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Iconic Movie Hair Moments

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.

Hollywood is full of iconic and beloved films, many of which feature stunning and talented leading ladies. It's difficult not to focus on the production, visuals and costumes that help bring these flicks to life. Many famous characters are known for their hairstyles and beauty looks. Whether it's Dorothy's pigtail braids, Audrey Hepburn's twisted updo or Princess Leia's buns, hair can often become synonmous with characters. Here is a list of some of the most memorable hairstyles in movie history.


Olivia Newton-John in "Grease"

When Sandy rocked her iconic black satin pants and off the shoulder top, audiences everywhere were in awe. With her blonde hair voluminous and curled, the character said goodbye to her good girl image and hello to a sexy, sultry persona. While many people swoon over Danny Zuko's greased-up 'do, Sandy demanded attention with her edgier style. The whole ensemble looked absolutely amazing on Newton-John, and has since become one of film's most iconic beauty looks.

Did You Know? During the famous carnival scene at the end of the film, Newton-John had to be sewn into her tight black pants. "They sewed me into those pants every morning for a week. Believe me, I had to be very careful about what I ate and drank. It was excruciating." It was also 106 degrees on set during the time.


Alicia Silverstone in "Clueless"

Alicia Silverstone was undoubtedly the Queen B in the mid to late 90s, and her soft and shiny tousled locks were on full display throughout the cult classic film Clueless. While the fashion was arguably the main star, Silverstone's silky smooth tresses caused major hair envy for women and girls alike. Whenever she did a perfect hair flip or pushed back her thick mane, audiences everywhere were left in awe. The 90s staple has since become inspiration for both beauty and fashion.

Did You Know? Silverstone had 60 costume changes throughout the course of the film, and there were reportedly 53 different kinds of plaid used. Cher wore seven of them.


Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz"

Widely considered one of the greatest films in cinema history, The Wizard of Oz is a beloved musical film that follows Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) as she explores the enchanting Land of Oz. The character's now iconic pigtail braids were adorned with ribbons and were perfectly curled; the style paired wonderfully with her blue and white gingham dress. The entire outfit has since become a Halloween costume staple, and has inspired many to dress up as the iconic Dorothy. Garland's hair is one of the most famous in all of cinema.

Did You Know? Judy Garland had to wear a super-tight corset in order to make her figure seem younger. Interestingly, Dorothy almost sported a bouncy blonde wig with thick make-up before creators opted for a wholesome, country girl look.


Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of Hollywood's most iconic films, with much credit given to the character of Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn). Holly's fashion and glam has since become coveted and often imitated. Her famous little black dress and twisted updo has become a staple image for the film; Hepburn's blonde highlights, wispy bangs and chic sunglasses were paired with her diamond-studded tiara. The role is arguably Hepburn's most iconic, and the star's stunning style will forever be admired and adored.

Did You Know? The iconic little black dress worn by Hepburn in the film sold for $807,000 in 2006 at Christie's Auction House in London.


Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction"

Uma Thurman's performance in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino hit Pulp Fiction earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and skyrocketed her into stardom. Mia Wallace is an iconic female character who has been adored since the 90s. Her famous black bob and fringed bangs were seen everywhere on promotional posters and pictures, and became a staple image for the film. The look is often mimicked during conventions and cosplay, and the hairstyle was both statement-making and perfect for Mia.

Did You Know? Uma Thurman originally turned down the role of Mia, but was finally convinced when a desperate Quentin Tarantino read her the entire script over the phone.


Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman"

Julia Roberts portrayed the strong and independent Vivian Ward in the beloved romantic classic Pretty Woman. Her fiery auburn curls paired perfectly with the character's fierce attitude, and the voluminous and vibrant tresses became a staple for the actress. Her look in Pretty Woman caused major hair envy for women across the country. The film is arguably Roberts' most well-known and adored, and a character as vivacious as Vivian deserved luscious locks to match.

Did You Know? Disney didn't initially want Julia Roberts for the role of Vivian. Instead they wanted Meg Ryan. Many other actresses turned down the role including Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Daryl Hannah and Jennifer Jason Leigh, allowing the relatively unknown Roberts to win it over and shoot into stardom.


Carrie Fisher in "Star Wars"

1977's Star Wars is arguably one of the biggest and most successful franchises of all time; the film helped launch the careers of many of its young stars, including Harrison Ford and the late Carrie Fisher. The actress made her debut as the lovely Princess Leia with two tightly wound buns on either side of her head. The unique and instantly recognizable hairstyle has become synonymous with the character, and has been replicated and adapted in many ways. The look remains one of the most iconic in film history.

