John Wick Tattoos: All the Hidden Meanings Behind the Ink (2023)

For an action franchise, the John Wick movies are full of symbolism. The names of the characters not only echo Greek and Roman mythology, but the narrative structure is almost Shakespearean and the action sequences are often ballet. For a trio of movies that began with a killer brought out of retirement to avenge the death of his dog, they're surprisingly stylish. Its main protagonist, a man of economical choice of words and great charisma, also sports his fair share of tattoos, and indeed, the ink is on full display throughout the films.

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Is there a deep meaning behind John Wick's tattoos, or are they just there to set him apart from every other gun-toting tough guy in Hollywood? Do the tattoos of the members of your elite assassin guild have any meaning, including the highest ranking members like The Adjudicator? Let's discuss the meaning of John Wick tattoos and John Wick tattoos.john wickUniverse.



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While John Wick's backstory has yet to be addressed in the movies, his impressive hand-to-hand combat skill, proficiency with firearms, body language, and tattoos all indicate that he has experience in the military. Given the way he administers a violent vendetta against all those foolish enough to get in his way, there's good reason to believe he's a Marine Corps veteran.

The tattoo on his back reading "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat," translated from Latin as "fortune favors the bold," recalls the motto of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. Its spelling is "Fortes Fortuna Juvat", but its meaning is similar. Tattoos with similar mottos are not uncommon in many branches of the military.


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In the shower scene of the firstjohn wickmovie, we get a clear view of his tattoos. Beneath the scrawled Latin phrase, "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat," we see two hands cupped in prayer. They are represented in a cross, with rays radiating from its three visible points.

This indicates that John could be a man of faith, so devoted to his chosen higher power or point of worship that he placed the godly tattoo between his shoulder blades. His quest for revenge is against most religions, but his "fallen angel" antihero archetype, of a once-good man tainted by the sin of his previous life, would fit the narrative of the films.


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"Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat" has been interpreted differently by different Latin scholars, and since it is a dead language, they will continue to debate the meaning behind the phrase. Some believe this says: "Only the strong come to save Fortune."

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Fortuna was the Roman goddess of fortune and good luck, seen as a guiding figure of chance and destiny. She could bless or curse her actions, according to her whim. Despite praying hands behind her back, John Wick could believe in Fortune and hold more pagan beliefs, living her life according to the will of Luck's guidance.


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(Video) Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat

Given his history with the Ruska Roma as an orphan child, and the fact that they are a division of the Head Table filled with Belarusian assassins,Wick may have done some thingson behalf of his adoptive family who took him to a Russian prison for the wolf tattoo on his right shoulder.

Snarling wolves, tigers or leopards are known as "oskals", translated from Russian to mean "big smile", and are placed on prisoners who are aggressive towards authority. If he wasn't in a Russian prison, Ruska Roma may have tattooed him for insubordination in his youth.


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In the first John Wick movie, we learn that he worked for the Tarasov family, an influential clan within the Russian mafia. Iosef Tarasov made the colossal mistake of stealing John Wick's car and killing his dog, a gift from his late wife, though Wick has given him many years of loyal service.

in the messagein the clandestine club, we see that Iosef has several tattoos, including a tattoo on his back (although not similar to Wick's). It is possible that during his time affiliated with this family, Wick got some of the tattoos he has on his back and shoulders, such as the snarling wolf, the flaming face, or the cross on his left shoulder.


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One of the most prominent tattoos that John Wick has is his praying hands behind his back on a cross. The hands themselves are an almost identical copy of "Study of the Hands of an Apostle", an ink drawing by the German artist Albrecht Dürer. It is considered one of the best examples of white highlighting with black ink on blue paper.

(Video) What Do John Wick’s Tattoos Mean?

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By having the representation of Dürer's most famous work on his back, it may indicate that John Wick has a more sensitive and cultured side, in addition to all the violence. Given the lavish lifestyles of some of his associates and the prestige of the High Table, it stands to reason that he might have retired from the assassination business with an appreciation for such finely honed art.


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Asrevealed inparabellum,John Wick's real name is Jardani Jovonovich, and he grew up an orphan. He was adopted by the Ruska Roma crime syndicate and groomed by the Director, who made him the most elite assassin in the world. His precise and decisive hand shaped him as a fighter and dancer, which is why his movements are so fluid.

Your tattoos can commemorate the time you spent serving your family, indicating your deep levels of commitment and devotion. We see that the other dancers under the Director's watchful eye also have large tattoos covering their backs, shoulders, and arms. The obsessive exercises he subjects them to ensure that, for the time being, their bodies move independently of their minds, and they will be ruthless killing machines without having to think.


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Just as John Wick found refuge in the Ruska Roma and began his career as an assassin working for prominent Russian families, tattoos of other characters in the John Wick universe could also indicate loyalty to specific companions.

(Video) Tattoo Artists React To Movie Tattoos | Tattoo Artists Answer

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Russian prison and mafia tattoos tend to reflect one's exploits and achievements, so it stands to reason that assassins who commit to a clan under the purview of the High Table would acquire bits of ink with certain specific contracts, as your first stroke or a more prominent stroke. .


