Shoelaces As Seen In Movies
Shoelaces occasionally make an appearance on the “big screen”, though usually only in minor, supporting roles. Here's some of my collection of shoelaces as seen in movies.
The Door (German: “Die Tür”) (2009)
Leonie (Valeria Eisenbart) is walking near their pool with her shoelaces hanging loose. She trips, hits her head and falls into the pool, where one shoelace gets tangled in a metal cage. Her father, David (Mads Mikkelsen) dives in, but fails to free her in time. Later, after passing through a mysterious door, David finds himself back at that same moment in time – and thus with a second chance to save his daughter's life.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
Ginny (Bonnie Wright), who has always had feelings for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), meets him on the stairs and, noticing that one of his shoelaces is untied, bends down and re-ties it, bringing them intimately close together both physically and emotionally.
A seemingly unstable woman, Kyle (Jodie Foster), is onboard an airplane and is being monitored by a sky marshall, Gene (Peter Sarsgaard) and a therapist, Lisa (Greta Scacchi). After agreeing to allow Kyle to go to the restroom, the question is raised as to whether her shoelaces should be confiscated (implying that Kyle may be suicidal).
Spiderman 2 (2004)
Peter (Tobey Maguire) has arrived a little late to the theater and the doors are already closed. The usher (Bruce Campbell), citing the posted house rules, refuses Peter entry – but not before humiliating Peter by having him firstly retie his shoelace and adjust his necktie.
Raising Helen (2004)
Helen (Kate Hudson) ties the shoelaces of her five-year-old niece Sarah (Abigail Breslin), using the “Bunny Ears” technique that Sarah's mother was in the process of teaching just before she passed away. By the end of the film, Sarah finally ties her own shoelaces.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2001)
Maria (Lainie Kazan) is trying to convince her husband Gus (Michael Constantine) to allow their daughter to attend night school. When Gus implies that women aren't as clever as men, Maria sarcastically retorts that Gus is clever enough to tie her shoes for her.
Big Daddy (1999)
Sonny (Adam Sandler) offers to take Julian (Cole/Dylan Sprouse) to McDonald's for breakfast. Julian struggles to tie his shoelaces, so Sonny demonstrates how to “Loop it, swoop it and pull”. Later in the movie, the “Bunny Ears” method also makes an appearance.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Andy (Tim Robbins), who is in Shawshank prison, is negotiating with Red (Morgan Freeman) about getting hold of a small gem-hound's rock hammer. Red warns that if it is found and he is revealed as the source that they will never do business again – not even for a shoelace.
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Jack (Harrison Ford) confronts Ritter (Henry Czerny) about the covert war that he has uncovered. When he suggests that Cutter, the National Security Adviser, might be responsible, Ritter retorts that Cutter seeks permission for everything – even shoe tying.
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Max (Walter Matthau) catches John (Jack Lemmon) hastily exiting the house next door to dodge an IRS debt collector. These neighbours regularly trade insults, so John's untied shoelace is cheap fodder for yet another insult.
Army of Darkness (1992)
Ash (Bruce Campbell), surrounded by medieval villagers and confronted by Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert), uses the old “Your shoelace is untied” trick to regain the offense. (I guess it wasn't yet an old trick in the middle ages!)
Doc Hollywood (1991)
Mayor Nick Nicholson (David Ogden Stiers) and other prominent town members try to convince Dr Ben Stone (Michael J Fox) to stay on in their small town as their local doctor. One of them has even noticed that Ben double-knots his shoelaces, which is seen as something positive.
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Marty (Michael J. Fox) is given a pair of Nike sneakers with self-tightening laces. Although futuristic at the time the film was made, decades later Nike made self-tightening shoes a reality, barely in time to coincide with the future date (21-Oct-2015) depicted in the movie.
Coming to America (1988)
Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy), who has just turned 21, is arguing with his father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), that he should now be allowed to do things for himself, including toileting, tying his own shoes, and in particular, choosing a wife.
Flanagan (Tom Cruise) and Jordan (Elisabeth Shue) are sitting at a tropical cocktail bar discussing ordinary objects that have likely turned their inventors into millionaires. Flanagan contemplates the plastic ends of shoelaces (aglets), which Jordan suggests are probably called something weird like “flugelbinders”.
Short Circuit (1986)
Newton (Steve Guttenberg) is trying to figure out how Number Five (a robot) has re-wired its own circuits. When Newton gets up to walk off, he trips and falls over because Number Five has tied his shoelaces together.
Back to the Future (1985)
Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) uses the old “Your shoe's untied” trick to whack George (Crispin Glover) under the chin. This occurs twice in the movie – once with Biff and George as teenagers and once with them as adults, indicating that this bullying has been long standing.
Fletch (Chevy Chase) is searching a house when he is bailed up by a watchman with a gun (Joe Praml). He uses the old trick of pretending that the watchman's shoelaces are untied to distract him in order to make his escape.
Ren (Kevin Bacon) is challenged to a game of “chicken” against Chuck (Jim Youngs), the two going head-to-head in a couple of tractors. Although Ren is actually the first to chicken out, he is held back by a tangled shoelace, making him the eventual winner. Ironically, his “foot” didn't come “loose”!
Les Compères (French) (1983)
Tristan (Stephane Bierry), a troubled teenager, who is wearing a cast on his broken arm, announces that he is heading off. Jean Lucas (Gérard Depardieu) – who thinks he is the boy's father and has become attached to him – ties one of Tristan's shoelaces, which was hanging loose.
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Agent 007 (Roger Moore) is suspended from a cliff on a climbing rope. He removes his shoelaces and fashions them into Prusik Knots – multiple friction-wraps around the climbing rope plus a long loop forming a stirrup for the foot – which allow him to climb to safety and kill the bad guy.
Captain Stillman (John Larroquette) wants to keep it under wraps that some of his men were captured in enemy territory with their top secret “Urban Assault Vehicle”, so opts to send the rest of his men to rescue them. Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates) disagrees, arguing that the men aren't even capable of tying their own shoelaces.
Dirty Harry (1971)
Scorpio (Andy Robinson), a psychopathic killer, is standing on a rooftop looking for a potential target. As he rubs the toe of one boot against his other trouser leg, we briefly see that they are black Corcoran jump boots with white Ladder Lacing, indicative of either military or white supremacist leanings.
The Odd Couple (1968)
Felix (Jack Lemmon) arrives at the guys' card game feeling suicidal. As the guys leave, they each whisper advice to Oscar (Walter Matthau). Murray (Herb Edelman) suggests confiscating Felix's belt and shoelaces. A delightful scene – and movie – in spite of the grim overtones.
The Gold Rush (1925)
The Lone Prospector (Charlie Chaplin) and Big Jim (Mack Swain) are stuck in a cabin during a blizzard. Desperate and out of food, Chaplin cooks and dishes up an old leather boot, separating the shoelaces and eating them like spaghetti.
(Re: Dirty Harry) – Scorpio is actually wearing a pair of either late Korean war or early Vietnam war Corcoran jump boots and not Doc Martens. Scorpio was based on the Zodiac serial killer of the sixties who also apparently wore Corcoran boots (wingwalkers).
Originally issued in brown leather to American paratroopers in WW2 and later changed to black leather during the later days of the Korean war.
– Blake E., Feb-2020
If you have any comments or know of any other movies in which shoelaces make a notable appearance, please Contact Ian.