Girls on Film

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"Girls on Film"
Duran girls on film.jpg
Single by Duran Duran
from the album Duran Duran
  • "Faster Than Light"
Released13 July 1981
RecordedRed Bus Studios, London December 1980 (1980-12)
  • 3:27 (Single Version)
  • 5:31 (Night Version)
  • 5:45 (Extended Night Version)
  • 5:41 (Instrumental Version)
Songwriter(s)Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, James Bates
Producer(s)Colin Thurston
Duran Duran singles chronology
"Careless Memories"
"Girls on Film"
"My Own Way"
Music video
"Girls on Film" on YouTube

"Girls on Film" is the third single by Duran Duran, released on 13 July 1981.

The single became Duran Duran's Top 10 breakthrough in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at Number 5 in July 1981. The band personally selected the song for release following the failure of its predecessor, "Careless Memories", which had been chosen by their record company, EMI. Its popularity provided a major boost to sales of the band's eponymous debut album, Duran Duran, which had been released a month earlier.

The song did not chart in the United States on its initial release, but it became popular and widely known after receiving heavy airplay on MTV when the Duran Duran album was re-issued in 1983. The song was used as the opening theme song for the anime series Speed Grapher in the Japanese-language version (the song wasn't able to be licensed for releases outside of Japan), and the night version appeared on 2012 Square Enix video game Sleeping Dogs.


Originally written and demoed in 1979 by an early line-up of the band featuring singer Andy Wickett, Duran Duran re-wrote and re-recorded the song in 1981. The different original version, which co-writer Wickett said "was inspired by the dark side of the glitz and glamour", was released as part of an EP in 2018.[3]

Music video[edit]

The song fared well on the radio and the charts before the video was filmed, but the controversy that ensued helped to keep the band in the public eye and the song on the charts for many weeks.

The video was made with directing duo Godley & Creme (of 10cc fame) and director of photography Steven Bernstein at Shepperton Studios in July 1981. It was filmed just weeks before MTV was launched in the United States and before anyone knew what an impact the music channel would have on the industry. The band expected the "Girls on Film" video to be played exclusively at nightclubs that had video screens. The raunchy video created an uproar, and it was consequently banned by the BBC and heavily edited for its original run on MTV; the band unabashedly enjoyed and capitalised on the controversy.

A Video 45 for "Girls on Film" and "Hungry Like the Wolf" was released in the United States in March 1983. The VHS-format tape contains the MTV-friendly edited "day version" of "Girls on Film", while the Betamax and CED Videodisc format contained the original uncensored "night version". The Video 45 won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 1984, the first year the Academy gave that award. The uncensored video was also included in the Duran Duran video album (1983) and the Greatest video collection (released on VHS in 1999, and on DVD in 2004, which was given a restrictive 18 rating in the United Kingdom and Ireland). The edited version would later be used in the 2008 karaoke video game SingStar Pop Vol. 2.

Simon Le Bon commented in the audio interview on the Greatest DVD collection that the scandal of the music video overshadowed the song's message of fashion model exploitation.

Summary of the uncensored full-length version[edit]

The band performs on an elevated stage behind a models' catwalk, which resembles a boxing ring, as various scantily clad women act out a series of erotic vignettes. A number of these scenarios feature mild depictions of BDSM, sexual fetishism, fantasy and recurring themes of sizzling erotica such as seduction and abandonment:

  • Two models in lacy black teddies mount the catwalk carrying pillows. They straddle a shaving cream-covered post at either end and move toward the centre, sliding their crotches along the horizontal candy-striped shaft in a slow and suggestive manner. The models proceed to have a pillow fight, which causes their breasts to become partially exposed. Upon finishing, they kiss and return to their dressing room and pour champagne on each other's cleavage.
The Sumo wrestling match from "Girls on Film".
  • A petite female Sumo wrestler with her hair flared up in a tall tophawk ponytail mounts the catwalk to confront a lumbering, heavyset male Sumo wrestler. The woman is wearing a sheer top and a mawashi loincloth; the camera follows her as she enters, offering a generous, fetishistic view of her partially exposed buttocks. In the confrontational tachi-ai stance, she seizes her opponent by the shoulder and flips him forward head-over-heels. He somersaults and lands on his backside with a thud and she gives the ceremonial rei salutation (i.e., a bow) and walks away victorious.
  • A masseuse in a white nurse's uniform with white garter suspenders and sheer white stockings administers a full body hot-oil massage to a man (the Sumo wrestler) on a steam bath table. She later walks away leaving the man unconscious.
  • A woman in a cowgirl costume rides on the back of a muscular, G-string-wearing, black male model who is fetishistically costumed as an equine. She later soaps his semi-nude muscular body with a wet sponge and then leads him on a leash while he cavorts behind her.
  • A model wearing a one-piece swimsuit and high-heels struts and poses on the catwalk before falling backwards into a child's inflatable plastic wading pool and collapsing. She is "rescued" and revived by a male lifeguard. She responds by embracing and kissing the lifeguard so intensely that he becomes unconscious from exhaustion and is left in the pool while she walks away. The model is later seen reclining on a chair, nude, drying herself with an electric blow dryer before rubbing ice cubes on her nipples in closeup.
  • A brunette model removes her fur coat to reveal her breasts and skintight see-through plastic knickers underneath. She mud-wrestles with a blonde woman wearing a one-piece swimsuit. The blonde woman loses and is left behind in the mud, while the brunette woman is attended by a clothed male assistant who sprays the mud off her body with a water hose.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixes[edit]

The b-side of the single was another song initially unavailable anywhere else, a synthesiser-heavy dance track called "Faster Than Light".

