Girls on Film
single by Duran Duran
B-side "Faster Than Light"
Released 13 July 1981
Format 7", 12"
Genre Pop
Length 3:27 minutes
Label Capitol, EMI
Writer(s) Duran Duran
Producer Colin Thurston
Duran Duran

"Girls on Film" is the third single by Duran Duran, released by Capitol-EMI from their eponymous debut album Duran Duran on 13 July 1981.

About the songEdit

The song reached Number 5 on the UK Singles Chart on 25 July. It was the band's second hit single in Australia, peaking at #11. The song did not chart in the U.S. on its initial release, but it became popular and widely known there after receiving heavy airplay on MTV when the Duran Duran album was re-issued in 1983.

The original writer Andy Wickett was paid £600 for the song and never received credit for it. When Andy wasn't working during the day he would try out his new ideas with Duran Duran. One night he wrote the melody to "Girls on Film". Whilst he sang a lyric from his notebook "girls in film they look better, girls in film always smile". John Taylor suggested that he change it to girls 'on' film. Andy told Nick Rhodes to introduce the song by playing the melody on his string machine and the song was born. They recorded the song as part of their first demo at Bob Lamb's studio in Birmingham. However Andy left the band for personal reasons and was offered £600 on condition that he signed a waiver.

The song begins with a recording of the rapid clicking of the motor drive on manager Paul Berrow's Nikon camera.

Over the years, "Girls on Film" has become a staple of the encores for Duran Duran's live performances, and is often the final song of a concert, during which lead singer Simon Le Bon introduces the rest of the band. It was the song Duran Duran was playing at the turn of the century, during their performance at a private party on New Year's Eve, 1999.

The song, along with "Rio" was originally omitted from the 1984 live album Arena due to the space limitations of vinyl, in favor of newer and less familiar album material from 1983's Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Both tracks were included as bonus material in the 2004 CD reissue of Arena.

Donald A. Guarisco at All Music Guide[1] said:

"Girls on Film" presents an impressionistic set of images through its lyrics as it chronicles a rather racy photo shoot in a breathless first-person style, complete with fanciful and suggestive turns of phrase like "Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she's falling" and "Wider baby smiling you've just made a million." This hazy yet sexy imagery makes it tough to determine whether the photo shoot in question is fashion-oriented or pornographic, which adds to the song's saucy sense of fun. The music puts the song's barrage of imagery forth at a fast clip, alternating moody verses that swing with a jazzy edge and a chant-like chorus built on descending notes. Duran Duran's recording gives the song a churning dance beat as atmospheric synth lines and sharp electric guitar riffs duel over the top.

Music videoEdit

The song fared well on the radio and the charts before the notoriously titillating 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 (featuring topless women mud wrestling and other not-very-stylised depictions of sexual fetishes) was made with directing duo Godley & Creme, and was filmed in August just two weeks after MTV was launched in the United States, 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 in the newer nightclubs that had video screens, or on pay-TV channels like the Playboy Channel. The raunchy video created an uproar, and it was consequently banned by the BBC and heavily edited for MTV. The band unabashedly enjoyed and capitalised on the controversy.

The Duran Duran Video 45 has videos for "Girls on Film" and "Hungry Like the Wolf", it was released in the United States in March, 1983 (The VHS-format tape contains MTV-friendly "day version" of "Girls on Film", while the Beta format contains the 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).

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.

B-sides, bonus tracks and remixesEdit

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

The extended night version of "Girls on Film", like "Planet Earth", wasn't a remix, but a completely new arrangement of the song. This was mainly due to technology contraints in 1981.

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 notable remixers like 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, & media referencesEdit

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, Madmen in Vienna, New Romantic Orchestra, and La Ley

The song was used as opening music to original Japanese version of the anime series Speed Grapher; due to licensing issues, the song "Shutter Speed" by Shinkichi Mitsumune was used in the U.S. release instead.

A live version of "Girls on Film" was used as the theme music to the TV series Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Model Search.

Track listingEdit

Release information pertains to UK release only (unless otherwise noted)

7": EMI EMI 5206

  1. "Girls on Film" - 3:27
  2. "Faster Than Light" - 4:26

12": EMI 12 EMI 5206

  1. "Girls on Film" (Night Version) - 5:27
  2. "Girls on Film" - 3:27
  3. "Faster Than Light" - 4:26

12": EMI 062-2007176 (limited edition Greek release)

  1. "Girls on Film" (Night version) - 5:45
  2. "Girls on Film" (Instrumental) - 5:41
  3. "Faster Than Light" - 4:26

CD: Part of the "Singles Box Set 1981-1985"

  1. "Girls on Film" (Night Version) - 5:27
  2. "Girls on Film" - 3:27
  3. "Faster Than Light" - 4:26

Other appearancesEdit

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


Box sets:



Duran Duran are:

Also credited:


See them walking hand in hand across the bridge at midnight
Heads turning as the lights flashing out are so bright
Then walk right out to the fourline track
Theres a camera rolling on her back on her back
And I sense the rhythms humming in a frenzy
All the way down her spine

Girls on film
Girls on film
Girls on film
Girls on film

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as shes falling
In miles of sharp blue water coming in where she lies
The diving mans coming up for air
Cause the crowd all love pulling dolly by the hair, by the hair
And she wonders how she ever got here
As she goes under again

Girls on film (two minutes later)
Girls on film
Girls on film (got your picture)
Girls on film

Wider baby smiling youve just made a million
Fuses pumping live heat twisting out on a wire
Take one last glimpse into the night
Im touching close Im holding bright, holding tight
Give me shudders with a whisper take me high
Till I Im shooting a star

Girls on film (shes more than a lady)
Girls on film
Girls on film (see you together)
Girls on film
Girls on film (see you later)
Girls on film
Girls on film (two minutes later)

See alsoEdit


  1. All Music Guide Song Review: Girls on Film
Simon Le BonNick RhodesJohn TaylorRoger Taylor
Andy TaylorWarren CuccurulloSterling Campbell

Duran DuranRioSeven and the Ragged TigerArenaNotoriousBig ThingLibertyDuran Duran (The Wedding Album)Thank YouMedazzalandPop TrashAstronautRed Carpet Massacre


CarnivalDecade: Greatest HitsGreatestNight Versions: The Essential Duran DuranStrange BehaviourSingles Box Set 1981-1985Singles Box Set 1986-1995


"Planet Earth" • "Careless Memories" • "Girls on Film" • "My Own Way" • "Hungry Like the Wolf" • "Save a Prayer" • "Rio"• "Is There Something I Should Know?" • "Union of the Snake" • "New Moon on Monday" • "The Reflex" • "The Wild Boys" • "A View to a Kill" • "Notorious" • "Skin Trade" • "Meet El Presidente" • "I Don't Want Your Love" • "All She Wants Is" • "Do You Believe in Shame?" • "Burning the Ground" • "Violence of Summer (Love's Taking Over)" • "Serious" • "Ordinary World" • "Come Undone" • "Too Much Information" • "Perfect Day" • "White Lines" • "Out of My Mind" • "Electric Barbarella" • "Someone Else Not Me" • "(Reach Up for The) Sunrise" • "What Happens Tomorrow" • "Nice" • "Falling Down"

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