If, as an artist, you play your cards right, making a memorable music video can help take a song from unassuming to ultimate hit.

There are a lot of ways to do this, one of them being the inclusion of a famous face. Featuring a celebrity, often an actor or model, is an awfully effective way to get listeners to make note of a song — sometimes it's what people remember seeing more than what they remember hearing.

In the below list, we've compiled 50 examples of celebrity cameos in music videos. In some cases, the person is almost instantly recognizable, but in other instances, the celebrity in question was cast before they became ubiquitously famous, so you might want to look closely...

1. Aaron Taylor-Johnson in R.E.M.'s "Uberlin"
From: Collapse Into Now (2011)

Not only did English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in R.E.M.'s music video for "Uberlin," but the project was directed by his then-fiance Sam Taylor-Wood, best known for her 2008 film Nowhere Boy about the childhood of John Lennon. (Taylor-Johnson was the leading role in that, too.)


2. Alek Wek in Tina Turner's "GoldenEye"
From: 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye

When Sudanese-British model and fashion designer Alek Wek was cast in the video for Tina Turner's James Bond theme song "GoldenEye," she was still a teenager, years away from becoming a global success. But one thing she always remembered about her experience was the way Turner, a superstar herself, interacted with the cast. "She talked to each one of us and said, 'I appreciate you guys,'" Wek recalled to Vogue in 2020.
"Like who does that? It was the sweetest thing. She must have been just wearing her sweatpants, pajamas and maybe a jacket. I will never forget that. Years later, I met her and she still remembered me."


3. Angelina Jolie in the Rolling Stones' "Anybody Seen My Baby"
From: Bridges to Babylon (1997)

In 1997, actress Angelina Jolie was not quite a household name, but she was awfully close. Within just a couple years after appearing as a New York City stripper in the Rolling Stones' music video for "Anybody Seen My Baby," she was winning Oscar and Golden Globe awards. Mick Jagger pursued Jolie romantically, who resisted his advances, following the making of the video. "She scares me a little — I like that," he reportedly said at the time, but this relationship, of course, did not pan out.


4. Angelina Jolie in Meat Loaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through"
From: Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell (1993)

This list isn't finished with Angelina Jolie yet. Just a couple years before she appeared in the Stones' video, she starred in the video for Meat Loaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through." She was only 18 years old at the time, just about a year away from landing her breakthrough role in Hackers.


5. Anthony Hopkins in Mudcrutch's "I Forgive It All"
From: Mudcrutch 2 (2016)

The story of how Anthony Hopkins came to star in Mudcrutch's music video for 2016's "I Forgive It All" is pretty straightforward, according to the video's co-director, Sean Penn. "He is just an artist for art's sake and he just liked the idea of doing it and jumping in," Penn explained to Rolling Stone at the time. "I just asked him and he said yes. It's that simple." The entire video, Penn said, was shot in one day.


6. Arnold Schwarzenegger in AC/DC's "Big Gun"
From: 1993 Single

It's only fitting that because AC/DC's "Big Gun" was used in the soundtrack to the film Last Action Hero starring Arnold Schwarzenegger that the iconic actor should also appear in the song's music video. In it, Schwarzenegger imitates Angus Young's walk, which the guitarist had to teach to him. "I've never met Arnold before, and he'd come outside the set, and I'm sitting there, and he said: 'Would you practice that thing out in the car park?'" Young recalled in a 2020 interview. "So you could see this really big guy, and this little guy down to his ankles skipping around the car park! I'll give him this, he was determined to do it."


7. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Guns N' Roses' "You Could Be Mine"
From: Use Your Illusion II (1991)

Oh, and that was not the first time Arnold Schwarzenegger made a bad-ass appearance in a rock music video. He'd done it two years prior for Guns N' Roses' "You Could Be Mine." Interestingly enough, it was Schwarzenegger who pursued GNR, even inviting the band to dinner at his home so that they could cut a deal to use the song in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.


8. Ben Stiller in Tenacious D's "Tribute"
From: Tenacious D (2001)

Let's make one thing clear off the bat: that's Dave Grohl as the fiery demon in the video for Tenacious D's "Tribute." But that's not all. Wait until the last minute or so of the video and you'll spot Ben Stiller casually walking through the scene. (Five years later, Stiller would also appear in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.)


