Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady
It's amazing what a dab of lipstick, a straightening iron and a pair of contact lenses can do. We love when movie characters go from ugly ducklings to prom queens in one musical montage. Sure, it helps that the actors are already gorgeous, but some transformations transcend common sense. From cartoon princesses to cross-dressing dads, see our favorite big-screen makeovers!
Since Audrey Hepburn played Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle in the '60s, movie makeovers haven't been the same. This big-screen adaption set the bar. After moving in with an arrogant phonetics expert, Eliza learns to speak like an English noble. To make the transformation complete, she trades in her working-class dresses for gorgeous gowns, giant hats and lace gloves.
Laney Boggs, She's All That
It's so cliché, it's classic. Put overalls and bad glasses on a beautiful actress…and voilà! You've got Laney Boggs, an artsy high school student who's so unfortunate, the jocks don't think she could ever become prom queen. Little do they know, under that smock, there's a smokin' hot girl ready to take on the popular clique.
After some powdering, plucking and hair cutting, Laney is transformed into a stunner. To top it all off, she unveils her new look with a slo-mo walk down the steps.
Gracie Hart, Miss Congeniality
Pageant princesses aren't made in a day…unless you're in Hollywood, of course. Thanks to a talented pageant coach and a little lipstick, FBI agent Gracie Hart goes from tomboy to beauty queen in this hit comedy.
When the film begins, Gracie hides her beauty under menswear and messy hair, indulges in doughnuts and snorts when she laughs. But, by the closing credits, this gun-toting detective is at home in her pageant gown and princess crown.
Ronnie Miller, Can't Buy Me Love
Before he was McDreamy
, Patrick Dempsey was best known as Ronnie Miller, a socially challenged high school student who tries to buy his way into the popular crowd. When the opportunity presents itself, he pays cheerleader Cindy Mancini $1,000 to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month.
On their first day as a "couple," Cindy throws in a fabulous, five-minute makeover. She gels his hair, swaps his glasses for shades and rips the sleeves off his boring button-down. Dorky to dreamy in two seconds flat!
Vivian Ward, Pretty Woman
When we first see Vivian Ward—played by Julia Roberts—she's rocking a blond wig, miniskirt and knee-high boots. This Hollywood working girl dresses the part, but after falling for a wealthy businessman, she trades in her streetwalker wardrobe for cocktail attire.
This makeover includes an essential element—the musical montage. Set to Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman," this classic scene shows Vivian twirling around in designer dresses and slinking into pricey pantyhose. By the time she leaves Rodeo Drive, she looks like a million bucks. Throw in a few etiquette classes and a string of pearls, and you've got yourself a fairy-tale ending.
Tai Frasier, Clueless
Based on the Jane Austen classic Emma, this '90s comedy centers on Cher, a superficial teen who sets out to do good deeds. One such deed involves Tai, a new girl in need of a fashion intervention. With Cher's help, Tai sheds her flannel shirts for short skirts and becomes part of the popular crowd.
Tai gets a new hairstyle and a few vocabulary lessons, but Cher's makeover happens from the inside out. By the end of the film, this spoiled shopaholic realizes there's more to life than clothes and cars.
Fairy godmothers, singing mice, designer heels…what more could a girl ask for? We can thank Disney for first introducing us to the head-to-toe makeover…and making us all believe in Prince Charming. In the '50s cartoon version, Cinderella's wicked stepmother and stepsisters treat her like a household servant and ruin her chances of attending the royal ball.
That's when the magical godmother steps in. With a wave of her wand and a "bippity, boppity, boo," Cinderella's rags are transformed into a beautiful ball gown, her hair is swept into an updo and her feet are adorned with glass slippers. Unrealistic expectations are born.
Daniel Hillard, Mrs. Doubtfire
Daddy's got a brand new handbag! Tootsie will always be one of our favorite cross-dressing characters, but thanks to advances in prosthetics and makeup, Daniel Hillard's makeover was even more unbelievable. In this '90s comedy, Daniel, played by Robin Williams, pulls double duty as an out-of-work, divorced father and an eccentric English nanny named Mrs. Doubtfire. False teeth and granny glasses help him fool his ex-wife, as well as his three children. Sign up for our Screening Room newsletter!