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Bromance: 10 of the Best Movies About Male Friendship

I wrote film reviews for over a decade in a variety of formats.

Bromance movies are a plentiful lot, but often what one might think is a bromance movie isn't a bromance movie at all. This list not only outlines what defines a bromance movie, but hopefully also explains to those unfamiliar with the bromance what the bromance is and what it isn't. I haven't tried to put these in order and I've tried to make them fairly relevant. There are lots of examples of bromances in film and these just happen to be the ones I've picked. Some I've picked for their representation over the entire film or series. Some I've picked because certain scenes speak so clearly to the bromance that they are worth seeing by themselves. In addition, the vast majority of these films are exceptional movies.

I love you, man! (William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan")

I love you, man! (William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan")

Ocean's 11 - 2001

In an effort to keep things relevant, I'm discussing this film and not the original from the 1960s, but either film works. Certainly, the Rat Pack was bromance at its finest. And given that there have now been three "Oceans" films, one can confidently assert that there's probably off-screen bromance going on here as well as on-screen.

What better than crime to unite bros? In "Ocean's Eleven", there's bromance going on between just about every guy and every other guy, but clearly there's a hierarchy of bromance beginning with the George Clooney and Brad Pitt characters.

And if you doubt this represents bromance, just look at the third film. The Andy Garcia character is so tired of being the bad guy and so desperate to have a little bromance of his own that he helps the group.

No man can be a bro island.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back - 2001

I'm just using this film as an example of Kevin Smith's work because Jay and Silent Bob are in the title and those are the characters having the bromance. This bromance started in "Clerks" and has worked its way through Smith's body of work where Jay and Silent Bob are characters.

What perhaps violates the bro code in some way is the fact that Jay doesn't shy away from homosexual references even when they concern Silent Bob, but because it's all done in the name of humor, they can get away with it. Being offensive is part of their nature, so nothing is really off-limits.

Through thick and thin, Jay and Silent Bob remain together. And in some ways, off-screen as well. Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are great friends. So the on-screen personas are something of a fictionalization of their off-screen bromance. Either way, bromance it is.


Jaws - 1975

I'm really referring to one scene in this movie, but it's a scene that demonstrates what bromance is all about. Essentially, if you wanted to understand bromance, this scene explains everything.

And that's the scene where Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw are on the boat, on their journey to kill the shark. Sheider is feeling a knick on his head, which prompts the slightly drunk Shaw to show him one of his scars. This pits Shaw against the equally buzzed Dreyfuss, who has a few scars of his own. This is a classing bonding scene and were it not for the inevitable confrontation with the shark, the potential beginnings of bromance.

Lonesome Dove - 1989

The Western genre is fertile ground for bromances. After all, cowboys are often on their own, with other men, where friendships mean everything. So I could have picked from a number of choices. Now, "Lonesome Dove" was a television miniseries and not a theatrical movie, but it's probably the greatest miniseries of all-time. It's the equal to any great movie.

And at its heart? The bromance between Gus McCrae (Robert Duvall) and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones). Really, this film is "Brokeback Mountain" minus any hint of homosexuality, but with the same sense of devotion and love. These two are lifelong friends, and although they are very different, their bromance is built on shared experiences, honesty, and deep manly love.

Rocky 3 - 1982

I could use "Rocky IV" just as easily, but this is the film where Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) begin their bromance.

After Rocky loses to Clubber Lang (Mr. T), Apollo recognizes an opportunity to be a true bro, by befriending and training his former nemesis and teaching him what he needs to know to defeat Lang. The two of them share similar interests as a result of their shared experience boxing. As they participate in this activity together, their bromance grows.

This is a perfect example of why bromance happens. Two guys. Two similar experiences. On the bro scale, these two are a perfect match and they benefit from their differences.

Tragically, their bromance ends abruptly when Apollo returns to boxing and is killed in the ring by Drago. Of course, this motivates Rocky to avenge his fallen bro.

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Classic bros. (Woody and Buzz from "Toy Story")

Classic bros. (Woody and Buzz from "Toy Story")

Toy Story 2 - 1999

Fans of the "Toy Story" films and fans of bromance will immediately notice that I'm using "Toy Story 2" and not the original "Toy Story".

Remember, Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) are antagonists in the first film and it is not until the end that they realize that their common interests make them perfect for bromance. It's the second film where they really bond and their bromance develops.

