Three cheers for Daniel Craig, Jason Isaacs, Jason Statham, and Mark Strong, rugged he-men every one! For without these actors and others like them, we Americans might be hopelessly mired in the belief that all British males are effete, ineffectual, sullen, and desperately in need of butch tips from Mary Poppins. Not that there isn't quite a bit that's lovely and winsome about the likes of Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, and Michael Sheen; it's just that we Yanks are too prone to stereotype, too sure that we hold the patent on macho*, and too quick to forget old-school rowdy toughs like Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Oliver Reed, and Robert Shaw.
So, as a red-white-and-blue salute to the land of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Swift, Blackbeard, Byron, Wilde, and Guy Ritchie, ballsy fellows one and all, I'm publishing my list of ten tough Brits as evidence that Lord Alfred Hayes and Percival Pringle III**, with their Masterpiece Theatre manners, are not typical of today's rassling Brits, and proving, I hope, that Dave Breaks is not hoarding all the XY chromosomes in the UK.
* Spanish and Portuguese, not American, by the way.
** For the record, Pringle was born in Alabama.
Photos: Tony Knox