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The Definitive List Of The Most Military-Looking Characters In Movie History

CBS Photo Archive. Getty Images.

Writer's note: I originally started this blog a while ago as a way to pay homage to Tom Sizemore when he passed away but then it got shelved for one reason or another. I thought Memorial Day Weekend was a good time to bring it back

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us so that can only mean one thing - and no don't worry I was assured Chaps won't be posting shirtless pics from his pool showcasing all of his horrible tattoos - all the channels that thrive on re-watchable movies will have a steady dose of military themed movies. You know, the usual suspects like Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, Full Metal Jacket and on down the line. 

It had me thinking, of all of these movies, who are the characters who most looked like they were plucked from the ranks? It's very easy to pick out the best looking actors in military movies because leading actors are almost exclusively good looking. So I'm going to take the harder angle to tell you who looked like they could've served in the role they played. 

Tom Sizemore - Multiple roles

The guy played an officer in Black Hawk Down and a non-commissioned officer in Saving Private Ryan. You can't do that if you don't look like you're in the military. Slightly out of shape. Terrible haircut. 5 o'clock shadow at noon. Anyone who served knows a guy who looked like this. 

Giphy Images.

Taylor Kitsch - Lone Survivor

I know I know, I said this wasn't going to be a best-looking blog. This isn't about his looks so much as it's about his physique. I served with plenty of officers who had an effortless physique. Legit "I rolled out of bed like this" vibes. It's not to say enlisted folks don't have good physiques, but it feels as though they actually work hard for them whereas officers have everything handed to us (or so they say). For those asking, yes, I did resemble this 15 years ago minus the movie star looks but 1/2 ain't bad. 

Giphy Images.


Tom Cruise - Top Gun 

Short. Hair teetering dangerously close to the regs. Great tan. Inferiority complex battling a massive ego. Really short. If this isn't a dead on description of every pilot. 

James Gandolfini - Crimson Tide

Overweight way outside height/weight standards. Balding. Ladies and gentlemen, your US navy. (RIP James Gandolfini. I'm allowed to say this about him because we're both from Jersey and I'm also follicly challenged). Btw, Crimson Tide doesn't get mentioned enough on best military movie lists but it's a real solid flick. 

Giphy Images.

Denzel Washington - Basically every military character he's ever played

Denzel has incredible range (that raccoon WSD says he doesn't but we all know he has a pea brain so we ignore that gripe) but one of the things he does really well is deliver consistently in certain genres. Military movies is one of those genres. Denzel was born to play military roles. Perfect height/weight without looking too fit. Clean shaven. Perfect military haircut. Looks excellent in uniform without looking too good due to his build. So many career service members look like Denzel. 


Michael Pena - 12 Strong

Pena has an everyman look to him and this holds true of a lot of folks in the Army. Not particularly imposing. Not good looking but not bad looking. Doesn't look like he can do anything physically but next thing you know, he's carrying an 80 pound ruck through the mountains without getting tired, while also sucking down 15 Marlboro reds with a lip in, while muttering obscenities about the officer in charge.

Bradley Cooper - American Sniper

We all know this guy on the deployment - best place to find them is in whatever makeshift weight room you have. Sweating out pre-workout. Form be damned, they just want to move weight. Don't care about definition because they just want to cultivate mass. Excellent beard (for those units that allow it during deployments). This is kind of cheating because he was playing a real person (RIP Chris Kyle) but he nailed the look.

Giphy Images.

George C. Scott - Patton

I don't have much here besides the fact that he very much resembled Patton himself. 

Stephen Vaughan. Shutterstock Images.


Mel Gibson - We Were Soldiers

Mel Gibson was playing a Lieutenant Colonel in this movie (another real person. You should look up LTG Hal Moore) and I say that because it explains how he got the look right. It's niche but makes sense in my head so lay off me. To make this rank, you usually are in the Army for 17+ years which puts your age roughly around 40 give or take. At 40, lots of officers in the Army have this body type - slightly receding hairline and a body that looks like it was in great shape 15 years ago but still doesn't look half bad for 40. That was Mel Gibson in this movie. 

Brad Pitt - Fury

Obviously I didn't serve in World War II but I'll be honest, I just wanted to have him on this list because he was too perfect looking to leave off the list. Somewhere along the way I hope there was a gruff NCO tanker who had this haircut, always looked dirty, and gave Nazis all they could handle and then some. 


Giphy Images.

Mark Wahlberg - Lone Survivor

Any unit, especially in the special operations community, worth their salt would not have someone who looked like Wahlberg in their unit. Why? Because they would shame him relentlessly until he shaved that patchy beard. Consider this a PSA: If you have a patchy beard, I promise you look worse with the spots of facial hair/neck beard than if you were clean shaven. Just work on developing a chin like my guy Nicky the Good. 


Chris Hemsworth - 12 Strong

Flat out, there aren't people that tall and good looking in the military. It's that simple.

Who did I miss? 

P.S. This blog was meant to be fun but this week please take some time to look up a story of someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice in our military. Just google, "fallen service member" and maybe put your hometown in the search. There are plenty of folks we already know about but no one's sacrifice was any more valuable than the next person.