Gene (which is more of a guy’s name)? I just found that humorous.

    I did think James Dean would have been on this list but I like reading about things I didn’t know about and this list has quite a few of those. Excellent job Randall.

    • Colby

      Classic remember…a time when most people smoked through ignorance.Ryan, Bogart, Wayne, Marvin,all died prematurely from the effects of smoking (and excessive drinking).Ryan made a touching PSA while dieing of lung cancer urging young people not to smoke.

  • Randall

    Andre:

    It’s a CLASSIC list, for one thing, which explains why most of your picks aren’t on here.

    Second, I hardly consider Ray Liotta a “tough guy” in league with the guys on this list.

    Thirdly, Brando, I admit, is a seeming omission. But not really. A) Brando, like DeNiro, is an actor who’s done a wide range of characters. A lot of tough guys, yes, but in a way he seems not to fit the mold. Think about the roles he’s played and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

  • Diogenes

    I know he’s not a toughy but I wanted to mention that Dan Duryea comes to mind none the less. His name to fame in part was all about slapping the dame/doll/hussie ect.
    maybe he’d fit on that “top ten clasic hollywood weasels” list your also working on Randall.

  • josh

    great list!

    mine would have to include telly savalas but everyone else is spot on

  • Csimmons

    nice list Randall, I for once completely agree with the order and choices! Of course I’m positive if I wasn’t, any of these guys could beat my ass….

  • fivestring63

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee.

  • Randall

    fivestrong63:

    Sylvester Stallone is a HACK. He’s made one really good movie in his life (Rocky… the original) and one fairly good one (The Lords of Flatbush) and that’s IT. The rest of the man’s movies have varied in shittiness… but all have been *shitty.*

    Chuck Norris is also a joke.

    Schwarzenegger I like, but again–this is a list of CLASSIC tough guys.

  • Randall

    Diogenes:

    That’s a pretty good idea…. Hollywood Weasels… hmmmm..

  • Phillies

    Aw, come on. Sylvester Stallone in Rambo II was fantastic. That movie also gave me my favorite action movie weapon ever: Exploding-tip arrows. They’re so absolutely ridiculous and absurd, they’re phenomenal.

    But in all honesty, Rocky really is his only truly great film. If he wants to be happy for the rest of his life, he needs to legally change his name to Rocky Balboa and move to Philadelphia. Philadelphians love him because of Rocky, and they would absolutely welcome him with open arms.

  • islanderbst

    Good list, can’t complain. (maybe a quibble, Bronson seems a bit high). Very few current actors can match these guys for toughness. Cant believe we’re stuck with Jude Law and Hayden Christenson types to fuckin be impressed with.
    Harrison Ford only recent actor that absolutely could fit in with this list.

  • SlickWilly

    Randall: What? No love for Rocky 6? That was a great movie…honestly, I enjoyed all the Rocky movies except for Rocky 5.

    In all seriousness, though, you’d think some people couldn’t read. #52 is a good example. It says CLASSIC right there in the goddamn title. I’m also pretty sure Csimmons has no clue who at least 15 people on this list are. :P

  • xtopherp

    It really is too bad that the parade of B-grade Death Wish movies have blemished his cred, but if anybody ever needs any justification as to why Charles Bronson should be on this list, one only needs to watch him in “Hard Times”. James Coburn was in it as well, but not so much as a tough guy, but more of a fast-talking slickster type.

  • Lynn

    James Caan!!!

    He’s as much “classic Hollywood” as Clint Eastwood.

    It’s true that Eastwood has a 10 year head start on Caan, but other than that there isn’t much difference in their careers.

    I mean they have both done televison as well as movies…

    Some of Caan’s best:

    The Godfather
    A Bridge Too Far
    Misery
    and many others…

    hell, he was even tough in Honeymoon in Vegas!

  • miller

    good list in terms of “classic hollywood” seems like the suggestions given forget the title of the list.

  • ian

    ok when you think of “classic hollywood tough guy” how could you not think of james dean…
    great list idea but the list is crap seeing as how james dean isnt on it

  • James Dean stared in only 3 movies
    In one of them (Rebel Without a Cause) he whined and cried through the whole thing. Great performance don’t get me wrong
    but hardly a tough guy

  • courtney

    How about Richard Roundtree and Sidney Poitier?

  • SlickWilly

    Blogball: Bingo.

