In a lot of media, even if cavemen aren't Neanderthals, they're usually depicted as ugly, hirsute and slouching. But there's a problem — after all, Beauty Equals Goodness, so if a caveman is supposed to be a non-comedic hero, the audience might have a tough time rooting for such an unattractive character.
That's where the Handsome Heroic Caveman comes in. With the Nubile Savage trope in play, this character is always well-groomed and never slouches, and their appearance mirrors the aesthetic ideal of the time when the work is created: usually an idealized inexplicably hairless body, well-done hair and a handsome/pretty face (expect men to have no facial hair or even stubble, and women to wear makeup and have their eyebrows on fleek). Sometimes there's an attempt at justifying their drastically different appearance in-universe by making the character "the first modern human". Expect Stripperriffic clothes on both female and male versions of this trope, of the Fur Bikini or Loincloth variety.
The Handsome Heroic Caveman usually lives in 1 Million B.C. or a Lost World, and fights with enemy cavemen (who are always depicted as ugly and shaggy, or even as Frazetta Men), giant apes and dinosaurs. A lot of times, the Handsome Heroic Caveman's love interest also gets the same treatment, as well. Having examples of this trope look identical to a modern human alongside the aforementioned Frazetta Man is sometimes a case of Accidentally Correct Writing, as anatomically modern humans have existed for at least 300,000 years and co-existed alongside more archaic forms of human relation.
This type of character was quite popular in comic books and cartoons especially. Unlike Tarzan Boy/Jungle Princess, the female version of this trope, while quite popular, never superseded the male version in popularity. As such, this is an Always Male trope.
Note: If a caveman or cavewoman just happens to have a Nubile Savage appearance, but isn't any more heroic than their non-handsome peers, then it's just an example of Nubile Savage and not this trope.
- Genshi Shonen Ryu ("Ryu the Caveman") tells the story of a young adult that struggles to survive in a world ruled by dinosaurs (as you may expect, the series' Big Bad is a one-eyed Tyrannosaurus rex) and hostile rulers.
- Tor, created by Joe Kubert and Norman Mauer, is probably one of the first examples of this trope. He was a Conan-esque caveman who fought apes and dinosaurs.
- The title character is a young caveman who looks very much like Tor and fights all kinds of real and fictional prehistoric beasts. He is described as "The First Boy", since he is supposedly the first Cro-Magnon human. His Betty and Veronica girlfriends, Embra and Nima, who sometimes join Anthro on his adventures, are also Cro-Magnon (supposedly, they were born after Anthro) and follow this trope as well.
- Kong the Untamed is a direct descendant of Anthro. He is quite similar to his ancestor, both in adventures and looks, only he has blonde hair.
- Rahan: A French take on this trope. With his tribe killed by an exploding volcano, Rahan was left to wander the prehistoric Earth. Even though he also fought dinosaurs and Neanderthals, his approach was often more intelligent than violent: he tried persuading other cavemen to cooperate and help each other, and also made a lot of useful inventions. Appearance-wise, he had long blonde hair and a chiseled body.
- Tragg and the Sky Gods: The comic's two main characters, Tragg and Lorn, were the first modern humans on Earth, and looked drastically different from other cavemen. In a peculiar twist, it had a solid in-universe explanation: they were actually a result of Ancient Astronauts tampering with caveman DNA. Tragg and Lorn fought a militaristic branch of the same Ancient Astronauts who wanted to conquer Earth.
- Cavewoman: The main character, Meriem Cooper, is not an actual cavewoman (she's a modern woman who was transported back in time), but is forced to live a life of one. She has enhanced strength, speed and senses, and uses them to fight dinosaurs (justified since she traveled to the Cretaceous period, not the Stone Age). She has an idealized sexy body, which is appropriate given the comic's erotic undertones.
- Jungle Girl, created by Frank Cho and Doug Murray, is this trope in all but name. She's a statuesque blonde woman who lives on a mysterious jungle island inhabited by dinosaurs, other prehistoric beasts, and cavemen. So it's a Prehistoric setting that doesn't acknowledge that it's Prehistoric.
- Marvel Comics' Ka Zar, while being a Tarzan Boy type of character, bears a slight resemblance to this trope, owing to the Prehistoric feel of the Lost World called Savage Land where he lives.
- Kamandi, created by Jack Kirby, is a twist on this trope. Instead of being "the first human" at the beginning of history, he is the last human (specifically, "The Last Boy on Earth") after history's end. Likewise, his appearance and constant fights with beastmen and monsters are very reminiscent of this trope, making this comic an unusual amalgamation of post-apocalyptic and prehistoric adventure genres.
