1. Hidalgo (2004)
Hidalgo is probably my favorite non-LOTR movie with Viggo Mortensen in it. Here, Mortensen plays Frank Hopkins, a cowboy in the late 1800s who is very good at winning cross-country races…in America. His fame spreads and soon he is challenged to the ultimate horse race: a 3,000 mile survival race across the Arabian desert. Hopkins enters the race for pride but soon has nothing on his mind but how to keep himself and his horse alive.
Frank Hopkins: “Get out of here mister. Leave me be.”
Yusef: “This is not possible. I was charged with the crime of stealing milk. As punishment I have been assigned to the American and his horse.”
Frank Hopkins: “You’re working for me?”
Yusef: “It was this or be removed of my left hand. The future will tell if I have chosen poorly.”
2. A History of Violence (2005)
Here, Viggo plays a mild-mannered man named Tom Stall, who one day becomes a local hero when he violently (and efficiently) foils an attempt at an armed robbery. His actions cause a sensation and bring him to the attention of a mysterious and threatening visitor, who believes Tom wronged him in the past and has come to take his revenge.
Tom Stall: [about Jack beating up Bobby] What the hell were you thinking?
Jack Stall: I wasn’t thinking.
Tom Stall: Obviously not.
3. Captain Alatriste: The Spanish Musketeer, or Alatriste (2006)
Diego Alatriste, played by Viggo Mortensen, is a brave and heroic soldier in 17th century Spain, fighting for the king. Turning mercenary after the death of his friend, Alatriste returns to Madrid and is hired to kill the Prince of Wales with a Sicilian assassin.
Conde Duque de Olivares: “Without Flanders there’s nothing…Captain.”
4. A Perfect Murder (1998)
In this remake of Alfred Hitchcock classic Dial M For Murder, Viggo Mortensen plays David Shaw, the lover of the unfaithful wife of a millionaire industrialist who has everything except the fidelity of his wife. Jealous of the affair, millionaire Steven Taylor sets out to commit the perfect murder and inherit her trust fund in the bargain.
Steven: There you are. And how was your day? Any progress in saving the world?
Emily: I’m working on it.
5. On The Road (2012)
In this movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s famous book, young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girlfriend. Together, they travel across the country and encounter a number of people who influence them immensely. Viggo Mortensen plays a Beat writer called Old Bull Lee.