Stoical Supermen: 10 Quiet Heroes That Get Shit Done

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The Dark, Silent Type. The Spock. The Quiet One. The Grump. There are many brands of Stoical Supermen, and Tom Hardy’s take on Mad Max is just one of them. But in a world full of words and social media and attention-seeking YouTube stars, the occasional near-mute hero goes a long way. Here are just ten to get you thinking about thinking (and not speaking), with Spock himself not making this list, because lists like these are illogical.

Taciturn Type: “Mad” Max Rockatansky
Played By: Tom Hardy
As Seen In: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and, in a different form, the original Mad Max trilogy (1979-1985)

Typical Soliloquy: “Max. My name is Max. That's my name.”

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Threatening innocents, protecting innocents, blowing cars up, putting shotguns in people’s faces, driving, getting mad.

Rivalling the post-apocalyptic world he wanders in the “messed up” stakes, the Main Force Patrol’s former pursuit man is more likely to grunt at you that ask your name, where you come from and or what the time is. Do not ask him how he got his nickname.

Taciturn Type: “Neo” or “The One” or “Thomas A. Anderson”
Played By: Keanu Reeves
As Seen In: The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003)

Typical Soliloquy: “I know kung fu.”

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Staring at women in red dresses, the aforementioned kung fu, back-flipping off walls, fighting dozens of foes at the same time with a massive pole, slowing down time.

Believe it or not, Neo was originally called “The One” after the average number of words he uses in the average sentence. “Woah” is a common utterance in The Artist Formally Known As Thomas A. Anderson’s world, as is “Who?”, “No” and “Jesus...”


Taciturn Type: Tom Reagan Played By: Gabriel Byrne As Seen In:* Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Typical Soliloquy: “I'll think about it.”

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Political skullduggery, not killing people, looking into his heart, blackmail, backstabbing folks, remaining loyal, losing his hat, causing a rumpus.

It’s not that Tom Reagan is against talking per se, it’s just that when he does, it’s so curt, it’s like a dagger to the back or a bullet to the forehead. Think along the lines of “Nobody knows anybody”, “Close your eyes ladies! I'm comin' in!” and “Don't get hysterical.” Officially in "The Grump" category.

Taciturn Type:
John Preston
Played By: Christian Bale
As Seen In: Equilibrium (2002)

Typical Soliloquy: “I'm coming.”

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Destroying cultural artifacts, obeying the rules of the Librian state, hiding guns up his sleeves, spinning around rooms firing bullets, surfing doors after kicking them down.

A tricky one this, because our (anti)hero John is a unique case: a badass bad guy who turns good after kicking the emotion-suppressing drug he’s meant to take daily. So he’s gruff and stuff, but under the surfaces feels the most amazing feels - all while he's taking down the fascist state that made him the gun kata master in the first place.

Taciturn Type:
Josey Wales
Played By: Clint Eastwood
As Seen In: The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Typical Soliloquy: "Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?"

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Grieving, revenging, operating a Gatling gun like it’s a toy pistol, defending the frail and oppressed, being a hero.

Clint has tackled colossally cool Western icons in his time. He was Blondie in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and The Stranger in High Plains Drifter. Heck, he could have played one of those big rocks in Monument Valley and it would have been awesome. But Josey Wales is man of few, well-chosen words and extreme actions – a Mad Max of the Old West – whose mighty quest to avenge his murdered family has become Western lore.

Taciturn Type: Andy Dufresne
Played By: Tim Robbins
As Seen In: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Typical Soliloquy: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Accountancy, digging, planning, reading, writing, educating, waiting, odd jobs and roof maintenance.

Someone who's not silent, but very selectively loud. As an educated man in a very unfortunate position, it’s not that Andy is incapable of forming elaborately constructed sentences, but he’s got bigger things to worry about. Like how to survive swimming through sewage, for example, or where he’s going to go on his boat.

Taciturn Type: Tom Doniphon
Played By: John Wayne
As Seen In: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Typical Soliloquy: "Liberty Valance's the toughest man south of the Picketwire - next to me."

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Farming. Calling people "pilgrim". Shooting bad guys. More farming.

Even in his Pharrell Williams hat, Tom Doniphon is pretty badass in a low-key, taciturn way. He quietly stands up to local assknuckle Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin), eventually gunning him down and then letting Jimmy Stewart’s liberal attorney take the credit to bolster his political career. What a guy.

Taciturn Type: Reprogrammed T-800 Terminator known as “The Terminator”
Played By: Arnold Schwarzenegger
As Seen In: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Typical soliloquy: "Chill out, dickwad.”

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Terminating, defending innocents, surviving huge gunshot wounds, reloading weapons, firing weapons, riding motorcycles, learning why humans cry, admirably committing suicide.

“Come with me if you want to live”, “I’ll be back” and “Hasta la vista baby” get a lot of the attention when it comes to robotically-delivered Terminator one-liners, but spare a thought for “Terminated”, “Trust me” and “I need a vacation” – which he does get, of course. In a pool of molten metal.

Taciturn Type: Johnnie Gray
Played By: Buster Keaton
As Seen In: The General (1926)

Typical Soliloquy: "…”

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Chasing after trains, standing on the top of moving trains, getting drenched with water, uncoupling train carriages with one foot, holding onto cattle catchers on the front of a moving train, lighting a cannon on a moving train, somehow remaining alive.

The Great Stone Face wasn’t a man of many words, which suited his silent-era cinema down to the ground. Why speak when you’re so close to death all of the time? Not much to say when you’re about to fall off a bridge off the back of a train, frankly. “Argh!”, perhaps?

Taciturn Type:
Silent Bob
Played By: Kevin Smith
As Seen In: Mallrats (1995), Chasing Amy (1997), Dogma (1999), Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Clerks II (2006)

Typical Soliloquy: "…”, or something equally profound, only using many more words.

Typical Shit He Gets Done: Rolling blunts, smoking blunts, stopping Jay from doing anything too stupid, getting into kerrazy adventures, offering wise words of wise wisdom, fixing anything mechanical with great ease.

Silent Bob lies. His name may be Bob, but silent he is not. While he’s mute in Clerks, he busts out more than a few lines in Chasing Amy, from "Do or do not. There is no try" to the startlingly long “Chasing Amy” speech that inspires the film’s name. As Jay himself says, “Fat bastard does this all the time. He thinks just 'cause he doesn't say anything, it'll have some huge impact when he does open his fuckin' mouth.” And so in Dogma, when he says “thanks” to God, you'd hope it had as big as impact as possible.