ByJacob Craig, writer at
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Jacob Craig

With the evolution of our culture, it seems that one thing remains constant: people love badasses. I'm talking about your Walker Texas Rangers, your Terminators, your Rambos, everyone who can do awesome stuff that we can't. There's an appeal to these characters, and in some cases real people, that we just can't resist. With a lot of the go-to badasses out of the game, I thought I would make a list of the the ones from today's pop culture. So let's begin on our journey of exploring the badasses from relevant movies, recent TV shows, video games, and of course, real life. (P.S. These are in no ranking order due to the number the character is on, they are just simply listed. Also, if there have been different portrayals of a character i.e. Batman or Constantine, then I am referring to the portrayal I pictured, or the character that we know in today's pop culture, not for instance Adam West's Batman).

1. Batman

Christian Bale or otherwise.
Christian Bale or otherwise.

Come on, when you say badass you think of Batman. While the character has had some campy portrayals from Adam West, and possibly even George Clooney, Bale brought us the darkest and best Batman we've seen to date. He showed us what a rich kid with a traumatizing childhood can really do to the criminal underworld, and his Batman is one we won't soon forget.

2. Daryl Dixon

While everyone on The Walking Dead that's managed to stay alive this long is pretty badass, Daryl takes the cake. He is a hunter, tracker, and self-taught survivalist expert. If you've ever seen the show, then you know that everyone's lives are at risk on every episode. Except Daryl's. The zombie apocalypse will end with Daryl Dixon on top of a mountain of dead bodies.

3. Bryan Mills

I will find you, and I will kill you.
I will find you, and I will kill you.

Let's be honest, if someone took your daughter, you wouldn't be able to do any of what Bryan Mills does in Taken. He's a retired CIA operative, and has killed quite literally an army of sex slavers to get his daughter back. If that's not badass enough, I don't know what is.

4. Wolverine

He's the best at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice. Wolverine is a practically immortal mutant, being alive since the 1800's, and through experiments has had the strongest (fictional) metal known to man fused to his skeleton. Add in the claws and the healing factor, and Wolverine isn't a man you want to mess with. Throughout the 10 year run of Wolverine in the X-Men movies and his two spin-off movies, he's done some pretty ruthless stuff to some pretty bad people. Some pretty badass stuff.

5. Wesley Gibson

This guy can shoot a fly out of the air, and curve bullets with his mind. Those are pretty badass feats by themselves, but he also killed an entire society of people that could do the same thing in his movie Wanted. What have you done lately?

6. John Constantine

Constantine has always found a way to sneak into modern society, most recently with a TV show. I picked Keanu Reeves' Constantine, however, because he has the balls to literally flip off Satan. Constantine can always be found with a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of booze, but this form of the demon hunter takes the cake when it comes to badassery.

7. The Punisher

While Thomas Jane and The Punisher movies have been outdated, the character will soon be coming to Netflix played by Jon Bernthal. The Punisher character himself still has a huge following however, and for good reason. Former FBI agent Frank Castle turned vigilante when the mob killed his entire family, and ever since then he's returned the favor. The Punisher has killed more bad people than can be counted, and he's not going to stop anytime soon.

8. Sam and Dean Winchester

Saving people, hunting things, the family business.
Saving people, hunting things, the family business.

This one is kind of a two-for-one deal, because neither of these guys would be badass without the other. Yes, people may argue that ideal, but they are a monster hunting team. Together these brothers can accomplish anything, including finding the demon that killed their mother, stopping the Apocalypse, preventing the Leviathan from taking over the world, and keep each other alive (mostly). Basically, if you're a fan of Supernatural then you know these two belong on this list. If you're not, then you should become a fan of Supernatural, you're really missing out.

9. Chris Pratt

Looking good as usual.
Looking good as usual.

I know what some of you are thinking: Of all the people in the world, why is Chris Pratt on this list? Well, because he became a badass. Chris Pratt was pushing 300 pounds, and then when the role of Star Lord came along he transformed. It doesn't sound like much, but Chris Pratt showed people that no matter how far you go down one road, you can always go back. Pratt has the potential to inspire people everywhere, if he already hasn't, to change whatever they need to in their lives, not just weight. Also, he made husky sexy. No one realized Chris Pratt was sexy until his transformation, but he was.

