Songs Inspired by movies

There seems to be a class of songs inspired by, but not officially connect to, movies. When the sonfs first came out, I thought there was some sort of connection, because the movies were often still playing. But it seems to be an effort to cash in on the popularity of the film. or an expression of the song writer’s high opinion of the film.

The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde – according to Wikipedia, inspired by the movie. Released Feb. 1967, which seems inconsistent with the story of its origin, because the movie Bonnie and Clyde was released in August of 1967.

Heartlight – Neil Diamond song that is painfully obvious in the way it refers to the movie E.T. – The Extraterrestrial. Released in September of 1982, Diamond had to pay Universal Studios $25.000 to use the oblique references to the film.(E.T. was released in June 1982 in the US)

Other cases I thought were related turn out not to be.

The Dope Board covered a similar topic twenty years ago, but that wasn’t songs rekleased while the movie was running

Big Audio Dynamite’s E = mc2 is all about the early movies of Nicolas Roeg. It covers Walkabout, Performance, Insignificance, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Don’t Look Now.

An obvious one is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something, about a dying relationship in which the guy, grasping at straws, points to the fact that they both “kinda liked” that film as an example of one thing they have in common.

Huh, I always thought it was some kind of planned crossover promotion between Neil Diamond and the studio, and it was money in Neil’s pocket from the studio, not the other way around.

Wasn’t Prince’s “Batman” album all songs “inspired” by the movie? Even Shaun (of the Dead) didn’t like it.

Ed: ‘Purple Rain’?
Shaun: No.
Ed: ‘Sign o’ the Times’?
Shaun: Definitely not.
Ed: The ‘Batman’ soundtrack?
Shaun: Throw it.

The Clash’s “Red Angel Dragnet” has re-spoken dialog from Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver”:

And what about a song inspired by the making of a film? Bob Dylan’s “Romance in Durango” was inspired by the time he spent in Durango, Mexico, during the making of “Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid”.

I also have my private theory that parts of Dylan’s “Isis” were inspired by “The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre”.

Oh, one more:

David Bowie wrote “Space Oddity” after watching Kubrick’s “2001 - A Space Odyssey” and is of course a pun on the title.

OK, I hardly think that anybody doesn’t know the song, but I post a link anyway:

Twisted Sister had a song back in the 80s called Come Out and Play that starts out by imitating a pivotal scene in the movie Warriors (1979)


And likewise The Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ Scooby Snacks includes dialog from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. NSFW link: video


The Smiths song “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” is based on the plot of, and quotes from, the play/movie “A Taste of Honey,” written by Shelagh Delaney.

Morrissey said, “At least 50 per cent of my reason for writing can be blamed on Shelagh Delaney.” He even put her photo on the cover of the Smiths compilation record “Louder than Bombs” (seen here:)

Here’s a Blade Runner twofer:
White Zombie - More Human Than Human

Revolting Cocks - Attack Ships On Fire

And, of course, Metalicca’s One, which is all about Johnny Got His Gun:

Morrissey loved referencing 60s films - This Charming Man quotes from Sleuth, for instance.

On the face of it Cable Hogue by John Cale must be related in some way to the movie “The Ballad of Cable Hogue”; but as I have never seen the movie, I’m just guessing.

I say “related in some way” because I presume Cale was just using it as a kicking-off point for the song, something he occasionally does, though the thought process that links the two can be….unobvious. Other examples include:

  • Hedda Gabler (Ibsen play)
  • Child’s Christmas in Wales (Dylan Thomas piece)
  • Burned Out Affair (A Burned Out Case, by Graham Greene – I’m guessing; but around the same time he also wrote the song “Graham Greene”)
  • Ship Of Fools (allegory)


The title and some lyrics of “Creature with the Atom Brain” were taken from the 1955 movie.

Key Largo Actually an odd choice, given the lyrics.

Lotion by Greenskeepers.

:musical_note: It rubs the lotion on its skin,
Or else it gets the hose again. :musical_note:

The lyrics to Dinner with Leatherface by The 3D Invisibles just retells the plot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Harvey Danger (probably best known for their 1997 hit “Flagpole Sitta”) had a song called “Carlotta Valdez” based on the plot of Vertigo.

If Weird Al songs count, then just off the top of my head there’s “Jurassic Park”, “Yoda”, and “The Saga Begins”, and probably more I’m forgetting.