Feature films that mention the Pet Shop Boys by name

This brief list deals only with non-documentary and non-concert feature films created for theatrical release (as opposed to films for television).

1. Fuochi d'Artificio [Fireworks] (1997)

The Pet Shop Boys are mentioned in this popular Italian film directed by Leonard Pieraccioni. The plot centers on a man who has fallen in love with a girl who works in a pet shop, and the Pet Shop Boys are invoked in a joking reference.

2. Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss (1998)

This mildly comic film's lovelorn title character, portrayed by Sean Hayes (who would shortly go on to much greater fame in the role of Jack on TV's Will & Grace) is speculatively described in terms of his musical tastes as being a "Pet Shop Boys kind of guy"—shorthand, as if any were needed, for his being gay.

3. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

A good-natured "racecar comedy" starring Will Farrell, this movie includes a scene in a racing-themed bar in which one of the characters is wondering about some of the selections offered in the jukebox. Among them are Pet Shop Boys and Seal, which the bartender says are there "for profiiling purposes." The implication is that only gay men would pick music by the Pet Shop Boys—or at least that's what the bartender thinks. It's difficult to say what's being satirized more: PSB fandom or the attitudes of racing-themed bar habitués. I'm still trying to figure out just whom Seal is supposed to help them profile.

4. The Bubble (2006)

This somewhat tragic tale set mainly in Tel Aviv focuses on the love between two gay men—which isn't unusual in itself except that one is Israeli and the other Palestinian. When Noam, one of the two central characters, is asked whom he fantasized about when he was 15 years old, he cites River Phoenix, Morrissey, and "Chris Lowe from the Pet Shop Boys."

5. Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee (2009)

A low-budget, largely improvised British mockumentary about a roadie/musician who sets out to turn an aspiring rapper friend into a star. At one point, just after Le Donk (the roadie/musician) has been accused of trying to upstage Scor-zay-zee (the rapper), he mutters a sarcastic aside in which he (Le Donk) refers to himself metaphorically as "the guy who stands at the back of the f**king Pet Shop Boys pressing buttons."

6. Primos [Cousinhood] (2011)

This Spanish comedy includes a scene in which the main characters recollect how they were popular as teenagers when they would sing together in the style of the Backstreet Boys, at which point one of the cousins adds (translated), "And girls used to chase after us like we were the Pet Shop Boys."

7. Blinded by the Light (2019)

Set in 1987, this British comedy-drama focuses on a young man of Pakistani descent who becomes enamored of the music of Bruce Springsteen. Early in the film—before his "discovery" of The Boss—the main character, Javed, mentions to one of his friends, "Pet Shop Boys got the best number one this year so far," referring specifically to "It's a Sin."

Honorable mention

Although the Pet Shop Boys really aren't "mentioned by name," the 1998 U.K. crime thriller Following offers a scene, about 23 minutes into the film, in which a Behaviour-era publicity photo of the Pet Shop Boys is tacked upon a bulletin board on the wall of the protagonist's home. Similarly, the 2012 U.S. romantic comedy The Five-Year Engagement includes, toward the end, a scene of the female lead's bedroom in the home where she grew up, which apparently hasn't changed much since she was a teenager. On the wall there's a Pet Shop Boys poster, the one from their Performance concert that shows them in schoolboy uniforms. (You only get to see part of the poster—Chris, specifically. A Wham! poster, however, is visible in its entirety.)