Legendary actor Gene Hackman may be 82 years old, but he's not too frail to defend his wife's honor. That's what a homeless dude learned the hard way when he called Mrs. Hackman a vile word that stars with a C and ends with a T.

TMZ reports that the two-time Oscar winner and his wife Betsy were leaving a restaurant in Sante Fe, N.M. on Tuesday when a residentially-challenged guy named Bruce Becker "approached them in a threatening manner."

The incident then got really nasty when Becker called Betsy a see-you-next-Tuesday, prompting the gallant Gene to bitchslap the man across the face. Because no one disses his lady, yo.

Becker called the cops, but after officers assessed the situation, they determined the smack was in self-defense. Thus far, no charges have been filed.

Gene was last seen throwing gang signs and yelling, "TELL YOUR FRIENDS WHERE THE HANDPRINT CAME FROM."