Search form

Scroll To Top

All Lady Gaga's 'John Wayne' Video References Unpacked

lady gaga john wayne references

Have you really watched it, though? We have.

Yes, we still have Lady Gaga's "John Wayne" video on repeat, and its pulsating, neon-cowboy aesthetic has us looking in the rearview. Reteaming with "Telephone" and "Paparazzi" director Jonas Akerlund, Gaga seems to have dug her paws into the pop culture archives, emerging with a crazed, no-brakes ode to the American badass. Here's what we picked up while we hung on for dear life.

Related | Your Designer Guide to Every Look Worn by Lady Gaga in 'John Wayne'


grindhouse leg gun gif

Gaga isn't the first femme fatale to fire live rounds out of her leg. In this 2007 throwback double feature from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, Rose McGowan plays a stripper who loses her leg, but straps on an AK-47 to send zombies back to hell.


alec baldwin emmys

You don't see "John Wayne's" comic-book bubble text coming, but once it does, it keeps the video's rhythm pumping. Batman may not be able to pull off a pink Stetson and Diesel sunglasses, but he was the first to give us action text scrawled out across the screen.

Rob Zombie

amadeus gif

If there's one video that "John Wayne" has pumping through its blood, it's Zombie's 1998 clip for "Dragula," which also put a singer behind the wheel of a thrash vehicle "headed for a dead end."

Mad Max

mad max fury road gif

Mel Gibson can surely fill out a leather vest, but he wishes he looked as good as Gaga while taking charge on treacherous, sun-baked roads. The singer channels Gibson's iconic character--and its later incarnation in 2015's female-centric Fury Road-- as she puts her boot heels on the pedals and lets it rip while pursuing men.



No, you're not hallucinating. There's more than one Gaga feeling her oats in Joanne's tripped-out fever dream. By our count, there's at least four Stefani Germanottas in this fabulous shit show--but there's only one left standing when it screeches to a halt.

Fight Club

fight club cock gif

Remember the scene where Brad Pitt teaches Edward Norton about film projection? And puts a penis into a single frame, which then beds itself into the viewer's subconscious? Akerlund has the same idea: When one of the Gagas and her ill-fated boy toy crash their car into a tree, he indeed tells you she's "DEAD," if only with a single frame of text.

House parties

alyssa edwards

All the Gagas seem to converge at a neighborhood rager, where everyone's too busy dancing and shooting to head toward the keg. It's like the cast of Scream was styled to filth and taught front-yard choreography, and it's a perfect place to end our journey after riding shotgun with Gaga.

GIFs: Giphy

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

R. Kurt Osenlund