Cinema's Most Iconic Shaving Scenes

Celluloid celebrations of the most masculine morning ritual

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The foam, the razor, the hot towel (and that stinging, stinging aftershave) – a combination that forms one of man's most satisfying rituals.

And it's a ritual that's been celebrated on screen, too, in iconic or character-defining scenes from some of history's greatest movies (and Crocodile Dundee). 

Here, we round up our favourite on-screen shaves, from Charlie Chaplin's exasperating dancing barber in The Great Dictator to the ravings of an underworld maniac in Sexy Beast.

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1 | Crocodile Dundee 

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He wrestles crocodiles, fights kangaroo hunters and kills snakes with his bare hands, but the legendary Crocodile Dundee still relies on a trusty disposable razor to keep his deeply-suntanned jawline looking fresh – that is, until Linda Kozlowski's journalist walks past, causing Dundee to pull out a bloody great hunting knife to finish the job. All together now, "that's not a knife..."


2 | Skyfall 


With 2012's Skyfall, director Sam Mendes gave us a Bond bearing scars both pyhsical and mental. Uniquely for a 007 film, there was no "official" Bond girl here, with Judi Dench's M replacing the traditional female sidekick with a more maternal role. What we did get was Naomie Harris' Moneypenny giving a damaged Bond an extremely close shave while helping him regain some of that "00" confidence. Not only a great scene visually, but a tense reconciliation after Moneypenny "killed" Bond's in the opening sequence.
 

3 | Tootsie 
 
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Years before Robin Williams donned drag to spend time with his children, Dustin Hoffman starred in the story of an "difficult" actor dressing up as the fairer sex in order to secure a role on a soap opera. Demonstrating considerable commitment to the deception, Hoffman's character shaves his face, then his entire body before plucking his eyebrows. In preparation for the film Hoffman dressed up in the full outfit and walked the streets of New York, reasoning that if anyone turned their heads, or noticed he was in drag, the film wouldn't work. After all of that Hoffman was disappointed the make-up department was unable to make him "beautiful"

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4 | The Untouchables

 
One of DeNiro's finest roles sees Al Capone relaxed and cocksure as he expertly handles members of the press, feeding them line after line (Remember: "You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word."). The position of the shot is interesting too: the camera hovers above Capone as the audience waits for the inevitable slip of the razor and the resulting bloody cheek. When it comes, Capone's restrained reaction is a perfect indication of the menace lurking beneath Capone's "businessman" exterior. 
 

5 | Sexy Beast
 
 
In a career of stand-out performances, Ben Kingsley has never been more impressive (or terrifying) than as underworld nut-job Don Logan in Sexy Beast. Here he follows Ed Norton's lead in 25th Hour and goes on a reflective and unsettling rant in the mirror, delving into his own unhinged psyche and deep-routed anger. So iconic was the performance that Kingsley riffed on it twice again for Live Aid
 

6 | Bram Stoker's Dracula
 
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Keanu Reeves has never been worse and even Gary Oldman couldn't save Francis Ford Coppola's ill-fated Dracula effort. Today, the only scene that stands up is this one of Reeves shaving as Dracula creeps ever closer behind him. Terrifying when you watched it as a child – although laughable now – the scene is guaranteed to make you paranoid next time you tackle that 5 O'clock shadow.
 

7 | The Royal Tenenbaums

 
A downer, but a fantastic scene as Luke Wilson's Richie Tenenbaum tries to end it all with a razor blade. As he takes off his sweatband and aviators, then trims his hair and beard before lathering up, we see a gradual process of a man casting everything aside in a strange pre-death grooming ritual, set to Elliot Smith's haunting 'Needle In The Hay'. Luckily (spoiler alert) he survives to shave another day.
 

8 | The Great Dictator
 

One of Chaplin's most iconic roles sees him star as a Jewish barber in the ghetto of a fictional country during a WW2-esque conflict. In this scene we're reminded of Chaplin's true physical genius. The fluidity of movement and sense of rhythm as he nonchalantly delivers one of the closest shaves in history may never be matched. 
 
 
9 | High Plains Drifter
 
 
The Eastwood-directed High Plains Drifter owes plenty to Sergio Leone's Dollar's Trilogy, particularly in this early scene as Eastwood's The Stranger rides into town for a shave. The barber channels the audience's anxiety and violent expectations as he fidgets with his tools and his eyes dart nervously about. The shock is that the shaving knife plays no part in the sudden murder of the three bandits, subverting expectations after a tense build up.

In terms of the quality of the shave, we recommend the still-bearded, post-shootout Eastwood may want to choose another barber

 
 
10 | North By Northwest
 

Being on the run, on a train, is no excuse for sloppy personal hygiene as Cary Grant's character well knows. Forced to shave with Eva Marie Saint's tiny travel razor, Grant engages in playful bathroom banter with a bemused fellow passenger (the shaving equivalent of "mine's bigger than yours"). The dialogue upon emerging from the bathroom is even better: asked what took him so long Grant replies, "big face, small razor." Unflappable. 
 

Tell us which is your favourite in the comments


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