The Chosen: 6 Badass Jewish Movie Heroes
Just as there are Jewish doctors, lawyers and politicians, there are also several bad-ass movie heroes who happen to be Jewish. Some are on the side of right, but others are on the other side of the law and have ties with organized crime. The most notable Jewish tough guys have had some memorable turns on film.
Lieutenant Aldo Raine, "Inglorious Basterds." This 2009 movie followed the exploits of a fictional group of U.S. soldiers during World War II whose mission was to find Nazi soldiers and kill them. Raine (played by Brad Pitt) was their leader and he set the course of action that the soldiers took and he did it with clarity, toughness and precision. Raine's crew was referred to as "The Basterds" and they lived up to their reputation with their violence and brutality.
Bugsy Siegel, "Bugsy." Bugsy Siegel was a notorious Jewish gangster who used his fits and his brutality to establish his reputation as a mob leader who should not be trifled with under any circumstances. Siegel (portrayed by Warren Beatty) was also a notorious womanizer. In this movie, Siegel meets his match in Virginia Hill, played by Annette Benning, who would become Beatty's real-life wife.
Moses, "The Ten Commandments." In this classic 1956 movie, Charlton Heston plays Moses, who leads the previously enslaved Jews out of Egypt and into their own homeland. Moses must keep his people focused on the task of getting to the promised land during their 40-year journey through the desert.
Arnold Rothstein, "King of the Roaring 20's." Rothstein was a notorious scam artist and gambler. Played by David Janssen in this 1961 movie, Rothstein accumulates money and power throughout the course of the film because he thinks faster and quicker than those chasing him and has enough muscle to get rid of those who cross him. Rothstein's greatest scam came in 1919 when he served as the architect behind the fixed World Series that allowed the Cincinnati Reds to defeat the heavily favored Chicago White Sox.
Louis "Lepke" Buchalter , "Lepke." In this 1975 film, Tony Curtis portrayed Jewish gangster Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. Lepke was one of the top figures in organized crime in the 1930s and he was a tough guy who would run over anybody to get what he wanted. He ran the Mafia hit squad "Murder Incorporated" and he was responsible for the murder of many individuals, including Albert "Mad Hatter" Anastasia and Dutch Schultz.
Donny Donowitz, "Inglorious Basterds." Donowtiz, played by Eli Roth, was also known as "The Bear Jew." He was the feared destroyer of Nazi soldiers who used a baseball bat to bash in the head of Nazi prisoners of war. The threat of the Bear Jew's violence was often enough for Nazi soldiers to give the Basterds the tactical information they craved.