The legendary American guitarist and singer Bruce Springsteen painted during his career a real landscape of people’s lives with his music, almost playing a movie using the sound and lyrics to tell a story. Besides being a successful artist in music, Bruce Springsteen is also a big movie fan and in an interview with Washington Post back in 2019 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage) he listed 3 movies that were inspirations for some of his songs.
Before talking about the movies, Springsteen said that one of the differences between a movie and song is that music has a compact form, that makes musicians ‘play their movies’ in about four minutes, but the two essentially tell stories, but in different ways.
3 movies that Bruce Springsteen said it inspired his writing
“A lot of my writing is deeply influenced from the movies. Initially, I think were films from the ‘New Hollywood’ in the early 70s. ‘Godfather, Taxi Driver’, ‘Mean Streets’. Those were just pictures that came right at a certain moment when I was creating my own work. So there was something, the existential nature of a lot of them just rang true for me and it was something that I tried to make a part of my own musical persona and what I was creating.”
“I saw Mean Streets and I immediately connected to some of the things that I was doing but there was just something in the dark intensity of those pictures that felt like they spoke to the times. I look towards some of the greatest filmakers as a bit of a blueprint, particularly John Ford, just as far as how you create a body of work that holds together over a long period of time. Those films and then the great film Noirs and Western’s of the 40s, 50s and 60s always stayed with me. It’s one little film after another on those records, my little short films.”
Mean Streets (1973)
In a conversation with Martin Scorsese in 2019 at a private Netflix event honoring “Springsteen on Broadway” movie, they talked about each others work and Springsteen called the opening scene of “Mean Streets”, that has as score the classic The Ronettes song “Be My Baby”, the greatest opening scene of all time.
The first movie that Martin Scorsese directed and became a cult classic, Mean Streets had an incredible cast with Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval and David Carradine.
Often named the greatest movie of all time, “The Godfather” was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and had an incredible cast with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton and Robert Duvall.
It shows the aging patriarch (Marlon Brando) of an organized crime dynasty in postwar New York City transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant youngest (Al Pacino) son.
Taxi Driver (1976)
One of the most famous movies directed by Martin Scorsese, “Taxi Driver” had once again Robert DeNiro and names like Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Cybill Sheperd and Peter Boyle.
The plot shows a mentally unstable veteran (De Niro) who works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action.
There are rumours that the famous line “Are You Talking To Me?” was inspired by Bruce Springsteen, because he used to sing that line.