Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Best Cinematic Performance of a Soldier

In honour of Remembrance Day, I would like to ask for the best cinematic performance by an actor of a soldier. I have nominated 11 performances, and will run 11 options in my web poll for November 11. I would like to take some suggestions before I launch the poll. If somebody belongs on the list, somebody has to be knocked off. And no, Charlie Sheen can never be nominated for any poll that starts with "best cinematic performance" end of story. Though I did enjoy him in Navy Seals and Hot Shots. I only want to nominate one actor once. So if you want to nominate a performance for somebody already on the list, they have to bump the existing performance. If you like Mel in Gallipoli, you have to bump William Wallace.

Also, I wanted to keep it to heroes. Ralph Fiennes gives a magnificent performance in Schindler's list, but he is portraying a monster. Forget Kurtz in Heart of Darkness. Bad guys need not apply. Nominees from the same movie are allowed. Tom Cruise in Valkyrie will not be nominated under any circumstances.

Here are the nominees I came up with. I have not decided which I am voting for. They are listed in the order that I thought of them.

George C Scott, Patton

Mel Gibson, Braveheart

Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now

Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan

Russell Crowe, Gladiator

Sylvester Stallone, Rambo Anthology

Jesse "the Body" Ventura, Predator

Lee Marvin, The Dirty Dozen

John Wayne, the Longest Day

Barry Pepper, Saving Private Ryan

Alex Guiness, Bridge on the River Kwai


  1. You could probably nominate Sean Connery as Arthur, but then again that is also a head of state. Dick Gear should be nominated for Lancelot in First Knight. Sean will have wait for my best head of state in a movie poll. Connery was really good in a Bridge too Far. I just really don't want to bump the Body..."You're all a bunch of slack jawed faggots"

  2. Does the Hunt for Red October count as a war movie, and does Marco Ramius count as a soldier?

  3. I thought Mel Gibson was also very good as Lt. Col. Hal Moore in "We Were Soldiers".

  4. Mel was fantastic in We Were Soldiers, but I gave it to Braveheart. Duvall and Mel were ostensibly doing the same character, and Duvall did it first.

  5. Audy Murphy = USA War Hero - Buried in Arlington Cemetery.
    Read his record of accomplishments and you will be amazed.

  6. There are scores of real soldiers who did a lot of great things. I am asking about acting performances in movies.

  7. Barry Pepper, Saving Private Ryan
    Except for Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, none of the other were realistic.
    Jude Law from Eney at the Gates would also be a good pick.

  8. From some recent movies I've seen.

    Denzel Washington in Glory

    Stephen Lang as Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals (although he might be considered a bad guy)

    Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory

    Any naval officers? Perhaps Russell Crowe in Master And Commander?

  9. Mel Gibson as Hal Moore in We Were Soldiers.

    James Coburn as Sgt. Rolf Steiner in The Cross of Iron.

    Maximillan Schell as Capt. Stransky in The Cross of Iron.

    Alexander Skarsgård as Sergeant Brad 'Iceman' Colbert in Generation Kill.

    R. Lee Ermey as Drill Instructor Hartman in Full Metal Jacket.

    San Elliott as Sergeant Major Plumley in We Were Soldiers.

    Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans.

    Damian Lewis as Maj.Richard D. Winters in Band of Brothers.

    Rick Schroder as Maj. Charles White Whittlesey in The Lost Battalion.

    Tom Berenger as Theodore Roosevelt in Rough Riders.

    Gary Busey as Gen. Joseph 'Fighting Joe' Wheeler in Rough Riders.

  10. Richard Burton in the Desert Rats

  11. Mel Gibson - Gallipoli
    The entire cast of The Great Escape

    Audie Murphy was also an actor and starred in an autobiographical picture "To Hell and Back" which told of his WWII experiences.

  12. I don't think Stalone or Jesse the Body belong on that list. There's nothing "great" about their acting. Sly lucked out with "Rocky" but 99% of his acting roles after that sucked.

    I would suggest:

    William Holden for Stalag 17
    Steve McQueen for The Great Escape
    Robert DiNiro for The Deer Hunter

  13. I'm surprised that no performances from "Black Hawk Down" were nominated....one of the most realistic modern day war movies!

  14. Sean Bean in the Sharpe series

  15. Rambo will be on the list. "I ain't no tourist!"

  16. Who is the best role in Blackhawk Down. I liked the Humvee Commander who was shot in the neck.

  17. David Niven, in "The Guns Of Naverone"

    He not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.

  18. John Wayne - The Sands of Iwo Jima
    Clint Eastwood - Heartbreak Ridge

    Oh, and I'll second George C. Scott as Patton.

  19. And I guess we should have a little CanCon. Paul Gross in Passchendaele

  20. Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.

  21. Northern Ontario ToryNovember 11, 2009 at 3:46 AM

    A bit of a stretch to have Stallone and Ventura in a best actor category. :-) But out of the available options I would have to go with George C. Scott.