A Brief History of Wife Beater Tank Tops in Movies

1
'The Wolverine,' 2013
'The Wolverine,' 2013
20th Century Fox
Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the Adamantium-skeletoned Logan in 'The Wolverine' and you know what that means... an abundance of ribbed wife beater tank tops! While Jackman sure knows how to wear an undershirt (hello, pecs) he's not the first leading man to rock the wardrobe basic. Here is a brief history of the wife beater in movies.
2
'A Streetcar Named Desire,' 1951
'A Streetcar Named Desire,' 1951
Warner Bros/Everett Collection
A young, ripped Marlon Brando famously wore one in the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play. He also did a number of good things for the plain white t-shirt.
3
'Bonnie and Clyde,' 1967
'Bonnie and Clyde,' 1967
Warner Bros.
Warren Beatty stretches the bounds of his ribbed tank as the legendary Depression-era bank robber Clyde Barrow. It's no wonder Bonnie succumbed to his charms (perhaps right before this scene takes place).
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4
'The Sting,' 1973
'The Sting,' 1973
Universal Pictures/Everett Collection
Paul Newman's character Henry Gondorff plays a high-stakes poker game on a train with Robert Shaw's gangster Doyle Lonnegan. And Gondorff doesn't just rock a tank top with the best of them, his underhanded win over the gangster prompts Lonnegan's immortal retort, "Not only are you a cheat, you're a gutless cheat as well."
5
'Raging Bull,' 1980
'Raging Bull,' 1980
United Artists/Everett Collection
Robert De Niro ushers in the golden age of wife beater tanks (the '80s) in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull. Considering he spends much of the film shirtless as boxer Jake La Motta, he's actually a bit dressed up in this underwear kitchen scene.
6
'Footloose,' 1984
'Footloose,' 1984
Paramount/Everett Collection
Kevin Bacon's Ren McCormack doesn't bring just dance to the uptight town of Bomont, he also introduces the religious community to the iconic white tank.
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7
'Rambo: First Blood Part II,' 1985
'Rambo: First Blood Part II,' 1985
Orion Pictures/Everett Collection
Sylvester Stallone opts for a black version of the unfortunately named tank as Vietnam vet/guerilla warrior/all-around badass Rambo. It goes perfectly with his headband.
8
'Die Hard,' 1988
'Die Hard,' 1988
20th Century Fox
By the end of Die Hard, Bruce Willis' brown beater is on its last legs.
9
'Terminator 2: Judgment Day,' 1991
'Terminator 2: Judgment Day,' 1991
Tristar Pictures/Everett Collection
Ladies can wear wife beaters, too! Linda Hamilton famously wears one as butt-kicking Sarah Connor in the second installment of the Terminator franchise. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to arm wrestle with her.
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10
'Con Air,' 1997
'Con Air,' 1997
Touchstone Pictures/Everett Collection
I'm not sure I'd say Nic Cage "rocks" a tank in Con Air, but he certainly wears one.
11
'American History X,' 1998
'American History X,' 1998
New Line
Edward Norton's white tank covers up a gigantic tattoo of a swastika on his left pectoral in American History X. We recommend he leave it on... always.
12
'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,' 2001
'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,' 2001
Paramount Pictures
Ten years after Terminator 2, Angelina updates the Sarah Connor look by adding her signature braid. And a bra.
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13
'Step Up,' 2006
'Step Up,' 2006
Summit Entertainment
Following in Kevin Bacon's dancin' footsteps, Channing Tatum dons the signature top for some studio time. Tatum, who also wears beaters in 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike, and White House Down, making him the tank top king of this millenium.
14
'Man of Steel,' 2013
'Man of Steel,' 2013
Warner Bros.
Talk about a modern Superman. In Man of Steel, Henry Cavill adds grit to Clark Kent's clean-cut history in the form of a sweaty, dirty, dripping wife beater.
15
'Fast & Furious 6,' 2013
'Fast & Furious 6,' 2013
Universal Pictures
If there's anyone who can challenge Tatum's reign as Wife Beater Champion (that sounds wrong... ) it's Vin Diesel. Come to think of it, we're not sure if we've ever seen him wear sleeves.

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