How 5 Movie Tough Guys Got Their Start On Film

FistWe know them as leading men in action movies.  They’ve played the tough-as-hard-as-nails personae in hundreds of films.  But did all of these guys really start off tough?  What types of movies did they get their start in? Whether you like the nail-biting “make my day” type of gunslinger or the bulky barbarian-type, this list of actor origins will hold surprises for all.  I chose this list from some of my favorite testosterone-fueled actors out there.  See if you can come up with some other films and we can keep the list going past five.

myfivebest -1LOVE STORY (1970) TOMMY LEE JONES

It’s hard to imagine that Tommy Lee Jones – the original Two-Face and the hard-nosed colonel from Captain America, could have got his start in one of the biggest chick flick of the 1970s.  According to Erich Siegel, the writer of Love Story, not only was Tommy Lee Jones IN the movie, the lead character of Oliver (who was eventually played by Ryan O’ Neill) was BASED on him in real life!  At the time, Jones was going to Harvard. His roommate, Al Gore, was also the basis for the character who was incredibly rich law student and falls in love with a poor music student (Ali McGraw) and they make their lives together despite coming from different backgrounds.  Jones ended up with the role of Hank Simpson.



Kurt Russell, the man who played Snake Plisskin in the 1981 movie, Escape from New York, got his start as a 12-year old child actor in this movie, It Happened At The World’s Fair.  In the movie, he kicks Elvis Pressley in the shin.  Years later, Russell, who is a huge Elvis fan, portrayed the King in the movie 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) and also provided the voice of Elvis in the movie, Forrest Gump (1994) where he is uncredited.



The Italian Stallion did more than act as a boxer during the 1970s.  He also appeared in porn!  Sly is the lead actor in this 1970 porn film, playing the part of Stud. Who would have thought he would go onto become Rocky and Rambo in future films?  The film also stars Henrietta Holm (yeah, I’ve never heard of her either), as Kitty.  It was pretty racy for its time and we get to see Stallone belt whip his co-star.  I guess we all have to start somewhere.



Bruce Willis would go on to become a star after the television series Moonlighting appeared on television, but he got his start in the very last film Academy Award winning Frank Sinatra was to appear in.  The First Deadly Sin portrayed Sinatra as an over-the-hill cop taking on one last case as he hunts down a serial killer.  If you look for Willis in this film, don’t blink too much.  He plays a guy walking into a diner as Frank Sinatra is walking out.  It’s considered the role of a lifetime…



Arnold might be a little hard to understand, today, but in 1969, this world bodybuilding champion couldn’t even speak English!  He was a star, nonetheless, and got the title role in this film.  However, the producers didn’t think that Arnold could gather the American public with his real name, so they called him Arnold Strong in the credits.  Don’t look for that telltale accent either.  If you want a really good laugh, watch this film.  They dubbed his voice over with another actor so that Arnold is “speaking” perfect English!