Dave:A man with a beard is a man to be feared.
How can you have a goatee without shaving? Does it just materialize? Male Helen:
Well, yes. I'm evil.
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 Edgier Anti-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
, 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 already know 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.)
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 and badass
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Anime & Manga
- Dr. Hell from Mazinger Z and Mazinkaiser is the Mad Scientist Big Bad and he has a long, bushy, bristly, white and positively epic Beard Of Evil. In Great Mazinger, The Dragon Great General of Darkness/Ankoku Daishogun had a Badass Beard warned he was NOT to be messed with. King Vega, Big Bad from UFO Robo Grendizer was the only on the side of the evil guys had a beard. His was bristle but well-groomed, though.
- Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. That particular style seems to be a favorite of Magnificent Bastards. In the spoof Fan Video Evangelion: Re Death, he proudly announces he spent millions in research on the ultimate pimp beard.
- "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.
- General Regius of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S. Fat frame, beady little eyes, nasty demeanor, and neatly maintained beard give him all the markings of an obvious villain. So naturally, he turns out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who just found himself too entangled in the TSAB's darker secrets, with his final scenes showing him filled with guilt when he realized how far he had fallen.
Before him there was Gil Graham, the Treacherous Advisor of A's.
- 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).
- Jose, in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds definitely counts.
- 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.
- Emperor Ganishka from Berserk.
- Blue Exorcist: Mephisto Pheles has one impressively sharp, blue, goatee. Interesting, considering what his name is an obvious pun off of. Whether or not he is evil however, has yet to be fully revealed.
- While the titular hero himself might sport a trim goatee, Iron Man also plays it straight with Stane, who has a full beard and a bald head.
- Serial killer/rapist Mr. Gone from The Maxx combines Bald of Evil with a wild Beard Of Evil. After a Time Skip during which he does a Heel-Face Turn, he no longer has any facial hair.
- 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.
For added hilarity, it's commonly accepted that Allbeard and Nobeard represent Alan Moore and Seven Soldiers writer Grant Morrison, famously fur-faced and bald, respectively.
- Marvel's Avengers old time villains Count Nefaria and Graviton.
- Empowered: Willy Pete, as a fire elemental, has a beard made of flame. "Evil" is rather understating it.
- Inverted by the Pre Crisis version of Earth-3, home of the Justice League's Evil Twins - there, Lex Luthor's Good Twin Alexander Luthor sports a goatee.
- Similar to the Star Trek example, in the Transformers Mirror Universe Shattered Glass, Rodimus has a goatee. See.◊ Said universe also provides an example with the evil Alpha Trion, although the regular Alpha Trion has similar facial hair
- 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.
- Iznogoud: The title character.
- The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is an inversion, as it's the beard itself that is the antagonist instead of the man it's attached to.
- 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.
Films — Animated
- A staple of Disney villains:
- Scar, Simba's evil uncle from The Lion King has a tuft of scraggly black fur on his chin reminiscent of a goatee.
- Jafar in Aladdin deserves a mention. Not-evil men like the sultan and captain of the guard also have beards in the movie, but Jafar's is not only a goatee, but twisted. He was even based on Zigzag.
- Governor Radcliffe in Pocahontas has a beard. In the second film, King James, a not-evil man also has a beard but Governor Radcliffe's is a goatee.
- Captain Corso of Titan A.E. had a goatee, and true to form turned out to be The Mole.
- 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.
- Xibalba has a snazzy beard and is the Big Bad of The Book Of Life. Until his Heel-Face Turn.
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.
- Doctor Smith in the film of Lost in Space gave away his role as villain this way.
- Zod did much to increase the fame of this style in Superman II.
- Suprisingly few James Bond villains:
- Other than that, there are actually very few major Bond villains with a beard, only henchmen.
- 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.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian the Telmarine aristocrats are bearded and bad, except for the eponymous Caspian, who is clean-shaven and a good guy.
- The Matrix has Cipher's beard to couple with his bald.
- In Die Hard, Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber sported one, contrasting a beardless Bruce Willis.
- 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 Big Bad McComb sports an evil beard in Time Cop.
- Sentinel Prime from Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
- Iron Man: Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane.
- Although technically not a beard, Edward Norton's character in The Italian Job (2003) sports a rather evil-looking moustache.
- Christo and Shabal from Act of Valor. Averted with Senior Chief who is bearded but good.
- Firefly from G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
- In Man of Steel, the evil Zod has grown a Superman II-esque beard by the time Clark is an adult.
- Inverted in the intro when bearded Jor-El faces off with clean-shaved Zod.
- Kruger from Elysium.
- Possibly inverted in the Lord of the Rings movies, at least with humans. Almost every human man has a Badass Beard (as does the dwarf, but that goes without saying). The Evil Chancellor is in fact the one without a beard, though he manages to be Obviously Evil anyway.
- M. Merde in Holy Motors.
