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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

The Glass Slipper (1955)

Glass Slipper Capes

When it comes to capes, sometimes you want quantity over quality. And these particular garments, worn by the evil stepmother and stepsisters in Charles Walters’ 1955 “Cinderella” adaptation The Glass Slipper, are some big. ass. capes. Like the cape in Kenneth Branagh’s later live-action Cinderella remake (stay tuned), the ones shown here are bright and dramatic. Unlike that later cape, these are basically tents.

Coffy (1973)

Coffy Cape

In the Blaxploitation classic Coffy, drug kingpin King George (Robert DoQui) decides his butter yellow shirt isn’t quite loud enough, so he accents it with a fire engine red capelet and a matching hat and slacks. The spiritual energy of such an outfit gives him the power to barely flinch when a bottle gets thrown at his head. That’s the confidence that comes from knowing you’re really rocking a cape.

The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak (1984)

Gwendoline Cape Cape On Tits Out

In 1984, a pre-White Snake video Tawny Kitaen starred in Just Jaekin’s The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak, a blatant Indiana Jones ripoff with some bondage elements thrown in, just ‘cause. The movie’s pretty dull until its third act, when Gwendoline (Kitaen), her bookish best friend Beth (Zabou Breitman), and the requisite bad boy adventurer, Willard (Brent Huff), end up imprisoned in an underground kingdom populated exclusively by women who love BSDM and high-waisted thongs. A lot of things happen that are designed to make the teenage boys who caught this movie on cable in the ‘80s really, really horny. The whole thing, er, climaxes in Gwendoline having sex with a tied-up Willard while wearing a cape and nothing else. Cape on, tits out. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s a lifestyle.

Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella Tearaway Cape

The costume design for Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella remake is, top to tails, absolutely gorgeous, from the evil stepsisters’ ‘50s-inspired garb to the awe-inspiring swooshery of Cinderella’s gown to everything Cate Blanchett wears at every single moment she is on-screen. And also: The Ye Olde Stripper Couture worn by Prince Kit (Richard Madden). You’ve heard of tearaway pants. The next new trend is… tearaway capes! For all your Disney/Magic Mike crossover needs.

Paddington 2 (2018)

Paddington Reversible Cape

The Paddington movies have given us a lot. “Some minor spark of joy in this unending hellscape” is probably the most important thing. But “Hugh Grant wearing a reversible cape where 0ne side is a nun’s habit and the other side is a bishop’s robe” is probably second on the list. It fits in with the overall aesthetic of the Paddington films: fun, inventive, and never taking anything too seriously.

The Heiress (1949)

Heiress Monty Cape

Montgomery Clift reportedly hated his performance in William Wyler’s The Heiress, in which he plays a gold-digger intent on snagging plain and awkward—but rich—Olivia de Havilland. (Here are photos of him watching the movie.) I think it’s a fabulous movie, but to each their own. It’s certainly an unusual role for Clift, who was such a modern, fresh actor that seeing him in a cravat and tails is a little bit weird. But the image of Clift wearing a rain cape, propped in front of a roaring fire with a tumbler of whiskey in his hands, is one for the ages.

Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Draculas Daughter Cape

In 1936, director Lambert Hillyer followed up Tod Browning’s Dracula with Dracula’s Daughter, a movie about an A) female vampire who B) is also a lesbian. OK, it’s not explicitly stated that she’s a lesbian, but… y’all.  The subtext is there, and the influence of Carmilla runs deep. What Dracula’s Daughter teaches us is that lesbian vampires are better at wearing capes, like they’re better at everything else, than their straight male counterparts.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

John Cameron Mitchell In 'hedwig And The Angry Inch'

With her “YANKEE GO HOME/WITH ME” cape, Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell) spills out her emotion in rocker punk fashion. The cape is bright and dramatic, just like Hedwig herself, and its message expresses anger, a desire to be loved, and a sharp sense of humor critical to the character.

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

Devil Girl From Mars Cape

The villain of this 1950s pulp sci-fi classic is a man-hating female alien who dresses like a gender swapped, BDSM version of Darth Vader who taught Spock everything he knows about proper eyebrow maintenance. We’re supposed to root against her—wanting to kidnap human men back to Mars so they can repopulate her species is bad, I guess—but damn, with an outfit like that, I don’t know how I’m supposed to.

Cleopatra Jones (1973)

Cleopatra Jones Cape

If there is a film with the name “Cleopatra” in the title, you know it’s going to have a cape or two. This fur number is worn by Tamara Dobson in the Blaxploitation classic Cleopatra Jones, about a model/secret agent who fights a lesbian drug kingpin played by Shelley Winters and wears really cool hats. The very first time we see her, we get a sloooooow pan up of her rocking the way of the cape, before she goes on to light an opium field on fire. Right on, sweet sister!

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