They say that in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king. That may be true, but these badasses spent their time in the land of the 20/20 dumbasses and still managed to kick more butt than a three-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
Source: STAFF/AFP/Getty Images
By Danny Gallagher
10. Rooster Cogburn
The hero of Charles Portis’ gritty novel about a cranky old U.S. Marshal who teams up with a headstrong girl to kill the man who killed her father might sound like the makings of a quirky buddy cop movie set in the old West. Think of it as Cop and a Half meets High Noon (High Noon and a Half?).
One look at the gruff hero of this dark western epic and you’ll realize that this ain’t no Kindergarten Cop. The one-eyed U.S. Marshal who lost his peeper in the Civil War is the Old West’s answer to Harry Callahan with 20-0 vision. He’s a straight shooter when he talks whether it’s through a wave of angry spittle or a cloud of gun powder smoke from his sidearm. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a crack shot, even when he’s deeper in the bag than a loaf of bread in a trainee bagger’s supermarket checkout line.
9. Nick Fury
Losing an eye might be the most painful feeling an human being can endure, but it’s also one of the few injuries that can actually help you improve your look, until medicine develops a bomber jacket style body cast for people with spine injuries.
This long time agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. lost half of his vision thanks to a piece of shrapnel in the heat of combat. He didn’t lose the eye but the 95 percent vision loss gave him the perfect excuse to put an eyepatch over it. Since then, he’s become a hardened covert warrior running dangerous missions for the CIA and the organization he helped recruit through Tony “Iron Man” Stark. He chomps on cigars every time he has a chance to breathe and rarely has a moment where he doesn’t have a gun clutched in his callous hands. He’s like your creepy uncle who never seemed the same since he got back from Vietnam, only his stories won’t keep you up at night.
8. Colonel Saul Tigh
Losing an eye in the heat of battle or a broken bottle bar fight with a pregnant stripper is one thing, but letting someone knock it out takes real guts.
This executive officer lead a resistance movement against the Cylons on New Caprica. When the Cylons capture him and take him prisoner, he is tortured for information including having his right eye ripped out by the roots. Having one less eye to gawk at boobies with, however, only toughened his resolve and he helped see through his revolution.
7. Snake Plissken
Source: AVCO Embassy Pictures
Snake is the archetypal soldier you don’t want to be on the opposite team of during a major conflict. He looks exactly like the kind of world-weary fighter who eats bullets for breakfast just so he can fart them at his enemies for that afternoon’s skirmish.
He’s also an equally hardened criminal with equally huge crimes. He starts his life sentence at the beginning of Escape from New York for having the balls to knock over the U.S. Federal Reserve and just about everything he does to get his life back could make a three-eyed man cry. I’m also sure some other fluids would be involved, but let’s not go there.
6. Turanga Leela
Source: 20th Century Fox Television
Futurama’s bawdy one-eyed babe never had a second eye to lose in a freak yachting accident, but if even if she wasn’t a slightly deformed mutant, she would be just as big of a badass any of these other one-eyed monsters.
She’s the captain of a cargo delivery ship, but her route through the various dangerous corners of time and space make the Pony Express’ job look like a paper route. And even though she’s a female, she can brawl just as bad as the big boys. It’s a wonder why she has such a hard time finding a steady boyfriend. Doesn't every guy’s dream girl have the ability to step on a guy’s face without ruining her makeup?
5. John “Red” Pollard
The man who rode Seabiscuit, arguably the world’s most famous race horse, to unbelievable victories could still have scored all of them if he was wearing a horse blinder over one of his eyes. He still probably could have done it if he was wearing it over his good eye.
Early in the jockey’s career, a horse kicked up a rock and it smacked him in the head causing brain damage that eventually took away the vision in one of his eyes, a disability he kept secret even after Charles S. Howard hired him to race his famous horse. Eventually, the truth came out and Howard and his trainer Tom Smith kept him on as Seabiscuit’s jockey and the two went on to achieve victories that some thought could only be achieved in fables, soap operas, and Walt Disney sports films.
If most of us loses a limb or other vital organ, we’d probably cry over our loss and turn to self-help books and whiskey to fill the void it left behind. A true badass breaks another part of his body to divert his attention from the pain and fills that bloody, meaty void with something cooler like a gas powered chainsaw or a margarita machine.
This “Uncanny X-Man” replaced one of his eyes with a bionic, infrared sight laser that allows him to see farther and deeper than any normal human. Instead of using this awesome power to watch for shoplifters as a mall cop or become the world’s ultimate Where’s Waldo? competitor, Cable uses it to blow evil away with huge f-ing machinery that could punch a hole in a mountain as if it were looseleaf notebook paper. Hell, just getting the opportunity to read the eye chart for his driver’s license would be a badass experience, probably because he could do it without even entering the county.
3. Claus von Stauffenberg
Source: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The German general might be more well known for attempting to take down one of the most evil douchebags in the whole of universal history. However, the impressive shell of his that surrounds his footnote in time makes him a bigger military badass than a mutated Gen. Patton with chainguns for arms who eats Commies for after-dinner mints.
The high ranking Nazi came within an inch of death in a devastating battle in Tunisia that left him without one hand, seven fingers and (you guessed it) one less eye. Doctors were certain he wouldn’t make it but he somehow pulled through his debilitating injuries and returned to the military where he later led Valkyrie, a failed but gutsy military operation devised to destroy and overthrow Hitler’s evil regime.
Unlike some great soldiers and warriors, this great military Carthaginian didn’t lose half of his sight to an assassin’s arrow or a sniper’s bullet. Hannibal lost his right eye to disease while crossing the Apennies in the lead up to his great battle with the Roman Army.
Still, being able to take on one of the most oppressive and dominant empires in the universe by taming bone-crushing elephants would be more than enough for a guy with two squishy vision enablers in his head assuming, of course, that he knew how to read a map without cheating the directions with Google Maps.
1. Xiahou Dun
Any great military leader can inspire his troops to take up arms with an inspiring speech or firing the first shot from their own gun. A true leader, however, is one who gives part of himself to his troops...in this case, literally (insert rimshot here).
This military general who served during the Han Dynasty in China in the late 100s was a tough bastard. According to one of his most famous legends, an arrow struck him in the eye during the Battle of Xiapi and instead of running off to a medic for treatment, he plucked the arrow out of his eye socket and ate his own severed eye to inspire his men and scare the enemy. The event earned him the nickname “Blind Xiahou,” which reportedly sent him into a blinding rage. I’m also sure the phrase “blinding rage” sent him into an even bigger blinding rage, too.