I'm with Billy. Coarse language is a wonderful thing. It sounds good, it fucking feels good and it always gets the job done. Fuck, shit, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, prick... These are strong words. Powerful words. And, under certain circumstances, they are necessary words. Sometimes no other word will suffice.
When it comes to movies and TV, there are few things I love more than a good, forceful, creative hit of profanity. I'm clearly not alone in this, because many screenwriters and playwrights have filled their works with foul-mouthed characters, and great actors have played these parts with gusto, spitting out every fuck as if their life depended on it. Obviously, there's far too many great sweary characters to list them all. This was originally intended to be a top 5, but then I remembered one that I couldn't leave out. But if I don't set myself a strict limit, then this list will be end up being longer than War and fucking Peace.
So, without further a-fucking-do, here's my list of 6 great sweary characters. Enjoy!
6. Harry - In Bruges
In Bruges is a great movie. A fucking great movie. Colin Farrell is at his most charming, Brendan Gleeson at his most grizzled and soulful, and the two of them have fantastic chemistry together. It's hard to imagine anyone stealing the show from this pair... until Ralph Fiennes enters the picture as crime lord Harry.
Harry is one miserable motherfucker. I don't think he smiles once in the entire movie. He doesn't even seem like he's physically capable of smiling. About all he does is hurl abuse at anyone who even slightly annoys him. And he gets annoyed very easily. This is bad news for any other character in the movie, but it's great news for the audience, because his outbursts of rage are hilariously awesome, as is his apparent inability to speak 7 consecutive words without including at least 1 fuck.
Best Sweary Moment: Harry responds with disbelief when told that someone doesn't enjoy being in Bruges.
5. Francis Begbie - Trainspotting
It's difficult to tell because the Scottish accents are so thick, but if you switch on the subtitles for Trainspotting, you'll notice there's a motherfucking shitload of swearing going on. While every character drops their fair share of F and C-bombs, it's Begbie who who easily holds the heavyweight championship belt for coarse language.
Not just one of the sweariest, but also one of the scariest characters ever, Begbie can snap at any given time. In fact, he probably swears less when he's angry, because that's when his fists do the talking. Sometimes he'll call you a cunt in a friendly way; other times in an unfriendly way. The latter generally means you're about to lose some teeth.
Best Sweary Moment: Violent, unpredictable psychopath he may be, but anyone who can fit 2 cunts in a single sentence is A-OK in my book. I'd buy him a beer anytime.
4. Susie Greene - Curb Your Enthusiasm (TV)
I'm all for a bit of gender equality, which is why I love Susie so much. She can curse with the best of the boys. In a show that never shied away from crudity, she was the most consistently crude character. Even in the more light-hearted episodes, you could always count on Susie for some foul-mouthed filth. You go, sista!
Larry David once said that when he's verbally abused, his natural reaction is laughter. Hard to imagine how he even filmed his scenes with Susie, because they all involve her laying into him for some reason... or for no reason at all. So this is a well-earned #4 spot for the small screen's ultimate highly-strung hebe bitch.
Best Sweary Moment: This clip will mean nothing when taken out of the context of the show. Doesn't matter. It still works as its own self-contained, expertly delivered snippet of vulgarity.
3. Ricky Roma - Glengarry Glen Ross
Glengarry Glen Ross is much more than just a tale about real estate. It's an epic tragedy showing salesmen as modern day gladiators, doing battle and taking each other apart using words instead of swords. It's also a veritable catalogue of verbal abuse. Ricky Roma is the Spartacus in this arena - the biggest, baddest fighter of them all.
That's not to say Ricky ain't a nice guy. But, in the movie's climactic scene when a careless fuck-up costs him an important sale, he delivers one of the greatest ass-kickings in cinema history. That's right, he kicks a guy's ass... with words. Awesome.
Best Sweary Moment: I just fucking told you, didn't I?
2. Al Swearengen - Deadwood (TV)
One thing's for certain about Deadwood - once you're done watching it, you'll find yourself saying cocksucker a lot more. Easily the sweariest TV show ever (and will probably never be topped in that regard), it has received criticism, even from fans, that there was a little too much swearing. It's certainly excessive and from some of the actors, it sounds a little stilted and unnatural. Not so with Al Swearengen aka the man with the most appropriate surname ever.
Under Ian McShane's transcendent performance, every single fuck, every single cunt and every single cocksucker exits Swearengen's mouth as a perfectly formed, majestic work of art in itself. Whether he's abusing his employees, defending his interests or philosophising about life itself, Swearengen shows that every statement becomes a little more compelling when you sprinkle it with a handful of expletives.
Best Sweary Moment: There's so many of them that it's hard to decide. But I think I'll go with a little bit of Al's pillow-talk with a lucky young woman. Romance ain't dead, ladies!
1. Malcolm Tucker - The Thick of It (TV), In the Loop (movie)
Before he became the new Doctor Who, actor Peter Capaldi was best known for playing Malcolm Tucker in one of the finest political satires ever made. In real-life, Capaldi is a pleasant, charming, soft-spoken fellow, which makes it all the more impressive to see him as Tucker - a human dervish of pure fury; his interactions with others ranging from utter contempt to berserk explosive hostility; his only words a constant stream of vituperative bile.
Tucker is a truly diabolical creation, not least because of his charisma. Ostensibly a villainous character, you still can't help rooting for him. Not cause his actions will serve any greater good. Hell no, careers and lives will casually destroyed by him without a trace of sympathy or conscience. It's simply that Tucker winning means that we, the audience, get the thrill of seeing him go on more blistering rampages of vitriolic rage.
Best Sweary Moment: Impossible to pick. Tucker's Law is a classic. And so many examples of outright abuse that are awesome, a personal fave being this one - "This is a government department, not some fuckin' Jane fuckin' Austen novel. Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up your shitter with a lubricated horse cock."
But I'm gonna with a moment that sums up this whole article nicely. You see, there are folk out there who feel that swearing is unnecessary and crude. They don't like it on TV, in movies or in person, and some of these people would like to restrict language in order to protect their feelings. On behalf of every character on this list, on behalf of myself and on behalf of anyone who loves to say fuck, Malcolm Tucker responds to these people...
So, that's my fucking list! Like I said in the intro, it's far from complete. I'm already kicking myself for leaving out Don Logan from Sexy Beast, Ray from Nil By Mouth, Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski and many others.
That's where you come in! Add your favourite sweary characters and sweary moments that I may have. But please, for the sake of the fucking children, try to keep your comments tasteful.
Thanks for fucking reading, cunts!