Ever since man became a social animal, there have been friendships.
Ever since man developed opposable thumbs, there have been complex high-fives.
Ever since guys gathered to chase girls, drink beer, play at politics, or just “be” men, there have been bromances.
Here, in a sort of loose historical order, are 26 of the best bromances ever.
THE BEST BROMANCES IN HISTORY
1 Augustus and Agrippa
These two historical legends were friends from school, and pretty much your archetypal double act.
Agrippa was a genius military commander, and Augustus had the name and bearing of a nobleman. They basically had all the ingredients to rule Rome. Augustus married Agrippa to one of his daughters, and together they symbolized the strong Roman patronage system.
2 Achilles and Patroclus
Image courtesy of Flickr
Ever been so sad at the death of your friend that you returned to a battlefield even though the gods have proclaimed it would lead to your doom, challenged his murderer to single combat, killed them, and then ‘mistreated’ their body for 12 straight days in front of their mom?
No, didn’t think so, but this is what Achilles does when Hector dares to kill his best bud Patroclus in the Iliad, y’know, after the requisite mourning/smearing his body in ash period. The normal stuff.
3 John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
Founding Fathers tend to get a little pigeonholed as one group, so it’s easy to forget that their political leanings varied.
No more so than between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who after a long rivalry (and an Adams Presidency), became BPFF (best pen friends forever) and wrote to each other until Jefferson died.
4 Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed
Still feeling a bit Presidential?
Abraham Lincoln, who once when asked to pick a weapon for a dual opted for a broadsword, also had a sensitive side.
He quickly found his ride-or-die in Joshua Speed, and the two often shared beds together – though commentators have been quick to point out this was not uncommon of men of the day.
6 The Ned Kelly Gang
Ned Kelly was a famous Australian outlaw who rode roughshod over the legal system of the time with his gang, choosing a life of crime to make up for the lack of opportunities that their status afforded.
In their final moment of glory/wanton destruction, they rode into a a gun fight with the Victoria police, wearing iron suits of armour. He and his gang’s legacy are still argued to this day.
7 Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday et al.
On the other side of this coin, Wyatt Earp and his gang of lawmen will always be remembered for the gunfight at the O.K Corral, a scene that has been immortalized in film for decades.
Despite his two brothers getting injured, Earp and the rest killed three outlaw cowboys and restored some order to Tombstone. With a result like that, it’s more like the Pretty Good Corral if you ask me.
8 JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis
What do the writers of Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia have in common?
Nope, they’re not both listed on some online poll about children’s fantasy books (although they probably are). JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis met as young professors in Oxford in 1926, and began a lifelong friendship that saw them meet regularly to discuss literature and encourage the development of what would become two seminal works of fiction.
9 Helen Keller and Mark Twain
Image by not stated [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Not a bromance in the traditional sense, but Mark Twain – owner of every withering quote on the internet, met with Helen Keller a few times.
Allegedly she recognized him by scent alone (tobacco, naturally). Twain was his genial self, says Keller, “he treated me not as a freak, but as a handicapped woman seeking a way to circumvent extraordinary difficulties.”
10 Churchill and Stalin’s Boozy Partnership
Image by see page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When you think of the WWII allies, you probably think of that famous picture of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in Yalta in 1945.
But there’s an even better side to that story, as Sir Alec Codogan, who had accompanied them to the meeting, found Churchill and Stalin later on, drunk as anything, “merry as a marriage bell” at 3am. They won the war later that year.
11 Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini
No, it’s not an episode of Doctor Who, rather two fans of mysteries just teaming up to hang out.
Although friends for a time, Doyle, who believed that Houdini was a real psychic medium, was aghast when his friend started debunking various magic tricks, and the two fell out, insulting each other publically in the news.
12 The Million Dollar Quartet
In 1956, something very special happened at Sun Studios, Memphis. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins happened to wander into the room at the same time as one another.
The impromptu jam session that followed was recorded, and the Million Dollar Quartet was born.
13 The Rat Pack
Keeping the musical theme, the Rat Pack was like a sleazier, jazz version of the Million Dollar Quartet’s clean-cut look.
Needless to say, they were the kings of show business, a hard-drinking, fast-talking group of class-acts.
14 Truman Capote and Harper Lee
Because of her shyness and his boldness, Harper Lee’s friendship with Truman Capote is little-written about, but these two childhood friends fought off bullies together, before becoming two of the most celebrated novelists in US history.
