In Thor: The Dark World (which premieres Friday), Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the god of thunder, a chiseled pile of testosterone crowned with leonine golden locks the likes of which only dare ruffle in a breeze when it’s heroically convenient. Seeing his mesmerizing mane in the ads, posters and trailers made us think about his onscreen keratin ancestry: How does Thor’s signature coif compare to similarly long Hollywood hair that has come before it? We compiled a slideshow of some of film’s most iconic flowing man-tresses, weighing artistic merit against basic attractiveness, and ranked them on a scale of one to ten (where ten is triumphant and one is terrible). But don’t worry too much about your grade, lads; Thor would agree that it’s really more about the journey.
Is It Necessary? Of course. Surely the other barbarians wouldn’t take him seriously if he spent an hour a month clipping that thing.
Is It Flattering? It does give us something to look at besides his serpentine veins. So, yes.
Is It Luxurious? Let’s just say we’d like to know why a prehistoric Andre Agassi has better anti-frizz than we do.
Overall Gloriousness: 7. It feels more like what a man in visually catastrophic 1982 would have done with his hair for real, rather than the hair of an Olde Tymey Warrior, but we like its wavy moxie.
Photo: Kobal/The Kobal Collection/WireImage.com
Is It Necessary? Speaking of tennis players with long hair and headbands, Wilson plays a prodigy who is allegedly based on Bjorn Borg, whose signature combo
was even more majestic than Wilson’s version. So, very necessary — not to mention aesthetically right on point for a Wes Anderson movie.
Is It Flattering? The fact that Luke Wilson looks this good with a terrycloth headband plastering his hair to his head is a testament to the power of Luke Wilson’s genes.
Is It Luxurious? It is not, nor does it want to be.
Overall Gloriousness: 5. The beard and the headband are really raising his game.
Is It Necessary? Not technically, but just look at it.
Is It Flattering? Just look at it.
Is It Luxurious? This is the most luxurious flaxen man-hair we’ve ever seen. Woman all over the planet are paying hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on the regular for that, and still won’t even begin to approximate its glossy, thick, bouncy glory.
Overall Gloriousness: 10. Do you even remember who the other dude was in this movie? (Sorry, Aidan Quinn, and yes, we had to look you up.) This hair is everything. And therefore, we will tolerate it every time Brad tries to re-create it in his middle age, just in case someday it works. So far, it hasn’t. Maybe you can’t go home again.
Is It Necessary? Only in the sense that if you cast Kurt Russell in a role and want him to stick around and do it, this is the hair you get. He looks exactly like this in almost every movie he has ever made.
Is It Flattering? It’s not unflattering, but we’d argue that the only reason it works is that he’s (a) Kurt Russell, (b) has Kurt Russell’s face, and (c) has Kurt Russell’s charisma. Pop that baby on Tom Hanks and we’re putting him in hair rehab right now.
Is It Luxurious? With apologies to Kurt, it is the Best Western to Brad Pitt’s Ritz Carlton.
Overall Gloriousness: 2. Its sheer iconic heft — can you picture Kurt any other way? — saves it from laying a goose egg.
Is It Necessary? Duh. We can’t imagine this character without this coif. Can anyone truly inhabit the character of an early eighties surfer stoner without the requisite early eighties surfer stoner hair? This makes Jeff Spicoli.
Is It Flattering? Was there anything flattering happening in the eighties? Be honest.
Is It Luxurious? No way, dude. Spicoli should have saved some of the reward money he got from saving Brooke Shields from drowning
and invested in a hot oil treatment.
Overall Gloriousness: 5. It’s the kind of hair we’re happy to take for a nostalgic spin and then give back after a couple hours.
Photo: ?Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
Is It Necessary? No. Much like a superhero’s impractical cape, a guerrilla warrior shouldn’t sport a head-suit that could get caught on rogue branches, or in the doors of his Jeep. Also, in the movie, people judge him negatively based on his long hair. Psst, Rambo: Try cutting it. Problem solved.
Is It Flattering? That piece in the front reminds us of that brioche on the forehead of Sally in the Peanuts cartoons, and no, it didn’t work on her either.
Is It Luxurious? David Cassidy and Davy Jones may have lost sleep over jealousy at this hybrid of Teen Dream mop and rebel curl.
