One of the most popular icons in the world of music, Bruce Springsteen has a very eclectic taste when it comes to cinema. While he has previously written songs specifically for films such as ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ for Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia which ended up winning the Academy Award, Springsteen is also inspired by pioneers of the medium.
In fact, many of his favourite films have directly influenced his own works and the finest example of that is Arthur Ripley’s 1958 crime drama Thunder Road. Although Springsteen hadn’t seen the film at the time, he caught a glimpse of the film’s poster which inspired him to write his famous song ‘Thunder Road’. After he got the chance to watch it, it became one of his favourites.
Springsteen even named it among the cinematic masterpieces that had the most formative impact on his life, adding that he was a fan of the film noir genre and this was one of the best. While talking about it, Springsteen commented about that period in his life: “It’s a great noir picture, and I saw all of those at the time. So a lot of it came out of that.”
Alongside B-movies like Two-Lane Blacktop which apparently inspired ‘Born to Run’, Springsteen also cited some pioneers of the cinematic medium such as John Ford and Billy Wilder whose cinematic creations continue to serve as sources of inspiration for aspiring artists in almost every corner of the world.
Check out a list of the films that had an impact on Bruce Springsteen’s life below.
Bruce Springsteen’s favourite films of all time:
- Thunder Road (Arthur Ripley, 1958)
- Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971)
- The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford, 1940)
- The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946)
- Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)
- Rolling Thunder (John Flynn, 1977)
- Jackson County Jail (Michael Miller, 1976)
- Cockfighter (Monte Hellman, 1974)
- Blinded by the Light (Gurinder Chadha, 2019)
Among all these gems, Springsteen singled out John Ford’s fantastic 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel as a chief resource for his own oeuvre. Both the novel and the film are now regarded as American classics in their own rights and are regularly featured on essential reading/viewing lists.
Springsteen revealed that he was drawn to the film from the very first time he saw it, claiming: “I think the first thing I remembered was John Ford’s Grapes of Wrath. The humanism in that was something that touched me deeply, deeply. And I thought, I want some of that in my music.”