10 Jon Bernthal Roles, Ranked From Most Heroic To Most Villainous

10 Jon Bernthal Roles, Ranked From Most Heroic To Most Villainous

After breaking up with his role in The Walking Dead in the early 2010s, jon bernthal he has become one of the most instantly recognizable actors of the last decade. From his flawless performance as Marvel’s anti-hero The Punisher in the Netflix series, to his impressive array of supporting roles in some of the most star-studded movies of recent times, Bernthal makes every second of his screen presence count.

RELATED: From ‘King Richard’ to ‘The Punisher’: 11 Essential Jon Bernthal Performances

While he has become one of the best tough guys in the film industry, he often infuses his characters with an emotional depth and complexity that makes him the most compelling figure on the screen. Throughout a career that spans 20 years, he’s proven that he can excel as a hero and a villain and everything in between.


Frank Castle – ‘The Punisher’ (2017-2019) and ‘Daredevil’ (2018)

Jon Bernthal in The Punisher
Image via Netflix

With his rugged scowl, harsh growls, and imposing physique, The Punisher it’s Bernthal’s most iconic performance with many fans viewing the anti-hero as the role the actor was born to play. An ex-Marine embarking on a violent mission of revenge, Frank Castle might not be the most morally traditional Marvel hero, but his raw anger and jaded attitude made him a throbbing character to watch.

Beneath Castle’s blood-soaked brutality was a strong distinction between good and evil that made him all the more appealing as a hero as he worked his way through the underbelly of New York crime. Given the success of Daredevil’s (charlie cox) to the MCU, many fans are eagerly awaiting any sign that Bernthal’s Punisher will make the same transition.

RELATED: ‘The Punisher’: Jon Bernthal’s most vulnerable moments as Frank Castle

Sam Rossi – ‘Sweet Virginia’ (2017)

Image via IFC Films

Going from the ultimate ass kicker to a character who specializes in getting his ass kicked, sweet virginia saw Bernthal star as Sam Rossi, a former bull rider marred by his injuries who runs a motel in a small Alaskan town. A neo-noir crime thriller, Sam unknowingly finds himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy when he befriends one of his tenants and pursues a relationship with a widow.

Far from the heavyweight, tough-guy roles Bernthal is most famous for, he plays Sam with a quiet refinement and smoothness that highlights the variety of actors and their brilliant ability to bring depth to their characters. Opposed to a violent killer, Rossi stood his ground when his time came and proved to be the hero when it mattered most.

Rick Macci – ‘King Richard’ (2021)

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

A sports biographical film about tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams and how their father raised them to be sports stars. king richard it was one of the biggest movies of 2021 and earned six Oscar nominations. Bernthal plays Rick Macci, the tennis coach who agrees to bring the Williams sisters to their facility in Florida.

Macci goes completely against type and proves that heroes don’t always have to be blood-soaked, gun-wielding tough guys to make a significant impact. Macci’s heroism shines like a beacon of joy and support for the Williams sisters in the early stages of their careers.

RELATED: The 9 Best Sports Movies of the Last Decade, From ‘Moneyball’ to ‘King Richard’

Ethan Sawyer – ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ (2021)

Those who wish me dead
Image via Warner Bors. Photos

An action thriller Those who wish me dead stars Angelina Jolie as a smoke jumper, reeling from a job gone wrong, who finds himself embroiled in a murder plot when two hitmen attack a young boy in the area of ​​his fire observation tower. Bernthal plays the boy’s uncle, Ethan Sawyer, a local police officer who fights to protect his pregnant wife of the hitmen while searching for answers about the missing child.

Bernthal held his own in the supporting role amidst an ensemble cast. While it was Jolie’s character who dominated the film and ultimately saved the day, Bernthal proved that he has what it takes to excel as a more archetypal, honest action movie hero.

The mute – ‘Pilgrimage’ (2017)

Image via RLJE Films

Set in Ireland in 1209 AD, Pilgrimage follows a small group of monks who are tasked with transporting a holy relic across a war-torn continent to Rome. Bernthal plays the mute worker who accompanies themmaking for a trademark haunting physical performance, highlighted by his moments of berserker rage.

