There have been a lot of awesome fictional tough guy characters throughout the years, popping up in movies, television and even books (you know, those things that are adapted into blockbuster movies?). And frankly, some of these characters are even more badass than others, and you can tell as much by the size of the gun he or she carries, or the sweet black leather jacket, or, in some cases, the totally sweet and intimidating eyepatch that he or she wears. Yes, the eyepatch sets the tone for a fictional character, because it immediately lets you know that this is someone not to trifle with, or someone who is really bad at handling at Red Ryder BB Range Model Air Rifle. These are some of our favorites who fit the first part of that sentence…
As the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D, Nick Fury is pretty much the most badass non-superhero there is. He’s a normal guy, more or less, as long as you consider a World War II hero and super-spy to be normal, and he gets to boss around guys like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and, oh yeah, some angry green monster known as the Hulk. He was originally introduced in the comics as an NCO in WWII who commanded an integrated unit, and later became a character that could probably be compared to Marvel’s answer to James Bond.
His coolness was brought into serious question in 1998, when he was portrayed in a TV movie by David Hasselhoff, but luckily for all involved, his the character was redesigned in the Marvel Ultimates universe and modeled after Samuel L. Jackson. As luck would have it, Jackson himself would go on to play Nick Fury in, well, every Marvel movie leading up to and including this summer’s The Avengers, and we’re all better off for it. Not many are more badass than Samuel L. Jackson, so his portrayal of the eyepatch wearing Nick Fury pretty much causes all of us to grow an extra testicle merely by watching him take on the role.
Yep, we’re going to go ahead and include a character from the Harry Potter book and movie series, and we don’t care what you think about it. Yes, the book started out as a children’s series (or, more specifically, a young adult series), but it quickly grew dark and violent, and thankfully that progression brought us the great character of Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, the wizarding world’s greatest auror (or, for the muggles, “dark wizard catcher). The most feared man on the side of good, outside of Albus Dumbledore, of course, is a gruff, no-nonsense behemoth who rocks the most unique eyepatch of anyone we’ll be talking about.
See, while most suffer from what we assume is terrible depth perception due to their injuries, Mad-Eye Moody is actually the one character on this list whose abilities are actually enhanced by his only having one eye. That’s because his eyepatch contains an enchanted eye, which allows him to see, well, pretty much anything he wants. Sadly, and this is a spoiler alert for the three of you who either haven’t read the books or watched the movies, Mad-Eye dies while helping Harry escape from dark wizards, but he’ll always be remembered as the most fierce auror who ever lived, despite the fact that he was apparently duped and kidnapped by a pasty little dude in Goblet of Fire.
Talk about your all-time iconic character, eyepatch wearer or not. Snake Plissken, as portrayed by Kurt Russell, is simply one of the greatest action heroes of all-time. He’s a total badass from the first moment he steps on screen to the final time we saw him in Escape From L.A., which is actually saying something considering Escape from L.A. was a piece of crap and not just because it involved the most ridiculous basketball scene ever put to film. And we’ve seen The Basketball Diaries, so we know what we’re talking about.
Anyway, Plissken is a special forces war hero turned criminal, and in Escape from New York, he’s sent into the prison island of Manhattan and tasked with finding and rescuing the President of the United States, who crash landed inside the fortified prison island after Air Force One was hijacked. It’s a scientific fact that any man who watches Kurt Russell growling his way through this role in either film will immediately sprout a thick tuft of hair on his or her chest, which only grows back thicker, and darker, so you should probably just leave it alone and enjoy watching Snake Plissken kick some ass.
So far we have really only been talking about good guys, but we should probably take a brief respite from all of that goody-goody nonsense and provide you with an eyepatch wearing scoundrel, because seriously, why would we ever trust someone with one eye? Surely, someone who wears an eyepatch must almost certainly be evil, right? Well, that’s certainly the case with Elle Driver from the Kill Bill films.
Elle Driver, as portrayed by Daryl Hannah, was a member of the elite Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and is the chief rival of the main protagonist of the films, Beatrix Kiddo (also know as the Bride). She and the Bride are alike in many ways, not the least of which is the fact that both have had relationships with the titular Bill, and both are more than adept at handling a samurai sword. She and the Bride even trained under the same martial arts master, Pai Mei, though unlike the Bride, Elle Driver was punished severely for her insolence during training by having her right eye plucked out by the kung fu master. She kills for pleasure, and gives the Bride her most difficult fight in Kill Bill: Volume 2. Needless to say, we love every second she’s on screen.
We come now to the only character on this list who has been portrayed on the film screen by two actors, both of whom received critical acclaim. The first was John Wayne, who received his first and only Academy Award for Best Actor for the role, while the second was Jeff Bridges, who also received a Best Actor nomination, and perhaps should have won for his outstanding portrayal of the drunken, bitter United States Marshal who is enlisted by a young girl to track down the man who shot and killed her father in both the 1968 and 2010 movie versions of True Grit.
Cogburn is a crotchety old man who never met a bottle of alcohol he didn’t like, though we think he’d give serious pause to drinking a Bartles and James wine cooler. Though he appears to be a trigger happy, drunken, fool, he’s revealed in both versions of the film as an exceedingly capable, savvy lawman who has, ahem, the “true grit” necessary to accomplish the task to which he has set forth.