Top 10 coats in film
#10 – Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)
It’s all well and good winning award after award for your role in Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto, but what we’ll really remember you for is being the sucker whose blood splatters against Patrick Bateman’s raincoat whilst Huey Lewis & The News groove in the background. The coat that spawned a thousand ‘cool’ Halloween costumes whilst also being overlooked as a valuable wardrobe item for wintry drizzle.
#9 – Madeline (Madeline)
Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s live-action interpretation of Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline book series is a surprisingly lovely and utterly harmless homage to Paris that, as well as featuring a sweet central performance from the usually bonkers Frances McDormand, includes a selection of coats so elegant that they make you want to run off to a Catholic boarding school. An electric blue cape with white shirt collars and red silk bow overlapping, the uniform looks just as good as part of a creepy robotic line as it does when on a motorbike with a nun.
#8 – Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver)
There’s something eerily attainable about the look that Travis Bickle opts for in Scorsese’s masterpiece that makes his magnetism uncanny. Bickle is the angry young sod and the troubled everyman in khaki and denim that you’ve seen down your road. He’s the self-accessorising, self-shaving oddball who has just asked you for the time. His jacket, full of badges and blood, is probably the least ‘fashionable’ on this list but in terms of practicality for a wannabe-assassin or a night time-stalker or a helper of prostitutes or any youthful mess – it’s perfect.
#7 – Rick (Casablanca)
Casablanca is an exercise in many things; how to make a near perfect movie, how to write dialogue that will last and linger forever and ever, how to weave romance into Nazi hate – to name a few. But perhaps more than anything else, it is an exercise in how to wear a trench coat. Throughout the movie Bogart strolls with one hand in his pocket and another on a cigarette, drifting in and out of shadows and kisses with his beloved trench coat his only real friend. The film would mark the beginning of Bogart as a romantic lead and simultaneously make the trench coat the signature look of the brooding charmer in cinema.
#6 – All the female characters (Hannah and her Sisters)
To survive in New York you need two things: relentless optimism and a good coat. The female characters in Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters at least have the last one. The formidable trio of Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest and Barbara Hershey wear body swamping tweed, navy duffles with tartan check, beige peacoats and curious nautical denim jackets throughout the course of the film. In the process they prove it’s better to have a selection of coats to choose from than a fairly atrocious one you’re stuck with – we’re looking at you Michael “Fur Lapel” Caine.
#5 – Margot (The Royal Tenenbaums)
Chain-smoking secret keeper with heavy eyes and a penchant for writing plays and wearing Lacoste, Margot Tenenbaum is one of Wes Anderson’s most unforgettable characters – and her position in his canon of kook is intensified by an extravagant fur coat draped over shoulders with serene nonchalance and a dead glaze. There’s something about the quiet paradox of sportswear and pimpwear that gave Paltrow’s performance and even more perplexing edge.
#4 – Harry (When Harry Met Sally)
If I was to ever walk into a clothes shop with Harry Burns from Rob Reiner’s game changing film, I know exactly what I’d say to whoever was behind the till: ‘I’ll have what he’s having.’ Throughout the film, he wears a series of blazers, shirts, vests and jumpers that, coupled with increasingly substantial facial hair, made Billy Crystal an unlikely heartthrob. However, it is the battered brown leather bomber jacket, iconized on DVD covers, posters and t-shirts, that gave him the look of sturdy charming everyman – forget the fake orgasm, this coat was enough to make anyone scream for real.
#3 – Ray (Ghostbusters)
Considerably less iconic than the famed jumpsuit, Stantz’s outerwear is nevertheless a considerable peak in what was an otherwise questionable decade for fashion. Whereas music videos and gaudy films were awash with Lycra and lemon, here Ray sticks with a sensible Hunter green duffle coat that is not only a winter-warmer but also practical and full of pockets: vital for all the gadgets and Ghost goo integral to his occupation.
#2 – Roger (101 Dalmations)
A handsome klutz, Roger Dearly introduces his coat to the world by becoming entangled in his Dalmatian’s lead and consequently wrapped in an uncomfortable tango with fellow dogwalker Anita. Eventually falling into a nearby pond (and into love) with Anita, the burnt orange overcoat loses little of its beauty when soaked and Roger is smart enough to offer it to his future wife by way of apology for Pongo’s mishap. Smooth. Wet, but smooth.
#1 – Withnail (Withnail & I)
The first time we see Withnail, the alcoholic thespian with yellow tongue and wild eyeballs, he strolls into a living room to declare in pompous melancholy that he’s ran out of wine. Perhaps even more important than his immediate announcement of booze-fuelled misery is the flowing garment that adorns him. Ankle-length, worn over either an “old suit” or a coat of Deep Heat, and assuming a sartorial arrogance in the mad mess of Withnail’s flat, the coat commands respect; and as a dishevelled and overly ostentatious item in a drab world, is also a perfect metaphor for the ragged pretension of Bruce Robinson’s creation.