8 Songs Inspired by Movies

Inspiration for songs come from all sorts of places. While it typically comes from one’s own experiences, sometimes it can come from other forms of media or events. One unique form of inspiration is from movies. Whether it’s lightly referenced or written to fit a movie plot exactly, we’ve collected some of our favorite songs inspired by movies.

“2012” - The Word Alive

Metalcore band The Word Alive is always looking for ways to experiment with their sound. While many of their songs come from personal experiences, especially those from their vocalist Tyler “Telle” Smith, their song “2012” off of their Deceiver album was inspired by the 2009 film Law Abiding Citizen starring Jamie Foxx. Smith said about the song, "When we wrote '2012' I knew right away that I wanted the song to be very intense...something where anyone could get a pretty clear meaning of what it's about. I had watched the movie Law Abiding Citizen right before I wrote '2012' and it was fresh in my mind. I wanted to put into words the way that movie made me feel, from the main character's point of view." The song became one of the band’s most popular songs. “2012” features Miss May I singer Levi Benton, making it even bigger within the metalcore scene upon its release.

“A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me” - Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy is known for their long and witty song titles on their classic albums like From Under the Cork Tree and Infinity on High. While “A Little Less Than Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me” clearly falls into that category, it also references the popular 80s movie, Sixteen Candles. Much like the movie, the song contains themes of teen drama and unrequited love. The members of Fall Out Boy also grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where all of Hughes' films take place, given them a personal connection to the movies. The song title not only references Sixteen Candles, but it also references Elvis’ song “Little Less Conversation” and Samantha Fox and The Doors song “Touch Me.” Combining all these together, it’s a song meant to say, instead of a wholesome teen drama of Sixteen Candles, they want a little wilder of a story. In essence, the song is a combination of a bunch of references to things the band loves. It’s also a great song worth checking out if you haven’t yet.

“Thank God It’s Friday” - Ice Nine Kills

“Thank God It’s Friday” is just one song of an entire album referencing movies, more specifically, horror movies. Ice Nine Kills’ album The Silver Scream follows a fictional storyline where the singer of the band is being accused of murder since many of the songs cover content related to high-profile killers such as Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, and many more. This specific song is a direct reference to the Friday the 13th franchise. As it follows the curse and anger that Jason holds from drowning as a kid, the chorus tells listeners, “Fueled by the flood, we pay in blood/The curse of Crystal Lake/He's down there deep within/We've found there's no escape.” The song also features a woman’s voice imitating Jason’s mother in the first film asking listeners, “Did you know my son drowned in this lake?” After watching the music video, you’ll have no doubts of its references to Friday the 13th.

“Only” - Nine Inch Nails

The inspiration behind this song is more subjective than the other songs on this list. The director of the music video for this song was David Fincher, who also directed Fight Club. It’s been said that this song is based on the movie. Lyrics like, "You were never really real to begin with, I just made you up to hurt myself" point to the main character in the film and his alter-ego Tyler Durden. This song is a fan-favorite and said to also reference Trent Reznor's personal life in the song too. Listen to the song below.

“So Long Astoria” - The Ataris

The song title itself is a direct reference to The Goonies as Astoria is the town from the 1985 movie. The lead singer Kris Roe said that his inspiration came from his childhood memories, and the adventures the children in The Goonies take are very nostalgic. The line, "This is my wish and I'm taking it back, I'm taking 'em all back" is a lyric from the line and from the movie. There was a fan made video where the song was put to scenes from The Goonies. You can watch it below.

“Union Forever” - The White Stripes

This song by The White Stripes is not only inspired by the 1941 movie Citizen Kane, but it also uses direct lines from the film for the lyrics. This song strings together lots of different moments from Citizen Kane including: "It can't be love, for there is no true love" (Referrring to the jazz singer at the picnic/barbecue who sings this in the movie), "Sure, I'm C.F.K, but you gotta love me" (C.F.K.'s (Charles Foster Kane's) wife Susan says this to him in an argument), and "There is a man, a certain man, who for the poor you may be sure that he'll do all he can...I bet you five you're not alive if you don't know his name" (A song sung to him in celebration of Kane's newspaper). These are just a few of many references the song has.

Since the song borrows so directly from the movie, Warner Brothers considered a copyright infringement lawsuit against the band. In their defense, The White Stripes said it does not merely copy the film but takes bits and pieces of the film and transforms them into a song. Doing so does not reduce sales or otherwise affect the “market” for the film (Source). It doesn’t appear the lawsuit ever went through as little information is available online. What do you think? Is it copyright infringement or a creative reinvention?