Friday, January 15, 2016

Bowie the Actor

David Bowie was mostly and deservedly known for his music, but he was quite a good actor too. River mentioned the movie Labyrinth, which I haven't seen. I think there was also The Man Who Fell to Earth.

I very much enjoyed his understated performance in the movie Just a Gigolo. Gosh, that was made in 1978. Like most movies I enjoyed in the late seventies and eighties, I can't remember much about the movie. I can only remember I liked it and of course it starred Marlene Dietrich. While it doesn't feature Bowie singing there are lots of shots of him.

For me though his most memorable performance was in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. This is a clip featuring 'the kiss'. You could skip to 1:10 to see that, but I suggest you watch the whole clip to get some context. It truly is a brilliant performance by Bowie and especially actor Ryƻichi Sakamoto, who also composed the at times chilling music for the movie. Watch Sakamoto's eyes as he is kissed. Just brilliant.


  1. I had forgotten those movies. Maybe I never saw them to begin with.

  2. Bowie had 40 acting credits including for 23 movies. I didn't realise these included playing Pontius Pilate in 'The Last Temptation of Christ'.

    For the benefit of your commenter elsewhere an examination of Bowie's career reveals an extensive body of work and achievement. Whether the commenter is impressed by that achievement is, of course, his business.

  3. And Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence came up in another context for me yesterday. Based on a true story.
    Bowie was driven in so many creative directions. And seemed to have excelled in several.

  4. He was also a dance innovator, no surprise there really. He was excellent in 'The Hunger' with Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve... plumbing the pathos of his character without descending into hamminess. Like you, however, my favourite of his movies is 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence'

  5. Bowie must have studied a bit of everything, including art, music and design. But I cannot see acting. So I suppose it depended on what Bowie thought his main career was going to be. Were his first unmemorable films in the mid-late 1960s, replaced by good films in the 1970s?

    There is list of his film connections, but it may not be complete:

    1. If you look Bowie up on the IMDb site ( you can check his career details as an actor (also under filmography).

  6. I haven't seen either of those movies, I'm wondering now if TV stations will play some of his movies now that he has died, like they do for others.
    Is that an Aussie slouch hat he is wearing with those Army Greens?

  7. After watching the second clip it came back to me that I've seen that movie...
    Sad that's he's gone..

  8. I agree Andrew, this was his best movie.. gosh he was good looking in this one.. I mean he could look pretty odd at times but normal here!