"I miss the days when you'd get 'The Wild Bunch' or 'The Dirty Dozen,' these guys who were really crusty men who had lived lives," said Frank Darabont, director of "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile," in Friday's USA Today.
Some have pointed to Pitt's big screen unbelievability as a fierce warrior in "Troy" as evidence of the lack of seasoned, macho actors available in Hollywood.
Crowe, however, could have pulled off that role or any other historical hero, said Stephanie Zacharek, a film critic at www.salon.com.
"He certainly has a heroic presence. He has masculinity as opposed to machismo. There's also something else going on there, a certain amount of gravitas and brains. Maybe the brains is the main thing that is often missing," Zacherek said.