The Best Uses of The Clash Songs in Movies

Ever notice that several songs composed by The Clash have to do with cops? It’s an interesting observation but also one that seems to make their songs that much more lively since it’s about knowing your rights and standing up to police brutality as much as it is about actually talking about cops.  In any case their message is kind of lost in the background at times in favor of their sound, which is easy to love and highly addictive. Even betters is when their music actually shows up in a film featuring cops as the main characters or at least as backup in some way.

Here are just a few movies, there are actually quite a few, where The Clash tends to liven up the scene.

5. 21 Jump Street – Police and Thieves

I’ve tried to imagine any other track being used during the training scenes that Jonah and Channing go through but none of them seem like they would fit right. The sequence needed something light enough to remain in the background and yet uplifting enough to show that the two were actually getting better at hiding their respective weaknesses. In the film they really did compliment one another without fail since one was always the muscle while the other was the brain and emotional support that was needed.

4. Man On A Ledge – Police On My Back

Considering how this film ended this is the perfect song to use to spit in the bad guy’s face it seems. It kind of says “I got you” in a way that is hard to resist. Despite the message of the song it kind of wraps up the movie in a way that seems just right. The movie itself was so tense throughout that to loosen up at the end just feels good finally as you can revel in the fact that everything was put right and now it’s time to kick back.

3. Iron Man 2 – Should I Stay or Should I Go

Tony Stark is, for all intents and purposes, a conceited jerk that likes to grandstand. But he’s also a conceited jerk that tries to do the right thing and to be someone other than the persona he usually falls back to being. In all fairness he does try to help mankind since his conversion, but the powers that be tend to try and make him play by their rules which doesn’t help because he tends to go around, above, and to the side of their rules in his own distinct way. So asking him if he should stay or go is kind of a hard question really, even though it wasn’t the song’s original purpose. Personally he should probably stay until it’s time to go, meaning keep being the hero until it’s time to retire, which could be soon.

2. We Own The Night – Magnificent Seven

It was a decadent, fun-loving time that didn’t seem to have any rules.  Once business got serious though and family got involved stuff got real and the fun was over. The drug and alcohol-induced haze that Phoenix’s character was so used to had to clear to make way for the stresses of real life and all the uncertainties that came with it. That’s what happens when you pull the illusory curtain away from your eyes.

1. We’re The Millers – I Fought  The Law

How ironic, a retired lawman singing about fighting the law. This movie was a laugh riot from beginning to end and to be honest this rendition of a popular Clash song was just hilariously cringe-worthy. Four people on a road trip with an RV that might as well be made of marijuana considering how much it’s carrying are being serenaded by a RETIRED LAWMAN. Yeah, I’m laughing just writing this now, but in a good way.

You would not believe how many films there were to choose from when trying to pin down songs from The Clash. If I missed any go ahead and let me know, there were a bunch to pick from.



  1. Virginia Repka
    • Virginia Repka

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