Kurt Cobain’s Favorite Film That Inspired ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Video

Nirvana left a great legacy behind despite its unfortunately short presence on the stage. Part of this legacy is its music videos, which usually feature shots from live performances and, in a way, offer a visual history of Nirvana’s musical journey. However, it is also possible to find music videos that do not include live performances, such as ‘Heart Shaped Box’ and ‘In Utero.’ The video for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is also one of them.

As many would agree, the song occupies a special place in not only the band’s history but also in the history of the whole genre. Its lead solo is still one of the most memorable ones in rock music, and it’s hard to find a rocker who wouldn’t recognize the song when they hear it. As for the music video of this song, it had a special place for frontman Kurt Cobain because it was inspired by his favorite movie.

Which Movie Was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Inspired By?

While watching famous rock music videos, one might detect that some of them were influenced by movies. For instance, Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’ features Evil Dead-inspired motifs which are in strange contrast to the song’s romantic lyrics. Another example is the music video for ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by the Smashing Pumpkins, which has traces of the silent movie ‘A Trip to the Moon’ from the early 1900s.

Nirvana is also one of the bands that shot a movie-based music video as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was inspired by Kurt Cobain’s favorite movie, ‘Over The Edge.’ The film tells a story about the rebellion of young people who have nothing but an activity center in their small town. In the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ music video, we also watch several high school students demonstrate the spirit of ‘youth,’ which is quite compatible with the title of the song.

Another motif that draws attention in the video is the chaotic attitudes of these young people. The narrative focuses on a school concert that ends with anarchy and riot, which is also the central theme of the aforementioned movie. Kurt Cobain had once evaluated this movie in a conversation and revealed that it was one of his favorites.

He had said that the film, which has a really strong political background, is one of the movies that defined his personality. The movie deals with the theme of the strong disagreement with the parents and, more deeply, with the concept of ‘law.’ Based on his comment, it seems like Cobain particularly liked these elements of anarchy.

Here is Cobain’s statement about ‘Over The Edge’:

“It really defined my personality. It is truly great. Complete anarchy.”

The Youtube video of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is below for those who did not realize these similarities with ‘Over The Edge’ and would like to watch the video again.