15 Manliest Movies of The 21st Century (Obligatory Clickbait About You Loving #3)

15-manliest-movies-21st-century

This last week, we got to see what could possibly be the manliest trailer of all time.

And that got me thinking.

We’ve all seen the “manliest movies of all time lists”, but what about since 2000? What are the manliest movies to have come out in the last 15 years?

Fortunately, there is a lot of great material to choose from. Unfortunately, for the purposes of condensing a list, there is a LOT of great material to choose from.

Accordingly, I created a big list of movies based on manliness, and then selected the best 15 based on their actual quality as standalone movies.

So while titles like The Expendables and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol  are absolutely mantastic, they don’t compare on an overall quality level to the movies on this list.

Okay, let’s get started. I think this is where I’m supposed to tell you that #3 will surprise you or strangle you or something like that…

15. Lawless (2012)

If you haven’t seen this, go watch it right now. This movie about 3 brothers in the moonshine business is about as manly as it gets. Fair warning: you probably shouldn’t invite your girlfriend along for the first viewing.

14. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

This movie is, quite simply, insane. It doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is. The epic cinematography, constant action sequences, and stoic heroes make it your classic dude movie, but with a lot more production value and a lot less chauvinism.

13. Inglorious Bastards (2009)

This movie is all sorts of Quintin Tarantino, and in this particularl instance, that ends up working out for everyone. Christoph Waltz’ performance as Nazi villain Hans Landa somehow manages to be horrifying and captivating at the same time.

12. The Departed (2006)

I don’t think it would be possible to throw Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon all into the same movie and not come away with something legendary. The cop who is secretly in the mafia. The mafioso who is secretly a cop. Epic.

11. The Batman Trilogy (2005-2012)

There is no manlier superhero than Batman. And there is no manlier presentation of the Batman story than Christopher Nolan’s unreal trilogy. In my opinion, Heath Ledger’s depiction of the Joker was the greatest villain performance of all time.

10. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

This movie is essentially what every man wants to be if you take away his guns: rich, classy, ridiculously good looking, and part of an epic team of world-class con men.

9. The Bourne Trilogy (2002-2007)

The Bourne series is quite possibly the greatest action/espionage series ever made. It manages to combine an intriguing plot with epic action sequences and compelling character development. If you haven’t already seen this, get on it!

8. 300 (2006)

This is an obligatory inclusion on some level, as it’s not on of my personal favorites. It is however, what 99% of men would consider THE standard of epic manliness, and let’s be honest, there are some pretty sweet battle sequences.

7. Cinderella Man (2005)

Unlike most “manly” movies, Cinderella Man touches on all the key realities of actual manhood. It gives an incredible look at a man’s struggle to honor his wife and provide for his family while dealing with the aftermath of a once-promising career. Plus, it’s starring Russell Crowe, so you know it’s good.

6. Defiance (2008)

What is more manly than 3 brothers leading a ridiculously under-resourced resistance against the Nazis and saving 1,236 Jews in the process?

Nothing. Nothing is more manly.

5. Troy (2004)

Brad Pitt pretty much gets a free pass for anything dumb he’ll ever make, thanks to his performance as Achilles in this film (okay, Fight Club has something to do with that as well). His character is basically everything every girl ever wanted and everything every guy ever wanted to be.

4. Casino Royale (2006)

This movie introduced us to Daniel Craig’s James Bond, a much more action-packed Bond than those who came before. If you were to delete everything other than the torture scene, it could still make a run at being the manliest movie of all time.

3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

Massive armies. Swords, battle axes, cavalry, and war elephants. The sword that was remade. The return of the king. I rest my case.

2. Warrior (2011)

This movie will make you want to lift a lot more weights. It’s one of the manliest movies ever. If you’ve seen it, you know. If you haven’t, you will. The trailers give away WAY too much of the plot, so I’ve included an insanely manly clip instead.

1. Gladiator (2000)

Greatest movie of all time. End of discussion.

Jacob McMillen

Jacob McMillen is a professional writer, preacher, and the chief editor of Uncompromised Men. In addition to throwing down sweet lines on manly topics, he enjoys writing about theology and will absolutely steal your dignity on the basketball court. Follow him on twitter @jmcmillen89... if you dare.

