The wink is one of the simplest facial expressions possible, and can be used to convey so many different thoughts, feelings and messages. In the west, it can be used to say that you are joking or lying, or even as a way of flirting. In Latin America, it is considered to be a sexual invitation, while in a lot of Asian countries, it is seen as impolite. Females in film have often used winks to their advantage, in order to convey hidden messages that can’t just be spoken through words. Over the years, there have been some highly memorable winks in cinema. Which ones were among the best?

Early Cinematic Winks

The wink in Metropolis was one of the earliest on screen.

Some of the winks that took place in the early days of cinema could have led to the wink enjoying more widespread use. One of the first occasions that the lopsided blink appeared on the silver screen was in the 1927 German expressionist science-fiction drama, Metropolis. In terms of the best winks to have appeared in film, robot Maria’s is considered to be up there purely because in those times films were notoriously less risqué. In the Fritz Lang film, Bridgette Helm stars as a robot created by the crazed inventor Rotwang. Maria was made as a way to resurrect the scientist’s old flame who had died. When the robot winks, it is particularly creepy.

Although winks likely appeared in numerous films over the next thirty years, the next most memorable occasion was in the 1963 offering, Cleopatra. The historical drama from director Joseph L. Mankiewicz is famous for the amazing chemistry between the two leads played by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The wink took place in an interaction between the female lead and Rex Harrison, who played Julius Caesar. This was considered to be one of the most seductive winks ever seen on film, and perfectly conveyed the alluring queen’s intentions with the Roman conqueror who became her husband.

Cleopatra was the highest-grossing film in the year of its release. It made $57.7 million in the USA and Canada. However, it had a whopping production cost and actually ran at a loss. It is the only film ever made to have achieved this feat. The Twentieth Century-Fox film received high critical acclaim, though, and won four Oscars at the 36th Academy Awards.

Modern Day Winks and Celebrities Who Like to Use Them

Is Kidman’s wink the best ever?

It could be argued that the films prior to the turn of the century were much more innocent than those of the modern age. Characters were slightly more prim and proper in the good old days, whereas today almost everything is packed full of sexual connotations. Moulin Rouge was certainly a raunchy offering, with Nicole Kidman playing a cabaret dancer and courtesan in the famous French entertainment venue in Paris. Kidman’s seductive half blink is considered to be one of the flirtiest winks ever captured on camera, and added to the truly amazing performance from the Australian actress.

The 2001 picture from Baz Luhrmann was nominated for eight Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards. It picked up two of the coveted trophies, for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. It was also the first musical to be nominated for Best Picture for ten years, after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1991. The movie is ranked at number 53 in the BBC’s list of the greatest films made since the year 2000, as voted by the public.

There are a number of celebrities who have tried to pull off the wink, some of whom have managed to do it more effectively than others. Kate Beckinsale, for instance, is renowned for having a sassy winking style that looks great in photos. The English actress, who recently starred in The Only Living Boy in New York, likes to throw a cheeky wink at cameras while strutting down red carpets. And she certainly knows how to make it look good.

Another powerful female entertainment force who loves to wink is Miley Cyrus. This cheeky trait fits with the singer and actress’s wild and fun image, and it definitely suits the Party in the USA singer. Cyrus is set to star in the new season of the award-winning Black Mirror on Netflix next month, in what could be the start of a turn towards a greater number of acting roles.

Will the Wink Continue to be Used in Film?

It’s amazing how such a small facial gesture could have gone down in history and served as a key part in numerous films. This almost certainly inspired other actors and celebrities to try it out to see if they can enhance their image. A lot of the time, the wink may have been completely down to the actor. Some charismatic entertainers may have felt that it was just right to wink at a particular time, even if it wasn’t explicitly written in the script. This is likely to continue, and some actors or actresses may try and recreate iconic moments like those in Cleopatra and Moulin Rouge.

The wink is a legendary facial expression which has lasted through numerous ages and generations. The simple gesture which can be traced back over one hundred years has always been used to convey similar meanings, and the recipient of the wink usually knows what the winker is trying to say. The wink is here to stay, but which actor or actress is likely to make the movement their own? At the moment, it would be fair to say that Kidman still holds the crown in this regard. Everyone else needs to put in more practice if they want to reach the same heights.