  • EricB

    super, super, SUPER glad to see eastwood ahead of wayne.

  • keyword: hollywood

  • Michelle

    Great list Randall!!
    The only one that I could even think of before reading this list was Bogie, but I just love him, so that’s probably why.

    I agree that Brando could have been on this list, but he did play quite a diverse range of roles (as mentioned above). Also, don’t forget that in Guys and Dolls he became a REFORMED tough guy/gambler. I think if you renounce your bad guy title at any point, you get kicked out of the club!

  • NeoLudd

    You are lucky The Duke is deceased
    NO ONE gets away with talkin like that about Ol’ Rooster

  • badlist

    chuck norris

  • Cedestra

    Hey, what about Slappy McGoofball*, the non-classic wussy bad guy that’s a crappy actor and couldn’t scare a 5 year old? I mean, Chuck Norris. Sorry, blanked on his name for a bit.
    I consider myself a lover of old, black-and-white films, but sadly have not seen many of these actors in…action. Yeah, I haven’t heard of about 4 and haven’t seen about 10. I’m too stuck on Frank Capra films.
    *No relation to goof_ball

  • Now this is the kind of list I can get behind…and I second the motion for a “Hollywood Weasel” list. Old Hollywood was rife with the vermin, not that there aren’t plenty around today. But the old studio system was a hotbed of abuse and power-mongering. The Mongrels…errr.. Mogels today pale in comparision.IMO.

  • Cedestra

    Also, why do they have some of the most inappropriate advertisements with lists? For instance, above is an ad for “Baby Mama”, the new Tina Fey movie. Baby Mama…on a bad guys list.

  • Cambrex101

    Yay, Clint Eastwood! He’s so cool!

    I was kinda hoping to see Al Pacino on here though….he’s so cool….and badass…he could kick anybody’s ass!

  • Rocknopera

    Thank you for not putting Chuck Norris on this list… Clint Eastwood is the real Chuck Norris… Here’s a rule, gun weilding steely-eyed bad ass beats dumpy paper-pushing cop every time…

    I think McQueen should have been higher… Or how about the best actor of all time, Marlon Brando?

    If you’re doing a top 20 modern hollywood tough guys, may I suggest Daniel Day Lewis at number one? Michael Madsen should have a spot too.

  • eltrut

    Clint was the ONLY one that should be on this list. All the others are/were hacks. :D

  • DiscHuker

    cambrex: he doesn’t kick ass. he calls a hit in.

  • Nightstalker

    @ Trojan_Man – Lee van Cleef kicks ass and you have my repect for mentioning him.

    Lee Marvin earned his place at #1 with his performance in The Dirty Dozen alone. Every other movie just backs that up. John Wayne should be #3 because no one would dare [email protected]#k with him and Marlon Brando deserves to be on this kind of list. Beyond that, well done Randall.

  • lando

    I think Clint Eastwood is the best
    I was almost named after him
    but what about Paul Newman?

  • FlockO’Seagulls

    “I am not at all a fan of John Wayne and for me he loses points for his ultra-patriotism . . .”

    Randall–This was otherwise a good list, but you “lose points” for your failure set aside your political leanings, which should be irrelevant to this topic. When/if you write a list that includes Susan Sarandon or Tim Robbins, will they “lose points” with you for their ultra-liberalism? I kinda doubt it.

  • anthony p

    At what point do they become classic? Was there a date they had to have made there first move by?

    In an updated list i imagine you would see the likes of

    Bruce Willis
    Sylvester Stallone
    Mel Gibson
    Jean Claude Vandamme

    Im not sure if they all count as bad ass but surely the Die Hard series cemented bruce willis in that category not to mention sin city, mercury rising and what not

  • Prozacsoldier

    Maybe Gary Cooper should be on the list.

  • Bast

    Loved this list. There were a few I didn’t care anything about, but that’s a personal preference, and just a wee quibble, anyway. Loved that you put so many of my favs on here – thanks so much! (James Coburn FTW!)

  • Sarah

    Sinatra should be an honorable mention

  • Nelia

    How have people missed, in the intro as well as the comments, that this is a CLASSIC list? Hence, no modern badasses. CLASSIC.
    Thank you for including Dana Andrews. I LOVE him. He is gorgeous, and a great actor. Laura is my favorite classic film, great stuff.
    I probably would have put Clint first, but the listmaker gets to lean towards his personal favs if he wants as far as I am concerned.