- All versions of The Three Musketeers by virtue of including Cardinal Richelieu, who did have facial hair like that. Though it was in vogue, and often the Musketeers will have similar beards.
- In To Be or Not to Be, The Mole Siletsky has one. Even noted by one of the characters.
- X2: X-Men United:
- William Stryker.
- Mitchell Laurio may be more on the 'asshole' side rather than the 'genocidal' side, but there's no denying he's an unshaven sadist.
- American Histroy X has Neo Nazi Derek Vinyard played by Edward Norton sporting the Van Dyke of Evil, along with a shaven head, and a Swastika, in a "Can you tell he's the villain, yet?" kind of way.
- Inheritance Cycle: Galbatorix has a beard in the film adaption. During Brisingr, Eragon seems to assume that Galbatorix has a beard when he mentions him.
- In the Discworld universe:
- Lord Vetinari is commonly depicted with a tidy goatee. He's not that evil, though. He does, however, have a 'menacing elegance'. Oh, yes, and he's awesome.
- Parodied in Making Money, where the Head of Post-Mortem Communications is described as having tried to grow a beard like this, but not being evil, ended up just looking sheepish.
From the same book, we have the delusional Cosmo Lavish. He tried to copy the Vetinari beard of evil, but on him, it just ended up looking like a pubic chin.
- In The Corellian Trilogy the chief feature distinguishing Han Solo from his evil cousin Thrackan Sal-Solo is the latter's beard.
- Older Than Steam: The eponymous character of Bluebeard.
- 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 Good Omens, Famine is described as having "a trim black beard."
- In the Honor Harrington books, the viciously evil Pavel Young cultivates a goatee, partly to hide his double chin.
- 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.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events has the man with a beard but no hair, who's apparently so evil that Lemony Snicket won't even tell us his name.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry has met a representation of his subconscious mind a few times, and while not strictly evil, he is much more ruthless and selfish than Harry's conscious self, and he sports a goatee, which is of course lampshaded by Harry.
- 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
- 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.
- This◊ motivational poster, created during Mirrorverse Week on ONTD_STARTREK
- 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.
- Command & Conquer:
- 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 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.
- Bitores Mendez, one of the villains of Resident Evil 4, was both bearded and Bald of Evil. In fact, he looked a lot like Rasputin.
- 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.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Older and Wiser Wind Waker version of Ganondorf sported an orange beard on charcoal-colored skin, and made it work.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- The Prowler "La Lupo" from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has a soul patch and close-cropped goatee, contrasting with Ezio's full beard-and-'stache. Cesare, Rodrigo, and the Engineer also have beards.
- The Obviously Evil Ser Alrik in Dragon Age II sports one.
- Heavy Rain: Rabid Cop Carter Blake has a small beard which contrasts with By-the-Book Cop Norman Jayden's clean-shaven face.
- Played straight in The Journeyman Project with Graham Jarvis as Elliot Sinclair, the father of time travel.
- During the recasting for its remake, Pegasus Prime and the 3rd game, Legacy of Time, apparently he shaved it to a mustache.
- Tomb Raider has the amoral archaeologist Pierre DuPont, who sports a goatee. The first Continuity Reboot gives him a Bald of Evil in addition to this.
- During Asha's loyalty mission in Saints Row IV, you encounter an evil version of your character who, of course, sports an evil goatee. Even if your character is female.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Victor the obvious spy has one.
- What? He's not a spy, he's a plumber! Clearly!
- Darths & Droids:
- 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.
- In Dinosaur Comics, everyone has a beard in the mirror universe. And the strip is backwards.
- In Irregular Webcomic!, strip #2470 is a repeat of #2461 in the Mirror Universe, complete with backwards layout and goatees. Unfortunately, the Nazis are the same. (Maybe not.) And the comic links here.
- Invoked, discussed, and Played for Laughs in Jet Dream: This trope features heavily in Cookie Jarr's ''My Jet Dream Romance'' solo story, as a philosophical debate between J.E.T. T.E.E.N. Boy Booster Phil Philpott and "El Teen Gringo del Sur" over the good or evil of facial hair becomes violent!
Phil: "I learned enough not to trust men like Trotsky, Castro, and Blackbeard! Men with beards!"
El Teen Gringo: "But what of Lincoln? Moses? Zeus? You're blinded by your dangerous obsession! Bah! You'll never understand. Taste some Teen Gringo Justice — Fist Style!"
- In Mac Hall this was inverted here and then played straight here
- The Order of the Stick:
- 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.
- Bozzok has one as well, he's even seen maintaing it.
- 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."
- Edvard de Santigo from Supernormal Step has a very malicious-looking goatee.
- Invoked by Van Von Hunter when Van drew a goatee on his Evil Twin so that they could be told apart.
- Jimmy Negatron has a goatee to distinguish himself as the bad guy, which is a blatant reference to Mirror!Spock's goatee in the classic Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror.