In this article:
- London-born actor Tom Hardy has become one of the biggest stars in his home country as well as in Hollywood. He got his first major role in the HBO series Band of Brothers and it was all downhill after that.
- Hardy has an incredible ability to convey a lot of emotion with very few words, a skill that’s earned him prominent roles as a protagonist, a villain, and an anti-hero.
- With dozens of films under his belt and two more currently in the works, it’s hard to nail down the best performances of Hardy’s career. But let’s give it a try anyway. These are the 7 best films of Tom Hardy’s career.
In my opinion, it’s impossible not to love Tom Hardy. As a protagonist, he’s able to exude a quiet strength that instills a feeling of safety and fearlessness in the audience. As an anti-hero, he portrays a menacing aura that gives viewers the feeling that he’s capable of doing anything at any moment. And, with so many iconic roles under his belt, it’s impossible not to count Tom Hardy among the best actors of the current generation.
Hardy received his formal education from Richmond Drama School and the Drama Centre London. However, he would never complete his education at the Drama Centre London as he earned a role in the super-successful HBO mini-series Band of Brothers before he even graduated. That would prove to be the beginning of a long and fruitful career. Hardy made his feature film debut in 2001 with the main role in Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, which was a box office smash and a hit with the critics.
From there, Tom Hardy has continued to crank out film after film and has acted in a movie nearly every year from 2001 until now. He even has two more projects that are currently in the works. Havoc, directed by Gareth Evans, is set to feature Hardy in the leading role and appear on Netflix in 2023. Hardy is also working on another film called The Bikeriders in which he will star alongside Austin Butler and Michael Shannon (another one of my personal favorite actors).
With such a long and amazing career, it’s hard to nail down the best movies that Tom Hardy has ever starred in. However, in this article, that’s exactly what I’ll attempt to do. These are the 7 best movies of Tom Hardy’s career.
1. The Revenant
In 2015, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for his leading role in The Revenant. However, he was not the only one who walked away from the ceremony with a new accolade. Tom Hardy also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as John Fitzgerald, a vicious trapper who cares more for money than his fellow man. At one point in the film, Fitzgerald even suggests that they kill Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio’s character).
Like many of Hardy’s roles, John Fitzgerald is brooding and quiet. He exhibits an animalistic instinct that is both chilling and fascinating to watch. In fact, the character of John Fitzgerald is based on a real trapper that was actually in a similar situation in the year 1823. And, after reading the true story, it seems that Tom Hardy played the role perfectly.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
At the 2016 Academy Awards, Mad Max: Fury Road earned a whopping 10 Oscar nominations and won in 6 of those categories. While Tom Hardy himself didn’t earn any nominations for the film, his starring role as Mad Max certainly contributed to the film’s success. As in many of Hardy’s roles, his character is a man of few words. However, Hardy’s subtle expressions are enough to get the audience’s adrenaline pumping.
From start to finish, Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece of intensity and visual effects. The amazing chase scenes throughout the desert are supremely suspenseful and Hardy plays the role of a man constantly teetering on the edge of death perfectly. While it’s difficult to live up to the roles that Mel Gibson played as Mad Max, Tom Hardy certainly paved his own way into the series’s lore with this film.
The 2012 film Lawless is the bloody and action-packed story of the Bondurant brothers, a set of three bootlegging siblings who made a boatload of money in Prohibition-era Virginia. Tom Hardy stars in this movie as Forrest Bondurant, the eldest and most ruthless brother who is seemingly unkillable. And Tom Hardy’s stony-faced demeanor is absolutely perfect for this role.
After getting his throat slashed from ear to ear by a rival crew, Forrest survives and recovers in the hospital. Only a short time later, Forrest and his brother Howard (played by Jason Clarke) track down the man who injured him, torture the man, kill him, and then send his testicles to his crew leader. I believe that is a perfect indication of how brutal this movie is.
The story of Britain’s most violent criminal, Bronson is a window into the mind of Charles Bronson, a twisted and fascinating man who spent the vast majority of his life in the British penal system. In preparing for this role, Tom Hardy actually spoke to the real Charles Bronson on the phone. And, after watching videos of the real Charles Bronson online, I would say that Tom Hardy portrayed him with astounding accuracy.
The film is slightly psychedelic, intentionally overdramatic, beautifully crude, and just all-around weird. It’s certainly different than any film I’ve ever seen before; however, I would assume that being inside the mind of Charles Bronson would be an entirely unique experience as well. Hardy’s performance as Bronson is both horrifying and endearing at the same time and makes you question whether you should love Bronson or hate him.
Typically, I’m not the biggest fan of superhero movies. However, the 2018 film Venom was decidedly different than most other superhero flicks (which I often find to be overly sappy). Hardy delivers a deadpan performance as Eddie Brock, a struggling journalist that merges with an alien parasite while investigating a lab.
One of the things that I find so great about Hardy’s performance in this film is the fact that it’s relatable despite being the story of a man who merges with a parasite from outer space. The character of Eddie Brock reacts to his strange new situation the same way that an average person would in many cases. However, proving the idea that you can get used to anything if given enough time, Brock is amazingly candid when speaking with his alien parasite toward the end of the movie.
The 2013 film Locke is, in my opinion, the greatest display of pure acting ability that Tom Hardy has ever displayed in his career. His theatrical acumen stands raw and unmasked in this film as Hardy is the only character who appears on screen for the entire 85-minute duration. Yet he manages to keep the film captivating from opening to closing credits.
Locke tells the story of Ivan Locke, a construction foreman who has an adulterous one-night stand that leads to a pregnancy. Unwilling to abandon his own child like his father did to him, he decides that he will drive to London to be with the child despite his lack of feelings toward his baby’s mother. The film follows Locke along the car ride as he makes a total of 36 phone calls to his boss, his wife, his sons, and many others.
7. The Dark Knight Rises
While both his face and voice are obscured in the film, Tom Hardy’s performance as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises is spectacularly villainous. While Christian Bale’s performance as Batman was certainly up to snuff; however, I would venture to say that Bane stole the show in this film.
Besides the fact that it looks like Hardy put on 100 pounds of muscle for this movie, Bane also walks and talks like a boss, a boss with very bad intentions. Hardy’s performance was creepy and captivating yet elevated and interesting. After Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker, if you’re going to play a villain in The Dark Knight, you’d better deliver. And Hardy did just that.