5 Errol Flynn
No one is more dashing than Errol Flynn, and no facial hair style is more dashing than his signature pencil-thin mustache, which floated on his upper lip with the same precision with which many of Flynn’s most famous characters—Robin Hood, Captain Blood—wielded a sword. Flynn first donned his iconic mustache for the film “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” The thin mustache was a common style for men during the Great Depression, and Flynn may have adopted his as a tribute to actor Douglas Fairbanks.
4 Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin’s tiny toothbrush mustache—what we today might think of as a soul patch on the upper lip—was an indelible part of the character of The Little Tramp, which Chaplin created in the early days of Hollywood. Originally an American reaction against the ostentatious mustaches of Europe—re: Otto von Bismarck—in the early 20th century the toothbrush mustache represented the modern man. Together with an undersized bowler hat, cane and funny walk, Chaplin’s Little Tramp was an instantly recognizable comedic character in silent movies.
3 Salvador DalÃ
Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí’s long, thin, pointy-tipped mustache was inspired by the facial hair and Baroque style of one of his favorite artists, 17th-century painter Diego Velázquez. Dalí once said of his facial hair, “Since I don’t smoke, I decided to grow a mustache—it is better for the health.” He said he carried mustaches around with him in a cigarette case and offered them to people, but this was probably a joke. In 2010, Dalí’s infamous ‘stache was voted the most famous of all time in a Movember poll of British men.
2 Tom Selleck
Like Bismarck, Tom Selleck’s mustache is a cultural icon that is part of the actor’s persona. It has its own Twitter account, Facebook page and a tribute video by comedian Richard Sandling, who calls Selleck’s ‘stache “the greatest and most iconic contribution to Cinema…. There isn’t a single film that would not be improved by the inclusion of Tom Selleck’s Moustache.” Although he’s nearly 70 years old, Selleck’s mustache is still as dark brown and prominent on his upper lip as it was when he was 30, giving the actor a timeless air.
1 Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck’s name is synonymous with many things—German empire-building, the Franco-Prussian War, helmets with pointy finials—but most especially for his huge, walrus-style mustache that hung over his upper lip and had sides that extended down to his chin. Just the name Otto von Bismarck inspires images of outlandish, Teutonic facial hair. Did Bismarck favor the style to hide any hint of a smile that might creep onto his face? Either way, he had the gravitas to pull it off.