10. Daredevil

I'm not talking about Ben Affleck, I'm talking about this guy. If you haven't seen Charlie Cox's Daredevil on Netflix for any reason, trust me, you have to. This series has the most real fight scenes I've ever seen, and this version of Matt Murdock is truly badass. Not only does he beat the hell out of bad guys (see what I did there?), but he does it with such style. He jumps off of walls and uses any weapon that his opponent may have, as well as anything around him. I wouldn't be able to that with my vision, and this guy does it blind.

11. Travis Barker

If you're a fan of the band Blink-182, then this guy needs no explanation, you know from the way he drums that he's a badass. This man has done whatever it took to do what he loves for a living. He literally tattooed almost his entire body so that he couldn't get a normal job. It was either sink or swim for Barker, and he decided to go to the deep end of the pool. Before he was one of the best drummers in the world, Barker was a garbage man, and lived paycheck to paycheck. He took a chance at his dream, and now he's an inspiration for any aspiring musician, and that's why he's a badass. Wait, did I mention that he put out a solo album? That's right, the drummer put out a solo album, and featured other people rapping and singing while he drums. That's even more badass.

12. Goku

While some people might think Goku is too goofy to be a badass, I beg to differ. Goku has done whatever it took to surpass any limit and beat anyone who stood in his way. Not only did Goku become a legendary Super Saiyan to defeat Frieza, but he discovered two more (three if you count Dragon Ball GT, which is no longer canon) different levels of Super Saiyan to defeat an opponent. He has also managed to surpass all of his friends and his rival Vegeta, who spends most of his time training, while Goku only fights to protect the ones he loves, even though he enjoys it.

13. John Wick

Yeah, he's back.
Yeah, he's back.

Yes, that's the second time for a Keanu Reeves character to make it on the list, get used to it. John Wick is a retired hitman, and just wants to live a quiet life. Until his wife dies, and someone steals his car and kills his dog almost the very next day. Then John Wick kills everybody and everything associated with those people. But of course those people weren't normal thugs, they all worked for his former employer. So you could imagine that they were armed to the teeth, and trained the same way John was. And he killed them all. All of them. Like it was another day at the office.

14. Rorschach

Never compromise, even in the face of Armageddon.
Never compromise, even in the face of Armageddon.

If you've seen Watchmen, then just go to the next person, you know why he's here. If you haven't, just read that quote. Keep reading it and let what he really means sink in. Now read it like Christian Bale's Batman would say it, but even darker and scarier, because that's how Rorschach sounds. The criminal underworld knows to fear this guy, because not only is he one of the greatest detectives ever, but he won't hesitate to kill a bad person. Not to mention, every quote from him is badass worthy. "I don't think any of you get it. I'm not stuck in here with you, you're stuck in here with me!"

15. Sherlock Holmes

While you might not think badass when you hear Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock truly is. This form of the world's greatest detective can think his way out of any situation, and is so smart he can do anything humanly possible. That, in my opinion, is pretty badass.

16. Robert Downey Jr.

The other Sherlock Holmes.
The other Sherlock Holmes.

I think we can all agree that RDJ is awesome, but is he a badass? I think he is. The main reason he's on this list, is because when he found out that the other actors in The Avengers weren't getting payed as much as him, he threatened to quit the role if his co-workers didn't get pay raises. If that wasn't enough, RDJ really is the real life Tony Stark. Everywhere he goes, Jr. has the same set of furniture shipped to the hotel he's staying in, and when he was on the set of The Avengers, he had snacks hidden everywhere. That scene where he offers Captain America a prune wasn't scripted, RDJ pulled out some of his hidden prunes, and started eating them. He plays by his own rules, and that's what makes him a badass.

17. The Joker


When you say badass, you think of the action hero protagonist. But what about the bad guy? If any villain deserves the title of badass, it would be The Joker. This guy has defied death several times, ruled the criminal underworld, and has come close to beating Batman on several occasions. The most badass appeal to the character, however, is the fact that he doesn't care. He's an anarchist, he isn't in it for the money, he just wants chaos. That's why he's so hard to beat, there's no way to predict what he will do next. That is pretty badass.

