Perhaps you like to sit on your couch and see an action movie, with explosions and sex, no worries, just relax in the living room. Or maybe you’re a coldhearted critic who only sees movies on the big screen in the local cinema and hates commercial filmmaking. Even if you’re a romantic enthusiast, that watches the same movie over and over again until you know the dialogue by heart. It doesn’t matter how, we all love movies in some way or another.
Movies are a beautiful creation, a place where we see through the eyes of others. They inspire us and give us feelings of anger and happiness alike. They are a window to visit another reality. When we fall in love with these realities, we want to emulate them. This is what cosplay is for!
How to choose my style?
Imitating your favorite movie character is a matter of choosing the right one for you, the perfect pick, the one you feel comfortable with. If you’re just starting, find a character that fits with your personality and add your own point of view. If you want a little more challenge, just pick a character you like and try to copy him/her as well as possible.
How to enter in character
There are many ways to “get in their shoes” when looking for a character to imitate. First, you should know it as well as you can. See the movie or TV show and focus on the character, his actions, faces, and mood. How he/she reacts to others, is he kinda rude, is she energetic or slothful. Watch closely to the way he walks and moves, how she talks.
Then comes the practice time. Once you’ve watched your inspiration, go to the mirror and try to imitate him. You may feel a bit embarrassed, but if you can’t do it in front of a mirror, it will be much more difficult when you go to that costume party or convention. So let loose those feelings and remember it’s all just for fun.
If you want to go the extra mile on your character, then you may be interested in getting some acting techniques such as: Breathing and relaxing with some meditation; A game of imitation and emotions; Some exercises to loosen the body, etc. Those are far from being requirements, but if you want to make a living out of cosplaying, then those are very helpful.
Now I am going to give you a list of movies, divided into genres, with some good-looking characters that you may be interesting to try. Not only Protagonists but also Villains are here for you to choose from, after all, fashion doesn’t distinguish between good and evil. Then I will give you some help on how to create some of these costumes.
This list has many movies from different genres, so you can look for one more easily. Also, there are movies from very old to very new, with costumes from easy to hard, so you’ll probably find something for you. If you don’t find anything that interests you, that’s ok. Look for more costumes movie cosplay ideas of the characters you like on the internet (Pinterest is a great page for this) and find more ideas on this page.
|Action||John Wick||John Wick||Easy|
|Kill Bill||Beatrix Kiddo||Medium|
|Suicide Squad||Harley Quin||Hard|
|Bonnie and Clyde (1967)||Bonnie||Medium|
|Adventure||Lord of the Rings||Eowyn||Medium|
|Riders of the Lost Ark||Indiana Jones||Easy|
|Pirates of the Caribbean||Undead Barbosa||Hard|
|Beauty and the Beast||Belle (Blue and White dress)||Medium|
|One Hundred and One Dalmatians||Cruella De Vil||Hard|
|The Nightmare Before Christmas||Jack||Hard|
|Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery||Austin Powers (Blue Suit)||Medium|
|Night at the Museum||Sacajawea||Hard|
|Chinese Zodiac||JC (First Armor)||Hard|
|Moulin Rouge||Harold Zidler||Medium|
|Fantasy||Pan’s Labyrinth||Pale Man||Hard|
|Le Perfume||Jean-Baptiste (Poor)||Easy|
|Historical||Catch Me If You Can||Frank Abagnale||Easy|
|Gone with the Wind||Scarlett O’Hara||Medium|
|Horror||The exorcist||Regan McNeil||Hard|
|Friday the 13th||Jason||Medium|
|The Silence of the Lambs||Hannibal Lecter||Medium|
|Science Fiction||Star Wars||Storm Trooper||Hard|
|2001: A Space Odyssey||David Bowman||Hard|
|Men in Black||K||Easy|
|The girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Lisbeth Salander||Medium|
|Black Swan||Nina Sayers (white or black swan)||Hard|
|Donnie Darko||Frank (The Bunny)||Hard|
|Western||The good, the bad, and the ugly||Blondie||Medium|
|The Hateful Eight||Mayor Marquise Warren||Hard|
|Inglorious Basterds||Shosanna Dreyfus||Easy|
|No Country for Old Men||Anton Chigurh||Easy|
Best picks for each genre
Action: Beatrix Kiddo
- Difficulty: Medium
- Supplies: Wig, Yellow Tracksuit with black straps, Yellow Shoes, and Katana
Kill Bill is one of Tarantino’s movies, a plethora of genres with lots of action. A revenge story of a son-less mother and her abusive ex-partner, with violence and suspense. Powerful women can be seen everywhere, fighting for their lives, cutting off arms and legs, and swinging different types of weapons.
