10 of the Most Bad Ass Tattoos in Movies

I already have one tattoo on my arm, and I’ve been thinking about getting another one.  I want something really hardcore this time around, and I’ve been leaning toward either a tribal tattoo on the small of my back or a dolphin on my ankle. 

Those are pretty tough, right?  Maybe I should be looking to the movies for inspiration, as there’s some truly bad ass tattoos that I’ve noticed.  I probably don’t have the pain tolerance to get inked with some of the designs these movie characters have, but let’s take a look at ten of the most bad ass tattoos in movies:

Blade’s Tribals – Blade


Sweet Moses, those are some nasty tats.  It’s one thing to have tribal designs on your neck and back, but when they start to wrap around your ear, you know you’re a total bad ass.  There’s no way I could handle getting these; I’d be better off fighting vampires.

Fox’s Multiple Tattoos – Wanted


Angelina Jolie has something like 13 real tattoos, but she’s not even close to as tatted-up as her character Fox in Wanted.  Jolie got to keep some her tattoos exposed for the movie, but as you can see, several faux ones were added as well.  It’s not often that we refer to women as bad ass, but Fox is about as dangerous (and sexy) as a woman can be.

Jack Carter’s Mancats – Get Carter


To pull off the double mancats Jack Carter has, you need to have some seriously steroid-inflated guns.  Stallone obviously has no problem with this bad ass look, but I’m not sure it’d work for me.  I would probably have to downgrade to kittens.  Chicks like kittens, though, right?

Viper’s Face & Tongue Tattoos – Doomsday


For me, Viper is the most memorable part of the mostly-disappointing Doomsday.  Her bad ass chick schtick isn’t just an act, and the tattoos aren’t just for show – she set a guy on fire and then ate him.  Whoever did the ink on Viper’s face is quite artistic.

Nikolai Luzhin’s Prison Tattoos – Eastern Promises


Actually a member of the Russian Security Services, “Nikolai” is covered in symbolic prison tattoos to give him street cred with the Russian Mafia.  Not pictured are his most bad ass tattoos of all: the stars on his knees, which symbolize the fact that he will never kneel before any man.

Denton Van Zan’s Dragon Tattoos – Reign of Fire


Van Zan has two dragons tattooed on his chest, with their tails wrapping around his shoulders and down his arms.  It’s a great look and is enhanced by the fact that Van Zan is pretty friggin ripped.  You’d look pretty ridiculous with a pair of dragons inked on your floppy man-boobs, so this bad ass look isn’t for everyone.

Hando’s Skeleton-Bone Arm Tattoo – Romper Stomper


This is a personal favorite of mine, and again, it’s something I could never pull off.  The closest I’ve come to Hando’s tat is a pair of knee-high socks with the tibia and fibula printed on them that a girl I used to date bought me at the “Bodies” exhibition.  Tough guys don’t go to the “Bodies” exhibition, they put people in the exhibition.  My socks do kick ass, though.

Snake’s Snake – Escape From New York


This one is pretty self-explanatory, and a giant cobra emerging from your crotch is nothing short of awesome.  If you’re uncircumsized, would that make it a hooded cobra?

Francis Dolarhyde’s Dragon – Red Dragon


I think this one speaks for itself, but it’s only the second-best tattoo in this article.  Yes, it’s truly bad ass, but it doesn’t compare to…

Seth Gecko’s Arm & Neck Tattoo – From Dusk Till Dawn


Hands down, the best, coolest, most wicked, hardcore, insane tattoo in the history of movie tattoos.  For almost the entire movie, the only part of Seth’s tattoo that is visible is the small part that creeps up out of his collar and onto his neck.  At the end, though, Seth removes his jacket, revealing his incredible tattoo and inspiring wannabe tough guys everywhere to get their arms covered with ink.  These tattoos weren’t presented in order of bad-assery, but if they were, Seth’s would be number one.

Are there any movie tattoos you find particularly bad ass?  I left off xXx because his tats encricle his naval, and Dennis Rodman is the only dude who can pull that off.  Max Cady has a nice collection of tats, but none of them really stood out to me.  Finally, I wanted to include Willie Beaman’s double pistol tattoos on his hips, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find a good picture.

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  1. ummm…not sure if this is strictly for movies, but michael scofelds tattoos of his prison escape from the show prison break are seriously bad ass. also, val kilmer in the salton sea has a HUGE back piece that would honestly replace snake on this list at least. pretty good, though.

  2. @ Ben and ricky

    Wow! That Kilmer tat from Salton Sea is pretty gnarly. I definitely would have added it if I had seen that flick. great call, guys.

    @ Buceante

    Thanks for reading, but I couldn’t put Vineyard’s Nazi tattoo on here! I hate Nazis!

  3. i also just remembered johnny 23 from con air. couldnt find a picture, but if i remember right, it was a sleeve of roses and he would get a new one for every chick he raped. thats pretty tough in a messed up kind of way! i also dont see the need to include american history x nazi tattoos either.

  4. Dude?! How could you not include Danny Trejo? Come on! In both Con Air and Desperado, the Annie Oakley (I think) tattoo is one of the best and most memorable in Hollywood!

  5. What, No Leonard Shelby from Memento?
    Admittedly, they are home made tattoos, but still, pretty Bad Ass to use your body as a notepad, that really says something, like “Forget about Post-Its, those are for pussies, I’ll tattoo my damn arms…

  6. I definitely considered Shelby, but the tattoos themselves weren’t really bad ass. I mean, they’re just a bunch of notes/reminders all over his body.

    HOW he applied the tats is pretty bad ass, I guess, but I don’t think “John G Raped and Murdered My Wife” is something that screams “tough guy,” ya know?

