Few things say Badass the way a well groomed handlebar mustache does. Well, unless you're a woman. There's just something about a man who carries almost half of his body weight on his upper lip that screams "I came here to kick ass and Chew Bubblegum, and I'm all outta gum". Growing a 'stache (or turning up with one after an absence) also works as an easy and quick way for an established character to Take a Level in Badass. It may also turn them into a Chick Magnet.
Not to be confused with the Beard of Evil, although a Badass Beard may also be present. The Badass Mustache is smaller and more defined and does not inherently bring with it villainous intent. However, it is an essential style accessory for Dastardly Whiplash, who twirls it while cackling an Evil Laugh.
Not all mustaches are Badass; there is a fine line between this and the Porn Stache. A toothbrush mustache — also known as a Hitler mustache — just looks silly (there's a reason Charlie Chaplin used it before Hitler). Related to Good Hair, Evil Hair.
Growing a 'Stache is not related to Growing the Beard, except perhaps metaphorically.
open/close all folders
A surreal ad for Weetos cereal involves a disembodied Badass Moustache terrorising a small boy for... some reason. Naturally, he's only able to defeat it when he's had a proper breakfast.
Anime & Manga
Black Cat Detective - Black Cat has Badass Whiskers. When Hei Mao twists his whisker like a pimp, you know shit is about to go down. It is an allegorical mustache.
Whitebeard from One Piece has a stache so badass many fans assume he'll use it as a sword.
His mustache is so badass it counts as a beard.
That would actually be more due to translation issues - in japanese "hige" can refer to any facial hair (be it just a mustache, or a full beard).
There's also the late Pirate King Gold Roger. And Vista of the Whitebeard pirates. And Zeff, Sanji's mentor. In fact it seems like a disproportionately high number of high level pirates have badass mustaches.
Fullmetal Alchemist - Fuhrer King Bradley, Major Alex Louis Armstrong, Brigadier General Basque Grand, Lieutenant General Grumman, Fu, Heinkel and Joliot Comanche. Golden age of the mustache indeed.
Kabuto's VA Hidekatsu Shibata seems to like this trope - he also plays Captain Dan/Ichimonji Dantetsu in Planet Robo Danguard Ace - a character so off-the scale badass he could make Captain Harlock look like the slacker he is... (How he hides his awesome facial fur under his mask however remains a mystery.)
...and his character sports a pencil-thin version in Acrobunch as Indiana Jones Expy/Papa Wolf Tatsuya Randou. Genius scientist/kickass mech pilot, hard-assed father figure... Typecast, much?
Inspector Megure and Superintendent Matsumoto have pretty nice moustaches as well.
Paul Moriyama in Keroro Gunsou. The 'stache is particularly touched upon in the English dub, but even in the original form, his Badass status was apparent.
Dragon Ball Z - While the mustached Hercule/Mr. Satan is far less powerful than the main cast, he is still absurdly strong for an ordinary human. Vegeta also grows a mustache for a little while as well, but most people note his daughter included tend to think he is more badass without it.
Kabapu from Excel♥Saga, though (in the anime at least) his mustache is actually fake. Space Butler too, and his 'stache is real. note In the manga Kabapu's mustache is real, but part of his hair is prosthetic, since he needs to have it balanced to stand up straight.
Tenchi Muyo!: Katsuhito Masaki/Yosho is an old mustached man who can still kick ass. Nobuyuki Masaki, while less combat-savvy, is also mustached and does help out with the occasional threat as well. Not surprisingly, future Tenchi continues the tradition by growing a mustache himself.
Badass facial hair is a longstanding tradition of Jurai royalty: his great-grandfather Azusa sports an epic Badass Beard in addition to his 'stache, as does the latter's father-in-law, UtsutsumiKamikiJurai.
G Gundam - Just like everything else about him, Master Asia's mustache is completely awesome. Subverted with Gentle Chapman, who used to be badass but is plagued by illnesses and old age when we get to see him. And he later Came Back Wrong.
∀ Gundam: Fans (and detractors), and people in the series, often attribute this to the eponymous mecha itself, and considering how it's the strongest of all Gundams, it fits the "Badass" part pretty well.
