Glasses culture

14 Legendary Pairs of Sunglasses in Film

From the 1960s to the 1990s, we shine the spotlight on 14 classic shades from the silver screen that now hold cult status.

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    Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Blake Edwards – 1961 

    THE MANHATTAN, BY OLIVER GOLDSMITH

    It’s not just the little black dress that Audrey Hepburn made a classic in this film. Her sunglasses have become so legendary, that they are still available at Oliver Goldsmith.

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    The Thomas Crown Affair – Norman Jewison – 1968

    THE 714, BY PERSOL

    Life can get boring pretty quickly when you’re a millionaire. To remedy that, Thomas Crown, played by Steve McQueen, organized a hold-up to inject a little excitement into his life. And every conman knows that your choice of sunglasses is key to staying on the down-low.

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    The Swimming Pool – Jacques Deray – 1969

    THE 006, BY VUARNET (VINTAGE)

    Everyone can remember this Alain Delon scene by the pool. His glasses were the sixth model, from Vuarnet, a house that has since become a go-to for sunglasses. Such was the reception to the pair, that Vuarnet re-issued them in 2015 as the Edition Limitée 1969.

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    Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese – 1976

    THE ORIGINAL PILOT, BY AMERICAN OPTICAL

    Originally made for the US Army, don this this model worn by Robert De Niro and deliver the line like you mean it: “you talkin’ to me?”

    And if you needed any more historical clout, it was also the pair worn by Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 team when they first set foot on the moon in July 1969.

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    The Blues Brothers – John Landis – 1980

    THE WAYFARER, BY RAY-BAN

    A black suit, trilby and Wayfarers are the ingredients for John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd’s famously cool look in the cult film from the 80’s.

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    Scarface – Brian de Palma – 1983

    THE 6031, BY LINDA FARROW (VINTAGE)

    Even gangsters should be able to sip a cocktail quietly on the beach icognito and Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, knew that his glasses would leave their mark. No longer on sale, the model has become a symbol that inspires other designs today.

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    Beverly Hills Cop – 1984

    THE 5621, BY PORSCHE DESIGN (VINTAGE)

    For Axel Foley (alias Eddie Murphy), investigating crime under the Beverly Hills sun was unthinkable without the right pair of glasses to complete his look. And they had to scream ‘California’.

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    Terminator – James Cameron – 1984

    THE ANSI CLASSICS, BY GARGOYLES (VINTAGE)

    If there is one film in which sunglasses have become intrinsically linked to the character wearing them, it’s Terminator. Sunnies and guns form the arsenal of any self-respecting cyber-assassin and Arnold Schwarzenegger wears (both of) them well.

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    Top Gun – Tony Scott – 1986

    THE AVIATOR, BY RAYBAN

    Tom Cruise couldn’t play a fighter pilot without a pair of aviators and during the summer months today, this timeless style is on every street corner. All together: “I feel the need… the need for speed!”

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    Thelma and Louise – Ridley Scott – 1991

    THE VAGABOND, BY RAY-BAN

    A pair of cat eyes and a headscarf are essentials for going on the run. As Louise, Susan Sarandon demonstrates that with a good pair of glasses, you can get away with anything.

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    Léon – Luc Besson – 1994

    THE JUNIOR GAULTIER 58-00072, BY JEAN PAUL GAULTIER (VINTAGE)

    Jean Reno’s round frames added just the right dose of mystery to his persona as an unflappable hitman. The model was taken from a collection of sunglasses for children designed by Jean-Paul Gautier.

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    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Terry Gilliam – 1998

    THE SHOOTER, BY RAY-BAN

    As Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Johnny Depp used and abused all the chemical aids in his possession to see life through rose tinted glasses. And his own tinted sunglasses have become a legendary look.

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    Matrix – Andy et Larry Wachowski – 1999

    THE 4002, BY BLINDE (VINTAGE)

    Keanu Reeves’ famous glasses were specially designed for the film by Richard Blinde, founder of Blinde. Some time later, the brand has nevertheless released very similar models to fill the desire of fans of Neo, Trinity and others.

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    Fight Club – David Fincher – 1999

    THE AERO AVIATOR, BY OLIVER PEOPLES (VINTAGE)

    Don’t go looking for trouble without Tyler Durden’s (Brad Pitt) sunglasses from the film. The limited edition model is especially prized by collectors today.