David Bowie is one of the most imaginative and creative artists of the 20th century, thus many of his followers and supporters have always been inquisitive as to what motivated him. From literature to contemporary art to filmmaking, Bowie really was a multi-dimensional talent that his influences may have surprised you, as he sought satisfaction in a wide range of art disciplines.
Despite being a performer first and foremost, Bowie participated in over 30 films, tv series, and theatrical performances. Mr. Lawrence’s performances in classic films like The Man Who Fell to Earth and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence had also prompted many reviewers to feel that he’s already made it as a successful actor if he had wanted to. His compositions on the soundtracks of Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, and Wes Anderson movies all contribute to his cinematographic impact.
“All the films I have done, the theatre work, I haven’t learnt a thing,” Bowie cracked a joke, during an interview. When asked why he decided to pursue an acting career, the star said, “Generally, the director [attracts me to a role].
“If I feel I’m gonna learn something working with that director, whatever the role is, I generally say yes to it…It’s good to watch how those people work, how they work with their crews, what kind of relationships they have with their crews, how much they depend on who [and] how much actually comes from themselves.” In addition to admiring the technique of filmmaking, he had a long list of favorite films.
Concerning to his favorite movies, his choices are as diverse as you would anticipate. “He loved Buñuel, Cocteau, Fassbinder, but he also loved Tony Hancock and the Ealing comedies,” said Absolute Beginners director Julien Temple back in 2017. “He could watch Tony Hancock’s The Rebel on a weekly basis and he would laugh and laugh and laugh.”
He not only had a diverse personal preferences, but movie frequently inspired his career as an artist. It goes without saying that ‘Space Oddity’ was influenced by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Oddity. Bowie also went above and beyond to state that Kubrick “predicted my lifestyle for the 1970s,” referring especially to the track. “In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t. It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing. I was out of my gourd anyway, I was very stoned when I went to see it, several times, and it was really a revelation to me. It got the song flowing. It was picked up by British television and used as the background music for the landing itself. I’m sure they really weren’t listening to the lyric at all.”
Kubrick’s effect on Bowie extends past 2001, with his picture A Clockwork Orange having a major effect on the artist as well. The Starman has acknowledged A Clockwork Orange’s inspiration on the proto-punk street gangs that boosted his 1974 post-Ziggy record Diamond Dogs.
He enjoyed humor, which was one of his other favorite genres. In 1979, he told Rolling Stone, “There’s still a lot of Buster Keaton in everything I do.” One of his most cherished flicks is The General.
However, it appears that no category evaded him, since he also had such a special fondness for independent cult dramas, praising movies such as Danny Boyle’s masterpiece Trainspotting and David Lynch’s absolutely magnificent Eraserhead. Bowie would collaborate with Lynch on the Twin Peaks sequel and had great respect for the director. Lynch, like Bowie, was captivated by Lynch’s aesthetic sense and stayed an admirer of the singer’s work.
“He was unique, like Elvis was unique,” Lynch told in an interview. “There’s something about him that’s so different from everybody else. I only met him during the time I worked with him and just a couple of other times, but he was such a good guy, so easy to talk to and regular. I just wish he was still around and that I could work with him again.”
And his filmmaking legacy goes on through his son, filmmaker Duncan Jones, who has directed films such as Moon and Source Code.
David Bowie’s favorite films include:
2001: A Space Oddity
A Clockwork Orange
Memories of Underdevelopment
The Spirit of the Beehive
Un chien andalou
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Le Avventure Di Robinson Crusoe
The Elephant Man