“No, you don’t understand, huh? Then I’m gonna work on your arms. I’m gonna set ’em over a curb. I’m gonna use ’em for a trampoline and jump up and down on ’em. And then your kneecaps. One, two. Kneecaps. Oatmeal. I’ll make oatmeal outta your fuckin’ kneecaps. And when I get done with you, you’re gonna put me right in Charnier’s lap.”
#1 POPEYE DOYLE – The French Connection I & II
He’s relentless, he’s selfless and all he wants to do is get some goddamn heroin off the street. And the lengths to which Doyle goes to take down Charnier is completely freaking outstanding. Even when the entire country of France is conspiring against him and turning him into a junkie, Doyle cleans himself up and manages to take part in one of the greatest closing shots ever.
#2 CREASY – Man on Fire
He may start off as an drunken selfish anti-hero, but once Pita charms her way into his heart, Creasy Bear becomes the greatest killing machine ever to grace the silver screen. Does he ever paint his masterpiece. And has any personal sacrifice been that satisfying?
#3 GENERAL MAXIMUS – Gladiator
Granted, his motivation to yank power away from Commodus and return it to the Roman Senate is driven more by his desire for revenge than it is to restore proper order, but this is a dude with some serious fire in his belly who never backs down despite the tigers and ginsu chariots thrown at him. Then there’s that final homecoming. Like a bitch.
#4 BENJAMIN MARTIN – The Patriot
Yeah, there’s definitely a trend here. Guys who have been wronged by taking away the only thing dear to them and setting them off on a violent rampage. By the time Martin loses his son Gabriel at the hands of Col. Tavington, the beast has been unleashed and every redcoat Martin butchers becomes more and more satisfying. The final showdown in the middle of the battlefield is as American as it gets.
#5 TOM DEVOE – The Peacemaker
This dude doesn’t care who stands in his way and there’s never an ounce of hesitation in his actions. Like a heat seeking missile, he is single minded in his mission to take out Kodoroff and if he has to torture your mother to find out where the nukes are, you know he wouldn’t think twice. If he has to sacrifice 100 lives to save 101, you better hope you’re on the side that’s tipping the scales.
“I never trust a man that doesn’t drink.”
First of all, I’d like to define what I think a “Hero” is .. “Superpowers” don’t make a hero, in fact, Superman isn’t a Hero, he’s a well mannered bully with good intentions, anyone that’s bullet / anything proof can be a Hero, fuck if I was bulletproof I’d be a cop that tried to get fuckers to shoot me, and if I could fly .. and be bulletproof.. well shit.. I’d be a Villain and a rich one at that (but that’s another discussion).
Also, I don’t consider survival scenarios Hero material, Ripley on a spaceship with an Alien.. She does things to stay alive, it’s not heroic if your trapped in a tin can with an alien, it’s straight up survival, you HAVE to do Something to stay alive.
A Hero is a normal Human like you and I, that still dives into shit knowing that the odds are against them, the whole One Man vs an Army scenario. Heroes are unflinching in their resolve, not distracted by the 100 guns pointing at them, not giving a shit about the money, the gold, the riches.. Willing to sacrifice themselves to save another, be it a stranger or a family member. Many Heroes don’t live to the end of their movies, only a Headstone marks the end of their story.
#1 JOHN WAYNE – Any fucking movie he was in
Fuck you; I don’t need to explain why he’s #1 on this list. He’s the Personification of Professional.
#2 CREASY – Man on Fire
I actually thought this was going to be a surprise entry on this lists, just goes to proves that you are all Professionals. And professionals know one of their own when they see it. Denzel plays Creasy, a body guard for a Mexican Family (in Mexico City). Despite this, Pita (Dakota Fanning) is kidnapped. The rest of the move is about Creasy’s efforts to get Pita back, unwavering in his persistence, focused on only one thing, getting Pita back home alive. Creasy, discovering the Fathers part in the kidnapping makes a memorable quote “I will snatch the life right out of you”, in the end leaving a pistol with one special bullet in it for the father to kill himself. Creasy works his way up the organization, with the Mexican police making the prudent call of leaving him to his methods, which include a bomb up a corrupt officials ass to get information on “The Voice” .. In the end Creasy, gut-shot, makes an exchange “A life for a life” .. and slowly fades while in the back of a car, thus robbing the cartel the satisfaction of killing him… Sacrifice for another, not even of family or blood rates him at the top end of my list.
