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Stardust (2020 film)

Stardust (2020).png
Film poster
Directed byGabriel Range
Produced byPaul Van Carter
Nick Taussig
Matt Code
Written byChristopher Bell
Gabriel Range
StarringJohnny Flynn
Jena Malone
Marc Maron
Music byAnne Nikitin
CinematographyNicholas D. Knowland
Edited byChris Gill
  • Salon Pictures
  • Wildling Pictures
Distributed byIFC Films
Release date
  • October 16, 2020 (2020-10-16) (SDIFF)
  • November 25, 2020 (2020-11-25) (United States)
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
Box office$9,087[1][2]

Stardust is a 2020 British-Canadian biographical film about English singer-songwriter David Bowie and his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. It is directed by Gabriel Range, and produced by Paul Van Carter, Nick Taussig and Matt Code, from screenplay co-written by Range with Christopher Bell. Johnny Flynn stars as Bowie, alongside Jena Malone and Marc Maron in supporting roles.[3] It was released on November 25, 2020 by IFC Films.


The film centres on Bowie's first tour in the US in 1971 and his creation of the Ziggy Stardust persona following this visit, whilst also showing Bowie's origins.[4]




In August 2019, Johnny Flynn was revealed in a first image portraying Bowie.[4] Marc Maron, Aaron Poole, Roanna Cocharne, Jorja Cadence, Jeremy Legat, James Cade, Annie Briggs, and Ryan Blakley later joined in 2019 in supporting roles.


Filming commenced on July 4, 2019, taking place in Toronto, Canada, and also in the United States, and concluded later in September 2019.


Bowie's estate did not approve the film and did not grant rights to use Bowie's music.[5] Instead, Stardust has Bowie performing covers the real Bowie performed in this period, such as "I Wish You Would" by the The Yardbirds and "My Death" by Jacques Brel.[6]


Stardust was scheduled to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2020, but the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[7] Instead, the film premiered on October 16, 2020, at the San Diego International Film Festival.[8] In August 2020, IFC Films acquired US distribution rights.[9] It was released on November 25, 2020.


Stardust was met with "generally unfavorable" reviews from critics at review aggregator Metacritic, with a weighted average score of 35 out of 100, based on 19 reviews.[10] According to Rotten Tomatoes, 16% of 62 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 4.00/10. The critics consensus on the website reads: "Ground control to Major Tom, Stardust did not put its helmet on."[11]

In the NME, Mark Beaumont gave the film four out of five, writing that it worked better as a "revelatory road-trip movie" rather than a biopic. He felt the lack of Bowie's music "robs the film of the sense that Bowie's glowering talent was being criminally ignored".[6] The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky was more critical, referring to the production as "velvet garbage" and concluding the film's version of Bowie to be "simply a mediocre jerk who needs roleplaying therapy to deal with his demons."[12]


  1. ^ "Stardust (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  2. ^ "Stardust (2020)". The Numbers. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  3. ^ "See the first photo of Johnny Flynn as David Bowie in upcoming film 'Stardust'". Retrieved 2020-01-08.
  4. ^ a b "Stardust: David Bowie Biopic Shares First Pic Of Johnny Flynn As Music Icon". Empire. 2019-08-20. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
  5. ^ "David Bowie's son Duncan Jones slams plans for planned biopic about his dad". Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  6. ^ a b "'Stardust' review: David Bowie biopic documents the genesis of an icon". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 2020-04-16. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  7. ^ Reed, Ryan (12 March 2020). "Tribeca Film Festival Postponed Over Coronavirus Precautions". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ "The Re-Imagined 2020 San Diego International Film Festival Announces Festival to Feature Virtual Village & Drive-In Movies!". San Diego International Film Festival. 2020-09-23. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  9. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (August 19, 2020). "David Bowie Road-Trip Movie 'Stardust' Secures U.S. Deal With IFC Films". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  10. ^ "Stardust" – via
  11. ^ "Stardust (2020)" – via
  12. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy (November 24, 2020). "Stardust, the Bowie biopic without any Bowie songs, is velvet garbage". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 15, 2021.

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