18. Neo

Mark three for Keanu. There are some movies that never get outdated, and The Matrix is one of them. And of course Neo is a badass, he can stop bullets with his mind. Not to mention all of the kung fu and shooting he does himself. Also, when Neo reaches his full potential as The One, he basically has the powers of Superman. That's pretty badass in my book.

19. Tyler Durden

Speaking of movies that never get outdated, Fight Club is one of those. Of course the protagonist/antagonist/psychopath/anarchist of the movie would have to be a badass. Tyler Durden is just a regular man, and he beats the crap out of everybody, and blows stuff up just to cause chaos. He managed to raise an army of anarchists from his ideals and philosophy, and they do things just to do them. Durden doesn't like the way our world is, and the way the government runs it, so he decided to start changing things. That's what a badass would do.

20. Black Widow

Don't worry ladies, I didn't forget about you. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there aren't a lot of badass women in our society, but Black Widow is definitely one of them. Widow is the only member of The Avengers that is badass enough to make it on this list, and for good reason. No one's fight scenes are as intense as Black Widow's. She fights using her entire body, jumping off of walls, and has the spy skills to use any weapon and operate any vehicle. Badass woman number one, check.

21. Ronda Rousey

Badass woman number two, in progress. Ronda Rousey is an inspiration for little girls everywhere, because she showed that you can be pretty and tough at the same time. Both an actor and a UFC champion, she has proved that she has badass skills in two fields.

22. The Arrow

You have failed this city!
You have failed this city!

After spending five years on a hellish island, Oliver Queen has inherited the skills needed to take back his city from criminals. While you would imagine the adaption of Green Arrow to be a little campy, The Arrow from the CW series is the definition of badass. DC definitely took a page out of Christian Bale's book when developing this series, because The Arrow is basically Batman with arrows. But if you take away the costume, the money, and even the bow and arrows, you still have a badass.

23. V

Remember remember the 5th of November!
Remember remember the 5th of November!

While V may be outdated just a little, that's just because V for Vendetta was entirely underrated. V is an anarchist, maybe even a terrorist, who fights against a corrupt parliament for his people's freedom. He is deadly with throwing knives, and on top of all of his fighting skills, he's a genius philosopher too. "Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea! And ideas are bulletproof." If that's not badass, I don't know what is.

24. Keanu Reeves

And that's four for Keanu! The crowd goes wild! Not only are Keanu Reeves' characters badass, but he is too. Keanu has taken multiple pay cuts on films to bring in big names like Al Pacino and Gene Hackman, funded a charity for cancer anonymously, and gave most of the money he made from The Matrix trilogy to the underpaid staff. The last thing Reeves is ever worried about is money, because as he put it, he's made enough for ten lifetimes. You're a kind badass Keanu, a very kind badass indeed.

25. Han Solo

I know.
I know.

Come on, will Star Wars ever truly die? With the upcoming movie, and an older Han Solo being in said movie, I would say it's still relevant. And do I really have to explain Han Solo being a badass? He is a classic choice! While Rocky and Dirty Harry might be outdated, Han Solo will never be.

26. Bane

This is my last Batman character, I promise. The point is though, the villains from the latest Batman movies are badass. Bane managed to break Batman's back, and take over Gotham. That's something no other villain has ever been able to accomplish. He managed to escape from what was supposed to be an inescapable prison, and made it his mission to destroy Gotham. That's pretty badass.

27. Liam Neeson

At the age of 63, Liam Neeson is probably the oldest badass on this list. Twice. I put Liam Neeson on this list because of one fun fact I came across, and it made me think of him in an entirely different light. Before he started his acting career, Neeson was a teacher. One day, a 15 year old delinquent pulled a knife in class, with the intent to harm, and Liam Neeson punched him in the face. He punched him in the face, took the knife, and when they revoked his teaching licence he became one of the most legendary actors of all time. How badass is that? Not to mention the roles he's played. This guy has played a god for at least two different religions, trained Batman and Obi-Wan Kenobi, played the superhero Darkman, and lead the A-Team. That is a resume suited for a badass.

28. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Han Solo is understandable, but I'm sure a lot of you are wondering why Obi-Wan Kenobi is a badass. Think about this: Every Jedi in existence was killed except for Yoda and Obi-Wan. Also, Ben gave his life just so Luke would have something personal to fight for. (Or at least that's why I think he did it) So not only did Obi-Wan survive for years in the mountains away from The Empire, he then purposely gave his life for the greater good. Badass, right?

