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Documentaries about David Bowie

Top 8 Documentaries about David Bowie

Uncover the life and legacy of David Bowie with these top 8 documentaries. Get to know the man behind the music.

Intro: Documentaries about David Bowie

David Robert Jones, better known by his stage name David Bowie, was a pivotal figure in the world of music. Born on January 8, 1947, in Brixton, South London, Bowie distinguished himself with a career that spanned over five decades. He made an indelible mark on the world of rock and pop culture with his unique voice and genre-bending style.

Bowie’s career began to take flight in 1969 with the release of “Space Oddity,” which coincided with Apollo 11’s moon landing. His breakthrough album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars” (1972) brought him worldwide fame. This glam-rock album introduced one of Bowie’s most famous alter egos - Ziggy Stardust - a fictional rock star who was set to be Earth’s messenger.

Throughout his life, Bowie constantly reinvented himself, both musically and visually. From the soul-inspired sounds of “Young Americans” (1975) to the experimental “Low” (1977), part of his ‘Berlin Trilogy’, Bowie proved time and again that he wasn’t confined by any specific genre or style.

His ability to adapt gave him longevity uncommon among many artists; this is evident when considering his later works like “Earthling” (1997), where he embraced electronica, or “Blackstar” (2016), which intertwined jazz elements into his music proving once again that he was an iconoclast until the end. Tragically, “Blackstar”, released just two days before his death from liver cancer on January 10th, 2016, served as his poignant farewell.

Numerous documentaries have been made about David Bowie’s life and work, offering insights into this enigmatic artist’s personal journey as well as exploring his cultural impact. These films along with others shed light on how one man from London became a cultural icon who continues to inspire generations long after his passing.

1. David Bowie - The Story Of Ziggy Stardust -  BBC 4 Documentary - Narrated By Jarvis Cocker

The BBC 4 documentary delves into the extraordinary story of Ziggy Stardust, a legendary persona created by the iconic musician David Bowie. With an intriguing narrative, the film takes us on a captivating journey through Bowie’s groundbreaking transformation into this otherworldly character. Narrated by the talented Jarvis Cocker, viewers are treated to an in-depth exploration of Ziggy Stardust’s rise to fame and his enduring impact on music and culture. Through interviews, rare footage, and expert analysis, this engrossing documentary sheds light on how Bowie’s artistic vision revolutionized the music industry and left an indelible mark on generations to come. So sit back, immerse yourself in the fascinating tale of Ziggy Stardust, and let Jarvis Cocker guide you through this enthralling tribute to one of music’s greatest innovators.

2. David Bowie - Sound and Vision (BBC Documentary) - Documentaries about David Bowie

Unveiling the extraordinary journey of a musical genius, this documentary delves into the life and career of David Bowie. It’s a thrilling exploration, chronicling his revolutionary contributions to the music industry, his personal battles, and his remarkable achievements.

The narrative is enriched through intimate interviews with those who knew him best — his beloved wife Iman, and fellow musical visionaries such as Iggy Pop, Moby, and Trent Reznor. These firsthand accounts shed light on Bowie’s uniqueness, both onstage and offstage.

Featuring rare footage of electrifying performances that span three decades of his innovative career; this extensive showcase captures the charisma of one of pop culture’s greatest showmen.

Additionally, we turn our lens towards Bowie’s diverse interests and passion for arts outside music. This is an all-encompassing glimpse at the man behind the icon — a testament to Bowie’s enduring influence on art and culture. An unmissable treat for fans and admirers alike! Experience David Bowie like never before in this enthralling documentary.

3. The Life Ending Illness David Bowie Kept Secret For Years | Our History - Bowie Documentary

In the wake of an unexpected tragedy in January 2016, iconic rock musician David Bowie passed away due to cancer merely two days following his 69th birthday. His sudden departure left the world astounded, as it was later discovered that Bowie had been privately battling this terminal disease for a year and a half, without divulging his circumstances to even his nearest and dearest.

Accomplished Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter is set to revisit the circumstances surrounding David Bowie’s demise. With a brand-new perspective, he aims to shed light on the true nature of the cancer that led to Bowie’s untimely end. The focus will also delve into how, being the exceptional showman he was, Bowie orchestrated an impeccable adieu. This compelling documentary first hit screens on June 17th, 2018.

