The Film of the Song is, yes, a film thats in some way based on a song, or at least its title, and is a rare sister of The Film of the Book or The Book of the Film. Bonus points if the song in question is NOT used in the movie soundtrack. While there are numerous examples of The Film of the Book, since songs tend to be short and sweet, films are rarely made from songs; they need a lot of expansion out to feature length. So if it does happen, it's all the more interesting.
Note that this discussion is (mostly) restricted to feature-length films of some sort, such as films that take the actual plot from the song and expand it music videos don't count, as they are generally more or less illustrations of the songs, not standalone media products in their own right. Nor does it count if the films Theme Tune becomes a hit in its own right although if the tune becomes better known than the movie (it happens), and if its an Expository Theme Tune, it can be hard to tell the difference.
There are three subtypes of this trope:
- Type A - Classic The Full Story Of The Song: An expansion of the song's narrative content into a movie.
- Type B - Song Name The Movie: Named for a song, but not related by content; likely it's to capitalize on a recent hit
- Type C - Their Greatest Hit The Movie: A Biopic of a notable singer or band, the movie is named for one of the singer's hits. Biopics named after the singer or band themselves don't count.
Examples - Type A (The Full Story Of The Song):
- Alice's Restaurant
- The Black Fly Song, made into cartoon Blackfly
- Born in East L.A.
- The Cat Came Back
- Frosty The Snowman was a song before it was a television special.
- The Erl King
- The Gambler turned into an entire series of Made-for-TV movies starring Kenny Rogers.
- Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
- Harper Valley PTA, which later became a TV show.
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
- Is There Life Out There, a 1994 CBS TV movie starring Reba McEntire, based on her 1992 song of the same name
- The Indian Runner
- The Legend of Tom Dooley
- The Log Driver's Waltz
- Ode to Billy Joe
- Purple People Eater
- Rovaniemen markkinoilla, a Finnish 1951 film based on a song by the same name. It was the Genre Popularizer for the Rillumarei film and live entertainment genre that drew from the musical couplet genre of light, cleverly written, often satirical songs. Many of these films were based on an existing song, or a song was specifically written to be the foundation of a film.
- "Unanswered Prayers", a Lifetime Movie of the Week based on the Garth Brooks song.
- Yellow Submarine: A bit of a borderline case, as it does expand on the song and illustrates it at the same time.
- Santa, Baby!, an animated Christmas special starring Eartha Kitt, the original performer of the song.
- 1945 song "Tubby the Tuba", about a tuba who dreams of playing melodies, was adapted into film twice. In 1947 came the Stop Motion animated short "Tubby the Tuba", which was followed by the cel animation feature Tubby the Tuba in 1975.
Counterexamples that you might expect to fit here, only they don't:
- I Never Promised You A Rose Garden: Neither book nor film are connected to the song at all.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer might be worth mentioning as not counting, since it went book-song-TV special. Most people don't know about the book.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was based on the graphic novel series with a title character named for the Plumtree song.
- The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia is about a singer and his manager/sister. At one point they sing the song. The soundtrack also includes a version of the lyrics that refer to the movie's story.
- Disney's RocketMan has nothing to do with the Elton John song (though the song does play in the credits), nor Sir Elton's 2019 biopic of the same name (see below). Rather, it's a Harland Williams vehicle where he plays a goofy astronaut.
Movies that are very close to this:
- Arguably, The Hunting of the Snark musical by Jeff Beck is a close relative, as it's "The Musical of the Poem".
- Also, film versions of ancient epics, such as The Odyssey or The Divine Comedy, would apply, since the original is essentially a very long song.
- Linear (2009), a 58-minute film by Anton Corbijn, is effectively "The Film of the Album" of U2's No Line on the Horizon (2009), featuring 10 of the 11 songs from the album and one other song that was cut from the final album. Corbijn has insisted that the film is not an extended music video, but rather "a new way to listen to a record — a new way to use film to connect to music," making it an example of this.
Examples - Type B (Song Name The Movie):
- Girls Just Want To Have Fun: Sarah Jessica Parker likes to dance. Her father disagrees. The song, needless to say, is by Cyndi Lauper (but she wouldn't let New World Pictures use her recording, which is why the movie uses a cover version).
- Drive Me Crazy: Melissa Joan Hart Romantic Comedy, sort of named for a Fine Young Cannibals song but more in honour of the Britney Spears song "Crazy." On top of being The Film of the Song, it's also The Film Of The Novel ("How I Created My Perfect Prom Date").
- Bird On The Wire: Song by Leonard Cohen, the film is an Action Comedy starring Goldie Hawn, Mel Gibson and David Carradine.
- Can't Buy Me Love and its remake Love Don't Cost a Thing, each named after a different song.
- Sweet Home Alabama.
- A Hard Day's Night
- My Boyfriend's Back: A romantic horror-comedy about a young man who comes back from the dead after a botched attempt at Engineered Heroics in the hopes of confessing his love to his long-time crush.
- Jumpin' Jack Flash: Secret agent movie parody starring Whoopie Goldberg.
- Dazed and Confused
- The Crying Game
- Take Me Home Tonight
- Feeling Minnesota—though the song is "Feelin' Minnesota."
- Monster Mash (1995): A live-action horror comedy loosely based on Bobby Pickett's hit song The Monster Mash as well as a musical play Bobby Pickett co-wrote called I'm Sorry the Bridge Is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night. Notably had Bobby Pickett himself play Dr. Frankenstein. The actual song plays three times in the film.
- Monster Mash (2000): An animated movie where Dracula, Frankenstein's monster and the Wolfman have to prove that they still have what it takes to be scary in spite of how much they've aged. This one also uses the original song.
Examples - Type C (Their Greatest Hit The Movie)
- Beyond The Sea: about Bobby Darin.
- Coal Miner's Daughter: about Loretta Lynn
- De-Lovely, about Cole Porter.
- Great Balls Of Fire: about Jerry Lee Lewis
- La Bamba: about Ritchie Valens
- Walk The Line: about Johnny Cash
- Sweet Dreams: about Patsy Cline
- I'm Your Man: Not quite a Biopic. Leonard Cohen interviews and singers such as Rufus and Martha Wainwright or Antony performing Cohen's songs
- What's Love Got to Do with It: about Tina Turner
- Straight Outta Compton: About the members of N.W.A.
- Bohemian Rhapsody: About the members of Queen
- Rocket Man 2019 : About Elton John.