29. Agent 47

Alas, our first video game character! If you've ever played the Hitman games, then you know why he's a badass. The amount of ways you can kill people is ridiculous. No matter what situation you manage to get yourself into, Agent 47 has the skills to get out, and that's what makes a badass.

30. Jordan Belfort

Whether you're talking about the movie adaption, or the real man, both are pretty badass. Just from the way The Wolf of Wall Street ended (I don't want to spoil anything) shows how awesome this guy is. He unraveled himself out of every situation he was in, no matter who he had to throw under the bus, or how illegal the thing he was doing is.

31. Dave Grohl

Why is Dave Grohl a badass? Because not only is he one of the greatest musicians of our time, but he's played with everyone. From his original band with Kurt Cobain, to his covers with John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, to playing with legends like David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Slash, Iggy Pop, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Steven Van Zandt, No Doubt, and Steven Tyler. Yeah, that's a long list. If that wasn't enough, Dave Grohl once broke his leg on stage, and finished the concert. He kept playing as the paramedics put a cast on his leg, and didn't stop until the concert was over. That's pretty badass in my book.

32. Legolas

Legolas has skills that The Arrow and Daryl Dixon couldn't even dream of having. Seriously, have you ever seen Legolas miss? That's because he hasn't. He can shoot three arrows at the time and hit every different target he was aiming for. Also he's immortal. He's immortal, and he never misses. Because he has elf eyes.

33. Raiden

Of all the characters in the Mortal Kombat universe, yes, Raiden is the most badass. When all of the characters got killed by Shao Khan, Raiden was the last character to survive, and before he inevitably died himself, he turned back time to stop it from happening. Then when the events unfolded the same way, Raiden still managed to defeat him on the second try. That's pretty badass.

34. Yoda

Do or do not, there is no try.
Do or do not, there is no try.

Like I said, every Jedi in existence was killed except for Obi-Wan and Yoda. Not to mention, Yoda trained most of the Jedi Knights himself, and was the oldest Jedi in the order. But have you seen what he could do in Episode 3? It is ridiculous how much skill this little green man has with the force, and that's why he's a badass.

35. Ezio Auditore Da Firenze

It's easy to say that the characters from the Assassin's Creed franchise are badasses, but which one deserves to be on my list? I went with Ezio, because not only has he had the most games and spectacular achievements, but he's acquired the most skill. Yes, the game play evolves between every game, but the way it is in the later games was developed mainly from Ezio's experience. His developed skill on top of leading most of the assassins in Europe, makes him pretty badass.

36. Hancock

Hancock is badass because he doesn't care what happens to criminals. He'll shove their heads up each other's asses, and has done it before. Plus he's basically a drunk with the powers of Superman, so that's pretty cool too.

37. John Reese

He may not look like it, but this Person of Interest character is the definition of badass. He's military trained, a former spy, and isn't afraid to be seen as a criminal in the eyes of the people. While Reese always does what's right, people (that he hasn't personally saved) think he's a criminal, thanks to the police. Reese breaks the rules to save people and do what's right, and that's what makes a badass.

38. Don Draper

Don Draper not only plays by his own rules, but he practically pioneered the idea. He drinks at work, smokes whenever and wherever he wants, sleeps with any woman he sees fit, and doesn't care what other people think about any of it. While a lot of people don't approve of that idea, let alone think it's badass, if you've seen Mad Men then you know that there's a reason. You can't quite put a finger on it, but just the way Jon Hamm carries the character let's you know he's a badass.

39. Katniss Everdeen

Not only did Katniss survive The Hunger Games, and was willing to kill herself so that either Peta could live or so that they didn't get a winner, but she started and lead a revolution against the Capital. She had the guts to stand up against a person as powerful as President Snow, and had an army of people tired of the way they had to live behind her. Not only is that badass, but that's revolutionary.

40. Mystique

Another one for JLaw.
Another one for JLaw.

Many people would argue that Wolverine or Magneto are the most powerful mutants, but it's really Mystique. She can shape shift into anyone she needs to, she has amazing acrobatic and fighting skills, and after she lost her powers, she didn't hesitate to sell out Magneto and The Brotherhood. She's out for herself and her own interests, and that's what makes her a great character. She's gone toe-to-toe with the likes of strong mutants like Wolverine, and she is practically an infiltration mastermind. No matter how hard the X-Men try, Mystique will always be around making trouble, and that's why she's badass.

