Springsteen as Soundtrack

The Sound of the Boss in Film and Television

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About the Book

A catalog nearly fifty years in the making, Bruce Springsteen’s music remains popular and a frequent subject of study yet little critical attention has been given to its inclusion in film and television. This book examines a selection of films and TV shows from the 1980s to the present—including Mask, High Fidelity, The Sopranos and The Wrestler—that feature Springsteen’s music on the soundtrack.

Relating his thematic preoccupations with religion, the Vietnam War, the promise of the open road, economic disparity and blue-collar malaise, his songs color narrative and articulate the inner lives of characters. This book explores the many on-screen contexts of Springsteen’s work from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. to Springsteen on Broadway.

About the Author(s)

Caroline Madden is a film critic who has written for The Daily Beast,, IndieWire, Reverse Shot, and more.

Bibliographic Details

Caroline Madden
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 242
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7285-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3787-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 5
Baby It’s You 17
Mask 33
In Country 43
Philadelphia 63
Dead Man Walking 76
No Looking Back 91
The Sopranos 102
High Fidelity 117
Prozac Nation 132
Reign Over Me 148
The Wrestler 159
Show Me a Hero 173
American Honey 191
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 221
Index 229

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Caroline Madden offers captivating analysis of the use of Springsteen’s music in film and television and, by extension, the Boss’s influence on forty years of popular culture. Springsteen as Soundtrack is a must-read for cinephiles and Springsteen fans alike.”—Jonathan D. Cohen, co-editor of Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen

• “Wonderful…serious and academic enough for a film studies class, entertaining enough for any Springsteen fan…two thumbs up”—Backstreets