The Nine Most Iconic Sunglasses In Film

For a quick lesson in looking awesome this summer, it's best to turn to the movies.

Brought to you by Pretty Shady

Brought to you by Pretty Shady

We’ve teamed up with the new initiative Pretty Shady to create a series of stories that will hopefully inspire you to be part of the generation that stops skin cancer, one summer at a time. It’s all about positive action: shade, clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. This piece is a homage to that most stylish of accessories: sunglasses. Head here to enter the draw to win 1 of 800 pairs of Pretty Shady sunnies.

For as long as stars have tried to look cool in front of cameras, they’ve worn sunglasses. It’s surprising how versatile a prop they can be to an actor’s work. Sunglasses can add style and they can add menace. They can can keep secrets hidden and reveal them moments later. They’ve got attitude and swagger. They can change fashion trends for decades to come, and they’re pretty much the ultimate summertime accessory.


Because we love movies and sunglasses, we’ve highlighted nine amazing moments when they came together in iconic ways. Don’t act like you don’t wanna emulate them, okay.

John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers (1980)

Unlike Corey Hart, these two can wear sunglasses at night and still be the coolest dudes on the block. It’s advisable you don’t try this at home if you’re driving like these guys, however.


Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Audrey Hepburn’s look in Breakfast At Tiffany’s has been inspiring fashionistas since 1961. However, while fashion trends come and go (much like one’s budget for expensive Tiffany’s jewellery), sunglasses never go out of style. While it might help if you’re able to casually reveal eyes as luminescent and hypnotic as Hepburn’s, sunglasses will make you look cool even if you’re living on a borrowed budget like Holly Golightly’s.


Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club (1985)

Brian Johnson was the best of John Hughes’ ’80s nerds. Look, we can argue all day about whether Ally Sheedy’s make-over in The Breakfast Club was actually terrible and reduced her to little more than a Barbie doll with dandruff, or we could just focus on how awesome Anthony Michael Hall looks with his new shades. See, the right pair of sunglasses can kick you up a notch or two on the high school social ladder, too!


Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Is there a boss any meaner than Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly? Hardly. And as the editor of a fashion magazine, she ought to be wearing the hippest and most expensive pair of sunglasses that can be found on the shelves. Thankfully, you don’t need to pay as much as hers are likely worth, as long as you have the attitude to go with ‘em.


Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944)

As cool as you think you are in your designer sunglasses, there comes a time where everybody has to admit they will never be as mind-blowingly amazing as Barbara Stanwyck is in Billy Wilder’s legendary film noir, Double Indemnity. It’s best to take her advice (“deal with it”), and move on.


Emma Stone in Easy A (2010)

Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence are currently waging a war against each other to see who can be the coolest, most well-adjusted, twenty-something actor in Hollywood. In Stone’s corner is her performance in Easy A, which was devilish and effortlessly hilarious.


Sue Lyon in Lolita (1962)

If you take one bit of advice from Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita — and, morally, it’s about the only thing anybody should ever take from it — it’s that heart-shaped glasses are eternally naughty. The image of star Sue Lyon sucking provocatively on a lollipop as her eyes peak out over her red-rimmed glasses is one of cinema’s most iconic and lasting. Just last year, Lana Del Rey brought them back with her coquettish act, and then Josh ‘Peeta from The Hunger Games‘ Hutcherson wore them to an awards show.


Hugo Weaving in The Matrix (1999)

Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith in The Matrix teaches us all an important lesson: computers can hurt your eyes. He should know, he is a computer program. It’s best, then, to take your face away from the monitor every once in a while and get outside in the sun. Naturally, the most mischievous pair of sunnies will allow you to avoid the viruses that surround you.


Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)

Audiences today know him more as ‘that crazy Scientologist guy’, but once upon a time he was oh so smooth. Tom Cruise made himself into a generation’s pinnacle of cool in the ’80s: when he wasn’t dancing in his socks, tighty-whities, a business shirt and a pair of shades in Risky Business (1983), he was throwing on a pair of aviators and playing war games in fighter jets… and looking good while doing it.


Glenn Dunks is a freelance writer and film critic from Melbourne, and currently based in New York City. His work has been seen online (Onya Magazine, Quickflix), in print (The Big Issue, Metro Magazine, Intellect Books Ltd’s World Film Locations: Melbourne), as well as heard on Joy 94.9.