Best David Bowie performances on the big screen

When David Bowie passed away in 2016, the whole world mourned. With a career that spanned over five decades, Bowie was renowned for his incredible music, his quirky sense of fashion, and his constant reinventions. However, that’s not all. David Bowie was also a bit of a star on the big screen, too. If you’re looking for your Bowie fix and have exhausted all of his albums, then check out some of his best movie appearances.


We have to start with one of our favorite kid’s films of all time, and easily one of Bowie’s most recognizable roles. David Bowie plays the Goblin King in this 1986 Jim Henson movie, Labyrinth, alongside Jennifer Connelly as Sarah. The film follows Sarah on a rescue mission to save her baby brother, who gets kidnapped by the goblins and hidden away in the Goblin King’s castle. Featuring plenty of kooky puppets (it is Jim Henson, after all), an incredible soundtrack, and some very tight trousers, this is one movie that you need to watch. Even if you did spend your whole childhood rewinding the VHS as soon as it had finished.

The Hunger

This 1983 fantasy thriller features David Bowie (John) as the lover of the stunning vampire Miriam, played by Catherine Deneuve. Around 200 years after being turned by Miriam, John realizes that being a vampire isn’t quite all it’s made out to be. He seeks the help of Dr. Sarah Roberts, played by Susan Sarandon, in the hopes that he might be able to slow down his aging process. This is quite an (ahem) grown up movie, so probably not one to show the kids like Labyrinth, but it’s definitely a masterpiece that will make you fall in love with Bowie all over again.

The Last Temptation of Christ

This movie definitely made headlines when it was released in 1988, and not always for the right reasons, but it’s a must-watch for David Bowie fans. Based on the controversial novel of the same name, and directed by Martin Scorsese, there’s no denying not everyone was happy with the depiction of Christ in the film. David Bowie plays the evil Pontius Pilate, who is thought to be the person who tried and crucified Jesus Christ. With his stripped back appearance, Bowie’s part in The Last Temptation of Christ isn’t quite as OTT as in other movies, which makes it all the more spectacular.

The Prestige

Back to the wild and wacky Bowie we all know and love. The Prestige is an excellent mystery thriller, starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as two magicians who just want to get one over on each other. All. The. Time. David Bowie doesn’t have a huge part in the movie, but it’s one that certainly suits him. He plays the eccentric Nikola Tesla, who Bale’s character asks to build a rather interesting machine for. We don’t want to give too much away, as there are lots of twists and turns in this thriller, but we’d recommend adding it to your watchlist.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

This 1983 war drama (sometimes known as Furyo) is a British-Japanese movie based on Sir Laurens van der Post’s experiences as a Japanese POW (prisoner of war) during World War II. David Bowie stars as one of the main characters, Major Jack Celliers; a fellow prisoner of war and South African with a bit of a guilty secret. This is one of Bowie’s best theatrical performances on the big screen, with critics saying it seemed as though he was a born film star after the film’s release. If you like war dramas and want to see Bowie in something a bit more serious than this is a must-watch.

Once you’ve made your way through these, there are plenty of other films featuring David Bowie, including The Man Who Fell to Earth, Basquiat, and Mr. Rice’s Secret. While we may no longer have the Starman in our lives, he will always be immortalized on the big-screen for us all to enjoy forever.