Last week, we brought you some of the most iconic hairstyles in pop culture but we were only just scratching the surface. Over the years, movies have been a great source of iconic hairstyles, from Vivien Leigh’s gorgeous curls in Gone with the Wind to Uma Thurman’s blunt cut in Pulp Fiction, movies have given us some hairstyles for the ages. Let’s look at some of the most iconic hairstyles movies have to offer.
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
If this list wasn’t in alphabetical order and was instead ordered by the iconic status of the style, I’d have to put Audrey’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s look somewhere near the top of the list – if not at the very top. It’s a look that has held up beautifully even though decades have past since Audrey first wore the look. In other words, this look is an absolute classic and why not? It’s sophisticated and classy but still youthful and fresh. This could possibly be my favorite movie hairstyle of all time.
Bo Derek as Jenny Hanley in 10 (1979)
Bo Derek’s beaded braids are still copied by stars like Kim Kardashian to this very day. This is one of the very few styles on this list that is still worn by women all around the world. It’s a fun and unexpected look anyone can really pull off. It’s also a look you can do all on your own assuming, of course, that you have the patience for it.
Bridget Bardot as Juliete Hardy in And God Created Woman (1956)
The untamed, flowing, ‘come to bed’ locks Bridget sported in And God Created Woman will never, ever go out of style. I love a nice pixie cut and I’ve had a lifelong love affair with beautiful blunt bangs but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Bridget and her bed head. There’s just something about this look that screams seductive sensuality and I love it for that. Bridget was a woman in command of her sexuality and that shone through in this film.
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars (1977)
Did you honestly expect to find a list of iconic movie hairstyles and not see Princess Leia? I still, to this very day, rock double Princess Leia buns on occasion. I love this look. It’s classic, simple but so much fun. I sometimes wonder if Carrie Fisher ever knew what this hairstyle would become as she sat in the makeup chair every morning.
Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in Cleopatra (1963)
It was nearly impossible to choose just one Elizabeth movie hairstyle for this list. She wore so many iconic hairstyles over the course of her film career but I had to go with one of my personal favorites. Make sure you keep checking back though. I have a few Elizabeth Taylor themed articles coming up including a list of her most memorable looks and a tutorial on how to do Elizabeth Taylor makeup.
Elsa Lanchester as The Bride in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
This list is far from complete. In the interest of space, I haven’t been able to make this list nearly as long as I would’ve liked but there was no way – no way – I would’ve been able to feel I’d done the best I could do if I’d failed to include Elsa Lanchester and her Bride of Frankenstein do. I have worn this look for Halloween too many times to count but have never once made it look as good as Elsa did. Absolutely fantastic.
Glenn Close as Cruella Deville in 101 Dalmations (1996)
Oh Glenn Close. I watched 101 Dalmations as a child and hated Glenn for many years as a result. She did such an outstanding job in this role and that hair? Forget about it. Perfect. Flawless. I don’t think the stylist could’ve captured the feel of Cruella Deville more perfectly. That hair is a big part of what made the film version of this character so memorable. Perfectly over the top and absolutely one of the most iconic movie hairstyles of all time.
Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse in Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, I’m sure you already know what a big fan I am of the pixie cut. I can really thank Mia Farrow for bringing that look to the masses. While Twiggy started the trend, Mia really brought it front and center and for that reason (and many, many others), I adore Mia. This look worked perfectly on her.
Olivia Newton-John as Sandy Olsen in Grease (1978)
I was really town here. Olivia really rocked two iconic, yet very different, looks in Grease. Instead of trying to pick which is the most iconic, I simply went with my personal favorite – Sandy Olsen’s “tough girl” hair. Sassy, sexy but still youthful and fun, this is a look I’ve rocked myself a time or two. That doesn’t mean that Sandy Olsen’s “good girl” hair isn’t also iconic because it definitely is. Not many women can pull off two iconic looks in one film but not every woman is Olivia Newton-John.
Pam Grier as Foxy Brown in Foxy Brown (1974)
There is no denying Pam Grier’s Foxy Brown is iconic in many, many ways and Pam’s hairstyle for the character is probably at the top of that list in the minds of many people. There’s a reason it has remained so iconic. This style was sexy, feisty and sultry – just like Pam. It’s a bold, strong look that many women still rock today although it can be argued that precious few have made it look nearly as good as Pam did.
Rita Heyworth as Gilda Mundson Farrell in Gilda (1946)
Rita Heyworth is, like a few of the other ladies on this list, an icon in her own right and her hairstyle really didn’t have a whole lot to do with that status. Even so, the look Rita wore in Gilda is definitely worth including on this list. While it’s pretty obvious this look went on to inspire many similar sultry looks, writer Gary K. Wolf has said he had Rita’s Gilda Mundson in mind when he created one of his most famous characters – Jessica Rabbit.
Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Some may argue that it’s a little too soon to call the short, blunt style Rooney Mara wore in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo iconic, I couldn’t do this list without including it. While certainly not the only change Rooney made to play Lisbeth, the hairstyle was one of the most dramatic aspects of the transformation and for that reason alone, I feel it belongs on this list. While it’s icon status remains to be seen, I’m sure it’s not a style that will soon be forgotten. In addition, this look had a hand in kicking off the blunt bangs trend which I absolutely loved.
Shirley Temple as Shirley Blake in Bright Eyes (1934)
Who can deny the impact of little Shirley Temple and her world famous curls? Not only was this look absolutely adorable but it spawned a look that many little girls still wear to this day. While her style and overall personality certainly had a lot to do with her success, the curls definitely didn’t hurt.
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien 3 (1992)
While there have been many to follow in her footsteps, I think Sigourney Weaver was really one of the first women brave enough to shave off her hair for a film role so I chose here to represent bald and beautiful. Sure Demi Moore did it in GI Jane and Natalie Portman did it in V Is For Vendetta but Sigourney rocked it first and arguably best. When I think of bald, beautiful women, Sigourney is the first woman that comes to mind.
Sophia Loren as Filumena in Marriage Italian Style (1964)
Sophia Loren’s beautiful, voluminous curls from Marriage Italian Style are the picture of romance and pure sex appeal. Of course, Sophia wore many memorable styles in this classic film but this one is probably the one that was most copied and is most well loved. Everything about it screams glamour. It’s really no wonder this look has stood up to the test of time so well.
Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction (1994)
I know we talked about a fairly similar look last week with Louise Brooks, but I really felt Uma deserved a spot on this list. Uma’s bob offered a bit more length and was a little more wearable than Louise’s much shorter version. It’s also a bit more modern while still maintaining that retro charm. In a lot of ways though, this hairstyle was more than just a hairstyle. It was a statement and a bold one at that. It could not have fit her character in the film more perfectly.
Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939)
Gone with the Wind is often considered one of the most romantic films every produced. Vivien Leigh played the role of Scarlett O’Hara so beautifully, it would be hard to imagine anyone else in the role. It would also be hard to imagine Vivien wearing any other hairstyle for the role. Scarlett’s hair is part of the legacy of the film – almost as memorable as the character itself.