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Ready for your operation?[1]

Let's put a smile on that FACE!

When a character suddenly breaks into an ear-to-ear grin, it's a Cheshire Cat Grin. When this is permanently part of their facial structure, whether they're happy or not, it's a Glasgow Grin. It may have curlicues or stitches at the ends. This also happens a lot with puppets, intentionally or not.

Named, of course, after the Glasgow Smile, an act of violence where you hold someone's mouth open with a knife and cut a smile into the victim's face. Not all characters with a Glasgow Grin have been scarred; some of them were born with it. Generally, characters with Glasgow grins tend to be evil, insane, or both. If it is a protagonistic character who is not a villain, it also just shows that they are somewhat of a Dark Is Not Evil character. It's sometimes known as a Chelsea Smile, in reference to the London football team, whose more violent fans were reputed to inflict it on people as a Finishing Move.

Compare with Cheshire Cat Grin and Slasher Smile. Contrast Perpetual Frowner. Subtrope of Facial Horror.

Examples of Glasgow Grin include:


  • There's an infamous ad for Durex condoms that shows a woman with bandages at the edges of her mouth (the implication apparently being that her recent partner's endowment was a little too big.)
    • Or possibly that she was so happy with her partner's performance that she ripped her face open smiling.

Anime & Manga

  • The eponymous character of Franken Fran has stitches going ear to ear.
  • Kakihara from Ichi the Killer; it was inflicted on him by some of his fellow gang members, though he let them.
  • The Perverse Puppet Chachazero of Mahou Sensei Negima smiles while saying the most twisted or acidic of things, if only for the fact that she was carved that way.
  • Kakuzu of Naruto has most of his joints modified by his kinjutsu to come apart at will; this results in disturbing Glasgow Grin-like disfiguration of his face. While in the four-tails form, Naruto also displayed this, though it healed after.
    • After injecting himself with Orochimaru's genes, Kabuto has a new snakelike form. In this form he can open his mouth so wide it practically rips open. This results in clear cut marks on the sides of his mouth even when it's closed.
  • Heinkel from Hellsing gets one of these toward the end after taking a sniper round through the mouth. She doesn't seem too bothered by it, but it makes her dialogue a nightmare to read.
  • Ryuk on Death note has a wide mouth full of shark-like teeth.


  • The Comedian in Watchmen has half a Glasgow grin, after being slashed by a Vietnamese woman whom he'd gotten pregnant.
  • Though not typical, some artists do depict The Joker this way, particularly in out-of-continuity stories such as Brian Azzarello's Joker graphic novel.
    • The Batman Confidential story arc Lovers and Madmen, a re-telling of the Joker's origin, had the Joker given his Glasgow Smile by a thrown Batarang.
    • On a similar note, the Joker's Earth-3 counterpart, the Jokester, did have one of these from his encounter with Owlman I and Talon.
  • Mr Rictus from Wanted has this, though it's due to horrible burns rather than cutting.
  • The Green Lantern series has Karu-Sil of the Sinestro Corps, a Wild Child who cut off her lips and sharpened her teeth into fangs so she could look more like the large beasts that adopted her, giving her a permanent predatory grin.
  • Inverted with Whiteface, the Squadron Supreme's Alternate Company Equivalent of the Joker. After being assaulted in prison, he's left with a set of scars that make him look constantly sad. Differs from a Perpetual Frowner in that other than the scars, he has no affect display at all.
  • A Hellblazer story-line had Constantine encountering a version of the Chelsea Smilers.
  • In American Vampire, Hattie has one of these after losing a fight with another vampire.