  • bwmyers18

    Really ?!?!? Where’s Clark Gable? A classic war hero who comes home, gets the girl, has his way with her, and when she asks “Where do I go from here”? he tells her he doesn’t give a damn ?!?!? Now THAT’S a tough guy ….

    • Colby

      Gable should have been on as well as my personal fav Errol Flynn.

  • I agree that Bruce Lee should be on the list and Toshiro Mifune should get an honorable mention for being one of the tough guys (Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Hell in the Pacific,) even if
    he wasn’t a major Hollywood actor.

    For a modern list:

    Bruce Willis (the first two Die Hard movies and Last Man Standing,)

    Richard Roundtree (THE Shaft,)

    Al Pacino (ummm… Scarface anyone?)

    Robert DeNiro (especially with Ronin, The Untouchables, and Taxi Driver)

    Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator, Predator, Commando, even True Lies adds to his

    Jet Li (The Legend, Black Mask, Lethal Weapon 4, Fearless)

    Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Lethal Weapon, Mad Max)

    Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, The Punisher, He-Man, Showdown in Little Tokyo)

    Brandon Lee (The Crow, Showdown in Little Tokyo)

    Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead series, Bubba Ho-Tep)he might be viewed as a being comiedac, but he can give you that look that says that you don’t want a piece of him.

    Rutger Hauer (Beyond Justice, Escape from Sobibor, Blade Runner)

    Gene Hackman (especially for his portrayal of “Popeye” Doyle in The French Connection movies)

    Jack Nicholson (Batman, Wolf, Hoffa, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining… let’s face it, he never has played the most stable of characters, but they were always the ones that you didn’t want to mess with.)

    Tom Berenger (Sniper, Platoon, The Substitute, even his character from Major League was a guy you didn’t want to be on the wrong side of.)

    Sylvester Stallone (Rocky, Rambo, Lock Up….)

    Vin Diesel (Richard B. Riddick, XXX)

    Scott Glenn (kind of an odd choice, bit work with me here. Watch his characters in The Challenge [a.k.a. Sword of the Ninja,] Backdraft, or even The Hunt for Red October. Not one of them is one who you wanted to piss off then turn your back on.)

    Harrison Ford (less for his role as Indiana Jones, and more for his roles as Jack Ryan, Han Solo, and Deckard. Dr. Richard Kimble in the Fugitive and President Marshall in Air Force one help add a few points too.)

    Mark Wahlberg (If you haven’t seen Four Brothers or We Own the Night, watch them. He exudes a tough guy attitude that hasn’t been seen on screen since Steve McQueen graced the screen.)

    Number one would have to be Kurt Russel, though. Whether it’s Snake Plissken, Wyatt Earp, a truck driver, an Elvis look-alike that’s a robber, or even a framed cop, he can give you a look that says “Think hard about if you REALLY want some of this.”

    • colby

      You're right Mel Gibson should make the classic list for his generation but right now he's still persona non grata with the hollywood elite and their milktoast followers but time will win out. Remember Garfield was blacklisted too.

  • DiscHuker

    so, is somebody jumping on the modern hollywood tough guy list?

  • Shadow

    It would appear that some of the readers of this list have a serious problem with “Selective Comprehension”. Just for the intellectually challenged… “Classic – adj. excellent; timeless; traditional; serving as a model (in art and literature); of or pertaining to Greek and Roman antiquities.” In other words; if you like some new actor, and he wasn’t on this list, SHUT UP! Just request a list of newer actors, and maybe make a suggestion, then SHUT UP! Have you noticed my not so nice request that you SHUT UP!? I hope so… because I’m a firm believer in Darwinism.

    Randall, great job by the way.

  • Joel

    William Holden! The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch, The Towering Inferno, Stalag 17. How could he not even be mentioned yet in the comments, let alone the actual list?

  • Joss

    I love you, Dana Andrews.

  • ilovejohnny15

    yea these are cosidered tough guys… if ur 60

  • Randall

    ilovejohnny15:

    Tougher than any lame-ass boy-man you can cough up from nowadays, “ilove”…. speaking of which…. how in the world does anyone with a tag like “ilovejohnny15” have the gall to remark on what or who is “tough”?

