The Irishman Sunglasses: Style of the 50s

A Look at the huge array of eyewear worn throughout the 2019 Film ‘The Irishman’

You can barely go a few minutes before seeing someone wearing a pair of glasses during the 3-hour epic film ‘The Irishman’ (2019). The star-studded cast of Robert Di Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino tell the story of Frank Sheeran, a World War II veteran, and hitman, Frank Sheeran,  who becomes involved with the Bufalino crime family, and Jimmy Hoffa, a powerful labor union leader. Set in the 1950s the eyewear worn in the film is quintessential of their time with many famous brands that defined the glasses fashion of that period. 

Today we’re going to explore the eclectic range of eyewear, glasses, and sunglasses featured throughout the film, including characters Frank Sheeran, Russell Bufalino, and others. Let’s jump right in.

The Sunglasses Style of The Irishman

Ray-Ban Clubmaster

First of all, a shoutout to the Ray-Ban Clubmasters. These glasses are worn by a whole host of minor characters during the movie and are the so-called stable of attractive design famed for their browline frames, and iconic intellectual look. Actors such as Ray Romano are seen wearing these. 

Clubmaster’s are one of Ray-Ban’s most popular frames first designed and patented in 1947 by optical company Shuron. Up until the 80s, the glasses were mainly used for prescription lenses, until the 1980s when they surged in popularity thanks to Bruce Willis rocking a tined pair of Clubmasters in the show Moonlighting

Frank Sheeran Sunglasses (Di Niro)

The sunglasses that Robert De Niro wears for his Frank Sheeran role in The Irishman are Persol PO2803. Along with this, he’s also seen wearing a pair of gold-rimmed Ray-Ban Aviator eyeglasses in his care home scenes where he narrates the ongoings of the film. Aside from that, Di Niro swaps between these sunglasses and no glasses at all throughout the film.

Ray-Ban is probably a brand I’d stay clear of as I’ve expressed in the past, their lack of quality in materials and craftsmanship is mainly due to them being owned by Luxottica. Persol, unfortunately, is in the same category and is also owned by Luxottica, although I personally think they are slightly higher quality than the likes of Ray-Ban.

Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci)

Throughout the film, Joe Persci’s character Russell is seen wearing a large and bold black-framed pair of glasses which are by far the most distinctive glasses worn. These glasses are a pair of Retro Super Future ‘Super Classic Black Customs‘. Retro Super Future themselves is an interesting brand. First founded in Italy in 2007, SUPER, as they’re known, has become highly popular for its eclectic collection of colorful acetate sunglasses at affordable prices. These Black Customs worn by Joe Persci can be bought for as little as €149.00.

Car­rie Bu­fali­no (Kathrine Narducci)

The wife of Russel throughout the film Bufalino, played by Kathrine Narducci, can be seen wearing an oversized vintage pair of sunglasses which were highly popular during the 50s/60s. Unfoatruntly it’s unclear as to the exact origin of these frames and the chances are they aren’t from any specific brand. They are truly some of the most vibrant frames seen throughout the film with their multi-colored frames speckled with greens, browns, and yellows.

Some people have speculated as to their origin with brands such as Liberty American, Vintage Okkia Anna, and Oliver Peoples’ Chelsea Sunglasses. If you have more information on the exact ID of these sunglasses worn by Kathrine Narducci then we’d love to hear from you.

Anthony ‘Tony Pro’ Provenzano (Stephen Graham)

There’s not much information on the exact brand of sunglasses worn by Stephen Graham in his portrayal of Tony Pro. These styles of glasses are a pair of Aviator frames popularised and first designed by Ray-Ban. That being said, we’re quite positive these are not Ray-Ban’s themselves are the slight design nuances differ from what we come to expect from Ray-Ban themselves.

These glasses could very well be a pair of PERSOL 58220 as the bridge of the frames is very similar in style. They could also be a pair of Carrera 5425 (in Havana) as these styles of frames are most popular with the Carrera brand that dominated the 70s/80s style and seen worn in movies such as Scarface.

Prosecutor Jim Neal (J.C. MacKenzie)

Finally, we have a minor character from the Film, Jim Neal played by J.C. MacKenzie. Another unique pair of frames with small oval frames. Again, it’s very difficult to ID these glasses are the style of frames is so popular, but they have a striking resemblance to such brands as Anglo American Optical (406), and The Cubitts Marchmonts. If you have any information yourself on the exact brand of these glasses worn by J.C. MacKenzie then please let us know.

David Evans

Glasses Reviewer & Expert