In an industry filled with supposed tough guys Charles Bronson was one of the legitimate tough guys that could make such a claim. At the age of 10 when his father passed away he started working in a coal mine, first in the office and then in the mine itself. Eventually when he was old enough he joined the US Army and made a reputation for himself in the service until he went into acting. Looking at him now you might not think he’d be the epitome of what a tough guy would really look like, but back then and even now you can admit that he kind of put the emphasis on what it meant to be truly tough since he was one of those that starred in movies where it was necessary to be one of the toughest guys around even if he didn’t look like it. Charles was one of those that a lot of people didn’t see coming, and it definitely helped to make his career.
Here are a few of the best films he did during his time.
5. The Magnificent Seven
When a band of gunmen take up arms, for their own reasons, to help out a poor village that’s being constantly raided by a gang of armed men they find that it’s not as simple as helping the poor defend themselves from the aggressors. Some of the villagers don’t want them there and they quickly learn in the final fight that they’re the only ones bound to lose no matter if they help the villagers win. Being a hired gunman isn’t exactly a job that deals with long-term questions such as what’s going to happen when the bad guys are all dead. Instead they’re the kind of men that help those with as much as they can and then move on, if they’re still alive.
4. Once Upon A Time In the West
Harmonica is kind of an enigmatic character until you learn that it was Frank that set him on his path. By that time though you realize that he’s no one to be messed with since not only does Bronson play a great part, but he’s also the type of guy you just don’t want to mess with since he almost always portrayed himself as a very no-nonsense person. In this movie however the back and forth nature of the deals that are cut and the alliances that are forged before they’re broken again make a lot of the movie go by kind of quickly as you try to keep up with who’s who and what’s about to happen.
3. The Mechanic
There are many ways to kill a person and Arthur Bishop knows them all. When he’s ordered to kill a head of the organization he works for though he then has to deal with the issue of the man’s son becoming his protege. Upon a trip to Italy he realizes that he’s being set up to be assassinated by Steve, but isn’t too surprised when he’s poisoned instead of killed in a fight or ‘accident’. But when Steve makes his way back to Bishop’s residence and starts making himself comfortable Bishop has the last laugh as a trip wire that Steve didn’t notice in Bishop’s car goes off, proving who the real master was all along.
2. The Dirty Dozen
When you have a dangerous mission to accomplish and need someone that’s expendable it’s usually, in the movies, seen as wise to send in the troops that have no redeeming qualities at all in the eyes of their fellow soldiers since they can be expended and the loss of their lives explained away by the top brass. That being the case a dozen such troops are selected for a mission that will not only help their cause but will stall the efforts of the Germans in a way that might very well allow the Allies to turn the tide of war against them. In the end only a few survive as the majority of them either die before or during the mission.
1. Death Wish
There are a lot of moral questions in this movie that have to be answered and yet for many the answers would be clear. If the cops can’t do the job they’re paid to do and don’t have enough to go on to bring law to the guilty then some people have no problem circumventing the law and taking justice for their loved ones on their own. There is a problem with that of course since the world would be like one giant Wild West show if that was the case, but one man had enough of waiting for justice to be done and took it upon himself to find those that would do wrong to others and simply take them out.
Bronson was one of the most genuine tough guys around.