Did You Know? When asked about the inspiration for the hairstyle, George Lucas once said, "In the 1977 film, I was working very hard to create something different that wasn't fashion, so I went with a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look, which is what that is. The buns are basically from turn-of-the-century Mexico."


Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby"

Mia Farrow's role in the eerie horror classic Rosemary's Baby became even more iconic when she debuted a blondish red pixie cut that sent the masses into a frenzy. The short and even style looked stunning on the actress, who inspired a hair movement. While Vidal Sassoon often gets credited with the haircut, Farrow insists that it was her creation, having once said, "I had literally cut it myself earlier that year—with a pair of fingernail scissors—while working on the Peyton Place TV series at Fox Studios. This was long before I ever heard of Vidal Sassoon."

Did You Know? Mia Farrow left Frank Sinatra in order to make the film; he pressured the actress to quit as their marriage was suffering, but after some convincing Farrow decided to remain on production. A few days later Sinatra served her with divorce papers on set.


Vivien Leigh in "Gone With The Wind"

Scarlett O'Hara's famous 19th century southern belle curls pinned on each side epitomizes old Hollywood glamour. Vivien Leigh was absolutely beautiful as the iconic and headstrong Scarlett, and helped make Gone With The Wind the beloved classic film it is today. Both the romance and dramatic glamour of the flick caused audiences everywhere to fall even more in love, and many were in absolute awe over the stunning visuals. It's no wonder the character remains one of the most iconic in film history.

Did You Know? Vivien Leigh later said that she hated kissing co-star Clark Gable because of his bad breath, rumored to be caused by his false teeth (a result of excessive smoking.)


Molly Ringwald in "The Breakfast Club"

Molly Ringwald was the "It" girl of the 1980s, having starred in a slew of classic teen films like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. Her gorgeous copper bangs and short voluminous hairstyle only helped to add to her girl-next-door appeal, and Ringwald was famous for being a fashion and hair trendsetter. The actress became known for her red tresses, and she kept the look throughout the majority of her mega stardom.

Did You Know? Though she is known for her famous copper tresses, Ringwald's natural hair color is actually brown.


Elizabeth Taylor in "Cleopatra"

In one of Elizabeth Taylor's most infamous roles, her turn as the titular character in Cleopatra was often overshadowed by its massive cost and love affair between her and co-star Richard Burton. Though the film had its issues, the fashion and beauty looks were simply sensational. Taylor's structured raven bob and fringed bang paired perfectly with her stunning violet eyes, and the snake hair accessory only further complimented the look.

Did You Know? The budget for Elizabeth Taylor's costumes, $194,800 was the highest ever for a single screen actor. She had 65 costumes including a dress made from 24-carat gold cloth.


Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"

One of the most famous figures of the twentieth century, Marilyn Monroe was coveted by both men and women for her beauty and appeal. The actress was a risk taker when it came to fashion, and her style became the inspiration for many across the world. Known for her platinum blonde bob she wore curled, the bombshell caused many women to attempt the same sultry style. This look and Monroe's superstar essence was perfectly captured in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, when she famously performed "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

Did You Know? In order to maintain her platinum blonde bob, Monroe dyed her hair every three weeks and used baby powder on her roots so she didn't have to wash it as often.


Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls"

One of the 2000s most beloved teen comedies, Mean Girls has developed a cult following and continues to inspire laughter and beauty trends. The ringleader and head of The Plastics, Regina George (Rachel McAdams) caused major hair envy when she rocked a beautiful long blonde mane; all the while both terrorizing and enticing her fellow students. McAdams' take as the nasty and sometimes "nice" Regina has been adored by fans everywhere, with her beauty and style equally adored.

Did You Know? Though the character was known for her long blonde tresses, Rachel McAdams actually wore a wig! She was unable to bleach her hair and her actual length had been deemed too short, so she rocked a wig.


Rita Hayworth in "Gilda"

The 1946 film noir classic Gilda truly sizzles on the screen, with much credit due to its sexy leading lady, Rita Hayworth. Her role as the titular character and ultimate femme fatale was lauded and adored by fans and critics alike. The costume, styling and beauty looks inspired women across the country to embrace the Gilda glamour. Hayworth's stunning red tresses were curled and pinned, adding volume and body to her beautiful mane and further complimenting the femme fatale persona.

Did You Know? The fourth atomic bomb ever to be detonated was decorated with an image of Hayworth and stenciled on the device was the nickname "Gilda." The actress was reportedly deeply offended by the gesture.

© 2019 Rachel M Johnson