  • mregan

    89. Joel – April 16th, 2008 at 7:48 am
    William Holden! The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch, The Towering Inferno, Stalag 17. How could he not even be mentioned yet in the comments, let alone the actual list?

    See numbers 18 and 36.

  • Joel

    mregan-
    Thank you. Definitely missed those two.

  • Rusty

    And in all this testostrone, a passing homage to a pioneering tough performance by a non hollywood, non-guy – Ripley (Sigourney Weaver – 8th greatest hero in American? cinema history [American Film Institute]).

  • tsaad

    no james dean !!!

  • Tom91

    You’ve got most of the cast of The Magnificent Seven up there, lol. Great movie.

  • Randall

    tsaad:

    No. No James Dean. He was in all of three movies, and none of his characters were in the same league as the characters the guys on this list played.

  • Siggie

    Yul Brynner is more of a tough guy than Robert Mitchum, Hmmm, I think not! Mitchum was totally tough, buff and had those bedroom eyes, so he appealed to men and women both. And while I love Dana Andrews (Yes “Laura” is also one of my favorite Film Noir movies) I still think Mitchum was togher than him.

    My favorite tough guy new movie actor has got to be Russell Crowe. Sure he’s a little strange, but then again who isn’t these days. He’s got the same charisma as Mitchum raw animal magnatism and brutality. I just could not belive him in “Gladiator” and “L.A. Confidential”. Bud White was babealicious!

  • Randall

    Siggie:

    Yes, Russell Crowe… one of the VERY few contemporary actors who really comes across as tough.

  • Rusty

    Hah! Eric Watson made short work of him in a London nightclub toilet for being an obnoxious prick! One of New Zealand’s less memorable sons…

  • SarahAtTheDisco

    I thought of Clint Eastwood the second I read the title haha

    Chuck Norris is a good candidate too.
    Considering the fact Chuck Norris is now also a verb.
    [[example]] Dont mess with him or he’ll get all chuck norris on your ass.

    • gollumizer

      not only a verb, chuck norris is the entire content of the english dictionary ;P
      and if anyone dares to disprove me, i will go chuck norris on him/her.

  • abhilash warrier

    What about John McLane? Bruce Willis?

  • Yondofan12

    Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke

  • darielle

    I totally disagree with Siggie here, you are SO WRONG I think Yul Brynner wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more tougher than Robert Mitchum. Have you ever seen The Magnificient Seven or Westworld or Ten Commandments? Yul was the MAN! He will always be the KING. Mitchum may had been a cutie pie but he was not a HUNK and a HOTTIE like Yul. He is total package, he’s a gorgeous face, amazing eyes, hot body, nice legs, great voice, wonderful personality, magnetism, virility and acting skills. Yul was incredible in every movie he did and he was an AWESOME good guy and bad guy in his films. On this list, he is definitely my number 1.

  • Redder313

    No Bruce Campbell?

    “Give me some sugar, baby” should be more than enough to earn him a trophy for overall badass machismo.

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  • Tommy Tough Guy

    What about James Satterthwaite? He’s one of the toughest guys I know. I am lead to believe that he was the inspiration behind the phrase “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

  • V

    Michael Caine?

  • sam88

    what about Wesly Snipes?

  • John Wimmer

    This is easy, John Wayne was the toughest, ask Clint Eastwood or any other actor that knows anything about the Duke. 2. Robert Mitchum 3. Lee Marvin 4. Charles Bronson. This selection is easy. 5. Michael Madsen 6. Tom Berenger. These new actors, some of them are wanna be tough guys, no comparison to the ones mentioned above. One more, 7. Steven Seagal.

  • Dennis

    While some of your tough guys hit the mark. Most dont. First
    I am happy you noticed John Garfield. But you put him at # 20!!! Dana Andrews ahead of him and Sean Connery, and Yul Brenner. Wow you dont really know your tough guys. A true tough guy, has to have the look, the swagger. the grit. Not just beat some one up. Its how they handle themselves in a confrontation. I have seen all of Garfields movies, he was a real tough guy, I mean real. He came from the streets of the Bronx, fought in gangs, was brought up tough. So when he played his roles in the movies he wasnt just acting, he lived thoses roles.Of all the 111 comments no one mentions him. Because they dont know anything about him. Check out some of his films and watch a REAL TOUGH GUY. And ask yourself this, if Dana Andrews met up with John Garfiled and had a duke it out brawl who would win. believe me not Dana Andrews. Do your homework. Get it right next time.