4. David Bowie - Ricochet documentary (1984) - Documentaries about Bowie

In December 1983, the colossal ‘Serious Moonlight’ tour of legendary rock musician, David Bowie, ventured into hitherto unexplored territories in Asia. The tour schedule included performances in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore - places that were relatively unfamiliar to major Western rock acts during that era.

This documentary presents an intriguing blend of fact and fiction, inscribed as a visual diary capturing Bowie’s unique interactions with diverse cultures. In Singapore, Bowie navigates the city’s paradoxical landscape - from striking up unconventional friendships with Chinese opera performers to meandering through its impersonal shopping complexes.

The narrative arc reaches its crescendo with an almost derailed concert at Singapore’s National Stadium. Experience this extraordinary journey as Bowie explores truly distinctive societal landscapes while challenging the norms of what a rock concert can be.

5. David Bowie - The Origins Of A Starman -  Documentaries about David Bowie

This biography contains no original music by David Bowie, due to not being authorized by his record company and his management. But don’t be deterred by the “Unauthorized by Bowie” tagline or the absence of his iconic tunes. This compelling documentary is a treasure trove that transcends the boundaries of conventional musical biography. Despite the lack of original Bowie tracks, replaced by non-copyright infringing music, you’ll find yourself engrossed in this fascinating journey.

Featuring riveting interviews with people that knew him from school, friends, his original bandmates, and notably, luminary broadcaster John Peel; this documentary offers a unique insight into Bowie’s life. Starting from his humble beginnings, traversing through his formative years to his meteoric rise to stardom – it offers an intimate look at how he paved his bumpy road to fame.

This stimulating chronicle promises not merely to inform, but captivate and inspire all who admire this legendary artist. If you are eager to know more about Bowie, including unique tales and perspectives from the people who really knew him, this is a must-watch documentary!

6. Cracked Actor (Documentary, 1975) - David Bowie Documentaries

In light of David Bowie’s resurgent album and the accompanying exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Alan Yentob revisits his seminal 1975 documentary, “Cracked Actor”. The film is an intimate chronicle of Bowie’s grueling 1974 Diamond Dogs tour.

Yentob recalls capturing Bowie in a phase of intense creativity juxtaposed with physical and emotional exhaustion. Their dialogues often took place in the solitude of early morning hotel rooms or quick exchanges in the refuge of limousines. Despite his fragility and fatigue, Bowie was uncharacteristically open, providing a depth rarely seen before.

Regarded as an archetype among rock documentaries, “Cracked Actor” continues to resonate with generations of Bowie enthusiasts, its influence undiminished by time.

7. David Bowie’s Darkest Character: The Thin White Duke  | Amplified - Documentary on Bowie

This documentary offers an extraordinary fusion of live shows and studio recordings by the legendary David Bowie. Interspersed with these captivating performances are rare, intimate interviews that provide a glimpse into Bowie’s unique persona. Further, enhancing this rich tapestry of content is insightful commentary from an illustrious panel of experts.

The panel comprises distinguished figures such as Dieter Moebius and Michael Rother, both ex-members of the influential bands Neu! and Cluster. Music industry authorities like Mark Prendergast, David Stubbs, Daryl Easlea, Paolo Hewitt grace the documentary with their expertise, amongst many others. Their collective wisdom not only analyze Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, but also enriches viewers’ understanding of these masterpieces. This documentary is an immersive journey into one of the most significant periods in Bowie’s musical career.

8. David Bowie - VH -1 Legends Documentary  - 1998 - HQ - USA TV Special - Eddie Izzard Narrates

Experience an extraordinary Bowie special from 1998, expertly narrated by Eddie Izzard. Witness the magic of this remarkable tribute in the finest quality accessible. Due to several copyright constraints, a few minutes have been carefully edited out to prevent any blocks, but rest assured that this doesn’t compromise the enchantment of this iconic journey into Bowie’s world. Dive into the mesmerizing narrative and enjoy this unique tribute to one of rock’s greatest legends.

Documentaries about David Bowie: Conclusions

If you are keen to know more about the life and music of David Bowie and his legacy, then you should watch the eight documentaries we listed above. If you enjoyed this content, don’t forget to share it!

Photo credits: Unlimphotos by NewZulu

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