The Top 10 Bouncers of All Time!
May 16, 2008 | Lists
If your job description includes being able to thrash someone within an inch of their miserable lives and doing so with impunity while enjoying the odd drink on the job, you’re either a cop or a bouncer.
Recently, we shone the spotlight on everyone’s favorite enablers, bartenders, in our Top 10 Coolest Bartenders of All Time, but what of the guys whose job it is to look menacing and keep raging, violent drunks on the other side of the velvet rope (so they can beat up random strangers, instead of the good folks who patronize your fine establishment?) Bouncers, like cops, are there to maintain the status quo: ensuring that the good-looking, monied classes get preferential treatment and aren’t made to shuffle their feet with the rest of the lumpenproles in line, however this isn’t their sole responsibility: they’re also called upon to do the kind of math long forgotten since the 5th grade: being able to calculate how old someone is, simply by looking at the date of birth on their cheap fake ID.
Bouncers face occupational hazards that the average cop doesn’t have to deal with, the “I could take that guy” delusion that drunks with superhuman Popeye strength brought on by cheap bourbon rather than leafy greens think they possess. A cop faced with a similar notion could, say, have you quickly chalk outlined on the street, whereas a bouncer has to put aside their headset and determine whether a disorderly patron can be talked down, or separated from both their dental work/teary girlfriend and sent a-packing.
You’d think a profession where there’s a near constant threat of having a pinot bottle slammed off the side of your noggin like a newly christened cruise ship would land bouncers more film and TV gigs beyond the usual “Sorry sir, I don’t see a ‘Lindonhoffer’, party of two, anywhere on the list?” roles. Generally though, it’s their biceps that are called upon to wring the neck of the depressed, drunk protagonist, ignoring pleas of the leading lady as they toss them out of their favorite watering hole.
The doormen we’ve focused on here however, have accomplished more than simply folding burly arms and wearing suits three sizes too small, they’ve become pop culture icons. So, for those who get paid to kick some gluteus max outside the confines of a ring or the auspices of an Athletic Commission, and who’d rather hold out for bribes than slave for tips, we honor the humble bouncer, with our Top 10 Bouncers of All Time!
“No one in here but card-players tonight and I do mean no one!’
4) Ray Winstone, “Bouncer“:
The “Don’t forget to carry a big fuck off stick” and “This is the biggest irony. The ones that like you the least, normally those who have a degree in philosophy under their pacifist belts, and absolutely no fuckin’ idea about the reality of life outside the college campus, they are the ones that need you most when shit and fan meet.” bits of counsel, lands Winstone a spot here. Another former boxer, but more interestingly, another Indiana Jones connection here in that Winstone is to appear in the forthcoming flick Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, alongside Hollywood A-listers John Hurt, Cate Blanchett and the increasingly creaky piece of archeology that is Harrison Ford. Winstone, the actor, is a fan of the east London soccer team West Ham United, which neatly segues into our third position.
3) Ricki Harnett, “Rise of the Footsoldier”:
This Brit flick chronicles the rise of Carlton Leach, a West Ham soccer hooligan whose exploits randomly beating the crap out of opposing team supporters, were exactly the tools of the trade required to bounce in some of east London’s dive bars before becoming an enforcer for the local neighborhood heroin dealers.
“Everybody got what they came for. If you came in looking for a drink and a couple of birds, that’s what you got. But if you came in for anything else, you’d end up with my fist in your face. And if you came back with your little army wrapped around ya, well, I’d just have to get my metal bar out.”
2) Chow Yun Fat in “Full Contact”:
Chow Yun Fat plays a club bouncer in the seedy back streets of Bangkok, Thailand, where instead of laying the smack down on pudgy middle aged Dutch pedophiles, runs afoul of a sleazy underworld boss and has to flee with his dancer girlfriend, a fellow bouncer, and his best buddy. In this flick Fat was in full on switchblade, ass-beating glory—‘Fat’ camp.
After putting baby in a corner in Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze completely revamped his Johnny Two Step image, in this, the quintessential bouncer flick. He portrayed ‘Dalton’, a ‘cooler’ (head of bouncer security) called upon to haul drunk and unruly detritus out of the Double Deuce, a biker bar (a place that has a sign over the urinal that says ‘don’t eat the big white mint’) in a nondescript Missouri town. In addition to battling black t-shirted coiffured mullet typecasting, Swayze had to battle fired rival ‘Morgan’, played with engaging fierceness by one of the titans of the squared circle, former WWF heel, Terrible Terry Funk.
For kicking copious ass while uttering ‘Pain don’t hurt’ and ‘Nobody ever wins a fight’ cogitation, we salute Swayze with our #1
Dishonourable mentions: Hickory, dickory dock. Has-been Goomba stand up Andrew Dice Clay portrayed a doorman in the 80s classic Pretty in Pink as well as in The Bouncer and the Lady.
The Muscles from Brussels Jean Claude Van Demme, portrays a bouncer/nightclub enforcer who tries to go straight and gets mixed up with the Triads in Wake of Death, which quickly bypassed any theater near you and went straight to collecting dust on the shelf of your recently clapboarded video store.
Ving Rhames played a good-hearted bouncer ‘Shad’ in the infamous inadvertent laugh-riddled dud Striptease
With the waning popularity of ‘the sweet science’ expect more bald, tattooed practitioners of snaky Jiu-Jitsu to leave the cage and land roles behind the velvet rope. ‘Bang, bang bang’ Bas Rutten, Dutch MMA tough played a bouncer in the latest ‘unfunny fat guy with an attractive spouse’ sitcom, King of Queens and Huntington Beach Bad Boy Tito Ortiz manned the door in Zombie Strippers, co-starring orifice fill-ee Jenna Jameson, about an ‘underground Nebraska strip club hit with a virus that turns its talent into reanimated corpses’. We won’t spoil the ending.
Hold Me Closer ‘Tiny’ Bouncers:
Former football player Donald Gibb played ‘Tiny’ on a forgettable episode of Cheers, and pudgy Paradise by the Dashboard Lights belter Meatloaf was ‘Tiny’ in Wayne’s World. Loaf then went on to play an ex-bouncer in Fight Club