The search for the Greatest Movie Badass of All Time is on! MTV News has asked accomplished filmmakers, actors and you, the audience, to vote for your favorites. Now we’ve tabulated the results and found our 10 finalists for the top spot. Who will reign supreme as the Greatest Badass of All Time? Find out on February 6 at 7:15 p.m. when MTV announces the winner live at New York’s Comic-Con and right here at MTV.com.
Until then, we’re profiling the 10 contenders for the Greatest Badass mantle every day, in alphabetical order. Check out our first contender, “Star Wars” bounty hunter Boba Fett . Keep checking back to see if your favorite made the list!
In no particular order. And TV badasses count, right?
Graf Orlock, “Nosferatu” (1922)
The rattiest — and still the creepiest — of the big-screen bloodsuckers. The character is obviously Count Dracula; when the great German director F.W. Murnau was refused permission to turn Bram Stoker’s famous vampire novel into a movie, he simply changed the names in the book, and some of the story as well, and shot it anyway. Orlock was played with ghastly esprit by the aptly named Max Schreck (Schreck is the German word for fright or horror), and for many years it was amusingly rumored that the actor was an actual vampire, and that Orlock was his only film role. (This very tall tale was the basis of the 2000 movie “Shadow of the Vampire,” in which Schreck was played by Willem Dafoe.) In fact, the man appeared in dozens of German movies before his death in 1936.
|1. Dirty Harry|
|2. Ellen Ripley|
|3. John McClane|
|4. Mad Max|
|6. Sarah Connor|
|7. Pike Bishop|
|9. Boba Fett|
Henry, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (1986)
Based on the purportedly “true” eight-year killing spree of drifter Henry Lee Lucas, this is one of the grimmest and most disturbing of all serial-killer movies. Lucas was later determined to have lied about virtually all of the 600 motive-free murders to which he had confessed, but “Henry” (with Michael Rooker making his movie debut in the title role) remains a landmark chiller. Tom Towles, playing Henry’s partner, Otis, creates a character of unforgettable depravity.
Max Rockatansky, “The Road Warrior” (1981)
Director George Miller’s second “Mad Max” movie once again starred Mel Gibson as the deeply pissed-off highway samurai, who once again kicked acres of butt all over the Australian Outback (standing in for the story’s unspecified post-apocalyptic world). The picture contains some of the most delirious automotive carnage in action-flick history (with no CGI involved). Miller continues to contemplate a fourth Max epic, but Gibson, now 53, appears uninterested in reprising his classic role.
The Alien, “Alien” (1979)
This implacable black beastie may be the most terrifying creature in the sci-fi film genre — by comparison, the towering monster of the 1951 “The Thing from Another World” now seems about as scary as a rampaging carrot (essentially what it was). The Alien was played by a seven-foot-tall Nigerian student named Bolaji Badejo, who, as best I can determine, never made another movie.
In the six Bond movies in which he starred between 1963 and 1971, Sean Connery brought an elegance and wit to the character that has never been matched (especially not by Roger Moore, Connery’s successor in the role, who turned J.B. into a limp joke). Daniel Craig, the latest Bond, has reinvested this most famous of spies with some of the savagery he had in the Ian Fleming novels. But Craig hasn’t shown much interest in replicating Connery’s lethal flair. Those original Bond movies are inevitably dated now (although the set-piece smackdown aboard the Orient Express in “From Russia with Love” is still pretty rousing), but Connery’s Bond had badass style to spare.
Wait — Bond? Why bother?
Harry Callahan, “Dirty Harry” (1971)
Clint Eastwood brought the smoldering anger and contemptuous sneer he’d perfected in Sergio Leone’s mid-’60s spaghetti westerns to the role of Inspector Harry Callahan, a slit-eyed San Francisco cop who’s uninclined to let wimpy liberals stand between his hugely phallic .44 Magnum and the lunatic killer on whom he yearns to use it. The picture was decried as vigilante porn in some quarters, but there’s an undeniable atavistic pleasure to be had in watching Harry get medieval on the cringing creep played by Andy Robinson (not the son of actor Edward G. Robinson, as is sometimes thought). Callahan was born to kick butt: Like him or loathe him, but don’t mess with him.
Bridget Gregory, “The Last Seduction” (1994)
As played by Linda Fiorentino in John Dahl’s great neo-noir, Bridget is a classic black-widow bitch. She has no redeeming qualities: ethics are for losers, love is a battlefield, men are all pathetic clods and anything goes when it comes time to screw them over — which is all the time. You haven’t really lived, movie-wise, until you’ve watched her in action.
Dexter Morgan, “Dexter”
In what seems to me the classiest series on cable, Dexter, played with smiley élan by Michael C. Hall, is a handsome young serial killer with a Code, a police blood-spatter specialist with an inside line on Miami’s many, many bad guys. The show’s superb writing and visual design set off his ritualized chop-shop sessions as works of vivisectional art. The man is scary, for sure; but he’s so likeable, you can imagine standing by the gurney and handing him a hatchet yourself.
Cameron, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”
I know Arnold’s Terminator was pretty hair-raising, but hey, it was Arnold — what else was he gonna be? Summer Glau looks to weigh about 70 pounds, so when she punches somebody through a wall, you really take notice. Plus, after suffering battle damage, she has the girl-cojones to staple her own face back together. How badass is that?
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.