David Bowie has been making music for 50 years, and is still going strong with his brand new album, Blackstar. Along the way, he’s reinvented himself about a million times, dabbled in all different sorts of music, and has been one of the most influential and fantastic musicians of modern times. He’s also been, decidedly, a bit of a weirdo, always willing to push boundaries or try something new. That includes his foray into the world of moving pictures.
He hasn’t been in a ton of films, and many of his appearances have only been cameos, but, on occasion, he’s taken on a starring role. Here are some of the acting appearances by the man known, at times, as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, or The Thin White Duke.
The Man Who Fell To Earth
Bowie had a few minor roles early on, but the first time he really had an acting role, he didn’t merely dip his toe into the water. He starred in the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth, as the titular man who fell to Earth, Thomas Jerome Newton. By this point, 1976, he had already done the whole Ziggy Stardust thing, so it made total sense for him to play an alien who came to our planet. It’s a weird movie and it has Rip Torn in it, but Bowie’s natural offbeat vibe made him a serviceable performer in what was, essentially, his first real acting role.
In fact, Bowie even won the Saturn Award for Best Actor. However, the Saturn Awards, an awards event for “science fiction, fantasy, and horror films,” has a somewhat shaky history. After all, they gave the same award they gave Bowie to George Hamilton for Love at First Bite.
Speaking of vampires (Love at First Bite is about vampires), Bowie’s next notable role was in 1983, when he starred in The Hunger. The movie is labeled an “erotic horror” film on Wikipedia, so, naturally, it stars Bowie, Susan Sarandon, and Frenchwoman Catherine Deneuve. It’s another role that asks Bowie to play somebody who isn’t human living among humans, which tracks. Here’s the thing, though. The Hunger is directed by Tony Scott. Now, Scott has his fans and defenders, sure. Nobody gets to make that many movies within his backers. However, if one were to merely state their own opinion, they might say that Tony Scott was a terrible director whose visual style was utterly obnoxious at its best, and maybe they also walked out of this movie during a film class because it was just so bad. You know, hypothetically.