Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane's top macho flicks: How do yours match up?

By |
Opinion,Movies,Gregory Kane,Columnists

In my last column, in which I described what movies are best to watch when you're lying in a hospital bed in excruciating agony and pain, did you notice my list had a bit of a macho tint?

Yes, I confess to being a fan of what I consider “macho movies,” and there’s no better time to watch them than under what I consider dire circumstances. So see how your list of top macho movies compares with mine. (These are in no particular order.)

Greg Kane's top macho flicks

"The Magnificent Seven" -- No fewer than five actors of this 1960 film were either leading men their own right or went on to become mega-stars of the small and/or silver screen: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn.

"The Dirty Dozen" -- Just as many megastars are in this 1967 World War II flick: Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, Donald Sutherland, Bronson, Jim Brown and Telly Savalas.

"The Wild Bunch" -- Borgnine and Ryan team up again, along with William Holden, Edmund O'Brien, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson. Holden and Borgnine play a group of aging outlaws in circa-1914 Mexico who've lived way past their time. Ryan plays the former comrade-in-arms hired -- or is it coerced? -- into tracking them down.

"Unforgiven" -- Clint Eastwood's Western anti-hero, “a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition,” can barely mount his horse or shoot his own gun. Fans of the Western genre might consider Eastwood's 1992 flick the beginning of the end for Westerns.

"The Outlaw Josey Wales" -- Eastwood on more familiar ground, in which he is able to shoot his own gun and ends up killing a mess of bad varmints as a consequence.

"A Soldier's Story" -- This is Charles Fuller's story adapted from his play about those obscure instances during WW II in which black and white American soldiers regularly assaulted, brutalized and murdered each other during basic training. Baltimore native Howard E. Rollins plays a black lieutenant sent South to investigate the murder of a black platoon sergeant. Was it the work of local racists, or are things not what they seem?

"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" -- Answers the question of many Western fans. Would liberals have let Liberty Valance shoot Ransom Stoddard dead on the streets of Shinbone? The answer is: Of course they would have, and then they'd have obsessed about the “root causes” of why Valance was the malicious killer he was.

Marvin, at his homicidal best, plays Valance. James Stewart plays Stoddard, the Eastern lawyer convinced that only law and order, not vigilante justice, can remove the menace known as Valance. John Wayne plays Tom Doniphon, the wealthy rancher who eventually proves Stoddard wrong.

"The Searchers" -- This is either John Ford's magnum opus or Wayne's. Take your pick.

"Vera Cruz" -- Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster? Really, can it get any better than that?

Any movie with Audie Murphy -- Murphy was America's most decorated combat soldier during World War II. Once he finished his military service, he took up acting, and his movie fans haven't regretted the action once.

I suppose those not familiar with Murphy's films should start with “To Hell and Back,” the biopic of Murphy's WWII days. But my favorite are Audie Murphy westerns. I'll kick a Wayne western to the curb seven days a week and twice on a Sunday to watch a Murphy western.

Here’s how addicted I am to Audie Murphy Westerns: I’m recording “Posse From Hell” on three of four televisions in the house.

“Why are you recording on three televisions?” the wife asked.

“This is Audie Murphy in ‘Posse From Hell,’ ” I answered. She repeated her question.

“I’ll say this one more time,” I answered: “This is Audie Murphy in ‘Posse From Hell.’ ”

Therein ended the discussion.

GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Gregory Kane

Columnist
The Washington Examiner