5 items from 2016
David Bowie. Thin White Duke, Goblin King, Ziggy Stardust, Genius. The world was shocked by his death, so soon after gifting us with his album, Blackstar. Released only days ago on his 69th birthday and intended as a parting gift to us all, David Bowie was wonderful, weird, and surprising until the very end.
While there’s no denying the musical talent Bowie brought to generations through his many albums and character incarnations, the film world has also lost a charismatic actor known for some iconic roles. While Bowie may not have worked steadily as an actor, his roles were carefully chosen and memorable, allowing him to work with some of the most talented directors of the past 40 years.
Whether Bowie is the Goblin King, a beautiful androgynous alien, or the master of the fashion catwalk to you, we look back and celebrate his most iconic performances in film.
- Rachel West and Sasha James
From starring roles in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence to smaller parts in the likes of The Last Temptation of Christ and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, David Bowie made as much a mark on the world of film as it did on music and fashion. But it wasn’t just his acting that left an impression on movie-going audiences; numerous films have made use of his music to powerful effect. In honor of his recent passing, here are a few of our favorite appearances of David Bowie songs in the movies. We’ll miss you, starman.
I’m not much of a fan of Quentin Tarantino or his movies, but I still love this scene from 2009’s World War II fantasy Inglourious Basterds. Not only does “Cat People,” which Bowie originally penned »
- Nathan Smith
Above: UK one sheet for The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, UK, 1976). Designed and illustrated by Vic Fair.David Bowie, who left our planet this week, appeared in some 20 movies, but his appearances on movie posters are restricted to just a handful of films. Many of his roles, especially in later years, were cameos or small, but significant, character parts. He memorably played Pontius Pilate in Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Andy Warhol in Julian Schnabel’s Basquiat (1996), and Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige (2006); he appeared as himself in films as varied as Christiane F. (1981), Zoolander (2001) and Bandslam (2009); and he was endearingly strange as an FBI agent in the opening section of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992).His most important and iconic film role by far is his starring role as the titular alien in Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth »
- Adrian Curry
Exclusive: Producer Stephen Woolley (Carol) worked with David Bowie, the actor as well as the musician, 30 years ago on Julien Temple’s ill-fated Absolute Beginners. Massively hyped in its day as an example of the bold, new confident face of British cinema (remember Colin Welland’s “the British are coming”?), the film was a day-glo imagining of London’s 1950s Soho replete with mods, prostitutes and the Notting Hill race riots. While the film was a commercial… »
David Bowie’s relationship to cinema and acting was characteristically complex and knotty even before he started: He famously had to change his name from Davy Jones because there was already a British actor with that name making major waves in music as part of the mega-hit TV manufactured band, the Monkees.
For an artist who transformed rock and roll music to great acclaim and financial rewards, David Bowie’s work as an actor never matched the notoriety and success of his recordings and concerts. But Bowie accomplished a feat that eluded Elvis and many other pantheon rockers who attempted to crossover from rock stardom to films and starred in a movie that has endured as a legitimate work of art: Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 sci-fi masterwork, “The Man Who Fell To Earth.” (The other contender for that distinction is Mick Jagger, whose “Performance” is ranked as a masterwork of British »
- Steven Gaydos
5 items from 2016
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