With Blur, The Killers, 2Pac and more...
Scott Colothan

14:38 9th March 2009

From big-budget Hollywood epics to underground French cinema, below are some of my favourite music videos which pay homage to / copy / rip-off / mimic or pilfer from movies.


Featuring 30 Seconds to Mars taking on Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece The Shining, Blur dressed as Droogs, Tupac Shakur mimicking Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Elliott Smith chasing balloons and much more...

  • Blur: 'The Universal' - Plenty of bands have been influenced by Stanley Kubrick's 1971 masterpiece A Clockwork Orange (Moloko and Campag Velocet even named themselves after Nadsat words), but Blur truly excelled themselves when they parodied the scene from the infamous Korova Milk Bar in the promo for 'The Universal'. Genius.

  • Quarashi: 'Mr Jinx' - Iceland's finest hip-hop export (there are plenty to choose from I know) perfectly aped the 1998 German movie Run Lola Run with this Charles Jenson directed promo.

  • 30 Seconds To Mars: 'The Kill' - Jared Leto revived his acting career on this video, based entirely on Stanley Kubrick's horror classic 'The Shining'. An impressive re-enactment.

  • The Killers: 'Mr Brightside' – The Las Vegas quartet pilfered the setting, themes and clothing from Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge! for the promo to their defining song.

  • The Smashing Pumpkins: 'Tonight, Tonight' - Easily my favourite video on the list, the band took inspiration from Georges Méliès innovative 1902 silent film 'Trip To The Moon'. A classic.

  • Muse: 'Knights of Cydonia' – Directed by Joseph Kahn, the trio's 2006 video parodied a plethora of Spaghetti Western movies. A kung-fu cowboy was thrown in for good measure. Nice.

  • Beastie Boys: 'Sabotage' - Slightly bending the rules a bit as it mimics TV shows, the Beasties' 1994 vid is so perfectly realised we had to include it, parodying a string of seventies TV shows like Starsky & Hutch, Hawaii Five-O and The Streets Of San Francisco.

  • 2Pac: 'California Love' – Set in 2095, the Hype Williams directed video, filmed a year before Tupac Shakur's death, was not only influenced by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, it was also filmed on the same set. Nice.

  • Madonna: 'Material Girl' – Directed by Mary Lambert, the 1985 promo parodies Marilyn Monroe's rendition of 'Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend' from the 1953 movie 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'. Interestingly, Madge met her first husband Sean Penn on the shoot.

  • Blur: 'To The End' – Shot in Prague, the lovely video is a direct pastiche of the classic 1961 French New Wave film 'Last Year At Marienbad'. An often forgotten parody, overshadowed by The Universal.

  • The Pipettes: 'Pull Shapes' – The twee British indie-pop stars' 2006 video was in direct reference to a scene from the cult 1970 Russ Meyer movie 'Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls'.

  • Paula Abdul: 'Rush Rush' – The pop star, turned American Idol judge took it upon herself to rip off the James Dean classic 'Rebel Without A Cause' with this 1991 single. She even drafted in Keanu Reeves for good measure.

  • Elliot Smith: 'Son Of Sam' – The late singer songwriter's music video, directed by Autumn De Wilde, was inspired by two films. The concept mirrors the 1956 French film 'The Red Balloon', while Smith himself said it also took direct inspiration from 1962 black-and-white movie 'La Jetée'.

  • Fountains Of Wayne: 'Stacy's Mom' – The power pop band drafted in Rachel Hunter to play Stacy's Mom in this promo which mimics Stanley Kubrick's Lolita and more transparently the 1982 teen comedy Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

  • Stereophonics: 'Pick A Part That's New' – Their single 'Bartender & The Thief' excellently parodied Apocalypse Now, but their take on The Italian Job is by far the most inspired.

  • My Chemical Romance: 'Ghost Of You' – Only a band of MCR's theatrical, bombastic nature could get away with mimicking the brutal opening of scenes of Saving Private Ryan.

  • Michael Jackson: 'Black Or White' – Not based on one particular movie, throughout the 6-and-a-half minute video, Jacko's tap dancing nods to Gene Kelly's rain dance in 'Singing In The Rain', while the Macaulay Culkin scene echoes Back To The Future.

  • Foo Fighters: 'Everlong' – Easily one of the funniest videos on the list, Dave Grohl and co. pay tribute to the dream sequences in the horror classic The Evil Dead with this Michael Gondry directed promo.

  • The Decemberists: 'Sixteen Military Wives' – Portland, Oregon's finest current export borrow heavily from Wes Anderson's 1998 movie Rushmore and to great effect.

  • Faith No More: 'Last Cup Of Sorrow' – The promo is based on Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 psychological thriller 'Vertigo'. An inspired video.