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David Bowie Ziggy Stardust
Image source: Going Thru Vinyl

David Bowie’s Best Films – Which Ones and Why

 

Jane Howarth itcherYou can’t do better than Labyrinth, The Prestige and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars for great Bowie viewing. ~ Jane Howarth
The great thing about David Bowie’s best films is that they’re all very (very!) different.

Let’s take a peek at my favourites.

What Defines the Best David Bowie Films?

David Bowie’s film career is like a collector’s cabinet of different roles – just what you’d hope for from the chameleon of rock.

So how can we pick out the definitive features of David Bowie favorite films?

Great Directors

Even when Bowie’s movies don’t set the box office on fire, they’ve got something going for them.

Namely, great directors and co-stars.

Just look at The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983).

David Bowie shares screen time with legends Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon, in a vampire flick by the director of Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986).

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Unconventional Characters

If it’s weird, unusual or unconventional (but always cool), he’s played it.

An alien who falls victim to capitalism and booze?

But of course!

An alien who falls victim to capitalism and booze

Check out serious sci fi The Man who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976) if that sounds like something you need to see.  It doesn’t shy away from much – you’ve been warned!

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction, though.

In biography Basquiat (Julian Schnabel, 1996), Bowie appears as Andy Warhol.

Worth seeing for meta value alone, as the two shared a creative community in real life, but didn’t get along.

Perhaps this song had something to do with it.

My Favourite David Bowie Movies

With all kinds of weird and wonderful options to choose from, how can I pick a favourite?  Quite easily, actually.

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`Labyrinth´ (Jim Henson, 1986)

Not only is it a must see musical, Labyrinth is one of the best David Bowie films.

It’s a fun fantasy movie, and in true Bowie style this world has a dark undercurrent.

Another true Bowie feature?  It’s pretty glamorous for a goblin kingdom.

This world has a dark undercurrent

Duncan Jones’ interest in directing started out from a visit to the Labyrinth set, so if you’re a Moon (2009, Duncan Jones) fan, you owe this movie a lot.

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`The Prestige´ (Christopher Nolan, 2006)

How’s this halo of lightning for an impressive entrance?

As a fictionalised Nikola Tesla, inventor of the alternating current, Bowie’s supporting role is the definition of a great cameo.

Magicians daring each other towards higher and higher stakes, behind the bright lights of the stage?

Sounds like a perfect Bowie movie.

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`Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars´ (D. A. Pennebaker, 1973)

I’m cheating a little, it’s not a scripted movie.

Filmed by total fluke, this rockumentary’s got iconic costumes, electric performances and a few little glimpses backstage.

Most importantly?

It preserves Ziggy’s famous demise at the Hammersmith Odeon.

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Are These Your David Bowie Favourite Films Too?

I can’t imagine making any other selection – these are the movies I could happily watch on repeat.

So now it’s your turn, what are your David Bowie favourite films?

I’m interested to find out!

 

Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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