Gerard Butler’s best action movies

Iconic Roles takes a look at some of the best performances by actors and actresses in film and television.

Gerard Butler’s next screen job stars the Scottish actor as a pilot who has to deal with a sticky situation in the upcoming film The Plane. Butler, 53, has several action film credits on his resume, but the role that brought him worldwide recognition is undoubtedly Leonidas in 300. Butler has always seemed comfortable being the guy who saves the day, and it looks like the character he played in Airplane . there are many opportunities to do so.

Here’s a list of the best Gerard Butler action movies to watch before (or after) the plane.

Leonidas in 300 (2006)

It’s impossible to list Gerard Butler’s best action movies, but the Zack Snyder-directed blockbuster is about an epic battle involving a group of Spartans who take on an entire Persian army. The ending of this skirmish is well known because it is a true story, although 300 has added a lot of color to the historical accuracy (after all, 300 is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, not a history essay). In addition to displaying an enviable physique, Butler gave a charismatic performance as a Spartan king about to face his destiny. 300, grossing over $450 million, making it Butler’s biggest box office success for a live-action project to date. Butler also appeared as Leonidas in some flashback sequences in 300: Rise of an Empire. Butler’s epic exclamation, “This is Sparta!” will be heard for centuries.

One-Two at RocknRolla (2008)

Director Guy Ritchie is a specialist in British gangster films, so it was no surprise when he tapped Butler to play the violent but likable Scottish gangster. The linear plot pits gangsters against other gangsters in a never-ending war for power. Butler acted as the leader of the Wild Gang, a growing cockney criminal group based in London. The ensemble cast includes Tom Wilkinson, Thandiwe Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, among others. RocknRolla became number one at the UK box office upon release, but never became a cult film like Ritchie’s Snatch. Still, fans enjoyed Butler’s behavior as a petty criminal.

Clyde Shelton Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Butler has played the role of hero for most of his career, but he’s also proven he can be eye-catching. Butler worked alongside Jamie Foxx in a story in which a corrupt criminal justice system recruits a man to serve its justice. Ten years after his family was murdered in front of his eyes, Shelton searches for the fugitive responsible. Senior Counsel Nick Rice (Foxx) is the man who spared the Shelton family’s killer the death penalty, a decision that never sat well with Shelton. Things escalate when Shelton threatens Rice’s family. Law Abiding Citizen was not a hit with critics, but it passed the ratings test with nearly $130 million at the box office.

Mike Banning Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Antoine Fuqua knows how to make a thrilling action film, as evidenced by his filmography. In their first collaboration, Fuqua and Butler did their best to bring former Secret Service agent Mike Banning’s efforts to rescue the US president from a North Korean terrorist group to life on screen. The result is a popcorn movie that keeps the audience hooked until the credits roll. Butler shared the screen with Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett and Robert Forster, among others. Olympus Has Fallen was successful enough to launch the franchise, with Butler portraying Banning Has Fallen (2016) and Angel Has Fallen (2019) in London. The Scottish actor will also return in the already planned Night Has Fallen.

Nick “Big Nick” O’Brien in Den of Thieves (2018)

Den of Thieves was a pleasant surprise at the box office in early 2018, exceeding expectations and grossing $80.5 million. The story follows Detective “Big Nick” as he attempts to bring to justice a gang of criminals who orchestrated one of Los Angeles County’s most improbable heists. Fans can always expect an intense on-screen performance from Butler, and that goes for Den of Thieves, where his character doesn’t always play by the rules of tracking down criminals. The cast included Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent. A sequel, Den of Thieves 2: Panther, is currently in production, with multiple actors reprising their roles, including Butler.

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