#3 BRYAN MILLS – Taken
The Preview says it all:
” I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you”
Unwavering laser-beam focus on saving his only Daughter is what sets him apart, and Bryan Mills would have taken 2nd place on this list if it wasn’t for the fact that he was saving a family member. His skills taken out of context begs for a prequel to this movie, he shows no remorse, no hesitation, shooting his friends wife to prove his resolve and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake, Bryan, shows he’s mastered the art of interrogation when he finally finds the voice he’s been looking for. Wrapping him in 220 volt wiring before asking a question, and upon getting his answers he turns the switch on again before closing the door behind him, sealing the fate of his daughters’ kidnapper. The body-count starts piling up as he gets closer to his daughter, exhibiting martial and weapon skills that only bring more questions than answers.. Whatever it is, I’m NOT going to date his Daughter
#4 RIDDICK – The Chronicles of Riddick
Riddick, self exiled to a remote ice planet, is brought back into a fight that he wants nothing to do with. Riddick shows the same focus as all Heroes, he’s the wrecking ball we all wish we could be, confident and unyielding in his determination, if a new obstacle pops up, he mows it down with emotionless efficiency until he reaches his goal, or possibly reaches a goal that he didn’t know existed .. You keep what you kill.. Sadly it seems they will gut this character in part 3, but let keep the hope up.
#5 JOHN McCLANE – Die Hard 1
John, poor john.. Why didn’t you keep your shoes on? Kids in the middle of the Sahara Desert know about Die Hard and John McClane.. It’s a fact that Germans are raised knowing this character and his name is repeated over and over again while whipping their children, their dogs, and randomly killing Jews, they are slapped and spit on while their parents flog their children’s feet while screaming out “Yippie ki yay mother fucker!”. All this because of John McClane, drug kicking and screaming into a situation, watching helplessly as a German kills a helpless Jew (he could have been Jewish), John starts picking off one hapless member of the Germans Crew at a time trying to save his (Ex) Wife from the ruthless band of thieves, Bruce fights through the pain of broken glass in his feet and various injuries finally leading to another lesson.. Your aim is shit when you’ve been pushed out of a 30 story building
Hancock, Martin Riggs, Chris Voughn, Charlie Wax.
“You got to set your motherfucker to receive. They don’t go through the door, we don’t ask why. That’s not a cost, it’s benefit.”
#1 BOBBY SCOTT – Spartan
The word “professional” has his picture beside it in the dictionary. His sense of purpose is such that when a comrade gives him his Father’s prized scrap of paper with some words of wisdom written on it, he thinks nothing of using that scrap of paper later on in time of need to roll a smoke. You need to set your motherfucker to receive.
#2 SONNY CROCKETT – Miami Vice
When the Great Scorer comes to grade badassery, Sonny Crockett’s name will invariably come up high on the list. He never says five words when two will do. He is not afraid to show his heart by marrying Sheena Easton, just as he’s unafraid to shoot her unarmed murderer in the face. When Tubbs is looking at him while he’s driving during the “In The Air Tonight” scene in the pilot, you can almost hear him thinking two words. Hard. Cock. The guy lives on a boat with a fucking Crocodile, drives a Ferrari, carries a custom automatic, and has the occasional thirst for Asian, flat-faced gash. You want to be him.
#3 JOHN CREASY – Man On Fire
The words “hesitation” and “mercy” don’t apply to this man. My only regret is that he didn’t put a charger up his own ass set to blow when he finally meets “The Voice”.
#4 DOC McCOY – The Getaway
A man of few words, and fewer emotions. The only time he has a discernible look on his face is when he’s either shooting motherfuckers or tenderizing a bitch.
#5 JOHN MATRIX – Commando
A comedian at heart and one of the originators of the Toolshed Of Mayhem alumnus. Inherently sexless, he lives to touch other men. Hard.
BASEMENT CHEETOH EATER
“I bet you’re still on hold with, ‘Can I get another dead Asian hooker bitch over here right away?'”