Overall Gloriousness: 7. Sly’s hair has surprising body.
Is It Necessary? Absolutely, for only with realism can we understand the struggles of the high school werewolf.
Is It Flattering? Only according to people with very specific fetishes.
Is It Luxurious? It might be soft, at least? But it also might smell like wet dog.
Overall Gloriousness: 9. This is commitment at its finest; bonus points for the fact that Michael J. Fox spent a lot of the movie in a tank top and shorts and thus also a hirsute suit.
Is It Necessary? If we’ve learned anything from the movies, it’s that all dashing sixteenth-century Scotsmen have dramatic, flowing hair.
Is It Flattering? The long hair is actually way better on Lambert than the awkward eighties man-bangs
he sports during the “current day” portions of the movie.
Is It Luxurious? The fur on his arms is more replete.
Overall Gloriousness: 1. Highlander may not fear the wind, but he should.
Is It Necessary? If we’ve learned anything from the movies, it’s that all dashing eighteenth-century Mohicans have dramatic, flowing hair.
Is It Flattering? It certainly brings out Daniel Day-Lewis’s fabulous cheekbones.
Is It Luxurious? That hair cape is healthier than you’d think considering that there’s a bloodbath raging, but we spy some split ends. Stay alive, deep conditioner, he will find you.
Overall Gloriousness: 5. This hair’s struggles with air-drying and mangy tips are mitigated by its skill at flapping about dramatically during both love and war.
Is It Necessary? If we’ve learned anything from the movies, it’s that all dashing, lecherous whatever-century Goblin Kings have dramatic, flowing hair.
Is It Flattering? David Bowie is the rare creature who has worn almost every style in the history of hair, and never looked bad in any of it. Even if it may have been styled by hungry, gnawing rodents.
Is It Luxurious? It is the confused love child of a Tina Turner superfan and an entire hair band. So … yes, actually.
Overall Gloriousness: 9. Sure, it’s a tad reedy at the ends, but it’s also what every mullet in the world wishes it had the courage to be.
Is It Necessary? There is absolutely no reason in the world we can think of for Martin Riggs to have the same basic hair as Dorothy Zbornak
once, much less three times. Even Mel Gibson himself changed it up in between.
Is It Flattering? The way it flows, like it’s being sucked off his head by a wind cannon, does bring out his blue eyes.
Is It Luxurious? We do not approve of Mel’s off-camera behavior over the past decade, but it can’t be denied that the man grows a pillowy cranial carpet indeed. You could lose a puppy in that thing.
Overall Gloriousness: 8. Lush, and a product of its time. (Its first time, anyway.)
Is It Necessary? For Mel, apparently so: It was too hard to pick one Gibson offering when he so often uses hair for character work. His William Wallace (in what’s been called one of the most historically inaccurate movies ever) at least nails the wretchedness we imagine is prevalent in Scotland in the year 1280, but there’s no way he’d have time to sit around idly braiding it and then fastening it with a rudimentary ribbon. As for Mad Max, well, the name says it all.
Is It Flattering? Look at those photos and then laugh at that question with us.
Is It Luxurious? Ditto. In the case of Braveheart, we give points for accuracy, but that Mad Max hair (which, to his credit, he did not sport
for the entire movie) looks more like Miracle Max
. It’s almost offensive that anyone thought the bottom part passed for something growing out of his head.
Overall Gloriousness: 1. Point awarded solely based on hilarity.
Is It Necessary? Dillon’s character, Cliff Poncier, front man for the band Citizen Dick, is not nearly as heroic as some of the other gents who tried to replicate this very coif, although one could argue that music is a battlefield. As a wannabe musician living in Seattle at the height of grunge, it’s imperative that Cliff must walk where neither Chris Cornell nor Eddie Vedder nor Dave Grohl feared to tread.
Is It Flattering? No, but it sure is funny. If this wasn’t a wig, it’s crawling far enough away from his head that it clearly wants us to think it was.
Is It Luxurious? Grunge and luxuriousness are technically antithetical to one another, which makes the relative health and bounce of this hairdo a bit mystifying.
Overall Gloriousness: 6. This is what Daniel Day-Lewis’s Mohicans hair thought it was doing.
