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Actors Who Redefined What It Means to Be a Man

Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, Jackie Chan and more.

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Movie and TV stars are looked upon for sources of entertainment. But often, the characters also define what it means to be a man, both on and off the screen. Men like Harrison Ford, Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan and Denzel Washington have shaped society’s ideas of masculinity again and again, by playing tough, sensitive, life-saving heroes screen, and by doing good deeds and teaching good lessons off-screen. Below we honor just some of the men who redefined what it means to be a man.

Bruce Lee as Lee in Enter the Dragon

Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon”

Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills in Taken and as Daniel in Love Actually 

Liam Neeson as Brian Mills in “Taken.”

Denzel Washington as John Creasy in Man on Fire

Denzel Washington in “Man on Fire”

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown

American actor Jack Nicholson, as private detective J.J. Gittes, in a still from ‘Chinatown’, directed by Roman Polanski, 1974. (Paramount Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Jackie Chan as Chief Inspector Lee in Rush Hour

Jackie Chan in “Rush Hour”

Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who

Matt Smith as Dr. Who

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca

Rick Blaine in “Casablanca”

John Boyega as Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi

John Boyega in “Star Wars”

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in multiple James Bond movies

Pierce Brosnan in “James Bond”

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Diego Luna in “Star Wars”

Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry

Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry”

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones series (and as Han Solo in multiple Star Wars movies)

Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones”

Danny Trejo from as Razor Charlie in From Dusk Till Dawn and Navajas in Desperado

Danny Trejo, who is in “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “Desperado,” and more.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings

Viggo Mortensen in “Lord of the Rings”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Hobbs in The Fast and the Furious

Dwayne Johnson, who has starred in movies like “The Fast and the Furious”

Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa in Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa in “Black Panther”

Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass in The Revenant (as well as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, Jack in Titanic, and others)

Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”