I was a TV writer and subeditor for British newspapers and magazines for more than a decade.
Bohemian Rhapsody was a great movie with many incredible scenes. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but wonder why the writers decided to leave out some important moments from Freddie Mercury's life. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers ever. Below is a list of five things the biopic should have mentioned.
Things Left Out of Bohemian Rhapsody
- The soundtrack to Flash Gordon
- David Bowie
- Scenes from Freddie's solo career
- Queen's performance at Sun City
- Freddie's life from 1985 onward
1. Where Was the Soundtrack to Flash Gordon?
It may not have been a moment that demonstrated the band's glory, but one of my favourite childhood memories was Queen's involvement in the camp-kitsch barnstormer of a movie, Flash Gordon.
Legendary producer Dino de Laurentiis wasn't so keen on the rock soundtrack. He'd never heard of Queen (who he allegedly referred to as "The Queens") and is reported to have said that their music wasn't right for his movie. However, the band had the support of British director Mike Hodges, who felt the band brought their sense of humour to the project.
Remember the classic cheesy lines from the Flash Gordon soundtrack? Let's all say it together now, "Flash! Aha! He'll save every one of us!"
I won't be a rock star. I will be a legend.
— Freddie Mercury
2. Where Was David Bowie?
In 1981, Queen and David Bowie released "Under Pressure" as a single. Queen and Bowie worked together to produce the song while recording in Montreux, Switzerland.
It's a great song. It was Bowie's third number-one single and Queen's second. It was voted the second-best collaboration of all time in a poll by Rolling Stone magazine in August 2011. It was played at every Queen concert from 1981 until they stopped touring.
There are remarkably few contemporary celebrities portrayed in the film, and I would have loved to see someone portray the Thin White Duke. What a waste.
In fact, the whole of the disco-influenced Hot Space album, which featured the track, is brushed under the carpet as they distance themselves from dance tracks.
I always knew I was a star. And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me.
— Freddie Mercury
3. What Happened to Freddie's Solo Career?
Spoiler Alert: In the movie, Freddie is shown suffering alone, haunted by demons as he struggles to come up with enough tracks to fill his second solo album. Eventually, he is relieved to be reconciled with the band just in time to play a set at Live Aid.
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Well, it wasn't really like that. Over the years Freddie had various solo ventures including recording on the soundtrack for a re-release of Fritz Lang's classic movie Metropolis and hitting number five on the U.K. charts with a cover of The Platters' hit The Great Pretender.
And that problematic second album? It was a commercial success in the U.K. and Spain. The title track Barcelona, which Freddie recorded with operatic vocalist Montserrat Caballé, debuted in the U.K. charts at number eight. It went on to be the official anthem of the 1992 Summer Olympics. That was all played down in the movie, wasn't it?
Money may not buy happiness, but it can damn well give it!
— Freddie Mercury
4. Didn't Queen Play Sun City?
Their performance at Sun City was a big controversy in 1984. It was at the height of protest against apartheid in South Africa and they were technically breaking the law when they played there.
While touring The Works (an album that included the massive hits Radio Ga Ga, Hammer to Fall, and ironically, I Want to Break Free), Queen played nine sold-out concerts at the infamous Sun City stadium.
Despite the band's protest that they were playing for integrated audiences of their fans, they were fined by the British Music Union and placed on a United Nations blacklist for violating the United Nations' cultural boycott of the country.
5. Where Were the Years 1985 Onward?
The movie ends with the band reconciled and playing the Live Aid concert in 1985, but Freddie's solo albums were released in 1985 and 1988 and the band had toured together throughout the time Freddie was portrayed as being in self-imposed exile while struggling with his solo career.
After Live Aid, they released a new album, A Kind of Magic, which was filled with tracks from another movie soundtrack, Highlander.
They stopped touring in 1986. Freddie ended their final concert at Knebworth in front of 120,000 people. He was draped in a robe with a golden crown on his head as the rest of the band played the British national anthem, "God Save the Queen."
They released another album (though they didn't go on tour for it) called The Miracle in 1988. It included the track "I Want It All." Their final album with Freddie was Innuendo in 1991. So, that's 16 years that were left out of the film.
I want to lead the Victorian life, surrounded by exquisite clutter.
— Freddie Mercury
Dirk on June 19, 2020:
It was only 6 (1985-1991), not 16 years of Freddie's life left out of the movie. Please correct the error.
Otherwise I agree with the article
Josh on February 17, 2019:
Neil I also wondered this . So In the 90’s queen was suing vanilla ice for the sample he used from under pressure . They settled the issue by vanilla ice buying the royalties and song publishing for $4 million . I bet queen regrets that settlement .
Neil B Roberts (author) from Brighouse, West Yorkshire on November 17, 2018:
Thanks Beverly. I really enjoyed it too, though I came away thinking it was a very sanitised version of Freddie and the band. But I guess if you have to pass it as a 12a certificate, you have to make a lot of compromises.
Bev G from Wales, UK on November 16, 2018:
I saw it and loved it, but you raise very valid points. I also wondered where the David Bowie collaboration and Barcelona were.