A collage of David Harbour's roles in No Sudden Move, End of Watch, Star Wars: Visions, Revolutionary Road, and Black Widow

10 Best David Harbour Movies & Shows To Sustain You Until There’s More ‘Stranger Things’

David Harbour gained global recognition for his role as Jim Hopper in Netflix’s Stranger Things, but his Hollywood career started long before he portrayed the gruff but lovable police chief on the hit streaming series. He first entered in the film industry in 1999 when he guest starred in an episode of Law & Order. Over the next few years, he would continue guest starring in episodes of various series in the Law & Order franchise. By 2005, he was making his way into minor film roles before nabbing one of his first big gigs in Revolutionary Road.

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Harbour found a bit of a niche in neo-noir thrillers and crime dramas before making his breakthrough in Stranger Things. Since then, he has made impressive strides in his career, including entering the MCU and DCU, portraying Santa Claus, starring in a Netflix original, and making his way back his neo-noir niche on a larger scale. Here’s a look at the 10 best TV shows and films Harbour has appeared in, ranked worst to best.

10. Extraction

David Harbour as Gaspar in Extraction

Extraction is a 2020 film that follows black ops mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) on a mission to save the kidnapped son of an Indian crime lord. Harbour appears in the film as Gaspar, a former member of the black ops team and friend of Rake. Extraction is a pretty generic action film, but it is greatly elevated by the performances of its cast, as well as its outrageous and thrilling action sequences. The plot is pretty basic, though, and just from reading the summary, one can tell that this going to be a white savior-type story. Still, it’s a pretty straightforward and action-packed film that will keep most audiences entertained.

9. A Walk Among the Tombstones

David Harbour as Ray in A Walk Among Tombstones
(Universal Pictures)

A Walk Among the Tombstones premiered in 2014 and follows private detective Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) on his relentless mission to find the culprits behind the murder of a drug trafficker’s girlfriend. His mission sends him deep into the criminal world, where he is forced to track down despicable villains like Ray (Harbour), blur the lines between good and bad, and confront his past.

A Walk Among the Tombstones has a nostalgic noir feel to it and tackles the moral ambiguity of Scudder’s actions in an intriguing manner. It is also a gritty, thrilling, and mysterious dive into the depravity of some criminals. However, while it’s a nice throwback, it doesn’t really add anything to the neo-noir genre and is ultimately a pretty typical crime/mystery thriller.

8. Black Mass

David Harbour as John Morris in Black Mass
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Black Mass is a crime drama that premiered in 2015 and is based on the true story of American gangster Whitey Bulger. The film sees crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) strike a deal with FBI agent John Connelly (Joel Edgerton) to serve as an informant on the Italian mob in exchange for protection, which Bulger quickly takes advantage of. Harbour appears in the film as John Morris, a fellow FBI agent who supports Connelly’s deal with Bulger.

Black Mass is a very good crime drama and is especially intriguing considering it’s based on a true story. It boasts an incredible ensemble cast and has a classic gangster feel combined with satisfying action. However, the plot does get a little complicated and tedious at some points, meaning it lacks some of the excitement expected of crime films—and starring Johnny Depp isn’t doing it any favors.

7. Violent Night

David Harbour as Santa in Violent Night
(Universal Pictures)

Violent Night premiered in 2022 and sees Harbour take on the role of Santa Claus. However, he’s not just any Santa Claus, but a very pissed off, violent, and drunken one, who makes grisly work of a few mercenaries he discovers targeting the Lightstone family on Christmas Eve. Violent Night benefits from a very wild plot, as well as from the comical absurdity of watching Santa Claus violently murder people in a Christmas-themed setting.

Harbour is also delightful as a tough, jaded, middle-aged Santa Claus, reminiscent of Billy Bob Thorton’s Bad Santa. However, the violence is a little excessive, and there isn’t a whole lot to the plot. For those who can stomach the violence, though, it still manages to work surprisingly well as a unique Christmas flick.