Amid the blood and gore of the film, the mute becomes one of the most capable members of the group when they encounter violent Gaels and treacherous servants of King John of England. While his murky past as a crusader and his bluntness make him less heroic than some of Bernthal’s other characters, there’s no question we want the mute on our side in a fight.

Grady ‘Coon Ass’ Travis – ‘Fury’ (2014)

Image via Sony Pictures Release

As a harsh war movie about an American tank crew fighting in Germany in the final weeks of World War II, Rage he is less concerned with heroes and villains than with moral ambiguity in the fog of war. Grady ‘Coon Ass’ Travis (Bernthal) is the perfect embodiment of that approach.

The hillbilly tank loader is an antagonistic presence throughout much of the film, displaying hostility towards the young Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) since he was first assigned to the crew and purposefully intimidating the German civilians the platoon encounters. While his sincere remorse for his actions, as well as his implied battle with PTSD, engenders sympathy for the character, Travis ends up existing right in the middle between hero and villain.

Griff – ‘Baby Driver’ (2015)

baby driver
Image via Sony Pictures Release

Throughout his career as a top-tier actor, one thing that cannot be denied is Jon Bernthal’s ability to make a significant impact with even the smallest of roles. His appearance in baby driver He barely makes it past the 10-minute mark, but he makes every second of his cameo count.

As hardened criminal thug Griff, we’re introduced to him firing shots at a bank robbery before attempting to intimidate Baby (ansel elgort) after the robbery. He ends the antagonistic appearance by saying “if you don’t see me again, it’s because I’m dead”, which may be an indicator of the characters fate, but we still hope he will return if baby driver 2 is ever done.

RELATED: 8 Great Car Movies That Aren’t In The ‘Fast & Furious’ Franchise

Brad Bodrick – ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013)

The wolf of Wall Street
Image via Paramount Pictures

While he’s far from the most evil person in the movie, Brad Bodrick is one of Jon Bernthal’s most despicable characters. A drug dealer, common thug, and con man, Bodrick is Jordan Belfort’s (Leonardo Dicaprio) in The wolf of Wall Street.

Another example of the impact Bernthal can have with limited screen time, is one of the most memorable movie characters with the now famous “sell me this pen” scene and his many confrontations with jonah hillIt’s Donnie Azoff. A darkly hilarious performance, Bernthal felt right at home in the black comedy biopic where he proved that his villainy can go far beyond brutal violence.

Sergeant Wayne Jenkins – ‘We Own This City’ (2022)

Image via HBO

There are few things as innately evil as a corrupt cop. Based on the nonfiction book by the writers of The wire, We own this town tells the story of the rise and fall of the Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force with Bernthal’s portrayal of Wayne Jenkins, effectively the show’s main lead.

Corrupted to the core, Jenkins was indoctrinated into a broken system and thrived by feeding on the vulnerable. From planting drugs to cover up his own deadly mistakes to reselling confiscated drugs for his own gain, Jenkins constantly proves that there’s no place low he won’t stoop to to get what he wants. Bernthal is fantastic at villainous acting and the series is a timely true story that more people should see.

Shane Walsh – ‘The Walking Dead’ (2010-2012; 2018)

The Walking Dead
Image via AMC

Throughout its 11 seasons, AMC’s The Walking Dead has had many great villains, from the infectiously captivating Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to the sheer terror inspired by Alpha (samantha morton) and Beta (ryan hurst) and the Whisperers. None, however, was as complex and layered as Shane Walsh, Rick Grimes (andrew lincoln) partner and best friend whose wayward moral compass completely disintegrated in the second season.

In love with Rick’s wife and severely opposed to the way Herschel (scott wilson) ran his farm, Shane became a commanding presence whose violent temper was surpassed only by his vengeful scheming. In addition to shooting Otis and leaving him with the walkers, he also conspired to kill Rick and probably would have had Carl (chandler riggs) not intervened.

NEXT: ‘Jessica Jones’ to ‘Daredevil’: Marvel Netflix’s Wildest Moments

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