Veteran’s Day gives us the chance to reflect on all of the service men and women, their sacrifice, and their innate bad-assness. Because, let’s face it, no matter what your stance on war, politics, or anything else, there is no draft anymore. These people are putting their lives on the line to protect us by choice. What could be more bad ass than a decision like that?
Nothing. So let’s celebrate the real heroes by rounding up some of our favorite fictional ones from film, shall we?
Robert DeNiro- The Deer Hunter
With a gun to his head, three bullets in the chamber, and the Viet Cong forcing him to play Russian Roulette, Michael assures his friend Nicky that somehow everything would be alright. Even when he is outnumbered and surrounded, he still fights back. Stunning courage in the face of impossible odds.
R. Lee Ermey- Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war masterpiece asserts beyond a shadow of a doubt that war is hell and in order to survive, people need to be broken down and rebuilt. With a voice full of nails and gasoline, R. Lee Ermey’s drill sergeant’s angry and malicious taunts are as weird and scary as war itself.
Brad Pitt- Inglourious Basterds
Aldo Raine’s brutal, scalp-stealing bunch in Tarantino’s Nazi revenge flick proved that, in the face of an impossible evil, sometimes brutality demands more brutality.
Tom Hanks- Saving Private Ryan
How good of a leader do you have to be to convince an entire troop to risk their lives for the safety of one guy who they’ve never met? Ask Tom Hanks.
Mark Hamill- Star Wars
OK, so wide-eyed farm boy Luke Skywalker wasn’t the most bad-ass fighter we ever saw. But when given the powers of the Jedi, it is only right to use the force and fight against the Dark Side. Sharing your gifts in the fight against evil is what being a soldier is all about. And the force was strong with this one.
Honorable mentions: Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now; Mel Gibson in Braveheart; Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump; George C. Scott in Patton