The 15 best Tom Hardy movies, ranked

So many accents!

<p>courtesy everett collection (3)</p>

courtesy everett collection (3)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more divisive — or thrilling — actor working today than Tom Hardy. Never one to phone in a role, Hardy’s propensity for strange accents, disguises, and tics can be viewed as over the top or as a sign of his commitment. (There’s a reason why he’s often called the modern-day Marlon Brando.)

Hardy’s been working non-stop since his big-screen debut in Black Hawk Down (2001), shifting from movies to TV to the stage along the way. He's stunned on shows like Peaky Blinders (2014–2022) and Taboo (2017), proving how far movie-star presence can go on the small screen. That said, this ranking will focus on his meatiest film roles.

Read on to see our list of the 15 best Tom Hardy movies, ranked based on the strength of his performances.

15. Capone (2020)

Vertical Entertainment
Vertical Entertainment

Let’s get this out of the way: Capone is not what we would traditionally call a “good” movie. Josh Trank’s first attempt after getting out of director jail is a half-baked biopic that never truly comes together in its weirdness or its storytelling. But what it does have is a forceful performance from Hardy.

Caked in makeup as the syphilis-riddled gangster in his dying days, Hardy throws everything into the character, muttering and sputtering throughout in one of his trademark voices. It’s a performance that makes you wonder what the hell is happening, but at least it gets you thinking.

Where to watch Capone: Hulu

14. Venom (2018)

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

No one was quite sure how this superhero movie (one that’s only tangentially connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe) would play out. But what we got was a wildly kinetic film elevated by a bonkers effort from Hardy in a dual role as a hapless journalist and the evil symbiote that has overtaken his body.

There are some deft moments of physical comedy here as Eddie Brock (Hardy) fights to hold off the head-chomping powers of Venom (also Hardy) and tries to repair his relationship with ex-girlfriend Anne (Michelle Williams). The movie lags toward the CGI-heavy finale, but before that, it’s a testament to Hardy’s ability to elevate even the flimsiest material.

Where to watch Venom: Disney+

13. Legend (2015)

<p>Simon Mein/Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett</p>

Simon Mein/Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett

Charming or creepy? Gentle or brutish? Articulate or incoherent? Smooth operator or blunt instrument? For Hardy in Legend, the answer is all of the above. That’s what happens when one overly committed actor plays identical twin brothers of quite opposite comportment — both of whom also happen to be notorious real-life gangsters.

Playing a colorful pair like the Kray Brothers gives Hardy all the permission he needs to go larger-than-life in this splashy crime epic. It’s not just that he delivers two very different, equally memorable performances; it’s that he nails the savagely comic register the material demands. This is “understanding the assignment(s)” in a nutshell, as Hardy opts to play the near-mythical figures as big, preposterous, hyper-masculine cartoons.

Where to watch Legend: Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

12. RocknRolla (2008)

<p> Mary Evans/DARK CASTLE ENTERTAINMENT/Ronald Grant/Everett</p>

Mary Evans/DARK CASTLE ENTERTAINMENT/Ronald Grant/Everett

When you hear “Tom Hardy in a grubby crime caper,” you may think you know what you’re getting into. After all, his intensity seems like a natural fit with director Guy Ritchie’s flair for madness and explosive violence, but “Handsome Bob” is instead a timid, restrained foil to the brash brawlers and loudmouthed brutes around him.

It’s a unique turn for Hardy; in a trio of small-time cons (alongside Gerard Butler and Idris Elba), he’s a wisecracking street dweller one moment and a flirty charmer the next. Throughout it all, though, he remains an affable, soft-spoken “bro” plagued by his unrequited crush on his best friend.

Where to watch RocknRolla: Not available to stream

11. Lawless (2012)

Richard Foreman Jr./Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett
Richard Foreman Jr./Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett

It’s the Prohibition-era South, the moonshine business is booming, and Hardy is in a fedora channeling all the weirdo alpha energy he can muster. The actor plays real-life bootlegger Forrest Bondurant in this fictionalized historical crime saga, based on a novel written by the character’s grand-nephew.

Alongside Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke as the other Bondurant brothers, Hardy delivers a savage portrait of rural outlaw defiance and ice cold ambition. As lethal with his brass-knuckled fists as he is with a snub-nosed revolver, Forrest is a classic American antihero, going toe-to-toe with a ruthless deputy marshal in a delirious scenery-chewing contest between Hardy and Guy Pearce. (Ultimately, Hardy gets the last bite.)

Where to watch Lawless: Max

10. Dunkirk (2017)

Warner Bros
Warner Bros

Tom Hardy does everything with his eyes in Dunkirk, and we mean everything. Need we remind you that he spends 99% of the movie in the cramped confines of a fighter plane cockpit, and most of that with the lower half of his face covered? Yet Hardy somehow manages to convey an entire narrative’s worth of visual cues and emotional context.

As he soars towards the eponymous beach with a busted fuel tank, Hardy’s eyes illustrate every worry, fear, doubt, calculation, and ounce of determination the situation calls for. In a three-pronged story with no designated protagonist, Hardy is unequivocally the window to the film’s soul.

Where to watch Dunkirk: Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

9. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

Ah, now we’ve reached one of the most contentious characters in recent cinematic memory: Hardy’s Bane, the masked villain given to spouting theatrical lines like, “As I terrorize Gotham, I will feed its people hope to poison their souls,” in the most inscrutable accent this side of Brad Pitt in Snatch (2000).

Bane is scary and philosophical, a more than formidable villain simply because his cause — terroristic as his methods may be — speaks directly to the moral rot of Gotham City. It’s hard to imagine many other actors pulling the role off the way Hardy does, especially considering it was bound to be highly scrutinized in the wake of Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning Joker.

