Which Movie Stars Have Played Cops the Most Times?
According to Kevin Smith, it wasn't easy to direct Bruce Willis while making Cop Out, since Willis had played the smirking cop so often in his career that he felt he knew the character (and his own movie star persona) better than Smith did. Certainly, Willis has worked in cinematic law enforcement a number of times, but has he played more cop roles than all his peers? Movieline decided to find out by doing a little bit of resume-skimming for some of today's top actors.
The rules? The star has to be alive, sequels count (since they contribute to the perception that the actor often plays a cop), and we're focusing on regular cop cops, not military men or federal employees like ATF or CIA agents. Here's what we found:
Die Hard (1988) .... John McClane
Die Hard 2 (1990) .... John McClane
The Last Boy Scout (1991) .... Joe Hallenbeck
Striking Distance (1993) .... Det. Tom Hardy
Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) .... John McClane
Sin City (2005) .... Hartigan
Hostage (2005) .... Jeff Talley
16 Blocks (2006) .... Det. Jack Mosley
Live Free or Die Hard (2007) .... John McClane
Surrogates (2009) .... Tom Greer
Cop Out (2010) .... Jimmy Monroe
It's hard to argue that Willis has a lock on the top spot here, having played a police officer 11 times, although four of his cop claims to fame are from the Die Hard franchise. Take those out, though, and Willis still has a fairly impressive resume.
Coogan's Bluff (1968) .... Coogan
Dirty Harry (1971) .... Harry Callahan
Magnum Force (1973) .... Harry Callahan
The Enforcer (1976/I) .... Harry Callahan
The Gauntlet (1977) .... Ben Shockley
Sudden Impact (1983) .... Harry Callahan
City Heat (1984) .... Lieutenant Speer
Tightrope (1984) .... Capt. Wes Block
The Dead Pool (1988) .... Harry Callahan
The Rookie (1990) .... Nick Pulovski
Like Willis, Eastwood's cop career is somewhat inflated by five Dirty Harry movies. Of course, if we're talking about who's played the most gunslinging roles, Eastwood would have this locked up.
Mad Max (1979) .... Max
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) .... Max
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) .... Max
Lethal Weapon (1987) .... Sergeant Martin Riggs
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) .... Martin Riggs
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) .... Martin Riggs
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) .... Martin Riggs
The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) .... Detective Skinner
Complete Savages (2004) .... Officer Cox
Edge of Darkness (2010) .... Thomas Craven
Mel Gibson's recent role in Edge of Darkness was actually an exception for him, since he's actually played very few cop roles outside of the Lethal Weapon and Mad Max franchises. If you haven't seen The Million Dollar Hotel, or happened to catch a few stray episodes of the Gibson-produced sitcom Complete Savages, you've missed most of them.
Nighthawks (1981) .... Det. Sgt. Deke DaSilva
Cobra (1986) .... Lieutenant Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti
Tango & Cash (1989) .... Lt. Raymond Tango
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) .... Sgt. Joe Bomowski
Demolition Man (1993) .... John Spartan
Judge Dredd (1995) .... Judge Dredd
Cop Land (1997) .... Freddy Heflin
D-Tox (2002) .... Jake Malloy
Tough guy Stallone has played an onscreen cop eight times, and none of those were sequels. If you're looking for the actor who's played the most cops, he's your man.
The Mod Squad (1968) .... Beach Patrol Cop
More American Graffiti (1979) .... Officer Bob Falfa
Blade Runner (1982) .... Rick Deckard
Witness (1985) .... Det. Capt. John Book
The Devil's Own (1997) .... Tom O'Meara
Random Hearts (1999) .... Dutch Van Den Broeck
Hollywood Homicide (2003) .... Sgt. Joe Gavilan
Ford's two earliest credit on the list were minor ones: an episode of The Mod Squad and an uncredited role in More American Graffiti. Still, the actor's gruff demeanor makes him an ideal onscreen law enforcer.
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