15 Samuel Beckett and Andre the Giant
Beckett, writer of Waiting for Godot, and Andre the Giant, a man who could drink 18 pints of beer and not feel a thing, are unlikely friends, but there you go.
In 1958, 12-year old Andre was too big to take the school bus, and rather than let him miss out, the famous playwright used to give him lifts.
The question persists, what did they talk about in the car?
16 Simon and Garfunkel
If you’ve been alive for any amount of time, watched any movie from the 80s, or had half an ear tuned to the radio, you’ve been hearing Simon and Garfunkel, or derivatives on them, for decades.
Although they have a strained relationship now, their friendship lingers on through their music.
17 Robert Mugabe and Kim Jong-Il
Robert Mugabe (left) By Al Jazeera English [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons; Kim Jong-Li (right) By Demilitarized Zone of Korea 05.JPG: Photographed by Nicor. Derivative work: G. Coronades [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
They say birds of a feather stick together, so it’s no surprise that these two dictators found a kindred spirit in one another.
Impressed by one another’s various human-rights violations, Mugabe went to visit North Korea in the 80s, and in 2010 sent Kim Jong-Il a variety of endangered animals including a rhino, which subsequently died on the voyage.
Supposedly, Mugabe is now courting Kim’s son, Kim Jong-Un, having sent him a bunch of flowers in July.
19 Frodo and Sam
Is there anything greater than someone who would literally walk to the ends of the earth with you?
Poor Sam, until Gandalf dragged him through the kitchen window he was just a simple, eavesdropping gardener. Three movies later, he’s a spider-fighting, courage-having friend like no other.
20 Woody and Buzz
What, you thought this would all be historical and literary?
Nope, nothing beats the power of friendship, especially one that survives adversity, and Toy Story’s (a movie where the title track is literally about being a great pal) Woody and Buzz encapsulate that.
21 “The” Posse
Image courtesy of Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
What do Leonardo Dicaprio, Toby Maguire and David Blaine have in common?
They were all part of a not-so-secretive Hollywood elite team in the 90s dedicated to one thing: chasing tail. The best part? They never broke up, just got a little more classy about it.
22 JD and Turk in Scrubs
23 Seth and Evan in Superbad
Heralded, the “King of Bromance“, Judd Apatow has made a living out of exploring the depths and breadths of male friendship, whether under the guise of films about relationships, virginity, unexpected pregnancies, or just saying “screw it” and making I Love You, Man.
Superbad, however, is his finest example, because it’s not until the end of a crazy night that the Jonah Hill and Michael Cera share that awkward hug that’s neatly vulnerable, real, and entirely awkward.
24 Tyrion and Bronn in Game Of Thrones
While we’re still in TV land, this one deserves a mention. If you type “Tyrion” into Google, the 3rd most suggested is “Tyrion and Bronn Buddy Comedy”, which basically tells you all you need to know.
(**Spoiler alert**) Although they’re currently separated by an ocean, true friendship never dies, especially when both parties are so sassy.
25 Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart
If modern life has taught us anything, it’s that nerds rule the world.
Want a seemingly never-ending series of comic book movies? Done. Want Neil DeGrasse Tyson to end up on every late night talk show? Done. Want Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) to be best friends? Done!
26 Paul Walker and Vin Diesel
Paul Walker’s untimely death touched the hearts of every petrolhead, but none more so than his best friend Vin Diesel, who has talked at length about his sadness at Paul’s passing.
We should try to think of the better times, then. Besides, true racing legends never die.
27 James Franco and Seth Rogan
This troublesome duo have been threatened by North Korea in the past, which is Bound (II) bring anyone closer together.
If not, this parody of Kanye’s naked motorcycle ride ought to do it.
28 The Kids From Stranger Things
To top off the list, an example from recent times. Dustin, Mike, Lucas and Eleven (and Will, I guess) could teach a lot of people about the power of true friendship, which can defeat anything (including whatever the hell the Demogorgon is supposed to be).
So there you have it.
Bromances exist in many forms, whether as a long-term connection between two school friends, or a brief encounter during a moment in history.
They can be between man, woman, animal, or all three. They are powerful, bonding, and usually, truly out of the ordinary.
Do you think you have a bromance or two going on? Tell us about it in the comments. Remember, if you have to ponder a bromance’s existence too much, it probably isn’t a true bromance.
If you ARE lucky enough to already have one, here’s the rest of the stuff you need to sort out before you grow up.