Richard Pryor addressed this trope during his stand-up routines, talking about how easy it was for someone young and overconfident to think that someone middle-aged or beyond would be an easy target. "You don't get to be old by being a fool. There's plenty of young wise men, but they all dead as a motherfucker."
Likewise they could have some other feat of badassery you're unaware of. Who would have thought that granddad fought off a robber or grandma used to go hunting?
Jean Parisot de la Valette, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallier. He led the Knights from the front during the Great Siege of Malta, refusing all of his advisers' arguments that he was too valuable to risk and killing a good score of Turks with his own sword, all without taking a wound at age 69. Valetta, the largest city on Malta, is named after him.
He did all this at a time when just living into your 60s was considered a serious achievement.
William Marshal. Most badass knight that ever lived. Skipping his seriously epic early life, as with the above example he lived in times when the life expectancy was around 40 note Yes, there were other causes of death besides violence and as a noble, he was better off then some but we don't need a paragraph about it here. He died at 73 peacefully in bed after having months before fought at a battle where the other knights were about to abandon the fight. Not good ol' Will, no, he charged straight into the attacking enemy lines, and it was said that the knights then followed him because they couldn't be seen to leave when the 73 year old was berserker mad and kicking ass. The battle then swung in their favour.
Sir John Talbot, KG. Commanded the English army in the battle of Castillon 1453 at age of 80. He got killed in the battle... by a cannon ball!
Many of the Medieval knights fought actively until their fifties and sixties. They were professional soldiers, after all, and if they avoided getting killed, crippled, plague, dysentery or gout, they were usually in incredibly good shape even old.
Keith Richards. It's been over fifty years since The Rolling Stones formed up; after all the drugs, sex, trials and blood transfusions, Keef Riffhard can still kick your ass.
Wayne's World: "Listen, sunny Jim. Sleeping like this will add ten years to your life. I learned it from Keith Richards when I toured with the Stones. This may be the reason why Keith cannot be killed by conventional weapons."
Or witness this Rolling Stones concert in which a rogue fan runs onstage. Keith takes off his guitar, whangs the guy in the face, then calmly puts his guitar back on and picks up exactly where he's supposed to in the song. Best part is that the rest of the band continues playing "Satisfaction" like nothing out of the ordinary is going on. And because he is, ultimately, a nice guy he actually went and bailed the idiot out of jail too.
Pretty much all the Stones can qualify (with the exception of the late Brian Jones who never made it to old age).
Prince Charles is part of one of the most active and visible British Royal Families in history, and while he has slowed down in physical activity (especially since breaking his arm in 1990) he has been called "the hardest-working member of the royal family" by The Daily Telegraph due to assuming most of the official duties normally associated with his mother the Queen; at age 65, he literally became a Badass Grandpa with the birth of his first grandson in July 2013.
His own father Prince Philip qualifies in the same way, still a very public figure at age 93.
Keanu Reeves is 52 years old as of this writing, and yet here he is, doing 90% of his own stunts, fights, and driving on John Wick. Stories from the set tell us he learned the entire Red Circle scene choreography the very same day it was filmed while running a 104-degree fever. Those looking to disprove "can't teach an old dog new tricks" should take a look at this video of him tearing up a Tactical 3-Gun course training for John Wick: Chapter 2.
Sifu Lau Kar Leung. Veteran Hong Kong martial arts actor, director, and choreographer. Practitioner and Grandmaster of Hung Gar style Kung Fu (a.k.a. "earthbending".) He's old enough to be your grandpa but he can still kickyour ass. His last starring role (as of yet) is in the film Drunken Monkey and he's not mellowing with age. He's nearing 70 in the film, for crying out loud!
Some of the people who know him personally have remarked that even though he's in his sixties, he still parties like he's in his twenties.
Fellow rocker Ozzy Osbourne (who is close to the same age and did as much drinking and partying as Lemmy but came out much more damaged) stated that he wouldn't be surprised if Lemmy outlived him and Keith Richards.
