The Best Tough Guys Films

Welcome to the best Tough Guys list! Tough guys are an essential part of Action & Adventure films, it doesn't matter if it's a western, spy, martial arts or even disaster film - we're always following some of the toughest and resilient heroes (sometimes even villains). So, we've compiled a list with some of the best films and characters in the genre, and we guarantee you'll find something you like. Between classics and some newly released Tough Guys films, you can enjoy in the action to the fullest. If you'd like to see more browse through our extensive catalogue of over 90,000 titles.
  • Rambo: First Blood (1982)

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    89 minutes

    Sylvester Stallone's Rambo series is among top action franchises and it also deserves to be on our Tough Guys films list. John Rambo is a Vietnam War hero even though he seems as a vagrant to the small-town sheriff who arrests him. After Rambo escapes from the jail, he steals a motorcycle and heads for the nearby mountains to find shelter. This is where the real action begins and a catastrophic series of events are set in motion. Sylvester Stallone is joined by Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna in supporting roles. First Blood is the first instalment in the Rambo series, later followed by three additional films.

  • Enter the Dragon (1973)

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    1h 38min

    If there is an ultimate martial arts tough guy, then it is Bruce Lee and what better way to represent him than with his most famous film, Enter the Dragon. Even though it was originally released in 1973, Enter the Dragon still remains one of the most beloved kung fu films and a gem in cinematic history. Bruce Lee's career ended abruptly by his untimely death but as a hero and a tough guy in his films, he left a legacy worth rewatching for any action fan. And for all martial arts aficionados, this is a must-see on Blu-ray where you'll be treated with three documentaries, 'Blood and Steel: The Making of Enter the Dragon', 'The Curse of the Dragon' and 'Bruce Lee: In His Own Words'.

    Director:
    Robert Clouse
    Cast:
    Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly
    Genre:
    Classics, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • The Thin Red Line (1998)

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    164 minutes

    A powerful cast of The Thin Red Line has quite a few tough guys, a reason enough for it to be featured on our Tough Guys films list. Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, George Clooney and Jim Caviezel are just few of the selected names. This brutally realistic story is set in the Pacific during World War II. Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel is especially focused on the conflict at Guadalcanal. If you want to find out more about the film, be sure to rent DVD and Blu-ray where you can watch special features such as Melanesian Songs, Commentary by Production Designer Jack Fish, Producer Grant Hill and Cinematographer John Toll, and The Editing of the Thin Red Line: Shaping.

    Director:
    Terrence Malick
    Cast:
    Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte
    Genre:
    Drama, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Midnight Run (1988)

    2h 1min

    When you hear Robert De Niro and Tough Guys films list, you probably jump to Taxi Driver. Are we right? Robert De Niro is an actor known for his tough roles and Midnight Run is one of those as well. He plays Jack Walsh, ex-cop turned bounty hunter, whose main goal is to deliver "the Duke" (Charles Grodin) from New York to L.A. alive and on time. This piece of cake job turns into a cross-country chase including FBI and the Mob. We highly recommend Midnight Run on Blu-ray because you get a lot more of additional content such as Midnight Writer - Interview with Screenwriter George Gallo and Moscone Bail Bonds - Interview with Joe Pantoliano.

    Director:
    Martin Brest
    Cast:
    Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto
    Genre:
    Thrillers, Action & Adventure, Comedy, Collections
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Mad Max (1979)

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    89 minutes

    Mel Gibson's Mad Max might not look so tough, but on screen he portrayed another one of the legendary characters that spawned sequels and a remake Mad Max: Fury Road. The franchise is set in the dystopian Australia where motorcycle gangs rule the road, laughing in the face of the police force that is unable to stop them. When a police officer's, Max Rockatansky, family is brutalised, he is determined to get his revenge any way he can. Mad Max is directed by George Miller who also directed the remake starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and some of the original cast members. This is also the film that launched Mel Gibson's Hollywood career and later led to Lethal Weapon franchise.