#1 JOHN McCLANE – Die Hard series
Detective John McClane is the epitome of a hero (to me anyway) – flawed, snide, and rough around the edges, perhaps; but also selfless and fearless in the face of adversity. Even when John had nothing but utter contempt for someone (such as Harry Ellis from the first movie), he refused to sell them out even when it would’ve been advantageous to do so. John used his cunning, bravery and supernatural luck to overcome not one, not two, nor even three but four sets of bad guys complete with small armies. And he faced some of the greatest villains ever depicted (most notably, Hans Gruber and his sleazy and borderline psychotic brother later on). And no matter how bad things seem, or how much his (ex) wife loathes him, he never gives up hope. And hell, his daughter is a delicious piece of tart. What’s not to love?
#2 IAN MALCOLM – Jurassic Park series
Sadly, Ian Malcolm is relegated to the backseat in much of the first Jurassic Park (though, he still demonstrates his pluck and bravery when John Hammond’s grandkids are in danger). He’s sarcastic and arrogant – but also wise and a conservationist at heart. He may be crass and (somewhat) smarmy with women – but he’s also the first person to defend others (and to recognize the sacrifices of others). Hell, Ian is such a badass, they had to write a sequel and make it (almost) all about him as a sort of apology. And the sequel didn’t disappoint….he was, once again, smart, brave and all-too wise – but didn’t back down even when things seemed hopeless. The greatest crime of all was not working him in to part 3 (other than Sam Neill’s pithy name drop). Here’s hoping he’s a major part of Jurassic Park IV….YOU HEARD ME SPIELBERG? DON’T FUCK IT UP.
#3 JOSEPH TURNER – 3 Days of the Condor
Redford’s subtle and sentimental turn as Joseph Turner in the brilliant 3 Days of the Condor is one of my favorite heroic roles ever. Perhaps some would view him as merely responding to the dire situation around him (after his entire CIA analyst team are wiped out), but his guile and bravery make this movie endlessly entertaining. As a CIA analyst who reads books (looking for codes), Turner’s received little in terms of field training. But when the entire system’s against him, he uses technical prowess, charm, and his considerable book-smarts to out-think his opponents (and wins over professional hitter Max Von Sydow in the process). This movie is also a fun “fuck you” against the ailing intelligence apparatus at a time when it wasn’t considered cool to criticize the US government (this movie came out in 1975 during the height of the Cold War). It’s a brave film with a brave hero at its center. And he got to fuck Faye Dunaway. They probably didn’t even have to pay him for his performance.
#4 TOM REAGAN – Miller’s Crossing
The ultimate hero/anti-hero. I don’t claim to be the world’s biggest Coen Brothers’ fan; but this is one of my favorite movies of all time. And as “Tommy”, Gabriel Byrne plays both sides against the middle (or so it seems). After a falling out with his beloved boss Leo (played pitch-perfectly by Albert Fiinney), Tommy seems to go over to the competition in this Irish vs. Italian mob showdown. He struggles with (and against) his new employers…but also displays a streetwise discipline that wins his new employer over. He’s sharp…clearly, the smartest guy in the room at all times. And he carries a ton of personal baggage – alcoholism, gambling debts and yearning for his boss’s fiancé…but manages to balance it all and resolve each thread (even the most unraveled) by the end…and single-handedly manages to bring down a criminal empire without having to resort to a hailstorm of bullets.
#5 INSPECTOR “TEQUILA” YUEN – Hard Boiled
And speaking of a hailstorm of bullets…where would we be without the one hero who fires more rounds than Tara Reid’s had STD tests? Tequila is a one-man army. He doesn’t need a partner; and he doesn’t bother listening to the constant mewling of his police captain. He takes on the Hong Kong triad single-handedly…never once flinching. Never once afraid. And why should he be? He carries two Taurus PT92 9mm’s…and they NEVER run out of ammo except one convenient moment when he and the killer both run out of ammo while pointing their guns at each other. Standard John Woo fare…but Chow has terrific heart as Tequila. He’s hard drinking and fast shooting – but he also has the time to engage in a little Buddhist prayer and even to make origami cranes (a skill he learns from an undercover cop he unwittingly becomes friends with). Hard Boiled may be the most kick ass action flick ever…and features one of the greatest heroes ever put on celluloid.
