Bohemian Rhapsody: Freddie Mercury and the Legendary Band Queen

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Music is a universal language that lives on forever. A few decades back, a band named Queen brought legendary songs to the world. I’ve heard of their band name and their most popular songs but I never really knew those old amazing songs was by them. Last month, a movie trailer concerning Queen came as a Youtube ad while I was watching videos. The trailer itself gave me goosebumps while their songs brought so much nostalgia. I am very happy to have finally seen the film last week and now I could share to you how amazing this film is—Bohemian Rhapsody!


Queen is a British rock band from London formed in 1970 comprising of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals/piano), Brian May (lead guitar/vocals)John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums/vocals). Their music was inspired from various genres like symphonic rock, hard rock, progressive rock, opera, folk music, dance/disco, glam rock, heavy metal, funk rock, pop rock, and more.

The band has 15 studio albums, 72 singles, 10 live albums,7 EPs, 15 compilation albums, and 2 soundtrack albums. They are among the world's best-selling music artists with 18 albums, 18 singles and 10 DVDs ranking number one worldwide. Their songs "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We Are The Champions", and "We Will Rock You" were included to the Grammy Hall of Fame. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was also voted as "UK's favorite hit of all time." Their album "Greatest Hits" sold 5,407,587 copies and became the "Best-selling Album of All Time" in the UK Chart history.

Queen is the only band with each member composing more than one best-selling single and where all members were included in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. They were ranked #52 on the "100 Greatest Artist of All Time" by American magazine, Rolling Stone. Meanwhile, Freddie Mercury was ranked #18 among the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and Brian May at #26 among the "100 Greatest Guitarist." British online music site, Gigwise, called Queen as "The Best Band of the Past 60 Years" in 2012. Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses even calls Queen the greatest band of all time and Freddie Mercury the greatest frontman of all time. This year, Queen was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. (These are just some among the long list of awards Queen has.)


"The only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story."

(image source: IMDb)

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biography, drama, music film directed by Brian Singer, screenplay by Anthony McCarten, and produced by Graham King and Jim Beach. The film was released on the 2nd of November 2018 and was distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film's story covers Freddie Mercury's biography, Queen's musical success, to performing at Live Aid.

The film stars Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), Lucy Boynton (Mary Austin), Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon), Allen Leech (Paul Prenter), Tom Hollander (Jim Beach), Aaron McCusker (Jim Hutton), Aidan Gillen (John Reid), Mike Myers (Ray Foster), Priya Blackburn (Kashmira Bulsara), Ace Bhatti (Bomi Bulsara), and Meneka Das (Jer Bulsara). The Bohemian Rhapsody film had a film budget of around $52 million. It earned $51,061,119 on its opening weekend in U.S.A. As of November 30, the film grossed 158.6 in the U.S.A. and grossing $487.5 million worldwide. The film is expected to gross $180 million in the U.S.A. and over $600 million worldwide. Bohemian Rhapsody is currently the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time.


(video source: 20th Century Fox via Youtube)

Farrokh Bulsara, popularly known as Freddie Mercury, went to watch the band named "Smile" one night in 1970. He went backstage after the show and auditioned in front of the band members to become the band's vocalist after the vocalist left the band. Smile's lead guitarist (Brian May) and drummer (Roger Taylor) accepted Freddie to the band and later on added John Deacon as their bassist. The band was then named Queen.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

They played gigs around Britain and produced their first album. They then signed a record deal with EMI Records. Gaining popularity and with their music going strong, Freddie proposed to Mary Austin before leaving to America for a band tour. However, Freddie began to question his sexuality while on tour.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Queen left EMI Records after the record company disapproved of their song "Bohemian Rhapsody" to be the lead single for their album. According to EMI executive, Ray Foster, the song is too long and doesn't fit the standard length of songs for radio. Freddie went to DJ Kenny Everett and had "Bohemian Rhapsody" debut on his radio program. The song became a hit, contrary to what the EMI executive predicts. Mary broke up with Freddie after Freddie admitted that he is bisexual. Freddie then had a relationship with his personal manager, Paul Prenter.

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

The band continued its success in the 1980s until Freddie began showing a difference in his attitude due to the influence of Paul. The other Queen band members consider Paul as a bad influence to Freddie. They were offended with Freddie's words towards them during a party which caused them to leave in the middle of the event. After the party, Freddie fell in love with Jim Hutton, a waiter during the party.

A solo record for Freddie was then offered after. Freddie rejected the offer at first but accepted it later on which turned other members to be disappointed at him. Freddie went on to his solo career but returned to the band to perform at the Live Aid benefit concert. He cut ties with Paul after knowing that Paul hid news from him including about Mary calling to him and the Live Aid.   

