• Entertainment

The Best Documentaries About Music

A number of documentaries examine the famous lives of musician or discuss the music industry, genres, or the effects music can have on the brain. The best documentaries about music include Oscar nominees, short films, and those music movies you can find on Netflix, Hulu, or even online.  Music affects the deepest parts of our soul; it can inspire us, relax us, lift us up, fill us with adrenaline, make us angry, or unleash our inner rock gods. The best kind of music speaks the language we’ve always wanted to speak but just didn’t know how! What are the best documentaries about bands? 

This list discusses the top documentary films discussing music, including: Carter, Imagine, Searching for Sugar Man, A Band Called Death, Until the Light Takes Us, Lemmy, Last Days Here, American Hardcore, and The Road to God Knows Where. Vote for your favorites and add any that are missing.
  • 1
    63
    34

    Released2021

    Directed byEdgar Wright

    The Sparks Brothers is a 2021 music documentary film directed by Edgar Wright. It revolves around Ron and Russell Mael, members of the pop and rock duo Sparks.  ...more
  • 2

    Released2021

    Directed byMariem Pérez Riera

    Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It is a 2021 American documentary film directed by Mariem Pérez Riera. For over 70 years, Rita Moreno has inspired audiences with her performances, the  ...more
  • 3
    looksharp added

    History of the Eagles

    Eagles
    46
    20

    Released2013

    Directed byAlison Ellwood

    History of the Eagles is a 2013 two-part authorized documentary about the career of the American rock group the Eagles, directed by Alison Ellwood and co-produced by Alex Gibney. After screening at  ...more
  • 4
    Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey
    59
    35

    Released2011

    Directed byMalik Bendjelloul

    Though he faded into obscurity in the U.S., an early '70s musician known as Rodriguez became a huge hit in South Africa and was widely rumored to have died. Two obsessed fans set out to learn the  ...more
  • 5
    Taraji P. Henson, Alicia Keys
    53
    30

    Released2021

    Directed byVanessa Roth

    Mary J Blige's My Life is a 2021 American music documentary film directed by Vanessa Roth. Grammy-winning recording artist and actress Mary J. Blige reveals the demons and blessings that inspired her  ...more
  • 6
    Steve "Lips" Kudlow, Robb Reiner
    38
    15

    Released2008

    Directed bySacha Gervasi

    Canadian heavy-metal band Anvil delivered a highly influential 1982 album that would inspire the likes of Anthrax and Metallica, and then dropped off the map to begin what would become decades of  ...more
  • 7
    looksharp addedJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney
    40
    17

    Released1996

    Directed byGeoff Wonfor, Bob Smeaton

    The Beatles Anthology is a documentary series on the career of The Beatles. It was broadcast on UK television in six abridged parts between 19 and 23 November 1995, while in the U.S. it was seen as  ...more
  • 8
    Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters
    45
    24

    Released1978

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Seventeen years after joining forces as the backing band for rockabilly cult hero Ronnie Hawkins, Canadian roots rockers The Band call it quits with a lavish farewell show at San Francisco's  ...more

    #157 of 552 The Best '70s Movies#7 of 111 The Best Rockumentaries Of All Time#18 of 37 The Best Martin Scorsese Movies

  • 9
    David Lynch, David Bowie
    51
    31

    Released2021

    Directed byRob Gordon Bralver

    Moby Doc is a 2021 American Documentary directed by Rob Gordon Bralver. It's a surrealist biographical documentary about trailblazing electronic musician and animal rights activist Moby.  ...more
  • 10
    Stevie Wonder, Chris Rock
    46
    26

    Released2021

    Directed byQuestlove

    Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a 2021 American documentary film directed by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson. Over the course of six weeks during the summer of 1969,  ...more
  • 11
    Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson
    45
    27

    Released2010

    Directed byScot McFadyen, Sam Dunn

    A documentary about the Canadian rock band Rush relates the group's 40-year history and examines its continuing popularity. Using extensive archival footage, it follows the resilient rockers, lead  ...more
  • 12
    Dave Grohl, Slash
    37
    21

