Essential Viewing: 11 Walton Goggins Movies and TV Shows You Must See

Spoilers

Walton Goggins, the ghoulish antihero of Prime Video’s Fallout series, has become an unexpected sex symbol with the show’s success. 

Undoubtedly, the reason is the character of Ghoul. Goggins combines a hardened survivalist’s anarchic mind with a Hollywood cowboy’s rustic stoicism. 

He feels like Ronald Reagan channeling John Wayne, like a man at the end of his days who sticks around for one more horseback ride. 

The resignation in his attitude drives his character, not to mention the characters around him who react to his infamy and monstrous appearance. He’s the new face of anarchy and arguably the first mainstream character to embody the spirit of anarchy with such a genteel facade. 

You must be in love with Cooper Howard, aka The Ghoul, because you’ve seen Walton Goggin’s face many times. 

He’s been in countless movies since the 1990s, usually playing morally confused or at least ambiguous characters. He has a unique movie star mug and a guileless smile that makes you want to punch him in the face if he’s playing a reprehensible character. 

While you may have recently noticed the nuances of Walton Goggin’s acting chops, he’s been turning heads for years by playing character parts in many movies and TV shows – some of which you may want to check out a second time. 

Here are 11 Walton Goggins movies and TV shows you must see if you’re experiencing end-of-season “fallout.”

1. Charlie in The Next Karate Kid (1994)

It’s hard to believe that Goggins was once a cock-eyed jock student in the “Alpha Elite,” a shady high school fraternity that bullies good-hearted teenagers, including Mister Myagi’s next protege Julie Pierce. 

The Next Karate Kid is a perfect movie to relive the glory days of Walton’s youth. 

2. The Apostle (1997)

If you want to see Goggins inhabit the polar opposite of his ghoul character, check him out as a heart-on-sleeves religious convert in The Apostle. 

Robert Duvall’s understated and barely-acknowledged masterpiece was possibly the only Oscar-worthy Christian movie you will ever see, as it was an objective examination of faith through the eyes of a small church. 

To watch Goggins as an optimist, a man so emotional and heartstruck with his spiritual leader, you’d swear he just climbed out of a vault. 

3. The Accountant (2001)

Things started to pick up for Goggins when he produced and acted in a short tragicomedy film called The Accountant.

His character, Farmer Tommy O’Dell, is at the heart of the story and explores the plight of America’s family farms. 

The film would win the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

4. The Shield (2002-2008)

Shane Vendrell of The Shield was the main character Vic Mackey’s best friend and partner before the Strike Team assembled. 

He’s the one guy even more reckless than Vic Mackey, and his impulsiveness costs him everything by the end of the series. 

Shane Vendrell had one of the darkest story arcs in cop show history, and Goggins brings unforgettable pathos to his role, which may be too much to handle for family viewers who aren’t too keen on family tragedies. 

5. Lincoln (2012)

His performance as “lame duck” Democratic Representative Clay Hawkins (who sells his vote for the postmastership of Millersburg, Ohio) sounds like serious business. 

Of course, the joke was on us. This person never existed! 

Still, Goggins’ performance is memorable for depicting politicians during the Civil War Era who were torn between morality and radical politics that came with consequences. 

6. Justified (2010-2015)

A neo-Western crime drama in the spirit of Deadwood, but in modern times, Justified was the talk of the 2010 decade. The show brought back Timothy Olyphant to the Western genre, but Walton Goggins was the real scene stealer. 

Throughout the series, Boyd Crowder, played by Goggins, goes from small-time criminal to born-again religious leader, to coal miner, to criminal again. 

It’s a complicated character, but Goggins certainly has a type when choosing morally ambiguous characters that still tug at your heart. His Emmy Award nomination was long overdue at this point since this guy could play anybody doing almost anything.

7. Django Unchained (2012) and The Hateful Eight (2015)

In the 2010s, Walton wasn’t quite the icon he has become in the 2020s, but he still had an unmistakable presence. 

In Django Unchained, he goes back to playing pure evil, this time as Billy Crash, a Mandingo fight trainer and associate of cartoonishly fiendish racist Calvin Candie.

Billy is just an SOB to everyone in the movie, and Goggins uses his huckleberry grin to taunt Django and almost do the unthinkable (and unprintable) to him. But Django gets the last word by the film’s end and tells Billy how to pronounce his name once and for all. 

In The Hateful Eight, Goggins helps Tarantino rewrite history again, playing Sheriff Chris Mannix, who has a bloody score or two to settle. Since The Hateful Eight is possibly the most loquacious of Tarantino’s scripts, Goggins practically gave us a tour-de-force stageplay performance.

Goggins is a Tarantino favorite, having starred in three of the director’s films, including a cameo appearance in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.  

8. Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014)

As Venus Van Dam in Sons of Anarchy, Goggins got to play against his usual macho type. Van Dam is a trans prostitute who becomes an ally of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club and eventually starts a romance with Tig Trager.

First appearing in the fifth season, Goggins fleshed out what could have been a stereotypical character and kept unengrossed until season seven. Goggins even appeared in the series finale “Papa’s Goods.”

9. Vice Principals (2016)

While comedy is not necessarily Goggins’ strong suit, he’s good at it. 

In Vice Principals, he plays co-vice principal Lee Russell. With co-vice principal Neal Gamby (Danny McBride), Russel tries to out-scheme Dr. Belinda Brown (Kimberly Hébert Gregory).

While Goggins gets laughs here, one can’t help but wonder why a sitcom has to have such a distinctly “Western” ending, with Russel getting his comeuppance and witnessing his own self-destruction. 

We can only deduce Goggins has a dark sense of humor, even when he’s making a funny. 

10. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Like they always say about the Oscars, it’s an honor to be nominated…as a Marvel Cinematic Universe Villain

Even if you’re not a big-time antagonist and are reduced to fighting Ant-Man, it’s still admirable to make someone like Sonny Burch stand out. 

Sonny is a low-level criminal who wants to steal Hank Pym’s quantum technology to sell on the black market. He’s so evil he has henchmen, owns a restaurant, and eventually confesses his crimes to the police while under a truth serum. 

Oh, Walton, just say it’s an honor to be nominated. 

11. The Righteous Gemstones (2019)

In recent years, Walton Goggins has returned to playing bad in The Righteous Gemstones and plays Baby Billy Freeman with his usual rubber-faced zest. 

A former child televangelist star who’s now a habitual liar and just a deadbeat in general, Goggins gets to chew scenery while sticking to his strong suit – cartoon villainy as depicted in a realistic world. 

The Righteous Gemstones is a wonderful spin on the family crime drama. Even when the show “punches low,” it’s still a kick in the nuts, especially when letting seasoned actors like John Goodman, Danny McBride, and Dermot Mulroney play off each other.

Walton Goggins Finds His Career Powerup in Fallout

In Fallout, as the morally exhausted Ghoul, Walton Goggins finally reached the pinnacle of his career and found the perfect balance of chaos and restraint to inhabit a memorable character. 

When Cooper Howards speaks, even the lavish Fallout set designs disappear, thanks to his Golden Age Hollywood affectation.

When the Ghoul threatens you, you feel terror in the air because his “Desperate Cowboy” persona is his only means of survival now. Cooper’s method acting is his last ace to win this poker game of life. 

His face is now invisible, but his tarnished soul is still fully displayed. 

Only by hiding his interesting face did Walton Goggins remind us of who he was inside, earning him fame as 2024’s most memorable character.

Michael Arangua is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow him on X.

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