What Movie Is the Song Wandering Star?

If you’re a fan of classic cinema, then you may have come across the song “Wandering Star” in one of your favorite movies. This hauntingly beautiful tune has been featured in a number of films over the years, and it continues to captivate audiences with its powerful lyrics and soulful melody.

But what movie is the song “Wandering Star” from? Let’s take a closer look.

Origins of “Wandering Star”

Before we dive into the movie connections, let’s first explore the origins of the song itself. “Wandering Star” was written by composer Alan J. Lerner and lyricist Frederick Loewe for their 1951 musical, “Paint Your Wagon.” The show tells the story of a group of gold miners in California during the mid-1800s and features several memorable songs, including “I Talk to the Trees” and “They Call the Wind Maria.”

But it wasn’t until 1969 that “Wandering Star” found its way into mainstream pop culture. That year, Lee Marvin sang an unforgettable rendition of the song in the Western musical film, “Paint Your Wagon.”

“Paint Your Wagon”

Directed by Joshua Logan, “Paint Your Wagon” is an adaptation of Lerner and Loewe’s stage musical. The film stars Lee Marvin as Ben Rumson, a grizzled gold miner who strikes it rich in California during the Gold Rush era. Alongside him is Clint Eastwood as Pardner, his partner-in-crime (and eventual romantic rival).

“Wandering Star” appears early on in the film when Ben is introduced as he travels through town on horseback. The song perfectly captures Ben’s rugged individualism and free-spirited nature as he sings about his wanderlust and desire for adventure.

Other Appearances

While “Paint Your Wagon” is the most famous movie to feature “Wandering Star,” it’s not the only one. The song has also been used in several other films over the years, including:

  • “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004): In this quirky Wes Anderson film, Bill Murray’s character performs a karaoke version of “Wandering Star.”
  • “The Dish” (2000): This Australian comedy-drama about the Apollo 11 moon landing features “Wandering Star” during a scene in which the characters are stargazing.
  • “A Single Man” (2009): This drama film, based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood, includes an instrumental version of “Wandering Star.”


In conclusion, “Wandering Star” is a timeless classic that has transcended its original home in a stage musical to become a beloved piece of pop culture. Its appearance in “Paint Your Wagon” cemented its status as an iconic movie song, but its use in other films has only added to its enduring appeal. Whether you’re a fan of Westerns or indie dramas, chances are you’ve heard this haunting melody at some point – and it’s likely left an indelible mark on your memory.