The Turn A was designed by the famous American mecha designer Syd Mead, and represented a major break with the Gundam design traditions, which is why it was controversial in the first place. One of the key differences is that the characteristic Gundam's "V-fins", that officially house the various antennas and comm equipment and are usually placed on a forehead crest, were moved much lower by Mead, resembling the enormous pointed 'stache a laSalvador Dali.
Gundam AGE - Flit Asuno (Second Generation onwards).
Omni-Man in Invincible, who comes from a race of mustachio'd supermen. Apparently they don't even grow beards, just mustaches. One in-disguise Viltrumite reveals himself by pulling off a fake beard (but the mustache was real).
Astérix - Asterix has a fantastic mustache, yellow, droopy, and above all badass. This could apply to all the Britons from 'Asterix in Britanny' : they all have beautiful mustaches and are all badasses. Most of the Gauls have mustaches. Most of the Gauls are badasses. There's their huge, muscular blacksmith, their chief who rarely travels on foot but instead on shield, their bard, who can, as of recent books, summon rain and storms by striking only a few chords... it's easier to count the folks who don't have these.
Iron Man: Tony Stark, all the way. Later evolved into a Badass Van Dyke. Anthony Edward Stark.
In X-Men Cyclops' father, Corsair, is a badass Space Pirate with a seriously badass mustache. Cyclops worked out that Corsair was his father when he had to go without shaving for a couple of weeks, and realized that his new moustache was exactly as badass as Corsair's.
Mack "Clownface" Delgado from Body Bags has one, only seen when he removes his clownface mask.
In Gotham Central, Sergeant "Sarge" Davies has a nice, thick mustache, and is very proud of it and all relevant facial hair.
Detective Crowe: "People don't trust a mustache anymore. It's just a cultural thing. Don't ask me to explain it." Sarge Davies: "What about Teddy Roosevelt? He had a handlebar mustache." Crowe: "Different era, Sarge. You telling me you'd vote for some guy with a handlebar mustache in this day and age?" Sarge: "Hell, yes. Anyone puts that kind of attention into a 'stache has just got class. I don't care what year it is."
Captain Hunter from the Atari Force second series had one.
Doctor Strange, mustached "Master of the Mystic (and Martial) Arts". The style varies, and he sometimes pairs it with a goatee, but he always has the 'stache.
Rod of the film Hot Rod wears a fake mustache when performing stunts in order to make himself manlier. He claims to have some kind of hormonal imbalance that prevents him from growing a real one, but at the end of the movie he's starting to grow one for real anyway.
Finn McMissile from Cars 2 has a grille resembling a mustache.
Jason uses a badass mustache as part of his gentleman disguise in Mystery Team. The same mustache is used when he disguises himself as a lumberjack and Juan the Mexican plumber
In Bunraku, Nicola shaves his Badass Beard into a badass mustache in preparation for a fight against The Drifter.
City of God: Dadinho is an ambitious, heartless kid. As soon as he's old enough, he becames a psychotic crimelord, changing his name to Zé Pequeno. He also grows a mustache for the occassion, marking his coming of age.
Many characters in Alatriste, including the eponymous, for historical reasons: 17th-century Spaniards fashioned mustaches in general, and more than a few of the characters are badass, ambiguous, mercenaries. Beard of Evil is more common in clearly evil characters.
His evil alternate-universe counterpart in "Inferno", on the other hand, is clean-shaven. The Doctor seems unable to resist making note of this difference with several cutting remarks regarding the evil Brigadier's looks and personality over the course of the serial, which does little to lighten the evil Brigadier's mood.
Richard Burke from Friends. Chandler in particular seems to resent this and makes fun of it whenever possible. He's been accused of doing so because he's proven unable to grow a good mustache. Chandler did try to imitate him, with limited results.
Delahoy from The Unusuals counts. He once leapt from the roof of one building onto the balcony of another to break up an assault. His darker personality also contributed to the jump...
LazyTown - Sportacus is a subversion of the long, pointy, "villainous" mustache, as he is a hero, and an all-around good guy. Robbie Rotten suspects his mustache is the reason everyone listens to him in the episode "Sportafake."