  • Mr. Sardonicus. AKA: Glasgow Grin: The Horror Movie.
  • In Coraline, the Other Wybie has a perpetual, blankly cheerful smile on his face. When it starts to falter, the Other Mother attempts to keep it that way, permanently...with a needle and thread.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sally has a wide-stitched mouth, but only a fairly small central part of it seems actually functional as a mouth.
  • In The Dark Knight Saga, the Joker has had his mouth cut open at the corners in lieu of the character's traditional rictus grin. The origin of these scars is left "unknown." During the movie he appears to give one to Gambol.
    • Which, interestingly enough, brings the chain of references full-circle: The comicbook Joker's rictus grin was based off Gwynplaine from the film version of The Man Who Laughs--who had a Glasgow Smile in the original novel.
    • And in the 1989 Batman, the Joker's grotesque grin resulted from a botched plastic surgery meant to repair damage done by a bullet and chemical bath.
  • The Bride gives one to a hapless Mook during her battle with the Crazy 88. Compared to some of the other wounds she inflicted, it's hardly the worst way to go.
  • In Pans Labyrinth, Captain Vidal gets half a Glasgow Grin on his right cheek, courtesy of Mercedes.
  • Matt Cordell, the eponymous villain in Maniac Cop trilogy, received one when he got shanked in prison.
  • Robin shoots one to The Dragon Godfrey in the latest Robin Hood film.
  • The film Green Street sees Matt threatened this by a group of Birmingham Football Hooligans. Being hooligans, of course, they refer to this as a Chelsea Grin.
  • Keiko sports one after her transformation to the latter half of Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl.
  • One of the most fearless of the Dead Rabbit warriors in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York is a large Irishman named Jack Mulraney whose left cheek is curved up in a permanent grin thanks to a long-ago knife injury. Because of this peculiarity, the other gang members call him "Happy Jack."
  • Just before the Sonya vs. Kano fight from Mortal Kombat, Kano taunts her by brandishing his Raptor knife, and mentioning how he used it to put a big smile on Sonya's partner, " ear," before murdering him.
  • Kakihara (from Ichi the Killer) sports one. Except it hasn't healed and is held together with rings at the corners of his lips.
  • In Saw 6, Detective Hoffman gets half of one of these as he barely escapes a reverse beartrap with his jaw intact. There is a scene in the seventh movie where he stitches his torn cheek shut.
  • In Wrong Turn, Francine meets her end when one of the murderous, cannibalistic hillbillies sneaks up behind her and uses barbed wire to tear her mouth open. We later get several prolonged views of her mutilated face when the hillbilly trio bring her corpse back to their cabin.
  • Psychotic clown Sergio sports one of these in The Last Circus.
  • The original film example is The Man Who Laughs, whose face was permanently deformed into a grin as a punishment for his father's misdeeds.
  • Godzilla has a "born with it" variation in Godzilla (2014), though it's only really visible when he opens his mouth to roar or use his atomic breath. Its design seems to be based off the similar "smiles" of many real life reptiles.
    • The Shin Godzilla incarnation takes it up to eleven by sporting a mouth going almost to the back on his head as an uncountable number of wicked looking teeth


  • Mr. Grin from Stormbreaker, a former circus performer who used to catch a knife between his teeth as the finale of his act, until the time he was distracted at the crucial moment. In addition to the scars on his cheeks, he has no tongue.
  • The title character of The Man Who Laughs, by Victor Hugo. Despite having this trope, he isn't that bad.
  • In the Discworld novels, author Terry Pratchett plays with this when he writes about Death, who carries the personage of the grim reaper. "Death grinned" is a frequently used description, averting mention of the fact that he never stops grinning, being a skeleton in a robe.
    • In Night Watch, Vimes reminisces about a man from his past/future (depending on perspective) known as "Gussy Two Grins", who apparently had one of these.
  • Early in Fight Club the protagonist gets a hole punched in his cheek, which he covers with two fingers when he drinks coffee. Later he tries to commit suicide by fighting fifty guys, splitting the cheek completely. The he shoots out the other cheek. He points out that he now looks like a piece of vandalism from earlier in the book.
  • Katniss from The Hunger Games would've gotten one if Thresh hadn't stepped in when he did.
  • In Clive Barker's The Thief of Always, Rictus has a Glasgow Grin.
  • Also Mr. Sardonicus. The short story version.
  • Vestara from Fate of the Jedi has a deformity near her mouth that gives her the appearance that she is smirking. The fact that it resembles a smirk is also the only reason the Lost Tribe of the Sith let her live (as they don't want their members to have birth defects).