“The Bride” is the protagonist of Kill Bill. A femme fatale with a strong and stylistic look, firm motives, and an assassin’s instinct. Although that is the case, The Bride is also a very broken person, with a hard backstory and even harder conflict ahead.
Adventure: Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Arc)
- Difficulty: Medium
- Supplies: Hat, Leather Jacket, Safari type Shirt, Strapped Bag, Holster, Whip, Wide Belt, Beige Pants and Boots
Going from the gore of action and a powerful woman to a classic adventure story, with one of the manly men of cinema history. Riders of the Lost Ark was the first installment of the Indiana Jones saga. The story of an archaeologist tasked for the US government to retrieve an ancient artifact, the Ark of the Covenant.
Indiana Jones is a professor and archaeologist with a cunning and resourceful mind, charming attitude, and clear motives. He is a great teacher but most of all, an adventurer. He is a gentleman with lots of athletic prowess and capabilities.
Animated: Fiona (Ogre Version)
- Difficulty: Hard
- Supplies: Wig, Green Body Paint, Green Dress with Golden Lace, Headband with Ears, Tiara, and Green Shoes
“Animated” is a huge genre with lots of genres inside, ranging from Japanese anime to western animation. In that regard, we could have a million movies in this category and never cover all its nuances. With that said, Shrek is probably one of the most iconic movies of the 21st century.
This meme generator of a movie is a charming comedy for kids and adults alike. Shrek is known for grabbing classic characters and giving them a new and modern look and attitude. Pinocchio, Snowhite, the 3 Little Pigs, etc. are all reviewed characters with funny twists.
One of his original creations is his co-protagonist, Fiona. Inspired by the typical princess archetype, Fiona is a damsel in distress with a tragic backstory. But far from being a lovely and caring lady, Fiona is a fighter, a funny and intelligent partner, and a woman who chooses her own destiny.
Comedy: Worker (Chaplin’s Costume)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Supplies: Wig, Fake Mustache, White T-shirt, Blue Overall, 2 Wrenches and Black Shoes
Many people would know the name of Charles Chaplin, but very few would actually have seen his movies. Well, many people make mistakes. Chaplin’s movies are a wonder, a gem of the past that is still enjoyable in the present. Of all his movies, Modern Times is probably the most iconic one. In there, Chaplin keeps his usual tramp costume but mixes it with a different character.
Chaplin takes the role of a factory worker who loses his job after an accident. Although this premise sounds very sad, the tramp never loses his good attitude. This worker is a person of few words who walks through the city’s streets, living one misfortune after the other with no cards on the matter, a victim of the system. But at the end of the day, his hearth is untouched. He’s generous and always looks to gladden the day of others.
Drama: Rose (Dress)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Supplies: Wig, White Chemise with Lace, Black Dress with Black Waistband, Long White Scarf with Brown Lace, High Heel Shoes and Earrings.
It’s never a bad idea to revisit the classics. Titanic is the love story of a young couple that meets aboard a majestic transatlantic ship. The man is poor, and the woman is rich, and they will fall in love. He’ll fall in love with her attitude, and she will fall in love with… well, he is Leonardo Di Caprio, that’s why.
Rose is an intelligent, prepared, and beautiful woman. Risen to be a high society woman, she had a strict education and many rules to follow. Nonetheless, she is defiant and doesn’t want to give up her dreams for a social stature.
Fantasy: Pale Man
- Difficulty: Hard
- Supplies: Liquid Latex, Flour, Wire, Surgical Tape, Water Colors beige and red, Colors in deep purple, Black, Red and White, Bald Cap, Aluminum Foil, Black Hairspray and Fake Blood
When it comes to fantasy, one of today’s best authors is Guillermo del Toro, and his most renowned masterpiece is Pan’s Labyrinth. The film tells the story of a young girl who goes with her mother to a military base during the civil war. In there, she will find that she’s the reincarnation of a long-lost princess from a magical realm.