An example from Florida. 75-year-old man has just bought a computer (he plans to take classes to learn how to use it) and is waiting to be picked up. 6'1", 230 lb., 29-year-old grabs the goods and takes off. Rightful owner of said goods throws a flying tackle and takes him down. For extra Badass Grandpa goodness, off-duty cop who assists in the capture is himself a senior citizen at 68, per comments.
Chuck Norris. In Real Life the man has a 10th-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, an 8th-degree black belt in Taekwondo (one of only 3 Americans to ever achieve this), black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Shito ryu Karate, belts in Muay Thai and Shotokan, invented his own martial art style incorporating all of these, and has a tournament record of 183-10-2, with presumably both losses coming fromBruce Lee.
This real story's even better than the would-be-computer-thief saga. This one features two attackers vs. 84-year-old. 84-year-old is a WWII veteran and retired prison guard. 84-year-old kicks two butts (along with other body parts) and sends the offenders fleeing (they were later captured by police).
Jean Thurel served as a line infantryman for over ninety years in the French Army. He survived a musket shot to the chest at age 34 and seven sword wounds at once (six to his head) while 60. He continued to march around Europe all by foot like any other line infantryman for the entirety of his career. He was admonished once in his entire career, while 48...for scaling a fortress' walls because the doors closed before he could get inside and did that to avoid missing muster. He was the only individual to receive the 'Medal of Two Swords' three times, awarded for 24 years of service - his third medal was received with a choice between it or the 'Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis' (normally for commissioned officers), the choice presented to him by the king. The Two Swords was chosen again along with the stipulation that the king himself attach the medal to his uniform, which was granted. He was also one of the first awarded the 'National Order of the Legion of Honour' medal, the highest decoration of France to this day, at the age of 106. Dying at the age of 108, he doubly beat the odds of his career and period of history very soundly.
Daniel M'Mburugu is a 77-year-old grandfather who earns his living by farming. On June of 2005, M'Mburugu was tending to his farm in Kenya when a sneaky leopard suddenly attacked him. When the leopard sank its teeth into M'Mburugu's wrist and started mauling M'Mburugu with its claws, M'Mburugu did NOT take the machete that was in one of his hands and start striking the animal with it. Instead, M'Mburugu decided to take care of business by reaching his hand into the leopard's mouth and pulling the animal's tongue out. Think about that. Simply hacking the cat into bits with a machete wasn't good enough for him; he jammed his fist down the creature's throat and ripped out its tongue.
Mark Shuey is not only a Badass Grandpa himself, he's out teaching other seniors the art of Cane Fu, so they can ALL be Badass Grampas and Grannies Not to Mess With.
British musician Sting is 63 years old; for years, he's been jogging five miles a day and practicing aerobics. Since around 1990, he's been practicing various forms of yoga, going so far as to write the forward to a book about it by Ganga White in 2007. (Oh, and he's still performing, by the way.)
A former junior boxing champion by the name of Frank Corti showed that, at age 72, he could still throw a punch. When a man less than 1/3 his age tried to attack him at knifepoint, Corti responds by beating the man so hard that he appeared to have been hit by a train. With only TWO PUNCHES. See for yourself.
Bass Reeves. Got his job as a Deputy Marshal in the Indian Territory when he was in his late forties, early fifties. Kept going until well into his eighties. Thousands of arrests, many gunfights, never wounded. Lotsa kids, lotsa grandkids. The best part? Escaped slave. Though he didn't get his cushy government job until after the Civil War,
Back when America was a British colony, an elderly farmer (he was born in 1696, during the reign of William III) named Samuel Whittemore was America's oldest fighter in the Revolutionary War. The 80-year old man killed one guy with a musket, two with dual pistols, and tried stabbing his way through a platoon of British soldiers with his favorite French sword. In the end, he got shot in the face, butted by a musket, and bayonetted several times to the point where any young man with those injuries would be dead, especially in an era with no first aid on the battlefield. But the old man was found not only alive but ready to fight as he was found attempting to load his musket while injured badly. Even his doctor thought he wouldn't make it. Some shitty doctor he was. The grammy lived to see American independence and for another 18 years before dying of natural causes. Just goes to show, you're never too old to fight for your country.
