“I did not achieve true facial symmetry until I grew the mustache.” – Hercule Poirot, Man of Mustache
Last week, Jessica gave us her Best Beards list, which prompted me to go ‘OMG, I can do Best Mustaches!’ (Literally – I think in acronyms now).
The beard does not hold a candle to the mustache (Warning: Do Not Hold Candles To Beards Or Mustaches). Which is not to deride the beard; the beard is masculine yet sensitive, a warm blanket to snuggle up to at night. But there’s just something about a man with a mustache. The mustache is not utilitarian; it’s all about style. A mustache needs tending, it needs care, it shows that a man is masculine but not above a little stylistic flair. When a man establishes a truly great mustache, it is worthy of praise. So here is my long-considered list, born of a passion for male hirsute adornment.
10. WILL FERRELL
Will Ferrell does not always sport a ‘stache, but when he does, it is predictably awesome. The mustached Ron Burgundy is among his finest achievements. It’s a bit of a cocky mustache, but then what mustache isn’t? It certainly communicates that his apartment smells of rich mahogany.
9. SACHA BARON-COHEN
The comedy mustache is a difficult mustache to do properly. It must be impressive and memorable, but it also must express a sense of humor. Borat’s mustache is something of a nod to the mustache of Inspector Clouseau. It’s also a mustache that has been around the block. It’s a fearless mustache. Remember the nude wrestling scene, the one that you cannot unsee? Think of the work that Baron-Cohen’s mustache had to do. It’s a brave, brave mustache.
8. SEAN CONNERY
Speaking of things that we cannot unsee … Zardoz. Now we’re getting into the serious mustacheness. Does it pain me a little to put Sean this low on the list? It does. But I feel that Mr. Connery’s mustache is less notable than his beard, which has its own facebook page. Nevertheless, we should honor the work of Sean Connery’s mustache. Connery has sported a mustache several times, including in that awful awful version of The Avengers. Despite the overabundance of body hair in Zardoz, there was the mustache. The mustache almost made up for it.
7. VINCENT PRICE
Not all mustaches need be bushy, prevalent mustaches. There’s something to be said for the thin, elegant mustache. Vincent Price’s mustache improved over the years. For a very long time, it was a wispy, sinister thing. But he stuck with it, as a man should by his own mustache, and as it matured, it became a quintessential mustache. By the time we get to films like Theatre of Blood, it is a truly amazing mustache. A sinister mustache, still, but a spectacular one. (Incidentally, Diana Rigg also has a pretty amazing mustache in Theatre of Blood, but it’s not hers.)
6. CLARK GABLE
Gable’s mustache was one of the most famous mustaches of all time. The pencil-thin style is one that not many men can pull off without looking super smarmy, so let’s give Mr. Gable some credit. A mustache never looked so good, or so handsome. This mustache seduced Carol Lombard, who herself was a mustache connisseur (she married William Powell before Gable, another Hollywood mustache for the ages). Props to the man with the mustache.
5. BURT REYNOLDS
I’m not a huge fan of Burt Reynolds as an actor (which is why he is not as far up on my list as he might be). I am, however, a fan of his mustache. No one can fault that mustache. It’s been with him a long time, from Smokey and the Bandit all the way through to Boogie Nights and The Dukes of Hazzard. It’s an 80s mustache, which is a very special kind of mustache. It will go down in history, even if Mr. Reynolds’ acting won’t.
4. ELLIOTT GOULD
The mustache that launched a thousand ships. I once began to write a short story about a man who is taken over by his mustache, with Elliot Gould as my inspiration. Elliot Gould’s mustache appeared in only a handful of films, but was so overwhelming that it made Gould a household name. Witness his introduction in MASH. Trapper John is all luxuriant mustache.
3. ROBERT REDFORD
I give much respect to Robert Redford’s mustache. Redford is a fair-haired guy and many fair-haired men seem to have difficulty growing mustaches (see: Brad Pitt, whose porn-stache keeps me up at night). But Redford’s mustache in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and then again in Jeremiah Johnson - in which it made an appearance with Robert Redford’s beard – well, that was a sight to behold. It was a mustache, we must remember, that Katharine Ross found irresistable. And she knows her mustaches.
2. TOM SELLECK
This was the mustache that was almost Indiana Jones’s mustache. That in itself would make it more than respectable. Selleck’s mustache is also one of the most iconic mustaches ever. It practically carries him through Magnum P.I. It’s a stalwart mustache, but also a jaunty mustache, a mustache that will wink at all the ladies. But it is also not an overloaded mustache; it does not insist upon itself. It simply says, “I am here. Say what you will, but you know you want me.” It is very nearly the greatest mustache of all time.
1. SAM ELLIOTT
Nearly. My passion for Sam Elliott’s mustache knows no bounds. I have spoken about it on numerous occasions. It graces my facebook cover photo. It is a mustache that deserves its own screen credit, and someday will receive the Oscar it so richly deserves. Look at what this mustache has accomplished! It seduced Katharine Ross. It fought alongside Patrick Swayze. It rode the range with Tom Selleck, Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. It pronounced on the future of The Dude. It is a mustache that protects the innocent and punishes the guilty, a mustache that will be there in times of trouble. It is, without doubt, the best mustache of them all.
I could not bring myself to include them in the regular list because neither Groucho’s massive greasepaint mustache nor Charlie’s toothbrush are homegrown mustaches (although Groucho did have a reasonable one beneath the paint). But they too must be respected for their iconic value, even if Charlie’s was unfairly maligned by Hitler in the 40s.
So, I say unto you, all hail the mustache!
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.