  • Randall

    Dennis:

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm for John Garfield, I hasten to point out that I DID include him on the list. So our only disagreement is on where to place him. And this, I feel, is not reason enough to accuse me of “not knowing my tough guys.” I beg to differ. You don’t say, after all, who you would NOT have included on the list, or who I missed. Your only dispute seems to be with Garfield’s ranking.

    So please–let’s not advise me to “do my homework.” I did it, and in fact finished it in study hall with time to spare.

    At any rate, here’s to you, anyway, as another Garfield lover, dude.

  • johnny boy

    Richard Widmark or Dana Andrews are better than Sean Connery?!
    I like your site and have great fun reading the lists but you are too heavily American-biased. Sorry mate, but sometimes it’s really too much.

  • Slipstick

    Sean Connery’s American? Holy crap, somebody better inform Scotland that they’ve been traded to the Yanks. :-P

  • Randall

    Slipstick:

    I don’t see where anyone, anywhere, said that Sean Connery is American (though it’s possible he is now a naturalized American citizen). I wrote the list, and I know I certainly didn’t say it. The list is titled “HOLLYWOOD tough guys.” “Hollywood” is a term used to convey the movie medium in general.

    johny boy:

    A) when I write lists like this, I generally don’t really “rank” my choices until we get into the top ten. Making a list go to twenty just allows me to include a few names that shouldn’t be left off. Connery happened to be #18 but he could have easily made #12 or whatever. Point is, however, that while Connery’s career has been long, he hasn’t made as many films as some of the others (partly because he comes from a period that was mostly post-studio system, when they grinded out two or three films a week) AND his overall career has not made him as “iconically tough” as some of the others–which is not to say that he’s been a pansy in any of his roles, but he’s born more of the “leading man” at times. Cary Grant played a tough guy several times, but we don’t think of him as such, we think of him as a leading man. Same goes for Gary Cooper, who also might have made this list. Connery’s iconic mien HAS been MORE tough than those two examples, but he still has kept a foot firmly in the leading man camp—hence I put him low on the list.

    As for the list being too American-biased… I invite you to suggest to me which foreign actors should have been here. Yves Montand? I wouldn’t think so. Toshiro Mifune perhaps, but that’d be debatable. There’s many, I suppose… but it’s hardly “American bias” to admit that American films and film actors have dominated international cinema. That’s just a fact that all film critics (regardless of nationality) and theorists acknowledge. So off the high horse, johnny boy.

  • Randall

    slipstick:

    By the way, if you were answering johnny boy, I think his point was that I had favored American actors over a Scot (Connery). Though as I pointed out to him, I think this accusation of his is inaccurate.

  • Randall

    johnny boy:

    Or, if you like, you can take this another way. As I said, “Hollywood” I used to refer to film in general. But in fact it IS also pretty geo-specific. Connery counts as a Hollywood actor because A) he’s made a lot of true Hollywood films AND B) almost all the films he’s made have been “hollywood” in nature–i.e., big productions financed by big studios with big production values and so on.

    Hence Connery makes the list, but foreign actors who could not be called “Hollywood” even remotely, didn’t.

  • johnny boy

    Randall, you said in the introduction that the list was about the kind of actors that ‘as boys we look up to … as role models and try to emulate them, and as men we find them reminders of what it means to be a real man in a world sodden with political correctness, feminism, and new sexual politics.’

    My point is that most of the non-American readers of this list probably don’t know who Richard Widmark, Dana Andrews, or some other actors on this list, were. They have, however, heard of Sean Connery and his James Bond roles. And just because he is widely considered the ultimate James Bond, who is a symbol of the qualities you mentioned, Sean Connery deserves to be much higher on this list. In other words, the real measure of an actor’s masculine qualities is also the way he is, in relation to these criteria, perceived in the rest of the world (not just in English speaking countries). According to these criteria then, I would put Sean Connery at number three, no. 1 would be John Wayne, and the close second would be Clint Eastwood.

    PS. I don’t think that, in relation to this list, you can really compare Cary Grant to Sean Connery (because Grant, although a great actor in his own right, isn’t considered a tough guy at all, while Sean Connery is an icon of masculinity throughout the world).

