A man with a beard is a man to be feared.
What is it about bad guys and facial hair? For some reason, we often take being clean-shaven as an indicator of being strait-laced and, under more traditional morality, a good person, pure of spirit. In older, simpler days, a traditional hero would not even have five o'clock shadow, even if he's been on the run and well away from his shaving mirror for a week.
Conversely, a man with facial hair is less pure, at the very least a Darker and EdgierAnti-Hero — more often, he's an outright villain, and his chin is deliberately contrasted with the depilated chin of the hero.
Note that this generally applies to small, well-groomed beards, especially goatees. Having a huge bushy beard turns one into a Nature Hero, sailor, grizzled old prospector or Boisterous Bruiser. Except, of course, for the beards recommended by certain religions that are in the public focus at the moment.
The characters who sport a Beard of Evil are usually either the Big Bad or a second-in-command. This may play into the fact that in both western and eastern culture, goatees are traditionally worn by members of the aristocracy, and Aristocrats Are Evil.
The Beard of Evil has a long history of being associated most closely with the Evil Twin or Evil Counterpart, and you probably alreadyknow why. It also scores extra evil points if combined with a shaven head. (Anybody with a bald head and a beard is pretty much guaranteed to be a card-carrying villain unless they are black or East Asian. Blame Alex Raymond and Anton LaVey.)
Satan is also frequently depicted with a goatee (which probably came from depictions of Goethe's Mephistopheles as a 16th-century gallant).
A subset of Good Hair, Evil Hair. Not to be confused with Growing the Beard or the Badass Mustache. No real reason why a beard can't be evil andbadass
"That Man" from Excel♥Saga is a Yakuza thug with a beard, the only recurring character with facial hair and the real leader of ACROSS, making him the closest thing the show had to a Big Bad.
In episode 12 of Dennou Coil beards start appearing on the (pre-adolescent) main characters. These beards are actually Illegals, virus programs that occasionally cross over into reality and are generally antagonistic. These particular Illegals are sentient, forming their own mini-civilizations on each person's face and revere the person they exist on as gods. They then go on to launch missiles and wage civil war on each other and, once that's stopped, "interplanetary" war. After realizing the futility of war, the Illegal beards leave their hosts to find their Promised Land.
Lordgenome is about the only human on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann with any significant amount of facial hair. He's the main villain of the first half. (And it seems to be fireproof, given that it isn't too badly damaged when he gets serious and his head bursts into flames.)
His beard also gets significantly larger and begins to curl at the ends as he gets angrier (most notably when his head bursts into flames).
That first enemy that appears in Rurouni Kenshin wanting to take over the Kamiya dojo and claiming to be the Battousai.
One Piece: Eventually, Blackbeard finally grows one of these. New character Brownbeard, has three of them, even. Funnily enough, the original, Whitebeard, only had a mustache (though this is kind of a zigzagged Dub-Induced Plot Hole: the Japanese for beard means any kind of facial hair).
The Count of Monte Cristo in Gankutsuou sports a sharp, blue goatee to complete his Byronic character. He isn't exactly pure evil, but definitely counts as a Manipulative Bastard willing to get innocents mixed to his pursuit of vengeance.
In The Familiar of Zero when he arrives, Ward is shown a few times in flashbacks where he acts kind to the main character, and has no beard. However, in the present, he has a beard, and is, well, evil.
Rasputin in Hellboy has a Beard Of Evil and Bald of Evil, as contrasted with Hellboy himself, who combines Topknot-but-Bald of Awesome with a Soul-Patch-and-Muttonchops Combination of Moral Ambiguity.
Seven Soldiers features the nefarious Subway Pirates, rival factions of which are led by the barbaric Allbeard (whose incredibly thick, long beard covers up his face) and the slick Nobeard (who has a Bald of Evil and is incapable of growing hair anywhere on his body). Mentions of other pirates from bygone eras of subway privateering are also made, including luminaries like Falsebeard and the like.
