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I’m an idiot. I was thinking about The Ipcress File one day, and the ineffable stylishness of Michael Caine and his black-framed specs, and thought that coming up with a list of similarly awesome (or in some other way, striking) glasses worn in the movies would be quick and easy. It took me three months. SHEESH.
This, naturally, is not only because it turns out there are many more amazing spectacled movie characters than I previously knew about, but also because a stubborn streak of perfectionism meant I had to keep discovering MORE movie glasses. And more. And still more. And then it became overwhelming and I felt I was drowning in glasses and had to run away and hyperventilate for a while before I felt I could continue with my movie glasses mission.
Ahem. Anyway. Suffice to say, yes, of course most movies are populated by beautiful thin people with tasteful clothes, good hair, and no facial furniture. So far, so snore-worthy. But if you look hard enough, fabulous four-eyes start coming thick and fast.
So. Here are some of my favourite spectacles worn in movies. In no particular order, because I can’t be bothered. Some included because they are just so flipping cool, others because I adore the supreme dorkiness, and others still because in some way they add something essential to that character. Sub-rule – I have not included any characters where the actor wears the same kind of spectacles on a regular basis in real life. Because that isn’t a character, that is just them. Therefore nary a Woody Allen. Harold Ramis, Groucho Marx, Eugene Levy or Harold Lloyd will be seen.
Disclaimer: as always, there are a ton of movies I haven’t actually seen on this list. Let’s be realistic now dudes, even if I gave up books and art and music and other stuff I liked (which I don’t plan on doing anytime soon), I’d STILL never see all the movies I wanted to, in my entire life. But this has certainly further bulked out my list of ‘must-sees’.
1. Ryan O’Neal in What’s Up Doc. Waaah! Even cuter than usual with the specs! And simply one of the best screwball comedies of all time. If you haven’t seen it run, go, speed like the wind!
2. Harrison Ford as Professor Jones in all the Indiana Jones movies. Just, swoon. I’d write ‘love you’ in biro on my eyelids too.
3. Pamela Franklin as Sandy in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Some of the costume styling was a bit ‘off’ era-wise, but these glasses are perfectly 30s.
4. Jobeth Williams in Kramer vs Kramer. How can you not love the over-the-top-70s-ness of these glasses, worn completely insouciantly. Even more so in the naked-in-hallway scene (you can look that one up yourself).
5. Roy Schneider in Jaws. What a dude.
6. Ali Mcgraw in Love Story. Love the 70s preppy look.
7. Annie Potts in Ghostbusters – I and II. Here she goes for edgy black framed round glasses with a blunt bob in the sequel…
8. … but in the original it was all about the big pink mumsy specs with a safety chain
9. Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby. Another of the greatest screwball comedies ever.
10. Christopher Walken as Bond baddie Max Zorin in A View to a Kill.
11. Daniel Day Lewis in A Room with a View. Poor lad. I’d go for Julian Sands too (Daniel, you can wait until Last of the Mohicans, I’ll meet you there).
12. Silvie Laguna as Aurore in Delicatessen. Auroooooooore!
13. Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. Super cool.
14. A more 80s version of the same type of frame seen on Diane in Baby Boom. 15. And another 70s horn rim in Looking for Mr Goodbar
16. Then in the 90s, she moves onto a wire frame in Manhattan Murder Mystery. Smaller wire frames again are worn in As Good as it Gets (not pictured).
17. Tony in Die Hard (you’d better tell Karl his brother is dead). You have to love an action movie that is brave enough to put a scary bad guy in big dorky glasses and grey sweatshirt.
18. Theo in Die Hard. Yeah so glasses on the computer geek is more of a trope, but still. Cool jumper too. I like that these bad guys do their stuff while being COSY. Evilness doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable clothing.
19. Why Die Hard, you are spoiling us! This time, Samuel L Jackson in Die Hard With a Vengeance. What makes this is the amazing glasses strap.
20. Christopher Lee in Dr Terror’s House of Horrors. Nice shape.
21. Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon (she of Get Smart fame) in Fitzwilly. Haven’t seen this but I need to. Check out her bob and jacket! She is so cool!
22. Goldie Hawn as Gloria in Foul Play. First – glasses, trench coat, hair flicks and umbrella? That is sweet style. Second, if you haven’t seen this movie RUN DON’T WALK. It is not at all well known but comedy genius, one of my all time favourites.
23. Emma Stone as Skeeter in The Help. Nice to see some cats eyes.
24. George Clooney in Good Night and Good Luck. These look like clear frames – a bit more unusual for a 50s setting, but nice.
25. Liv Ullmann in Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata)
26. Thora Birch in Ghost World
27. Alan Cuming as Boris in Goldeneye
28. Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters
29. Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird
30. Jean Seberg in In The French Style
31. Isabelle Hupert in 8 Femmes. Nice mix of cats eye and half wire. Super stylish.
32. Guy Pearce in LA Confidential.
33. Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
34. Jerry Lewis in The King of Comedy
35. Marilyn Monroe and David Wayne in How to Marry a Millionaire
36. Catherine Spaak in Il Sorpasso
37. Lee Remick in Anatomy of a Murder
38. Kate Winslet in Enigma
39. Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine. Now, I’m not normally one to gush over ‘cute’ children, but GAH! She is so cute! And I love her dorky little glasses!
