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A Bromance For The Ages

February 7, 2013

Although the term “bromance” might be a relatively recent term, male-male bonding has been going on for nearly as long as movies have been around. Here are some of the most historic bromances you can find on film – from some of the most classic top comedy films to more dramatic fare.

The Classic Comedic Duos - Two of the most popular acts of all time ooze the bromance feel. That would Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and later the pairing of William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello. Laurel and Hardy dominated the late 20s into the 30s while Abbott and Costello shot to fame in the 40s and 50s. Even though the relationships are often presented as more antagonistic than friendly, in the end, the pair always managed to come together and would pave the way for the more modern comedic era (more on that below).

The Buddy Cops - From Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon films to Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour franchise, the buddy cop films remain one of the standout bromance genres. By combining a generous dose of action with a pair of guys (usually with two completely different viewpoints – rookie cop/grounded veteran or hothead/by-the-books cop) who have to come together – it’s quintessential bromance.

The Archetypes - Ask someone to come up with one of the best classic romances of our time, and sure enough Casablanca will come up. Just about everyone seems to like The Shawshank Redemption. And Western adventures don’t get much better than Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. You want to make a man cry? Just grab a copy of Brian’s Song and sit back. You know what else these films feature: bromance. Every one – from Andy and Red in Shawshank to Rick and Renault in Casablanca.

The “Frat Pack” & Apatow Gang - For modern bromance films, one has to look no further than a select group of actors and directors. Judd Apatow has been featuring bromances in everything from Knocked Up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin while Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Owen and Luke Wilson (amongst others) have shown their love in films like Old School, Anchorman, Wedding Crashers and Blades of Glory. Of course the pinnacle of bromance was reached with I Love You, Man. Paul Rudd and Jason Segel set the bar high for any future endeavors.

The Best of the Rest - I can’t leave without mentioning Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon whose first bromance was The Odd Couple but found a resurgence later in life with Grumpy Old Men, Out to Sea and The Odd Couple (remake). Not to leave out our British friends, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have proven in the “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the upcoming End of the World) that they know about bromance across the pond as well.

I know there are plenty more examples you can find out there, but these all prove that two guys can have a perfectly platonic relationship – and that is has been happening for a long time and it’s incredibly popular, spanning multiple genres and often leaving audiences in either stitches or tears. The age of the bromance isn’t going anywhere.

Chris Kavan is a master critic and chief blogger of and he’s not ashamed to list many of the films as amongst his personal favorites.


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