On May 12, 1998, Madonna’s “Ray of Light” video premiered on MTV.
The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, with Madonna’s scenes being shot on March 25–26, 1998 at Raleigh Studios and Florentine Gardens nightclub in downtown Los Angeles. The images of various cities include Los Angeles, New York, London, Las Vegas and Stockholm.
The video was ranked No. 40 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Videos, listed No. 1 on Back In… 98’s Top 5 Best Videos, ranked No. 7 on Listed’s Top 40 Memorable Videos Pt. 1 & 2, on MuchMoreMusic, and ranked No. 26 on MuchMusic’s 100 Best Videos. It was ranked at number four on “The Top 100 Videos That Broke The Rules”, issued by MTV on the channel’s 25th anniversary in August 2006.
The video received a total of eight MTV Video Music Awards nominations, becoming Madonna’s second most-nominated video at the award show, after “Vogue” in 1990. It won five awards for Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Choreography, becoming her most-winning song at the show.
On April 16, 2003, Madonna released an edited version of the “American Life” video on VH-1.
The edited version (the “flag” version) featured Madonna singing in front of a backdrop of ever-changing flags of different countries.
On April 1, 2003, Madonna pulled the American Life video and released a statement explaining why:
“I have decided not to release my new video. It was filmed before the war started and I do not believe it is appropriate to air it at this time. Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video.”
The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund.
On March 17, 1999, Madonna won Best Dance Artist – Solo and Best Dance Video (“Ray Of Light”) at the 14th annual International Dance Music Awards at the Winter Music Conference in Miami, FL.