16 Movies You Never Knew David Harbour Appeared In Before ‘Stranger Things’

by Taylor Ferber
Courtesy Netflix

Long before fighting the mean streets of Hawkins, Indiana (oh, and the deadly Upside Down), Chief Hopper was slaying on screen. The Stranger Things star is certainly having a moment right now with the wild success of the Netflix sci-fi series, but David Harbour has had many acting roles for quite some time now, and there are even some that fans may not know about.

Before suiting up in his uniform, Harbour actually made his acting debut on Broadway. (No one can deny his captivating voice and demeanor are meant for the stage.) According to Playbill, Harbour made his theater debut in 1999's Rainmaker and has had nine Broadway roles since. The 42-year-old even scored a 2005 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?

It wasn't until 2002 when the actor made his screen debut. According to IMDb, his TV roles began with an appearance on Law & Order in 2002. A few years later, the actor made his film debut in 2004's Kinsey, starring Liam Neeson. Since then, he's starred in various films from crime thrillers to romantic comedies.

Fans know and love Harbour as the greatest police chief that Hawkins (and TV) has ever seen. But after looking at his repertoire, they'll see how multidimensional the actor's talents truly are. In case you already marathoned Stranger Things Season 2 and are missing Chief Hopper, here are some more of Harbour's on-screen roles to get you through the hard times.


'Suicide Squad'

In the DC comic brought to life, Harbour plays Dexter Tolliver, the president's National Security Advisor (and an arguably sleazy man in politics). His character raises the question about what could happen if heroes like Superman have free reign without any consequences or law. He ends up supporting Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and her Task Force X idea — enlisting imprisoned supervillains (the Suicide Squad) for dangerous tasks in exchange for prison time. If the sequel sticks to the comic, Dexter Tolliver may bring trouble in Suicide Squad 2.


'The Equalizer'

This may be a thriller and Harbour does play a cop, but the character is far from the police chief that Stranger Things fans know and love. While Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) leaves his seemingly average life behind to avenge the helpless, the corrupt Boston PD cop Frank Masters (Harbour) is there to complicate everything. Working in an unspecified department in a special investigations unit, Masters works with the Russian and Irish mob. Hopper would never be having this sort of behavior.


'Quantum of Solace'

In the second installment of the latest James Bond franchise, Harbour plays CIA agent and Section Chief for South America, Gregg Beam. In the film, his character makes a deal to ignore Bond (Daniel Craig) and the Quantum organization and attempts to deceive M (Judi Dench) in the process (all while rocking a solid mustache).


'The Wedding Weekend'

Think American Pie meets Pitch Perfect. Not only does a young, shaven Harbour sing a capella in the film, but he also dances. It's pretty glorious. In the film, a group of male friends who sang a capella in college reunites 15 years later at a beach house to perform at their friend's wedding. Also featuring Molly Shannon, this comedy is perhaps one of Harbour's lighter films.


'End Of Watch'

If there's one thing Harbour has a knack for, it's playing a cop (good or bad). In End of Watch, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña play two LAPD cops, whose journey and brotherhood is chronicled through raw footage and from all perspectives. Harbour plays policeman Van Hauser, and once said he got tased in the shooting process in order to make the film and their roles as authentic as possible.


'Revolutionary Road'

Revolutionary Road chronicles a couple (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) in the 1950s, that rebels against the redundancies of every day suburban life. In it, Harbour plays Shep Campbell, a man who's hopelessly in love with Winslet's character April. Harbour had on-screen sex scenes with Winslet, and yes, they were performed on set in front of her then-husband Sam Mendes.


'A Walk Among The Tombstones'

Unlike Hopper, Harbour's Walk Among the Tombstones character Ray is one of the bad guys. In the thriller, his character pretends to be a DEA agent while kidnapping drug dealers' wives and girlfriends for ransom. If only Hopper knew of this unspeakable behavior.


'Brokeback Mountain'

This game-changing drama (starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) created strides through its portrayal of two gay men on screen. Although, Harbour doesn't think his role as cowboy Randall Malone is what helped make the film so iconic. "No one will remember this, 'cause I was the third gay cowboy in a two-gay-cowboy movie," he once told Kelly Rippa. He also said directed Ang Lee told him to be "more handsome" (if that's even possible).


'Thin Ice'

This comedy/crime is about a dishonest insurance salesman (Greg Kinnear) whose life spirals out of control when he conspires with a psychopath (Billy Crudup) to steal a famous violin. Harbour plays Bob Egan, who shares scenes with Kinnear at a diner and may be involved in his character's wild plan.


'The Green Hornet'

Seth Rogen stars in this crime film remake as a lazy fortune heir who turns to fighting crime for some life purpose. Harbour plays District Attorney Frank Scanlon, an ally to Rogen's Britt Reid.


'Black Mass'

If there's one thing Harbour seems to love being a part of, it's a good, old crime drama. In Black Mass (inspired by a true story), Johnny Depp plays Whitey Bulger, a criminal and the brother of a politician who became an FBI informant to take down the Mafia. Harbour plays John Morris, the head of the FBI Investigations Unit in Boston who approved the deal between the FBI and Bulger.


'Between Us'

Harbour stars opposite Melissa George in this drama about two couples (the other played by Taye Diggs and Julia Stiles), who have a mysterious and complex history with one another. When the 6'3'' actor raises his voice, let's just say he is not to be messed with.


'State Of Play'

In this mystery, a soon-to-be presidential nominee's (Ben Affleck) life goes into turmoil and rocks D.C. when his mistress is murdered and further secrets unfold. Harbour's PointCorp insider role is a journalist's (Russell Crowe) source. The role may be a small one, but Harbour's presence still can't be ignored.



Starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney, Kinsey recounts the true story of professor Alfred Kinsey (Neeson) who set out to unearth secrets and answers about human sexuality in the '40s. Although Harbour has the minor role of Robert Kinsey, the story is fascinating enough to check out. Plus, Kinsey was Harbour's film debut.



Harbour is a different, clean-shaven man in Parkland, a drama about the chaos that unfolded surrounding the Parkland Hospital in Dallas after John F. Kennedy's assassination. Based on the book Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Harbour plays Gordon Shanklin, the FBI supervisor whose team missed the opportunity to arrest the assassin before the shooting. The above scene will bring back solid memories of Hopper and Eleven's conversations in Season 2.


'Every Day'

In Every Day, a TV writer (Liev Schreiber) is at a crossroad in his life, personally and professionally. Harbour plays fellow screenwriter Brian, one of the lead character's colleagues, in this dramedy. He looks totally different than Chief Hopper, and the role is definitely a departure from the cops he's played in the past and continues to on Stranger Things.

One thing is certain: There is only one Chief Hopper. But until Stranger Things makes its inevitable and epic third season return, fans will always have Harbour.