The worst '80s movie hair

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We’ve counted down the films that defined the ‘80s. We’ve looked back at our favourite ‘80s soundtracks. We’ve even heard from the characters that Arnie killed. But now it’s time to turn to the iconic hairstyles – a very important part of the decade, we’re sure you’ll agree. Here are some of our favourites.

Cyn (Joan Cusack), Working Girl

joan cusack working girl

Melanie Griffith’s waves, Sigourney Weaver’s voluminous bob – hell, even Alec Baldwin’s slicked back locks could vie for a place on this list. But the coiffed-within-an-inch-of-her-life Cusack wins with a style we’re not entirely sure is possible to replicate with today’s hair products. All front, all back, and all sides: gravity, quite frankly, was in a losing battle.

Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Sting), Dune

sting dune

Taking a leaf out of Roy Batty’s book (only, err, going a bit more orange), Sting opted for an unkempt, slightly skewiff style in David Lynch’s space adventure. It might be a tad long – and somehow growing upwards rather than outwards – but a haircut was probably the last thing on the mind of this murderous na-Baron. As for his shampoo? We’re guessing he uses Old Spice. (Sorry.)

Susan (Madonna), Desperately Seeking Susan

madonna desperately seeking susan

The plot may concern finding the mysterious Susan, but we’re more concerned with her quintessentially ‘80s 'do. Why? Because Susan wasn’t afraid to accessorise. Velour hair bands, lace gloves, chains upon chains upon chains… Add those accessories to Madge’s scrunched up, mousse-boosted hair and you’ve got one of the decade’s iconic on-screen looks.

Jareth (David Bowie), Labyrinth

david bowie labyrinth

Volume, length and feathering: Bowie’s Labyrinth barnet is hard to top. Especially when you’re a hat. Being rather partial to a song-and-dance number, you’d think the Goblin King’s magnificent locks would suffer from his constant boogeying. But the air in the maze must be significantly less damp, Jareth’s hair never weighed down and looking even more spectacular in a breeze.

John Bender (Judd Nelson), The Breakfast Club

judd nelson the breakfast club

John Bender cared so much that he just didn’t care. Nelson’s hairstyle in John Hughes’ 1985 classic summed this up perfectly: long, dark, and sometimes in your eyes when you’re feeling a bit emotional. Though the film’s close saw him tearing apart high-school stereotypes, Bender’s hair screamed bored teenage delinquent “in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definition”.

Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), Some Kind Of Wonderful

mary stuart masterson some kind of wonderful

Drummer. Secret admirer. Probable style inspiration for Halt And Catch Fire’s Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis). Watts was a refreshing love rival to Lea Thompson’s long-haired, Amanda. Howard Deutch’s 1987 film cemented Masterson as a breakthrough star pre-Fried Green Tomatoes and Benny & Joon. Tomboys rock.

David (Kiefer Sutherland), The Lost Boys

kiefer sutherland the lost boys

Oh Kiefer… Firstly, you’re a vampire. Secondly, you have a mane so dowsed in peroxide that it practically glows. (Which is surely a disadvantage to a vampire?) Spiked on top, short on the sides and oh so long in the back, David’s blond locks had quite the identity crisis. But it could be worse: he could have had a stake plunged through his... oh.

Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), Fast Times At Ridgemont High

sean penn fast times at ridgemont high

At first glance, Spicoli resembles a surfers’ John Bender, but there is actually much more to the teenager’s blond mop. Shoulder length waves and a parted fringe? Not many high-school students could carry that off. But anything goes in California, where Penn’s stoned Spicoli ruled the school, nailing an iconic ‘80s look in the process.

The Predator (Kevin Peter Hall), Predator


Unconventionally placed teeth, deep set eyes and lack of a nose… The Predator didn’t get a great deal in the facial stakes. Yet there is a silver lining: his hair. Threaded through individual metal rings, his long alien dreadlocks may not be all that practical when hunting down humans in the jungle, but it sure as hell looks cool. We suggest he tie it back Edgar Davids-style for Shane Black’s Predator.

Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Rocky IV

dolph lundgren rocky iv

A spiked, Soviet buzzcut? How else are you meant to define what sits upon Ivan Drago’s noggin? (We’re pretty sure a montage would explain it, but we haven’t got the time.) Rocky’s rival may look untouchable, but he’s not completely perfect: he sweats just like the rest of us, causing his hair to stick to his forehead when in the ring. However, at its gravity-defying best, those Russian spikes are hard to beat.

Velma Von Tussle (Debbie Harry), Hairspray

debbie harry hairspray

Is this a Great British Bake Off showstopper or a wig? Whatever it is, it’s glorious – even if it looks like it came straight from Georgian Britain. Michelle Pfeiffer would play the same role in Adam Shankman’s 2007 musical version, but her blonde curls pale in comparison to Harry’s towering pièce de résistance.