Legends and Mythology

  • Kuchisake Onna, a woman in Japanese legend, wanders around wearing a mask over her slashed ear-to-ear mouth and asking people whether she's beautiful. What happens after this varies, but it always includes the threat of her slitting your cheeks like hers. The way to fob her off is by saying she looks "so-so", or tossing some candies at her (or, in more recent versions of the tale, Pomade, because it reminds her of her plastic surgeon boyfriend who injured her so). Although, I've heard some people say that if you say she's pretty after she reveals her face to you, and you really mean it, she'll spare you. Some versions also give her More Teeth Than the Osmond Family on top of it, just to up the creepiness factor.
    • It's worth noting that the phrase Kuchisake-Onna uses to ask if she's beautiful can also be interpreted as "to cut with a knife", which is why she will attack you if you answer in the affirmative.

Live-Action TV

  • On Dollhouse, Alpha gives one to Victor, though it later heals.
  • In season 3 of Nip Tuck, this is the identifying mark of victims of The Carver.
  • There's a minor character on Wizards of Waverly Place who has this.
  • On the season 3 finale of Sons of Anarchy, Chibs (see "Tommy Flanagan" in Real Life, below) gives Jimmy O a payback Glasgow Grin just before killing him.
  • Torchwood's Owen Harper has a really big mouth, so sometimes it looks like he has one of these. Fitting, since he gets zombiefied in series 2.
  • Marcie, the invisible girl, threatens to do this to Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • The unsub of the Criminal minds eleventh season opener sports half a Glasgow grin.

New Media


  • Doctor Loboto from Psychonauts is the definition of the curlicue version; his lips are thin and go halfway up his head, ending in partial spirals.
  • While not a villain, Vincent Valentine's Chaos form in Dirge of Cerberus has markings on his face that resemble a faint Glasgow smile.
  • It's only visible for a few seconds, but Psycho Mantis sports a small, half-Glasgow grin on the right side of his face; origins unknown.
  • Double B. from All Points Bulletin has a half-Glasgow grin scar (it's also one of selectable scars for player characters). Britney Bloodrose has a full one... drawn on.
  • Some of the monsters you fight in Deadly Premonition sport a Glasgow grin.
  • You can choose a Glasgow Smile for your character in Brink, and just like in real life, it's permanent.
  • Kefka Palazzo in Dissidia Final Fantasy sports a Glasgow grin with his redesign for the Dissidia subseries of the Final Fantasy series, both the Heath Ledger's Joker variation (normal form) and the more traditional variation (EX-mode)
  • Croagunk, Toxicroak and Scraggy from Pokémon. Scraggy loses the Glasgow Grin upon evolution, however.
  • One of the scar options for characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Glasgow Grin.
  • Alvina and the Great Felines from Dark Souls. They're basically Catbeargators, with their grin coming from their alligator like mouths.
  • Raiden, of all people, seems to possess this in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Web Comics

  • Chelsea Grinn of Chimneyspeak has this as her most prominent scar (but by no means is it her only one).

Web Originals

Western Animation

  • Punsy McKale in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has a permanent smile. It gets kind of sad when he's offended that someone's laughing at him when he himself is actually very sad after losing a pun-off and sheds a Single Tear.
  • The very first episode of Batman Beyond features a Joker pulling a huge knife on Terry and declaring his intention to "put a smile on his face." This is probably something Jokerz do a lot.
  • In an episode of Mighty Max, Skullmaster has Max in his grip, and threatens to "cut the boy a new smile."

Real Life

  • Character actor Tommy Flanagan (who was in Braveheart and Gladiator, among other things) has what a healed Glasgow Smile really looks like, having received one after being jumped outside a bar. Also Tommy Flanagan is from Glasgow
  • The body of Elizabeth Short [2] was found with a Glasgow Grin carved into her face.
  • David Faber, a Holocaust survivor, once visited a school and calmly told an auditorium of middle schoolers how his Nazi interrogators put a vice inside his brother Romek's mouth and proceeded to - slowly - crank it open until Romek's jaw broke and his cheeks tore open. All this to get information from David, who knew nothing about what they were asking him about.
  • UFC featherweight champion José Aldo received a partial one in a childhood accident. Though healed, the scar is easily noticeable.
  1. No, you're not.
  2. better known as "The Black Dahlia"