One of the most iconic creatures that this girl finds is the Pale Man. A strange creature, inspired in the “Saturn Devouring his Son” painting. Mystical, gruesome, grotesque. This monster is some sort of guardian, staying still unless you transgress the rules. Then, it attacks, watching not through his eyeless face, but with his hands
This costume really needs some instructions to make, so we give you this link if you want to get into some body-painting and mask construction:
Historical: Frank Abagnale
- Difficulty: Easy
- Supplies: Pilot Hat, Sunglasses, Black Suit with Golden Strips, White Shirt, Black Tie, Shoes, and Suitcase.
Catch me if You Can is an exciting film about the life of a real impersonator. In this thrilling masterpiece, we follow the FBI agent, Carl Hanratt, searching to find Frank Abagnale, an impostor who gets away at every opportunity.
Frank is a liar and a criminal that lives his life through mischief and beating the system. He is a kid with cunning and knowledge that gives him an edge against others by manipulating the rules to his favor. A forger and an imitator, this guy gets in and out of trouble by his wits and a bit of luck.
Horror: Regan McNeil
- Difficulty: Hard
- Supplies: Wig, White Mesh Contacts, Body Painting of Zombie Colors, Liquid Latex, Fake Blood, and White Dress.
Horror is a great genre when it comes to cosplay. There are a lot of movies that feature some of the greatest characters in terms of looks. In that pool of characters, we find Regan Macnail, the antagonist of The Exorcist. In this movie, we follow a Washington DC family’s life in his quest to cure his daughter of a strange illness (or something similar).
Regan Macnail is a sweet teenage girl that got possessed by a demon. In this state, she becomes a violent and bizarre person with superhuman strength and erratic movement. She is constantly swearing and yelling, desiring the worst to the people she loves the most.
This costume is also very hard and for that, we leave you with this how-to-do:
Science Fiction: Rachael
- Difficulty: Medium
- Supplies: Wig, Makeup and Lipstick, Black Handkerchief, Black Jacket, Black Tight Skirt, Black High Heel Shoes.
In this futurist setting, machines and humans are hard to differentiate. “Replicants” are a type of android that are mistreated in human society, despite being almost identical to them. In his quest to find and capture some of these androids, we follow Deckard, a Replicant Hunters, in a brilliant neo-noir sci-fi masterpiece.
In this world, we find Rachael, a Replicant woman with human memories implanted into her. For most of her life, she thought that she was human and started developing emotions much more complex than that of a normal Replicant. She is brave, witty, calm, and meticulous.
Thriller: David Mill
- Difficulty: Easy
- Supplies: Short Hair or Wig and Beard, Fake Blood, Surgical Tape, White Shirt, Black Tie, Blue Sweater with Straps, Black Leather Jacket, Black Pants and Boots, Belt with Police Sign, Bandage and Fake Pistol.
A David Fincher’s movie is always a rollercoaster, and Se7en is probably one of the strongest. In this detective thriller, we follow Somerset, an old detective who’s about to retire and leave his place to his young apprentice, David Mill. Before that happens, they need to solve a series of gruesome murders that hints at the twisted and zealot mind of the antagonist.
David Mill is a young, idealist, brave, impulsive, and capable detective. His constant pursuit of justice and goodness often stop him to realize how awful of a situation he is really in, or more precisely, he just wants to believe that there is a better life ahead, only if you work hard enough.
Western: Anton Chigurh
- Difficulty: Easy
- Supplies: Wig, Brown Shirt and Shoes, Dark Blue Jacket, Black Pants, Brown Wide Belt, Compressed Air Can with red Tube
Finally! We come to the real classics, the Western. That being the case, though, No Country for Old Men is a subversion of the western in more than one way. The protagonist is a simple hunter who gets involved in a drugs plot for stealing money from a crime scene. Furthermore, the antagonist kills almost any person he comes across, leaving an old police officer in the dark on more than one occasion.
In this bleak take on the Western genre, Anton Chigurh, the antagonist, shines through. With cunning and utter disregard for human life, this assassin walks calmly in his clean boots, killing cops, civilians, drug dealers, and everyone that comes in contact with him. Calm, serious, with a vicious grin, Anton Chigurh could kill you leaving no trace behind to follow.
A special subgenre: Superheroes
Well, now that we’ve talked about some of the best costumes you could pick, we can talk about one notable genre in the movie’s category: the Superheroes. Superheroes are remarkable people with one or many powers, totally set-depending. They usually stand out from the normal people of their world.