Is It Necessary? Brendan is a recently defrosted caveman, so if he’d popped out looking like a Pantene ad — or a Citizen Dick poster — the authenticity of this otherwise deeply accurate, nuanced work would’ve been shot to hell. Pauly Shore’s only excuse is that he is Pauly Shore.
Is It Flattering? Hell no. Both of these dudes look like they reek of hemp oil.
Is It Luxurious? Do the words caveman or Pauly Shore evoke luxury to you? Exactly.
Overall Gloriousness: 0. The word we would use is more like horrifying.
Is It Necessary? His name is Chance Boudreaux. He’s an unemployed merchant marine. He can’t possibly have any other hair.
Is It Flattering? Definitely not, but Jean Claude Van Damme was too busy committing to the Chance Boudreaux mythos to worry about such trivial things as vanity.
Is It Luxurious? It’s … thicker than we expected?
Overall Gloriousness: 3. We laugh out loud every time we see this photo. Is it the hair, the snake, or the acting? Yes.
Is It Necessary? This is a movie in which Tom Cruise apologizes to a unicorn. The answer is yes.
Is It Flattering? Every woman from 1984–1996 who sported this haircut certainly thought so.
Is It Luxurious? It actually is quite bouncy and voluminous.
Overall Gloriousness: 4. He loses points for wimping out. In addition to the aforementioned unicorn remorse, this movie features Tim Curry in longhorns getting blasted into outer space, and there are both elves and dwarves. Cruise could have gotten away with considerably more intense hair, not this teenybopper dilution.
Is It Necessary? In the book on which the movie is based, Anne Rice does write that the Vampire Lestat sports shoulder-length blonde curls, so … nailed it.
Is It Flattering? Honestly, it could have been worse, considering that Tom Cruise was not born to be a blond. At least he didn’t have to apologize to a unicorn in this one, although he may have wanted to apologize to himself.
Is It Luxurious? Everything about Lestat is luxurious, although if given the choice, we’d probably call it “fluffy” and “overly fussy” instead.
Overall Gloriousness: 4. This hair is memorable, and we vaguely recall people being all worked up about it at the time — “the time” being one before the Internet, when folks really had to work to make their dismay known. But “glorious”? Nah.
Is It Necessary? He’s an ex–-Army Ranger with anger issues, and a prisoner on a transport full of worse prisoners. Looking pretty was not the right idea, so: Bravo, Cage.
Is It Flattering? In Cage’s long and storied career of criminally insane hair, this is the zenith. Or the nadir. Both.
Is It Luxurious? It looks like he combed it with rubber cement.
Overall Gloriousness: 1. It’s tremendous, in light of this hair, that Con Air shares its name with a company that makes styling tools (Conair). We like to think Nic Cage saw the irony and pounced.
Is It Necessary? The Dude is way too busy abiding — and writing 69-cent checks — to get a haircut.
Is It Flattering? It’s legitimately the hair he was born to have, in the role he was born to play.
Is It Luxurious? Admirably. Is this what a diet of White Russians and bowling will do to a mane? Because we’re fully onboard.
Overall Gloriousness: 9. It made Sam Elliot’s mustache look small, and that is a feat.
Is It Necessary? Long hair is certainly period-appropriate for any movie set at the court of the Sun King, but he looks ridiculous and, for a guy in a coat that fancy, quite greasy. You could fry an egg on his head.
Is It Flattering? He looks like he’s in Little Women. As one of the women.
Is It Luxurious? The bottom half is at least trying. The party side of a mullet never gets credit for what it’s really doing: just trying to lighten the mood.
Overall Gloriousness: 2. The Iron Mask was actually an improvement.
Is It Necessary? He was supposed to be a fearsome, unappealing rebel with a (false) legend of insane behavior, rendering him scary and undateable. Which, if you’re going to cast Heath Ledger, means your only shot at achieving the latter is to cook up a stringy hair cloud like this. Julia Stiles appears to have borrowed (and dyed) its droppings for her prom updo.
Is It Flattering? Heath Ledger is dreamy in this movie and it’s completely in spite of the hairstyling choices. His longish, curly locks were artfully deployed in The Patriot and A Knight’s Tale; this was his awkward rookie season, and he still charmed the world.