“Maybe I can’t win, maybe the only thing I can do is just take everything he’s got. But to beat me, he’s gonna have to kill me, and to kill me, he’s gonna have to have the heart to stand in front of me, and to do that, he’s gotta be willing to die himself and I don’t know if he’s ready to do that.”
#1 ROCKY BALBOA – Rocky Series
I grew up with Rocky Balboa. Now I’m growing old with him.
Laugh all you want, but up until 1984 those first three three Rocky movies were my lexicon of sports action and drama. The down-and-out Philadelphia brawler repeatedly beat the odds (and dozens of opponents) to make something of himself and prove he wasn’t “just another bum” from the neighborhood. It didn’t matter that he lost the first fight with Creed on points; he realized his goal of going the distance. I survived grad school, law school, and passed the Ohio bar exam the first time out not because I’m fucking brilliant, but because I’d consciously taken inspiration and encouragement from the Rocky saga. In fact, during May-July 2003 I devoted one half my day to studying for the bar exam—and the other half lifting weights and trotting a treadmill. It was my intent to train my body as well as my brain during this time, and Rocky helped me succeed. “It’s not about how hard you hit,” an older Rocky tells his son—and indirectly, me. “It’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.” It’s just more glorious boxing philosophy I continue to apply to everyday life. It doesn’t matter that I’m no athlete and will certainly never step into a ring. Rocky wasn’t simply about boxing; it was about determination. It was about looking past what life handed you to see what more you could take from it.
#2 JOHN RAMBO – Rambo Series
Speak softly—and using as few words as possible—but carry a very big stick. Rambo exemplifies a man pushed too far. A guy who did his part——yet society has cast him away and won’t reintegrate him. He’s pretty much a loner, a survivor who lives day-to-day by relying on his intuition, instinct, and resourcefulness. He’ll kick an entire police station’s ass if he has to, then eat “things that would make a billy goat puke” for dinner. He’ll blow up half a city just to cover his tracks. But he also shows some restraint in First Blood, creating booby traps designed to maim his pursuers rather than kill them. What the initial First Blood trilogy fails to show onscreen is Rambo’s spirituality. Rambo meditates in prison and actually welcomes the grueling physical labor as a self-improvement regimen. He’s got a bit of Zen-Buddhism going on; he recognizes himself as a small force in a greater universe, albeit a powerful one if need be. By the third book Rambo is mixing his Zen with a little Islam, and he comes to embrace the inshallah “will of God” mentality of the Afghan mujahedeen fighters.
Sounds silly, but like Rocky, John Rambo influenced me to take care of myself better both physically and mentally. I frequented the forests around my home. I worked out. I chose words carefully (not that I was much of a talker to begin with). I maintained awareness of my surroundings, and of the moment. But I also took a sense of rebellion from the Rambo books and films. I’ve always been a fringe kind of guy anyway, and Rambo demonstrated that one man can not only buck the system but beat it. The key is to survive—to endure whatever beatings life doles out. Let experience steel your reserves so you can keep up the good fight. Whether you think you’re expendable or not.
#3 INDIANA JONES – Indiana Jones Series
He’s a history professor at a respected university. Yeah, he moonlights as a treasure-hunting archeologist—but it’s not as if he goes out seeking adventure for its own sake. He enjoys unearthing the past and collecting trinkets for museums. He’s paid for his efforts, to be sure, but one suspects Jones would forgo the cash (sometimes) just for the satisfaction of making a great discovery, or finding some rare artifact, or preventing villains from getting their filthy Machiavellian mitts on the same. Jones concedes in Temple of Doom that a part of him is compelled by “fortune and glory.” But he consistently shows throughout the saga (especially in Doom) that he is motivated by a sense of what is just. Of what is right. Of what is true and good. Jones is the perfect amalgam of physicality and intellectualism. He can out-think his foes if he can’t out-punch them. He’s got a Ph. D. for crying out loud—but doesn’t hesitate to trade blows in a bar, leap on a speeding German tank, or cut a suspension bridge while he’s still on it. He’s as good with a gun (and whip) as with a compass / sextant / protractor. He looks great in a tux and even better in a leather bombardier jacket. And the guy’s all heart. A bit of a womanizer—but throughout the series he reveals himself to be a bit of a softy with the ladies.
