Nine years ago in 2014, Tom Hardy graced the cover of Esquire magazine, and one of the captions that decorated the front of the issue, asked the question: “Tom Hardy: The greatest actor of his generation?” It’s a bold question, but for a very long time, Hardy was dominating any and all screens he appeared on, whether it was for a movie or a show, such as Peaky Blinders. Not only is he a great actor, but he also dabbles in martial arts, often popping into random championships all over the world and taking home the win.
In his many years of acting, Hardy has proved that he can do just about anything, no matter the genre, he’ll have you captivated the moment he steps on the screen. He even played identical twins in Legend and did such a great job of making the two characters different in their own ways, you might forget that Hardy doesn’t have a twin himself. As of late, the actor has slowed down just a bit with his involvement in Venom and other projects, but it’s safe to say that Tom Hardy is in fact one of the best actors of his generation. With that being said, let’s take a look at his top ten movies, ranked by Rotten Tomatoes.
10 The Revenant (2015) – 78%
In the movie that won Leonardo DiCaprio his first ever Oscar, Hardy transforms himself into John S. Fitzgerald, a traitor and a murderer who was the right-hand man to Hugh Glass. In this story of revenge and surviving the brisk weather of winter, Hugh Glass gets brutally mauled by a bear, and after it’s revealed his injuries are quite intense, his supposed friend Fitzgerald announces that they should kill him and move on.
When that plan doesn’t work, Fitzgerald ends up killing Glass’ son, not knowing that Glass witnessed the entire thing and would soon set out on getting his revenge for the blood spilled. Hardy has that special something where he can be the most detestable character but still be charismatic enough that you’ll be completely transfixed on him throughout The Revenant.
9 Layer Cake (2004) – 80%
Coming in next is a film you shouldn’t watch for Hardy, because he’s barely in it. With a score of 80%, Layer Cake focuses more on Daniel Craig’s character, who doesn’t have a name but is one of London’s most notorious drug dealers. Hardy plays one of Craig’s goons that follows him everywhere and essentially does whatever he says, with his slicked-back hair and small sunglasses. The film follows the unnamed man as he wishes to leave the drug business altogether, but of course, he has to complete a handful of heists before he can be fully out.
8 Warrior (2011) – 84%
In this very emotional and intense sports movie, on-screen brothers Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton will have you caring about mixed-martial arts more than ever before as the film progresses. Two estranged brothers that come from two different worlds, one from the Marines and the other a family man who struggles to make ends meet, both sign up for an MMA tournament that promises the winner five million dollars.
It’s a very real display of sibling rivalry and unhealed trauma that leads this great film; Hardy and Edgerton have the perfect amount of chemistry as they battle it out in the arena.
7 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) – 84%
In 2011, Hardy’s career was well underway, but he achieved something great with his role in Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, in the role of Ricki Tarr. Even though his haircut is terrible in the film, his acting is top-notch as he portrays a man who has Intel about “The Circus” aka the British Intelligence. Tarr gets mixed in with more than he bargained for as he tries to warn the right people that there’s a mole in the Circus, but it’s quickly spun back on him, leading him to go into hiding. This film is quite the mind game and will leave you on the edge of your seat by the time the credits roll.
6 Inception (2010) – 87%
Tom Hardy is no stranger to working with the esteemed Christopher Nolan, seeing as a few entries on this list consist of the two working together, and Inception is included. Hardy plays Eames, who’s part of the team that essentially steals valuable information from people’s dreams. Inception is one of the more well-known movies from Nolan, with a great ensemble cast featuring the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Cillian Murphy. Hardy and Levitt have great chemistry together and whenever the two of them are in a scene together, they often steal the spotlight.
5 The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – 87%
To this day, Batman and all of his foes and the villains of Gotham are still on the big screen and still being re-imagined and recast to fit the modern retellings that seem to be popping up all the time now. Bane is one of the most notorious villains that challenged Batman, and Tom Hardy as Bane was one of the best casting decisions that Christopher Nolan made in his trilogy.
From the moment he appears on the screen with his hulking size and his static-like voice, you’re locked in and wondering how Batman is going to defeat Hardy’s Bane because he genuinely looks unbeatable. The Dark Knight Rises is certainly not Tom Hardy’s best movie, but it’s one of the best big bads that he has portrayed in his career. Hardy even gained thirty pounds of muscle to match Bane’s hulking size, claiming that he ate lots of pizza to add extra weight to his body.
4 The Drop (2014) – 89%
In this tense crime film that stars James Gandolfini in one of his last movie roles, he once again delves deep into the mob and does some dirty work to remain well respected in the city of Brooklyn. Gandolfini plays Uncle Marv who owns a bar and works with his cousin Bob (Hardy), who runs the bar but not only that, the bar works as a “drop” place for the mafia.
Bob is a somewhat simple character who doesn’t ask many questions and follows his uncle’s lead when it comes to the unsavory parts of the bar’s dealings, until an investigation starts to hit a little too close to home. Hardy does a great job of making any of his characters likable, and the adoption of a pitbull puppy adds to his inevitable charm in The Drop.
3 Locke (2013) – 91%
Locke has to be one of the best and most prestigious roles that Tom Hardy has on his roster of impressive characters, simply because he is the only person we see on screen the entire time. It’s a very stressful film but also slightly mundane as Locke, our main character, drives an hour and a half to be with the woman he slept with nine months ago, to welcome his third child into the world, although the conception was an affair, and he seemingly has no real feelings for the woman, Bethan.
While driving, more of Locke’s complicated life comes to light to the audience as he gets several phone calls, not only from his wife, but his sons and his boss as well. Hardy shows off his acting skills in a major way in this film because he has the audience’s focus the entire time, his facial expressions and tone really carrying the film.
2 Dunkirk (2017) – 92%
In this very dramatic war movie about the evacuation of Dunkirk, it’s one of the most intense and raw movies focusing on World War II, and one of Christopher Nolan’s biggest movies, besides Oppenheimer. In the 1940s, during the Battle of France, hundreds of thousands of men are waiting for evacuation and rescue.
What makes this movie such an enjoyable watch, besides the great ensemble cast, is the points of view from the land, sea, and air, giving the audience an immersive experience as to what these soldiers were going through. Hardy plays Ferrier, a Spitfire in the Air Force who holds his own and ends up taking down more than one enemy before his plane runs out of fuel.
1 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – 97%
This sequel of sorts to the original Mad Max is considered by many to be one of the best action movies ever to exist, as well as one of the best films to come out of the 2010s. With a near-perfect score of 97%, Mad Max: Fury Road takes the top spot on this list, and for good reason. Filming took eleven months and within that time, a masterpiece was created with Fury Road, Hardy and Charlize Theron in the driver’s seat of this blockbuster. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, with desert all around and the main antagonist Immortan Joe is on the hunt for Imperator Furiosa and her fleet of wives as well as Max Rockatansky.