His talent seems to disregard genre boundaries, ranging from subdued period pieces to popcorn action flicks with effortless charisma. Netflix may not have some of Hardy’s higher-grossing films available for instant streaming, but it does carry some of his critically-acclaimed, award-winning work. Here’s the current collection of Hardy hits in the streaming roster:
While most of Hardy’s historically-based roles place him in a native British setting, Lawless is set during America’s prohibition era, and casts Hardy as a bootlegger alongside Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, and Jessica Chastain. It may not be the most uplifting film of Hardy’s career, but it was nominated for several awards, including the Cannes Film Festival’s famous Palme d’Or.
This 2008 drama, directed by Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn and based on the life of prisoner Charles Bronson, was one of Hardy’s breakout performances. Its true-to-reality story was created with the help of Hardy’s interviews with Bronson himself, lending an air of believability and limited artistic license to the production. After making nearly ten times its original budget, Bronson put Hardy on the map as an actor capable of tackling numerous genres (including those with doses of realism).
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
While the film may have been just as difficult to follow as John le Carre’s original novel from 1974, its shadowy Cold War plot and layers of tension created a realistic and gripping trek through a long-gone Europe. Hardy took on the role of a supposed MI6 defector, and managed to fill the role with the same world-weary grit as fellow actors Colin Firth and Gary Oldman. Well worth watching, if you haven’t already seen it.
If you’re not paying attention, you might just miss Tom Hardy in this little-known 2009 heist film. Hardy was given a relatively minor role as one of the film’s detectives, but managed to bring his classic tough-guy demeanor to the table and elevate the role to something more than a stock character. In the U.S., it was released with the catchier title Thick as Thieves.
Star Trek: Nemesis
It may not be regarded as the best Star Trek film (in fact, it may be one of the worst), but it was one of Hardy’s few roles beyond his apparent comfort zone. Hardy took on the role of Shinzon, Picard’s evil clone and antagonist of the Enterprise crew. That’s right: Hardy was both a villain and a clone in the same film. Talk about two birds with one stone.
This 2003 film was another one of Hardy’s forays into period dramas, but unlike most of his other productions, The Reckoning places Hardy in the decidedly non-contemporary world of medieval England. This was another one of Hardy’s lesser-known productions, since he played the minor character of Straw, and was likely overshadowed by veteran actors Willem Dafoe and Tom Bettany.
This may be cheating, since Peaky Blinders isn’t technically a film at all, but this BBC Two production is one of Hardy’s best roles in years. Playing a Jewish gang leader opposite Cillian Murphy, Hardy brings his full historical talent to bear in this series. Two seasons of Peaky Blinders have already been released, and a third has been green-lit.
If you don’t see your favorites on this list, don’t despair: the Netflix catalog is always being updated, and within a few months, you might just spot some Hardy classics on the horizon.
Leave a comment and let us know if you’ve enjoyed any of these films, or if you notice anything we’ve missed or that Netflix adds later!