  • Ian Chandler

    I’m quite surprised to find a list like this on a Christian mens’ site. It occurs to me that movies are the prime example of worldliness. They not only glorify sex, drugs, and violence, but also normalize them. I think it would be difficult for any self-respecting Christian man to support such a corrupt industry.

    I’m interested to read your thoughts on how a Christian man should engage such movies. While I don’t watch movies myself, it would be interesting to see how others go about it.

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Hey Ian, thanks for commenting!

      That’s a valid point, and definitely part of “working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

      I don’t want to trivialize this issue by quoting random verses that support my “points” in isolation, so read the following as less of an evidenced argument and more of a discussion about my general approach.

      When I look at Jesus, I don’t see someone who was afraid of the world. I see someone who ate with sinners, who extended his hand to the adulteress, and who came to bring “healing to the sick”.

      Jesus was not afraid to be exposed to things of the world. He even talks about how “it’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of a man’s mouth”. Keep in mind that what one did or did not put into his mouth was a MASSIVE part of the Mosaic Law.

      When we look at the world – at those around us – at ourselves – we can either live to avoid anything resembling sin, or we can engage with sinners and a sinful world and bring the abundant life Jesus promised.

      Now, do we need to go watch movies that depict sin to do this? No, of course not, and I 100% respect your decision to not watch these movies.

      For myself, just as I don’t fear the sin in the lives of those I minister to and work with, I also don’t fear the sin that pops up in movies. If the movie’s primary focus is sin (for example, if the movie is centered around an affair or pornography or something spiritually evil), then I won’t watch those movies.

      I also don’t watch horror movies, because I don’t want to expose myself to fear and the more fearful portions of people’s minds.

      But for movies like those listed above, the focus of the movie is on something very intriguing, inspiring, or entertaining, and I am able to enjoy the enjoyable parts of the film without feeling tainted by the negatives.

      And I feel comfortable recommending these movies to those who can also experience them in this way.

      But that’s me “working out my own salvation.” If I am watching a movie that I thought would be fine, but then I feel conviction, it’s my responsibility to listen to Holy Spirit and stop watching. There may be movies I don’t feel comfortable watching that other Christians can do with a clear conscious.

      As a last note, one of the primary ways God speaks to my wife is through movie themes. God will turn certain films into themes in their relationship, and so she really enjoys watching films because of that. That doesn’t happen much in my own relationship with God, but I thought it would be interesting to note.

      Thanks again for your comment Ian!

      • Ian Chandler

        Hey Jacob,

        Thanks for responding. Your points make a lot of sense, and I totally understand your perspective. I agree that what one does or doesn’t do is a matter of one’s own salvation, as you said.

        I definitely think Christ-followers shouldn’t be afraid of sin in the world. However, I think there’s a discrepancy between that concept and your point. I believe that remaining wholesome is a key element of following Christ well. And while I don’t think followers should be afraid of sin, I also think they shouldn’t go the extra mile to invite that into their lives.

        Many Christians turn away from sinful parts of life because they simply don’t want to take it in. I’m sure any Christian would say no to trying heroin because of its addictive nature and consequences. That’s not being afraid of sin––that’s filtering what enters your life.

        Likewise, I don’t think Christians should have to compromise. I feel that many of the movies you listed (while I haven’t seen them) are a compromise. As you said, you can “enjoy the enjoyable parts.” To me, there’s compromise going on there.

        I absolutely agree that Christians should engage with a sinful world in the way Jesus did. However, while He did eat with sinners, He (obviously) never sinned with them. I think that’s the fundamental difference here. At least for me, 99% movies are a compromise, and I don’t believe Christians should have to do that.

        Again, not everyone will agree, and that’s fine. I’m glad I sparked a discussion! I appreciate your response.

        • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

          Great response Ian!

          I think, perhaps, where we might disagree is on what constitutes “inviting sin into our lives”.

          To use your heroin example, I’m not encouraging people to imitate everything they see in movies. There’s a difference between watching someone shoot heroin in a film and shooting heroin yourself.

