David Bowie And 4 Other Cult Musicians Whose Greatest Hits Were Inspired By Iconic Movies

David Bowie And 4 Other Cult Musicians Whose Greatest Hits Were Inspired By Iconic Movies
Image credit: Legion-Media, Warner Bros.

You probably didn't even know these songs had anything to do with the legendary films.

There are many legendary songs that were written specifically for movies and became famous by "joining forces" with the story told onscreen.

However, there are also many cases where musicians create remarkable compositions under the impression of watching a movie, which later become its unofficial anthem.

1. David Bowie: Space Oddity – 2001: A Space Odyssey

A year before man set foot on the Moon, an aspiring London musician saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. What struck him in Kubrick's epic was not so much the coincidence of the name of the Discovery's captain with his own pseudonym, but David Bowman's flight through space and time into infinity.

Like Bowman before the flight, the musician's career was going pretty badly: labels and managers were pumping thousands of pounds into him, but the singles failed one after the other.

Without knowing it, David Bowie wrote the anthem of space exploration. Although it wasn't originally planned. Space Oddity became Bowie's first single to reach the UK charts and won a special Ivor Novello Award in 1970.

2. Deep Blue Something: Breakfast at Tiffany's – Breakfast at Tiffany's

In 1995, the rock band Deep Blue Something released a song inspired by two classic Audrey Hepburn movies, Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany's. The song has a catchy melody and a simple plot: a man breaks up with a woman and remembers the one thing that unites them – the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, which they both liked.

The musicians even released a video that contains recognizable visual quotes – the Tiffany & Co. store in Manhattan, and a girl extremely similar to Holly Golightly.

3. alt-J: Matilda – Leon: The Professional

Luc Besson's Leon: The Professional, a crime drama about a professional killer and his 12-year-old neighbor Mathilda, has predictably spread across pop culture. Wherever the movie left its mark, from fashion to the new wave of sentimental cinema.

The British rock band alt-J was inspired by the film and wrote a song that was included in their debut album, An Awesome Wave. Matilda is a romantic indie-rock work that tells about Natalie Portman ’s character. "Put the grenade pin in your hand, so you understand who's boss" is a recognizable line that translates the impression from the movie into musical form.

4. The White Stripes: The Union Forever – Citizen Kane

This song is often cited as one of the best works in the Detroit musicians' career. For their third studio album, White Blood Cells, the duo took direct inspiration from Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.

The composition consists of dialogues completely copied from the film, especially the lines of Charles Foster Kane himself: "I'm not interested in gold mines, oil wells, shipping or real estate." It's amazing that the group hasn't been sued, but what's even more amazing is that the whole set of phrases sounds quite harmonious.

5. Nine Inch Nails: Only – Fight Club

In 2005, Nine Inch Nails released their next aggressive hit, this time with quotes from a movie about The Narrator and Tyler Durden. Only refers to the plot twist of David Fincher's movie – "You were never really real to begin with I just made you up to hurt myself."

Performed by Trent Reznor, this daring composition sounds authentic and evokes certain associations with David Fincher's cult movie. After all, there is no one better than Nine Inch Nails when it comes to singing about split personality and other dark diagnoses.