Battlestar Galactica: In a slight subversion, Bill Adama from grew a mustache after the Fleet settled on New Caprica, pointedly to show off how lax and laid-back he'd gotten. However, he retained the mustache while leading the extremely badass assault on New Caprica to rescue humanity from Cylon occupation, so perhaps it was more in the vein of an extremely long-lived playoff beard.
In a recent Top Gear episode, Clarkson, after spending some time in a "mood room" and deciding True Art Is Incomprehensible, decided their prototype eco-car "Geoff" needed a huge moustache. He duly got one.
Firefly - Though Shepherd Book's hair is the stuff of legends, his mustache is undeniably badass, as well. Simon jokes about growing the villainous equivalent after the events of "Ariel", but sadly the series ended before we could find out what he'd look like if he went through with it. Wash's own 'stache, as seen in flashback, was probably trying for this, but he couldn't pull it off.
In The Good Guys, detective Dan Stark (played by Bradley Whitford) has one of these, which he addresses as "Stache" in an early episode. When he talks to his former partner at the end of a later episode, he asks him, since he's retired, "why you still got that bitchin' stache?"
Italian Spiderman from the webseries of the same name has a detachable, explosive mustache.
In Danger5, Stalin's moustache is so badass entire women can fit inside it. Yep.
In NCIS, Gibbs sported one for a few episodes after his short "retirement" at the beginning of Season 4. It worried the rest of the team.
-> "You're turning down a promotion because of Gibbs' moustache?"
— Director Jenny Shepard to Tony Di Nozzo, after he declines the offer of his own team.
In the teaser trailer for season 3 of the BBC television show Sherlock, John Watson is shown to have a badass mustache
Doug Fetterman of The Protomen had a sweet handlebar mustache that was accentuated by facepaint.
Mustaches actually seem to be status symbols, and signs of literal badassery in the Mario universe. The mustache-bearing bosses of Super Mario 64 DS pride themselves on their mustaches, and the "Stache" stat (which, humorously, the babies have as well in Partners In Time) from the Mario & Luigi games earns store discounts.
The Stache stat also affects your chances of scoring a Lucky (read: critical) hit. Essentially, better mustache = occasional power boost for Mario and Luigi.
While it can never be as iconic as the Mario Bros.'s, AdmiralBobbery's mustache is easily in the running for the most badass in the series.
Sonic the Hedgehog - Dr. Eggman's signature 'stache. So does his psychotic double Eggman Nega, and his elderly grandfather Professor Gerald Robotnik has a droopy grey one. Mustaches, like baldness and insanity, seem to run in the Robotnik family.
Interestingly enough, Maria is the only member of the Robotnik family so far seen to possess NONE of those traits!
Mega Man - Dr. Wily, who plays a similar role (with a similar mustache) to Eggman's.
From Modern Warfare 2 we have General Shepherd, who manages to single-handedly take on two highly-trained opponents in unarmed combat (and very nearly win), as well as being the Big Bad responsible for nearly all the major events that occur within the game, including the invasion of the United States.
Super Robot Wars - Kai Kitamura is your only pilot with facial hair in the games he appears in, and an epitome of Badass Normal. There's also Axel Almer's Soulgain, which sports a steel mustache. In fact, when it stranded into the OG world for the first time, it's nicknamed Mustache Man. Yes, Axel and Soulgain are as Badass as they get.
Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete - Toyed with and gender-reversed(!) very briefly in During the anime cutscene where the girls are changing Lucia's outfit, one of the costumes has a gigantic, fantastic mustache. It is markedly more badass than the other costumes Lucia tries on during the sequence, but the mustache falls off. Lucia may have been more badass with the mustache on, but the actual chosen outfit was probably for the better.
Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4. A Badass Mustache is part and parcel of the "Big Boss" heritage, as demonstrated previously by the original and Solidus. Liquid didn't have one because he wasn't a true Boss. Revolver Ocelot isn't eligible for Bosshood, but he has one anyway, because he's just that awesome.
Relatedly, Sengoku Basara and Samurai Warriors also have Shimazu Yoshihiro and Takeda Shingen, the former of whom is both a Badass Grandpa in both game incarnations, where the latter tends to be an extremely entertaining Genius Bruiser. Both game versions of both characters sport impressive mustaches, and Basara's Yoshihiro also goes into the Badass Beard territory as well.
