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Top 10 "Tough Guy" Actors of all Time

Updated on March 3, 2013

1. Clint Eastwood 1930-

One of the biggest icon's in the movie industry, born in San Francisco which is also the setting in many of his movies. Probably best known as Harry Callahan in the "Dirty Harry" film series. Best quotes "Are you feeling lucky punk?", "Your mouth wash ain't making it".

2. John Wayne 1907-1979

John Wayne lived a long and colorful life with a career that spanned an incredible 50 years. Over the course of his remarkable life, he became something more than just an actor or a celebrity. In a career that spanned 6 decades, he truly became a legend.

3. Sylvester Stallone 1946-

Sylvester Stallone has established worldwide recognition as an actor, writer and director since he played the title role in his own movie "Rocky", which won the Academy Award in 1976 for Best Picture. From "Rocky", to "Rambo", to the modern day "Expendables" Stallone is a staple in the entertainment industry.

4. Bruce Willis 1955-

well known for his film appearances as wisecracking or hard-edged characters, often in spectacular action films. His most recognizable films are from the "Die Hard" Series where he places a New York City Cop pulling off incredible stunts.

5. Kurt Russell 1951-

Russell first broke out on the scene with a major role when he portrayed The King in a made for T.V. Movie, "Elvis" (ABC, 1979), which many hailed as one of the finest performances of his career. His more of a rough tough guy roles were in movies such as "Escape From New York" where he played Snake Plissken.

6. Mel Gibson 1956-

Mel has starred in may different movies and movie series such as "Lethal Weapon" (1987), which would become his signature series in which he played "Martin Riggs". 1995 brought his most famous role as "Sir William Wallace" in "Brave Heart", for which he won two Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. From there, he made such box office hits as "The Patriot" (2000) which is one of my personal favorites, "Ransom"(1996), and "payback"(1999).

7. Sean Connery 1930-

His big breakthrough came in 1962 when he starred as secret agent James Bond in "Dr. No" (1962). He played James Bond in six more films. He is known as one of the best James Bond actors if not the best.

8. Liam Neeson 1952-

From the 1999 film "Star wars The Phantom Menace" to "Schindler's List" to his recent films "Taken" and "Taken 2" at 6'4 he has been destroying and out smarting the enemy in just about all his films.

9. Chuck Norris 1940-

The man with the fist in his beard has been in a lot of films throughout his career and no production stands out more than his T.V. series "Walker Texas Ranger" which aired from 1993-2001 which boosted him from a good actor to an icon.

10. Arnold Schwarzenegger 1947-

"Get to the chopper" from his great movie quotes made by his his strong Australian accent to his great movies and movie series like "Conan the Barbarian", "The Terminator", "Predator", and "True Lies" and to top it off the Governor of California he's done it all and is proably the greatest Austrian actor of all time.

Close but not on my list

Steve McQueen, Roger Moore, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Robert De Niro, Jackie Chan, Robert Duvall, Sam Elliott, Harrison Ford, Charlton Heston, Bruce Lee, Dolph Lundgren, Mr. T, and others.


Who should top this list

See results


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    • Coolmon2009 profile image


      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Nice list of tough guys; many are my favorites.

    • markLazar profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Scranton, PA

      Thanks Quicksand you have a lot of good pages

    • quicksand profile image


      8 years ago

      Clint is to movies as Elvis is to music. I believe "FireFox" was his best movie. I have watched it a dozen times ... and counting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      8 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Great list! It's interesting now that the era of the tough guy film seems to be going away in favor for more versatile types of stars. I like Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson's movies the best but I still think Clint Eastwood set the tough guy prototype.

    • profile image

      Jay from Dallas, Texas 

      8 years ago

      Love the list I love these types of characters in movies

    • peachpurple profile image


      8 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i had seen these tough guys in some great movies. I prefer stallone. Voted up

    • profile image

      Jack from West Palm Beach, Flordia 

      8 years ago

      I couldn't agree more with number 1,2,3, I love Clint, I would have likes to see Mr. T on the list but overall I agree.

    • profile image

      Jeff from New York, New York 

      8 years ago

      Great list, I love the idea


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