25 Most Hardcore People To Have Ever Lived

Posted by , Updated on May 22, 2024

Whether they’re soldiers, explorers, rebels, or athletes, people have always been fascinated by individuals who exhibit “toughness” or “intensity.” This admiration holds more importance in certain cultures compared to others. For instance, think about the ancient Spartans, who were predominantly focused on portraying the most powerful and masculine society on earth. Although modern society has somewhat eased this obsession, we are still drawn to those who display toughness. This fascination extends to people of all genders who embody the “tough-as-nails” image.

Of course, and perhaps not surprisingly, many of the people on this list earned a spot due to their exploits on the battlefield. This has probably been the fastest and most sure fire way to be ingrained in the collective conscience as someone known for their toughness. In some cases, however, it has more to do with how much of a beating someone could take. Several of the people on our list weren’t soldiers but they were nearly impossible to kill. Others were generals and warlords, and one was even a princess who’s claim to fame was wrestling prospective suitors. Whatever the story is, it’s sure to be interesting and definitely hard core. These are the 25 Most Hardcore People To Have Ever Lived!

Featured Image: wikipedia


Tank Man

Tank ManSource: wikipedia, Image: obtained via David Erickson via Flickr. Photograph by Jeff Widener used here under Fair Use.

There are few things more hardcore than facing an column of tanks without so much as a gun.



SubutaiSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Genghis Khan’s military strategist was probably one of the most ruthless warriors in history. He plowed across two continents like it was nothing.



KhutulunSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

This Mongolian princess insisted that any man who wished to marry her must beat her in wrestling and give her their horses if they lost. She supposedly won nearly 10,000 horses.


Jack Churchill

Jack ChurchillSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Known as Mad Jack by his fellow soldiers, during WWII Jack chose to use a sword instead of a gun and was allegedly disappointed when the war ended.



RasputinSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

The advisor to the Romanov family was nearly impossible to kill. During an assassination attempt he survived being poisoned, shot, beaten, and thrown into a freezing river. He died under the ice but there was evidence that he had still tried to claw his way out.


Frederick the Great

Frederick the GreatSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Taking on Austria, France, Sweden, Poland, Russia, and several smaller German and Italian city states, Frederick managed to unite the German speaking people into an empire that would be the most powerful on Earth until World War I.


Michael Malloy

Michael MalloySource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay

Like Rasputin, Michael refused to die. A homeless man, 5 men took out life insurance policies on him and then tried to get him to drink himself to death. That didn’t work so they added antifreeze to his drinks, then turpentine, then horse tranquilizer, and finally rat poison. Nothing worked so they dragged him outside and left him in the snow outside the bar. The next morning he walked in and ordered another drink. They then ran him over, which also didn’t work. They finally succeeded by shoving a gas pipe down his throat and pumping him full of gas for 1 hour. They later received the death penalty.


Stanley “Swede” Vejtasa

Stanley “Swede” VejtasaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Possibly one of the craziest American pilots during World War II, he actually shot down a plane after running out of ammunition by charging it with his own plane. He survived.


Audie Murphy

Audie MurphySource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

The real Captain America, Audie was only 16 when he got rejected from both the Navy and Air Force. He was finally accepted by the Army, passed out in training, but still insisted on going to fight in Europe. In Italy he then contracted Malaria. He became famous, however, when he stumbled across a German machine gun crew that pretended to surrender but then shot his best friend. Audie went crazy and killed everyone in the nest. After securing the machine gun he mowed down every German within a 100 yard radius.


Hugh Glass

Hugh GlassSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Although the story is probably a little exaggerated, Hugh was on a trapping expedition when he got mauled by a grizzly bear that he killed with help from his friends. He passed out though and woke up later only to find that his hunting party had abandoned him. He cleaned his wounds and dressed them using the bear’s skin as a bandage. He then crawled back to civilization. It took him 6 weeks during which he fought off wolves and made a raft to cross a river.


Witold Pilecki

Witold PileckiSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

A member of the Polish resistance during World War II, Witold was voluntarily imprisoned in Auschwitz in order to help the inmates escape and to gather intelligence. He successfully organized a resistance and escaped 3 years later.


