Biggest Movie Badasses

by Pycal | created - 28 Dec 2010 | updated - 14 Feb 2012 | Public

1. Charles Bronson

Actor | C'era una volta il West

The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky), ...

2. Lee Van Cleef

Actor | Escape from New York

One of the great movie villains, Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. was born in Somerville, New Jersey, to Marion Lavinia (Van Fleet) and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Sr. His parents were both of Dutch ancestry. Van Cleef started out as an accountant. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard minesweepers and sub ...

3. Toshirô Mifune

Actor | Yôjinbô

Toshiro Mifune achieved more worldwide fame than any other Japanese actor of his century. He was born in Tsingtao, China, to Japanese parents and grew up in Dalian. He did not set foot in Japan until he was 21. His father was an importer and a commercial photographer, and young Toshiro worked in ...

4. Maurizio Merli

Actor | Roma a mano armata

Though it can be said that he only gained fame as an actor because he bore such a heavy resemblance to Italian actor Franco Nero, Maurizio Merli was a very versatile and charismatic leading man in Italian cinema throughout the 1970's. His first appearance was in the Luchino Visconti film The Leopard...

5. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

6. Richard Widmark

Actor | The Alamo

Richard Widmark established himself as an icon of American cinema with his debut in the 1947 film noir Kiss of Death (1947) in which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination as the killer "Tommy Udo". Kiss of Death (1947) and other noir thrillers established Widmark as part of a new ...

7. Robert Mitchum

Actor | Out of the Past

Robert Mitchum was an underrated American leading man of enormous ability, who sublimated his talents beneath an air of disinterest. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Ann Harriet (Gunderson), a Norwegian immigrant, and James Thomas Mitchum, a shipyard/railroad worker. His father died in a ...

8. Warren Oates

Actor | The Wild Bunch

Warren Oates was an American character actor of the 1960s and 1970s and early 1980s whose distinctive style and intensity brought him to offbeat leading roles.

Oates was born in Depoy, a very small Kentucky town. He was the son of Sarah Alice (Mercer) and Bayless Earle Oates, a general store owner. ...

9. Shin'ichi Chiba

Actor | Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Pivotal figure in the 1970s explosion of martial arts cinema as lethal "fists for hire" trouble shooter, Takuma (Terry) Tsurugi, starring in the phenomenally popular and ultra violent "The Street Fighter" series of action films. Sonny Chiba wasn't a graceful, fluid fighter like screen icon Bruce Lee...

10. Jô Shishido

Actor | Yajû no seishun

Jô Shishido or Joe Shishido a.k.a. Joe The Ace (esu no Jô) owing to his role in 1961's Fast-Draw Guy entered acting following an audition for the Nikkatsu Studio and being one of the few to be picked and offered a contract via its New Face contest. Having signed with Nikkatsu in 1954 he began ...

11. Jean-Paul Belmondo

Actor | Pierrot le fou

The son of the renowned French sculptor Paul Belmondo, he studied at Conservatoire National Superieur d'Art Dramatique (CNSAD); after the minor stage performances he made his screen debut in À pied, à cheval et en voiture (1957) but the episodes with his participation were cut before ...

12. Bruce Lee

Actor | Meng long guo jiang

Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and ...

13. Klaus Kinski

Actor | Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

Klaus Kinski was born as Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski in Zoppot, Free City of Danzig (now Sopot, Poland), to Susanne (Lutze), a nurse, and Bruno Nakszynski, a pharmacist. He grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army in 1944 and captured by British forces in Holland. After the war he began...

14. James Coburn

Actor | The Great Escape

Lanky, charismatic and versatile actor with an amazing grin that put everyone at ease, James Coburn studied acting at UCLA, and then moved to New York to study under noted acting coach Stella Adler. After being noticed in several stage productions, Coburn appeared in a handful of minor westerns ...

15. Lee Marvin

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Prematurely white-haired character star who began as a supporting player of generally vicious demeanor, then metamorphosed into a star of both action and drama projects, Lee Marvin was born in New York City, the son of Courtenay Washington (Davidge), a fashion writer, and Lamont Waltman Marvin, an ...

16. Fred Williamson

Actor | From Dusk Till Dawn

Former Oakland Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs football star who rose to prominence as one of the first African-American male action stars of the "blaxploitation" genre of the early 1970s, who has since gone on to a long and illustrious career as an actor, director, writer, and producer! Burly, yet ...

17. Jack Palance

Actor | City Slickers

Jack Palance often exemplified evil incarnate on film -- portraying some of the most intensely despised villains witnessed in 1950s westerns and melodrama, enhanced by his tall, powerful build, icy voice, and piercing eyes. He received two Best Supporting Actor nominations early in his career, but ...

18. Bunta Sugawara

Actor | Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Bunta Sugawara was born on August 16, 1933 in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. He was an actor, known for Spirited Away (2001), Tales from Earthsea (2006) and The Man Who Stole the Sun (1979). He was married to Fumiko. He died on November 28, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.

19. Henry Silva

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

Henry Silva was born on September 15, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York City. He quit public school to attend drama classes at age 13, supporting himself as a dishwasher in a Manhattan hotel. By 1955, Silva had moved up from dishwasher to waiter, and felt ready to audition for the Actors Studio. He was ...

20. Tomisaburô Wakayama

Actor | Black Rain

Tomisaburô Wakayama was born on September 1, 1929 in Tokyo, Japan as Masaru Okumura. He was an actor and producer, known for Black Rain (1989), Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972) and Shogun Assassin (1980). He died on April 2, 1992 in Kyoto, Japan.

21. Ben Johnson

Actor | The Last Picture Show

Born in Oklahoma, Ben Johnson was a ranch hand and rodeo performer when, in 1940, Howard Hughes hired him to take a load of horses to California. He decided to stick around (the pay was good), and for some years was a stunt man, horse wrangler, and double for such stars as John Wayne, Gary Cooper ...

22. Humphrey Bogart

Actor | Casablanca

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy ...

23. James Cagney

Actor | The Roaring Twenties

One of Hollywood's preeminent male stars of all time, James Cagney was also an accomplished dancer and easily played light comedy. James Francis Cagney was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, to Carolyn (Nelson) and James Francis Cagney, Sr., who was a bartender and amateur ...

24. Robert Ryan

Actor | The Wild Bunch

Distinguished U.S. actor and longtime civil rights campaigner Robert Bushnell Ryan was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Mable Arbutus (Bushnell), a secretary, and Timothy Aloysius Ryan, whose wealthy family owned a real estate firm. His father was of Irish ancestry, and his mother was of English and ...

25. Charles McGraw

Actor | Spartacus

Stony-faced, grizzled-looking tough guy Charles McGraw (real name Charles Butters) notched up dozens of TV and film credits, usually portraying law enforcement figures or military officers, plus the odd shifty gangster. While at high school he worked as a theatre usher and was nicknamed "Chick" by ...



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