#4 MARTIN BRODY – Jaws
Chief Martin Brody is the ultimate blue collar kind of guy, a transplanted New York cop working a small town on an island. And he’s afraid of the water! Ah but this family man gets an opportunity to face his fear when a great white shark stakes a claim in the waters off Amity. Now Brody must conquer his own demons and prove himself—in a very public fashion—to his family and island constituents. He’s got zero knowledge about sharks in Jaws, knows nothing of fishing or boating, and doesn’t even swim in the ocean. But that’s why it’s so terrific when he kills the fucking fish instead of Quint or Hooper. It’s a symbolic victory for ordinary average guys everywhere who march through each day thinking they could use “a bigger boat” but know they won’t be getting one. You’ve got to make do for yourself. There are even moments in Jaws 2 that really shine and provide further insight to Brody. Like when he returns home drunk after losing his job. “I’ve never been fired before,” he mutters gloomily. “I’ve never been told I couldn’t hack it.” Hey, who hasn’t been there, right? And sure enough, the Amity town selectmen get their comeuppance. Who risks their neck (again) to save the town’s teenagers? Brody in his short-shorts, this time venturing out alone on a police boat, blowing off Deputy Hendricks’ nautical niceties with a curt, “Don’t give me that shit! Point!”
Brody enjoys his smokes, his beer, and a good bottle of wine—but on the job he’s a paragon of responsibility and professionalism. He’s the guy you can count on even when he looks like you can’t, or shouldn’t, let him be your ship’s mate. He makes civil service look noble. He promises to bring back his wife’s coffee mug after work. He’s the kind of guy who suggests leaving the social function early to fool around at home with the misses. Brody looks after his kids—and he’ll look after yours, too, if you’re not around to do it or if, like the mayor, you’ve got your head up your ass.
#5 JOHN McCLANE – Die Hard Series
The wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time—but he’s gonna make things right. That’s the story of John McClane’s life—or so he tells us in Die Hard With a Vengeance. Like Scheider’s Brody, McClane is a terrific everyman cop thrust into action against his will. He’s not even on the clock in the first movie, but he’s the only guy around with the skill and moxie to take on the terrorists. Or at least disrupt whatever it is they’re trying to do when they take over the Nakatomi building, where his estranged wife works. McClane seems to know where he stands. He’s a simple kind of guy, probably born and raised in the Big Apple. He’s partial to Roy Rogers, he admits to Alan Rickman’s brilliant bad guy Hans Gruber, and indeed has a certain swagger about him. He also has a smart mouth and a wit that’s as quick as his trigger finger. John McClane seems like a cool dude even when he’s terrified or injured. He just exudes that whole “not gonna go down without a fight” vibe. He’s more vulnerable than today’s boring, nearly-invincible parkour ninja heroes, who practically outrun bullets and wouldn’t need McClane’s fire hose to survive a leap from a skyscraper rooftop. As a result, we feel for McClane. We’re sorry he’s thrust into these situations but glad he’s willing to take charge even when he doesn’t want to. The original Die Hard’s claustrophobia-induced heroism makes for the best suspense in the quadrilogy, but all the movies have their moments and memorable set pieces. But it’s smarmy, purse-lipped Willis who sells the character and his wife-beater wearing machismo. Yippee-kay-aye.
“Reach for the sky!”
#1 WOODY- Toy Story Series
If there has even been a character in the history of cinema that truly exemplifies what it means to be a hero then it’s Woody from the Toy Story series. He’s saved these group of toys numerous times and yet they still refuse to fully follow him. He knows his life is safe because he is Andy’s favorite toy, yet he cares enough to ensure the safety of all others the best he can. He risks life and limb going against everyone else because he knows what he is doing is right. Even his friends have risked life and limb to order to save him. He truly shows what it takes to be a hero.
#2 WILLIAM WALLACE – Braveheart
Mel Gibson pretty much plays the Hero in everything, nothing is as epic as his role of William Wallace. Rising up and bringing his people together to stand up to tyranny , and then giving his life to the cause.
