Following 54-year old Oscar winner Sean Penn's action debut this weekend in The Gunman, we’ve decided to take a look at the 9 best middle-aged movie badasses in cinema history. From Charles Bronson to Liam Neeson, this list counts down the silver screen’s toughest actors—from past to present. With the one caveat being that they made an action film after turning 50.
8. Tom Cruise
Most badass role after 50: Jack Reacher (2012)
The youngest man on our list, Tom Cruise has starred in two impressive sci-fi films--Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow--and the highly underrated action thriller Jack Reacher since hitting the half-century mark. If you haven’t seen Jack Reacher, do yourself a favor and watch it now, because it’s one of the best action movies in years. Also, keep an eye out for Cruise's amazing stunt driving in the film.
Not one to shy away from a physical challenge, Cruise will reprise his role as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible 5 this summer. Plans for a Jack Reacher sequel have also been announced.
6. Liam Neeson
Most badass role after 50: Taken (2008)
Liam Neeson began his career with action adventure films like Krull and Excalibur in the early 1980s, but he soon became revered for his dramatic acting thanks to performances in movies like Schindler’s List and Michael Collins and plays such asAnna Christie.
Neeson continued to maintain a diverse resume until 2008’s Taken turned him into an overnight action star. Since Taken, the 62-year old Neeson starred in a pair of Taken sequels, as well as action flicks like The Grey, Non-Stop, and most recently, Run All Night. Despite a string of hit action films, Neeson hasn’t given up drama. In fact, he’s currently filming Silence—an upcoming drama directed by Martin Scorsese.
4. Harrison Ford
Most badass role after 50: The Fugitive (1993)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull may left fans scratching their heads, but Harrison Ford’s post-50 resume is impressive nonetheless. After turning 50, Ford starred as Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger; played the President of the United States in Air Force One; and battled extraterrestrial beings in Cowboys vs. Aliens. And perhaps most notably, Ford appeared opposite Tommy Lee Jones in 1993’s classic action-thriller The Fugitive.
Later this year, audience members can see Ford reprise his iconic role as Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Continues. Sci-fi fans will also be pleased to hear that Ford may also appear in a Blade Runner sequel.
2. Sean Connery
Most badass role after 50: The Rock (1996)
A formidable action star well into his 60s, Sean Connery achieved a career renaissance in his later years thanks in part to action movies like Highlander, The Hunt for Red October, First Knight, and The Rock. Connery made his final big screen appearance at the age of 73 in the sci-fi action movie The League of Extraordinary Gentleman.
In addition to action, the Oscar-winning actor appeared in an eclectic array of films in his later years including Playing By Heartand Finding Forrester. Retired since 2003, Connery has stated that he does not plan to return to acting.
1. Sylvester Stallone
Most badass role after 50: Rambo (2008)
The only man on our list to launch a new film franchise in his 60s, actor and filmmaker Sylvester Stallone remains a badass at the age of 68 thanks to The Expendables Trilogy. Prior to that of course, Stallone became an action megastar thanks to the Rocky and Rambo franchises.
In addition to The Expendables, Stallone has reprised his roles as Rocky and Rambo since turning 50, and also starred inBullet to the Head, Grudge Match, and the underrated Escape Plan.
In case you haven’t heard, Stallone is currently filming the Rocky spinoff Creed, which is set for a Thanksgiving 2015 release. The movie marks the seventh time Stallone has donned the iconic black fedora.