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John Wick selected "Fortis Fortuna Aduivat" to lean on his back on a pair of praying hands, indicating that he is a decisive man of action. His actions are bold, he is above fear and lives his life by his own moral code and terms of conduct.

oRefereeinsideJohn Wick Parabellumhas the word "empathy"tattooed on the neck. This is a German word that translates to "empathy," which is an ironic selection of ink given the nature of his position at the head table. Perhaps it's a reminder to express an understanding of another person's frame of reference and judge everyone fairly.


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The High Table and its secret guild of elite assassins is a group not unlike the so-called Illuminati, a mysterious entity separate from society but involved in all its machinations. All of its agents work within the confines of its laws and doctrines and seem to care very little about the rules of normal society.

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This could be one of the reasons why many of the High Table associates sport profuse tattoos. His ink visually signifies being separated from society in a symbolic way. An excellent example of this are the operators you see injohn mecha chapter 2,who play socially acceptable roles, but are covered in paint that would not have been appropriate for the role in earlier decades.

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Are Keanu Reeves tattoos real in John Wick? ›

On-screen, John Wick is covered in a variety of symbolic tattoos, including a face covered in flames, a wolf, and lettering across his back. However, according to Distractify, Reeves himself has no recorded tattoos.

What is the tattoo on the adjudicator in John Wick 3? ›

Trivia. The Adjudicator is the first main antagonist in a John Wick film not to die in their debut film. Tattooed on the left side of their neck is "einfühlung", which is German for empathy.

Is Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat a military tattoo? ›

Military service

A large number of people interpret the Latin phrase "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat" to mean something similar to "fortune favours the bold" in English. That saying has been a favourite among American military personnel. It's used on the crest of the 3rd Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

What is the value of one gold coin in John Wick? ›

In the first Wick feature, he pays a coin per body for corpse removal service of twelve dead bodies which equals out to $15,300 according to the current gold standard. The gold coins are exchanged for several weapons Wick purchases from the “sommelier” in Rome.

Why does John Wick always wear a black suit? ›

In John Wick, the all-black suit is a recurring motif, a visual shorthand that tells us when John is at his most lethal. It first appears as he begins his reentry into the criminal underworld, and when he eventually dispatches his chief target, he returns to the comfort – and normality – of his pyjamas.

What did Red Circle mean in John Wick? ›

The Red Circle is a large nightclub situated on the east end of Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan. It was seen to have at least three floors, including a private bathhouse in the basement. Just above that on the ground floor is the main club, where the dance floor is located and loud music is played.

Why does John Wick wear his watch on the inside of his wrist? ›

Though the timepiece can be seen, John Wick wears it on the inside of his wrist. According to Chad Stahelski, the movie's co-director, the character wears it that way to protect it during action-packed scenes, which is similar to how soldiers wear their watches when out in combat.

Did John Wick and Sofia have a baby? ›

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

She has a daughter, whose name and location are unknown.

What tattoos will disqualify you from the Marines? ›

Marine Corps tattoo policy 2022

Marines can have tattoos on any area of the body, except for the head, neck, and hands in most cases. Banned tattoos include those that are "drug-related, gang-related, extremist, obscene or indecent, sexist, or racist."

What does John Wicks back tattoo say in Latin? ›

The tattoo across his back that reads "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat", translated from Latin into, "fortune favors the bold", is reminiscent of the motto for the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.

What tattoo do Navy SEALs have? ›

A time-honored tradition for Navy SEALs is to get a bone frog tattoo on return from a combat deployment to honor a fallen SEAL. It's a constant reminder of the ultimate sacrifices made to uphold our nation's liberty and freedom.

Does Keanu Reeves have any tattoos in real life? ›

Despite his on-screen body art, though, the real Keanu Reeeves doesn't actually have any tattoos, according to Taddler.

Why did John Wick cut off his finger in John Wick 3? ›

Throughout the movies we see that John just wants to be able to remember his wife. So by cutting off his ring finger, he metaphorically severed his last connection to his wife, and moved his devotion and fealty of that drive to grieve and remember to the High Table.

Who is the tattooed operator in John Wick 2 and 3? ›

You can see lots of super sexy vintage pin up operators in John Wick 2 and 3. As you know I LOVE this kind of aesthetic so I had to make one of those to strike a pose with Robin Lord Taylor who played the Administrator (the hot guy with the tattoos and piercings ;) )

Did Keanu Reeves do his own stunt work in John Wick? ›

Keanu Reeves

When speaking about the stunts performed in the John Wick films, the actor told Today reporter Willie Geist, “All the actions done in the movies are carried out solely by me. I do 90% of what goes on there. I try to maintain a connection with my audience.”

What does the tattoo say on John Wick's back? ›

The tattoo across his back that reads "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat", translated from Latin into, "fortune favors the bold", is reminiscent of the motto for the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. Their spelling is, "Fortes Fortuna Juvat", but its meaning is similar.

Who is the tattooed girl in John Wick 2? ›

Kitty Crystal is known for Worst Cooks in America (2010), The Drunken Yoga Show (2016) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017).

Who does Johnny Depp have a tattoo of? ›

Johnny's first tattoo, the words 'Cherokee Tribe,' which he got when he was 17 years old, is located on the upper right arm. His great-grandmother was a Cherokee, therefore the tattoo was created to honour his Native American roots.


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