Recently, The Silver Petticoat Review celebrated the special onscreen relationships of women, in the forms of sisterhood, friendship, and mothers and daughters. This prompted me to think about the same type of relationships between men.
No one can deny the inherent differences between men and women in the way they communicate and relate to others. But after closer examination, I believe that true and valued friendships between men are really not that much different than the ones women share.
In recent years, the term bromance has become popular to describe an affectionate but asexual relationship between men. I really appreciate when this types of friendship is highlighted in film, whether it’s brothers, fathers and sons, mentor and mentee or friends. So, I gathered a list of some of my favorite onscreen bromances featuring these relationships to share with you.
ONSCREEN BROMANCES WE LOVE
(In no particular order)
1. John Thornton (Richard Armitage) & Nicholas Higgins (Brendan Coyle)
North & South (2004)
A mill owner and a labor union spokesman, these two don’t start off on the right foot. When Higgins loses his job at a competing mill, he’s persuaded to ask Thornton for a job. Thornton rejects him outright. But something Higgins says causes Thornton to re-think his decision. He hires Higgins on the condition that Higgins will not stir up trouble as the union leader. But as these two work together, they slowly develop a grudging respect which leads to an unexpected friendship that benefits them both personally and professionally.
2. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) and John Bingley (Simon Woods)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Darcy and Bingley are such great friends that they travel together to Netherfield where they meet the Bennett sisters. When Bingley becomes a little too attached to Jane Bennett, Darcy steps in to break up their romance, believing that he acts in his friend’s best interest. Later when he discovers that he was wrong about Jane’s feelings for Bingley, he encourages Bingley to seek Jane out to propose to her.
3. CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) & Mike Connor (James Stewart)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Forced to work together to produce a tabloid article on the wedding of socialite Tracy Lord’s wedding, C.K. and Mike begin as strangers. But as they both become entangled in Tracy’s allure, they discover they have something in common. By the end of the film, they’ve joined forces to turn the tables on the publisher who has blackmailed them into writing the article.
Macaulay ” Mike” Connor: Doggone it, C.K. Dexter Haven. Either I’m gonna sock you or you’re gonna sock me.
C. K. Dexter Haven: Shall we toss a coin?
4. Geordie Keating (Robson Green) & Sydney Chambers (James Norton)
Geordie is a cynical policeman who initially doesn’t take too kindly to the local vicar’s amateur crime sleuthing. But eventually, he realizes that being the community’s spiritual figure gives Sydney an “in” with the locals. Not to mention, that Geordie often benefits from Sydney’s discoveries which would otherwise be outside of his own legal jurisdiction. This atheist and vicar’s unique friendship and professional partnership end up benefitting them both in numerous ways.
RELATED: 7 Bromances to Melt Your Heart
5. DC Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) and DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam)
Morse is just the sweetest little cupcake of a police investigator ever. His serious, by the book, black and white view of the world often puts him at odds with his superiors. But he’s taken under the wing of the more experienced Thursday who teaches him how to navigate the political ropes of working in the Oxford police department. Morse is a bit of a loner who has trouble connecting with others, but his relationship with Thursday eventually evolves into a father/mentor and son relationship and helps fill a void in his life.
6. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) & James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
Captain America films (2011, 2014, 2016)
I mean, these two give me all the squeeeee feelings! Bucky is the popular, outgoing guy who looks out for his small, orphaned, nerdy but determined buddy. These two are the ride or die type. But when Bucky’s brainwashed and becomes a weapon for the enemy, the now super-powered Steve/Captain America refuses to give up on his old friend. Regardless of what anyone else says, he believes the real Bucky is hidden somewhere deep within the psyche of the deadly human weapon known as the Winter Soldier. And though the Winter Soldier remains on mission to destroy Captain America’s assignment, there’s something in their encounters which sparks his memories.
7. King George VI (Colin Firth) & Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush)
The King’s Speech (2010)
Few would believe that a king could befriend a commoner. At least not in the time period before England’s future king married one. Bertie never expected to be king, but is forced to accept the role when his older brother abdicates. This throws the royal court into a panic thanks to his habit of stuttering. Logue’s no one of importance and isn’t even professionally trained as a speech therapist, but his habit of treating the new King George as an equal instead of a royal gains the king’s trust. Soon Bertie begins to depend on Logue’s blunt honesty and surprising friendship.
King George VI: [as he prepares to broadcast his wartime speech] Logue, however this turns out, I don’t know how to thank you… for what you’ve done.
Lionel Logue: [after a pause] Knighthood?
8. Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) & Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman)
The Sting (1973)
Listen, any film which stars both golden men Robert Redford and Paul Newman together is a winner in my book. I would watch them remove wallpaper from a wall (a rather tedious task). I love their partnership in this film as two con-men who join forces to run a “sting” operation on an even bigger con man who is after Hooker. Hooker is the charming but less experienced of the two, while Gondorff is jaded and world-weary. Their partnership benefits them but is just also a lot of fun to watch.
