We’re officially in the Age of the Bromance, celebrating a deep, platonic love between two or more male characters in movies and TV. The men involved often have nicknames for each other, shared emotional moments and a seemingly infinite capacity for ball-busting insult humor. Nevertheless, they’re always there for each other with a commendable loyalty. Even when things aren’t going well, you can usually count on these guys to find their way back to each other.
In honor of the bromance character trope, the one that has brought us so many unique characters, laughs and tears over the years, we have put together a list of the 22 best bromances in movies and television. Read on to relive your favorite bro-tastic moments in TV and film.
22. Peter Klaven and Sydney Fife from I Love You, Man
21. Alan Shore and Denny Crane from Boston Legal
In the best of bromances and strongest of friendships, it’s not always just about hanging out and just being there for each other; there’s also a willingness to share knowledge, however small or random, in order to help out a fellow bro. Though Peter and Sydney display a natural chemistry and loyalty in their fairly new friendship, it’s Sydney’s willingness to take Peter under his slightly crazed wing to show him that its okay to loosen up, to be passionate. In what amounts to Peter’s first close male relationship ever, Peter does learn open up and be more assertive around other men. On a much smaller scale, however, Sydney also teaches Peter about the finer points of farting (and dating) behavior among men. You can view that particular lesson in the clip below.
This bromance is mostly marked by co-dependence. Shore’s kind of a loner and just needs someone to just give a damn about him to keep him going and Denny Crane is an oddball who could really hurt himself if he isn’t careful and he often isn’t. (Some of this behavior is just Crane’s personality, but some of it could be due to some form of dementia.) That’s where Alan comes in. There’s a loyalty here that seems indestructible, that allows them to protect each other above all else even though most of the time they both seem self-absorbed and only concerned with their own interests.
20. Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers from Brian’s Song
Part of what makes Piccolo and Sayers’ friendship so iconic is that it was a real friendship—tragic enough to became a TV movie. Piccolo and Sayers were football players and Chicago Bears teammates. Piccolo died at a young age from cancer. The story of their friendship was depicted in an ABC Movie of the Week, and while it with death and friendship, it wasn’t at all maudlin or schmaltzy. Part of Piccolo and Sayers’ charm (in real life and in the movie) was how much they actually engaged in a sort of constant brotherly insult humor. That humor cut through much of the tragedy of the movie though Piccolo dies at the end. In the movie, Caan and Williams’ portrayal of the friendship between the two athletes seemed like a real bromance—a real friendship—and so it’s no wonder that it’s often counted as one of the the few films that can cause most grown men to cry. Also, as damn near everyone on the Internet agrees: If you don’t cry during or after the Gayle Sayers’ acceptance speech scene, you’re dead inside.
19. Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison from The Odd Couple
18. Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs from Lethal Weapon
Long before they were a pair of grumpy old men, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were an odd couple of divorced men who move in together after their respective relationships go south. The story of a friendship between two men so diametrically different from each other was popular enough to inspire a movie, a TV series and a sequel in 1998. Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison’s bromance is a rare breed: It consists of a cantankerous duo that fights most of the time they’re around each other. It’s not just good-natured ribbing. Most of the time, these two men really don’t understand each other, don’t want and spend a lot of time either changing their own habits or trying to change the other’s. The fact that they care about each other is still there, it’s just buried under a lot of bitter fights.
Let’s be real: Murtaugh was already too old for the emotional roller coaster shit his bromance with Riggs put him through. It started out as a competition between a veteran poilce officer and a relative rookie, a by-the-books kind of man and a loose cannon. But then it turned into this buddy-cop movie bromance filled with mutual respect. What Murtaugh learned is that you can’t beat crazy, so you’ll just have to join forces.
17. Stan and Kyle from South Park
In a word, Stan and Kyle’s bromance is adorable. They’re each often the first person the other will go to for help, advice or even just to share the best news ever. They’ve been through every adventure possible kids their age could go through, and some impossible. Stan and Kyle’s scenes are often the heart of each South Park episode. Moments with them are of real compassion, respect and yes, curse-word laden ball-busting. (We didn’t say they were perfect, and plus it wouldn’t be as much fun if all they ever did was cry over each other and gaze lovingly in each other’s eyes. Plus, even their dads are besties, so really their bromance is like an awesome generational tradition.
16. Harold Lee and Kumar Patel from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
This bromance is primarily based on food, fornication and fun fueled by drugs, and we love Harold and Kumar for it. And while the friendship could have just ended there and still have been funny, the bromance that’s revealed to us over the course of the movie takes it to the next level. There’s a sense that while other friends may fall to the wayside, there’s nothing that could keep Harold and Kumar from coming to each other’s rescue. I mean there might an occasional pretty lady/drug/NPH-induced delay, but they’ll still be there for each other.
15. Cory and Shawn from Boy Meets World
It’s a bromance that has spanned middle school, high school and college. They grew up and became men together and have been there for each other through all sorts of things, but especially relationship issues (Cory) and family drama (Shawn) and through it all they’ve made us laugh. We couldn’t have asked for a better bromance to grow up with. We just hope Cory’s daughter, in the upcoming series Girl Meets World will have an awesome gal pal of her own.
14. Seth and Evan from Superbad
13. Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan from The Hangover
Boop. Their bromance can actually be summed up by one cute meme: boop. What makes this bromance fun to see is that you kind of don’t see it coming. Or at least, you don’t the see outpouring of emotion that happens later in the movie coming. Because while any Michael Cera character is inevitably going to be some combination of awkward/sensitive/sweet, Jonah Hill’s character is a vulgar, Cartman-esque, just plain angry bastard most of the time. And so no one saw that sleepover bromance confessional scene coming. No one thought that Seth could boop his bestie’s nose. It never occurred to anyone that he had a soft side. But that’s the genius of this bromance: only Evan can bring that out of him. Well, Evan and alcohol. But mostly Evan.
They are the wolf pack. A pack of wolves who ran around Vegas looking for strippers and cocaine. It’s the only bromance on this list that involves more than two men but that just means there’s more love and less strippers and blow to go around. It also means that the amount of hijinks and adventure quadruples. And so this is the type of bromance for you if you prefer nights where you’re not entirely sure when or if you’re coming home.
12. Andy and Barney from the The Andy Griffith Show
Barney is seriously lucky to have his boss also be his best friend. Because who the hell else would employ him? No one. That’s why the one time he did leave Andy, the only way he could make money was by selling vacuums door-to-door. This is one of the earliest bromances on this list. It’s also one of the hardest to understand: Andy is such a cool, popular guy. What the hell is he doing running around with Barney? What magical hold does Barney have on Andy? Barney’s a hot-headed bumbling mess, and it just boggles our minds that Andy would, time and again, agree to double dates with Barney. This bromance is on our list purely because of its mystifying staying power.