We reviewed every film Iron Maiden have ever written a song about

Damien: Omen II (1978)

Song: The Number Of The Beast (The Number Of The Beast, 1982)

Film critic Leslie Halliwell reviewed this so-so sequel in three tart words: “Once was enough.” Pubescent devil child Damien proved less creepy but more dangerous (and annoying), apparently radiating such forceful evil that he gave Steve Harris satanic nightmares. It’s a stylish retread with several baroque kills, but Halliwell had a point.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Song: The Edge Of Darkness (The X Factor, 1995)

Francis Ford Coppola’s bravura Vietnam War take on Heart Of Darkness (Joseph Conrad’s 1899 tale of colonialism gone mad up the Congo) remains a hypnotically immersive triumph. Unusually for a Maiden movie, multiple lines are transcribed verbatim in the song lyrics, a measure of the definitive power of the script.

Time After Time (1979)

Song: Caught Somewhere In Time (Somewhere In Time, 1986)

Jack The Ripper escapes Victorian London in H.G. Wells’ time machine, landing in 1970s California. In this sci-fi romcom, the ethical dilemmas of time travel play second fiddle to proto-Bill & Ted hijinks, but Steve confirmed the film’s inspiration in an interview released on seven-inch with the Japanese edition of Somewhere In Time.

Quest For Fire (1981)

Song: Quest For Fire (Piece Of Mind, 1983)

Although Steve notoriously places dinosaurs alongside humans in the song’s lyric, they are wholly absent from the film (and the 1911 novel). It’s a shame: stop-motion rubber monsters would have provided some fun among the hundred minutes of grunting, although you do find yourself empathising with the cavemen as the film progresses.

The Name Of The Rose (1986)

Song: Sign Of The Cross (The X Factor, 1995)

Screened on BBC One in February 1995 (just as The X Factor was coming together in Steve’s barn), this mediaeval monastic murder mystery was based on Umberto Eco’s philosophical novel, retaining enough intellectual profundity onscreen to distinguish it as the most thought-provoking film ever to star Sean Connery.

When The Wind Blows (1986)

Song: When The Wild Wind Blows (The Final Frontier, 2010)

The adorable, cuddly animation of childhood favourite Raymond Briggs depicts the consequences of a nuclear attack and radioactive fallout on a sweet elderly couple. It’s as bleak as it sounds. Maiden gave their epic retelling a false alarm/suicide twist, alleviating the merciless cruelty of how the movie pans out.

Falling Down (1993)

Song: Man On The Edge (The X Factor, 1995)

A curious mix of psychological thriller and black comedy, Michael Douglas’ portrayal of a “man on the edge” who “can’t even give birthday presents” got the whole Western world talking in ’93. Its many bleak societal themes seem in retrospect just the tip of the iceberg.

Braveheart (1995)

Song: The Clansman (Virtual XI, 1998)

Three hours of nonsense history from the mountainous ego of Mel Gibson, but there’s an irresistible romantic sweep to the production – and all that lovely scenery. The brutal battle scenes, too, elevate the film from ahistorical Hollywood fluff to an inspirational experience worthy of its own Iron Maiden song.

Constantine (2005)

Song: Days Of Future Past (Senjutsu, 2021)

As is often the case with Maiden’s film homages, Bruce took the Keanu Reeves comic adaption as a springboard for his own narrative, where the salvation-seeking demon-botherer rebels against God. The film is a bit flashy and facile, but not unenjoyable if you like that kind of thing.

Darkest Hour (2017)

Song: Darkest Hour (Senjutsu, 2021)

Although this oversimplified Churchill biopic’s depiction of one man standing alone against Nazi tyranny is reflected in Bruce’s lyrics, the song exudes more emotional patriotic fervour than the slightly muted, dispassionate film. It’s a bit light and fluffy, but Gary Oldman deserved his Oscar for fleshing out the big man. 

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.