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13 Of Our Favorite Film And TV Tattoos

by Kevin Marshall   July 08, 2013 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 6,385
It's taken a long time for tattoos to become accepted in the mainstream, but it looks like it's finally happening, with everyone from the skater kid to the Wall Street broker spending hours under the needle getting their arms, legs, torso, and everything in-between covered in art.

Naturally, this has been reflected in pop culture, including the hit competition reality show Ink Master (starting its third season on Tuesday, July 16 at 10/9c on SPIKE). But tattoos in movies and television aren't anything new. Let's take a look at some of the more memorable examples.

Lisbeth Salander, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Pictures

Well, it's right there in the title, isn't it? This hacker's various tattoos are a pivotal part of her look and personality.

LOVE/HATE, "Night of the Hunter"

Source: United Artists

This classic expressionist noir is memorable for many things, in particular Robert Mitchum's classic performance as Reverend Harry Powell. To accentuate the character's madness and creep factor, the words "LOVE" and "HATE" were tattooed on his knuckles. Homages to this appear in "Cape Fear," "The Simpsons," and Meatloaf's turn in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Connor & Murphy McManus's trigger finger tats, "Boondock Saints"

The vigilante brothers have tattoos on their respective trigger fingers that represent their beliefs. Connor's says VERITAS, which is Latin for truth, and Murphy's is AEQUITAS, the Latin word meaning justice and/or equality. Hey, does anyone know the Latin for "Who Died And Made You Guys the Boss and Judge of Me?"

Stu Price gets Tyson's face tribal tattoo, "The Hangover II"

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

In the second installment of the Wolf Pack trilogy, Ed Helms' character wakes up with a recreation of Mike Tyson's infamous Maori inspired tribal design tattooed on his face. It was featured prominently on posters for the film and got the attention of the movie-going public. It also got the attention of the artist who did the original work, who filed a lawsuit against the makers of the film claiming they violated his copyright of the design. The suit was eventually settled out of court.

Nikolai's biographical tattoos, "Eastern Promises"

Source: Focus Features, Alliance Films, Pathé

Arguably one of the best action movies of the last decade, "Eastern Promises" stars Viggo Mortensen as the driver and bodyguard for a Russian mobster who may have been responsible for a young girl's death. Mortensen puts on a memorable performance, accentuated by the various tattoos the character had. It's common for Russian inmates to tell the story of their lives and various misdeeds/accomplishments through body art.

Little Pete's dancing lady, "The Adventures of Pete & Pete"

I'm 30, and the vast majority of guys I know have tattoos. The other thing they have in common is that almost all of them were fans of "The Adventures of Pete & Pete," where one of the main characters was a young boy with a tattoo of a woman on his forearm. I believe there's a direct correlation, and in fact we might have Pete to thank for the existence of shows like Ink Master. So thanks, Pete, wherever you are.

Michael Scofield's road map to success, "Prison Break"

Intentionally getting arrested and convicted of a crime seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through to break your brother out of prison, but that's what Michael Scofield does in this show. To further complicate things, he hid the details of the plan in a series of elaborate tattoos. It's all a bit silly, but jumps into the realm of ludicrous when he gets all of them removed in like a day and a half.

Leonard Shelby's helpful reminders, "Memento"

Source: Summit Entertainment

Here's another example of a guy who took taking notes just a bit too far. After a shooting gave him permanent short-term memory loss, Leonard Shelby went on a mission to find out who betrayed him. He didn't trust his memory or anyone around him, so he got important details of his investigation tattooed onto his person. Have any of these guys heard of moleskines?

The Death Eater tattoos, "Harry Potter" series

Minions of He Who Shall Not Be Named showed allegiance to their master by getting a tattoo on their arm known as the Dark Mark, a partially coiled two-headed snake with the top head swallowing a skull. It's starting to creep into the real world, but with the less nefarious intention of showing off your dedication to Potter fandom.

Lily's swan wings, "Black Swan"

The black wings inked on the back of Mila Kunis's character come to life – literally – in this film. Is it a hallucination…or is it magic? Okay, it's a hallucination, but it's still a really cool tattoo.

Popeye's anchor tats

Sailors and prisoners were the first sub-cultures to embrace tattoos. So it was only natural that one of them would break tattoos into the mainstream. Enter "Popeye," a cartoon sailor who rocked anchor tattoos on his forearms. Ha-guhguhguhguhguh! (That's the closest I can get to phonetically spelling out his laugh.)

Snake's snake, "The Simpsons"

This one's straight-forward and to the point. If your name is Snake, there better not be a mammal on your arm.

Hi's "Mr. Horsepower" bird tattoo, "Raising Arizona"

Source: 20th Century Fox

A lot of people incorrectly assume that Hi's tattoo is a crude rendering of Woody Woodpecker, but it's actually a character used to promote a line of car mufflers. It's also often mistaken for a tattoo denoting membership in the "Peckerwoods," whose insignia involves a somewhat similar looking cartoon bird dressed like Uncle Sam.

Fry's tattoo of Bender on his butt, "Futurama: Bender's Big Score"

This one's a central plot point for "Bender's Big Score," and turns out to be a temporary tat that was applied to Fry while he was still frozen. If you have a better way to hide instructions for a Paradox-Free Time Travel Machine, we're all ears.

Speaking of great and memorable tattoos, we have a new season of Ink Master starting up! This show's third season is guaranteed to be its best yet and features new judges, crazier challenges, and because you demanded it, the return of Tatu Baby!

Tune in to the season premiere of Ink Master on Tuesday, July 16 at 10/9c on SPIKE.