Picture a hero from a movie or TV show from the past ten years! You got one? I have a gun to your head! Just kidding, it’s an article. How would I know that? Chances are though, whoever you picked, they had a few defining traits: great hair, kind eyes, and a nice, clean-shaven face. If they’re a tortured anti-hero, a light stubble.

Quick! There’s actually a gun against your head this time! Picture a villain from the last 10 years! Only joking! You’re not very good with computers, are you? Did you imagine a guy with a sharp suit, devilish grin and/or grimace, and some kind of facial hair. Ever wonder why that is?

It’s a well-worn trope that in most movies or TV shows, the character with the facial hair tends to be the one dangling some poor defenseless woman or child off a building while cackling maniacally. Even your evil doppelganger is pretty much the same as you are, except he has some kind of goatee (see Spock, Abed from Community). And even when the hero does take on some sort of facial hair, it’s gone by the time he decides to do some heroing. Take Henry Cavill in Man of Steel, for example:

Source - flicksandbits.com
Source – flicksandbits.com

That picture is taken from the beginning of the film, before he realizes who he is, but the second he dons the suit and becomes Superman?

movies-man-of-steel-henry-cavill-superman

Clark Kent is literally in an ice cavern when he discovers his alien past and realizes his true destiny to indirectly kill hundreds of thousands of people in that final fight scene. When would he have time to shave?

There’s also Christian Bale from The Dark Knight Rises.

Source - batman-online.com
Source – batman-online.com

Bruce Wayne is in hiding after the events of eight years back, and has grown a pretty kickin’ beard but as soon as he realizes his city needs him to become Batman again… there it goes.

Source - nerdreactor.com
Source – nerdreactor.com

It’s ridiculous how there doesn’t seem to be many heroes who can maintain a decent beard, whereas the bad guys can’t enough facial hair. The worst example of this, however, has to be Walter White from Breaking Bad, who, in the first episode goes from beaten-down chemistry teacher with a light moustache to evil drug kingpin with a super evil goatee.

Bryan Cranston Beard
Bryan Cranston Beard

I am missing some obvious examples, like Thor and Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, but what do you think? Do you want to see more heroes sporting full beards, goatees, or god forbid, soul patches? Let me know in the comments below!

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Hi! Henry here! I write words. Mostly in English. I'm an intermediate Afro grower, plus a novice beard grower. Yeah, I know that's a lot of hair. I look like Bigfoot with male pattern baldness. I will respond to literally every Twitter message and I really, really appreciate your opinion. And that's not even entirely sarcasm!

1 COMMENT

  1. That has in a weird way always bothered me, I guess because it fits so neatly into the wide world of the public’s distaste for facial hair. It appeases the audience of brainless fools who only want to be told that unconventional equals evil. That’s my perspective on it, anyway. Sorry for preaching. So, instead of brooding over it, I’d like to say my thanks to some of the great bearded heroes of cinema.
    -Sean Connery, first and foremost: from The Wind and the Lion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, he proudly wore his beard in defiance of Hollywood expectation.
    -Then, of course, Kurt Russell as MacReady in The Thing.
    -Clint Eastwood in his westerns.
    -Charlton Heston in several movies: The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, El Cid, The Agony and the Ecstasy, Major Dundee and Planet of the Apes, to start with.
    -Richard Harris in Camelot, Man in the Wilderness, The Field and Gladiator
    -Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Richard Jordan and Stephen Lang in Gettysburg (possibly the finest feast of facial hair in movie history)
    OK, I feel a lot better now. So who have I missed? Let’s have some heroic movie beards.

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