          In fact, movies depicting heroin addicts and the consequences of those actions have a profound impact in preventing people from trying heroin.

          If you believe that witnessing anything sinful is the same as sinning yourself, then of course, to watch virtually any movie would be compromise.

          I don’t believe that to be the case. If this were the case, the only way to avoid sinning would be to live permanently in my room with no TV or computer, and doesn’t seem practical.

          From my perspective, “remaining wholesome” is far more about what you say “Yes” to than what you say “No” to.

          Thoughts?

          • Ian Chandler

            You have a great point with the heroin example. What about movies that promote more insidious sins, like lust? That can be much trickier, I believe.

            I also agree that witnessing sin is not sinning. However, I think––at least for some people––that it could potentially lay the foundation for future sin. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” applies here.

            Really, it boils down to maintaining the right mindset. In the same way Christ was tempted and didn’t budge, so can we. And in saying “yes” to some things, we are saying “no” to others. It’s a natural see-saw effect.

            In my experience, lots of self-proclaimed Christ-followers don’t keep the right mindset. They call themselves children of God but don’t guard their hearts or minds. People rarely hold themselves accountable. That’s why I’m promoting a more intense idea of checking oneself.

            No matter the case, I think all Christians should lead filtered lives, but, of course, the filters are different for different people. A former alcohol addict will want to filter out alcohol from their lives, but someone who’s never had a problem might enjoy a drink every now and then.

            Great points, Jacob.

          • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

            100% agree Ian!

            As Christians, particularly in Western society, we often fail to guard our hearts.

            Lust is a perfect example. Just like you wouldn’t offer a recovering alcoholic a beer, Christians who are dealing with lust (which studies show is nearly all of us), shouldn’t be exposing themselves to movies or mediums where the spirit of lust is running rampant.

            You mentioned that you are promoting a “more intense idea”, and it makes me think of bodybuilding, where in order to change your body you have to expose it to intense work for an extended season of time.

            While there certainly may be merit to your stance on a more general level, I can 100% agree that it could be highly beneficial for people who are dealing with issues like lust or anger to refrain from relevant movies until they are well into freedom.

            Well said Ian! Great discussion!

          • Ian Chandler

            Agreed! I appreciate the chance to talk directly with you and have some quality conversation. I’m looking forward to future posts.

          • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

            Likewise Ian! Looking forward to future discussion!

  • Christian Lee

    I think I enjoyed tour exchange with Ian more than the list…. definitely more than I enjoyed ‘Lawless’ #disappointed

    • http://www.gentlebim.com Ben Butler

      Agreed. This article was great, but for me the real meat was in the responses. I grew up in the south, and I guess I used to be what you’d call a Christian. As it stands now, I’m more spiritual (which I won’t get into at length here). That being said, reading the above thread was pretty great. It was especially nice to see a discussion that didn’t descend into the righteous indignity that seems to be so prevalent when discussions like this come up. I enjoyed it. Also, Fury Road looks awesome.

      • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

        I try to set a tone where disagreement and discussion are welcomed on this blog, but even so, I’m constantly surprised at the quality of people who end up here. There’s been some classy discussions!

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Haha that conversation was epic tho!

      But hold up…. WHAAAAAT!? You didn’t like Lawless? #sayWHAT

  • GSFFatTheMart

    There are a few on this list I haven’t seen yet. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks for the list!

  • William Atkinson

    I like Ian was surprised to see this article posted on Uncompromised Men and gave feedback about this in the recent survey we were asked to fill out. As Christians we are called to be salt and light and the world is watching us. Articles like this can be found in any secular men’s magazine and I don’t believe is a good testimony. Jacob you make mention of how we are not under the rule of the old testament law below but remember that in Romans Paul said “make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall”. Roman’s 14

    Thanks for having the courage to disagree Ian and thanks for allowing the debate Jacob. I enjoy Uncompromised Men and will continue reading and commenting.

  • http://www.christianvalour.com Geoff

    I love and have seen almost every movie on this list mate. I can’t really say I have an all time favourite movie, cuz I love a lot of them. But usually the first movie that comes to mind when I’m asked is 300. So manly, so awesome.