(image source: 20th Century Fox)

The band was able to get a slot at the Live Aid line up despite joining late. During Queen's rehearsal for the Live Aid, Freddie revealed to his bandmates that he has AIDS. Shocked and saddened at his revelation, they gave him a group hug and finally reconciled while they held back their tears. At the concert, Freddie met again with Mary and Jim.

On the 24th of November 1991, Freddie Mercury died from AIDS at the age of 45. Queen band members and their manager Jim Beach put up a charity organization called Mercury Phoenix Trust to help fight HIV and AIDS worldwide.



The film has lots of beautiful shots to mention. The wide aerial shots during their shows at the Live Aid concert had given me goosebumps every single time. Special mention to the aerial shot which slowly zooms to the stage while flying above the crowd. I felt like I’m watching the show live! So beautiful! Seeing everyone cheering in unison for the band and knowing the band’s history, especially Freddie’s story, makes me a bit teary-eyed. These breathtaking shots was one that caught my interest to watch this film.

I also like the back shot whenever Freddie walks out to the crowd. It showed the reactions of people waiting to see him and also his unique style of walking. I also have to mention the close up shots of Freddie’s cats. (Yes, Freddie loves cats so much.) They’re so cute and showed their curious faces whenever Freddie sings.


(image source: 20th Century Fox)

I like the transition they made from the vinyl record shifting to the satellite dish on Queen’s show at the Live Aid. Such a creative way to jump on another scene! There’s also the teleportation effect wherein the camera goes from the road through the band’s tour bus then passing through the last row of the bus, and ending in front of their concert stage. I’d say this creative idea of showing their life on band tour is very awesome.

When it comes to the concert scenes, I am not sure if how many Queen fans were included on the film. Malek mentioned in an interview that performing in front of Queen fans was amazing. Their shows at small venues of course have real people in the audience. What I’m curious about was their show at the Live Aid. If the entire crowd at the stadium were real people then I will be totally left speechless. That is crazily amazing! But if part of the crowd is an effect, then it’s still awesome because they appeared so real.


(video source: 20th Century Fox via Youtube)

There is no doubt that Rami Malek is the perfect actor to portray Freddie Mercury. It's surprising and astonishing how he could closely resemble the Queen frontman, by his looks and his nuisances. He had singing and dancing lessons and even a lesson with a movement coach to accurately copy Freddie's style of walking. Rami also watched Queen's performance at the Live Aid 1500 times to learn every bit of Freddie's movements. He also learned how to properly speak while wearing a prosthetic teeth. For me, Rami Malek is the best actor to play as Freddie Mercury as he could even perfectly portray his flamboyant personality as well. After seeing some videos of Freddie, I could tell Rami nailed everything. Even Brian May says Rami Malek deserves to be on Oscars for this film. (Here is a compilation of Rami Malek's interviews about the film.) Rami mentioned that he became a Queen fan after making the film. (Well, who wouldn't after watching a video of them 1500 times, darling?)

I would also like to commend Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Joseph Mazzello for their roles. They were guided by Queen members to perform like a real musician, like Gwilym Lee getting guitar tips from Brian May himself. After watching the film, I tried comparing their looks from the original Queen members, and wow I can't help smiling at how closely they resemble them as well. Gwilym Lee and Ben Hardy really looked like the younger self of Brian May and Roger Taylor. By the way, Ben Hardy looked handsome on the film, and I am not alone with this thought because many other fans think so too. (Here is another interview video of the cast.) 


Did you know that Rami Malek was the third actor chosen to portray Freddie? The film Bohemian Rhapsody was announced last 2010 and Sacha Baron Cohen was set to play as Freddie. This didn't pursue and was replaced by Ben Whishaw in 2013. In 2016, Rami Malek was chosen to portray Freddie. Director Bryan Singer was also fired as the director of the film two weeks before the film production ended due to sudden absences. He was replaced by Dexter Fletcher. The Directors Guild of America, however, still gave the directing credit to Bryan Singer since there can only be one director. Dexter Fletcher was then credited as the executive producer. On the other hand, Brian May and Roger Taylor were also the music producers of the film. The remaining members of the band, together with Jim Beach (band manager) and Greg Brooks (band's official archivist), worked with the filmmakers to produce a more accurate film about the band and Freddie. The film was originally 4.5 hours long but it was cut down to 134 minutes.