9. Bruce Willis in Gorillaz's "Stylo"
From: Plastic Beach (2010)

Is there anything cooler than Bruce Willis in aviator shades behind the wheel of a red antique Camino? It's hard to say. According to Jamie Hewlett, the video shoot was remarkably expensive with the cost of stunt drivers and safety precautions — "the only thing that didn't cost any money was Bruce," he said in 2011, "because he did it for free because he's a sweetheart."


10. Chevy Chase in Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al"
From: Graceland (1986)

Paul Simon and comedian Chevy Chase went way back — they first met on the set of Saturday Night Live in 1975. Over a decade after that, Chase (six feet, four inches) appeared alongside Simon (five feet, three inches) in the music video for "You Can Call Me Al," with some assistance from Lorne Michaels and director Gary Weiss. Chase reportedly learned the song in the car on the way to the shoot.


11. Chloe Sevigny in Sonic Youth's "Sugar Kane"
From: Dirty (1992)

Actress Chloe Sevigny was 17 years old and not famous when she appeared in Sonic's Youth's music video for "Sugar Kane" — her very first film credit. The video also showcased a new line of clothing by Marc Jacobs literally called "grunge collection." Three years later, Sevigny landed a role in Kids and continued on her ascent to fame.


12. Christoper Walken in Fatboy Slim feat. Bootsy Collins' "Weapon of Choice"
From: Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars (2000)

Get this: Bootsy Collins wasn't even the most unexpected collaborator when it came to Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice." That honor goes to Christopher Walken, who put his dance moves on full display for the music video. It won multiple MTV awards as well as a Grammy for Best Music Video. "It's a very catchy tune," Walken told Venice Magazine in 2003. "It is good for tap because it has a deliberate almost drum-like beat. They say tap dancers are like drummers."


13. Courteney Cox in Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark"
From: Born in the U.S.A. (1984)

Since 1984, Bruce Springsteen has been recreating the music video he made for "Dancing in the Dark," bringing fans onstage to dance with him and the E Street Band. The original video starred Courteney Cox as the lucky fan. Looking back in 2022, Cox recalled being nervous and awkward in her audition, but it evidently worked in her favor. "I think that's why I got it because I was like, 'Okay!'" she said to Howard Stern. "I think that's what they wanted, a fan that just couldn't believe it."


14. David Cross in the Strokes' "Juicebox"
From: First Impressions of Earth (2005)

David Cross appearing in a music video by the Strokes? It's more likely than you'd think given the actor once opened for the band in 2001, which went, in a word, poorly. That hardly deterred the Strokes from once again inviting Cross into their fold to portray a radio DJ in the music video for "Juicebox."


15. Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson in Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time"
From: Dangerous (1992)

At a certain point in his career it became obvious that Michael Jackson could essentially have his pick of collaborators. For 1992's "Remember the Time" music video, those people were Eddie Murphy, Iman (the same year she married David Bowie) and Magic Johnson, among others. Set in ancient Egypt, the video was hailed at the time for its groundbreaking special effects and was frequently played on MTV.


16. Elisha Cuthbert in Weezer's "Perfect Situation"
From: Make Believe (2005)

Directed by Marc Webb, the music video for "Perfect Situation" depicts actress Elisha Cuthbert as the lead singer of a band called Weeze, which eventually turns into Weezer with Rivers Cuomo at the helm. "We wanted to make a video that's in the spirit of those old Spike Jonze Weezer videos, like 'Buddy Holly' or 'The Sweater Song,'" Webb explained to MTV at the time. "Those great, youthful videos that were so high-concept and so clever. We wanted to play around with what a video is and can be."


17. Eric Roberts in the Killers' "Mr. Brightside"
From: Hot Fuss (2004)

There are actually two music videos for the Killers' "Mr. Brightside." The first was shot in Staten Island, New York, but the one we're talking about here was made in L.A. and featured actor Eric Roberts, the elder brother of Julia Roberts and father of Emma Roberts. (Eric Roberts ended up coming back for another Killers music video, "Miss Atomic Bomb," in 2012.)


18. Eva Mendes and Sean William Scott in Aerosmith's "Hole in My Soul"
From: Nine Lives (1997)

Eva Mendes was incredibly close to her breakthrough at the time she appeared in Aerosmith's "Hole in My Soul" music video. Actually at that point, she had yet to appear in a feature film of any kind, but she was joined by another actor who was just about to make the big time: Sean William Scott.


19. Evan Rachel Wood and Jamie Bell in Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends"
From: American Idiot (2004)

"It's the best thing I've ever done," director Sam Bayer, a leading figure in music video making for years, told MTV in 2005 of the video he made for Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends." "I've worked with so many rock acts over the years, and I've shot so many videos, but 'September' is hands down the greatest thing I've ever done." The video was more or less treated the same way a feature film would be. "We spent a month casting the video," he continued. "Evan Rachel Wood and Jamie Bell are both great actors. We did rehearsals, casting calls, we tackled it exactly like a major motion picture."