#3 JOHN RAMBO – Rambo Series
He doesn’t have to do anything…nothing. He’s served his time, he’s payed he’s debt to America. But time and time again he is standing up for what’s right and what’s just.
#4 WILL GRAHAM – Manhunter
He’s a FBI agent willing to face the toughest criminal he’s ever met in order to stop another mad man from killing again. He even comes out of retirement for this. The man has a gift, a gift he knows that could get him killed and almost has, but it could also save lives. A great gift comes great burdens.
#5 RUBBER DUCK – Convoy
From Peckinpah’s most upbeat and heroic movie Convoy, the Rubber Duck is so god damn awesome it hurts. To be able to round up a convoy of the rugged shambled truck drivers of America all in the name against asshole cops talks about his magnetic personality. Peckinpah is better known for his anti hero tales, this time out Martin Penwald is a true Hero, probably why it’s Peckinpah’s only upbeat ending.
“There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible.”
#1 ATTICUS FINCH – To Kill a Mockingbird
Atticus brings to mind my favorite Voltaire quote: “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
He’s the ultimate father figure; a fearless gentleman in a three-piece suit that treats every man and woman as they deserve to be treated, not for prestige or personal gain, but merely because it’s the only way he knows. He’s not just A HERO, he’s OUR HERO…the man we all strive to be. He’s stern, loving, bookish and commanding all at once. When he speaks, people FUCKING LISTEN. When an angry mob marches to the jailhouse to string them up a niggra, they find Atticus waiting for them armed with a fucking book. He stares every one of them down and tells them to go fuck home. Why? Because he’s the fucking epitome of manliness and he wants his beloved children Jem and Scout to grow up in a better world. He explains, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience,” and affords them the freedom to adventure and find their own path while subtly instilling powerful life lessons in them; always respect others, and never back down from a fight.
#2 TOM DONOPHAN – The Man Who Shot Liberty
There are many variations of a HERO. They lead, fight, inspire, and sacrifice for others. For me, a strong moral compass and selflessness are vital characteristics of a true HERO. The Duke’s TOM DONOPHAN possesses all this, but he follows a slightly different path. He never got the call to adventure. Life sorta just passed him by. He’s tough, well-liked, and above all….a good person, but he’s not necessarily one that’s destined for greatness.
In John Ford’s old west, one seeped in booze and violence, Tom Donophan is a decent person in an indecent time. He tends to his ranch, gets shit-faced with his homeboys, and swoons over the girl at the local cafe (fine as fuck Vera Miles). He has a routine and he’s fine with it. But his world is tipped on its ass when Rance Stoddard, an idealistic attorney from the city shows up to clean up the corruption and lawlessness of Shinbone. Now Rance has a vision for the future….the problem is, he’s a fucking PUSSY. He runs his mouth real good, catches the attention of Liberty Valance (notorious bad ass) and escalates the situation to gunplay, but….he can’t back that shit up. He means well, sets out to change the world, but without Donophan watching over his shoulder, he ain’t shit. The situation is further complicated when Rance starts to show interest in Donophan’s girl, and she fucking reciprocates! You see, these are simpler times….and even though Tom’s like fucking 50 years old, he just assumes Hallie’s his bitch without actually banging her. So when the hotshot young attorney shows up, he sweeps her off her feet with all this dreamy city talk. Now Tom Donophan comes to a fork in the road, probably the most important decision he’s ever had to make in his life. He’s got this fucking big-mouth do-gooder trying to jock the female he’s had eyes for for years (maybe his hesitation to actually make a move on her is symbolic of his entire life, greatness always within reach….but his self-doubt ultimately destroys him) and he’s got Liberty Valance, a vile cocksucker shark on the hunt. Donophan could easily step back and say….fuck this dipshit Rance, let Liberty drop him, life goes on, and I finally get to slap the chaps on Hallie. But what would that change? Tomorrow would be just another day. Business as usual. Lawlessness. Corruption. The good folks of Shinbone living in fear. This guy Rance, is destined for big things….he’s a man that’s meant to help these people. He’ll marry Hallie, teach her to read and write, give her the good honest life she always deserved, eventually he’ll be Governor, then a Senator, maybe even the President….but there’s one thing standing in his way. He’s gotta kill Liberty Valance. Donophan rises up. He finally takes a stand. A gunfight between Rance and Liberty ensues, and from the shadows of an alleyway, Donophan seals the deal and in one definitive moment sacrifices his own dreams, for the greater good, and allows Rance Stoddard to become….THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.