(image source: 20th Century Fox)

The film’s music showcases Queen’s songs the entire run and I have nothing against it. You’ll enjoy hearing their hit songs "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Radio Ga Ga", "We Will Rock You", "We Are The Champions", "Somebody To Love", "Another One Bites The Dust", and more! We also get to see what inspired them to make some of the songs and the struggles that came with it. Their concert scenes in the film totally feels like you're on their concert. I honestly felt like watching this film was very worth it because we get to know more of Freddie Mercury, the band’s history and also experience a Queen’s concert. And surprise! The concert scenes includes subtitles too. Karaoke, anyone? If I just went to see the film by myself, I would be singing along with the band. I seriously want to raise my hand and clap along the song Radio Ga Ga and We Will Rock You!


I’ve seen the actual video of Queen’s performance at the Live Aid concert before watching the film Bohemian Rhapsody, and I must say, the costumes and wigs used on the film made the actors look very similar to the real band Queen. Freddie’s outfit on that show was simple but surely very iconic. The studded armband accessory stands out and gave sophistication to his simple outfit. (Rami Malek kept the armband and had the prosthetic teeth cast in gold.) I also like the cape and crown he wore when he threw a party at his home. Of course, the hairstyles and costumes of the actors the entire film looked like those back in the ‘70s and '80s. Brian May's glorious curly hair on the film was well-created too. I think they did a great effort to recreate their looks, even the print on cups and its arrangement on top of the piano during the Live Aid was the same in the actual show. Super amazing!



Freddie’s case helps everyone become aware of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It shows us how deadly the disease is and how it can ruin our lives. AIDS is a disease that affects millions of people all over the world. Freddie Mercury wrote a letter for his friends and fans, revealing about his condition a day before he died. It is very saddening that Freddie had to experience it. He could’ve felt regret over it but I’m sure he lived a wonderful and contented life before his death. He was loved by his family, friends, the band, and the millions of fans all over the world. Freddie will always be a reminder of how this disease can damage our life. World AIDS day is every December 1st.

(Here is an article about Elton John remembering Freddie Mercury)


Freddie signed a solo record deal without the other members’ approval. Freddie getting a solo record got the others disappointed on him which resulted to the hiatus of the band. Later on, Freddie realized that his solo career doesn’t give him enjoyment and growth on his career. Despite what he did, his band members still welcomed him back. This teaches us not to take people for granted, especially the good ones, because they are the ones who will most likely be there during our lowest times. We should learn to appreciate them.


(image source: 20th Century Fox)

As Jim Beach said during their negotiation with a record label, fortune will favor bold people. If Queen listened to the advise of the record company, there would probably be no Bohemian Rhapsody everyone loves listening to. The band’s passion for the music tells us to be confident with our works and decisions. We must know to take risks to improve. People often think that going out of the norm or the line is unacceptable, crazy, and impossible to become successful. They don’t know that uniqueness is what makes one stand out.


Like I’ve said at the beginning of this blog, music is a universal language. Even with our different races and languages, music is a medium that can make us unite and understand one another. Music is powerful. See how artists can fill arena, domes, and stadiums? People of different races and class come together because of their songs. Even in the old times, music is used during celebration and even during wars.


(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Musicians and other artists are also just like us when they go out of the limelight. They’re also vulnerable and can feel sadness and loneliness as well. Just because they appear happy in front of people doesn’t mean they really happy. And just because they can command thousands of people doesn't mean they are very strong and invincible. Sometimes, people in the entertainment industry felt more negative emotions than others. Popular personalities are loved by millions of fans, but at the end of the day, they feel alone. This is true for Freddie, who is loved and adored by many but still felt sadness and loneliness when he’s out the spotlight.


Freddie inspires us that we can be who we want to be, despite our gender preference. Most of the time, rock band vocalists are men oozing with masculinity, but here is Freddie despite being bisexual, rocked the stage and sang the greatest rock songs with the greatest band of all time. Freddie shows us that nothing is impossible. Gender preference is not a hindrance to reach your dreams.


(image source: 20th Century Fox)

Bohemian Rhapsody is absolutely a spectacular film. Many have criticized the film for not being accurate on some parts (see this LINK), but more people have praised the film. Even Rami Malek defends the film. No words can perfectly describe how I feel about this movie. I just love it and it makes me wish to have been born earlier to witness their golden years. I am certain anyone would not regret watching this film. I've began listening to their songs after the film and their songs never fail to give me goosebumps especially Bohemian Rhapsody. I love the intro and piano part so much. Music may evolve over time and new bands may rise to popularity, but Queen will remain a legend, the royalties of rock music. Their music transcends time and will forever be loved by people. 

(Here's Queen's original performance at Live Aid if you haven't seen it yet.)

Thanks for reading!

✧ Katsanslimites

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