When David Bowie passed away, we not only lost a music legend but a music-in-movies legend. His songs evoked a strange sense of wonder for this world and beyond, and filmmakers couldn’t help but hope to tap into that energy when they used his tracks in their scenes. For the complete picks, watch the video above, but here are some of the best moments of Bowie songs featured in film.
The Martian – “Starman”
A betting man would have guessed “Life On Mars?” to be the Bowie choice in this year’s winner of the Golden Globe for Best Comedy — not only does it have the setting right in the track name, it would have been perfect for a stoic scene of reflection when Matt Damon sits alone on the red planet. Maybe it was too on the nose. Nevertheless, “Starman” fit the scene perfectly and continued the playful tone of this comedy (where a guy nearly dies a bunch of times over two and a half hours).
Inglourious Basterds – “Cat People”
In the ultimate preparing-for-war scene, Bowie’s “Cat People” suited the Quentin Tarantino war pic well. Beyond a love of the strange, the musician’s songs had a profound intensity to them, and as Shoshanna readied herself to burn down the Nazi bigwigs, she was brimming with intensity.
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou – Take Your Pick
This list could consist of scenes from The Life Aquatic. The tracklist of Wes Anderson’s 2004 classic borrowed heavily from Bowie, although primarily through Seu Jorge’s Portuguese versions — the actor/musician even released an all-Portuguese Bowie soundtrack for the movie. The final line of the movie, “This is an adventure,” encapsulates Bowie’s music perfectly, so it would make sense for Anderson to rely on his music so heavily. The film just wouldn’t be the same without Bowie’s presence as Team Zissou embark on a journey of self-discovery and dynamite-fishing.
Extras – “Little Fat Man”
Okay, so it’s not a movie, but it gets an honorable mention. Bowie crafting this song and pummeling Andy Millman with all the self-doubt he was already thinking was just what the character needed to embrace his mediocrity. And who can blame him? If you met your hero tomorrow, and they roosted a crowd to join in on ripping apart your life, you’d give up on any delusions of grandeur.