41. Daenerys Targaryen

She can control dragons. Dragons, as in the giant fire breathing lizards. That can fly. They're easily someone's worst nightmare, and she can control them. Not only that, but she's ruthless. She doesn't care who gets burned up by a dragon. Just don't make her mad and let's move on, she can control dragons, she's a badass.

42. Walter White

Call me Heisenberg.
Call me Heisenberg.

At this point, you can just say his name and people think badass. This former chemistry teacher and meth dealer has done some seriously nasty stuff, and has practically nothing to lose having cancer and all, and that makes him a badass.

43. Master Chief

Not only has the main character from the Halo series survived the destruction of several planets and spaceships, but can pick up and use any weapon and vehicle. In his iconic exosuit, he has superhuman capabilities such as strength, speed and jumping, and has shields to protect him from attacks. Even when Master Chief's shields go down, his exosuit is durable enough to help him survive attacks, and everything he does boils down to the skill behind the suit. That pure skill plus the durability of his suit is what makes him badass.

44. Jules Winnfield

Say "what" again.
Say "what" again.

Pulp Fiction has become a tradition at this point. Every year, teenagers arrive at the age to be able to watch the movie, and then it becomes their favorite movie until the initial awesomeness wears off. I bet you have at least one younger cousin, niece/nephew, or maybe even child that quotes this movie on a regular basis. And the most quotable character? You guessed it, Jules Winnfield. This dude can just talk down a robbery, and keep everyone alive at the end. That's pretty badass.

45. Django

The D is silent.
The D is silent.

Speaking of Tarantino, Django is another one of his characters that are easily badass. With nothing but the guns he had on hand and the guns of the people he already killed, he literally killed an entire plantation. As in, a heavily armed and guarded mass production cotton plantation, that most people would be stuck on for the rest of their short lives. He freed all the slaves, killed all the guards and the owner (the wonderful and talented Leonardo DiCaprio), and blew up the house with Samuel L. Jackson still alive inside. Then he had a dancing horse scene with Kerry Washington, but we'll overlook that, he's still a badass.

46. King Leonidas

This is Sparta!
This is Sparta!

This guy is a badass just from his sheer warrior's spirit. He will and has fought for whatever he had to fight for, and won't/didn't quit until he died. Even if it's an entire army against just him, Leonidas won't back down from a fight, and that's why he's a badass.

47. Kratos

This guy kills gods for a living. Multiple gods, with the powers of, well, gods. He killed Ares, and that was just at the end of the first game. Every game after that, the bar has been raised and the enemies have been more powerful, and Kratos has still killed them all. He killed them all just out of pure vengeance for his family, and that's badass.

48. Sephiroth

FF7 reboot is coming!
FF7 reboot is coming!

Out of all the Final Fantasy characters, Sephiroth is the most badass because he's so hard to beat. He's hard to beat, and he's one of the few characters we can't play as. We all want to be Sephiroth, but the fact that we can't makes us marvel over him even more. That just adds more of a badass effect on Sephiroth on top of the way he can fight.

49. Indiana Jones

Not only is he one of the greatest adventurers of all time, but he's accomplished some great feats. Finding the Lost Ark, fighting Nazis, finding the Holy Grail, running from boulders, learning how to be a father to the absolutely terrible Shia LeBeouf, that kind of stuff. While Jones is an accomplished adventurer, he's also proficient with a sword and a gun, and an expert with a bullwhip. On his achievements alone he's qualified as a badass, but add in his skill, and he's one of the greatest badasses.

50. Caesar

It's easy to admit that this ape is a badass, because he literally took over the world. With James Franco messing with his genes and making him smarter than most humans, and Draco Malfoy abusing him, Caesar got enough and just took over the world. He was tired of humans experimenting on apes, and just took over the world. I'm going to keep saying this, this monkey took over the world. Every villain's goal is to take over the world, and this monkey did it, because he was tired of his kind being abused. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about it, but also ridiculously badass.

What did you think? Do you have someone relevant that deserves to be on this list? Let me know in the comments!


Who do you think is the most badass?


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