Music videos and film directors have a closer relationship than meets the eye, and it is surprising how many famous filmmakers cut their teeth directing for musicians. This list by no means chronicles the only examples, but it is a good place to start!
This 18-minute music video from the King of Pop has been more fittingly described as a ‘short film’, and that isn’t a far stretch considering that the legendary Martin Scorsese directed it. The video takes inspiration from a dance sequence in the 1961 film West Side Story, and features a young Wesley Snipes as the rival gang leader.
Under The Bridge is the song that spiralled California band Red Hot Chili Peppers into international fame, and Gus Van Sant directed the accompanying video. Van Sant, known for his Academy Award winning Good Will Hunting, also provided the art direction for the band’s album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
New York film director Spike Lee features this song heavily in his critically acclaimed 1989 film Do The Right Thing. The song was written by hip-hop group Public Enemy at the request of the director, and plays in the opening credits of the film, with actress Rosie Perez dancing to it.
Spike Jonze is not only a film director; he also has many music videos under his belt, including videos for Bjork, Fatboy Slim and Beastie Boys. Buddy Holly is the lead single from the band’s 1994 self-titled debut album, and scored four awards at the 1995 MTV Music Video Awards.
This iconic music video inspired dance floor moves for decades to come, and was directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network). The video’s sharp choreography and black-and-white format cemented Madonna as one of the best performers of her time.