I know what you’re thinking … “Another list? Jeez!” But, whatever. It’s combining two of the things I like most … music and movies. Growing up in the 80’s and on MTV, the channel was always on when I was home. There was something alluring about waiting for your favorite song/video to come on and just watch it in awe. Some you watched because you loved the song, others you watched the video on mute just for the cinematic experience. I don’t even know what MTV airs anymore, since giving up on it in the mid to late 90’s. Yes, there are a ton more than this to choose from (hell, David Fincher and Spike Jonze have done more than 100 combined). Here are some of the best/my favorite/random music videos directed by some of the greatest filmmakers out there. Some you might not even have known about.
These are the 100 Greatest Music Videos Directed by Famous Filmmakers.
100. Sublime – Santeria | (1997)
Directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, 3 Days To Kill)
Filmed after the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell, and becoming a moderate U.S. hit.
Side note: I met Brad at a show in NYC, 6 months before he died and this album was released. Super nice guy. R.I.P.
Other videos he’s directed: Sugar Ray – Fly; The Offspring – Pretty Fly
99. Julian Lennon – Valotte | (1984)
Directed by Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, The Getaway)
A super simple video that you would never guess was directed by the guy who brought us Straw Dogs. Sadly, Peckinpah would pass two months after filming this.
Other videos he’s directed: Julian Lennon – Too Late For Goodbyes
98. New Order – Touched By The Hand Of God | (1987)
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Zero Dark Thirty)
A weird mix of a parody of 80’s hair metal and scenes of Bill Paxton and Femi Gardiner.
Other videos she’s directed: None
97. Martini Ranch – Reach | (1992)
Directed by James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens)
And speaking of Bill Paxton … did you know he had a new wave band called Martini Ranch and James Cameron directed a video for them? I sure didn’t. Keep an eye out for cameos from his ex-wife and fellow director Kathryn Bigelow, as well as Aliens and The Terminator alumni Lance Henriksen and Paul Reiser.
Other videos he’s directed: None
96. En Vogue – Hold On | (1990)
Directed by Tarsem Singh (Mirror Mirror, Self/less)
Tarsem‘s first music video.
Other videos he’s directed: Deep Forest – Sweet Lullaby; Lou Reed – What’s Good
95. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge | (1992)
Directed by Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy, Good Will Hunting)
You couldn’t escape this one in ’92, no matter how hard you tried. Easily my least favorite song on this album and the beginning of the end for R.H.C.P. Still might not be worse than the Psycho remake.
Other videos he’s directed: David Bowie – Fame ’90; Hanson – Weird
94. Laid Back – Bakerman | (1989)
Directed by Lars Von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Antichrist)
Before Lars Von Trier created the Dogme 95 movement, Danish electronic music duo Laid Back collaborated with Von Trier for this skydiving spectacle.
Other videos he’s directed: Laid Back – Elevator Boy & Bet It On You
93. Madonna – Beautiful Stranger | (1999)
Directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon)
Not a great or revolutionary video, but it worked for the Austin Powers sequel and Madonna won a Grammy for the song.
Other videos he’s directed: Wu-Tang Clan – Triumph; Jessica Simpson – These Boots Were Made For Walkin’
92. NoFX – S&M Airlines | (1989)
Directed by Gore Verbinski (The Ring, A Cure For Wellness)
Verbinski’s first music video.
Other videos he’s directed: Vicious Rumors – Don’t Wait for Me; 24-7 Spyz – Stuntman
91. Roger Waters – What God Wants Part 1 | (1992)
Directed by Tony Kaye (American History X, Black Water Transit)
A weird mix of Roger singing and animals. I don’t really know what else to say.
Other videos he’s directed: Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down; Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California
What did you think of the selection so far? What are some of your favorite music videos directed by filmmakers?