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 contenders: “Star Wars” bounty hunter Boba Fett , “Alien” astronaut Ellen Ripley , vigilante cop Dirty Harry , “Die Hard” detective John McClane , Vietnam War vet John Rambo , “Star Trek” tyrant Khan and post-apocalyptic nomad Mad Max . Keep checking back to see if your favorite made the list!
Name: Pike Bishop
Movie: “The Wild Bunch”
Weapons: Pistol, shotgun, machine gun
Archenemy: Deke Thornton, General Mapache, Mexicans
Profile: The first time we see Pike Bishop, he strolls into a bank with his team of outlaws, tosses an employee aside and snarls an order: “If they move, kill ‘em!” From there, he only gets meaner.
The centerpiece performance in what some consider the greatest Western ever made, William Holden reinvented his hunky persona from “Sabrina” and “Sunset Boulevard” playing the ornery leader of the Wild Bunch. Directed by Sam Peckinpah, it’s a film that begins with a blood-soaked massacre that kills dozens of people, concludes with a blood-soaked massacre that kills about a hundred people — and uses those epic scenes to sandwich a complicated tale of betrayal, regret and the inevitable battle we all must face with a world that will someday move on without us.
Pike (and his loyal sidekick Dutch Engstrom, played to perfection by Ernest Borgnine) is a cowboy who always lived from heist to heist. In “The Wild Bunch,” it’s 1913, people are beginning to see automobiles for the first time, the Texas/Mexico border is becoming “civilized,” and the Old West is going the way of the dodo. When he gathers his men together for one last heist, Pike and the gang of aging outlaws are ambushed, killing the majority of them.
As his former partner Deke (Robert Ryan) and a group of bounty hunters working for the railroad stay close on their tail, Pike gathers the four men he has left — Dutch, the deadly Gorch brothers and the young, impetuous Angel — and heads for Mexico. Along the way, bridges are blown up, trains are robbed, flashbacks reveal the reasons behind Deke’s betrayal, and Angel encounters a Mexican revolutionary who has been preying on his small village.
Throughout the film, Pike offers little ambiguity about what makes him tic. When a member of the Bunch reveals himself to be wounded, Pike coldly complies with a request to end his misery. When the Gorch brothers consider killing off an older member of the gang who is slowing them down, Pike takes charge:
“We’re not gonna get rid of anybody,” he barks. “We’re gonna stick together, just like it used to be. When you side with a man, you stay with him. And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal — you’re finished! We’re finished! All of us!”
|1. Dirty Harry|
|2. Ellen Ripley|
|3. John McClane|
|4. Mad Max|
|6. Sarah Connor|
|7. Pike Bishop|
|9. Boba Fett|
He’s a criminal, but a man of honor, a leader who knows his days in charge are coming to an end. A cowboy who hears reports about things called “airplanes” and knows things will never be the same.
Pike’s ultimate badass moment, however, comes after the Bunch have worked with Mapache to provide him with weapons — and get rich in the process. When the general discovers that Angel held back a case of guns to give to his village, the enraged Mapache begins torturing the young gunslinger, dragging him through the streets as the road tears up his flesh. The other four members of the Bunch, meanwhile, are free to take their gold and leave.
In a classic movie moment, this morally ambiguous outlaw gets a look in his eyes that says it all: It’s time to take one last stand. Without saying a word, he gathers up his three remaining men, they load up their guns and march back into town to take on Mapache and the 200 heavily armed members of his Mexican army.
There’s a brand-new machine gun in the middle of town, and once Pike walks into Mapache’s celebration and shoots the general dead … well, where it goes from there might just be the most bullet-ridden, badass shootout in the history of movies.
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.