At age 96, Jack Ury broke his own record and became the oldest person to ever play in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2009. Even though he's blind in one eye, nearly blind in the other, and deaf in one ear, he's still played in the past three Main Events (with the aid of his grandson) and more incredibly, has made it to Day Two every time. Moreover, he beat his opponent's full house with a full house of his own. Jack Ury is the man.
Don Sebastiano Venier was already 75 when commanded the Venetian fleet in the famed Battle of Lepanto and together with the rest of European navies, won. The Venetians unanimously elected him Doge afterwards.
Tom Savini. Hard to believe the guy's in his mid-60s.
Bob Crowley: He may not be as old as some of the guys on this page (57), but in a game dominated by fit young 20-somethings, he proved himself not only to be the most able survivalist in the game (a lifelong outdoorsman, he was mostly responsible for building the shelter and keeping the fire going), but when it came down to the endgame, when many strong older contestants are usually picked off, he not only managed to win the game (becoming the oldest winner ever by over 15 years) but he did it by beating contestants half his age in physical challenges!
Especially in front of his daughter, who was with him at the time and whom Buzz felt he was protecting. Papa Wolf, indeed!
Andrew Jackson. Aside from being a grizzled old war veteran, he also personally foiled the first attempt on the life of a sitting US President (himself, no less). A would-be-assassin fired two pistols at him at point-blank range, both of which miraculously misfired. At almost seventy years old, Jackson nearly beat his attacker to death. With acane.
That's half of the reason he got the name "Old Hickory." One, he was a very tough, stiff, wooden man. Two, he carried around a hickory cane to beat people with. One of his most famous quotes was "I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Claynote One of Jackson's chief political opponents in the Senate and I didn't hang John C. Calhounnote For secessionist tendencies that almost kick-started the American Civil War several decades early." For the record, Calhoun was his vice-president. As Cracked said: "In a life filled with murdering people, Jackon's biggest regret was that he didn't kill quite enough people."
Andrew Jackson had survived being shot in so many duels (mostly over insults to his wife) that he was reputed to rattle when he walked. He was also reputed to have once been so bored in a cabinet meeting that he took out a knife, dug one of the slugs out, and sent it back to the man who put it in him in the first place with a note to the effect of 'I believe this is yours.' It is also said that in the incident above where he foiled his own assassination, the only reason the assassin survived is that other people restrained Jackson before he could finish the job.
Nelson Mandela, who also was a Cool Old Guy. Mandela's badass credentials are gained by 1) having put the final nails in the coffin of apartheid in South Africa; 2) having survived 27 years in South Africa's toughest prisons before that; 3) having been active in the militant wing of the anti-apartheid movement (which resulted in his imprisonment) before that; 4) having been an amateur boxer in college before that; and 5) having been a member of the Xhosa royal family who was expelled when he broke a taboo by marrying a woman from the rival Sotho tribe. The man was made of badass from birth!
Clint Eastwood. Survived the Great Depression and the Korean War, this former lifeguard became respected actor, then respected director, and did twosimultaneous war films at the age of 76! He's also a talented jazz musician (and his son Kyle is a professional), a licensed pilot who still flies a chopper to his studio in order to beat the traffic, an avid supporter of animal rescue efforts (he and his wife have actually adopted dozens of animals to live on their ranch, and anytime Clint talks about his beloved pets it ends up being a huge Crowning Moment of Heartwarming), and has kept physically fit ever since his youth. He still practices meditation and exercises regularly. All this on top of making some of the best movies in Hollywood. And he can kick your ass any day. Truly one of the most badass people in the world
In April 1940 the new 31000 ton German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau intercepted the 25 year old, 27000 ton HMS Renown... and were sent packing by the WW1 veteran battlecruiser, a badass (metaphorical) 'grandpa'.