The extended night version of "Girls on Film", similar to "Planet Earth" wasn't a remix, but a completely new arrangement of the song.

There are two slightly different mixes of the Night Version, one clocking in at 5:45, the other at 5:27. The video version clocks in at 6:19.

In 1998, EMI released Girls on Film – The Remixes, featuring a swathe of newly commissioned re-constructions of the song by Tall Paul and Tin Tin Out. A couple of these mixes were included on the 1998 UK release of the single "Electric Barbarella".

Covers, samples, and media references[edit]

Cover versions of "Girls on Film" have been recorded by Björn Again, Wesley Willis Fiasco, The Living End, Girls Aloud, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, Billy Preston, Kevin Max, La Ley, Midnight Oil, Mindless Self Indulgence and Chord Overstreet.[4]

Formats and track listing[edit]

7": EMI. / EMI 5206 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Girls on Film" – 3:29
  2. "Faster than Light" – 4:26

12": EMI. / 12 EMI 5206 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Girls on Film (Night Version)" – 5:31
  2. "Girls on Film" – 3:29
  3. "Faster than Light" – 4:26

12": EMI. / 062-20 07176 Greece[edit]

  1. "Girls on Film (Night Version)" – 5:45
  2. "Girls on Film (Instrumental)" – 5:41
  3. "Faster than Light" – 4:26
  • The Greek 12" release of "Girls on Film" contains a version with a longer camera intro not found on the other 12 inches. It was also released on some versions of the 1982 Carnaval EP. It appeared for the first time on CD on the 2010 remaster of Duran Duran as the "Extended Night Version".
  • The "Instrumental" was not released on other vinyl releases and remains unreleased on CD.

CD: Part of "Singles Box Set 1981–1985" boxset[edit]

  1. "Girls on Film" – 3:27
  2. "Faster than Light" – 4:26
  3. "Girls on Film (Night Version)" – 5:31

CD: Part of Duran Duran 2010 Special Edition (CD2)[edit]

  1. "Girls on Film" (Extended Night Version) – 5:45
  2. "Girls on Film" (Night Mix) – 5:42
  • Track 1 is the same version as the Greek 12" release (EMI / 062-20 0717 6).
  • Released in 2010.

CD: The Remixes United States[edit]

  1. "Girls on Film" (Tin Tin Out Mix) – 6:55
  2. "Girls on Film" (Salt Tank Mix) – 6:29
  3. "Girls on Film" (16 Millimetre Mix) – 7:28
  4. "Girls on Film" (Tall Paul Mix 1) – 8:28
  5. "Girls on Film" (Night Version) – 5:31
  6. "Girls on Film" (8 Millimetre Mix) – 5:47
  • Released in 1999

12": The Remixes United States[edit]

  1. "Girls on Film" (Tin Tin Out Mix) – 6:55
  2. "Girls on Film" (Salt Tank Mix) – 6:29
  3. "Girls on Film" (Tall Paul Mix 1) – 8:28
  4. "Girls on Film" (8 Millimetre Mix) – 5:47
  • Released in 1999


Chart (1981–82) Peak
UK Singles Chart 5
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 11
New Zealand[6] 4
Swedish Singles Chart 15
Irish Singles Chart 16
Chart (1999) Peak
US Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs 24


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[7] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Other appearances[edit]

Apart from the single, "Girls on Film" has also appeared on:


  • Nite Romantics (1981, Japan)
  • Night Versions (1982, Australia) (1984, New Zealand)
  • Carnival (1982, The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, United States, except from the Japanese release)


  • DMM Mega Mixes (1983, Germany)




Duran Duran are:

Also credited:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ People Weekly, Vol. 62. Time, Incorporated. 2004. "But the big-haired lineup that gave us such '80s synth-pop hits as "Girls on Film," "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio" has reunited for Astronaut, which finds the group taking creative flight again."
  2. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Girls on Film - Duran Duran | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  3. ^ Cleopatra Records release rare 1979 Duran Duran 'Girls on Film' EP featuring Andy Wickett Torched Magazine
  4. ^ [1] Archived 18 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, March 7, 1982
  7. ^ "British single certifications – Duran Duran – Girls on Film". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 May 2021.

External links[edit]