Who doesn’t love sporting a cool beard? Well, aside from any female readers I may have. Beards have a pretty interesting history when it comes to movies. So for no rational reason other than entertainment value I thought it would be fun just to look at 10 movie beards that have stood out to me. And let me tell you, just sticking with 10 was a chore in itself. Anyway, here we go…
#10 – The Retro 1980 Beard (Tony Mendez – “Argo”)
Ben Affleck’s Oscar winning “Argo” had a great opening, a great cast, and a great story. But it also features a Ben Affleck beard that hearkens back to the 1980’s. It is a bit jarring when you first see Ben in his mass of facial hair. But it actually fits well in the setting especially when combined with the bushy mop he is also sporting.
#9 – The Overtly Obvious Fake Beard (Everett – “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)
We have seen George Clooney in beards on multiple occasions but never in something that looked straight off of Duck Dynasty. Well that is what we get in the Coen Brothers deep south comedy “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”. Trying to hide your identity but also singing on a big public stage isn’t the smartest idea. Luckily Everett and his friends have the worse faux beards you’ll ever see.
#8 – The Sick, Twisted Evil Guy Beard (Calvin Candie – “Django Unchained”)
Leo DiCaprio has played a number of roles and many of them featured bits of facial scruff that had me wondering if he could even grow a full beard. Well he shut me up with his pointy bad boy beard in “Django Unchained”. His Calvin Candie is mean to the bone and a thoroughly detestable human being. But that beard he sports is unique even in a film full of bearded brethren.
#7 – The Wise Old Wizard Beard (Gandolf – “The Lord of the Rings”)
I mean come on, when it comes to memorable movie beards how can you not include Gandolf and his massive mane? The Gray and white beard as sported by Ian McKellen is picture perfect as a wise old sage with a bit of magic on the side. It’s as much a part of the character as is his powers and who would ever want to see a clean cut Gandolf? Nope, not me.
#6 – The Surly Wild West Beard (Rooster Cogburn – “True Grit”)
When the Coen Brothers decided to remake “True Grit” I thought it was an interesting choice for them. But so many of the components worked well including Jeff Bridges as the surly, cantankerous Rooster Gogburn. His unkept ratty beard actually had many similarities with the character himself. How many times does he scratch his beard during some scenes? It makes sense. I mean who knows when he washed it last?
#5 – The ‘It’s Fur, Not a Beard’ Beard (Scott Howard – “Teen Wolf”)
When you think back on it “Teen Wolf” was one preposterous movie. But oddly enough and despite something inside of me telling me different, it’s an entertaining flick that feels right at home in the crazy 80’s. The story is obvious – an awkward young teen (Michael J. Fox) turns into a werewolf and becomes the social hit of his school. It starts with facial hair which we all know makes you more popular in school, right? Well for him it didn’t stop there.
#4 – The Blood-Soaked Battlefield Beard (Leonidas – “300”)
Okay, whether you appreciated “300” or not you have to admit that those were some pretty tough Spartans. There is a violent and bloody artistry to the battle scenes in “300” as this group of outmanned Spartans battle an entire Persian army. But with a tough and powerful leader like Leonidas, armed with his chiseled six-pack abs and jet black warriors beard, even I (minus the six-pack and jet black beard) would run out and die in battle.
#3 – The Suave Euro Beard (Hans Gruber – “Die Hard”)
In all of movie history I don’t know if you’ll find a more suave and chic main villain than Hans Gruber. He is smart and calculated. He is thorough and precise. He has an appreciate for good food and fine suits. He sports well groomed hair and and an even better groomed beard that screams “in fashion”. It’s impossible not to be impressed with Hans even while he is shooting your boss, blowing up the building, and taking you hostage.
#2 – The Crazed Stranded on a Deserted Island Beard (Chuck Noland – “Cast Away”)
What a metamorphosis! In “Cast Away” Tom Hanks goes from well groomed and clean cut to looking like a wild man raised by a pack of wolves. But lets be honest, it is with good reason. I mean lets see how you would look after being stranded on a remote island for over four years with no razor or shaving cream. Regardless it is a beard that is unforgettable whether it’s because of its craziness or because it’s on Tom Hanks.
#1 – The ‘Because I’m Clint Flipping Eastwood’ Beard – (Blondie – “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”)
Clint Eastwood is the man. I know that sounds silly, but Clint has been the quintessential movie tough guy for more than four decades. My first exposure to that gravely voice and patented Clint squint came in Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. The film is Clint Eastwood in a nutshell – tough as nails, quick with his sidearm, wearing a menacing serape, and of course that tough guy beard. He didn’t support it as much after the spaghetti westerns, but this tough guy look is how I first got to know him.