Referenced in a universe-hopping arc of Cable & Deadpool. "How do I know you're not the anti-Siryn? Then again, you're not sporting the alternate-universe mandated evil goatee.."
Minor Superman villain Amalak the Space Pirate was originally a rather forgettable-looking clean shaven guy with a red haired crew cut. In his final appearance, though, he had let his hair and beard grow out all scraggly, and it made him ten times scarier-looking than he had ever been before. Sadly, he got Killed Off for Real at the end of that story, and took his cool creepy beard with him.
A Post Crisis version of Amalak was introduced a couple of years ago. With the cool beard, naturally.
In a Priceline ad William Shatner plays both his normal helpful negotiator self and his Evil Twin who's trying to trick people into paying too much for hotel rooms. Guess which one has a beard.
Megamind has one of those not being a particularly malicious person and turning good in the end. And it is one "nice" goatee.
In contrast, Metro Man has no facial hair at all. Until he faked his death to give up the hero gig and grew a massive beard (either as a disguise or out of sheer laziness).
Also, Tighten/Titan/Hal has no beard to speak of, and is actually the main antagonist of the film. Then again, the movie makes a point of subverting the superhero tropes pretty thoroughly.
Films — Live-Action
Fu Manchu's evil beard was so famous that the mustache style is named after him. In the original novels, however, he is clean shaven.
In Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul's and Henri Ducard's fu manchus are our first clue that the League of Shadows is evil. (Well, the first clue for those who hadn't read the comic books.) Bruce Wayne also sports a rather scraggly beard at the beginning of the film, but it's gone by the time he disavows killing and severs ties with the League.
Other than that, there are actually very few major Bond villains with a beard, only henchmen.
Pirates of the Caribbean, naturally. Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbossa, and Davy Jones (who has a beard made of tentacles) are all rather shifty, but the real Big Bad is clean-shaven, as is his second-in-command. "Good guy" Will Turner also has a goatee, to complement his pirate lineage.
In nearly 80% of all kung fu movies made in China in the 60's and 70's from Run Run Shaw or Golden Harvest, the villain was always the old guy with the white beard.
Averted in Once Upon a Time in the West. Henry Fonda planned to grow a beard as well as wear brown contact lenses to play the film's villain, but director Sergio Leone talked him out of it, since Fonda having his usual appearance in a role so different from his usual humble and noble characters would make it all the more shocking.
Count Dooku possesses such a beard in the Star Wars prequels.
The title character of Blacula grows some seriously wild sideburns every time he decides to drink someone's blood.
Fouché sports one in The Duellists. He was clean-shaven in real life.
The Moonraker book from the original Bond series by Ian Fleming. All of the Nazis working on the Moonraker missile have mustaches or beards, as a way of 'disguising their identity'.
Simon's beard in I Capture the Castle makes Cassandra compare him to a gargoyle. And Rose makes him shave it off before she agrees to marry him.
Harry Potter illustrator Mary Grandpre always draws Severus Snape with a beard, despite the fact that he is never described as having facial hair in the books, in order to emphasize his sinister characteristics.
Chernomor, Big Bad from the Ruslan and Ludmila (1820) by Alexander Pushkin, has a very long beard. He also has a Bald of Evil.
In Death: Isaac McQueen ends up putting on a goatee at the end of New York To Dallas.
In-universe discussion in The Hunger Games: during her first Games, Katniss notices that although many of the boys in the arena are old enough to grow beards, and have been away from razors for a good two or three weeks, not a single one has done so. She suspects that their Capitol stylists have done some sort of procedure on their faces to prevent this, presumably to keep them looking young and innocent.
And in the film version, Seneca Crane sports a particularly stunning example.
In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs The Junior Super Patriots, the first villain, The Claw, almost manages to look not ridiculous, despite the lobster suit.
