Iconic movies featuring radio DJs

Pump Up The Volume (1990)

In the early 1990s I was inspired by the movie Pump Up The Volume, which motivated me to start my own radio station at high school. 

Pump Up The Volume, starring Christian Slater as pirate DJ “Hard Harry” is a moving testimony to the unique communicative power of charismatic radio personalities. 

My modest endeavour was branded “Fahrenheit 451”, named after a novel by Ray Bradbury, published in 1953 (later made into a movie by François Truffaut, in 1966, with a (poor) US revival in 2018). 

Fahrenheit 451 tells the dystopian story of an American society where books would have been outlawed and “firemen” would burn any that are found. I thought it was a pretty adequate name for a media promoting freedom of speech.

Funnily enough, when I was broadcasting my weekly programme on Wednesday nights at the boarding school a group of other students were unfortunately prevented from watching their beloved football matches on TV, due to the unexpected interferences caused by the radio transmitter. You can imagine how angry they were. Culture and sport are sometimes difficult to reconcile. It’s worth adding that one of these students later became one of the most popular radio presenters in Belgium 😉

pump up the volume movie radio poster

Pump Up The Volume – Christian Slater

Good Morning Vietnam Movie 1987 Poster Radio

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Good Morning Vietnam is another iconic movie featuring a legendary radio DJ, Adrian Cronauer played by Robbin Williams, entertaining soldiers on Armed Forces Radio Service, based in Saigon during the Vietnam war. 

Barry Levinson’s comedy shows the importance of radio at a time when it was still the main channel of mass communication, long before the advent of the web (which has prompted a radio revival). 

As far as I’m concerned, the movie didn’t have the same impact as Pump Up The Volume but of course I still remember Robin Williams’s morning routine “Gooooood Morrrrnnnning, Vietnam”. 

Good Morning, Vietnam – Robbin Williams

Private Parts (1997)

Private Parts tells the story of media superstar Howard Stern, who started his DJing career at WTBU, a college station. Howard Stern’s rise to success is both hilarious and provocative. 

Private Parts Howard Stern Movie Radio DJ

Talk Radio (1988)

Unlike the previous examples, Talk Radio isn’t a comedy even if it has moments of caustic humour. I won’t spoil the final scene but let’s just say it’s not a happy ending. Talk Radio is the story of Barry Champlain, a Jewish media personality in Dallas, Texas, who goes a little too far… 

Talk Radio DJ Movie Poster

Play Misty For Me (1971)

This psychological thriller directed by and starring Clint Eastwood tells the story of a Californian radio DJ (Dave Garver played by Eastwood) stalked by an obsessed female fan who asked him to play a jazz standard, Misty, just for her…  

Play Misty For Me Clint Eastwood Radio DJ