Leo Major

Leo MajorSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

After taking part in the D-Day invasion he lost an eye but refused to be discharged saying that as long as he could see down the scope he had enough eyes.


Grainne Mhaol

Grainne MhaolSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Known as Grace O’Malley by the English, Grainne was an Irishwoman who cut off all her hair in order to become one of the most feared pirates on the high seas.


Daniel Inouye

Daniel InouyeSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

The senator from Hawaii was grievously wounded in Italy during World War II. While trying to secure a ridge, 3 German machine guns opened fire on his men. He stood up to shoot back and was shot in the stomach. He ignored the wound and destroyed the first machine gun. He then rallied his men to attack the second gun. It too was successfully destroyed. Daniel then collapsed from blood loss. He managed, however, to crawl towards the third bunker and was about to throw a grenade when most of his arm was severed by a high caliber bullet. He then pried the grenade out of his lifeless hand and through it with his other just before losing consciousness and falling down the hill.


Albert “Hard” Jacka

Albert “Hard” JackaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

An Australian soldier during World War II, Albert’s line was attacked by Germans early in the morning. Rallying the only 7 other men who survived the initial attack, he charged the Germans who were rounding up prisoners. Before long the prisoners had begun to turn on their captors as well and the line was retaken.



BoudiccaSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

After the Romans tried to invade her kingdom, beat her up, and rape her two daughters, Boudicca, Queen of the ancient Celtic tribes, fought back against the far superior Roman army. She won and even succeeded in burning Londonium (modern day London) to the ground.


Christopher Lee

Christopher LeeSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Supposedly the character of James Bond was partially based on him, but you probably know him best from his long acting career (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars). Before all of that, however, he had a very distinguished military career during World War II where he nearly died several times.


Simo Häyhä

Simo HäyhäSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Known as the White Death, Simo was a Finnish marksman who killed over 500 men, the highest number of confirmed kills for any sniper in a major war. Almost all of his kills happened in temperatures between −40 °C (−40 °F) and −20 °C (−4 °F) over a span of 100 days during which there were only several hours of daylight.


Genghis Khan

Genghis KhanSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

If Subutai (#24) was a madman, then Genghis Khan was the king of madmen. Khan was responsible for conquering most of Asia and Europe and for doing so quite ruthlessly.


Louis Zamperini

Louis ZamperiniSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

After running for the US during the Olympics in Germany, Louis fell and got cleated so badly that he was bleeding everywhere. Even Hitler asked to shake his hand. Later, during the war, his plane got shot down and he survived adrift for over a month. He then got captured and spent the next several years being tortured in Japanese prison camps. Years later he returned to Japan to tell his torturers that he forgave them.


Andrew Jackson

Andrew JacksonSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Jackson was so hardcore that it would be impossible to include everything here. Suffice it to say, however, that when Jackson was 60 he beat a would-be assassin with his cane and sent him to the hospital.



HannibalSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

The Carthaginian military commander, often considered the greatest military commander in history marched an entire army through the Alps to try conquering Rome. Although he failed, he was insanely successful during his career and eventually, so as not to fall into enemy hands, he took his own life.


Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy RooseveltSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

Another American president, Teddy was once shot in the chest while giving a speech. He refused to go to the hospital and proceeded to speak for an hour and half before collapsing and being taken off the stage. The craziest part is what he said right after being shot: “Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose…The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.”


Lauri Törni

Lauri TörniSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

A Finnish soldier who fought under 3 flags, Lauri started off at home fighting against the Soviets. After the treaty between Finland and the USSR, Lauri thought the Soviets hadn’t been punished enough so he joined the German army. After the war he emigrated to the US where he joined the special forces under the name Larry Thorne. He eventually died in Vietnam.


Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart

Sir Adrian Carton de WiartSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

A British soldier, Adrian fought in the Boer War, World War I, and World War II. He was shot in the face, stomach, head, hip, leg, ankle, and ear. He survived a plane crash…twice. He dug his way out of a prison camp and even bit of his own fingers when the doctor refused to amputate them. When asked about World War I he replied, “Frankly, I enjoyed the war”.