Run, little man, run! Run as fast as your brittle legs will carry you!


Why does anyone run? To get fit? To travel faster? To get from A to B as rapidly as possible?

No. You run to get away from things. Horrible things. Vampires, muggers, your parents. Your past.

But what has running got to do with beards? Very little, I'm afraid. I am a little lost.

In the film 'The Fugitive' Harrison Ford starts the film with a lovely bushy beard. It doesn't last for long. Once he is being chased by Tommy Lee Jones he shaves it off to be less recognisable to the authorities. So the beard is nothing more than a gimmicky plot device. That seems a bit harsh on the beard.

Tom Hanks does have a beard AND runs a lot in Forrest Gump. But the beard is symbolic of the zeitgeist of the 70s and the running is just some clumsy non-metaphor.

Beards have not featured heavily in films since the mid 1980s, when Chuck Norris was at his peak. Back then, everyone had a beard, but soon beards faded into designer stubble, and despite a brief goatee revival (villains only) in the early 90s, beards have hardly featured at all in major Hollywood films.

Brad Pitt has a big beard in Legends of the Fall, but that is a period film, so it hardly seems to count. I'm talking about films set in the present day.

There are plenty of top Hollywood actors who would benefit from beards. Beards lend a man gravitas. Bruce Willis could get an Oscar nomination if he grew a beard. Clean-shaven he won't even get a Golden Globe nomination for a performance in a musical or comedy.

Likewise, actors who normally have beards can grab public attention by appearing clean-shaven. Imagine Brian Blessed shaving off his beard and playing an timid, elderly solicitor. The British Academy would keel over in shock.

None of this really has much to do with the little man running at the top of the page. It just fills up space. I am sorry.