When the German heavy cruiser Blücher went down in the Oslo Fjord at about 5.30 a.m. the ninth of April 1940, it had been rammed seriously by Norwegian ground artillery from the nearby fort of Oscarsborg. The first and fatal shots, disabling the cruiser, came from two artillery cannons nicknamed Moses and Aaron. The cannons were put there in 1892! Blücher was launched in 1937. Two Badass Grandpa cannons offed it easily, to the surprise of everyone involved.
The American battleships commanded by Adm, Jesse Oldendorf in the battle of Surigao Strait 1944, were all over 23 year old and the youngest (USS West Virginia) was launched 1921. Those battleships also all were Pearl Harbor veterans. Surigao Strait was the last battleship vs battleship action in history.
USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which was launched 1961 and is scheduled to be phased out in 2012, making her 51 years old in continuous service.
During the Gulf War, the US battleships Missouri and Wisconsin were used as part of a diversionary attack, meant to trick the Iraqis into defending against an amphibious landing by the Marines. Their fire was so devastating that Iraqi units actually surrendered to unmanned targeting drones, knowing that once their position was discovered, they would be blasted to smithereens by ships older than any sailor aboard them.
When German Emperor Fredrick I Barbarossa went on the Third Crusade, he was 70 years old and hacked his way through the Balkans. He died at River Taurus, Asia Minor in 1189, not by drowning, but from heart attack.
AS WELL AS DEATH IN SEVERAL OF THE DISCWORLD ANIMATED FILMS.
Jack LaLanne. He once swam handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests. at the age of 70. And he also maintained a healthy lifestyle until the end of his life.
Don Alejo, Nov. 2010, 77 years old. The drug cartel comes to his ranch telling he has one day to leave. He warns them he'll be waiting for them if they come. The next day the drug gang arrives armed with assault rifles and grenades. Don Alejo is alone, barricaded in his home, armed with bolt action hunting rifles. Don Alejo greets the gang with gunfire, starting a gun battle during which he kills 4 gunmen, and wounds 2 more so badly they were left for dead. Finally the drug cartel breaches Don Alejo's home with grenades and kill him. The authorities show up on the scene and describe he as riddled with bullets and two guns by his side.
Minoru Saito. Japanese solo sailor, who in 2008 in the age of 73 left for his eighth solo circumnavigation via the Roaring Forties...(that is: 40th and 50th South, where there are no land masses to hinder the westerlies from blowing, and wind speeds are often 40 kn or more) against the prevailing winds. That means he had to sail around the Cape Horn from east to west, which is extremely dangerous, even if done following the winds from west to east. Saito arrived home in Japan 2010 in the age of 76, making him the oldest solo circumnavigator.
Yasuteru Yamada singlehandedly organised a group of retired engineers and others to help clean up radioactive waste from Fukushima power station, on the grounds that the elderly had less to lose than the young.
Theodore Roosevelt went on Safari at age 50. While he wasn't a grandpa (his only daughter didn't have children until 1925, 19 years after her marriage) he was old enough, and certainly a badass.
Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt. Born into a Prussian family shortly after the unification of Germany, he served in the army since Hitler was in preschool. He was critical about the Nazi regime, but managed to pull off some impressive strategy during World War II, such as leading German armour through the Ardennes forest to knock out the French military. During Operation Barbarossa, he suffered a heart attack while taking Rostov, but refused medical treatment. He even had the courage to speak against Field Marshal Keitel; after the landings at Normandy, Keitel asked Rundstedt for options and he replied "Make peace, you idiot!"
John L Burns, a 69 year old (pushing 70) War of 1812 veteran lived in Gettysburg at the time of the battle. When the battle started, he, a pro-northerner, began heckling the rest of the townsmen, who were mostly pro-southern. Not content with hectoring younger, stronger men, he decided the best course of action would be to grab a rifle and start shooting. He joined the Union and was wounded multiple times. His comrades left him behind, and he could have been executed for being a non-uniformed combatant. He crawled away from his rifle and buried his ammunition before the Confederates arrived and he convinced them that he was a noncombatant who just so happened to be wandering the battlefield, looking for aid for his wife. They treated him and brought him back to his house, and he lived 9 more years.
