More and more frank depictions of sex and violence began to manifest in the mid ’60s, but relatively few actors have delivered what I regard as serious authenticity when it came to portraying gangsters, hitmen, ruffians, sociopaths, etc.

Any two-bit actor can wear a hollow, ice-cold expression or radiate animal hostility; the trick is to suggest serious malevolence with as little effort as possible, and particularly with your eyes and manner and body language. Bottom line: If you’re a serious monster, the camera can spot it right away.

In my mind one of the most believable bad guys ever was Michael Caine‘s Jack Carter in Mike Hodge‘s Get Carter (’71).

Please name other movie characters who radiated evil and malevolence without any showy gestures or demonstrations. Like Michael Madsen‘s Reservoir Dogs psycho, for example. Heath Ledger‘s Joker doesn’t count (way too showy); ditto Richard Widmark‘s giggly nutcase in Kiss of Death (too spazzy and cackly).

I’m talking about bad guys who simply are that rancid thing. You look at them, sense their vibe and you know they’re the Real McCoy.