    Director:
    George Miller
    Cast:
    Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne
    Genre:
    Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Dirty Harry (1971)

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    99 minutes

    Harry Callahan is one of the toughest tough guys we can have on our list. Clint Eastwood once again brought to life an iconic action character and gave us one of the most quoted film lines in the history - "you've gotta ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?". Dirty Harry is also the first in the Dirty Harry film series, and actor Clint Eastwood portrayed Callahan in all five titles. This is the role that cemented his legacy in the genre and in the cinema history. Rent it now on DVD & Blu-ray to get a special look behind the series, including features such as New Retrospective Documentary: The Long Shadow of Dirty Harry and Behind-The-Scenes Documentary: Dirty Harry's Way.

    Director:
    Don Siegel
    Cast:
    Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino
    Genre:
    Thrillers, Classics, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • True Grit (1969)

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    123 minutes

    John Wayne is another iconic actor that should be an inevitable part of any Tough Guys films list, and so he found his way to ours as well. In True Grit, Wayne plays U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn. This is the character and film that got him an Oscar in the category Best Actor, and it's the first film adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel of the same name; in 2010, there was another successful adaption of True Grit starring Jeff Bridges. The story begins when a headstrong young girl hires the drunken and fearless Rooster to find the man who murdered her father and fled with the family savings. You can rent True Grit on DVD & Blu-ray and enjoy in many additional features.

    Director:
    Henry Hathaway
    Cast:
    John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell
    Genre:
    Classics, Action & Adventure, Drama
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Bullitt (1968)

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    109 minutes

    Tough Guys films list continues with Bullitt, starring incredible Steve McQueen in the titular and one of his most famous roles. The story follows Frank Bullitt, San Francisco police detective set to take down an underworld crime boss after he killed a witness in his protection. As the tagline of the film says: there are bad cops and there are good cops, and then there's Bullitt. The film won an Oscar for Best Film Editing and it features one of cinema history's most memorable car chases. McQueen is joined by Robert Vaughn and Jacqueline Bisset in this unforgettable action thriller.

    Director:
    Peter Yates
    Cast:
    Steve McQueen, Frank Gerstle, Jacqueline Bisset
    Genre:
    Thrillers, Drama, Classics
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • For a Few Dollars More (1965) Per qualche dollaro in più

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    126 minutes

    Could there be a Tough Guys films list without at least one film starring Clint Eastwood? Impossible. Eastwood has embodied some of the most iconic tough characters, including a bounty hunter in For a Few Dollars More (Per qualche dollaro in più). Many critics consider this film Sergio Leone’s best work, and definitely the best in the trilogy which also includes A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. To be even more tough, a rival bounty hunter is played by Lee Van Cleef. And film historian Richard Schickel describes the main bad guy, El Indio played by Gian Maria Volontè, as the "most diabolical Western villain of all time."

    Director:
    Sergio Leone
    Cast:
    Clint Eastwood, Maurizio Graf, Lee Van Cleef
    Genre:
    Classics, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • The Dirty Dozen (1967)

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    143 minutes

    The Dirty Dozen may be the ultimate film for the best Tough Guys list. You don't get just one tough guy, you get twelve of them! The superb cast includes Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland among other dirty dozen. Tough-as-nails U.S. Army major played by Lee Marvin volunteers to command a squad of jailbirds on a suicide mission during World War II. They're promised to get their freedom if they complete the mission and survive. The interesting fact about this film is that it's structured in three sequences: recruitment, training and mission. The Dirty Dozen is based upon E.M. Nathanson's novel of the same name, which was a best-seller upon publication in 1965.

    Director:
    Robert Aldrich
    Cast:
    Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson
    Genre:
    Classics, Action & Adventure
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
We hope you'll enjoy in these titles as we believe these are some of the best Tough Guys films out there. If you're in need of more action and adventure fun, try browsing our extensive collection of over 90,000 titles, and don't forget you can rent DVD and Blu-ray with our Free Trial offer!

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