Armen Amerigian, an 82 year old antique store owner, chased a fleeing robber in his car through three different towns in Massachusetts, and only stopped chasing him because the robber was running red lights and he didn't want to endanger anyone else, but got enough of the license plate number that the robber was apprehended.
Margaret Cho's grandpa: He was badly burned after his house caught fire and he kept going back in to save his 19 adopted children who were orphaned by the Korean War. He was the only person in the family who gave Margaret any encouragement or even told her she was pretty ("All those people who say you're ugly, [look at me,] they don't know shit"). When she got her own TV show he started watching two hours early to make sure he wouldn't miss it and when it was cancelled he was so angry he fell into a coma. When he died his coffin was filled with love letters from his many, many girlfriends — not bad for a guy who was disfigured from running into a burning house 19 times.
Canadian actor Hume Cronyn (1911-2003) was in his youth an amateur boxer. In one of his last films, Cocoon: The Return (1988), his character Joe Finley has to help his friend Bernie escape from the retirement home, so he punches an orderly. Fine, you might say. But Cronyn was blind in one eye and therefore had little depth perception. When you see that guy playing the orderly fall down, it's because Cronyn had just knocked him out.
The masked bandit Black Bart terrorized the stagecoaches of The Wild West for ten years. During this time, he became famous as a "gentleman bandit" who, despite brandishing a shotgun left poetry at the scene of his robberies, was exceedingly polite and never fired a shot even when being shot at. At the end of those ten years, he committed his last robbery and was traced to a boarding house in San Francisco. He was discovered to be a 53-year-old man named Charles Earl Bowles. Bowles was a 49er and Civil War veteran who was thought to have died years back. 53 may not seem old, but to compare, Billy the Kid died at the age of 21 and Jesse James's life ended at 34.
BRIAN BLESSED is the oldest man to have walked to the magnetic North Pole (aged 64), has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and made his THIRD attempt (all unsuccessful, sadly) to climb Mount Everest aged 55. In doing so, he set the record for the highest distance climbed by the oldest man without carrying additional oxygen (28,000ft) and only stopped to turn back so as to save the life of one of his fellow (younger!) climbers.
President George Herbert Walker Bush. WWII veteran, he jumped with parachute off his mortally wounded TBM Avenger in 1944 at Chichi Jima, Pacific. He begin to practise skydiving again when he was 80. He celebrated his 90th birthday with a jump at 13,000 ft.
The TBM Avenger in which he was shot down 1944 was named "Barbara", after his sweetheart. George Bush and Barbara Pierce got married in 1945, making them long runners in marriage.
Bill Haast. He spent the majority of his life handling snakes, acquiring venom to be made into anti-venom, collecting 172 snake bites, and injecting himself with snake venom in order to have an immunity to most snake venom. He passed away in 2011 at the ripe old age of 100 years old, but not because of the snake bites.
In 1998, 70-year-old Joe Robinson, best known for his turn as minor James Bond villain Peter Franks in Diamonds Are Forever, was accosted by a gang of eight hoodlums in Cape Town as he was getting off a bus. Not letting the swarm of baseball bats and knives outdo him, he kicked two of the hoodlums, karate-chopped a third, and broke the arm of a fourth. That was enough for the other four to flee before he could deal with them!
John Cokeley, a 71 year-old 5'10" former boxing champion managed to floor a 34 year-old 6'4" thug.
Manfred W., 70 years old, fell 20 meters into an ice rift and wasn't rescued for 6 days. Good thing he had provisions for a day of hiking, so he had just enough to survive.
This man, a Spanish Civil War veteran who has the energy of a nineteen year old, works out at the gym four times a week and does fifty minutes of press ups and sit ups on a daily basis every morning. How old is he? 93.
