Through the years, the silver screen has venerated fashion by giving actors a salient persona through modish outfits, sleek cars, and distinct hairstyles all the way to iconic eyewear. Let’s take a look at some of the most talked about movie roles, scenes, and posters which caught everybody’s eye with their famed spectacles.
1. Breakfast at Tiffanys
A cult film with a stream of high fashion followers, who could forget Audrey Hepburn’s defining role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Initially, writer Truman Capote wanted actress Marilyn Monroe to play the role, but Ms. Hepburn landed it instead. Her charming character as Holly Golightly sported brown wayfarers from the very opening scene as she looked through the windows of the famous jewelry store. In another striking scene, she holds the chic frames down with her right hand, a cigarette in between her fingers, revealing her doe eyes as she gazed up a performing stripper in a New York bar. Truly an eye catching sight, don’t you think?
2.) The Graduate
The Graduate is one of the most revered coming of age films of all time. And yes, before Tootsie and all the gray hair, Dustin Hoffman was once a teenager with raging hormones. What do you do when you’re a track star and a straight A student with good looks? Easy: you take advantage of it. A diligent student strained with the reality of pursuing a career or attending graduate school, the naïve Benjamin finds himself in an irresistible frenzy with his parent’s family friend, Mrs. Robinson. What better way to depict youth and its carefree oblivion by setting up a floating bed on a pool, our young graduate sunbathing topless, with his trendy black sunglasses exuding that I-don’t-care attitude. It spells fun and trouble, but for some reason, he manages to pull it off with charming style.
Considered another one of Stanley Kubrick’s seductive masterpieces, Lolita’s role was played by actress Sue Lyon who was casted at the age of 12. It’s one thing to imagine Lolita in Vladimir Nobokov’s novel, but it’s another experience to finally see her all fleshed out on the big screen. This controversial story made its mark in literature and has enjoyed a cult following with other writers and artists alluding to this work of art.
Though the film did not show Lolita wearing heart-shaped eyeglasses, the poster had Sue Lyon sporting the red flirtatious specs. The glasses were so iconic that Marilyn Manson wore heart-shaped glasses, acknowledging his Nobokov influence, while performing in his Rape of the World tour in 2007-2008.
4.) Top Gun (1986)
Top Gun starred actor Tom Cruise as a patriotic and handsome USS enterprise pilot in this action drama. The film landed one of the top 5 most patriotic films of all time, according to Babble Blog’s celebrity features. It stood alongside other remarkable films such as Forrest Gump and Pearl Harbor. The fearless and spunky Maverick sported gold-rimmed aviators to complete the look with his valiant All-American attitude. Of course, the matinee idol’s undeniably good looks and talent later on led him to wear darker, sleeker glasses for his role in Mission Impossible.
Of course, the lead actors don’t have to take all the credit. Christian Slater’s supporting role as Daniel the reporter would have been easily overshadowed by Brad and Tom if it weren’t for his inquisitive and stubborn persona. The character of Daniel wore thick black eyeglasses, giving his squinting eyes a defined expression of enchantment and terror as he chronicled the vampire Louise’s story. The film was an adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel published in 1976. Initially, River Phoenix was casted for the role, but his sudden death in 1993 led film organizers to cast Slater, his close friend. After the film, he donated his profit to charity groups which Phoenix supported.
When Men In Black first came out on the silver screen, it engaged both the young and old as it indulged sci-fi visions of impending alien invasion. Character’s J and K were played by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, making a dynamic tandem that works for action and comedy. The elements were simple enough: It’s about aliens, over-sized bugs, and guys in black—and yes, the sleek black shades were all part of the agent’s uniform. The glasses were used to block memory loss; the film gave it an awesome new function and somehow, we never looked at shades the same way again. The mysterious agents would delete a civilian’s short-term memory by a clicking a neuralizer, a device that flashes red light. After watching the film, you can’t stop but wonder whether some dude wearing shades has neuralized you before.
Ever wondered what it’s like to wake up and realize your other self is out to get you? To make matters worse, that alter ego of yours actually upstages you in your own life as he becomes doubly known as Tyler Durden, a guy who establishes some underground men’s club for proletarians. Take note: you don’t really have a name, but your alter ego does. In Fight Club, a guy with severe insomnia realizes just that.
To segregate Edward Norton’s persona from Durden’s crass and radical guise, Brad Pitt was casted to play Durden’s character. In the film, he wears rock-star red leather jackets, rugged jeans, and psychedelic red specs to match his attitude—a striking contrast to Norton’s generic office attire. Adapted from Chuck Palanhiuk’s novel, the film gained greater cult following years after its first release
Playing Neo’s role was one of Keanu Reeves’ pivotal decisions in his film career. Who can forget Neo and his gravity-defying moves in the Matrix? When we talk about Keanu, we immediately recall the film. After all, he played the part for the entire Matrix trilogy.
Like Men In Black, the glasses seemed to be part of the cast’s edgy costume, but the directors gave it a kick—literally. In one of many scenes while Neo fights the agent, he catches his glasses after losing them in the air while throwing a round of swift kicks and punches. Nobody could’ve done it smoother. Also, practically every character in the Matrix was oozing with attitude especially during fight scenes. Their different personalities were highlighted by their wicked trench coats and leather jeans, as well as the kind of glasses they wore.
Kill Bill is the result of director Quentin Tarantino’s fascination for spaghetti westerns, Japanese anime and Chanbra films, and his obsession for his Pulp Fiction darling, Uma Turman. The film shows how “The Bride” character Beatrix Kiddo relentlessly pursues those who tried to kill her four years later when she woke from a coma. A heavily stylized film, the persona Thurman played was fond of Kung-Fu, jagged knives, and heavy guns. Tarantino could simply put her in a top down convertible with a katana on her side, driving towards the sun while wearing a pair of edgy gold shades. It could very well be a masterpiece which wedded well-crafted art and violence. It’s not exactly for weak stomachs, but don’t be mistaken. Thurman makes hunting look good.
10.) Harry Potter (2001-2011)
For everyone who has ever read Harry Potter, we all know he wears signature round framed glasses, has jet-black hair, and blue eyes. So when the movie adaptation came out, fans of all ages were captivated by the young actor who so perfectly played the role.
At first, Daniel Radcliff’s parents weren’t so keen on letting their son play the part because it entailed shooting most of the films in LA. Luckily, his parents eventually allowed him. Today, Radcliff is well-known for playing the Harry persona in all eight screen adaptations (as the seventh book was made into two films). Now, who wouldn’t remember you for that if you had to do it for ten years? In everyone’s mind, fan or not, Radcliff will always be a boy wearing round spectacles with messy jet-black hair, playing quidditch, and practicing wizardry.
Author bio: George is an advertising consultant who occasionally does work for Eyeglasses4all.com, an online vendor of prescription glasses anddesigner sunglasses. He would’ve included Tom Cruise’s “Risky Business”, but then that would be too much Tom Cruise, which can be weird.