In Horns, Ig turns into the classical Big Red Devil to avenge his girlfriend's murder. Part of the package is a goatee.
Live Action TV
The Mirror Universe of Star Trek more or less gave us the cliché of the Evil Twin with a Beard of Evil, as evil Mr. Spock has a goatee. Ironically, Evil Mr. Spock is far and away the least evil person in the mirror universe.
Recently given a Shout Out in a Priceline commercial. You guessed it, Evil Shatner with a goatee.
While, for obvious reasons, Mirror T'Pol couldn't have a beard, she did have long flowing locks of hair to distinguish her from her closely-cropped regular counterpart.
This seems to have been the fashion among commanding Vulcans. Mirror Spock's personal guard didn't have a beard, and neither did either of the Vulcans Mirror T'Pol enlisted to help her retake the ISS Enterprise from Archer. Mirror Tuvok from the Terran Rebellion was also clean-shaven.
An episode of Deep Space Nine where the Defiant was stolen featured who we thought was William Riker before being revealed as Thomas Riker pulling off his heist before removing his sideburns to reveal that he had a goatee, not a beard.
The Master's most iconic appearance, as portrayed by Roger Delgado, is bearded, as is that of Anthony Ainley. Ainley was intentionally trying to look like Delgado. There was substantial disappointment that Eric Roberts did not "sport the goat" as the Master in the 1996 telefilm. The Master also had a beard as portrayed by Jonathan Pryce in the Comic Relief spoof "The Curse of Fatal Death," and as voiced by Derek Jacobi for the animated "Scream of the Shalka," though fans were sufficiently used to the idea that no one was seriously bothered when Sir Derek Jacobi and John Simm played beardless Masters in 2007.
Inverted in that the Brigadier has a mustache, while his evil-universe counterpart is clean-shaven. He sports an Evil Scar-and-Eyepatch-combo instead.
And for maximum cross-trope linkage, in the 2007 Children In Need mini-episode "Time Crash," when the Tenth Doctor mentions the Master to the Fifth Doctor, this exchange ensues:
Fifth Doctor: Does he still have that rubbish beard?
Tenth Doctor: No, no beard this time...Well, a wife...
And now, the 2009 Christmas specials feature John Simm's Master with a Stubble of Evil.
In Tom's first two appearances, in LOST, he has a beard and is very scary. Then we see him without the beard, and learn that it's fake, and he becomes much less scary.
Played straight in an episode of The Jamie Foxx Show in which Foxx's character is accidentally forced to switch places with a criminal look-alike who is physically identical in all ways except for a scrawny beard.
In one Alternate Universe episode that had to be a reference to Star Trek's Mirror Universe, both evil Teal'c and evil Apophis do in fact have goatees. Though Apophis's beard is rather redundant 'cause he's already evil, and oddly enough, Teal'c ends up with similar facial hair a few seasons later.
In a non-alternate-universe example, recurring villain Ba'al sported a tidy diabolical goatee.
Inverted in How I Met Your Mother with Barney's 'origin story' in the episode "The Re-Return." At the start of the flash back he's a wide-eyed, innocent, New-Age Retro Hippie, complete with long hair and a soul-patch. When he becomes the Barney we know from, presented as the 'evil' version, he shaves it off.
Jack Bass is evil enough when he first appears in Gossip Girls second season. When he returns in season three he's even more evil, and is now sporting a goatee.
One of the themes in Breaking Bad is Walter's physical and mental transformation from nerdy teacher to badass drug dealer. First he went bald, ostensibly due to chemotherapy, then he grew a rather sinister goatee which grew darker through the course of Season 3 as Walter grew darker and darker as well.
In The Middleman's Mirror Universe, every single male character is bearded; most but not all are more evil than their clean-shaven counterparts.
Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): Gaius Baltar was known for abusing this trope relentlessly. Made even more notable by his being perennially trapped in the Face Heel Revolving Door. It got to the point where you could tell how evil he was at the moment by the style of his facial hair.
