The Ten Coolest Movie Tattoos


I have to admit- I admire great ink. There’s something to be said for the artistry that goes into a tattoo. That goes double for movie characters. To even notice them at all, they must be important or say something about the characters. Here are the ten coolest movie tattoos:

Mr. Horsepower, Raising Arizona (1987)


H.I. McDunnough and Leonard Smalls both have this bird tattoo, which often gets confused with Woody Woodpecker. It’s actually “Mr. Horsepower”, the logo for Clay Smith Cams.

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Love and Hate, Night of the Hunter (1955)



Mitchum’s ultra-fanatical Tom Powell is terrifying, even going so far as to menace small children. His “Love/Hate” tattoo is one for the ages.

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Leonard’s memories, Memento (2000)


People say that tattoos should mean something deep and personal. I’d say this qualifies as much as any tattoo, ever. There’s certainly never been a film in which a tattoo meant so much to the plot.

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Nazis are Total Assholes but They Sometimes Have Noticeable Ink, Part I: Romper Stomper (1992)
Romper Stomper
is notable for two reasons. First, it’s a little shocking to see such frank subject matter- namely, it’s about a bunch of neo-Nazi punks. Second and more importantly, it was one of the first times that most people saw Russell Crowe on screen and he tackled his character with aplomb, punctuated by a really great arm bone tattoo on his arm.

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Truth or Justice, Cape Fear (1991)


Max Cady’s menacing insanity was brought to life flawlessly by Robert Deniro. Punctuating Deniro’s rage was a scene that saw him working out, complete with a back-full of a gigantic tattoo featuring the scales of justice hanging from a wooden cross. One side marks “Truth” while the other marks “Justice”.

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Nazis are Total Assholes but They Sometimes Have Noticeable Ink, Part II: American History X (1998)


American History X is notable for two reasons. First, it’s a little shocking to see such frank subject matter- namely, it’s about a bunch of neo-Nazi punks. Second and more importantly, it was one of the first times that most people saw Edward Norton on screen and he tackled his character with aplomb, punctuated by a jarringly large Nazi tattoo on his chest.

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The long wide-headed monster coming out the pants, Escape from New York (1981)


It’s possible that Snake Plissken had a giant snake tattoo on his stomach in reference to The Man With No Name, who had metal snakes on the grip of his pistol, as the Plissken wikipedia page indicates. Or it could just be phallic chicanery. You decide.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Tattoo


When you’re talking about a character whose tattoo is in the title of the film, you know it’s going to be an incredible tattoo. And Lisbeth Salander’s tattoo delivers.

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Dude! Sweet!, Dude! Where’s My Car?


So simple, so funny, Chester and Jesse go through an Abbott and Costello-style routine, except you can replace “Who’s on first?” with “Dude!” and “Sweet!”

Jesse: Dude! You got a tattoo!
Chester: So do you, dude! Dude, what does my tattoo say?
Jesse: “Sweet!” What about mine?
Chester: “Dude!” What does mine say?
Jesse: “Sweet!” What about mine?
Chester: “Dude!” What does mine say?
Jesse: “Sweet!” What about mine?
Chester: “Dude!” What does mine say?
Jesse: “Sweet!” What about mine?
Chester: “Dude!” But what does mine say?
Jesse: “Sweet!” What about mine?
Chester: “Dude!” What does mine say?
Jesse: “S – wee – t!” What about mine?
[later]
Chester: [angry] “Dude!” What does mine say?
Jesse: [screaming] “Sweet!”

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The Death Eater tattoos, Several Harry Potter films


Not only are they cool looking tattoos, but the snake moves around and makes evil things happen if you poke it with a magical stick (or wand, as it were).

 


30 Comments

Filed under Movies

30 responses to “The Ten Coolest Movie Tattoos

  1. The guy who met Kevin Meany

    A Tale of Two Leonards: In Raising Arizona, I spent way too much time pondering the significance of H.I. and Leonard Smalls having the same tattoo. While the artwork, itself, isn’t anything special, the use of the identical tattoos in the movie was pretty cool. Was Leonard actually created by H.I.? Was Leonard another personality of H.I.? Was Leonard just some biker who had a matching tattoo?

