Legends & Legacies View More

Charles Bronson, Tough Guy

Published: 11/3/2012

One of cinema's top tough guys, Charles Bronson, would have turned 91 today. In honor of his birthday, we're watching a few of his best movies.

 Actor Charles Bronson is shown in this Feb. 22, 1974 photo. (AP Photo)

Actor Charles Bronson is shown in this Feb. 22, 1974 photo. (AP Photo)



Though Bronson's acting career began in 1951, it would be nine years before he truly made a splash – in the John Sturges western classic The Magnificent Seven (based on Akira Kurosawa's legendary Seven Samurai). Acting alongside Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and other greats, Bronson played one of seven gunfighters helping protect a small Mexican town – and gained attention with his stony stare.





As Bronson's star rose, he landed a role in 1967's The Dirty Dozen (based in part on the real adventures of Jack Agnew and the "Filthy Thirteen") alongside Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and John Cassavetes. One of twelve felons conscripted in WWII to kill German officers, Bronson's character was tough enough to survive the suicide mission. Tough – and a little disturbed.





1974 brought one of Bronson's starring roles, perhaps his most memorable. In Death Wish, Bronson played a man who took to vigilantism after the death of his wife. His characteristic stoniness made his backstreets crime fighter all the scarier.





Bronson died more than nine years ago, but his tough guys are still some of the greatest of all time.

Written by Linnea Crowther Originally published November 2011.



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