The Collector: While meeting the younger Morgan in flashbacks, the Devil takes the form of a goateed Colin Cunningham, his most consistent avatar in the series by far.
Kunt and the Gang's song Men With Beards (What Are They Hiding) has the singer theorizing all beards are Beards of Evil.
Hooray for Gooba! has a song titled My Evil Twin Has a Mustache wherein the narrator/singer bemoans the fact that his friends cannot distinguish between himself and his Evil Twin when he blatantly has a mustache. There is also the matter of the puppy-kicking...
Doctor Steel sports a rather impressive cross between a Gendo and a fearsome pointed goatee.
Gaia Online has both mocked this and played this straight. (But mostly mocks it)
On the serious side: Vladmir Von Helson, the arguably most evil character in the story line, had a particularly sinister goatee before he was ashed.
On the other hand, recent micro updates starring Mr Wizard parodies Dr. Singh and Timmy have featured several characters with beards of evil (which is either The Virus, or a case of Body Snatchers). However, one of them is a 10 year old boy, the other is a Labtech who grew his beard on the outside of his face mask. And they both seem to be more concerned with getting into Singh's pants than actually doing anything evil. Hilarity Ensues.
The tabletop game Warhammer 40,000 has a home brew version called "Brighthammer 40k," where the endless GRIMDARK of the Warhammer universe is flipped on its head into NOBLEBRIGHT, and everyone is a generally pleasant, good group of people to be around. The Emperor of this NOBLEBRIGHT (yes, spelled like that every time) universe inverts the idea of a Beard of Evil- he wears a Goatee of Good, and is something like a million times more upstanding and noble than his Warhammer counterpart. He's also not dead and stuck in a chair, which counts for something, certainly.
Inverted in the Warcraft universe: male facial hair is directly proportional to goodness. Although the fairly unpleasant Blood Elves do tend towards goatees of the classic villain variety. It goes with their laugh.
This seems to be a defining character trait in the God of War series, with all of the main villains (ie. Ares, Zeus, etc.) having massive scruffy beards. Kratos also has a Beard Of Evil, which is pretty damn appropriate.
Lampshaded in Tales of the Abyss, where a skit involves Anise spinning a tale to Natalia how the Big Bad's beard is a source of his evil powers. Just one source: You don't want to know what his ponytail does.
His eyebrows can tell him where his enemies are.
The Evil Zombie Pirate LeChuck from the Monkey Island series has a rather impressive beard for being, well, dead, and therefore technically not having hair growth. And this one is actually a source of his evil powers,note As well as a separate living being as Guybrush discovers in the second game. In case it wasn't clear for anyone that this was an evil beard, in the third game, his beard is composed of fire.
Rasputin (yes, again) in Shadow Hearts Covenant makes sure to retain the beard even after transforming into a horrible demonic sin against nature.
Played straight and inverted in Half-Life. Dr. Breen, when you finally see him, has a full beard and is allied with the Combine. Gordon Freeman, the hero, has what is best described as a Goatee of Asskicking.
Jim, Qui-Gon's player, suspects Sio Bibble (or "Bubble", as he calls him) of being evil due to his beard and position as Amidala's trusted adviser. It's not true, but despite his bit-part in it, Bibble is one of the few campaign details Jim never needs to be reminded of.
Having established his firm belief in the Beard Of Evil as a guaranteed indicator of a character's untrustworthiness, Jim refuses to let anyone see his character sheet, claiming Qui-Gon is clean-shaven.
This is also mentioned in a later comic with Bail Organa.
Flat out lampshaded in the GM's notes for the campaign that took place in between the first and second movie (based on The Princess Bride). In his notes on Count Rugen, he notes "Has a goatee! Should be fun when others don't believe Jim that he's evil."
Jim couldn't tell if Darth Vader is a bad guy, because he can't see his faical hair.
