Many movies rely on songs to set the mood, and there are some that are relied upon a lot – what we like to call soundtrack staples. The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) was a breath of fresh – if slightly indecipherable – pop air when it hit in 1988. It took it’s time to crack the world, but it’s now a treasured classic.
Written and performed by bespectacled Scottish twins Charlie and Craig Reid, it was a tale of going to any lengths for somebody you love. We think.
Australia and New Zealand – oh, and not forgetting Iceland – were the first countries to really take the song to their ear bosoms, with it hitting number one in all three places. It wasn’t until 1993, however, and its inclusion in the movie Benny & Joon, that the song that wasn’t A Letter to America broke in America – complete with re-edited video to include scenes from the film.
Oh, and if you’ve always wondered what was meant by the word “haver”, it basically means to talk crap.
Anyway, without any more havering – but with a hearty da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da – here’s the original video, followed by a collection of movies thus far to have featured this hyper-catchy soundtrack staple.
Benny & Joon (1993)
If you read the intro you’d know that this romantic dramedy starring Mary Stuart Masterson and Johnny Depp was what kicked things off in America for The Proclaimers’ most popular (and bankable) song. It was hard to miss, playing over the opening credits – a bit like this…
The Closer You Get (2000)
Scotland, Ireland – what’s the difference? While we’d never be that flippant, it seems to have been the thinking of the people behind this flick, where a bunch of blokes in an Irish village place an ad in a Miami paper to lure unsuspecting young American women into their clutches. Either that or it was featured just because it’s a cracking tune.
This 500 Miles-infused British comedy flick, constructed via a MySpace (remember that?) collaborative effort, was set in the world of historical battle reenactments. It should be known for its star, Ray Donovan‘s Eddie Marsan, but it seems to be more infamous on the net for a brief appearance by YouTuber AmazingPhil.
Burke and Hare (2010)
Starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis (sans mo-cap suit), this John Landis-directed black comedy was loosely based on the 1828 Burke and Hare murders in Edinburgh. It isn’t the first Scottish-set flick here to make use of Charlie and Craig’s sweet sibling harmonies, either.
Tonight, You’re Mine (2011)
A pair of (fictional) rock stars who are scarcely each others’ favourite people are handcuffed together by a rogue priest, so beginning an opposites attract dramedy that takes place at Scotland’s T in the Park music festival. By this time it was starting to become law that any film set in Scotland featured 500 Miles. Or maybe we’re just making that up.
If we had our choice of Adam Scott, a wedding covers band or The Proclaimers performing 500 Miles we know which one we’d plump for – and it’s the one that doesn’t feature here in this ending sequence from this romcom. Oh yeah, SPOILER ALERT.
The Angels’ Share (2012)
Ken Loach headed north for this comedic tale of a bloke who tries to turn his life around so as to be a good dad for his newborn child. He finds the answer in whiskey – but not imbibing it, making it. Scotland film, 500 Miles – you know the drill by now.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
Probably the most high profile movie here since Benny & Joon (cue outcry from Bachelorette fans), this was a slightly different appearance for our subject song. Rather than getting the full-on bella acapella treatment or just being plopped on the soundtrack somewhere, 500 Miles featured in Becca’s music production subplot, given the mashup treatment with Titanium by David Guerra (feat. Sia, natch). Here’s a slick recreation of the idea, with added Midnight Oil goodness…
Identity Thief (2012)
If hearing Melissa McCarthy belt out 500 Miles in a car with Jason Bateman is on your bucket list then you must have missed this. It also features Kelis and Heart. Lucky them.
Sunshine on Leith (2013)
This is almost cheating, as it’s a musical based on the songs of The Proclaimers. As such, not featuring an ensemble cast letting loose on 500 Miles would be akin to the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody not featuring the title track (we reckon it’s a pretty safe bet that it’ll feature in there somewhere).
500 Miles (2014)
Which came first, the song or the film? Well the song obviously, duh, which means it just may have inspired the title of this Aussie romantic drama that – like most local films – not enough people saw. Although we guess “500 Kilometres” would be a suckier title – plus it would be harder to sing. Unless you went all Aussie on it – “AND I WOULD WALK 500 KAYS…” (Sorry, but you have to shout it).
Scottish Mussel (2015)
Scottish film, 500 Miles – again, it’s law now. Probably. We’re not sure where it fits into this romcommy tale of pearl fishing and Glaswegian mobsters, but IMDB says it’s in there somewhere and we have no reason to disbelieve them.
Peter Rabbit (2018)
Even Beatrix Potter goes better with the dulcet tones of the Reid brothers, who bump uglies here with everybody from Vampire Weekend and Rancid to Basement Jaxx and dude with the bizarrely-placed full stop, Portugal. The Man.
Te quiero, imbécil (2020)
Translating as “I Love You, Stupid“, this Spanish language romcom revolves around a bloke whose life turns to utter crud after he breaks up with his girflriend of eight years. Hey, at least he has The Proclaimers to cheer him (and us) up!