This badass grandpa heard someone shout "Shark!"note it was a dusky shark, though I'm not sure it'd have made a difference if it was a great white and wrestled it to protect kids in the water.
If a man is in his fifties or beyond, and still can overhead press 200+ pounds and/or bench press 300+ pounds, it can be said with a great deal of confidence that he's still a badass. Especially when you consider that most men lose 3-5 percent of their muscle mass for every decade after age 30. This goes double if he's someone who has fighting skills to go with the strength.
Jiang Ziya, ancient China's first military strategist, was said to have charged into battle in his nineties, helping the state of Zhou to overthrow the Shang Dynasty.
Norio Wakamoto does a couple hundred pushups a day despite being in his sixties and will fall back into his police officer and martial arts training to help quell riots and lead people to safety, like during the 2011 earthquake in Japan.
In august 2014, three youths in Sweden, armed with baseball bats attempted to mug an elderly man. Little did they know it was Jan Eriksson, an black belt karate champion. He beat them all and only received a few bruises.
81 year old Donald Clouston, a former Army paratrooper, was allegedly held up by a teenage mugger with a knife when he was walking home from the grocery store. Clouston was reported to have brought down the young thug with his bare hands and kept walking.
Hiroshi Fujioka is in excellent shape for a man in his sixties and even reprised his legendary role of Takeshi Hongo from Kamen Rider after an absence of 38 years.
Bold king Leonidas of 300 fame was born some time around 540 B.C. That means by the time he marched to Thermopylae in 480, he was roughly 60 years old.
Chang Tung Sheng (1905-1986) was a grandmaster of Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling) and also was trained in both taichichuan and xingyi. A famous story about Chang was how he visited King Hassan II of Morocco in 1975. One of the king's bodyguards, a black belt in martial arts, suddenly attacked Chang. Chang easily dodged the attack and knocked the opponent unconscious with a single attack.
Martial artist and retired stuntman Gene LeBell was at his time equals with Bruce Lee and can definitely kick asses of people he could be the grandfather of.
Japanese alpinist Yuichiro Miura reached the top of the Mount Everest at 80 years old, surpassing Min Bahadur Sherchan as the oldest person who has done so.
Nguyễn Tri Phương, Viceroy of Hanoi. Born to poor farmers, rose to eminence in the court of king Minh Mạng of the Nguyễn dynasty, sent as emissary to China, defeated rebels and invaders, was made Minister Regent, led the expansion of Vietnam. He personally came out to command the defense efforts against the French when Hanoi was taken the first time (which was a horrific Curb-Stomp Battle that only lasted an hour). He was shot in the stomach, revived by French surgeons, and starved himself to death, unwilling to "prolong a miserable existence" (as detailed in the Famous Last Words page). He was 73.
J. K. Simmons is 61 years old—and pretty ripped as can be seen here◊ or even in◊ Whiplash. It was initally thought he got into that shape for the role of Commissioner Gordon in Justice League (2017), though he later clarified that after losing weight for a second time, he decided to take better care of himself. Given he cited that he made this decision during his Oz days and one of the reasons cited for a scene of J. Jonah Jameson dressed as Spider-Man in Spider-Man 2 being cut was because instead of the intended funny image of an out-of-shape old man in the costume, Simmons filled it out nicely, that might explain why he filled it out nicely.
Dark example: The Granddad Gang, a quartet of senior criminals who decided to rob Hatton Garden, a vault in the UK that is said to be impenetrable. They succeeded.
Deng Xiaoping, (1904-1997). When he was in his 60s, he was able to avoid being killed during the Cultural Revolution, and even after his son was thrown off a building, this still did not diminish his ambitions. In 1978, he seized the reins of power from the younger Hua Guofeng, at the age of 73. He spent his 70s and 80s reforming China's economy. Even after being ousted from power in the aftermath of Tienanmen Square, he returned to public eye in 1992, at the age of 88 to tour Southern China and bring energy back into his economic reforms. Nothing could slow this man down as long as he breathed.