Dracula: History and Myth

Only Lovers Left Alive — Adam’s wall of heroes

I finally watched Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive last night, and I’ll write more about the film later, but for now I want to talk about the wall of portraits of Adam’s “heroes” on the wall in his house in Detroit. I paused the movie a few times while Eve is looking at the portraits, and my girlfriend and I identified as many people as we could, and then after the movie was over I went back and grabbed screen captures of all of them. I’ve jotted down the ones I could identify myself; about half of them (below). (Marlowe is another story; I didn’t recognize him but Eve names him when she’s looking at his portrait.) I’d love to figure out who all of these people are! (See UPDATE below; looks like we’ve got all of them!) Please leave a comment below if you want to help, and I’ll update this post with your additions. Also, I should mention, there’s certainly a chance I’ve gotten some of these wrong, so please let me know!

Below is the full wall of portraits, which I stitched together in Photoshop. Click to see it at full size. You may need to click a second time to make your browser display it at 100% size.


The next three images are the same huge image, broken up into three smaller parts. Click to see them at full size.

only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-all-segment-1 only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-all-segment-2 only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-all-segment-3

The next five images are the various closeups of the portraits that we see briefly in the film. Click to see the full-size images.

only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-closeup-1 only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-closeup-2 only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-closeup-3 only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-closeup-4 only-lovers-left-alive-heroes-closeup-5

UPDATE: After a few weeks of work, we’ve got just about all of them, or maybe all of them! I’ve located as many of the actual images on Google image search as possible. The ones marked with a * are ones where I was unable to locate the exact portrait that’s on the wall, but I’m very confident we’ve correctly identified them; if you can find any of the exact portraits I’d love to update these!

1. Joe Strummer

2. Johann Sebastian Bach

3. Claire Denis

4. Mary Wollstonecraft

5. Aki Kaurismäki

6. Bo Diddley*

7. Franz Schubert

8. Chrissie Hynde

9. Franz Kafka

10. Edgar Allen Poe

11. Bruce Lee

12. RZA* – Appeared in Jarmusch’s films Coffee and Cigarettes and Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.

13. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Screamin’ Jay appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s film Mystery Train.

14. Gustav Mahler

15. Henry Purcell

16. Tom Waits – Tom Waits did the music for Jim Jarmusch’s film Night on Earth, and he appeared in a couple of Jarmusch’s other films (including Coffee and Cigarettes, in a scene with Iggy Pop, who’s also featured on Adam’s wall). Waits and Jarmusch are founding members of The Sons of Lee Marvin. Of course, while we’re on the subject of vampire movies, Tom Waits also played Renfield in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

17. Charles Baudelaire – Note to self, remember to post about the huge bat-shaped monument to Baudelaire in Paris’ Montparnasse Cemetery.

18. Luis Buñuel

19. William S. Burroughs*

20. Sitting Bull

21. Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning

22. Robert Johnson

23. Buster Keaton*

24. Nikola Tesla

25. Rumi – Jim Jarmusch mentions Rumi in this interview about Only Lovers Left Alive.

26. William Blake – Interestingly, Johnny Depp’s character in Jim Jarmusch’s film Dead Man was named William Blake (unrelated to the poet), and the film has a few references to the real Blake’s poetry.

27. Arthur Rimbaud

28. Hedy Lamarr

29. Patti Smith

30. Charley Patton

31. Emily Dickinson

32. Jean-Michel Basquiat – Of course, Jeffrey Wright, who appears in Only Lovers Left Alive as well as Jarmusch’s film Broken Flowers, played Jean-Michel Basquiat in the film Basquiat.

33. Robby Müller* – Cinematographer for Jim Jarmusch’s films Down by Law, Mystery Train, Dead Man, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and the “Twins” segment of Coffee and Cigarettes.

34. John Coltrane

35. Mark Twain

36. Isaac Newton

37. Marcel Duchamp

38. Fritz Lang

39. Naomi Klein*

40. Frank Zappa

41. Iggy Pop* – Appears in Jarmusch’s film Dead Man, as well as Coffee and Cigarettes (in a scene with Tom Waits, who’s also featured on Adam’s wall). According to IMDB, Jim Jarmusch is currently working on a documentary about Iggy and the Stooges.

