Bob Dylan songs that could have been movies – a playlist

Bob Dylan songs that could have been movies – a playlist

The stories these songs tell might be happy or sad, truth or fiction. But they’ll all have one thing in common: They makes us see a film inside our head, or evoke a mood that feels like a movie . We follow the stories and identify with the characters, and like real movies they are sometimes linear (like most movies) and sometimes the structure is more experimental, like Reservoir Dogs or Satyricon. A few times we cannot say why they feel cinematic but they do.

Here are my choices:

All along the watchtower – Bob Dylan (here is a great live version from 6th of June 1999 in Colarado Springs) this could obviously be made into Euro-western with a prison break theme :

My short pitches

  1. Brownsville Girl – A Wim Wenders road movie with Sam Shepard as the protagonist
  2. Lily, Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts – A Tarantino gambling flick
  3. All along the watchtower – Euro-Western/Prison break movie made by Leone or Corbucci
  4. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest – Sam Peckinpah western
  5. Talking Bear Mountain Massacre Blues – The Coen Brothers joins forces with T Bone Burnett in music themed 30s set disaster movie
  6. Ballad of Hollis Brown – Kelly Reichardt does her third very bleak western
  7. Blackjack Davey – A Merchant Ivory period drama
  8. Tin Angel – Scorsese does murder period drama
  9. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll – Steve McQueen tackles the sad story Hattie Carroll, period piece of course
  10. Motorpsycho Nightmare – Roberto Rodriguez does modern western noir
  11. Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues – Michael Mann makes a film about conspiracies and politics
  12. Ballad of a Thin man – David Fincher paranoid psychological thriller
  13. Went to see the gypsy – David Lynch finally makes a sequel to Mullholland Drive
  14. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) – Clint Eastwood revisionist western
  15. Man in the long black coat – Existential apocalyptic horror from Terrence Malick
  16. Frankie & Albert – Gangster movie with doomed lovers helmed by Walter Hill
  17. Two Soldiers – Spielberg takes on the Civil War
  18. Scarlet Town – Luca Guadagnino does his end-of-days epic
  19. Cross the Green Mountains – has to be a personal soldier story from the Civil war made by Peter Weir
  20. Key West (Philosopher Pirate) – Robert Altmanesque road movie set in the location of the song

Now that Sam Peckinpah is no longer available, Tarantino should make this his 10th film, Lily, Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts – Bob Dylan:

“Dylan has so many story-songs under his belt, from the surrealist goof of “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” to the ripped-from-the-headlines “Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll,” that it’s hard to single out just one. But one of his finest yarns turns up on 1975’s Blood On The Tracks—this Western about a charming rogue who blows into town and gets the better of villainous mine owner Big Jim, with the help of Jim’s showgirl mistress Lily and put-upon wife Rosemary. The song’s cinematic sweep makes it feel like it might have been a great film in the hands of a director like Howard Hawks or Dylan’s friend Sam Peckinpah. And in fact, Dylan tried at least once to get a screenplay based on “Lily” off the ground.”
– A.V.Club

I have to include Tweeter and The Monkey Man by Travelling Wilburys, it is just so cinematic in it’s storytelling. Shane Black would have been an excellent choice to make this into a neo-noir / gangster comedy :

8 thoughts on “Bob Dylan songs that could have been movies – a playlist

    1. I know, I’ve already had quite a few comments on that one 🙂 I can certainly see that as a movie.

  1. There’s enough material for a whole brand keep streaming service – let’s call it Bobflix. If you spin it the other way round, it’s difficult to find a song that wouldn’t make a great movie.

    1. That is true, therefore I tried to pick the more obvious, cinematic story songs. But yes, I agree with you John, thanks for the feedback.

    1. Well, I return to the Queen of Spades
      And talk with my chambermaid
      She knows that I’m not afraid to look at her
      She is good to me and there’s
      Nothing she doesn’t see
      She knows where I’d like to be but it doesn’t

      There are maybe a few conspiracies in there, I would see that. Thanks, Anselmo

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