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There has been much written lately about the revival of 80’s action heroes. The Expendables and Arnie’s return are all we seem to hear about. But where would they all be without their cooler and tougher 60’s and 70’s counterparts? Out of the best of them who was the toughest, coolest and hardest of them all? Welcome to the Roobla showdown to end all showdowns…

Round 1

Clint Eastwood vs Paul Newman

Both have proved their cool but Clint sustained it over a much longer period. Clint wins in a close contest.

Robert Redford vs Dustin Hoffman

They have had their moments, their only movie together was the classic All The President’s Men. However, they both portrayed journalists so it doesn’t count. At the end of the day Redford was the Sundance Kid and Hoffman was Tootsie. Easy Redford win.

Al Pacino vs Robert De Niro

This is a tough one. Pacino was the Godfather, but so was De Niro. Pacino was Scarface, De Niro was Capone. The clincher? Adam Sandler and Jack and Jill, Ben Stiller and Little Fockers. De Niro Wins, his lowest point not quite as low as Pacino’s.

Sean Connery vs Michael Caine

Caine can turn it on when he wants, Get Carter is as tough as they come. But Connery was Bond. No Contest. Connery wins.

Steve McQueen vs James Coburn

Coburn proved a wily character in movies like The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. But in both movies McQueen just blew him out of the water. McQueen wins.

Roger Moore vs Charles Bronson

There is no doubt Moore was stylish and, of course, he was Bond. However, Bronson was built like a barn door and would have just trampled all over him. Bronson wins.

Lee Marvin vs Gene Hackman

Two actors who overlapped in the early 70’s, Marvin proving himself in Point Blank and The Dirty Dozen. Hackman was as tough as they come in The French Connection but did not have the same reputation as the hellraising Marvin. Also Marvin was an ex Marine. Marvin wins in a bruising encounter.

John Wayne vs Robert Shaw

Wayne was the original action hero, setting the standard since the 40’s. Shaw was the most threatening and toughest adversary for Connery’s Bond. He did, however, get eaten by a shark. For the sheer number of tough guy roles, Wayne wins.

The Ultimate Action Star

Round 2

Clint Eastwood vs Robert Redford

Redford may have been the Sundance Kid, but Eastwood was the Man With No Name. An easier win for Eastwood this time.

Robert De Niro vs Sean Connery

A very competitive match up. De Niro has Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and Raging Bull as evidence of his pedigree. He was also one of the scariest villains of all time in Cape Fear. Connery though is the real deal. He even put a real life mobster up against a wall during the filming of a movie in the 60’s. And it needs to be said once again. The name’s Bond, James Bond! Connery wins although much blood is shed.

Steve McQueen vs Charles Bronson

Both appeared in the iconic 60’s movie The Great Escape. Bronson may have been scared of small spaces while McQueen heroically rode a motorbike into a barbed wire fence, but Bronson did escape! So another comparison must be made. Bronson appeared as a vengeful father and husband in the Death Wish series while McQueen was Bullitt and took part in the most famous car chase of all time. In the end McQueen was just far too cool for Bronson to have any real chance. McQueen wins.

Lee Marvin vs John Wayne

Wayne had proved himself over the previous decades time and again. But he was from a different time and would not have kept up with Marvin. He was far more cynical and ruthless and would have stopped the legendary Wayne in his tracks. Sad to see him bested, he would have won the title in any other era, but Marvin wins.

The Ultimate Action Star

Semi Final

Clint Eastwood vs Sean Connery

Now we are getting to the nitty gritty. Here we have two genuinely tough guys on screen and off. Both fiercely private and the stuff of legends. Connery’s Bond provided the blue print not only for the future 007’s but for action movies in general. Eastwood pioneered the modern western and changed the genre forever. He also originated the maverick cop in the legendary Dirty Harry. Connery was always more physically imposing and could probably have beaten Eastwood in a fistfight, but with his Magnum 44 Eastwood would have blown Connery away in a fire fight.Both stood up to authority and broke the rules to get what they wanted. Both made ill-advised come backs to their most famous characters late in life. So let’s look at other roles.

Both have played tough military men in Heartbreak Ridge and The Hill. Both have walked in space, Outland and Space Cowboys. Both have had fabulous leading ladies, Audrey Hepurn and Lana Turner for Connery, Meryl Streep and Shirley MaClaine for Eastwood. It is the closest contest yet in the competition but one man just edges it. Connery’s tenure as Bond is equalled by Eastwood’s Man With No Name and Dirty Harry but Connery is Indiana Jones’s dad. And for that one fact Connery wins the bout on a technical knock out.

Steve McQueen vs Lee Marvin

This is the battle between the coolest and the toughest. McQueen bestrode the 60’s oozing charisma with edgy charm and a dangerous twinkle in his eye. Marvin brushed aside all before him earning the fearful respect of all he encountered. McQueen proved his action chops in movies like The Towering Inferno and Bullitt. Marvin proved his worth in Hell In The Pacific and Point Blank. McQueen showed his suave side in The Thomas Crown Affair, proving that playing chess could be better than sex. Marvin proved that despite not being able to sing he could top the charts after Paint Your Wagon. It is, however, McQueen who earns a place in the final. Marvin may just be the toughest of them all but he could not cope with McQueen who embodies the dangerous charm combined with steely cool that wins this contest.

The Ultimate Action Star

Final

Sean Connery vs Steve McQueen

Here we go. The final battle. In one corner, Connery, the Scottish legend who, as Bond, became the 60’s icon. In the other corner, McQueen, the rebel American who in four key movies of the 60’s showed he was the only star who could give Connery a run for his money. If the two stars had ever appeared together in a film it would probably have broken box office records.

Apart from Bond, during the 60’s Connery also appeared in a Alfred Hitchcock movie and made the tough uncompromising military drama The Hill. McQueen spent most of the 60’s and 70’s turning down more top parts than he took. A series of missed opportunities and poor choices were punctuated with a few classics. The Getaway, Papillion and The Towering Inferno were the post-60’s highlights. Connery’s post-Bond career provided an array of tough parts, left field choices and iconic roles. He would continue into the 80’s and 90’s constantly proving his credentials. The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Highlander, The Rock. He was always reliable, always good and always defiantly Scottish, even when he was Irish or Spanish! It did not matter because he was Sean Connery. Sean Connery could get away with anything. Sean Connery was the original James Bond.

Sean Connery wins!

Who would you root for? Let us know below!

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