#3 MRS. BRISBY – The Secret of Nimh
There’s nothing tougher than a single mom…..except a single mom that’s a TINY FUCKING FIELD MOUSE!!! I mean, it’s not enough she’s having to raise her kids on her own in a harsh world where every day is a fucking struggle of life amidst certain death, then you tack on the fact that her youngest son Timothy is bedridden with pneumonia and she’s having to deal with a whole slew of assholes; backstabbing rats, a demonic cat (the one that tore her husband’s fucking head off), and oh yeah—you only got a few days to move your whole house Brisby, before a FUCKING FARM PLOW SMASHES IT TO SHIT!!!! So what keeps her going? What’s the motivating factor that renders little Mrs. Brisby virtually fearless in the face of these insurmountable challenges? HER KIDS….she’s doing it all for her kids. She’s their sole guardian…their guardian…angel. She’s a selfless warrior on the noblest of crusades. Sure, that mean world out there is a massive gauntlet of big things that AIM TO KILL HER, but does she ever slow down? Does she ever doubt herself? Does she ever for one moment think, maybe I’m too small…maybe the challenge is too great…I’m just…a mouse? No. Mrs. Brisby wipes herself off, stands tall and says: YOU FUCK WITH ME, AND I’LL FUCK WITH YOU….MY FAMILY WILL SURVIVE.
#4 REVEREND SCOTT – The Poseidon Adventure
There were a shitload of disaster movies in the 70s, for me THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE soared above the rest on the stalwart shoulders of Hackman’s no-bullshit Reverend Scott, a natural leader….a soldier of Christ….a paladin unable to speak in anything less than a SCREAM. When bad shit goes down, you want this motherfucker leadin’ the way home. He forces his way into power and tells it how it is. You show an ounce of weakness or self doubt, you dare doubt his authority? After screaming in your face he’ll leave your ass behind to rot. But you put faith in his leadership, you look him in the eye and stand cock-to-cock, man….he’ll carry you on his back to the gates of hell. He is a PROTECTOR OF HIS FLOCK. A SAVIOR OF MAN. A HERO. He’ll tackle any challenge head-on, slowing his own unstoppable pace to lead his people from the belly of Gehenna to the surface, where life must endure, where “There is no light greater than that which shines in the hearts of men”. A capsized cruise ship, freezing cold ocean water, fire, fucking explosions, DEATH! Reverend Scott can take it all in stride. But you know what he won’t stand for? That self-serving prick God, actin’ a fool after the good reverend has spent his entire life in his service, preaching HIS GOSPEL! So when push comes to shove, he once more utilizes his most feared weapon (the HACKMAN SCREAM) and basically tells God to go fuck himself. It’s like, after all the shit I’ve done for you, you’re gonna fuck me? That’s not how it works. You want another life? You want another trophy?! Here motherfucker….”TAKE ME!”
#5 ROBERT GOUL SHAW – Glory
The Civil War rages on, slavery has split the nation; Shaw, a seemingly uppity son of wealthy abolitionists could probably have any assignment he wants, especially after being wounded at Antietam. No doubt he grew up hearing of the plight of slaves and dreamed of the day when he could do something about it. So when the time comes, when the first black regiment in the Union is to be formed, he jumps at the chance to lead them. With a firm hand, he treats them as his own, no different than he would a white regiment. He takes pride in their progress and longs for the day when they can finally make their mark and fight their own cause in the trenches. The rest of the Union army is still rife with racism. Most believe the blacks can’t be trusted with any responsibilities past menial labor, but not Shaw….led by his ideals of equality, he sees the great potential in their people. He writes to his mother: “We fight for men and women whose poetry is not yet written but which will presently be as enviable and as renowned as any.”
Going against the grain, he’s willing to FIGHT side-by-side with these men, and DIE side-by-side with these men.