Great moments in denim
By Matt Glazebrook, 14 September 2014
If cinema had a sartorial equivalent of the Oscars, denim would surely win Best Supporting Role. The most hard-wearing item in your wardrobe has done the stylistic heavy-lifting for all manner of leading men over the years. From Marlon Brando in The Wild One to Patrick Swayze in Road House, if a Hollywood hero needs to exude tough-guy rebel cool while at the same time avoiding wear and tear as he beats up bad guys or runs from the law, he reaches for a pair of classic blue jeans. Here are five of our favourite denim moments from the movies – hit us up on Twitter and share yours.
Long before he was President Jed Bartlet in The West Wing, Martin Sheen was Kit Carruthers in Badlands – a young tearaway with a black heart and a killer line in blue denim. Terrence Malick's dreamy debut flick is one of the best-looking American films ever, helped by Sheen's double-denim and white tee greaser uniform.
The Outsiders (1983)
10 years later and another great director – Francis Ford Coppola – introduced us to another gang of (marginally less murderous) denim-clad rebels. Featuring a proto-Brat Pack cast of everyone who would be anyone in 80s teen films (including Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise and Ralph "Karate Kid" Macchio), The Outsiders also featured ALL THE DENIM. Classic straight-leg jeans, denim shirts, sleeveless vests; you name it, these greasers wore it.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Richard Linklater's 1993 tribute to the lazy, hazy last days of summer term was another rhapsody in blue. Denim flares on boys, denim short-shorts on girls, denim jeans so tight you'd need a pair of pliers to pull the zip up, and, um, denim dungarees. Can't win 'em all.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Ang Lee's Oscar-winning tearjerker told the tale of two men (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) united by their love of the rugged sheep-herding lifestyle, equally hard-bitten blue denim and each other. The subject matter may have pushed a few boundaries, but the styling was true blue American Western.
When he wasn't swanning enigmatically around in a sweet satin bomber, Ryan Gosling's getaway driver was updating Martin Sheen's dark double-denim steez for a new breed of American antihero. Picking up your groceries while brooding over the bleakly violent nature of man never looked so good.