  • Randall

    johnny boy:

    Sorry, but I still don’t find your argument to hold water. Many non-American readers might not know OLD Hollywood actors, it’s true, but that means little. Here in the US most kids don’t know who they are either.

    I mean, where are you writing from? I suppose that matters, but still…

    At any rate, none of this belies the fact that Old Hollywood was just as powerful and international in its popularity and cultural influence than current Hollywood, if not more so. If you haven’t heard of Richard Widmark, that’s not my fault then… at worst it’s simply that old movies aren’t accessible in your culture. But unless you’re writing from somewhere that was, at the time, considered “remote” (that is, in the 30s and 40s and perhaps the 50s) then at one time people in your region knew who these actors were.

    Same goes here. Young people don’t know a lot of the old actors, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t know them.

    Anyway, You didn’t suggest to me who SHOULD be on the list as an alternative. You seem to be simply stuck on the Connery thing.

    Now I DO consider Connery the best Bond, of course. But my statments about him stand. Compared to most of these other actors, he made a smaller number of films. And not all of his roles have been in that vein.

    The point of this list was also educate people—foreigners included, why not?—on the greatness of old Hollywood. That’s why it’s a CLASSIC Hollywood list. Get it?

    Seek out the actors I’ve listed here, their films… and you’ll see what I’m getting at, maybe.

  • johnny boy

    It is true that those classic Hollywood actors were popular at that time. But they aren’t popular today. And some other actors from this list (e.g. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood etc.)who were popular then have remained popular to this day and kids from all over the world know who they are and admire them. This should be a crucial factor in deciding an actor’s rank in this list.
    The list is subjective, just because you are ‘not at all a fan of John Wayne’ doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve the first place.

  • Diogenes

    To the “Put Together-er” of This List:

    One hellavu picture, “On Dangerous Ground”, I did see ’bout a week ago .

    damn good movie

    Robert Ryan.
    Tough guy with a heart.
    I Wanna see more.
    What would you recommend?

    I’m Interested in the boxing one.
    what’s the name of that one?

    Don’t give me mix suggestion please, but a good follow up. Minus “The Wild Bunch” .
    Thanks so much if you see this and reply.

  • hilly

    Brando?! Holden?!

  • Mike

    Horrible list, mostly in order though ;)

  • gabi319

    We have a family friend that’s a carbon copy of Clint Eastwood. He and his wife were visiting Italy and a group of tourists chased him down and refused to leave him alone until he took a picture with them. He told them repeatedly that he was not Clint Eastwood but they didn’t care.

  • uprootedtexan

    I would have put Steve McQueen higher but that’s just me. After all, he was as tough in real life as on the screen. A good list no matter what order.

  • Bert

    Lee Marvin absolutely deserves number one. Not only was he tough on film, but the dude won a Purple Heart in the Pacific in WWII. Don’t think any of the others can even come close to that.

  • brummsel

    I can’t believe that the outstanding (and my favourite actor of all times) Marlon Brando is not in the list!

  • Dennis

    Let me just say. I know John Garfield as an actor, and I know his real true life story. He was a real tough guy from the Bronx. He said if he dint become an actor he would have become public enemy # 1. He is so far ahead of Dana Andrews, Yul Brenner, Sean Connery its almost laughable. You have him 20th. Please do your homework on John Garfield. You will find he should be way up at the top of the list. A true tough guy in every sense of the worrd!!!

  • zantimisfit

    Ernest Borgnine!

  • mightbeserious

    Great list. Like so many others, I would just change the order. Zantimisfit is correct, Borgnine in “Emperor of the North” versus your favorite, Lee Marvin. Freaking unforgettable.

    Also, Robert Mitchum, just for “Night of the Hunter” should be way up there. Plus, when he did those beef ads, it always sounded like: “Beef, I went out and killed it myself, so it’s for dinner, and you will like it.”

    Now that I look back at what I have said, maybe I am describing a list of bat-sh*t crazy characters that caused me to loose sleep. Oooo, I smell a new list.

  • moshmonster

    No Al Pacino? Oh well, I still enjoyed it. Love me some Clint Eastwood and James Cagney.

  • kelsey

    MARLON BRANDO!!!!!!!!!!! C’MON PEOPLE!

  • jmount43

    Choices 1 and 2 should be the other way around.