  7. Hello?! … De Niro in Cape Fear? Why is it so creepy when someone tats a giant cross on themselves. Shouldn’t that kind of negate some of the general badassness of the tattoo? Instead, it has the opposite effect.

  8. Nightcrawler in X-Men 2 had all those crazy designs on his skin, though it’s not really specified whether or not they were tattoos or scars.

    Clarence & Alabama’s matching tattoos in True Romance, while not inherently badass, were important to the characters’ evolutions into badasses.

    Mickey O’Neil’s tats in Snatch were insane.

  9. There is also Father Laurence from Romeo+Juliet, he had the large cross on his back. Having a similar tattoo, though a bit larger, I know the pain.

    Any back tattoo is badass by default because that needle is grinding into bone all up your spine and shoulder blades, hurts much worse than arms, chests and legs where you have all that padding.

    Great list of them, I always thought the Romper Stomper tat was neat but could never bring myself to get something like that put on forever. I do have some limits.

  10. Hi how about a spoiler warning before the description of Eastern Promises. A great movie that may have been ruined if you read that post. Or better yet just leave that detail out of the description, they’re still bad ass.

  11. wheres edward nortons tattoo from american history x? sure it was a bit offensive to some people but it was pretty badass…dont mess with edward norton or he will curb stomp yo ass

  12. Hey

    Mark Dacascos’ huge dragon tattoo in Crying Freeman, covering amost all of his back and winding around down his chest, arm and down onto his legs, is surely worth a mention?


  13. Red vs Blue had the best argument against tats. It went: looking back 10 years ago, don’t you see now that you were an idiot? Well how do you think, you’ll judge yourself 10 years from now? So whatever you decide to get tattooed now, you’ll regret 10 years from now, because you were an idiot. Besides, how do you know that chinese symbol means “honor before all.” Do you actually read chinese? It probably means “I’m a douche.”

  14. I can’t believe Jim Carey in the movie 23 wasn’t up there because those are actually real and the make up artist has to cover them up for every movie but for that movie the tattoos worked

  15. Memento was already mentioned a few comments up.

    “I definitely considered Shelby, but the tattoos themselves weren’t really bad ass. I mean, they’re just a bunch of notes/reminders all over his body.

    HOW he applied the tats is pretty bad ass, I guess, but I don’t think “John G Raped and Murdered My Wife” is something that screams “tough guy,” ya know?”

  16. I agree with quite a few, but I can’t believe you omitted the Badass Brothers,Connor and Murphy MacManus, of Boondock Saints! They were covered in tatts, but I especially loved the Veritas and Aequitas tattoos they had on trigger finger! HOT!

  17. @Hank Fox

    Not really. Some unfortunately get marked as spam. I only delete two kinds of comments:

    1) anything with a racial slur

    2) any comment that uses “fail” or “epic fail.” Those are gone instantly.

    You have had comments deleted from Christian sites? That’s awful.

  18. I like Angelina Jolie’s tattoos. I think she really carries them nice and clean and fit her perfectly. She is one celebrity whose tattoos really add to her sexiness and appeal.

  19. i dont have any tattoos but im thinking about getting a heart on my chest but on the opposite side of where my actual heart is i dont kno but i think its just cool.. angelina wat a whore!!!!

  20. it all has meaning I have a tattoo on my right riskt of a rose with vines that i got in memory of a close friend who loved her rose gaurden, when she passed i got it to remember her and to to have a small part of her near me at all times.

  21. They are all pretty cool, but think the most bad ass tatoo in movie history must by far be the gueys in Once Were Warriors bad ass face and body tattoos….

  22. What about Mickey (Brad Pitt) from Snatch? That was a serious bad-ass moment when he took off his shirt to reveal a body covered in tattoos.

  23. Hands down Russel Crowe in Romper Stomper, that arm tattoo is sweet.
    I am to young and baby faced to pass that baddass tattoo off, considering getting it done in a light ink.

  24. afew already mentioned and afew not, here are some off the top of my head…..

    De Niro in Cape Fear
    Vin Diesel in xXx
    Gerardo Taracena in Apocalypto
    Chris Ackerman in Elektra
    Brad Pitt in Snatch
    Ralph Fiennes in Red Dragon

    and not to forget these classics

    Ashton Kutcher & Seann William Scott in Dude wheres my car
    Jack Black & Kyle Gass in Pick of destiny

  25. dont go for tribal man, its really lame. Its corny actualy. Find a theme youd like to explore (ex: I knew for my first ink I wanted somethig that had to do with my hometwon, so I just looked up for good artists, picked one and asked him to come up with something nice, and he did a sweet ass sklyline thing and it’s still my fave) You dont have to know exactly what you want, artists are there to make the art ;). And dont ever go to a place and just pick something off a the design books, you’ll regret it I swear. Also, tattoos in movies are usual pretty clichés and boring (theres of course a few exceptions, like eastern promises, boondock saints, and prison break). If you’re looking for inspiration, I recommand you check out music artists instead. Fake ink for movies are usually not as cool since no one really get them so they dont care that much. Check out Wiz Khalifa and Yellawolf’s tattoos, Im sure they’ll inspire you way more 😉

  26. I see a lot of you mention boondock saints and their hands, but my favorite tats are from all saints day..the second movie and the brothers complimentary tattoos on their backs….wow!!!

  27. the final choice as the best tattoo? In my opinion, that is one of the most incomplete looking, unrefined, just random scattered poorly filled-in line tattoo images I have seen in film or in life. Some of the other selections I believe are dead-on. I like the subject and the author’s taking it on. Would like to see and read more. Best to you!

  28. Magnificent publish, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!|What’s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & help different customers like its aided me. Good job.

  29. Movie named “Gabriel” main character has a modern/tribal art angel wing tattoo that covers his back, part of his shoulders some of his neck and almost half of his chest. My all time favorite tat.

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