Elan's Evil Twin brother Nale has a blond beard to serve as his distinguishing villainous mark. Exaggerated by the fact that he's had it since he was a baby.
As Vaarsuvius pointed out after dealing with Kubota, "that mustache did not do him any favors" when trying to determine whether Kubota was to be considered an enemy of the Order.
In Questionable Content, the characters are joking about a series of events leading to the creation of Martin's "Evil Twin." He mentioned the frustration said twin would encounter, given that he's "incapable of growing a decent goatee."
Spoofed in the trailer for The Adventures of Captain Bucky and his Space Marshals in Outer Space! where the President of Earth and the "evil Communist Czar" are both played by the same people, with the latter wearing a thick moustache.
35. I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.
Pastiched on South Park: in their mirror universe, everyone has a goatee, including the "Evil" Cartman, who, as the opposite of the "real world" Cartman, is polite, helpful, and a genuinely good person. The unbearded Cartman rips off his beard (as a unit...) after he finds out that Stan and Kyle want to send him to the alternative universe and keep the "evil Cartman."
In the Futurama episode "Lesser of Two Evils," Fry assumes that Flexo, a bending unit who looks identical to Bender except for a pointed beard, must be Bender's Evil Twin. He isn't, Bender is the evil one.
This is played with in The Venture Bros., with the character of Dr. Orpheus, a good guy who looks evil (the eponymous brothers describe him as looking like "a Dracula"). The Monarch and Dr. Venture, on the other hand, are both rather unsavory characters with beards.
Lampshaded when Hank puts on a fake goatee and 21 comments that he looks like the "Mirror Mirror version of Hank" in Showdown at Cremation Creek Part 1.
Several Birdman villains have this kind of beard, most notably Number One, the leader of F.E.A.R.. This is useful, since apart from this and a small skull insignia, he looks exactly like all of his henchmen.
An episode of The Tick involves the mystery of a mobile mustache super-weapon. When asked by Arthur why the government brought such a horror into the world, the only response he got was:
An episode of Codename: Kids Next Door featured this trope with Mirror Universe; the kids are sent into an Alternate Universe via a neighborhood swimming pool, where the KND is feared, evil, and lead by an evil version of Number 4, who wears a goatee. The original Number 4 calls him out on this, claiming that since he—the original—is brave, then the evil one must be a coward.
Another bearded villain on the show (who appears more frequently) is the candy pirate Stickybeard; as his name implies candy is embedded all over his full beard.
Gargamel in The Smurfs attempts to grow his own Beard Of Evil in his admiration of evil wizards with beards by using magical hair growth tonic, but his beard ends up growing up so long that it reaches to the Smurf Village.
Gargamel in The Smurfs did sport a fake Beard Of Evil when he was masquerading as the dream date wizard Harlequin in order to get his hands on Hogatha's "magic whistle," which was really her bird call. However, during a kiss, the fake beard attached itself to Hogatha's face, revealing her dream date to be Gargamel, yet Hogatha doesn't notice it until after Gargamel is gone when she looks at herself in the mirror and says, "I have charm, I have beauty, I have a beard...A BEARD?!?"
Gargamel's godfather Lord Balthazar has the Chin Spike Of Evil.
Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension has Alternate Doofenshmirtz who sports an eviler than thou goatee. Hilariously commented upon between Jeff Swampy Marsh and Dan Povenmire (the voice of Heinz Doofenshmirtz) during the comic-con 2011 Phineas and Ferb panel, pointing out this particular trope... and the fact that Dan sports a goatee as well.
In Ben 10: Omniverse, the Tetrax of Dimension 23 who battles the local alternate Ben has a beard, made of the same crystal the rest of his body is. It looks fairly awesome. However, he's not evil after all. Aliens are distrusted in Dimension 23, so Ben 23 jumped the gun and had a Let's You and Him Fight with a Tetrax that's exactly like the one we know.