David Bowie’s most iconic roles in cinema

David Bowie was not only a music star and one of the biggest names in glam rock of all time, but he also played a number of incredible characters in movies – why, how to forget Jareth, the Goblin King , in ‘Labyrinth – The magic of time’?

To celebrate his legacy and importance in the entertainment industry, we’ve separated a brief list of the artist’s most iconic roles in film, from his major debut as a protagonist in ‘The Man Who Fell on Earth’ ‘upon his surrender as Nikola Tesla in’ O Grand Tour ‘.


Bowie’s big theatrical debut came with the British science fiction “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. Directed by Nicolas Roeg, of the same name behind the beloved “ Witches Convention, ” the narrative is based on the homonymous novel by Walter Tevis and tells the story of an alien who falls to Earth in search of a way to bring water to his planet – and in the face of corruption and vices of humanity.

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In post-war Berlin, the young ex-combatant Paul (Bowie) realizes that there is no place for him in the environment in which he has lived, as the skills are limited to this which he learned in the army, and decides to become the gigolo of a rich baroness in order to be able to earn money.


In 1942, tension set in a concentration camp on the island of Java. English prisoner Jack Celliers (Bowie) causes a conflict when he decides not to obey the strict rules of Captain Yonoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto). Insolence is repudiated by violence, but it cannot end the pride and honor of the English officer, which further infuriates the captain. Seeming to be the only one to understand what is going on, the Japanese-speaking prisoner, John Lawrence (Tom Conti) tries to calm the mood.

Shortly after starring in the war drama ‘Furyo’, Bowie introduced us to a character very different from the one he had experienced – a handsome vampire who ends up dragging a young doctor into his wife’s deadly web. “Hunger to Live” is one of the best-known vampire films of the last century and has brought, in addition to Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Cathrine Deneuve on the big screen.

Despite a brief tip on Julien Temple’s effervescent music on 1950s London nightlife, Bowie made a big bang with a delightfully devilish and memorable performance. In “Absolute Beginners”, he plays a publicist who tries to manipulate the character of the young protagonist photographer lived by Eddie O’Connell with the music which lends its title to the film.


One of the most memorable films of Bowie’s career, “Labyrinth – The Magic of Time” has gained a legion of fans since its release. Here, the iconic performer plays Jareth, the Goblin King, a powerful and enigmatic creature who serves as the story’s villain and the main obstacle for young Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly) to save her brother.


Martin Scorsese’s epic surrender brought an even more dramatized version of the life of Jesus Christ – and the stellar cast featured none other than Bowie in the antagonistic role of Pontius Pilate. The figure, known to be the fifth great emperor of Rome, preceded the trial of Jesus and, shortly after, determined his crucifixion.

David Bowie’s exaggerated and groundbreaking aesthetic could not be revered by anyone other than iconic director David Lynch – which is why the partnership between the two for the feature film ‘Twin Peaks – The Last Days of Laura Palmer’ ‘was a forehand. Bowie only appeared minutes into production, playing an FBI agent haunted by something sinister (and reappeared posthumously in the 2017 serial revival).

A legend playing another legend – and what about Bowie in the movie “Basquiat”. In the production, directed by Julian Schnabel, the artist played none other than the founder of pop art Andy Warhol, embodying all of the iconic artist’s antics with monumental force and making history as one of the best historical renderings of the end of the last century.

“The Great Trick” marked just another incredible role for Bowie in the cinematic sphere. In the film directed by Christopher Nolan, the artist brings to life Nikola Tesla, the inventor who serves as a fundamental piece in the feud between magicians Alfred Fallon and Robert Angier over the creation of a “teleportation” device for Angier .

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