The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen's 25 Biggest Heroes

The artists, activists and friends that have shaped Springsteen's world

Terrence Malick

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The reclusive and painstaking director is famous for his sparse and gorgeous visual style, as well as his examination of spiritual themes. Malick's 1973 debut, Martin Sheen-starring Badlands, a retelling of the Charlie Starkweather murders, was a favorite of Springsteen's, whose Darkness on the Edge of Town contains a song of the same name. Indeed, Springsteen's 1978-1982 work, with its lonely figures wandering through bleak American landscapes, is pure Malick. Nebraska's album cover looks like it could be a still from a Malick picture, and the title track is also a retelling of the Starkweather homicides. Others have picked up on the influence: Bono, during his 1999 speech inducting Springsteen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said, "It's like, in 'Badlands,' [Springsteen] is Martin Sheen and Terrence Malick."

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