Awesome Movie Heroes

Tuesday, March 29 by Travis Petersen

The world of film has given us a number of awesome movie heroes. These awesome movie heroes are often what we wish we could be, the toughest, cleverest versions of the guy's guy, doing what needs to be done and getting the girl while doing so. The awesome movie heroes on this list have wormed their way into the pop culture psyche, forming a shorthand of what it is to be cool under pressure, defeating the world's bad guys, and looking good doing it.

  1. James Bond. Any list of awesome movie heroes should be topped by James Bond, Ian Fleming's super-spy 007, first appearing in film played by Sean Connery in "Dr. No" and still going strong nearly half a century later, most recently in "Quantum of Solace." He's been played as a suave, heartless killer in the early Connery incarnation, a lighthearted quipster in the mid-period Roger Moore films, and most lately, returned to his tough beginnings as a handsome but dark brute by Daniel Craig. Bond has the coolest cars, the best gadgets, and ends up with the best women with the best names: Pussy Galore, Holly Goodhead and Plenty O'Toole to name just a couple. He sets the standards by which awesome movie heroes are judged.
  2. Batman. The dark comic book vigilante was for a long time known by the silly 1960s TV show and film that depicted him as a crime-fighter who never killed any of his many archnemeses. That changed in film with Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman," where Michael Keaton unexpectedly brilliantly captured the rich man with the crusading double-life as a troubled avenger. Awesome movie heroes need awesome movie villains, and Batman has one of the best, the Joker, played by Jack Nicholson and then, in "The Dark Knight," by the brilliantly anarchic Heath Ledger. Batman, like Bond, is still going strong as one of our most awesome movie heroes. 
  3. Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford's adventuring archaeologist spanned the globe searching for lost artifacts, first in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and later on taking on the "Temple of Doom" and the "Last Crusade," where he teamed with his father, played by iconic awesome movie hero Sean Connery of early James Bond fame. With his bullwhip, his trusty pistol, and his fear of snakes, Indy conquered the hearts of many moviegoers whil fighting some of everyone's most hated enemies, the Nazis. In the end, Indy saves the day and gets the girl, though it's best not to think about his late-in-life adventure alongside Shia LeBoeuf. 
  4. Detective John McClane. The rumpled everyman detective of "Die Hard" and its sequels, played by Bruce Willis, has had some of the worst days imaginable. He's been trapped in a high-rise office building with terrorists, had to save an airport from terrorist destruction, and been run around the city of New York by, you guessed it, more terrorists. But he always comes out on top with a smirk on his face and his catchphrase that begins with "Yippie-ki-yay" and ends with the R-rated language he's known for.
  5. The Man With No Name. The list of awesome movie heroes concludes with the ultimate badass, Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name, a wandering gunfighter introduced in "A Fistful of Dollars," the spaghetti western that put Eastwood on the map. He went on to reprise the role in its two sequels, "For a Few Dollars More" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" before playing a variation on it in his own dark western, "High Plains Drifter." The Man With No Name speaks softly, and his motivations are never quite known, but he gets what he's after at the barrel of his gun.
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