20. Finn Wolfhard in Weezer's "Take on Me"
From: Weezer (2019)

In 2018, actor Finn Wolfhard's band Calpurnia covered Weezer's "Say It Ain't So." So, in turn, Weezer invited them to star in one of their 2019 music videos, a cover of A-ha's "Take On Me." (Wolfhard is best known for his role in Stranger Things.)


21. Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard in David Bowie's "The Next Day"
From: The Next Day (2013)

Gary Oldman's appearance in David Bowie's "The Next Day" music video, alongside Marion Cotillard, wasn't all that surprising — he and Bowie were close friends and enjoyed weekly Skype calls. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the video comes at the very end when Bowie says "Thank you Gary, thank you Marion, thank you everybody," and then promptly disappears.


22. Gaten Materrazzo in Green Day's "Meet Me on the Roof"
From: Father of All Motherfuckers (2020)

Here's another Stranger Things connection. Actor Gaten Matarazzo appeared in Green Day's "Meet Me on the Roof" music video, in which Billie Joe Armstrong plays a stuntman.


23. Graham Chapman in Iron Maiden's "Can I Play With Madness"
From: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

Filmed at the ruins of Tintern Abbey on the border between Wales and England, the music video for Iron Maiden's "Can I Play With Madness" features Monty Python's Graham Chapman in one of his very last appearances prior to his death in October 1989. "[Maiden] asked me to come up with an idea," director Julian Doyle recalled to Classic Rock in 2023. "So I asked Graham if he fancied doing it. He was a fan of pop and rock music – he was a friend of Keith Moon. I'm not sure if Iron Maiden were on his radar at that point." (Bruce Dickinson was a longtime Monty Python fan, so Chapman was certainly on his radar.)


24. Hugh Hefner in Weezer's "Beverly Hills"
From: Make Believe (2005)

When one thinks of Beverly Hills, images of luxury cars, giant mansions and California sunshine come to mind. And who else to better embody the spirit of opulence than Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Not only did Weezer get Hefner to star in their music video, they also were able to shoot it on site at the Playboy mansion.


25. Hugh Laurie and John Malkovich in Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass"
From: Diva (1992)

The music video for Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass" is partly inspired by the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons, a period drama starring, among others, John Malkovich. Thus, Malkovich was invited to appear in the music video, as well as Hugh Laurie.


26. Jack Black and Kyle Gass in Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly"
From: There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)

Several years before Dave Grohl appeared as a devil in Tenacious D's "Tribute" video, Jack Black and Kyle Gass kicked things off by lending their talents to the video for Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly." The production earned a Grammy in 2001 for Best Short Form Music Video.


27. Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman in Paul McCartney's "My Valentine"
From: Kisses on the Bottom (2012)

Paul McCartney did not want to make an elaborate music video for 2012's "My Valentine." So instead he called up a couple of famous pals — Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp – and directed them himself. "I would talk to Natalie and Johnny before filming and we would just have a normal conversation," he told Vanity Fair at the time. "Then we would turn the camera on and there was just a complete transformation. It wasn't surprising, because, you know, that they are both that good, but to see it happen in front of you is pretty remarkable. It was like seeing two different people completely — it was like they morphed into screen gods right in front of me."


28. Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway and Matt LeBlanc in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Into the Great Wide Open"
From: Into the Great Wide Open (1991)

In the video above, Johnny Depp was in his late 40s, but in the below video for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Into the Great Wide Open" he was much younger, playing the boyish lead who heads to Hollywood in search of fame. The two remained friends up until Petty's death in 2017. Oh, and that's none other than Faye Dunaway playing Eddie's manager in the video, and be sure to watch for Matt LeBlanc's brief cameo, too.


29. Josh Duhamel in Donna Summer's "I Will Go With You (Con te partiro)"
From: 1999 Single

Believe it or not, Josh Duhamel began his acting career by appearing in music videos in 1999. One of them was Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" and the other was Donna Summer's "I Will Go With You (Con te partiro)."


