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Five Cool Movie Sunglasses for the Weekend

Because the sun is out making us all feel like we’re in Cannes (probably not by the time you read this), and because it’s the weekend, let’s have a look at some of the coolest movie sunglasses money can buy.

Of course there are hundreds of memorable movie sunglasses, so no list written will ever be enough – or no list written today will be enough anyway. These, however, should get the ball rolling. Iconic, purposeful, and above all, cool, here are five filmic shades to beat the Riviera rays.

Anthony Hopkins in Cutler and Gross for Hannibal

Supposedly hiding out in Florence, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) cannot resist the odd ostentatious flair in his costume.

Although in Italy, a simple, elegant linen suit and Panama hat helps him blend in, those lime green, D-shaped acetate Cutler and Gross sunglasses are clearly a sartorial concession. For a man in his early sixties when Hannibal (2001) was filmed, Hopkins sure has no trouble pulling off what might traditionally be regarded as a younger man’s look. In lime green too. Shame Lecter eats people really; he would make an ideal travelling companion otherwise.

Tom Cruise in Ray-Ban Wayfarer for Risky Business

Tom Cruise kick-started a whole industry again when his character Joel Goodson donned these classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer’s for Risky Business (1983). They totally summed up his cocksure demeanour as a rich high-schooler with not enough to lose.

Cruise almost looks to be on holiday for most of the film, down on the Cannes sands sipping cocktails with milkshake smooth Jacques D’Azur, a man renowned for his famous red carpet style. Along with the Wayfarer’s, Goodson’s preppy clothes give the story a youthful Ivy League vibe.

The eighties were responsible for a lot of so-called fashionable flings we may want to forget (did someone whisper shellsuit?), the Ray-Ban Wayfarer look, however, was not one of them.

Will Smith in Ray-Ban Predator-2 for Men in Black

Sticking with Ray-Ban (say ‘sunglasses’, say ‘Ray-Ban’, it seems), their highest selling style of all time are the black Predator-2 model worn by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones for Men in Black (1997).

As much a part of their characters’ costume as the slim black suits, these very-much-of-their-time shades projected that all-important image of relaxed cool, paradoxically synonymous with the anonymity of a ‘man in black’. Smith gets the timeless “I make this look good” line – and he is not wrong. Then again, it could be argued that Ray-Ban has already done most of the heavy lifting for him. Not really jet-setting attire, but you could always add a supermodel.

Bradley Cooper in John Varvatos for The Hangover

In a movie full of fun and stylish contemporary clothes, those John Varvatos sunglasses worn by Bradley Cooper perhaps remain the most coveted.

A simple Aviator style marked out by interesting pink lenses, they are not a look everyone can pull off; it helps to have Cooper’s smile and tan. The laidback personality of his character, embezzling school teacher Phil, helps too. Perfect on an unbuttoned spring day (some shades work with a suit, some don’t – these don’t), perhaps perusing a famous film festival? Phil’s silver Varvatos’ are, along with Zach Galifianakis’ ‘Human Tree’ t-shirt and that black J. Lindeberg suit, emblematic of The Hangover (2009).

Apparently fast becoming the costume set-up of choice for guys on a stag night in Vegas, it is a sure bet that everyone wants to be Phil. He is the new Han Solo.

Anthony Hopkins in Cinder Glasses for The Wolfman

Hopkins again, as if to prove once and for all that cool movie sunglasses are best on those with some years to their face, here he is in The Wolfman (2010) wearing the latest in 19th century fashion. For a brief time anyway, his character Sir John Talbot dons a pair of ‘cinder glasses’ with amber lenses. As there were no windows during early rail travel, these glasses were designed with the express intention of keeping coal soot out of passengers’ eyes.

Now embraced by the ‘steampunk’ brigade and their weird and wonderful neo-Victorian costumes, these sunglasses are the Ray-Bans of their day. Difficult to imagine Tom Cruise wearing them with such aplomb as Hopkins though; respect to the septuagenarian. If you don’t think these would work on a Cannes beach, just try them. We won’t, but you can tell us how you got on.

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© 2010 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.