Today, Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest action stars the world has ever seen. Of course, you don't get there without following in the footsteps of those that came before. Johnson was born in the early 1970s, which means he was probably watching a lot of movies in the 1980s. As such, he admits that his favorite action heroes growing up were the big stars of the decade, like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Harrison Ford.
The Rock has been using Instagram to answer a lot of fan questions as a way of keeping himself and his fans entertained during lockdown. In a recent Instagram story Dwayne Johnson said that Harrison Ford was his favorite action movie hero growing up, thanks to roles like Han Solo and Indiana Jones, but he also grew up loving more traditional action heroes of the decade, as well as a few from a slightly earlier era. According to Johnson...
My favorite action stars growing up were Harrison Ford, especially after I saw him in Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back and then Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then I love Stallone. I love Schwarzenegger. Love Clint Eastwood in some of his earlier movies. And um, uh, let's see, Steve McQueen than him, Charles Bronson, just the dudes who were badass dudes.
Really, i'm not sure how anybody makes it through the 80s without being fans of Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Those three pretty much defined the decade when it came to popular movies. Stallone was both Rocky and Rambo. Arnold was the Terminator, but also Conan, Commando, and The Running Man. Were a lot of these pretty brainless action movies? Sure, but they've stood the test of time to a large degree.
Harrison Ford isn't even necessarily a name you would list as an action hero. While he certainly was Han Solo and Indiana Jones, those were movies that a bit of a different feel, but there's no denying that Ford was great in action scenes.
Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson were probably the movie stars The Rock was watching on television while his other heroes were in theaters. McQueen died in 1980 but his movies have always been popular. Charles Bronson's action output in the 1980s was mostly Death Wish sequels, which are not fondly remembered in general. Dwayne Johnson also says early Eastwood was an influence, which likely means his early westerns and Dirty Harry, which were likely on TV in this era alongside Bronson and McQueen
And you can see how all these influences have crafted Dwayne Johnson's on-screen personas. He's as physically imposing as Arnold. He can play the complete badass like Bronson. A movie like Johnson's now delayed Jungle Cruise has obvious Indiana Jones inspirations.
And in another generation or two we'll have a whole new class of action star, who will all likely be influenced by Dwayne Johnson.