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Best Movies Based on Songs, Ranked




Soundtracks are one of the most fundamental parts of a film’s success. The right kind of music can effectively add new layers to the movies they accompany. Indeed, this is where the film and music industries go hand in hand. In addition to singers becoming actors, there are many instances in which famous musical artists compose soundtracks for hit movies — Lady Gaga and A Star is Born, for instance.

In other instances, much like a piece of literature, a comic book, or a video game, an artist’s song is so established that it can become the basis for a film adaptation. Songs, after all, are inherently narrative in nature, filled with character and emotion. Many creative films, in fact, owe their ideas to songs that had existed beforehand. The list below covers seven such movies, ranked.

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Alice’s Restaurant was inspired by ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacre’ by Arlo Guthrie, and was directed by Arthur Penn, starring Guthrie as himself. The original song is 18 minutes in length and uses the medium of spoken word to illustrate its message. It’s easy to see how the song informs the plot of the movie, where we meet the character Alice and are taken on a journey that is absurd and humorous in the same way the original song is. It’s a strange film that compliments the song it’s associated with very well.

Related: Best Movies Based on Poems, Ranked

The Hitcher was released in 1986 and directed by Eric Red. It centers around a hitchhiker who stalks a man across Texas. The film is notable for its cinematic elements, drama, and suspense. The inspiration for the film came from a song by The Doors called “Riders on the Storm.” Per The Guardian, Red listened to the song while he was driving, and the song put a visual in his mind that would inform The Hitcher. This is an example of how strong musical inspiration can be in other forms of art.

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia is a 1981 move directed by Roland F. Maxwell, and takes inspiration from the Vicki Lawrence song of the same name. The movie features a re-recording of the song with reworked lyrics that are more in line with the film’s plot. The film also stars Mark Hamill who excels in his performance. The film is an example of how art can be reworked to fit a new purpose and create a successful film.

The Gambler was released in 1980 and was inspired by the Kenny Rogers song of the same name. The song lent itself to the movie, but the inspiration it had on the overall direction and plot cannot be denied. The movie draws inspiration from the themes of life and loss, as well as the general difficulties that accompany being a human being in a way the feels true to the original song.

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