Top Eight Greatest Sluggers of Cinema
July 6, 2011
Before the UFC came around and showcased the true warriors of the world, action film stars were seen as some of the toughest guys on the planet who could effortlessly back up pretty much anything with their fists and couple classic one-liners. There have obviously been an unlimited string of hard-punching badasses, but only a few are in a league of fist-throwing all their own.8. Bruce Campbell
Source: Anchor Bay
Definitely a dark horse, Bruce Campbell is one of the more underrated fighters on the silver screen.
The main reason why Bruce is one of cinema's greatest heavy hitters is based purely on how thoroughly enjoyable it is to watch him kick someone's ass. It's like a cross between the Three Stooges and John Wayne with he's getting down to brass tacks. He brings an iconic badass flavor to every brawl he's in, but somehow also tosses in some hilarious slapstick for good measure. That's what makes him so unique because almost no one out there has had the ability to do it like the man they call Bruce.
7. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Source: 20th Century Fox
Love him or hate him, Arnold Schwarzenegger has always delivered the goods as advertised. And what's advertised is usually some balls-to-the-wall action with numerous skulls getting demolished along the way. Gives me the chills just thinking about it.
If there was a video montage of every one of Arnie's movie punches, it's safe to say that you'd be watching it for quite a while in sheer delight. Even though almost every on-screen altercation the guy has is completely over-the-top and ridiculous, it doesn't really seem to matter. That s**t is straight up visual cotton candy in the purest form. The classic "I eat Green Berets for breakfast" scene in Commando is a perfect example of this. We all know it's cheesy macho bulls**it to the max, but we still somehow can't take our eyes off of it. What can I say? The man is just really entertaining when he's punching people in the face. Box office numbers don't lie, y'all.
6. Chuck Norris
Photo: CBS Photo Archive
I can't really think of too many other film stars that have kicked as much ass on screen as bearded badass Chuck Norris. S**t, his beard has done most of the work up to this point.
Using almost every body part and deadly gizmo imaginable, film and Internet sensation Chuck Norris has been beating down movie villains for as long as I can remember. Chuck's roundhouse kick is truly the stuff of legend, but please don't count out his deadly fists of fury when it comes down to getting the job done and saving the entire planet from brutal destruction. I've lost count of how many terrorists this guy has put down with an endless barrage of knuckles to the eye, but I can tell you that it never, ever gets old. EVER.
Chuck Norris can make onions cry, guys. Just one fact among many about one of the greatest screen stars of our time.
5. Clint Eastwood
Source: Warner Bros
Clint Eastwood might be notoriously known by most moviegoers for shooting local bullies down with a wide assortment of badass side arms, but the screen legend has also delivered a few deadly fist blows throughout his storybook career.
Even though he's in his eighties, I would still never f**k with Clint Eastwood. Seriously. Take a movie like the 1978 classic Every Which Way But Loose. Clint single-handedly beats the living crap out of anybody and everybody that gets in his way, including the Pacoima Black Widows biker gang. And when you talk about getting enjoyment from an ass-kicking, few can supply the goods like Mr. Eastwood. As a viewer, you literally beg for someone to start some s**t with Clint so he can release a scowling a one-liner followed by a right cross to some loser's Jack Johnson.
4. Bruce Lee
Source: Warner Bros.
Known mostly for literally kicking fools to the curb, Bruce Lee also used his hands to handle a few problems during his far-too-short cinematic career. Oharra found that out right quick.
Lee single-handedly revolutionized fighting in film. Up until 1973's Enter the Dragon, American audiences had never really seen fight sequences quite like the ones put on display in the epic martial arts masterwork. Most American eyeballs were used to single-punch fight scenes delivered by Western legends like John Wayne. Sure, Wayne hand some knock-down drag-out bar brawls, but when Bruce Lee came along, things were never the same again.
3. Sylvester Stallone
Source: MGM/UA Entertainment Co.
Like many of the names on this list, Sylvester Stallone has made a serious name for himself by kicking ass every which way on the big screen. It's hard to even name a film where Stallone doesn't eventually go toe-to-toe with his arch nemesis and win the day for himself and America. America!
One of the most impressive things about Sly in his films, especially the first two Rocky movies, is the fact that he comes off as a real boxer who could totally give you a working over in the ring. It's funny today to think that Ryan O'Neal and Burt Reynolds among others were offered the Balboa role by the filmmakers before eventually lowering the budget and giving the lead to Sly. The intensity and obvious athletic ability Stallone brings to the table in all of his films has made him one of the greatest on-screen physical forces around. I'm not totally sure what my favorite Stallone punch is, but the haymaker delivered to Apollo Creed's big ol' mouth at the end of Rocky 2 is a dandy to say the least.
2. Harrison Ford
Source: Paramount Pictures
Harrison Ford is hands down the John Wayne of our generation and quite possibly the greatest action hero ever. In the arena of the all-mighty cinematic scrap, not many movie stars can compete with Indiana Jones.
I don't know if it's the sound they make or how they're delivered, but when Harrison Ford punches someone in the face, it's like comfort food for the eyes. In most of his films, Ford pretty much only seems to throw a basic stiff straight punch, but there's just something so special about it. Take any one of his epic mano-a-mano battles throughout the Indy series and prove me wrong. Even when one of his punches doesn't do any damage at against a near-invincible opponent, it still comes off as entertaining. Now that's fist charisma, guys. Harrison Ford is one of the chosen few with this manly gift.
1. John Wayne
Source: Universal Pictures
When it comes to cracking jaws on the big screen, John Wayne is the Godfather of the mix. Sure there have been some other film legends prior to the Duke's fist work that deserve some credit, but Wayne is and has long been the high water mark for this specific manly area of the movie biz.
Wayne appeared in more than 20 of John Ford's film throughout his entire career along with other western and action classics that feature the screen icon throwing down with his hands like only he could. John Wayne was the definition of a stand-up man with solid morals and values that any kid could idolize. In my opinion, the formula of saving the day with a badass one-liner and a single right cross to an enemy's jaw is Wayne's and Wayne's alone.
A personal favorite punch of mine came in 1963's McLintock! when the Duke loses his temper for the time in over forty years and uses one solid throw of his fist to finally get the job done on a dude that really had it coming. The hell I won't!