30. Kate Moss in the White Stripes' "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself"
From: Elephant (2003)

Model Kate Moss has appeared in a number of music videos over the course of her career, but one of the most memorable is certainly the White Stripes' "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself," which features nothing but black and white footage of her pole dancing. It was directed by Sofia Coppola, who came up with the idea and pitched it to Jack White. "'I said, 'I don't know — how about Kate Moss doing a pole dance?'" Coppola told The New York Times then. "I said that because I would like to see it. That's the way I work: I try to imagine what I would like to see."


31. Key & Peele, Seth Green and Samuel L. Jackson in Weird Al Yankovic's "White & Nerdy"
From: Straight Outta Lynwood (2006)

To be clear, this is not the only Weird Al music video to feature celebrities, but this is a pretty exciting crew. There's a lot going on in the video for "White & Nerdy," but you should be able to spot Key & Peele, Seth Green and Samuel L. Jackson.


32. Kim Basinger in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Mary Jane's Last Dance"
From: Greatest Hits (1993)

When actress Kim Basinger got the call about appearing in Tom Petty's music video for "Mary Jane's Last Dance," she had zero hesitation. "I did it for one reason — I did it because of Tom Petty," she told Billboard in 2017. "There are certain artists that you go through life and they either entertain and help you get through a period of your life, or they have a significant influence on the message that they brought during that time. ... It's a classic video and I'm very proud having been a part of it."


33. Kristen Stewart in the Rolling Stones' "Ride 'Em on Down"
From: Blue & Lonesome (2016)

Shot over the course of two days in Los Angeles, the Rolling Stones' music video for "Ride 'Em on Down" stars Kristen Stewart looking effortlessly cool in a blue hot rod.


34. Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith's "Crazy"
From: Get a Grip (1993)

We're not really sure if including Liv Tyler as a celebrity guest in Aerosmith's "Crazy" music video counts given that her dad is the band's frontman, but in any case, she was in it at 16 years old. There's also Alicia Silverstone, whose acting career was just about to take off at that time.


35. Macaulay Caulkin, Tess Harper, George Wendt and Tyra Banks in Michael Jackson's "Black or White"
From: Dangerous (1991)

Among the famous faces in Michael Jackson's "Black or White" music video: Macaulay Caulkin, Tess Harper, George Wendt and a very young-looking Tyra Banks. The video was directed by John Landis, who had also been responsible for Jackson's iconic "Thriller" video.


36. Matt LeBlanc in Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band's "Night Moves"
From: Night Moves (1976)

Tired of seeing Matt LeBlanc's face? That's a shame because here's another music video that features him. Bob Seger released the song "Night Moves" in 1976, but he waited until 1994 to make a video for it. LeBlanc was a friend of the video's director, Wayne Isham, landing the role just a few months before being cast as Joey Tribbiani on Friends.


37. Matt LeBlanc in Jon Bon Jovi's "Miracle"
From: Blaze of Glory (1990)

If you thought we were done with Matt LeBlanc on this list, think again. Here he is in Jon Bon Jovi's video for "Miracle" in one of his earliest acting appearances. Clearly this was a busy time for LeBlanc since he took the role in Tom Petty's "Into the Great Wide Open" video the year after this one.


38. Mila Kunis in Aerosmith's "Jaded"
From: Just Push Play (2001)

"Oh my god, that was the best thing," 17-year-old Mila Kunis told the New York Post in 2001 of her experience being in Aerosmith's "Jaded" music video. "It was a huge honor to work with them. What's so rad about it was that Steven Tyler actually introduced himself to me. And it was so cool because he's so down-to-earth. There's not one person on this planet who doesn't know who he is."


39. Naomi Campbell in Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Is This Love"
From: Kaya (1978)

If you did not recognize model Naomi Campbell in Bob Marley's music video for "Is This Love," that's perfectly understandable — she was only eight years old at the time. It was the first of several music videos for Campbell, who later tap-danced in Culture Club's "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" and "Mistake Number 3."


40. Cynthia Rhodes and Patrick Swayze in Toto's "Rosanna"
From: Toto IV (1982)

Cynthia Rhodes played the lead dancer in the music video for Toto's "Rosanna," a part that helped her get cast in Staying Alive with John Travolta the following year. There's also Patrick Swayze, who for some reason was left uncredited as a dancer, but things turned out alright — he landed a role along with Rhodes in Dirty Dancing.


41. Paulina Poriskova in the Cars' "Drive"
From: Heartbeat City (1984)

Paulina Porizkova was a 19-year-old actress and model when she appeared in the Cars' "Drive" music video, and she would later become Ric Ocasek's third wife. The video was directed by a fellow actor, Timothy Hutton, who happened to be the next door neighbor of the Cars' manager Elliot Roberts.