    Also, the inclusion of Memento is pretty cool. I hold Memento in very high esteem. Ingenius storytelling. Besides Leonard’s “facts” (the tattoos) are done with a very distinctive font. I guess if I was trying to record facts I would do it in a very readable font. That’s why I quit writing in cursive.

    • It’d be tough to leave “Memento” out. I think his chest tattoos are a simple Olde English style font. The others… not sure. But they’re a good font. I like that some look like they’re just scrawled in with a paper clip and others look professionally done.

  2. As I was reading I was hoping for Memento and Dude, Wheres my car?

    (I love that film heheh)

    I personally was a bit disappointed with the Dragon tattoo, as a tattoo. I imagined it a lot bigger in my mind than it was on the screen.

    Also How cool is Ed Norton in American History? He looks so mean with that ink!

    C

  3. Kelly

    Dude, Where’s my Car? is listed, but no Red Dragon? Or Natural Born Killers? In Dude, I don’t think the tattoos themselves were that great, since their only purpose was to set-up that hilarious dialogue.

    I do agree with Raising Arizona and Cape Fear being listed. I mean, come on… you can’t not mention RA! (BTW, great theories, The Guy.) And De Niro scared the shit out of me in Cape Fear with those prison tats. They really added that extra element to Max Cady’s intimidating nature.

    • Ah! Good call on Natural Born Killers. I totally spaced on that one.

      I have to cop to never having seen “Red Dragon”.

      • Kelly

        It’s my favorite of all the Hannibal films. I really suggest you check it out. And I was just looking at the IMDb hitlist… congrats on being featured again!

        • Will definitely do. I’ve been looking for movies like that in recent weeks- things that I missed the first time around. I think after the Ray Liotta Hannibal movie, I sort of lost interest. But I remember “Red Dragon” looking really intriguing.

          And thanks!

          • Dude

            I have to agree on that, Silence was obviously great, Hannibal not so much, but then Red Dragon was surprisingly great again.

          • Apathygrrl

            I just want to say that you seriously need to change your list to 11 coolest tattoos and add the tattoo from Red Dragon. It’s epic.

  4. I always think of “Remember Sammy Jankis” when I think of tattoos.

    Another of my favourites was George Clooney’s character’s tattoo in From Dusk Till Dawn, like black flames licking all the way up his arm from his wrist to his neck.

    I hope this doesn’t evolve into an argument about the coolest tattoos.

  5. Pingback: The Ten Coolest Movie Tattoos | | Articles about the world

  6. Jonah

    Always loved the arm bones in Romper Stomper and if I didn’t need to be employed or want to visit my mom in shorts sleeves, I’d love to get one. Same reason I like Clooney’s in From dusk til Dawn. Nice solid tribal work that reaches onto his neck.

  7. nimorphi

    I wonder how many people got “Love” and “Hate” tattoos after seeing it in Do the Right Thing and have no idea it originally came from Night of the Hunter

  8. Jelly

    Would the cast of Once Were Warriors get honorable mention?

  9. Ahaha nice touch with the Sweet/Dude conversation 😉 Indeed a nice selection of movie tattoos!

  10. Dude

    First thing that came to mind when reading the title. Cape Fear, which I saw last week for the first time and Blues Brothers. (ant the crappy new A-Team movie)

  11. rtm

    That tattoo on DeNiro in Cape Fear is frightening, just like his character!

  12. relyt50

    i think the tattoo in romper stomper looks fake. i know it was low budget but i think they could’ve afforded a real make-up artist instead of a 12 year old goth girl with a sharpie.

  13. You missed red dragon – hannibal and BOONDOCK SAINTS!

  14. JAKE and ELWOOD knuckle tatts in The Blues Brothers. C’mon!!! 😀

  15. Nick

    whoa whoa whoa you totally left out the tattoos on the hands of the McMannus brothers from Boondock Saints. Arguably the coolest tattoos of all time.

  16. Dan

    Val Kilmer’s tattoos in The Salton Sea would definitely have my vote.You don’t see them much in the film but they are mighty impressive when you do.

  17. Alex tschetter

    Boondock saints? Hand tats ?
    Hot Rod? The Calvin and Hobbes kid pissing on the television and Fm radio

  18. Pingback: Coolest Tattoos Ever

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