Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Photoshopped abs came to mind instinctively, didn’t it? While it is like having more icing on the icing on the cake to own a perfect set of washboard abs, a gentleman is still defined by what he does than the way he looks. The rakish, and maybe chauvinistic Jacob Palmer (played by Ryan Gosling) might come across too much of a womanizer, to the point that his dapper suits are his saving grace. As do any lovable assholes, he comes with redemptive qualities towards the end as he, in an ironic turn of events, seeks Cal’s (played by Steve Carell) help to genuinely win Hannah (played by Emma Stone) over. And that earns him the gentleman label. Or maybe it’s just the fact that he’s Ryan Gosling.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
If there was ever a subtle tribute being made here amidst the whirlpool of excess wealth, greed and corruption in the late 1920’s, it would be to the art of gentlemanhood. We’re talking (perfectly tailored) suits, refined mannerisms, self-improvement and the ambition of chasing the impossible dream. Our man Leo couldn’t have done it any better; besides, it was his birthday just 2 weeks back, it would be a grave oversight on our part if we didn’t throw this classic in. Isn’t that so, old sport?
The Dark Knight
By day, billionaire Bruce Wayne kills it in the boardroom (was he ever there?) and with the ladies. By nightfall, he kills it (literally this time) as Gotham’s caped vigilante. Although he comes across a free-wheeling, hotel buying, spoiled young prince of Wayne Manor in the first installment, he knew exactly what he was doing. He had a solid game plan to save his city while keeping those close to him safe, starting with the decoy in the form of his daytime image. Those larger-than-life ambitions, self assuredness, self made crime fighting gadgets and the Tumbler (duh) make The Dark Knight one of the few icons who can pull off manliness with the perfect dose of badassery. We need more gentlemen like this.
James Bond: Casino Royale (2006)
Speaking of gentlemen and badassery, here’s another iconic one, without the mask and cape. Our favourite secret agent does everything with panache; whether it’s exchanging blows with a baddie on top of a running train or simply ordering a Martini at the bar, 007 is smoother than velvet. How can we not also pay special mention to those bespoke tuxedos he kicks ass in? Certainly there’s some truth to how a suit tells a man’s worth: when Mr Bond got his balls whipped (literally) in Casino Royale, he coolly remarked he had “an itch down there” that needs scratching.
Fight Club (1999)
Underneath all the testosterone-charged, aggro socking in the fight club formed by the unnamed narrator and Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt), the message is that destruction can be beauty. By that we don’t mean Mr Pitt himself looking strangely sexier after being roughed up, but more like to lose all hope is freedom. Sometimes, it’s a-ok for a gent to hit rock bottom and release himself from the shackles of life. Because from there, the only way to go is up and (stand) out.
Blood. Gore. Abs. Nudity. Sex. That pretty much sums up the Spartan hack and slash flick, doesn’t it? Perhaps there’s nothing gentlemanly about their barbaric growling and unrestrained swearing, but lessons in masculinity is in abundance. Albeit overwhelmingly so, just like how King Leonidas and his beefcakes were when faced with a sea of Persian army. Take a leaf from these men; while you don’t really have to “die honorably” for a cause you are passionate about, it is unquestionably admirable for a gent to have unyielding self-belief in himself, despite the odds that are stacked against him.
Demigods are quite the gentlemen too. Other than chivalrously defending Asgardians against Frost Giants, Dark Elves and his own brother Loki, Thor keeps to his word like a real gent would: travelling through realms to return to Earth to reunite with his romantic interest Jane, despite the destruction of the Bi-Frost. With Chris Hemsworth reprising the role with his rugged charms and godly bod, it gives a wholesome edge to Thor. Talk about shooting electricity.
Top Gun (1986)
A nickname like “Maverick” would have set alarm bells ringing. To the ladies, at least. Besides capturing spectacular aerial manoeuvres, Tom Cruise’s charismatic portrayal of Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell co-piloted the catapult of the 1986 film into a perennial favourite. As much as a gentleman maintains his cool and classiness, he isn’t afraid to embrace his daredevil spirit and get something done in his own unorthodox way. Throw in the pilot overalls, bikes and aviators and you would’ve built for yourself a Top Gent.
Top Hat (1935)
We at Team SM only included this because of one of our many gentlemen’s rules: that you should know how to bust a dance move or two. Not the put-your-hands-up shuffle-your-feet haphazard mess, but the smooth kind exhibited by Jerry Travers (played by Fred Astaire) in this black and white classic. It is also worth mentioning that during the time the film was released (1935), gentlemanliness was a huge thing. Watching Jerry win over his love interest Dale Tremont with just that and his cheeky banter makes it ever so delightful. But of course, all that tap dancing sequences completes the package like a top hat on a tuxedo.
A film that revolves around a “Date Doctor” has got to have elements of smooth, suave and sophistication. And a couple of slaps thrown in for a good measure (dance scene with Usher’s “Yeah” playing, anyone?). With Will Smith as the lead, “Hitch” didn’t disappoint. While us men inadvertently take home nuggets of inspiration from Hitch’s teachings, it’s easy for gossip mongers to mistake someone like this as a man who “knows all the tricks in the book” and picks up women for amusement. But what separates those from the real gents is exactly what we see in Hitch: ethics… and the cojones to give slap the taste out of someone’s mouth if he does something wrong.