Brad Pitt comes and goes every few years. You never know which Brad Pitt you’ll get, either. But now that he is 55 and an Oscar contender for two movies (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Ad Astra, in theaters this weekend), we’re suddenly being treated to the very best Brad Pitt — not just in terms of performance but also in hair. In honor of that, it’s the right time to look back on three decades of his work and overanalyze his hair in every single role.
Instead of writing an exhaustive ranking of Brad’s hair in every role, we narrowed the list down to 12 movies in which is hair is the absolute best. There have been some major ups (Ocean’s Eleven, Fury) and some major downs that I refused to include on this list but will mention here for the sake of the public interest. These include Meet Joe Black, because the blond is blinding; Interview With a Vampire, because thinking about his performance in that is embarrassing; and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, because the removal of his hair to accommodate that buzz cut was an affront to libidos everywhere.
Am I a hair expert? Yes and no. I am not a trained hairstylist, but I love Brad Pitt’s hair, which qualifies me to write this. So, to celebrate Brad’s big year, I studied his hair in all of his major roles and chose the 12 best incarnations, which are listed here from the best to the best.
12. Ad Astra (2019)
Simply lovely. Brad Pitt is a handsome man, did you know? The lack of gravity in space gives his hair the volume it deserves.
11. Kalifornia (1993)
I can’t believe I’ve lived decades not knowing that Brad Pitt once played the son of Chris Hemworth and Ryan Gosling. His jawline is a marvel, so it’s really rude to hide it under a beard. Thankfully the hair departments on Brad Pitt movies over the past three decades are aware of this and limit his beard growth accordingly. But I’m glad he had the chance to show this off in Kalifornia, a movie in which he plays a psychopath and David Duchovny plays a journalist.
10. Fury (2014)
Ahead of its time! This severe style is what everyone in North Brooklyn is sporting now. But they are not Brad Pitt. His hair here is so dramatic that one can only assume that it has dozens of drafts saved in the Notes app, just in case it gets involved in some drama that needs a lengthy explanation on Twitter.
9. The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Brad’s dark hair with a far side part is nice, but not as beautiful as the cinematography in this film, which did not earn Roger Deakins an Oscar, a chilling fact I think about as often as I think about Brad Pitt’s hair (every single day).
8. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
This is on the verge of ’90s-boy-band hair, but Brad gets a pass. It was 2001, and we liked it.
7. Moneyball (2011)
This might be Brad’s best hair color. But as a brunette, I admit I might have a bias. The way his hair catches the light in many scenes in a sad baseball locker room, as pictured above? Stunning. The dramatic side part — used on him often in roles, but not in his personal life — is something he should consider wearing full-time.
6. World War Z (2013)
I know what the word luscious means, but I looked up the definition before writing about Brad’s hair in World War Z (a bad movie that he is great in). Again, I know what luscious means, but one of the definitions Google provided was “very sexually attractive,” which is more accurate than anything else I would have come up with on my own.
5. A River Runs Through It (1992)
Absolutely delicious. This hair was kissed by the sun (but not for too long!), combed by an angel, then blown out with the $500 Dyson blow dryer even though the company only made vacuum cleaners at the time the film was made.
4. Se7en (1995)
Yes, please! Although Brad’s hair here appears to have recently experienced an electric shock, it’s managed to age well over the past two decades. The spikes aren’t too overwhelming — they really draw attention to his magnetic eyes. And unlike most male hair gelled to hell at the time, it does not have frosted tips. Resisting the frosted-tips trend on Brad Pitt in 1997 might be David Fincher’s second-best accomplishment, right behind The Social Network.
3. Babel (2006)
Is this Las Vegas star Josh Duhamel? No! But good guess. This is Brad Pitt squinting in a movie co-starring Cate Blanchett. My sweet salt-and-pepper boy is the only memorable thing about this movie. We didn’t appreciate this hair enough in 2006.
2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Highlights, the comb-over, the aviators, the denim jacket, the scene when he takes his shirt off on the roof: This man in this movie is exquisite in many ways for many reasons, but the most important reason is the hair. I would eat this hair like spaghetti (a compliment).
1. Troy (2004)
I could write an entire book about Brad Pitt in Troy, but this is not a book, so I’ll save everything I’ve had bottled up inside since I saw this film in theaters at age 14 for when someone asks me to write that book. Brad Pitt’s Achilles invented sea-salt spray, which isn’t mentioned in this movie because it was written by Game of Thrones’ David Benioff, who has proven himself an enemy of details. Brad’s golden locks hold their beach waves throughout an entire war, as well as when Achilles is inside a big wooden horse for many hours. There is no frizz or flattening: not even when he kills his enemies! I put sea salt in my hair every day now, and every time I do so I think about what this look did for my signature hairstyle. Anyone who thinks I’m wrong about this being Brad Pitt’s best hair ever? I can see see your split ends from here. Goodbye!