As a Hollywood bad guy, Charles Bronson epitomized the genre. Throughout his long career, he made numerous critically regarded films with high IMDb ratings.
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Charles Bronson was one of the greatest cinema stars of all time. When Bronson was at the height of his powers, he was a singularly intimidating presence on screen. He’s one of Hollywood’s few real tough guys, alongside Lee Marvin and Jason Statham. As a vigilante in action movies of the 1970s, he became a cultural icon for the genre.
Sergio Leone, Robert Aldrich, Walter Hill, and J. Lee Thompson are just few of the famous directors that collaborated with Bronson. Bronson has portrayed war heroes, outlaws, vigilantes, and ethically problematic officers over the course of his long acting career.
1. Death Wish – 7.0
While it may not be the best film featuring Charles Bronson, it is the one that comes to mind when someone mentions the actor. Paul Kersey, an architect who steps in when a gang attacks his wife and kids, transformed Bronson’s cinematic persona into one of a stoic vigilante.
Critics derided Death Wish for its apparent support of vigilantism, yet the film was a hit at the box office, and the trend of vigilante thrillers was born.
2. Vera Cruz – 7.1
Robert Aldrich’s Vera Cruz takes place during the Mexican Rebellion of 1866 and follows a group of American antiheroes who take on the duty of accompanying an imperial countess to Vera Cruz.
Vera Cruz, on the other hand, was released in the 1950s when he was cast in supporting roles in other performers’ films. Cesar Romero (renowned for playing the Joker alongside Adam West’s Batman) and Gary Cooper feature in this one.
3. Jubal – 7.1
As a love drama about sexism in the American West, Jubal stars Glenn Ford and Rod Steiger. Reb Haislipp, Ford’s only ally, is played by Bronson in the supporting role.
Delmer Daves, the director of legendary westerns Broken Arrow and the original 3:10 to Yuma, was in charge of this film. Since then, the Criterion Collection has released Jubal on DVD and Blu-ray.
4. House Of Wax – 7.1
An early example of a 3D horror film may be seen in André De Toth’s House of Wax It is a wax museum’s proprietor who survives the building’s destruction and plans a heinous revenge.
Vincent Price became a B-movie icon after starring in such horror films as The Masque of the Red Death and The Abominable Dr. Phibes in this film, which revived his career.
5. Hard Times – 7.3
Amid Hard Times, Bronson stars as Chaney, a bare-knuckle boxer who makes a livelihood as a scavenger in the Great Depression. To make ends meet, he meets up with James Coburn’s hustler character and ends up in New Orleans.
This is a textbook example of a story that is mostly driven by action. When Chaney meets a tough-as-nails opponent, he effortlessly defeats them all until he meets someone who could be his equal.
6. Crime Wave – 7.3
He reconnected with House of Wax director André De Toth, but he was listed as “Charles Buchinsky” in the film noir Crime Wave.
Like many noir films, Crime Wave depicts the tale of a former criminal who tries to get his life back on track only to get sucked back into the world of crime.
7. The Magnificent Seven – 7.7
Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is famously reimagined in John Sturges’s The Magnificent Seven, in which Mexican peasants hire seven gunfighters to protect their village from robbers.
Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, and Charles Bronson all appear as members of the titular band of gunslingers.
8. The Dirty Dozen – 7.7
One another iconic antihero film by Robert Aldrich, The Dirty Dozen tells the story of a group of convicted killers recruited by the US Army to carry out a mass killing of German commanders that they are not supposed to survive.
The Dirty Dozen, starring Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, and John Cassavetes, is one of the best war caper movies ever made.
9. The Great Escape – 8.2
After collaborating on The Great Escape, John Sturges and Bronson also collaborated on the film about a WWII POW camp breakout.
With Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough as his co-stars, Bronson returns to the ensemble group. Bronson portrays the POW who excavates the escape tunnels.
10. Once Upon A Time In The West – 8.5
Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West is arguably his greatest work. After piecing together all of the western classics, Leone and his co-writers put their distinctive operatic cinematic vision on top of it.
To channel Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” from the Dollars trilogy, Bronson plays a mystery gunslinger named “Harmonica.” In honor of the harmonica he plays when he murders, Harmonica was named after him. Henry Fonda plays a vicious villain opposite Bronson, who has a longstanding animosity against him.