42. Thelonious Monk

43. Harpo Marx

44. Susan Sontag

45. Black Elk

46. Rodney Dangerfield*

47. Christopher Marlowe*

48. Geronimo

49. Samuel Beckett

50. Jane Austen

51. John Keats

52. Oscar Wilde

53. Jimi Hendrix

54. Nicholas Ray*

55. Hank Williams

56. Billie Holiday

57. Neil Young – Neil Young did the music for Jim Jarmusch’s film Dead Man, and Jarmusch also did a concert documentary about Neil Young and Crazy Horse called Year of the Horse.


Indirectly related reading: If you like poring over screen captures of beautifully-filmed things, check out my posts about all of Hannibal’s suits from the tv series Hannibal — season one and season two.


85 Responses to “Only Lovers Left Alive — Adam’s wall of heroes”

  1. Rukiye says:

    #9 is Franz Kafka

  2. Rukiye says:

    #25 is Rumi?

  3. willowfinn says:

    #2 is J.S. Bach
    #7 is Franz Schubert

    (more coming…)

  4. willowfinn says:

    #14 is almost certainly Gustav Mahler

    I got you covered on classical composer, obv.

  5. Amanda says:

    #20 is Sitting Bull, I think.

  6. willowfinn says:

    #12 is definitely RZA. Note that he also appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.

  7. Amanda says:

    #50: Jane Austen

  8. Amanda says:

    #51: John Keats

  9. willowfinn says:

    #15 is Henry Purcell.

  10. Manning says:

    I’m deciding that #8 is Johnny Thunders, mostly based on the guitar and his legendary status. Can anybody help confirm?

  11. Amanda says:

    #26: William Blake

  12. Rukiye says:

    Do you think #18 is Max Beckmann?

  13. Rukiye says:

    Max Beckmann “self portrait with cigarette”
    It looks like it but I am not 100% sure

  14. willowfinn says:

    #28 might be Hedy Lamarr.

    • Manning says:

      Good call! I’m finding lots of pictures of her with big ridiculous hats like this, but not this exact one! I’m sure you’re right though! I’ll keep looking.

  15. Amanda says:

    #5 is … not fair! With that hairline, it might be James Garner … or Jack Kerouac … or …

  16. willowfinn says:

    #45 is probably the Dalai Lama. If not this one, then the previous one.

    • Manning says:

      Ah, see, I was Googling a million variations on “old samurai portrait,” “last living samurai,” etc, because I was certain there was some connection to Ghost Dog!

  17. Amanda says:

    #4: Mary Wollstonecraft

    • Manning says:

      Nice! I’m surprised her daughter ain’t here, and Shelley and Byron and them other clowns. Why Keats and not the others?

  18. willowfinn says:

    I kinda think #5 is Jonathan Winters. Cannot prove this, just have a feeling…

  19. willowfinn says:

    Also, #37 might be Noel Coward.

  20. Adam says:

    #21 is a photograph of Max Ernst & Dorothea Tanning. Please send my prize to the address above.

  21. nick says:

    #3 isn’t Marie Curie, it’s the filmmaker Claire Denis.

    • Manning says:

      YESSSS!!!! That was the hardest one, because it’s so hard to make out the face! I knew it would take someone who recognized that exact photo/pose. Thank you! Will add now…

  22. ZantiMisfit says:

    #37 Marcel Duchamp

    These photo are driving me nuts. I’m looking at them and #18 & #44 are so damn familiar but it’s just not coming to me. I’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night with the answer.

    • Manning says:

      RIGHT??? #18 in particular has been killing me for weeks! I know I know that exact photo! But from what??

      Thanks for #37!

  23. Sporenburg says:

    Hi, nice to see I’m not the only one fascinated by that wall.

    18 = Luis Buñuel


  24. Manning says:

    Wow, we’re currently down to just one that’s a complete mystery (45), and three that I put question marks on because I think we know who they are but can’t find a match for the particular photo (8, 28, 39). Good work everyone!

