The History Of The Bromance

'I Love You, Man,' is just the latest in a long line of onscreen dude/dude pair-ups.

Since the beginning of time, man has needed another man — as a confidant, as a teacher, as a friend, or sometimes more. Since the beginning of the cinema, men have similarly leaned upon each other — whether they’re teaming up to do something extraordinary, beating each other to a bloody pulp, or simply stepping into the age-old roles of goofball and straight man. Now, with
[movieperson id="191473"]Paul Rudd[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="208052"]Jason Segel[/movieperson] teaming up in theaters to say [movie id="375342"]“I Love You, Man,”[/movie] we present a brief history of the bromance:

The Three Stooges – From 1930 through the mid-’70s, the most foolish men in the history of film laid the foundation for physical comedy. Although they beat the living tar out of each other, there was love behind every eye-gouge — Moe, Curly and Shemp were brothers, and in many films the boys were depicted living together, struggling together and even sleeping in the same bed together as they harmonized their distinctive snores.

Hope and Crosby – Over the course of seven “Road to …” movies, this dynamic duo traveled the world, singing and smiling their way through various adventures. Although the first half of the 20th century gave us some significant pairings (Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Martin & Lewis), Bob Hope’s one-liners and Bing Crosby’s croons made for a truly unique — and massively successful — bromance.

Butch and Sundance – How far would you go for a friend? Would you jump off a cliff? Would you go down in a blaze of glory? In the 1969 classic “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Paul Newman and Robert Redford had fun robbing banks, ragging on each other and romancing girls. We were just lucky to come along for the ride in what turned out to be the greatest buddy movie ever made.

De Niro and Grodin – The ’80s gave us Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase and even Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzengger. But out of all the buddy pairings, the perfect combination came in “Midnight Run,” a foul-mouthed, violent, utterly hilarious film. Charles Grodin was a hypochondriac mob accountant, Robert De Niro was the short-tempered bounty hunter trying to keep him alive, and we were left rolling on the theater floor.

Gibson and Glover – Through four massively successful movies, policemen Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) bromantacized their own masterful formula in the “Lethal Weapon” flicks. With Glover’s constant exasperation and Gibson’s unpredictable silliness, it’s no coincidence that the films referenced the Three Stooges — the big difference, of course, is that they added way more explosions.

Farley and Spade – After the instant classic “Tommy Boy” and its disappointing-but-successful follow-up “Black Sheep,” these two “Saturday Night Live” funnymen seemed poised to become the great comedy duo of their generation. Sadly, Chris Farley’s death in 1997 left his friend David Spade to carry on without him — and his fans wondering how many more great movies they could’ve made together.

Ledger and Gyllenhaal – After avoiding it, hiding it and secretly hinting about it, it wasn’t until 2005 that a mainstream Hollywood film felt comfortable removing the “B” from bromance. The result was “Brokeback Mountain,” an instant classic that simply presented a tale of two cowboys in a lifelong love affair as innocent and beautiful as any male/female relationship. Eight Oscar nominations later, the world was finally safe for actors who wanted to make us laugh, jump, cry — and get past the need for a “straight” man.

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