Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain remains an integral part of the popular consciousness even after all these years, fondly remembered for his pioneering contributions to the grunge movement. After Cobain’s tragic suicide in 1994, his legacy has been explored through films like Gus Van Sant’s Last Days as well as the 2015 docudrama Soaked in Bleach, among others.
As is common with an artist of Cobain’s stature, fans are obviously interested in the influences that contributed to his unique artistic vision. Cobain has often listed his sources of literary inspiration, citing the likes of Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, among others. The fact that he was truly well-read is evident from his eclectic mixture of influences, ranging from Dante to Samuel Beckett.
When it comes to Cobain’s taste in films, however, fans have gathered bits and pieces from various interviews conducted over the years. Among the films that Cobain has claimed he loves, there are cult classics like the 1979 crime drama Over the Edge as well as revered masterpieces like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.
While talking about his relationship with films in a 1992 interview, Cobain said that he would have liked to work in the film industry if he wasn’t a musician: “I’d like to be something artistic I guess. A painter, a writer, or something like that. I’d like to get in to movies.”
The Nirvana frontman also stated how he lost interest in the art form over time: “I don’t know. I like movies. I used to like ’em a lot better when I was young. I can’t think of very many movies that I like. I’m usually disappointed by them.” However, Cobain did reveal his favourite film of all time during the same interview, and the answer might just feature on most of the lists of our favourite films of all time too.
When he was asked about his choice, Cobain replied without hesitation that his favourite cinematic masterpiece was Wim Wenders’ 1984 magnum opus Paris, Texas. Starring Harry Dean Stanton, Paris, Texas depicts a remarkable quest undertaken by a man to pick up the broken fragments of his family as well as his psyche that have been scattered across the wastelands of modernity.
Wenders once said: “I don’t think there’s a break; at some point in the middle, the movie turns and starts walking on new territory, like in a blank space in the landscape. At least my landscape.” Cobain did not furnish more details about his preference, but he did admit that one of the elements he liked the most was Ry Cooder’s fantastic sound design which elevates the cinematic atmosphere.