What are the best movies about musicians and music in general? With most of the world currently in lockdown I thought it would be a good idea to compile a bucket list of music based movies to help while away the hours!
Movies That Musicians Will Love!
Some of these movies are biopics, some documentaries, and others are blockbuster films about fictional bands. The one thing they all have in common is that the key theme of each movie revolves around music and musicians.
For each movie I have provided a link to purchase or watch and you will also find the trailer to give you an idea of what the film is like.
The list is fairly massive, so let’s dive in already!
This Is Spinal Tap – Click To Watch
Mock rockumentary about a Heavy Metal band on the verge of spontaneous combustion
Bohemian Rhapsody – Click To Watch
Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury in this electrifying story of the meteoric rise of Queen to rock-and-roll stardom.
Ray – Click To Watch
Jamie Foxx stars as the one-of-a-kind innovator of soul, Ray Charles, who overcame impossible odds and humble beginnings to become an extraordinary music legend.
The Blues Brothers – Click To Watch
Jake and Elwood Blues get out of prison and put their legendary R&B band back together for a musical benefit – with plenty of laughs, car crashes, and slapstick enroute! James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, more!
Whiplash – Click To Watch
A skilled young drummer is promoted to his school’s top-tier jazz band, where he clashes with an obsessive music teacher and his intense methods. Triple Oscar winner, including Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons.
Walk The Line – Click To Watch
Johnny Cash pioneered a fiercely original sound while simultaneously walking a razor-thin line between destruction and redemption. He escapes the darkness and self-destruction through the friendship and love of June Carter.
Rockstar – Click To Watch
Mark Wahlberg stars as a copier repairman who moonlights as the lead singer of a heavy-metal tribute band. Also starring Jennifer Aniston.
Let’s Get Lost – Click To Watch
Documentary on the life of jazz trumpeter and drug addict Chet Baker. Fascinating series of interviews with friends, family, associates and lovers, interspersed with film from Baker’s earlier life and some modern-day performances.
Straight Outta Compton – Click To Watch
Five young men from South Central Los Angeles forge their anger and inner-city frustrations into the most potent weapon imaginable: their music.
Eat That Question – Click To Watch
Rare and never before seen Frank Zappa interviews and performances from one of rock and roll’s most legendary self-taught musicians.
Crossroads – Click To Watch
Soulful Delta R&B uplifts the tale of a gifted guitarist looking for the soul of the blues in the hands of the Devil. With Steve Vai!
Rocketman – Click To Watch
This one-of-a-kind musical biopic embarks on the spectacular journey of Elton John in his rise to fame. With incredible performances of Elton’s most beloved songs, discover how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in rock & roll.
The Pianist – Click To Watch
Best Picture Winner And 7 time Oscar Nominee, The Pianist Is Director Roman Polanski’s Most Personal Movie Ever, And Stars Oscar Winner Adrien Brody In The True-life Story Of Brilliant Pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman.
Love and Mercy – Click To Watch
The film intimately examines the unique journey and ultimate salvation of Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson, whose success came at an extraordinary personal cost. Also starring Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti.
Cobain: Montage of Heck – Click To Watch
A journey through the life and career of iconic Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain as seen through his home movies, recordings, artwork, and more.
The Buddy Holly Story – Click To Watch
Gary Busey stars as the archetypal rock star Buddy Holly.
Bird – Click To Watch
Clint Eastwood directs and Forest Whitaker stars in this compassionate portrait of jazz visionary Charlie “Yardbird” Parker.
Crazy Heart – Click To Watch
An aging country singer finds redemption and romance with a beautiful journalist who discovers the man behind the musician.
20 Feet From Stardom – Click To Watch
The award winning crowd pleaser that pays tribute to the inspirational true stories of the backup singers who shaped some of the most iconic songs of our time. Featuring Springsteen, Jagger, Sting, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder and more.
One More Time With Feeling – Click To Watch
Andrew Dominik’s One More Time with Feeling is a remarkable black-and-white documentary which chronicles the creation of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ album ‘Skeleton Tree’.
The Rise Of James Brown – Click To Watch
Fans have a documentary befitting the “Godfather of Soul.” Directed by Oscar and Emmy winner Alex Gibney, and co-produced by the singular Mick Jagger, “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise Of James Brown” digs into the career of one of music and culture’s towering figures, using fresh interviews with band members and contemporaries, extraordinary historical footage, and rare archival.
Almost Famous – Click To Watch
Elaine Miller is a bright, loving, but strict single parent whose distrust of rock music and fears about drug use have helped to drive a wedge between herself and her two children, Anita and William.
Control – Click To Watch
Starring Samantha Morton (Minority Report) and Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall) and featuring an incredible performance from newcomer Sam Riley (24 Hour Party People) as Ian Curtis, Control documents the relationship with both his wife and his girlfriend, his battle with epilepsy and the road to success with this band, Joy Division.
A Star is Born – Click To Watch
Seasoned musician Jackson Maine discovers—and falls in love with—struggling artist Ally. She has just about given up on her dream as a singer until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight.
Crossfire Hurricane – Click To Watch
This superb film tells the story of the Stones’ unparalleled journey from blues obsessed teenagers in the early sixties to their undisputed status as rock royalty. All of The Rolling Stones have been newly interviewed and their words form the narrative arc that links together archive footage of performances, news coverage and interviews, much of it previously unseen.
