Danny Dyer is one of Britain's most prolific stars, with a career spanning both critically acclaimed and critically derided material, the latter exemplified by his work in exploitation movies. This article investigates Dyer's film stardom, considering some of the central debates surrounding his status as an actor. Central to the discussion is the significance of Dyer within the contemporary cultural landscapes of gender and class, and the various complexities and contradictions that circulate around his persona. The article analyses Dyer's stardom in the wake of his role in the cult exploitation movie that consolidated his subsequent ‘hard man’ typecasting, The Football Factory (2004), and considers how the marketing of the majority of his subsequent films has been instrumental in perpetuating a particular construction of his stardom which, in turn, informs his reception by the critics. The article traces connections between Dyer's popularity and recurrent critical derision aimed at him as an actor lacking artistic integrity and genuine talent. It contends that the politics of both Dyer's star construction and his critical reception are linked to the renewed legitimacy of class hatred in British society, represented by media discourses surrounding the ‘chav’, which appositely reflects his ‘low’ cultural status as a ‘straight-to-DVD’ actor.