Home of the Brave is a 1986 American concert film directed by and featuring the music of Laurie Anderson. The film's full on-screen title is Home of the Brave: A Film by Laurie Anderson. The performances were filmed at the Park Theater in Union City, NJ, during the summer of 1985.
The film included appearances by guitarist Adrian Belew, author William S. Burroughs (who famously briefly dances a slow tango with Anderson during one song), keyboardist Joy Askew, and percussionist David Van Tieghem. Also, Barry Sonnenfeld, who was early in his movie-making career, receives an early film credit for operating second projection camera on this film. The film was released by Cinecom Pictures, but it was commercially unsuccessful.
A soundtrack album, which contained studio versions of some songs from the film, and live versions of others, was released concurrently with the film (see Home of the Brave LP). A music video of the song "Language Is a Virus", using footage from the film but the studio recording of the song produced by Nile Rodgers, received wide airplay.
The film was briefly available on VHS and Laserdisc in the early 1990s from Warner Bros. Records. In 2007, Anderson announced on her official Web site that the film would be released to DVD as part of a video box set. The announcement was later removed.
Musical selections included songs taken from Anderson's 1984 album Mister Heartbreak (the film was shot during a tour in support of the album) and a couple of selections from her United States multimedia show of 1983, and several original pieces. Warner Bros. requested that Anderson create a single-friendly release from the soundtrack, so she recorded a faster-tempo, dance-mix version of the song "Smoke Rings". Ultimately, this recording was not released; however, it can be heard during the All-Night Diner sequence of her short film What You Mean We?
The first song performed by Anderson in the film is "Excellent Birds," a collaboration with Peter Gabriel from Mister Heartbreak. Although Gabriel does not appear in this film and the song is not performed as a duet, Home of the Brave was released a few months after a second version with Anderson was released as "This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)" on Gabriel's album, So.
Gabriel also provided background vocals on "Gravity's Angel" from Mister Heartbreak. Guitarist Adrian Belew sings the part more prominently in the film.
The following pieces are performed in the film:
- Good Evening (instrumental)
- Zero and One (spoken word)
- Excellent Birds
- Old Hat (spoken word)
- Drum Dance (instrumental)
- Smoke Rings
- Late Show (instrumental with vocal sample by William S. Burroughs)
- White Lily (spoken word)
- Sharkey's Day
- How to Write (instrumental with spoken word introduction by Won-sang Park)
- Radar (instrumental with wordless vocalizations by Anderson)
- Gravity's Angel
- Langue d'amour
- Talk Normal
- Difficult Listening Hour (spoken word)
- Language Is a Virus
- Sharkey's Night
- Credit Racket (instrumental)
Only "Late Show," "White Lily," "Radar," and "Sharkey's Night" appear on the soundtrack album as they are performed in the film. Studio versions of "Smoke Rings," "Language Is a Virus," and "Talk Normal" are used on the album, as is "Credit Racket," which is also a studio track that is played over the closing credits in the film. None of the other performances in this film have to date been released in audio format.
In addition to the above, William S. Burroughs also performs two brief excerpts from "Sharkey's Night," the song he performs on Anderson's album Mr. Heartbreak. In the film, Anderson performs the complete song herself at the end of the movie.