Tom Hardy is one of Hollywood's most intriguing stars these days. The incredibly versatile actor has shown he is more than willing to take big risks with his roles leading to some truly compelling performances. One of his most famous and interesting roles was as Bane in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Hardy managed to give a stellar performance even behind that massive mask. His intense physicality and much-talked-about voice helped make Bane a true badass villain.
As great as that performance was, Hardy has amassed several outstandingly badass characters over the years. His talent for playing hard men and intimidating can be seen throughout his impressive filmography.
10 The Drop
Hardy seems to excel at playing men of few words. He is a very physical performer and has the rare ability to communicate effectively through body language. This skill came in very useful with his role in the crime-drama The Drop.
Hardy plays Bob, the soft-spoken bartender of a Brooklyn bar which is used as a "drop point" for local mobsters to stash their money. After the stash is robbed one night, Bob is forced into a violent world he previously tried to escape. What makes Bob such a compelling character is how he seems like a rather dim guy but we slowly find there's much more going on that Bob keeps to himself.
It's always a treat to see an actor who is so talented they are able to play off themselves in a film, which is an incredibly hard thing to do. Hardy proves more than up to the difficult challenge in Legend, playing both of the infamous Kray twins.
The Kray twins operated as the most influential figures in British organized crime in the 1950s and 1960s. Reggie Kray was the mastermind who was instrumental in building their own syndicate while Ron Kray was a violent schizophrenic who operated as the muscle. While the film is a paint-by-numbers mob film, there’s no taking away from Hardy's utterly convincing performance as these two very different brothers.
After bringing one of DC's most popular villains to the big screen with Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, Hardy returned to the comic book world, this time with a Marvel baddie. Again, Hardy gets to play double-duty as hot-shot reporter Eddie Brock and insane alien Venom.
The long-awaited solo movie is a bit of a mess but it is held together by Hardy's wonderfully unhinged performance. He plays a mix of neurotic and dangerous to great effect, doing the fan-favorite character justice even if the film was a let-down overall.
Hardy and Christopher Nolan have formed an outstanding partnership over the years. Their collaborations have resulted in four excellent films with hopefully plenty more in the future. Their working relationship began with a gang in the ground-breaking Inception.
In Nolan's unique heist film, Hardy plays Eames, the teams' "counterfeiter". The suave and cool character helped Hardy standout among the star-studded cast, getting some of the film’s best moments. This is also the film that convinced many people that Hardy would be a perfect James Bond.
6 The Revenant
Hardy has the ability to effortlessly jump between playing charismatic and likable leading men to absolute villains. He gets to show off his talents with the latter kind of character in this Oscar-winning survival film.
Set in the 1800s, The Revenant tells the rue story of Hugh Glass, a frontiersman who was attacked by a bear and left for dead by his partners and proceeded to make the implausible trek back to civilization. Hardy plays the man who wronged Glass, and seems to have a ball as such a loathsome character, scoring him his first Oscar nomination.
While he had been working for years before, it was Hardy's electrifying performance in Bronson that made many people take notice of his talents. The biographical film is about Michael Peterson, aka Charles Bronson, one of the United Kingdom's most dangerous prisoners.
The film details Bronson’s long life behind bars and his struggles with the short time spent outside the prison walls. Hardy is an absolute beast in the film, channeling the simmering rage of this disturbed man while brilliantly handling the film's dark humor.
It is admirable that Hardy, as big of an actor as he is, is willing to take those supporting roles in films such as in Dunkirk. Even more admirable that he seems fine hiding his famous face behind a mask.
Nolan's ambitious WWII film tells of the desperate rescue mission of British forces from Dunkirk, using the perspectives of those on the beach, the sea and in the air simultaneously. Hardy plays a fighter pilot who bravely puts his life on the line to save the men on the beach. Though a small role, Hardy gets to shine as a classic silver screen hero.
Part of what makes Hardy such a popular actor is that he always delivers an interesting performance. Even in ensemble films, Hardy is guaranteed to stand out among the other actors due to his unique choices and that was certainly the case with Lawless.
The prohibition crime film follows the Bondurant family, moonshiners from Kentucky, and their turf war with corrupt law enforcement. Hardy plays the head of the family and presents him both as a very intimidating man and one who cares deeply for his family.
2 Mad Max: Fury Road
The idea of making a Mad Max sequel 30 years after the last film was released seemed like a risky move. Even more concerning, Mel Gibson would not be returning in the titular role. As controversial as Gibson is, this is the role that made him a star and it was hard to imagine anyone else taking the part.
In the end, George Miller managed to deliver one of the decade's best films and one of the best action films of all time while Hardy proved perfect as the new Max. Though Charlize Theron's Furiosa is the true hero of the film, Hardy is great as the silent loner.
Warrior is an unfortunately overlooked film and one of Hardy's best performances. Hardy plays a former soldier who returns home from the war and pursues a career as a UFC fighter. This puts him in competition with his estranged brother as they both compete in a national fight competition.
Hardy again internalizes much of his character, invoking Marlon Brando in his role as a damaged man with a good heart. He is equally impressive in the fight sequences, showing the powerful brutality of a man you certainly don't want to mess with.