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The 60 Greatest Capes in Movie History

From Cleopatra to Lando Calrissian, we showcase the greatest movie capes.
Best Movie Capes
Columbia Pictures
By  · Published on August 1st, 2018

Theatre of Blood (1973)

Theatre Of Blood Cape

Is a cape list really a cape list if Vincent Price isn’t on it, making the list all classy and bisexual and whatnot? Who hasn’t wanted to don a cape and burn down an old theatre? Am I telling on myself too much here? Somehow, this is only the second-best outfit Price wears in this 1970s horror classic. This is the first. You’re not ready.

Man of Steel (2013)

Man Of Steel Cape

Stand by for a positive DCEU opinion: Henry Cavill’s cape in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman is the best version of Superman’s cape. Snyder, bless him, does not do subtlety (remember the Watchmen “Hallelujah” sex scene?), so instead of the relatively slim silhouette of the Christopher Reeve supercape, we get yards upon yards of billowing perfection. And say what you want about the muted color palette, but it does make the scarlet of Supes’ cape pop.

Also, I liked the Jolly Rancher scene in BvS. Screw it, I don’t care.

I’ve Got Your Number (1934)

I've Got Your Number Joan Blondell Cape

Capes don’t have to be dramatic. While classic cinema often has leading ladies don a cape over an evening gown for a night out to some fancy soiree, your more “working girl” heroines, like Joan Blondell, playing a switchboard operator in I’ve Got Your Number, would often toss on a simple capelet as the finishing touch to a more casual outfit. It’s easier to carry a purse if you’re wearing a capelet, and the weight — or lack thereof, compared to a full cape — makes it more practical for long wear. This particular capelet benefits from a subtle striped pattern and zig-zag button hems at the shoulders. Also, everyone should watch more Joan Blondell movies.

Spawn (1997)

Spawn Cape

Points for the moving, sentient cape. And points taken away for….. the moving, sentient cape. Look, it was the ’90s. This was never going to look great, but they tried it. It looks like modern art, in a way. Like Georgia O’Keefe got tired of painting vagina flowers and instead tried her hand at superhero costume design.

Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns

*puts hand up to ear* I’m sorry, what was that? I’m hearing that the best version of Batman’s cape is the one worn by Adam West in the ‘60s TV show, because it was goofy and cheap-looking and West worked it like a mofo while jamming out to the Batusi? I’m sorry, them’s the facts. But since this is a movie-only list, I am willing to concede that the second-best version of Batman cape is the one worn by Michael Keaton in Batman and Batman Returns, because it is essentially a rubber sheet, and I like picturing Batman as a gimp.

All About Eve (1950)

All About Eve Cape

The ultimate fate of Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) is perfectly encapsulated in this one cape, designed by Edith Head. It’s the cape she wears at the awards ceremony that closes out the film; it’s shiny and encrusted with jewels, signifying the glamorous life she’s worked so hard — and tried to hurt so many people — to achieve. At the same time, it’s a stiff, heavy-looking garment, settled over her shoulders by Addison DeWitt, whom she “belongs” to, like armor… or a prison.

Lisztomania (1975)

Lisztomania Wing Cape Better

Only Ken Russell would give us a film where a Russian countess dons a devil-inspired lingerie outfit, complete with a winged cape, before using a guillotine to chop off Roger Daltrey’s giant fake penis. This gif is NSFW, by the way.

Things to Come (1936)

Things To Come Cape

Everything new is old again. To most people, Things to Come is notable for being the only feature film written by H.G. Wells. For me, it is notable for anticipating the arrival of the RompHim by a good 80 years. Raymond Massey may have been known for more hard-boiled roles, but he could break out the high-shouldered capes and show off his gams when her really needed to.

Dune (1984)

Dune Cape

A cape is an unusual garment that benefits from a dash or two of original design. And “original” is one word for embroidering a cape to look like it’s sprouting patches of pink fungus. What does this have to do with Arrakis, the planet on which Dune takes place? Who knows? It looks weird! Hope they can bring this out of storage for Timothée Chalet.

The Phantom Thread (2017)

Phantom Thread Vicky Krapes

Vicky Krieps? More like Vicky Capes. Designed by Oscar-winner (and jet-ski winner) Mark Bridges, this dress/cape combo is worn by Alma in Reynolds Woodcock’s fashion show. We see it very briefly, but with its clean lines and impeccable construction, it makes an impression. It is, dare I say it, chic.

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