Where to watch The Dark Knight Rises: Max

8. The Drop (2014)

<p>Fox Searchlight/everett</p>

Fox Searchlight/everett

Crime dramas are a dime a dozen, but this one, with a top-notch pedigree courtesy of author/screenwriter Dennis Lehane, was criminally overlooked by audiences. It’s also the final film role of Sopranos star James Gandolfini.

Hardy stars as Bob, a somewhat unassuming bar owner in Brooklyn whose job is to look the other way when gangsters drop off money. He soon starts a relationship with a damaged woman (Noomi Rapace) while trying to avoid the double-crosses around him. The slow burn builds to a satisfying conclusion as Bob’s true nature is revealed, while, according to EW’s critic, “Hardy keeps Bob’s cards close to the vest with a precise performance that values stillness above all else,” and “invests every word and gesture with meaning and power.”

Where to watch The Drop: Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

7. Locke (2013)

<p>A24/Courtesy Everett</p>

A24/Courtesy Everett

When a film only has a single on-screen character, it can all fall apart if not anchored by a consummate professional. This one-man showcase puts Hardy on an acting tightrope, and he makes his way across it with ease, nailing the internal drama of a man whose life is coming apart at the seams in real-time.

Over 85 minutes, construction foreman Ivan Locke (Hardy) makes and takes 36 calls with various people in his work and home life as he navigates a personal crisis and tries to reconcile his relationship with his deceased father. Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, and Tom Holland are among the voices we hear, but it’s only Hardy’s face we see — and it’s the only one we need.

Where to watch Locke: Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

6. Bronson (2008)

<p>Magnet Releasing/Courtesy Everett</p>

Magnet Releasing/Courtesy Everett

When people discuss Hardy’s intensity, they can point directly to this film, in which the actor bulks up to portray one of Britain’s most notorious criminals. The result is a raw, guttural performance filled with shocking bursts of violence and humor.

Hardy gets an assist from stylish director Nicolas Winding Refn, who stages vaudeville-style setups in which “Charles Bronson” (née Michael Gordon Peterson) can regale us with his stories. Bronson only played at a handful of theaters in the U.S., but has become a cult classic thanks to Hardy’s feral and frightening work.

Where to watch Bronson: Tubi

5. Inception (2010)

<p>Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett</p>

Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett

This may be Leo’s movie, but Hardy still turned heads in his mainstream introduction to most U.S. audiences. Hardy inhabits the role of Eames, a forger in the film’s complex dream world who can project himself into others’ dreams as a doppelgänger.

The actor plays Eames as a suave British spy type, but in true Hardy nature, he gets to forge himself as a woman, speak in a variety of accents, and mimic specific people in the name of the mission. Amid a strong lineup of actors and the showmanship of director Christopher Nolan, Hardy holds his own in Inception, clearly signaling his future success in America.

Where to watch Inception: Max

4. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

<p>Jack English/Focus Features/Courtesy Everett</p>

Jack English/Focus Features/Courtesy Everett

It’s easy to get lost in a stacked cast like this one, but Hardy stands out among the titans of British cinema that populate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s ensemble just one year after his mainstream breakthrough in Inception. Far removed from the madness and physicality that later became his signature qualities, Hardy shows off a hushed sensitivity we’ve only seen glimpses of for most of his career.

Ricki Tarr is not a trigger-happy super-spy but a low-level field agent who happens to be a bit of a romantic gentleman. He’s fallen for his Soviet contact, a woman with crucial information about a mole in British intelligence. Hardy may be a supporting character here, but his performance carries the weight of a tormented dramatic lead.

Where to watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

3. The Revenant (2015)

Hardy’s first Academy Award nomination came courtesy of this blockbuster in which he plays Fitzgerald, the villainous trapper who turns on leader Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), leaving him half-dead and killing his son, kicking off a brutal quest for vengeance.

Once again, Hardy provides us with a classic where-is-he-from? accent, one he claims is based on Tom Berenger’s character in Platoon (1986). No matter the source, this is a scary, unpredictable performance, with Hardy making Fitzgerald feel as cold and untamed as the wilderness surrounding him.

Where to watch The Revenant: Max

2. Warrior (2011)

Chuck Zlotnick/Lionsgate
Chuck Zlotnick/Lionsgate

Sports movies are difficult to get right without veering too sharply into saccharine territory. Given the relative infancy of MMA fighting (or the broadcasts we know today, at least) when Warrior hit theaters, it was easy to be skeptical about its quality. But this is one of the better sports movies of the new millennium, anchored by a ripped Hardy and a redemption story designed to make dads cry.

As expected, Hardy moves and strikes like an authentic MMA fighter, while the relationship between his father (Nick Nolte) and brother (Joel Edgerton) adds an extra layer of gravitas to the traditional sports movie framework. Though the film was a box office bomb, it found a much-deserved audience years later.

Where to watch Warrior: Peacock

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.
Jasin Boland/Warner Bros.

Stepping into the shoes of international action hero Max Rockatansky was no easy task for any actor, but Hardy capably fills the role made famous by Mel Gibson in this balls-to-the-wall sequel that was notoriously difficult to bring to the screen.

Hardy makes the character his own, and of course imbues him with some accents and quirks. It’s also yet another example of the actor’s great abilities as a physical performer. His Max rarely speaks — he has more grunts than lines of dialogue — yet somehow expresses so much. While Charlize Theron is the heart of the film, Hardy helps make the pair one of the most memorable action duos in recent years.

Where to watch Mad Max: Fury Road: Max

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.