Is It Luxurious? What if we compromise and just call it “lively”?
Overall Gloriousness: 4. If this slideshow were chronicling the use of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” on soccer fields throughout the history of film, we’d say yes. Alas.
Is It Necessary? Nothing about this movie was necessary.
Is It Flattering? Nothing about this movie was flattering.
Is It Luxurious? Nothing about this movie was luxurious. Except the budget.
Overall Gloriousness: 3. Pity points for the eyebrows, the sheer weight of that thing, and the fact that John Travolta will never, ever live it down.
Is It Necessary? It certainly is, in the sense that Owen Wilson’s supermodel Hansel needs flowing locks in order to more effectively have wind in his hair, should he find himself in a runway walk-off judged by David Bowie at an underground nightclub.
Is It Flattering? It actually is. That cut is well-designed to work with the angles in Wilson’s face, and that color is great on him. In fairness, he is playing a model. He should have good hair.
Is It Luxurious? Do we want to run our fingers through it? No (we fear they’d get stuck). Do we want to sit down for a chat about how he manages to have wavy hair and bangs at the same time? Yes. Because that is a luxury.
Overall Gloriousness: Do you really want to live in a world where the coiffures of Zoolander are considered anything less than a solid 8 on this scale? Neither do we.
Is It Necessary? Consider this sentence from Wikipedia: “Legolas was the son of Thrandull, King of the Woodland Realm of Northern Mirkwood, who appears as ‘the Elvenking’ in The Hobbit.” Yeah, that guy totally has this hair.
Is It Flattering? The first time we saw Orlando without this do, we felt jarred. So well done, and props for making the old half-up, half-down thing work. For most of us that style is a trap.
Is It Luxurious? It is as silken as if it were woven from the tears of an Elvish virgin. Which it probably was.
Overall Gloriousness: 9. That wig work could teach Mad Max a thing or two. Or seven.
Is It Necessary? Jack Sparrow is certainly self-centered enough to spend his days trimming and sculpting his mane … but it’s even more fitting that he’d spend his days blinging it out and idly twirling it.
Is It Flattering? If you’ve seen The Tourist, you know how much worse this could have been.
Is It Luxurious? In the smooth, thick, Brad Pitt sense? No. But there is an awful lot of it, and it probably cost a heap — in real life and in Pirates land.
Overall Gloriousness: 8. Johnny Depp is a man with a lot of memorable hairdos (hello, Edward Scissorhands), but this one may ultimately be his most iconic, since it awakened a whole new generation to him, and also it’s immortalized at Disneyland.
Photo: Peter Mountain/?Disney Enterprises, Inc., All rights reserved.
Is It Necessary? Well, technically Lautner is playing a Native American werewolf and all of the rest of his family/pack do have long hair. That being said …
Is It Flattering? He looks completely ridiculous. Even Lautner publicly hated it.
Is It Luxurious? It’s long, thick, and reportedly weighed a ton — but the top looks more shellacked than a coffee table.
Overall Gloriousness: 4. This may rival the wig Megan Boone wears on The Blacklist for Worst Acting in a Dramatic Role.
Photo: ? 2008 Summit Entertainment N.V. All Rights Reserved.
Is It Necessary? Let’s be honest: We didn’t see this movie, but we are fairly sure this hair was at least 90 percent gimmickry by Jake Gyllenhaal because he was bored of looking the same all the time.
Is It Flattering? For a guy with possession of the sands of time, couldn’t he have rewound to the moment he was in the stylist’s chair and relived it by not asking for The Rachel? Just curious.
Is It Luxurious? Not even a little.
Overall Gloriousness: 1. Which is probably why his abs ended up being his most important co-star.
Photo: Andrew Cooper, SMPSP/? Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer, Inc. All rights reserved.
Is It Necessary? Well, he is a god.
Is It Flattering? The Hems is hunky in general, but the long hair actually does suit him — probably because he sort of naturally resembles a Norse god to begin with.
Is It Luxurious? The man is carrying a massive hammer while wearing a cape, and we’re talking about his hair. It’s that luxurious.
Overall Gloriousness: 8, only because we don’t feel comfortable rating his hair as high as we’d rate — if asked — his biceps.
Photo: JAY MAIDMENT