    Released2010

    Directed byGreg Olliver, Wes Orshoski

    Lemmy is a 2010 documentary film written and directed by Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver.  ...more
  • 13
    Randy Ferchuk addedMick Jagger, Keith Richards
    27
    13

    Released1970

    Directed byAlbert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin

    The landmark documentary about the tragically ill-fated Rolling Stones free concert at Altamont Speedway on December 6, 1969. Only four months earlier, Woodstock defined the Love Generation; now it  ...more

    #102 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel#27 of 502 The Greatest Documentaries of All Time#6 of 19 These Documentaries Took A Hard Left Turn And Left Audiences Shocked And Confused

  • 14
    carlybobarly addedAmy Winehouse, Mark Ronson
    26
    12

    Released2015

    Directed byAsif Kapadia

    Amy is a 2015 British documentary film about the life and death of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. Directed by Asif Kapadia, it covers Winehouse's life and her struggle with substance abuse,  ...more
  • 15
    31
    19

    Released1988

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    In this follow-up to the 1981 punk rock documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization," filmmaker Penelope Spheeris dissects the world of heavy metal. Through live performance footage and  ...more
  • 16
    George Harrison: Living in the Material World is a 2011 documentary film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the life of Beatles member George Harrison. It earned six nominations at the 64th  ...more
  • 17
    richerb addedKevin Costner, Stevie Nicks
    24
    13

    Released2008

    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

    Runnin' Down a Dream is a 2007 documentary film about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The 4-hour documentary chronicles the history of the band, from its inception as  ...more
  • 18
    clash1977 addedPete Townshend, Keith Moon
    26
    17

    Released1979

    Directed byJeff Stein

    The Kids Are Alright is a 1979 rockumentary film about the English rock band The Who, including live performances, promotional films and interviews from 1964 to 1978.  ...more
  • 19
    Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom
    27
    18

    Released1981

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    The Decline of Western Civilization is an American documentary film filmed through 1979 and 1980. The movie is about the Los Angeles punk rock scene and was directed by Penelope Spheeris. In 1981,  ...more
  • 20
    looksharp addedBenny "Papa Zita" Benjamin, Eddie "Bongo" Brown
    22
    13

    Released2002

    Directed byPaul Justman

    This documentary mixes performances, interviews and reenactments to celebrate the Funk Brothers, the 1960s soul hitmakers. As the musicians behind the Temptations, the Four Tops and others, the  ...more
  • 21

    Released2003

    Directed byMichael Gramaglia, Jim Fields

    End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones is a 2003 documentary film about highly influential New York punk rock band the Ramones. The film, produced and directed by Jim Fields and Michael  ...more
  • 22
    looksharp addedSting, Andy Summers
    17
    8

    Released2006

    Directed byStewart Copeland

    Drummer Stewart Copeland narrates the rise of legendary rock band the Police using a decades-old archive of intimate, behind-the-scenes footage shot with his own movie camera. Over the course of a  ...more
  • 23
    richerb addedShawn Cloninger, William Goldsmith
    21
    13

    Released2011

    Directed byJames Moll

    "The film takes us on the 16 year journey of the Foo Fighters, from Dave Grohl and Pat Smear’s surviving the aftermath of Nirvana to Dave, Pat, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett’s rise  ...more
  • 24

    Joy Division

    Anton Corbijn, Ian Curtis
    21
    13

    Released2006

    Directed byGrant Gee

    This documentary looks at the British band Joy Division, who rose to prominence in the 1980s and have had an enormous cultural influence in the years since their demise. Using archival footage and
  • 25
    Anton Newcombe, Courtney Taylor-Taylor
    23
    17

    Released2004

    Directed byOndi Timoner

    After the alternative music boom of the early 1990s, two bands choose very different paths to fame. Portland, Oregon's the Dandy Warhols, led by the self-conscious and career-minded Courtney  ...more