In the mid-1980s, a little action movie called Top Gun rocketed into theaters and took the world by storm. The film would net $176 million at the box office, but more importantly, it would spark a public demand for high-adrenaline Mach 3 action. The reaction to this demand was overwhelming: The Delta Force, Iron Eagle, Fire Birds, they all culminated with Navy SEALs: Think of it as Top Gun, without any of that sissy romance subplot. Navy SEALs was truly the apex of that decade’s military action movie: It reveled in its mindlessness, its unfettered action, and brought together three principals who embodied the can do spirit of the decade.
Charlie Sheen – The Renegade
Ahh, where would we be without the loose cannon? Charlie Sheen’s Hawkins was the man you can’t stand, and can’t live without. If you get in an argument with him he’s as likely to hit you as he is to jump out of a moving jeep and off of a bridge. But the trigger-happy hothead was as deadly as he was unpredictable. This is the role that Sheen perfected so well, he threw off his Platoon-like dramatic actor aura and slid comfortably into the Rambo-send up, Hot Shot.
Bill Paxton – The Sharpshooter
We may all love Bill Paxton’s whining “What the f— are we gonna do now??!!” space marine in Aliens, but with Navy SEALs the actor proved he could play it cool just as deftly. His sniper bad-ass, nicknamed God, is the backbone of the team. He’s not the loudest or the most flamboyant, but it’s no “Game over, man” when God’s got your back.
Michael Biehn – The Commander
When the world needed a true action hero, Michael Biehn wasn’t just ready and able — he was the only man for the job. A steely-eyed leading man who had broken through as the soldier from the future two years earlier in James Cameron’s The Terminator, Biehn perfected the no-nonsense military man – a leader who looks as comfortable shouldering a rifle as he does a knapsack. In SEALs, Biehn’s Curran is so steadfast, so calm, so resolute, perhaps the only person who would look more natural leading a group of toughened SEALs would be an actual SEAL. It was a part Biehn perfected, taking on SEAL roles in The Abyss and The Rock.
Relive the action of the ’80s! For a full schedule of Navy SEALs on AMC, click here.