Sound City – Click To Watch
Directed by Dave Grohl of Nirvana and The Foo Fighters, Sound City tells the story of rock ‘n roll’s greatest recording studio and the musical magic it continues to inspire.
Buena Vista Social Club – Click To Watch
Traveling from the streets of Havana to the stage of Carnegie Hall, this revelatory documentary captures a forgotten generation of Cuba’s brightest musical talents as they enjoy an unexpected brush with world fame.
The Dirt – Click To Watch
In this unflinching biopic based on Mötley Crüe’s best-selling book, four LA misfits navigate the monster highs and savage lows of music superstardom.
Wayne’s World – Click To Watch
Metal head slackers Wayne and Garth sell their basement cable-access TV show to a city slicker. Directed by Penelope Spheeris.
Searching For Sugar Man – Click To Watch
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest ‘70s rock icon who never was.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years – Click To Watch
In 1962 four young men – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – came together to form the 20th century musical phenomenon known as ‘The Beatles’. The band stormed Europe in 1963 and, in 1964, they conquered America. Their groundbreaking world tours changed global youth culture forever and, arguably, invented mass entertainment as we know it today.
Bill and Ted – Click To Watch
Bill Preston and Ted Logan are two totally excellent dudes facing one most heinous history exam. With the help of Rufus an ultra-cool messenger in a time traveling phone booth, the triumphant twosome bag a bevy of historical heavyweights like the “Bodacious Philosopher” Socrates,”One Very Excellent Barbarian” Genghis Khan, the “Short Dead Dude” Napoleon and “Noah’s Wife” Joan of Arc to stage the most hysterical high school project ever. History’s about to be rewritten by two guys who can’t even spell.
Get On Up – Click To Watch
Chadwick Boseman is James Brown in Get On Up, based on the life story of the Godfather of Soul. The film gives a fearless look inside the music, moves, and moods of Brown.
What Happened, Miss Simone? – Click To Watch
Classically trained pianist, black power icon and legendary recording artist, Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius and tortured melancholy. In this epic documentary, director Liz Garbus interweaves never-before-heard recordings and rare archival footage together to create an unforgettable portrait of one of the least understood, yet most beloved, artists of our time.
Scott Walker: 30th Century Man – Click To Watch
Scott Walker 30 Century Man is a rare glimpse into the creative world of the most enigmatic figure in rock history, tracing the undeniable impact he has had on popular music through casual interviews with some of his biggest, highest profile fans.
The Doors – Click To Watch
Jim Morrison, one of the most sensual figures in the history of rock and roll, explodes on the screen in this electrifying movie about a time called the sixties and a legendary outlaw who rocked America’s consciousness – forever.
The Wrecking Crew – Click To Watch
The Wrecking Crew wielded over rock and pop music in the 1960s. They were the de-facto backing band on hit records by The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, and many more. They made the American “West Coast Sound” a dominant cultural force around the world.
Marley – Click To Watch
Bob Marley’s impact on music history, and role as a social and political prophet. Film features rare footage, never before seen performances, unreleased music, and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.
Amadeus – Click To Watch
Based on a Viennese urban legend and hit Broadway play, recounts the downfall of 18th-century musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The Runaways – Click To Watch
The film follows two friends, Joan Jett (KRISTEN STEWART) and Cherie Currie (DAKOTA FANNING), as they rise from rebellious Southern California kids to rock stars of the now legendary group that paved the way for future generations of girl bands.
Amy – Click To Watch
From BAFTA award-winning director Asif Kapadia (Senna), AMY tells the incredible story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse – in her own words. Featuring extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? – Click To Watch
Three chain gang members bust out of prison to find some missing money. But their different personalities, and many obstacles along the way, make for a comic misadventure!
Bound For Glory – Click To Watch
Director Hal Ashby’s meticulously detailed bio-pic of the politically engaged singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie (a superb David Carradine) recreates the American Great Depression while also giving us a portrait of a flawed genius utterly in tune with his difficult times.
8 Mile – Click To Watch
Grammy Award-winning phenomenon Eminem makes his feature film debut in this gripping story about the boundaries that hold us back – and the courage that can set us free.
Inside Llewyn Davis – Click To Watch
An aspiring singer-songwriter navigates the 1960s folk-music scene in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Sid and Nancy – Click To Watch
With the lacerating love story Sid & Nancy, Alex Cox reimagines the crash-and-burn affair between punk s most notorious self-destructive poster children: Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen brought to visceral life by brilliant performances from Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb.
It Might Get Loud – Click To Watch
The history of the electric guitar as seen from the point of view of three significant musicians: Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge and the White Stripes’ Jack White. It tells the personal stories, of three generations of electric guitar virtuosos. It reveals how each developed his unique sound and style of playing his favorite instrument.
Supersonic – Click To Watch
A riveting look at the meteoric rise of seminal 90s rock band Oasis, immersing us in the raucous rock stars’ fast-paced world of electrifying music, wild debauchery, and epic fraternal feuding.
Miles Ahead – Click To Watch
Jazz legend Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) and a music reporter embark on an adventure to recover a stolen tape of Davis’ latest compositions.
And there you have it folks – 50 movies about music and musicians! How many have you seen already?
If you feel we’ve missed any gems feel free to drop us an email!