- Guy from The Croods looks like a modern teenage boy in a caveman outfit, in contrast to the titular family who are cartoonish cavemen. Justified in that he's supposed to be a more "evolved" human than the Croods.
- Ralph Bakshi's animated Heroic Fantasy movie Fire & Ice. The hero is Larn, a blond George Michael-looking Walking Shirtless Scene, and his love interest, Teegra, is a textbook Nubile Savage. The other good guys are mostly clean-shaved (Teegra's father has a neatly-trimmed beard) and universally good-looking, while the villain's mooks, referred to as "subhumans", are a horde of ugly Frazetta Man types (literally, as Frank Frazetta himself was the main designer of the movie). Downplayed in the case of Larn's mysterious ally Darkwolf, a hulking, swarthy-skinned man whose face (or what little of it we can see under his wolf-skin cowl) has much heavier features than most of the other "human" characters. Everyone in the movie - from the ugliest subhumans to the sexy heroine - is nearly naked, 100% of the time.
- Tumak, the hero of One Million BC, is clean-shaven, doesn't have much body hair, and is generally kind of pretty.
- In the 1966 remake, the much better-remembered One Million Years B.C., Tumak is still implausibly well-groomed, but he now has Manly Facial Hair and a fair amount of chest hair - both of which were quite fashionably in the '60s. Tumak's love interest, Loana, is also easily the most iconic Nubile Savage in fiction, being essentially just a '60s bombshell in a Fur Bikini.
- Downplayed in Quest for Fire, where the heroic Naoh is as hairy, unkempt, and rugged as you'd realistically expect a Neanderthal to be, but he's played by Everett McGill so he has killer cheekbones. He looks kind of like Gregg Allman.
- The title character of Eegah! becomes this once they shave off his beard, though he's ill-suited to the modern world and ends up causing a lot of trouble, even if he doesn't mean to.
- D'Leh from 10,000 BC is a handsome young caveman from the Yagahl tribe with a neat beard and dreadlocks, played by Steven Strait, who embarks on a quest to save his people who were taken captive by foreign raiders. His name is even an anagram of the German word "Held", for "Hero". His mentor Tik-Tik is an older version, played by Cliff Curtis.
- Teenage Caveman stars Robert Vaughn as a smooth-chested, clean-shaven cave-dweller. Tenuously justified because he's supposed to be, well, a teenager - although Vaughn was about 26 at the time.
- Played dead straight in Yor: The Hunter from the Future, starring a clean-shaven Reb Brown with a blond '80s perm. The bad guy tribe, by contrast, are unkempt and bearded, and also purple, for some reason.
- Maciste appears as one of these in Maciste contro i mostri (best-known in the English-speaking world as Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules), a musclebound caveman with an immaculate blond pompadour and a perfectly smooth face. As in Yor (which this movie eerily resembles), the evil cavemen are a lot hairier and uglier, though not quite reaching Frazetta Man territory.
- Koda on Power Rangers Dino Charge. His hairiness is confined solely to his long, messy head hair; otherwise he's muscular, hairless, tall, and handsome, reflecting his brave and selfless character, above that of his contemporaries (as with all Power Rangers). He was deemed worthy of the Blue Energem's powers and tied to the Stegosaurus when he saved his little brother from a sabretooth.
- The Lost World (2001) features a Handsome Hero Antagonist Caveman, Achille. The son of the Plateau tribe's chief, Achille is mistrustful of the bold explorers - except for Lord Roxton, whose hunting skills and non-interventionist attitude he appreciates - but he's clearly a decent guy, quite handsome, and not entirely in the wrong. His tribe are generally pretty devoid of facial hair and body hair.
- In Chrono Trigger, Kino is a blonde bishounen caveman, and love interest for the Nubile Savage chief, Ayla.
- Takkar from Far Cry Primal is a handsome tall Ambiguously Brown caveman with Barbarian Longhair, Manly Facial Hair, and the Badass Baritone voice of Elias Toufexis. You can only see what he looks like in the character portrait, since this game is a First-Person Shooter, but Takkar is clearly heroic, fighting to defend his people the Wenja from the Udam and Izila tribes.
- The Joe & Mac series is about two cavemen who goes to rescue some beauty cavegirls from other cavemen tribes. Both characters got their faces shaven, have muscles, wear loincloths and have blue (Joe) and green (Mac) hair compared to the Cro-Magnon enemies they have to fight, which seems to be the standard of their world.