The crowning glory of many faces, and the pride and joy of their wearers, the not-so-humble moustache is enjoying somewhat of an on-screen renaissance. From Miles Teller’s pilot-approved face fuzz in Top Gun: Maverick to the top-lip topper Chris Evans can currently be seen sporting in The Gray Man, a new wave of moustachioed men are dominating the big screen this summer. As a public service, NME has put together a definitive list of the most iconic ‘taches for you to comb through.
20. Asa Butterfield
And the award for worst moustache on the list goes to… this chump. Viewers spent the early episodes of the most recent season of this Netflix sensation urging protagonist Otis to shave off this offensive offering, which the character seems to think makes him look more adult, and unshackling himself from past actions in an attempt to show more mature than before… whereas what it actually looks like is like going through puberty backwards.
19. Murray Bartlett
The White Lotus
Well, shit in a suitcase and call him Armond. One from the fantastic ‘rich people, but miserable’ genre of the past few years, The White Lotus is set in a luxury resort as we see moustachioed manager, modern day Basil Fawlty (but with more of a sexual appetite) Armond, slowly lose his patience with his over-indulged guests, finally taking his revenge in one of the most pungent ways possible. Still, nice face furniture.
18. Jonathan Van Ness
Getting ever more extravagant (much like their outfits) as the series progresses, the formidable Van Ness plays around with their ‘tache style almost as much as they play with their subject’s locks. Sometimes waxed, sometimes handlebar, sometimes merged into a luxuriant beard, Van Ness never stands still and obviously takes joy in fearless experimentation. Hats off.
17. Dacre Montgomery
Of all the impressive ‘80s style choices sported in the epic Netflix adventure-cum-horror series, this season three villain-come-good came out on top. Crowned by the mullet, arguably playing a part in the resurgence of this terrible hairdo among the fashion victim community, the subtle ‘tache and soul patch combination made this complete git of a lifeguard a surprising style icon.
16. Sam Elliott
The Big Lebowski
The Stranger is the narrator of this much-loved film, but thank goodness this isn’t a mere voiceover, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to see Sam Elliot’s resplendent duster. Having showed off his face furniture throughout television and film, most notably as Ron Swanson’s arch-nemesis in Parks and Recreation, it’s in The Big Lebowski that these majestic whiskers truly sing.
15. Matt Berry
Toast of London
We hope he can hear us over all that facial hair. London (and subsequently Hollywood’s) worst actor hides his shame behind this impressive ‘70s-esque contribution to our list. Existing in a world which isn’t quite contemporary yet not quite historic, this is a moustache for the ages, even if Ray ‘bloody’ Purchase is sporting similar facial fuzz.
14. Kaitlin Olson
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Dee Reynolds executes her greatest acting role yet as butler Albert Covington… in her own head. Retreating into her fertile imagination during a convenience store robbery, Sweet Dee imagines herself going into witness protection as Mr Covington, the elderly male butler to a rich family. The thick grey moustache would surely fool anyone, coupled with a butler’s costume and grey wig. Like we said, fertile imagination.
13. Nick Frost
Mike Watt is the best friend every man needs in his life – selfless, an expert in firearms, can rock a tight pink t-shirt, and sports a fantastic handlebar example of lip curtain. One of the best characters in a brilliant comedy jam-packed with amazing characters, Nick Frost plays Tim Bisley’s childhood best friend with eccentricity and warmth, pre-stocked with such quips as ”I’m off to point the pink pistol at the porcelain firing range.”
12. Ned Flanders
Stupid sexy Flanders has been synonymous with his ‘tache ever since The Simpsons premiered in 1989, but he has rarely referred to it in such plain terms. Over the years he has called it his “Nose Neighbour,” “Mr. Tickles,” “The Soup Strainer,” “The Cookie Duster,” “The Pushbroom” and “Dr. Fuzzenstein”. Homer once convinced him to shave it off, but it’ll always be okily dokily to us.
11. Bryan Cranston
Style (Season 1): Lampshade
Never has the progress of facial hair portrayed a character arc quite as well as Walter White’s. Tracing his transformation from Mr Chips to Scarface, what starts as a quite frankly pathetic, pale ginger ‘tache in season one where we initially meet Walter as a down-on-his-heel science teacher, has developed into a full-on super villain goatee by the end of season five. This show has many levels, but we bet you’d never considered Heisenberg’s facial hair as a sign of his descent into devilry, had you?
10. Tom Selleck
Style: Tom Selleck
Honourable mention also goes to Jennifer Anniston’s drawn-on moustache in ‘The One In Vegas’, but Tom Selleck is surely one of the kings of the moustache. From the iconic ‘80s detective series, to the even more iconic ‘90s sitcom where he played Monica’s boyfriend, Richard, and his moustache became a constant subject of conversation and masculine intimidation to the main male characters, most notably Chandler.
9. Nick Offerman
Parks and Recreation
Surely the best of all sitcom moustaches, it is only made successful by sitting on the upper lip of the manliest man in the Midwest, Mr Ron Swanson. The head of the Parks and Recreation department in Pawnee is a no-nonsense woodsman with a heart of gold, whose love for libertarianism is only trumped by his love of breakfast foods. A majestic mo, no doubt about it, but in this case the man truly maketh the ‘tache.
8. Daniel Day Lewis
Gangs of New York
Ten Academy Award nominations and not one for the moustache? Nope, not even Hair and Makeup. The facial hair went as method as the man, and when paired with a towering top hat? Come on. Day Lewis’ turn as Bill the Butcher was terrifying and camp all at once – a true great of the grooming world.
7. Dustin Hoffman
A moustache with genuine acting chops, even able to twitch in time to Hook’s second worst fear – a ticking clock. Strangely one of Dustin Hoffman’s finest cinematic roles was realised in the shape of Peter Pan’s old foe, but with Bob Hoskins’ Smee as a face fuzz rival, this grand effort, waxed at the end to stand several inches away from the face, certainly made a worthwhile contribution to the overall extravagant look.
6. Miles Teller
Top Gun: Maverick
Style: Painter’s Brush
I feel the need, the need for facial hair. The first movie in the franchise was quite the selection box of facial hair already – most notably Goose. In the long awaited, well received sequel however, it’s Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw (Teller) who carries the mantle with aplomb. It’s all about the military-grade precision and hint of camp which really sends this ‘tache stratospheric and, ahem, takes our breath away.
5. Samuel L. Jackson
Perhaps the greatest moustache in ‘90s cinema, L Jackson’s handlebar is often imitated (see Shirley in Community, but never bettered. Sure, it helps that it’s featured in one of the best films of the decade too, but the man beneath the fuzz pulls off this semi-retro look – almost joining up with mutton chop sideburns – with ease, cool and attitude. This is truly the path of the righteous ‘tache.
4. Burt Reynolds
Style: Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds is to facial hair what Michael Jordan is to Nike – a game-changer, a standard-setter, a man who so defined a look that everything that came before it just seems like preamble. It put in fine performances through Smokey and the Bandit, Heat and many others, but its peak came in the brilliant Boogie Nights, even drawing attention away from Dirk Diggler’s dong.
3. Sacha Baron Cohen
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Style: Painter’s Brush
Cue visions of your brother-in-law at Christmas doing the only impression he knows, and a thousand stag doers in mankinis stumbling down the streets of Prague. All that aside, however, this sartorial and journalistic hero of Kazakhstan media cut a fine figure in a shiny suit, stylishly unkempt hair and, of course, a moustache worthy of a Soviet-era dictator. Very nice!
2. Tom Hardy
Built so brick shithouse-wide that he couldn’t walk forwards down a supermarket aisle, best leading grunter Tom Hardy puts in this immersive turn as the notorious criminal, and one of the UK’s most violent (yet charismatic) prisoners Charles Bronson. Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn and based in part on Bronson’s life, it’s the ‘tache that swipes best supporting actor, a lustrous effort lightly waxed at the end to lend the wearer a Dr Robotnik aesthetic. Criminally good.
1. Will Ferrell
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
A very important moustache which, presumably, smells of rich mahogany. The talisman of San Diego’s number one news team (honourable moustache mention goes to Paul Rudd’s Brian Fantana), Ron Burgundy needs a moustache that lives up to the legend, and boy, does it deliver. Finely trimmed, debonair, and giving the impression that its wearer owns many leather-bound books.