  • GCL777

    John Wayne should be number one. Lee Marvin number two (you don’t WIN a Purple Heart..it’s something that they give you for being wounded. It’s not something you’d actually want to have. Clint Eastwood number three. … But to me one tough guy that in reality could mop the floor with nearly all these guys if not all is the real tough guy Robert Conrad. He use to lust off of whooping folks. Fearless as they come.

  • Will

    We won't have any any more of this guy. Chuck Norris killed him with his own thumb.

  • Henryfonda

    henry fonda!

  • Zoe

    No Paul Newman? For serious?

  • gollumizer

    Moe from the three stooges.
    because curly would ask, “tough guy, ay?”
    and Moe, of course, would show curly what a tough guy he is, and also gives it to larry for good measure because larry had the audacity to be anywhere near him.
    hilarity ensues.

  • BreK

    Name

  • ricky

    marlon brando?

  • Tony Greene

    What about Jason Statham?

  • victor

    ??????? ?????? ????? 1? ?????!!!!

  • dave

    Lee Marvin!!!! You nailed #1!!!

  • carlos

    Most are well chosen, but not all: Charles Bronson and Yul Brynner weren’t good actors . Anthony Quinn has done many classess of personages.For me there’s a big fault : Dan Duryea :”Criss Cross”, Scarlett Street,” ” Winchester 73″ And Peter Lorre, Herbert Lom, Alain Delon and Jean Paul Belmondo.

  • Cotton Williams

    John Wayne attempted to enlist in the navy during ww2 , but was rejected as class 3-A ( to old and to many kids ) . The great Jimmy Stewart was about the same age as Wayne and had 3 children and enlisted . But Stewart , as but I already stated , had 3 children and Wayne had 4 , that’s one to many . We are at war now and just exactly how many of today’s celebrities ( actors , musicians and writers etc ) have enlisted ? And yes I am a veteran .

  • Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Brian Dennehy, Ed Lauter and Jack Palance. There’s a few more for this list !!………And No.18, Sean Connery, whoever wrote this list is absolutely dead-on as being THE James Bond. The others don’t even hold a candle to Sir Sean Connery. Why ? Because the others that have played James Bond sucked at trying to fill Connery’s shoes. James Bond + Sean Connery = SYNONYMOUS !!!

  • MaxTs

    The Writer of this topic got killed by Chuck Norris!

  • Randy

    Clint is number ONE! Where is Mickey Rourke? James coburn is not tough. Nor is chris Walken.

  • peter8172

    Just for the sake of Hollywood Tough Guys, how about the six leading stars of the movie “The Wild Bunch” (1969) and directed by Sam Peckinpah. Also two other actors who portray the “heel” or tough guy are Jack Palance and Brian Dennehy

  • ChiefMasterSergant

    First of all John Wayne was to old to join the military at the time. He had also signed a contract before America had even thought about being in WW2. If you read his bio it would quote John Ford saying that he received numerous letters begging Ford to allow him to to be placed in his unit. So during Vietnam Wayne knew that he was to old to join so he went on USO tours in Vietnam. So this man that so many people despise for no reason just turned out to be 10 time cooler than he seemed. On the other hand Lee Marvin is the perfect bad ass. He was in the Marines as a Scout Sniper and the only reason he was taken out of the war is because he was wounded in the but.

  • McQueen King of Cool, Eddie G, Mitchum & Clint; but Bogart at #4? You’ve gotta be kidding me!

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  • neil1953

    Once again, read the comment posted by “Ve Si May Tinh” extoling the virtue of how great this site is without even posting anything about this list. And this “Ve Si May Tihn” said that his/her brother recommended this site. (On my behalf, I would be lost without this website but I don’t post this BS, I post my opinion about a list).

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  • Tom

    One actor you forgot is Victor McLaglen. A real-life “tough” guy. Fighting Jack Jones in the ring, WWI vet, etc., etc., etc.

    • T.B.

      My bad, that’s Jack Johnson, the great heavyweight boxer from the old days. And why should John Wayne be No. 1? a) Because he was John Wayne, and b) he made WAY more great movies than most of these other tough guys, save for Cagney maybe. But John Wayne didn’t play a tough guy in all of his great movies. Sometimes he was a semi-tough guy. Google the films he made with John Ford as director, then get busy. One I can recommend (non-J.F.) is “Tall In the Saddle.”

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