Image: Tom Cruise in Top Gun | Source: Getty

The Leather Jacket: A Star in Some of the Most Iconic Films

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John in Grease, Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, Tom Cruise in Top Gun – the icon in all of these Hollywood films, the humble leather jacket.

The style staple has defined some of the most memorable on-screen moments of the last few decades. Here’s a look back at some of the most famous men and women ever to rock the statement outerwear piece in Hollywood’s iconic movies.

Marlon Brando – The Wild One (1953)

The legendary actor Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler likely ignited the world’s imagination with the leather jacket as the iconic uniform of the bad boy. One of the earliest silver-screen shots of the style staple, the black motorcycle jacket featuring in The Wild One went on to pave the way for future movie star/ jackets partnerships.

Tom Cruise – Top Gun (1986)

The embodiment of a true movie hero, Tom Cruise’s Maverick wouldn’t be the character we know and love without the iconic Top Gun leather jacket. Adorned with the patches pilots sew on to commemorate their missions, the US Navy shearling bomber jacket would still work as a stylish piece today. The leather jacket sold for over A$75,000 in a 2020 auction – a testament to its unbridled popularity.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Terminator (1984)

As a time-travelling robot, it only makes sense that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T100 wears a menacing black leather jacket. In one of the early scenes in the movie, the terminator, played by Arnold, steals the jacket from the bar and continues to wear it for almost the entire film. Add to the ensemble the slick shades and you have one of the most recognised characters in Hollywood history.

Brad Pitt – Fight Club (1999)

The luxe red colour leather jacket is a step away from the standard black leather jacket we are typically accustomed to. The 70s throwback-style represents the confidence, freedom and disregard for authority of Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden. The single-breasted piece with white double stitching and shirt-style collar is one of the most reproduced movie leather jackets.

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Grease (1978)

Two of the coolest characters of the late 1970’s Travolta and Newton-John donned the jackets for one of the film’s most memorable scenes – their rendition of “You’re the One That I Want.” While the John Travolta leather jacket has spawned numerous replicas, Olivia Newton-John’s original leather jacket sold for just over A$330,000 in 2019.

Daniel Craig – Skyfall (2012)

Perhaps one of the most polished on-screen actors and the perfect actor for James Bond. The Levi’s Menlo leather jacket is seen on Daniel Craig’s James Bond. The distressed leather features in a brown shade with full front zip inspired by leather jackets from the early 1930s.

Harrison Ford – Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Indiana Jones’ jacket in Raiders of the Lost Ark is almost something of a legend. The dark brown leather jacket worn by Ford in the 1981 movie apparently required several redesigns to get the garment right. Paired with the famous bullwhip, fedora and satchel, the leather jacket made for quite the well-styled character.

Patrick Swayze – Dirty Dancing (1987)

Everyone’s favourite dance instructor in Dirty Dancing is simply an iconic character. It’s only fitting then that Patrick Swayze’s distressed leather jacket that he wore in the film should also get its fair share of the attention. Fans swooned over the item in 2017 when it went up for auction along with more of the late actor’s memorabilia. The legendary leather jacket fetched over A$90,000.

Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Proof that leather jackets stand the test of time, Chris Pratt’s character Star-Lord travels around saving the galaxy in none other than the leather statement piece. With flashbacks to the red leather of Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden, Pratt’s jacket gets a modern update. The grid-textured jacket is sleek and collarless – perfect for the futuristic world he inhabits.

Hugh Jackman – X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

There may not be a character as inextricably linked to his leather jacket like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Couple the jacket with bushy sideburns and add a pair of jeans and it would be hard to picture anyone other than the famous character. The dark brown leather jacket with orange details is as memorable as any of the mighty scenes.

If you enjoy reading about iconic movies, you might enjoy the $30 Billion Audi and Marvel brand or the tale of two iconic British brands: Aston Martin and James Bond.

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