6. Revolutionary Road

David Harbour as Shep Campbell in Revolutionary Road
(Paramount Pictures)

Revolutionary Road premiered in 2008 and is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Richard Yates. The film follows 1950s couple April (Kate Winslet) and Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio), who are seemingly living the perfect suburban dream. However, their lives are secretly crumbling under the pressures of oppressive gender roles and the illusion of the American Dream.

Harbour portrays Shep Campbell, one of the Wheelers’ neighbors who also feels out of place in their suburban neighborhood. Revolutionary Road is a very faithful adaptation of Yates’ work and darkly and poignantly captures a 1950s America in which those with ambition and aspirations buckle under the pressure of conformity. It almost plays out like a horror film in the way it boldly tackles some of the underlying issues of the period.

5. End of Watch

David Harbour as Officer Van Hauser in End of Watch
(Open Road Films)

End of Watch is a cop drama that follows LAPD officers and partners Officer Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Officer Miguel Zavala (Michael Peña). Taylor and Zavala form a bond as they balance their personal and professional lives and accidentally get mixed up with the dangerous Sinaloa cartel. Harbour appears in End of Watch as another cop, Officer Van Hauser, who Taylor and Zavala provide backup for.

The film is shot documentary-style from the perspective of hand-held cameras, giving audiences the feel of really tagging along with its characters. There are a couple of cop clichés that sneak into it, but mostly it’s an enjoyable film that focuses on the friendship between its leads.

4. No Sudden Move

David Harbour as Matt Wertz in No Sudden Move
(Warner Bros.)

No Sudden Move premiered in 2021 and follows small-time criminals Curt Goynes (Don Cheadle) and Ronald Russo (Benicio del Toro), who gets recruited to hold General Motors account Matt Wertz (Harbour) and his family hostage to secure a secret document. However, the two criminals realize they were set up and decide to work backward to find who hired them and what the document in question is worth.

No Sudden Move features an intricate detective plot, commentary on the 1950s auto industry and racial tensions, as well as a phenomenal ensemble cast. The only place it falters is that the plot is fairly convoluted and with so many backstories, backstabbings, and twists that it can leave audiences feeling a bit confused.

3. Black Widow

David Harbour as The Red Guardian in Black Widow

Marvel’s 2021 Black Widow film sees Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) reunite with her estranged family and confront her past as a Russian spy, in hopes of saving other women from the trauma she and her sister experienced growing up. Harbour and Florence Pugh impressed so much in their roles as Romanoff’s adoptive father Shostakov (a.k.a. The Red Guardian) and sister Yelena Belova that both will return in Marvel’s Thunderbolts.

Johansson is also delightful as usual while the film delves into interesting topics of family dysfunction and trauma. However, its placement in the MCU makes it feel a little irrelevant and the action sequences and formulaic plot take some of the focus away from the film’s more serious commentary.

2. Star Wars: Visions

David Harbour as the voice of Tajin in Star Wars: Visions

Star Wars: Visions premiered in 2021 and is an animated Star Wars anthology series on Disney+. Each episode is animated by a non-American animated studio and takes on the format of a short film inspired by the Star Wars franchise. Harbour lends his voice in the English dub of season 1 episode 7, “Elder,” for the role of Tajin.

The episode takes place in the future and sees Jedi master Tajin take on a lingering Sith, who survived the ancient order’s extinction. Every episode, though, varies in whether it takes place in the past or future and follows Jedi or Sith. However, each is beautifully animated and shows off the talents of studios across the world. It really shows the merit of collaboration and the endless tales that others can bring to an established franchise.

1. Stranger Things

David Harbour as Hopper in Stranger Things

Stranger Things premiered in 2016 and follows a group of young friends who become attuned to the supernatural forces in their hometown of Hawkins, Indiana, after one of their friends goes missing. The show is a unique blend of sci-fi, horror, and coming-of-age stories, with a nice retro flair and deeply intriguing characters.

Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven and Harbour’s Jim Hopper particularly shine in the series with their father-daughter dynamic and their shared desire to protect the people they care about. Stranger Things is the perfect blend of humor, horror, and heartbreak and never fails to intrigue audiences with both its supernatural and human elements.

(featured image: Warner Bros. Pictures/Open Road Films/Disney/Paramount Pictures)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.