In the first film, Woody and Buzz hate each other. Buzz is the new toy invading Woody's space. Woody is quite pessimistic while Buzz is full of so much optimism and lack of awareness of his situation that it's annoying to Woody. By the second film, each recognizes their common interest in making Andy happy. Through that shared experience, they realize their bro-ness and begin a friendship.

Wonder Boys - 2000

This movie is a bit of an odd choice and not one I think most bros would immediately identify as bromantic. However, while "Wonder Boys" contains an atypical bromance in that the bros are far apart in age, it's still extremely bromantic in that each man becomes fascinated with the other and they spend a lot of time together because of their common interests and because of what each can learn from the other.

Again, on the surface, Professor Tripp (Michael Douglas) would not seem to have much to gain from hanging around his student, James Leer (Tobey Maguire). He does. Although Professor Tripp is a great writer, he's mired in a writing slump, unable to stop himself from writing anything meaningful or self-editing. James Leer, though weird, presents a newness to Tripp; a kid who potentially has everything in front of him where most of Tripp's life is behind him. That's what makes their bromance work. By the end of the film, both men are better for it. Tripp rediscovers his passion for life and writing while James grows up a bit and learns much. It's the perfect outcome of a short, but lively bromance.

I Love You, Man - 2009

Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is the perfect candidate for a bromance, assuming he can find a willing bro. Since Peter has no male friends and his manliness is even questioned by his fiancée, all he needs is to find a willing bro and a bromance is sure to happen. This is a common situation. Bromances occur all the time because one bro fills a huge emotional void for the other bro.

In Peter's case, Sydney Fife (Peter Segal) fills that void, giving Peter everything he lacked from not having a male friendship of any kind. In fact, the bromance becomes so intense that Peter's fiancée, Zooey (Rashida Jones), begins to get uncomfortable because it starts taking time away from their coupledom - another common occurrence in a bromance.

Obviously, "I Love You, Man" is first and foremost a comedy and the bromance is played for laughs, but it absolutely raises common bromantic issues.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - 1982

I could have picked virtually any "Star Trek" film featuring Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy), but I've picked this one because I think it's the film where the characters, particularly Kirk, learns what the relationship really means to him.

After all, Kirk and Spock have been engaged in their bromance for years. Like many bros in a bromance, Kirk and Spock have many differences. Kirk is impulsive while Spock is logical. Kirk expresses emotion while Spock keeps his emotions bottled up. They are yin and yang. However, these differences and their shared experiences aboard the Enterprise, make their bromance work and their friendship strong.

When Spock dies at the end of this film, Kirk really has to come to grips with the end of this bromance and what it means to him. Fortunately, it doesn't end there, and their bromance continues, though in a different state.


The Shawshank Redemption - 1994

Here we have another common building block to a bromance. It's where one bro's force of will and optimism allows another bro to rediscover something he lost. When the bro realizes what the optimistic bro does for him, he can't help but lose himself in the bromance.

That's what happens for Red (Morgan Freeman) when Andy (Tim Robbins) shows up at Shawshank prison. Red has mostly resigned himself to a life of despair. Though still a decent man, he's on the verge of giving up. Andy restores Red's hope. They bond over that hope, their mutual decency, trust, and honesty. This is common in a bromance because so many bromances fail over character failings, like honesty.

A bromance could be seemingly going strong, but something like a small lie destroys it. When that confidence in your bro's essential qualities is rock-solid, the bromance blossoms. This is what happens in "The Shawshank Redemption."


Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on July 26, 2011:

I will have to look into that one too! My husband might have seen them... he is a movie, TV buff... I don't understand how he has seen as many movies as he has!

Allen Donald (author) from Colorado on July 26, 2011:


If you haven't seen Lonesome Dove, I'd highly recommend it. It's quite an investment, but well worth it.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on July 25, 2011:

I haven't actually seen Wonderboys... I am going to have to put that one on my list of movies to see!

Allen Donald (author) from Colorado on July 24, 2011:

Shawshank is a great movie. Wonderboys and Jaws are equally as good.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on July 24, 2011:

Interesting list... I have seen several of these movies... by far the best one is Shawshank Redemption.

FloraBreenRobison on July 21, 2011:

I'm a classic film fan, so I'll pick the original Ocean's 11 instead of the remake. Of the ones you've listed, my favourite is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

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