Top 10 Incredible Mickey Rourke Films
10. Bullet (1996) Julien Temple
Bullet is the sadly forgotten, gritty gangster film co-starring the late rapper Tupac Shakur, everybody’s favorite psychotic tranny “Buffalo Bill” Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs) and a young Adrian Brody in one of Mickey’s most underrated performances. Rourke plays Butch “Bullet” Stein, a recently paroled Jewish convict who immediately goes back to the volatile Brooklyn thug life that got him sent to prison years before. Tupac Shakur plays his arch-enemy the drug dealing Tank, who is seeking revenge on Butch for stabbing his eye out and ripping off his associates. Brody and Levine play Butch’s eccentric brothers, one fiercely loyal to his drug addicted brother and the other filled with contempt and hatred and suffering from PTSD. Great performances all around in this underrated gangster film from the 90’s.
9. Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) Robert Rodriguez
Yes we know Mickey Rourke is not the main character in this Robert Rodriguez stylish crime saga and only has a small supporting role. This is a full Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek vehicle with a smooth talking sinister Johnny Depp doing his best Marlon Brando impersonation. Mickey plays the supporting role of Billy but still puts in a great performance in this ultra violent and hardcore sequel to Desperado.
8. Barfly (1987) Barbet Schroeder
In 1987’s Barfly, Mickey plays a fictionalized version of poet and author Charles Bukowski. Rourke stars as Henry Chianski, an aspiring writer who lives a turbulent life as a bar regular whose only friends are his fellow alcoholics. Torn between his new-found success and his routine life as a bar brawling drunk, Rourke gives an outstanding and subtle performance. Co-starring the great Faye Dunaway in the supporting role of girlfriend Wanda Wilcox. Not a huge hit when first released but Rourke still gives a searing portrayal of a hopeless loser.
7. The Expendables (2010) Sylvester Stallone
In this testosterone fueled tribute to every balls to the wall action film from the 1980’s, Rourke stars along side an action dream cast of every tough guy in film history. Including Sylvestor Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis and of course the former Governator. Rourke holds his own amongst the crew and plays the supporting character of Tool, a former teammate of Stallone and his crew of Expendables. This ultra violent and instant action classic is currently in production on a sequel to be released in 2012 with the addition of 80’s karate wunderkind Jean-Claude Van Damme.
6. Rumble Fish (1983) Francis Ford CoppolaIn Francis Ford Coppola’s underrated gang classic from 1983 based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, Rourke plays Motorcycle Boy, a former gang leader trying to lead a more peaceful life while his younger brother Rusty James (Matt Dillon) is trying his hardest to live up to his brother’s infamy. Not well received by critics when first released, this film has gone on to become a cult classic and companion piece to Coppola’s other S.E. Hinton adaptation The Outsiders. Very stylish and has some very good performances from Rourke, Diane Lane and Matt Dillon who also starred in The Outsiders.
5. 9 1/2 Weeks (1986) Adrian Lyne
In 1986’s 9 1/2 Weeks, Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger have plenty of wild and kinky fun in this highly sexual erotic drama that has become a cult classic due to the endless scenes of sex and seduction using every type of food imaginable. Directed by Adrian Lyne, this film was a precursor to his 1987 Suspense blockbuster Fatal Attraction. Rourke would later go on to star in the inferior and ludicrous sequel Another 9 1/2 weeks over a decade later during his turbulent years in the 1990’s. Great film if you need some creative new ideas on how to seduce your girlfriend with various food products. Definitely not a film for the prude.
4. Angel Heart (1987) Alan Parker
This film is pure Mickey Rourke greatness on so many different levels. Angel Heart tells the story of Harry Angel, (Rourke) a down on his luck New York City Private Investigator who accepts a rather curious assignment from the diabolical Louis Cyphre (De Niro) to track down a long-lost singer believed to be missing since WW 2. Little does Angel know that this assignment will reveal dark secrets about the singer’s past that will have Angel fighting for his very soul. Extremely moody drama and mystery film directed by the great Alan Parker (Pink Floyd The Wall) and co-starring Lisa Bonet who subsequently got fired from The Cosby Show due to the X-Rated love scene between her and Rourke. Truly a great mystery and film noir with one of the best twist endings in movie history. Based on the book Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg.
3. Sin City (2005) Robert Rodriguez
The film that made Mickey Rourke a star to a whole new generation. In this neo-noir hyper violent film based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller, reunites Rourke with Director Robert Rodriguez. Rourke plays Marv, the stone-faced psychopath with a heart of gold on a brutal rampage to discover who murdered Goldie, the girl of his dreams after having spent only one night with her. Rourke was the stand out among a cast of great actors in this ensemble drama which is currently in production on a sequel. (Spoilers ahead) Although Rourke’s character was violently executed at the end of his segment of the film, we may very well see Marv again in the sequel in a flashback to his younger years. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Rodriguez brings him back.
2. Iron Man 2 (2010) Jon Favreau
When it was announced that Mickey Rourke would be playing Ivan Vanko/Whiplash in the latest installment of the Iron Man film, millions of fans around the world went ballistic with joy. Favreau hand-picked the perfect villain to battle Robert Downey Jr’s. Iron Man and Rourke definitely did not disappoint. Rourke plays Vanko, the Russian genius with a deep vendetta against the Stark family, with such subtly and repressed rage that we totally forget we are watching the guy that once starred in the abysmal Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Great action film with an outstanding story and an excellent cast.
1. The Wrestler (2008) Darren Aronofsky
Mickey Rourke pulls absolutely no punches in his gritty portrayal of aging Professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson. This is the role that Mickey Rourke will always be remembered for. An intensely deep character study of a man trying to relive his glory days during the height of his popularity in the 1980’s world of Pro Wrestling. Now 20 years later, his fading career and severely injured body can no longer sustain the violence and acrobatics that his job entails. Reduced to working at a Deli to make ends meet, he desperately tries to mend a relationship with his estranged daughter while pursuing a local stripper and single mother (Marisa Tomei). Sadly, neither one will accept him and he is shunned by both which motivates him to train harder for his 20th anniversary reunion of one of his classic matches which includes heavy steroid use against doctors orders for fear that he may have another heart attack. This is one of Mickey Rourke’s most memorable performances and will forever be hailed as his finest work.