Henry Gondorff: Glad to meet you, kid. You’re a real horse’s ass.
Johnny Hooker: Luther said I could learn something from you. I already know how to drink.
9. Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) & Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry)
Joey and Chandler may just be the sweetest of bromances on this list. In a way, their friendship’s financially one-sided with Chandler often covering the cost of their shared apartment and Joey’s unstable acting lifestyle. But no one loves and accepts Chandler quite like Joey does. So I would argue it ends up being an even exchange. These two have so much fun together and often find themselves in awkward and embarrassing situations.
Chandler: I am an excellent secret keeper. I have kept all of out secrets.
Joey: What secrets?
Chandler: Oh no-no, Joey, I am not going to tell you because I am an excellent secret keeper.
10. Fred Mertz (William Frawley) & Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz)
I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz are some of the most famous friends in television history. But their husbands’ friendship is also pretty solid. It’s hard to imagine less disparate people than Fred and Ricky. But when you are married to such fearless and sometimes foolish women as Lucy and Ethel, husbands must stick together or risk disaster. This Cuban band leader and stingy landlord have little in common besides their wives. But they still manage to develop a great rapport and understanding. Though they often act as the practical wet blankets to their wives crazy schemes, they also occasionally indulge their own silly sides.
Ricky Ricardo: Fred, I’ve got an awful problem on my hands.
Fred Mertz: You should have thought about that before you married her.
11. Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) & Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Our title character is a precocious teenager who convinces his morose, pessimistic best friend to live a little by skipping school for a day. It’s the most fun Cameron has ever had until he accidentally ruins his father’s prized collector’s car. Ferris encourages Cameron the truth so he can finally stop being invisible to his own father.
12. Fezzick (Andre the Giant) & Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin)
The Princess Bride (1987)
I would love to know the backstory of how Fezzick and Inigo met and developed the trust that exists between them. They obviously know and rely on each other fairly well by the time they help Vizzini kidnap the Princess Buttercup. The revenge-driven swordsman and easy-going giant even adopt Westley aka The Dread Pirate Roberts into their select brotherhood. But their loyalty to each other shines brightest and is a highlight of the film.
Inigo Montoya: You know, Fezzik, you finally did something right.
Fezzik: Don’t worry, I won’t let it go to my head.
13. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) & Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt)
The Oceans Trilogy (2001, 2004, 2007)
Who else but close friends can drop zingers and rib each other so good-naturedly? Though the larger group of thieves seem to get along and trust each other more than expected, it’s the ringleaders Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan who exhibit the best bromance. (Although, shout out to the Malloy boys played by Scott Caan and Casey Affleck as runner-ups).
Rusty: [Danny comes out of jail] “I hope you were the groom…”
Danny: [looking at Rusty’s shirt] “Ted Nugent called, he wants his shirt back…”
14. Alf Arless (John Dagleish) & Robert Timmins (Brendan Coyle)
Lark Rise to Candleford (2008-2011)
Alfie has the care of his younger siblings. Luckily, Robert Timmins lives nearby and acts as friend and mentor to Alfie. Alfie’s a young man who has had to grow up quickly and accept the responsibility of being the sole provider of his family. There is no one he admires, respect or seeks to emulate more than the strong principled, hard-working patriarch of the Timmins clan.
15. Jack Kelly (Christian Bale) & Dave Jacobs (David Moscow)
When Dave and his family move to Brooklyn, Jack Kelly takes him under his wing. Jack’s an orphaned newsboy who shows Dave and his younger brother the ropes when it comes to selling newspapers. But when evil newspaper magnate Hearst creates difficulties for the boys who sell his papers, Jack calls for a strike. With David acting as the brains and Jack as the heart of the strike, they form a formidable team which inspires the working boys of New York in a David and Goliath type of battle.
David Jacobs: He called you Sullivan.
Jack Kelly: Yeah, well, my name’s Kelly. Jack Kelly. You think I’m lyin’?
David Jacobs: You have a way of improving the truth.
16. Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) & Ilya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015)
If you have never seen this fun spy-spoofing, sixties set comedy, what are you doing with your life?!?! Besides the amazing retro wardrobe and physical perfection of the actors/actresses on screen, one of the best parts about this movie is the hate/love relationship between the American and Russian agents Napoleon and Ilya. On opposite sides of the Cold War, they’re forced to work together on a mutually beneficial assignment and spend much of that time sniping at each other. At the same time, a mutual respect begins to grow between them. I just love a good love/hate relationship, especially when it involves double the man candy.
Napoleon Solo: I absolutely hated working with you, Peril.
Illya Kuryakin: You’re a terrible spy, Cowboy.
17. Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) & Albert Brenneman (Kevin James)
Albert originally hires Hitch (aka the Date Doctor) to help him win the woman of his dreams. But as Hitch coaches him and gives him advice on how to win his heart’s desire, these two men become friends. Hitch sees in Albert a vulnerable, but caring man much like he was in his younger days. Albert admires Hitch’s practical tips on interacting with the woman who leaves him tongue-tied. In the end, Albert confronts Hitch with a truth he needs to hear. And Hitch works to correct a misunderstanding with Albert’s lady love. If these aren’t the actions of true friends, then I don’t know what is.
18. Lord Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett) & Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam)
An Ideal Husband (1999)
You have to expect any story written by Oscar Wilde to be wickedly clever and bitingly funny. Chiltern and Goring are aristocratic English friends of longstanding, even though Sir Robert’s rigidly moral and Lord Goring’s comfortable flaunting the rules of society. When a woman from their past returns to blackmail Sir Robert for a past misdeed, Lord Goring does everything he can to rescue his friend before his reputation is ruined. This is unexpected from the seemingly frivolous Lord Goring, but such is the mutual admiration between the two men. Plus, it serves to leave the men on equal moral footing when all’s said and done.
Sir Robert Chiltern: Do you know, Arthur, I sometimes wish I were you.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do you know, Robert, sometimes I wish you were too. Except that you would probably make something useful out of my life, and that would never do.
19. Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) & Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich)
This little sleeper film was a surprise hit a couple of years ago. Who would have thought a comedic action film about pensioned government agents who are Retired and Extremely Dangerous would be so entertaining? One of the highlights of the film is the odd friendship between former CIA agent Frank and former CIA experiment Marvin Boggs who just may be the biggest conspiracy theorist ever seen on film. Or he may just be the smartest man in the film. Thankfully, Frank knows just how to manage the highly suspicious, trigger-fingered Marvin. This is especially important as they go about trying to discover who wants them dead and has hired a hit on them. But still, what is a better bonding experience for men then shooting big guns and blowing stuff up?
Frank Moses: [Marvin has just shot a bad guy] Feel better now?
Marvin Boggs: Yeah. Wanna get pancakes?
20. FDR Foster (Chris Pine) & Tuck (Tom Hardy)
This Means War (2012)
Childhood friends and fellow CIA spies FDR and Tuck are as close as brothers until they both fall for the same woman. Suddenly, these two men have declared war with the prize being Lauren, their mutual interest. FDR and Tuck who formerly worked together to bring down corrupt men and governments are now using their skills and personal knowledge to sabotage each others’ dates with the clueless Lauren. Their long history together gives them special insight into how to best exploit their weaknesses.
FDR Foster: I missed you.
Tuck: I know. I’ve missed you too.
FDR Foster: I love you, man.
Tuck: I love you, too.
FDR Foster: We’re back!
Lauren: Oh, my God. I’m Yoko.
21. Robin Hood (Brian Bedford) & Little John (Phil Harris)
Robin Hood (1973)
Of all the film adaptations of Robin Hood, this one is my favorite. Perhaps it’s the light-hearted comic aspect of the film. But I also really love the loyal friendship of these two mischief makers. While Robin is the brains of the outfit, Little John’s participation and execution of Robin’ s plans are crucial to their bedevilment of “that phony Prince John.” Little John believes in what Robin is doing and is always there to act as his sounding board and moral support. Of course, the evil Prince John and his reptilian minion Hiss have a pretty good bromance happening too.
22. Algy (Rupert Everett) & Jack (Colin Firth)
The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
Jack: Algy, you’re always talking nonsense.
Algy: It’s better than listening to it.
Oscar Wilde’s stories are so great that this is the second of his film adaptations mentioned in this list. What happens when two good friends who use the same pseudonym as their alter egos both fall for women who declare they could never love anyone but an Ernest? Algy mainly resides in London while his friend Jack lives in the country, but find themselves at odds with each other when their lives collide. Jack desperately wants to marry Algy’s cousin Gwendolyn and Algy falls for Jack’s ward Cecily. But only one man can claim the name Ernest. Suddenly, these two friends find themselves at odds with each other. But they may yet find an even closer tie exists between them.
23. Peter Mitchell(Tom Selleck), Michael Kellam (Steve Guttenberg) & Jack Holden (Ted Danson)
3 Men and a Baby (1987)
These three bachelors live the good life in New York City, sharing a large apartment, parties and beautiful women. But when a baby is left on their doorstep with a note claiming Jack is the father, they find their lives turned upside down. These friends face a steep learning curve in caring for a baby and re-prioritizing their lives. And Michael and Peter find it hard to forgive the irresponsible Jack for landing them all in such a predicament. But nothing’s cuter then watching three grown men fall in love with the youngest female ever to reside in their apartment.
Film Quote Sources: IMDb.com
Content Note: Many of the films listed may have questionable content such as objectionable or suggestive language or mild violence.
Featured image at top: Pride and Prejudice 1995. Photo Credit: BBC
Are you a fan of bromances? What are some of your favorites? Leave a comment with your favorites below.