7. Jules Winnfield (Samuel L Jackson) – Pulp Fiction (1994)
Like so much of Tarantino’s work, Pulp Fiction is reliant on stylistic throwbacks and a collage of film references. Chatty assassin Jules with his afro, sideburns and handlebar moustache combo looks simultaneously old-fashioned and timelessly trendy. You’d notice Jules even before he opened his mouth, before he started his portentous sermon with his booming pastor’s voice. You’d notice him and perhaps underestimate him as someone who was past it or trying too hard. Then you’d hear the authority in his voice and the look in his eye and know you weren’t going to win this fight – you’d get out of that diner you were trying to rob. You don’t want to bring on this guy’s great vengeance and furious anger, so don’t laugh at his facial hair. And, whatever you do, don’t say “what?”.
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6. Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) – Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
Everyone’s favourite innocently offensive Kazakh journalist, Borat has a beguiling mo framing his cheeky grin as he flummoxes politicians and members of the public on his trip across the USA. The genius of Borat as a comic creation is that he genuinely doesn’t realise he’s said anything wrong. Coen does – he’s trying to either provoke a reaction from an interviewee or mock them for not picking up on something really offensive that has been said. Sometimes he just needs to stay quiet and let the American interviewees do the offending on their own, like in the infamous scene where he hitchhikes with some borderline white supremacist students. Borat is like a child, with a child’s innocence and lack of filter, and wrapping a great big moustache around his toothy, immature child’s smile will never not be funny.
5. Francis Begbie (Robert Carlyle) – Trainspotting (1996) / T2: Trainspotting (2017)
A Scottish psychopath who proves the old adage that it’s the little ones you’ve got to be wary of.
He has a moustache seemingly as a distraction, so you’re looking at that instead of his mad eyes or his pair of hands that are in all likelihood reaching for a glass to smash over your head. Begbie probably didn’t put much thought into his look – he just is – but he certainly benefits from it. As terrifying to his friends as he is to those who cross him, it’s his sheer unpredictability that is most terrifying, and people who underestimate a small man with a moustache make him truly dangerous. As detestable as he is, Begbie could be seen as a tragic and lonely figure, especially in T2: Trainspotting which features a brief flashback featuring his deadbeat dad (also Carlyle, also rocking bad facial hair) suggesting that old Franco has likely been dealing with his mountain of issues since childhood.
4. Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) – There Will Be Blood (2007)
An increasingly unstable and dangerous oil baron, Daniel Plainview is a dark distortion of the American Dream. Mr Plainview has facial hair as immovable as an oil pump. He doesn’t start off entirely stable, but he dresses the part and certainly keeps it better hidden (and has fewer opportunities to go over the edge) when he’s busy keeping his oil pumping and his wealth accumulating. Plainview brings wealth and a booming industry to his town but also saps his fellow man like a particularly aggressive parasite. His sturdy hard-working man’s moustache greys and becomes disheveled in time with the fracturing of his fragile psyche, as his real mark on the world becomes more about the red stuff than the black or green.