In Battalion Wars 2, a handlebar mustache is a matter of regulation among Anglo Isles veteran infantry, and by gum do they wear it with pride (though it's noted that a bazooka veteran should be careful to not grow his mustache longer than 4 1/4 inches or it's likely to be singed by his weapon's exhaust).
Victor "Sully" Sullivan from Uncharted 2. His moustache is so badass that protagonist Nathan Drake rates it in his journal's list of scary things.
Radigan Conagher (the BLU Engineer's grandfather) also has an epic mustache + muttonchops combo.
The Soldier gained a miscellaneous item that gives him a similar 'stache with chops.
The Heavy gained a miscellaneous item that gives him an epic 'stache as well.
Fire Emblem has several examples, such as Tauroneo and Moulder.
Oifey◊'s mustache is the reason he's the first Jeigan character to actually still be a good character at the end of the game, making all future generations of Jeigans follow his example. And as Phee shows, it's popular with the ladies.
Mike Haggar of Final Fight. Mayor of Metro City, who personally wipes out the entire criminal element with his fists, dropkicks, suplexes, and Spinning Pile Drivers. He is said to weigh over 120kg, and over half of it is estimated to be body hair.
Red Dead Redemption is jam-packed with impressive mustaches. Let's see: We've got Landon Ricketts, Drew MacFarlane, Edgar Ross, Dutch Van Der Linde, the American Army captain, adult Jack Marston, and many, many more.
Fable The third offering in particular. The various protagonists almost all boast some truly magnificent specimens. Major Swift too, and Boulder and the indefatigable Sir Walter Beck. The Prince can as well, should you desire him too. When you sign the agreement to make Major Swift the army commander in the future, it actually says, "With a mustache like that on your side? How can you lose?" Ironic that he gets killed....
Dan McNinja had his mustache revealed in a fight to determine who would be the next leader of the Ninja Guild. Even though he needed his son's help to win the fight, and he made it clear that he intended to kill his opponent, which was against the rules, he was instantly made new guild leader, and cut a hole in his mask so that his mustache would always be on display.
In the case of Gordito Delgado, badassery actually caused mustache growth: he grew a thick, stereotypical bandito mustache, fully waxed, at age 12, in seconds, through sheer force of will, when a social worker threatened to take away his father's guns. Naturally, the social worker backed down.
Social Worker: I'm so sorry... here you are... sir.
Frans Rayner is apparently incapable of growing any facial hair above the jawline, but he believes so strongly in this trope that he is convinced that lack of mustache is the only thing keeping him from taking over America, and therefore tries to steal Dan's, and later Gordito's.
Dr Nonami: Dr. Alfred Mechano has a magnificent handlebar mustache.
Eight Bit Theater's Wizard Who Did It Sarda has one. Notably, he grew it as a means to pass time when he stranded himself in the beginning of the universe. He killed a few weeks with it (Only several billion years to go...)
Family Guy parodied this with Peter trying to invoke the trope by growing a mustache. Naturally, at least some innate badassness is required for the stache to actually work, and Peter does manage to rescue a guy from a burning building while wearing it. It gets burnt off in the attempt. While mourning his loss of facial hair, he ate so many hamburgers that he had a stroke.
Chef Mung Daal in Chowder, played straight there as he always boasts about how it helps him with the ladies. In one episode, he claims "This mustache proves I'm great!"
In The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie, Mindy convinces SpongeBob and Patrick that they are men by giving them seaweed moustaches. They spend half a minute admiring them before setting on their way, only to run into paid assassin Dennis, who rips off the fake moustaches and shows them what a "real" moustache looks like by willing one to grow instantly on his face.
An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes centered around Jimmy wanting to grow a mustache because of this group. The Colonel Gnoman wears one normally.
In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Twilight magics a big-ol' mustache onto Spike's face in "Boast Busters". He thinks it makes him look pretty cool, and can't wait to show it off to Rarity... who, it turns out, isn't impressed.
A later episode, "Call of the Cutie", features a briefly shown male pony with some impressive mutton-chops, in addition to a Carpet of Virility.
In the "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" episode a duo of cider-making ponies known as the "Flim Flam Brothers" appear in Ponyville. Flam sports a small but impressive mustache.