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Top Biker Jackets in Movie History

Top Biker Jackets in Movie History

Everyone loves a cool-looking biker jacket, and movie stars are no exception. Here is a list of the top biker jackets in movie history!

Biker jackets are a bold and iconic staple of sub-cultural fashion. Particularly in America, the biker jacket symbolizes resistance to authority, devotion to individuality, and a style that's not afraid to fly in the face of opposition. Anyone who considers themself devoted to a somewhat controversial style would do well to buy themself a biker jacket

But how do you know how to style a biker jacket? 

One of the best ways is to study iconic leather jackets from movies. Each iconic leather jacket is worn in its own unique and individual style. This article will walk you through some of the most iconic movie leather jackets. 

Marlon Brando — The Wild One 

One can't mention the leather jacket without mentioning Marlon Brando. The man was at the head of a ton of fashion trends we see today — it's even said he popularized the T-shirt in Streetcar Named Desire. 
But none of his outfits are quite as iconic as the one he sported in The Wild One. 

The Wild One is a strange case — people remember this leather jacket more than they remember the movie. Sure, people could tell you all about Tennesee Williams' Brilliant dialogue in Streetcar Named Desire, and the "I could've been a contender" speech in On the Waterfront is legendary", but how many people actually remember what goes on in The Wild One? 

While the Wild One is, in hindsight, a pretty run-of-the-mill story about local crime and rebellion, the jacket lives on. It says something about the quality and impact of the jacket if we remember it more than the movie it's in. 

From here, the door was kicked open for other rebels to wear biker jackets — and for rock n' rollers to make it their signature style.

John Travolta — Grease 

One of the directions this rock and roll biker jacket took came about during The Greaser counterculture of the 50s, and the revival following the release of the movie "Grease" in the 70s. This revival was sparked in no small part by John Travolta's performance — and jacket — in the iconic movie "Grease".

The greaser biker jacket represented a spirit of rockabilly and doo-wop-tinged good-times. It's the type of biker jacket you've seen your Dad wear at a costume party. It's a bit more poppy — but poppiness doesn't keep it from being one of the best biker jackets in cinematic history. 

Mel Gibson — Mad Max 

But while Travolta's jacket in Grease might have symbolized rock n' roll, good times, soda fountains, and an old-school spirit, Mel Gibson's jacket in Mad Max had more of the rough, desolate, hard-edged spirit of punk rock and heavy metal. 

When Mad Max came out, it made a huge impact. The dystopian genre wasn't nearly as popular as it was now, Mel Gibson was not a big star, and the movie was made for less than 1 million dollars. It wasn't a fun hip musical either, instead featuring a gritty, morally-ambiguous protagonist. 

There's no doubt that this less goody-two-shoes attitude influenced the leather-jacket wearers of the punk and metal scenes. The ripped and torn nature of the jacket (and wearer) through the movie contrasts the kitchen-clean appearance of Travolta in Grease and opened the door to the Leather Jacket as a mode of subversion.  

Compare this leather jacket to iconic metal singer Rob Halford's leather jacket, which he began wearing a few years earlier, and influenced leather-wearing in metal style. 

While Mel Gibson has had a spotty personal career, there's no doubt that his turn in this role influenced the dystopian sci-fi genre for years to come.

Marisa Tomei — My Cousin Vinnie 

... but biker jackets aren't just for men. Female badasses can rock biker jackets just as well as male badasses can. No one proved this better than Marisa Tomei in her role as Mona Lisa Vito in the iconic comedy My Cousin Vinnie. 

My Cousin Vinnie is a strange movie. The protagonist of the film isn't in any danger himself, and isn't in the whole first act of the movie — he shows up to fix things, and when he arrives, he arrives with his girlfriend, an iconic role that steals the show. 

Not many movies of this kind focus on a couple rather than an individual hero. This is what makes My Cousin Vinnie so unique and enduring. 

What also makes it unique and enduring is Mona Lisa Vito's sense of fashion, accent, and overall presence. Marisa Tomei, in this role, proved that women can wear biker jackets and rock them just as well as men can. 

Tim Curry — Rocky Horror 

...but biker jackets aren't just for men and women

Tim Curry, in his role as the delightfully androgynous Frank N' Furter, sports a studded leather jacket in the sequence towards the end of the film when he whips Riff Raff with a belt, confronts Dr. Scott, and sings Wise Up Janet Weiss. 

The studded leather jacket is an iconic piece of heavy metal and punk rock fashion. All it takes is a great leather jacket, a couple of studs, and a dream. Dr. Frankenfurther. proves that a leather jacket isn't just an old-school version of cool, but can be quite subversive as well.

Biker Jackets Have a Unique Place in Cinematic History

As you can see, biker jackets are a unique symbol of rebellion in cinematic history. Wearing a biker jacket means adopting the role of many iconic rebellious figures who came before you, and reinterpreting their style. 

No matter what your style is, or what your gender is, there's a biker jacket out there for you, and an iconic cinema figure who can teach you how to wear it right.

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