After running afoul of Hollywood, it remains to be seen whether or not Mel Gibson will ever headline a blockbuster movie again. But during the 1980s and 1990s, the actor dominated the American box office.
Here's a look at six roles that have defined Mel Gibson's career.
1. William Wallace, "Braveheart" (1995)
Without a doubt, "Braveheart" is the most successful film of Gibson's acting career. "Braveheart" took home five Oscars — more the two dozen industry awards total — and it was nominated for nearly as many additional awards as it won.
"Braveheart" adapts the legend of Scotsman William Wallace, who led a revolt for independence against oppressive British rule.
Gibson, as William Wallace, delivers arguably the greatest speech in film history.
2. Martin Riggs, “Lethal Weapon” (1987)
While not his first leading role in a successful movie, the actor's portrayal of burned-out cop Martin Riggs, made Mel Gibson a household name. With an estimated budget of $15 million, the U.S. ticket sales for the movie exceeded $65 million.
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The interaction between Gibson and Danny Glover spawned an action-comedy franchise and made Gibson a bankable star. This movie led to three sequels, including one where Gibson and Glover won MTV’s Best On-Screen Duo for their work in “Lethal Weapon 3.”
3. Max Rockatansky, “Mad Max” (1979)
The post-apocalyptic movie "Mad Max" had a worldwide take of roughly $100 million and eventually became a part of the cultural lexicon. It was such a popular movie that Gibson later reprised the role in "The Road Warrior" (1981) and "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (1985).
A reboot of the franchise "Mad Max: Fury Road" is scheduled to be released in May 2015.
4. Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore, “We Were Soldiers” (2002)
Gibson’s role as Lt. Col. Hal Moore in “We Were Soldiers” took on a still troubling topic. The war in Vietnam has made a long lasting, perhaps permanent mark on America. In this role, Gibson helps tell the tale of the first major battle in the Vietnam War to include American soldiers.
His portrayal of Moore showed audiences how serious the war would be for American soldiers. The actor wanted to show veterans of the war in a different light, believing that they “had suffered at the hands of Hollywood,” according to CBS News
5. Benjamin Martin, “The Patriot” (2000)
Perhaps piggybacking off the success of “Braveheart,” “The Patriot” was often criticized as being too formulaic and not historically accurate.
What is certain is that Gibson played the role of Benjamin Martin convincingly as a widower of seven children. Determined not to leave them fatherless, Martin, is against the upcoming war against the British. Circumstances lead to his taking an active role in the Revolution, but his devotion to his family is clear throughout the movie.
6. Nick Marshall, “What Women Want” (2000)
After a number of more serious roles, Gibson returned to comedy as Nick Marshall, a sexist, overbearing advertising executive in “What Women Want.” After a freak accident involving leg wax, pantyhose and falling into a water-filled bathtub while holding a hair dryer, Marshall is able to read the thoughts of any women near him.
This role mixes both comedic and serious issues. On one hand, he uses his ability to seduce women into bed and advance his career at the expense of his female boss, whom he does not like. However, he also finally bonds with his estranged daughter by helping her when her boyfriend tries to take advantage of her on prom night.
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