Eyewear In The Movies: Our Favorites

  • BY Ryan

Superman (1978)


Clark Kent’s nerdalicious glasses are one of the most iconic examples of eyewear in the movies ever. The eyeglasses ensured that the “mild-mannered reporter” is so well differentiated from the “man of steel.” Even more than the hat, the bookish eyeglasses made Clark Kent’s appearance so distinct from Superman’s look. Christopher Reeve’s strong jawline and facial features could really set off those glasses. Yet, our idea of a modern day superhero would include some smart hipster eyewear to wear while catching the bad guys and perhaps some cool sunglasses for his day job as a tour operator or bus driver. (We want a (super) man of the people.)

The Blues Brothers (1980)


Jake and Elwood Blues’ dark suit ‘uniforms’ wouldn’t have been half as memorable without the Ray-Ban Wafarer 5022C15 shades they wore. John Belushi as Jake went for brown frames with the black lenses, while Dan Akroyd as Elwood wore black frames and lenses. The dark suits and sunglasses helped ‘brand’ two actors as brothers when they looked absolutely nothing alike. Way to go, Saturday Night Live and Hollywood! By the way, John Candy also wore Ray-Bans in the film — Outdoorsman 3030 style, metal trimmed aviators.

Top Gun (1986)


No one can wear glasses like Mr. Cruise and those Ray-Ban 3025 gold metallic rimmed, large aviators with gray lenses looked like they were made for him. They complimented his character’s military green flying suit like a Gucci bag worn with a pant suit flatters a lady who lunches. With a name like “Maverick,” you’d better look like the ‘too cool for aviation school’ flying ace that you are. Tom Cruise’s wearing of those aviator glasses in Top Gun was said to have increased sales for the brand by 40% following the release of the movie.

She’s All That (1999)


Even though we’re supposed to believe that drop dead gorgeous Rachel Leigh Cook as misfit Laney Boggs, with those big, brown doe eyes and rockin’ bod, is an ugly duckling when she wears her glasses, we’re not fooled. We like to believe that Freddie Prinz Jr’s character saw her beauty the entire time — even under that bad, pulled back hairstyle and dumpy shirt. After all, as the old saying goes, guys do make passes at girls who wear glasses — it all depends on their frames!

Men In Black films (1997 – 2012)


Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones protect humankind against extra-terrestrial doom with their Ray-Ban sunglasses on. Who could ask for more? As Smith sings in MIB 1: “Black suit with the black Ray-Bans on/Walk in shadow, move in silence/Guard against extra-terrestrial violence.” In those few lines, we have pretty much the movie’s whole concept. But, we won’t knock it, cuz there are three decent films and counting …

Pretty In Pink (1986)


Inspired by a lack of spending money for clothing and accessories, Molly Ringwald’s creative character in Pretty in Pink, Andie Walsh, had a passion for self-made fashion. What did Andie choose for eyewear to compliment her handmade earrings that could have included bathtub chain beads and a few stray quilt feathers? Andie wore really nice, light-colored round eyeglasses with darker sides — these made arty girls everywhere think circular for eyewear. Round eyeglasses made a comeback recently, while the 80s florals, pastels and granny looks didn’t quite make it. (These may have been buried in a fashion themed 80s time capsule along with Don Johnson’s loafers and bare feet look from his 1980s Miami Vice days.)

Harry Potter films (2001 — 2011)


Well, here’s another movie where round eyewear is king, er, prince. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter is right up there with John Lennon and John Denver (and more recently, Lady Gaga) for making round eyewear big again. For some Harry Potter movie trivia — there were between 50 and 60 pairs of the familiar dark, round eyeglasses used per film for the eight movie run. I wonder how many Halloween costume version of the glasses were worn since 2001?