The Essentials: Tom Berenger’s Most Kickass Roles
In honor of his 68th birthday, it only felt right that I should talk about a few of my favorite movies from one of my all-time favorite non-martial artist action stars. Tom Berenger has consistently made great films, from his early days as a mercenary in The Dogs of War to some of his recent work in the Training Day series and on the exceptional miniseries Hatfields & McCoys. He’s had success in every genre and in every decade since the 1970’s and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Here are a handful of my absolute favorite Tom Berenger action films:
Tom plays the insane but effect Sgt. Barnes. A man who somehow makes the experience of being in a terrifying war even worse for Charlie Sheen’s character. His performance in this film is intense and eerie to watch.
A top 10 film for me all-time, and one of my favorite military movies ever made. I thought that Billy Zane would be the next big thing after this movie and believe me when I say, used many of the shooting techniques from this movie during my own military career. This movie makes Shooter out to be a little bitch.
1993 was a very good year as Berenger also had this American Civil War epic released. Berenger wouldn’t return for the sequel (Gods and Generals) a few years later, but this film is so damned good you’ll want to immediately head out to the small town in Pennsylvania and pay your respects to the men who died there.
The Substitute (1996)
Maybe his most kickass role, Tom didn’t return to the sequels but his performance created a pretty solid franchise that would later be carried on by the always likable Treat Williams. Berenger also gets to beat the shit out of Jennifer Lopez’s ex-husband Marc Anthony.
Rough Riders (1997)
Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite American President of all time and he’s being played by one of my favorite actors of all time! Berenger gets the look down for the future POTUS and really captures the essence of what kind of thrill-seeking maniac that Roosevelt really was in his youth….and his is elder years. Pretty much his entire life, I guess.
Sinners and Saints (2010)
A very underrated action flick starring the always cool and mostly unknown Johnny Strong. Not only does Johnny have a really awesome name, but he can really handle a sidearm. The film really benefits from Berenger’s experience as the police captain in the New Orleans police department.
Tom isn’t the main player in this mind-bending flick starring Leo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt but, wait a second… did I just say that an action movie stars two guys who couldn’t whip their way out of a wet paper? I guess so! Inception is a really badass movie, complete with the expected Tom Hardy and Ken Wantanabe appearances. Those guys are in a ton of movies.
I didn’t even mention classics like Shoot To Kill, One Man’s Hero, or Last of the Dogmen. Tom Berenger has somewhat quietly made so many awesome movies that it’s a travesty that we aren’t talking about his action movie prowess more often.