42. Robert Downey Jr. in Elton John's "I Want Love"
From: Songs From the West Coast (2001)

It was Elton John's idea to cast Robert Downey Jr. in the video for "I Want Love," though he was unsure if the actor, who was then struggling with addiction, would be game. "I thought, 'God, the lyrics are very close to home. I wonder if he'll do it?'" John explained in an interview with MTV. "He was very interested. It all came together in five or six days. We sent him the album, and he said, 'Yes.' I'm thrilled with it. ... I love the fact that it is a one-shot video. He did 16 takes. They used the very last take because he was completely relaxed by then. ... It's so pertinent to what he's going through, and the way he underplays it is fantastic."


43. RuPaul in the B-52's "Love Shack"
From: Cosmic Thing (1982)

If you blink you might miss the very brief cameo that iconic drag queen RuPaul makes in the B-52's "Love Shack" video. This was her very first bit of national exposure, having moved to Atlanta from San Diego at the age of 15 with her sister to have a career in the arts. "It was really special," Cindy Wilson told Billboard in 2017. "Of course Ru's star rose, and she became an enormous star. It's amazing that she got the TV show [RuPaul's Drag Race], and it's one of the best shows on right now."


44. Stephanie Seymour in Guns N' Roses' "November Rain"
From: Use Your Illusion I (1991)

Sometimes it pays off to have famous friends — or famous partners, as in the case of Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" video, which featured Axl Rose's then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour. (She also appeared in their "Don't Cry" video.) And despite she and Rose getting married on screen, their own real-life engagement ended in February of 1993.


45. Sydney Sweeney in the Rolling Stones' "Angry"
From: Hackney Diamonds (2023)

We're not quite finished with famous actresses in Rolling Stones' videos. Here's one more and the most recent: Sydney Sweeney having the time of her life in the back of a convertible while jamming to "Angry." "I'm in a Rolling Stones video. How cool and iconic is that?" she told Billboard in 2023. "I felt so good. All the moves, everything I was doing was all freestyle. I mean, who else gets to roll around on the top of a convertible driving down Sunset Boulevard with police escorts? It's the cool things in this career that I had no idea I'd get to do."


46. Sylvester Stallone in Sammy Hagar's "Winner Takes All"
From: Over the Top Soundtrack (1987)

It just makes plain sense that since Sammy Hagar's "Winner Takes All" was used in the 1987 Over the Top film, the movie's main man Sylvester Stallone would appear in the music video. "I had a real bad opinion of him for about 20 minutes," Hagar admitted in his 2003 documentary The Long Road to Cabo, referring to how Stallone's security team had kicked everybody out of the men's room so that the star could have time alone. "And then afterwards he started talking to me and said, 'Aww, man, ever since I did Rambo, people throw flags soaked in blood and stuff on me.' He was totally cool. It was an awesome experience."


47. Various Stars in Paul McCartney's "Queenie Eye"
From: New (2013)

In the beginning of Paul McCartney's "Queenie Eye" music video, it's just him at his piano in the studio. But by the end there's a whole legion of stars surrounding him, including but not limited to: Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, Jude Law, Sean Penn, James Corden, Meryl Streep, Kate Moss, Tom Ford and more.


48. Various Stars in Korn's "Twisted Transistor"
From: See You on the Other Side (2005)

Instead of appearing in their own music video for "Twisted Transistor," Korn chose to enlist four rappers to stand in for themselves: Lil Jon as Jonathan Davis, Xzibit as Fieldy, David Banner as David Silveria and Snoop Dogg as James Shaffer.


49. Wesley Snipes in Michael Jackson's "Bad"
From: Bad (1987)

Directed by Martin Scorsese, Michael Jackson's West Side Story-esque music video for "Bad" featured one of the very first appearances from actor Wesley Snipes. "[Jackson] really thought I was in a gang," Snipes recalled in 2017, "he didn't know that I was a trained thespian."


50. Milton Berle in Ratt's 'Round and Round'
From: Out of the Cellar (1984)

Although Ratt were largely unknown prior to the release of their 1984 debut album, they were able to exploit a family connection to land comedian Milton Berle (band manager Marshall Berle's uncle) for a memorable dual-character starring role in the video for the single "Round and Round." "There was a generation gap," Berle admitted. "I'm in my fourties... I mean in my seventies and the boys are in their twenties." The comedy legend also appeared in the video for another Out of the Cellar song, "Back for More"

Upcoming Rock Biopics and Films

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Gallery Credit: Allison Rapp

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