American actor Clint Eastwood on the set of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo), written and directed by Italian Sergio Leone./ Robert Duvall on the set of the miniseries "Lonesome Dove"/ Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler on "Yellowstone"
Photo by United Artists/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images/ Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images/ Paramount

13 Iconic Cowboy Hats from Your Favorite Films & TV Shows


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Hollywood memorabilia is an industry all its own, and it's no wonder. Sometimes mere wardrobe pieces end up being almost a recognizable as the actors who wore them. The ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz and the black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's are good examples of wardrobe items that are now inseparable from the movies from which they originated. While hats may not always take center stage, there are some that every movie lover and TV buff will remember. Here are 13 cowboy hats that stood out in iconic movies and television shows.

James Arness in Gunsmoke

James Arness (right) as Marshal Matt Dillon and Ken Curtis (left) as Deputy Festus Haggen in the television series Gunsmoke.

James Arness (right) as Marshal Matt Dillon and Ken Curtis (left) as Deputy Festus Haggen in the television series Gunsmoke.

Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) just wouldn't have been the same without his instantly recognizable cowboy hat.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid USA, 1968 / George Roy Hill ROBERT REDFORD als The Sundance Kid, KATHARINE ROSS als Etta Place, PAUL NEWMAN als Butch Cassidy Regie: George Roy Hill aka. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid / ZWEI BANDITEN USA, 1968.

Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

The 1969 hit Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is about the real-life bandits of the same name. It wouldn't have hit home so well without the hats donned by the titular characters.

Idris Elba in The Harder They Fall

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Idris Elba portrayed Rufus Buck in the 2021 western The Harder They Fall -- and looked cool as hell doing it.  Costume designer Antoinette Messam outfitted the all-star cast.

Val Kilmer in Tombstone

Doc Holiday, played by Val Kilmer, wouldn't have seemed so authoritative without that big black hat.

Sam Elliot in The Big Lebowski

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Would Sam Elliot's character in The Big Lebowski have become a meme if not or that a awesome hat? I doubt it.

Cole Hauser in Yellowstone

Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler in Yellowstone

Paramount

Yellowstone proved that westerns (and western fashion) never go out of style. And while nearly every man on the series wears a cowboy hat, we're partial to Rip Wheeler's uniforn of a cowboy hat, jacket and sunglasses.

Robert Duvall in Lonesome Dove

Among the few shows worth cheering about are CBC's Degrassi Junior High (main photo); the powerful miniseries Lonesome Dove; starring Robert Duvall;

Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images

In the Lonesome Dove miniseries, Robert Duvall portrays Augustus "Gus" McCrae, one of the most beloved  figures in Texas literature. You can still view Duvall's clothing from the iconic series at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.

Jeff Bridges in True Grit

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Can you imagine Rooster Cogburn trying to bring Tom Chaney to justice bare-headed? Me either.

Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma

Normally such a small-brimmed hat might make a man look a little less macho, but audiences don't make that mistake with Crowe's brutal character.

Alan Ladd in Shane

film still of Alan Ladd in "Shane"

Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

This iconic old Hollywood tale wouldn't have been half as memorable if Shane had been hatless.

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Jimmy Stewart in How the West Was Won

American actor James Stewart (1908 - 1997) as Linus Rawlings and Brigid Bazlen as Dora Hawkins in the epic western 'How the West Was Won', 1962.

Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Stewart wowed audiences with his role as Linus in the epic film How the West Was Won. His all-leather Davy-Crockett-esque clothing went perfectly with the well-worn hat he donned in many scenes.

John Wayne in McLintock

American actor John Wayne (1907 - 1979) plays the lead character in the film 'McLintock!', 1963.

Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images

If there's a better line than John Wayne's "I won't...I won't...the hell I won't!" then I don't know it. Because the Duke did haul off and belt Leo Gordon, and his manly hat was still firmly on his head after the fracas.

Clint Eastwood in The Good the Bad and the Ugly

American actor Clint Eastwood squints while smoking a cigarette between his teeth in a still from director Sergio Leone's film 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.' Eastwood wears a wide-brimmed leather hat.

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

If the sight of Clint Eastwood in that poncho and black hat doesn't bring up the drums and whistling notes of the theme song from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, then your movie knowledge is sorely lacking.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2017. It was updated by Bobbie Jean Sawyer on May 25, 2022. 

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READ MORE: Respect the Tradition: The 5 Rules of Proper Cowboy Hat Etiquette

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