You’ve surely seen a superhero movie sometime. From cartoons for kids to grim realistic urban fantasies, superheroes permeate all the media nowadays. With spandex suites, some dangerous capes, and a cast of amazing side characters, superheroes have the potential to offer some of the best cosplay out there.
I’d like to give you some of the most iconic superheroes from different comics. With this, you can have a glance at what you can wear with this versatile genre.
Denying Marvel of his great success in the seventh art’s contemporary ground would be ill-advised. Many of the highest-grossing films of the past 10 years are Marvel movies, and with good reason. Their heroes and villains are some of the best characters that have ever stepped onto the big screen. And the best part of being so popular is that getting their complete outfits is not hard at all, especially for kids.
Here we have heroes: Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Ant-Man and The Wasp, The Hulk, Thor, etc.; villains: Red Skull, Hela, Thanos, Ultron, The Mandarin, Misterio, etc.; and those who walk on a thin line: Loki, Nebula, Yondu, etc.
The Justice League is an Iconic group of superheroes from DC Comics. Even though they are not the only ones in this company, they certainly appear the most in cinema. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Martian Detective, Arrow, etc., are some standout options for you to pick.
Of course, there are more than just heroes. Villains deserve their mention here: Joker, Two-Face, General Zod, Lex Luthor, Ares, Deathstroke, Steppenwolf, Darkside, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, etc. All of them have many costumes to choose from, so go nuts… just not as nuts as them.
Vertigo and his jewels
To those who don’t know what “Vertigo” is: Vertigo is an imprint of DC Comics that was born in 1993 with issues much more adult-oriented than the company’s usual comics, like Superman. These comics have a lot more horror and fantasy and crime and social commentary than most comics.
Here we can find great characters (and costumes): Constantine, V for Vendetta, Adam Sutler, Lucifer, Tom Stall, Carl Fogarty, Tristan Thorne, Lamia, etc. Most characters remain without film adaptation, like the Swamp Thing, for example, nonetheless, there are some great ideas in here.
DC Comics has a lot of masterpieces, but one of the best is without a doubt, Watchmen. These 12 issues tell the story of a group of superheroes past their golden years. It has some of the most visually astonishing characters of all time and some of the most complex in terms of personality.
This comic is also great to talk about one of cosplay’s best features: group cosplays. When starting in the world of costumes (and also when veteran) one of the best and funniest ways to engage is with a group of friends. The costumes in this group of individuals go from full body-painting to a simple coat with a mask. That means, veterans and newcomers alike can have a great time living the fantasy of this broken, yet badass, heroes.
Question: How to begin with movie cosplays?
Answer: As with all things, start small and go up from there. Pick a genre that you are familiar with, or that you like. Then choose a movie or a specific character that you like; if it’s on the list we gave you, try to follow it, if not, then search on the internet ways to do it. As I said, start small, go with costumes that are about things of everyday life. Once you’ve got the hang of it, go for the body-painting and full-suit costumes.
Question: What materials are essential for cosplay?
Answer: It all depends on the costume. Dr. Manhattan is all blue painting, whereas Trinity is a black leather suit, shoes, and lenses. Nonetheless, some materials have proven to be highly useful: Eva foam, cardboard, foam board, PVC, polystyrene sheets, newspaper, mats, etc. Furthermore, a silicone pistol or a good glue is essential.
Question: Which movies are the most famous for cosplay?
Answer: As we’ve discussed, there is an intimate relationship between cosplays and superheroes. The more famous a movie is, the more likely you would find a cosplay of it. Superheroes and action films, in general, tend to be very famous and have some characters with great costumes. Also, horror is a very common genre that usually gets cosplayed for reasons of difficulty (horror has some of the hardest and more badass costumes out here).
Movies have an infinite array of possibilities for people to venture into the fantasy of being someone else for a night. The seventh art has earned its place in the life and memory of all people. You can find something that relates to you or someone that you aspire to be.
On the other hand, we have the cosplay culture, one full of beautiful people. A culture that branches out as wide apart as a classical theater from superheroes. A culture that embraces the different expressions of human beings.
The two are parts of human expression, and they come together in a meaningful way to give us all, the people that like having fun moments with friends, a fount of inspiration and joy.