40. Willem Dafoe in Mississippi Burning
41. Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor
42. Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns (prior to becoming Catwoman. I sort of prefer her as a scatty cat lady with the sad droopy glasses)
43. Michael Caine in The Ipcress File. IT DOES NOT GET COOLER THAN THIS.
44. Johnny Depp in The Ninth Gate. Nice glasses, but the weedy little goatee makes me want to punch him in the chin.
45. Cate Blanchett in The Monuments Men
46. Liza Minelli in The Sterile Cuckoo
47. Jon Heder in Napolean Dynamite. Glasses skills.
48. Aaron Ruell as Kip in Napolean Dynamite
49. Stephen Root as Milton in Office Space
50. Gary Cole as the hoooorrible boss in Office Space
51. Reese Witherspoon in Pleasantville
52. Barbara Bel Geddes as Midge in Vertigo
53. Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer in Rushmore
54. Not forgetting his long suffering friend Margaret (Sara Tanaka)
55. Hi, my name is Brad Majors. Barry Bostwick in Rocky Horror Picture Show
56. Talia Shire in Rocky.
57. Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot
58. Corey Feldman in Stand by Me
59. Daryl Hannah in Steel Magnolias
60. Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound
61. Romy Schneider in Les choses de la vie ( The Things of Life)
62. Rachael Leigh Cook in She’s All That. Teaching us all that the most important thing in life is to be the same as everyone else (psst, that means no glasses).
63. Anne Francis in Susan Slept Here. Haven’t seen this movie but I must, if just for these gem-studded cats eyes.
64. John Goodman in The Big Lebowski
65. Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. I don’t actually often wear my glasses, as I prefer contacts for all round vision. But I think I should put them on more often, just to be able to give people this look.
66. Judy Geeson in The Executioner
67. Rob Lowe in The Invention of Lying
68. Rachel Weisz in The Mummy (why is it that she needs glasses when working in a library, but not off having an adventure? Why do adventures suddenly make movie people non-blind? It has never worked like that for me.)
69. Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley
70. Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent in Superman
71. Kasey Rogers as Miriam in Strangers on a Train72. Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs. Which I haven’t seen because I can’t handle rape scenes. Iconic cracked glasses image though.
73. Susan George has pretty good glasses in the same film too.
74. Isabelle Adjani in The Tenant. Another I haven’t seen, but have to since I want to steal her entire look from this one image.
75. Rosalind Russell in The Women
76. Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (not as amazing as the glasses Alec Guiness sports in the TV series, but telly don’t count)
77. Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies
78. Julie Delpy in Two Days in Paris. I haven’t seen this movie but must. Julie Delpy, cool black glasses, and a superbly fluffy cat? ALL THE GOOD THINGS.
79. Gene Barry as Dr. Clayton Forrester (what a name! What a jawline!) in War of the Worlds
80. Dana Carvey as Garth in Wayne’s World
81. Heather Matarazzo in Welcome to the Dollhouse
82. Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit
83. Sharon Tate in The Wrecking Crew
84. Robert Downey Jr in Zodiac
85. Angela Lansbury in Bedknobs and Broomsticks
86. Anna Karina in Anna
87. Anouk Aimee in 8 1/2
88. Dorothy Malone in The Big Sleep
89. Ben Whishaw as Q in Skyfall
90. Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday
91. William Holden in Born Yesterday
92. John Cusack in Bullets Over Broadway
93. Mink Stole as Connie Marble in Pink Flamingos
94. Michael Redgrave in The Dam Busters
95. Jane Wyman in Brother Rat
96. Brigitte Bardot in Une Parisienne
97. Colin Firth in A Single Man
98. Dianne Wiest in Edward Scissorhands. I applaud the matchy matchyness of glasses, suit, hat and earrings.
99. Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral
100. Jennifer Jason Leigh in Greenberg
101. Ruby Keeler in Footlight Parade
102. Virna Lisi in Eva
103. Michael Douglas in Falling Down. The glasses are actually fine, but my god, his HAIR. It pains me.
104. Dustin Hoffmann as Tootsie
105. Looking eerily similar to Jane Fonda in Nine to Five
106. Henry Fonda in The Male Animal
107. Austin Powers. Well of course. I almost didn’t include this because it is snoringly obvious, but honestly, I would SO wear these glasses.
108. Harry Potter. Yeah, I know. Booooring. But, the glasses make the character, and I do like a pair of round wire frames, so in they go.
109. Jon Cryer as Jim ‘Wash Out’ Pfaffenbach in Hot Shots!
110. Steve Zahn as Sammy in Reality Bites
Did I include your favourite movie specs? Let me know what I missed in the comments!
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