David Bowie movies follow the same line as David Bowie albums: some are great and some are flops. Though Bowie is more known for his music than his acting, he can claim careers in both. However, his movie acting career has been sporadic and he has racked up many more cameo roles than her ever has actual acting gigs.
Some of Bowie's minor roles include a shark in the 1983 movie Yellowbeard and Pontius Pilate in the 1988 movie The Last Temptation of Christ. He played an FBI agent in the 1992 movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and Andy Warhol in the 1996 movie Basquiat.
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Bowie's first big role, this 1976 movie was the perfect fit for the lanky, odd and outlandish rock star. The film tells the tale of an alien who crashes on Earth while searching for a way to save his water-parched planet. The alien, played by Bowie, deals with every aspect of human existence, including money, lust and alcohol, as he works to save his home planet. Though the movie received mixed reviews, Bowie's performance was widely praised.
The Hunger (1983)
The Hunger gave Bowie another leading role in 1983. The trendy vampire movie never gained much critical praise, but quickly became a huge cult classic. Bowie and Catherine Deneuve played vampire lovers in the film. The main conflict in the film occurs when Bowie makes a startling discovery, centuries after Deneuve made him a vampire. He discovers that though both of them are immortal, she is ageless and he is not.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence was a 1983 drama that won Bowie major critical acclaim. The story revolves around four men in a World War II Japanese prisoner of war camp. Jack, played by Bowie, is a prisoner with a guilty conscience who develops an odd adversarial relationship with Yonoi, a camp commandant. Bowie's fellow prisoner, the British officer Jack, develops an odd friendship with Hara, a camp sergeant.
This big-budget, 1986 movie extravaganza completely flopped. Bowie was cast in the lead role of Jareth, king of the goblins. Famed puppeteer Jim Henson created the monsters for the mythical story about a young girl and her quest through a labyrinth to find her baby brother, which Bowie has kidnapped. The story revolves around Bowie's strange adversarial attraction to the girl and his attempts to control her.
The Linguini Incident (1991)
The Linguini Incident placed Bowie back in a leading role in 1991. The comedic film involves a devious waitress, played by Rosanna Arquette, and a British bartender, played by Bowie. Bowie agrees to help Arquette rob the restaurant they both work at, but only if she marries him so he can get a green card. The movie was given a nod of approval by the general public, but never made much money.
The Prestige (2006)
The Prestige offered Bowie a minor role in the popular 2006 movie. The story details the rivalry between two magicians at the end of the nineteenth century. Bowie played the role of the real scientist Nikola Tesla. Tesla was a major competitor of Thomas Edison and becomes involved with the story when one of the magicians tracks him down to build an electrical machine.