Legendary thespian Gene Hackman, 82, lost his cool yesterday after a homeless man allegedly called his wife a “cunt.”

The incident, which took place outside a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, reportedly resulted in the actor slapping the man, identified as Bruce Becker, across the face.

Becker subsequently called the cops, who arrived at the scene and spoke with Hackman.

According to Sgt. Andrea Dobyns, Hackman said he feared for the couple’s safety after Becker approached them “in a very aggressive manner” and “got into his face.”

“It looked like Mr. Hackman did this purely out of self-defense to protect himself and his wife,” Dobyns said.

No one was injured in the altercation, and no charges were filed.

[photo via AP]