    • Sporenburg says:

      8 is too vague. Thunders would make sense but most of the times he had wilder/bigger hair.
      It could be Keith Richards with that haircut and guitar (but there’s millions of pictures of the man).
      Alternative: Jeff Beck? Not so vamperic but one could understand Adam’s respect for the man.

      • Manning says:

        Very interesting! I just went through a few pages of Google image search results for both young Keith Richards and Jeff Beck; something I noticed is that Keith Richards never ever wore a sleeveless t-shirt like that, and that alone is enough for me to rule him out. Jeff Beck, on the other hand, does appear in several photos dressed in that style, although I can’t find this specific pic (or him with that specific guitar). For now I think Jeff Beck is a strong contender!

        • Sporenburg says:

          Hi, I asked around and I got a very interesting suggestion for nr.8: Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. She does have a Telecaster and the pose does make sense (also notice how the arms are fairly thin and the guitar is large in proportion to the body).

  25. Sporenburg says:

    Great! 🙂

    Now for the elusive #45. This is a total long shot: I somehow get a strong Dada vibe. Maybe you could look in that direction. They did stuff with weird masks and poses. Certainly would make aesthetic sense.

  26. Sporenburg says:

    Word on the streets is that #45 is Black Elk. Plenty of information if you google. Obviously very Jarmusch.

  27. M says:

    39 is for sure Naomi Klein. She writes about the perils of capitalism, commercialism and brand culture. I can see why Adam has her on his wall.


  28. Great work! <3

    Also Tom Waits and Iggy Pop have a scene together in "Coffee and Cigarettes". Another movie by Jim Jarmusch. Always loved that scene. <3


  29. Michelle says:

    Hi! I’m fascinated by the great work you’ve all made to identify each of the portraits on Adam’s Wall of Heroes. I’m still reading about every one of them. It ‘s so interesting!
    Is there a chance to have the stitched wide-screen image without the numbers? I would really appreciate it if you could share it. Please? 🙂

  30. Esterhazy says:

    yeah excellent work, most of them are my heroes too.
    It would be very kind of you to let us have the stitched wide-screen image without the numbers? 🙂

  31. Sherrill says:

    Hello everyone, great movie and fun guess that hero… but I can tell you for future ease (and certainly less keff, but still keff) you can right-click on any image and “Search Google for this image”—takes you there immediately… but your way was more fun, Manning!

    • Manning says:

      I wish it were that simple! All the nice, clear portraits at the bottom of this post were located after everyone worked together to identify these people from the small, often blurry pictures in the screen captures from the film. They’re never shown any larger or clearer than that in the film, so there was no way to perform a Google image search for them. I actually tried cropping a few of the clearer ones out of the screen captures and doing an image search with them, but they’re just not larger or detailed enough for that to work.

      • Sherrill says:

        Ah… I feel much better… deduction is a great love of mine, too bad I missed it—I’ll check back for future kef (ahem,one “f”; I found spelling it with two means something waaaay different)

        Happy spring, all.

      • Esterhazy says:

        sorry for the mess but we were asking only for the image without the numbers,just as it is.

  32. Jackie says:

    are you certain #33 isn’t Jackson Pollock?

  33. Guilherme Aquino says:

    24. Nikola Tesla – In Coffee and Cigarettes Jack White shows Meg White his Tesla coil that he says he built himself and waxes intellectual on the achievements of Nikola Tesla.

  34. Marta Calderon says:

    Bellísimo trabajo, Gracias. (Thanks)

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  36. Gayle Kross says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this!

  37. Jenna Appleseed says:

    Joe Strummer was in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train too (& namechecked him on his solo album).

  38. Prox says:

    i need this photo stitched with PhotoShop, without those numbers in, please

  39. JIM S says:

    I’ve had images of many of the same people; litarary, music scientific and artistic on the wall behind my work desk for years.

  40. César says:

    Hello there, fantastic Job identifying all of them.
    If possible, i’d also love to get the picture without the numbers.

  41. MV says:

    Are there any indications in the film of heroes before photography? Plato for example. Or pharaohs, etc.

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