Musicians The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians  

Ranker Film
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List Rules Vote up the best biographical films about singers and musicians

There are tons of music biopics, but which are the best? This list includes popular movies about real musicians and singers, like What’s Love Got To Do With It, Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Walk the Line, and La Bamba. Films have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we see on screen. Music and musicians has have a similar ability, and we often feel connected to our favorite rock stars, making movies about their lives all the more enchanting.

Films that tell the story of Tina Turner, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, and Ray Charles all tell tales that are fascinating, tumultuous, and likely more violent than our own. It is with a peek into the lives of these individuals that we can understand their motives, and thus their art, that much better. These movies vary in their genre but are all equally fascinating.

Vote up the best rock star biopics below or add one that you think is great but isn't already on the list.

list ordered by

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Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Ginnifer Goodwin Johnny Cash and June Carter Walk the Line is a 2005 American biographical drama film directed by James Mangold and based on the early life and career of country music artist Johnny Cash. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, ...more

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Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard Ray Charles Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more

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Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander Tina Turner What's Love Got to Do with It is a 1993 American biographical film directed by Brian Gibson, loosely based on the life of Tina Turner. It stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence ...more

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Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy Eminem 8 Mile is a 2002 American hip-hop biopic film written by Scott Silver, directed by Curtis Hanson, and starring Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Michael Shannon and Kim Basinger. The film ...more

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Lou Diamond Phillips, Joe Pantoliano, Brian Setzer Ritchie Valens La Bamba is a 1987 American biographical film written and directed by Luis Valdez that follows the life and career of Chicano rock 'n' roll star Ritchie Valens. The film stars Lou Diamond ...more

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Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 American-British biographical drama film directed by Bryan Singer. A chronicle of the years from the formation of Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) ...more

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Straight Outta Compton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Jankowskim added O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell NWA Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and ...more

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Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Beverly DAngelo Loretta Lynn Coal Miner's Daughter is a 1980 biographical film which tells the story of country music legendary singer Loretta Lynn. It stars Sissy Spacek as Loretta, a role that earned her the Academy Award ...more

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Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Kelly Hu  Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger  The Doors is a 1991 American biopic about the 1960-70s rock band of the same name which emphasizes the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison. It was directed by Oliver Stone.

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Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole Woflgang Amadeus Mozart Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

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Gary Busey, Buddy Miles, Paul Mooney Buddy Holly The Buddy Holly Story is a 1978 biographical film which tells the life story of rock musician Buddy Holly. It features an Academy Award-winning musical score, adapted by Joe Renzetti and ...more

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darron-portis added Smokey Robinson, Bianca Lawson, D. B. Woodside The Temptations is a four-hour television miniseries broadcast in two-hour halves on NBC, based upon the history of one of Motown's longest-lived acts, The Temptations. Executive produced by ...more

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Jennifer Lopez, Constance Marie, Edward James Olmos Selena Selena is a 1997 American biographical musical drama film about the life and career of the late Tejano music star Selena, a recording artist well known in the Mexican-American and Hispanic ...more

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Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini Green Book is a 2018 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. A bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) at a New York nightclub takes a job as a pianist's (Mahershala Ali) chauffeur during a tour in the ...more

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Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Dennis Quaid Jerry Lee Lewis Great Balls of Fire! is a 1989 American biographical film directed by Jim McBride and starring Dennis Quaid as pioneer rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. Based on a biography by Myra Lewis and ...more

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Beyoncé Knowles, Elvis Presley, Emmanuelle Chriqui Etta James Cadillac Records is a 2008 musical biopic written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film explores the musical era from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, chronicling the life of the ...more

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Ferry73 added Christopher Walken, Francesca Eastwood, Steve Schirripa Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons
Jersey Boys is a 2014 American biographical musical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood based on the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name. The film tells the story of the musical group ...more

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Tom Islava added Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker The Von Trapp Family Singers 
The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is an adaptation of the 1959 Broadway ...more

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Courtney Love, Gary Oldman, Kathy Burke Sid Vicious Sid and Nancy is a 1986 British biopic directed by Alex Cox. The film portrays the life of Sid Vicious, and his relationship with girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Despite failing to recoup its ...more

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Ferry73 added Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer James Brown
Get on Up is a 2014 American biographical drama film about the life of singer James Brown directed by Tate Taylor and written by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. The film stars an ensemble cast ...more

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Diana Ross, Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams Billie Holiday Lady Sings the Blues is a 1972 American biographical drama film directed by Sidney J. Furie about jazz singer Billie Holiday loosely based on her 1956 autobiography which, in turn, took its ...more

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चरणदास-का-हब्बार्ड-वेल्लेर added Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, John Cusack Brian Wilson
A 2013 biopic about the life of Beach Boys' frontman Brian Wilson

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Angela Bassett, Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke Biggie Smalls Notorious is a 2009 American biographical film about the life and murder of Christopher Wallace, an American rapper better known by the stage name The Notorious B.I.G. The film stars Jamal ...more

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Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud, Lynn Redgrave David Helfgott Shine is a 1996 Australian biographical drama film based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a mental breakdown and spent years in institutions. It stars Geoffrey Rush, Lynn ...more

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Tom Islava added Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox

Wladyslaw Szpilman

The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The ...more

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Forest Whitaker, Keith David, Sam Robards Charlie Parker Bird is a 1988 American biographical film, produced and directed by Clint Eastwood of a screenplay written by Joel Oliansky. The film is a tribute to the life and music of jazz saxophonist ...more

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RobLein added James Stewart, Louis Armstrong, Marion Ross The Glenn Miller Story is a 1954 American film about the eponymous American band-leader, directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart in their first non-western collaboration. ...more

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Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Tatum O'Neal Joan Jett The Runaways is a 2010 American drama film about the 1970s all-girl rock band of the same name written and directed by Floria Sigismondi. It is based on the book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a ...more

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Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Ed Harris Patsy Cline Sweet Dreams is a 1985 biographical film which tells the life story of country music singer Patsy Cline. The film was written by Robert Getchell and directed by Karel Reisz. It stars Jessica ...more

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darron-portis added Diahann Carroll, Harry Lennix, Robert Townsend The Five Heartbeats is a 1991 musical drama film directed by Robert Townsend, who co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Wayans. Distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film's main cast includes ...more

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Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore Bob Dylan I'm Not There is a 2007 biographical musical film directed by Todd Haynes, inspired by the life and music of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Six actors depict different facets of Dylan's ...more

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Gary Oldman, Isabella Rossellini, Valeria Golino Ludwig van Beethoven Immortal Beloved is a 1994 film about the life of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The story follows Beethoven's secretary and first biographer Anton Schindler as he attempts to ascertain the true ...more

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चरणदास-का-हब्बार्ड-वेल्लेर added Samantha Morton, Toby Kebbell, Alexandra Lara Ian Curtis Control is a 2007 British-American biographical film about the life of Ian Curtis, singer of the late-1970s English post-punk band Joy Division. It is the first feature film directed by Anton ...more

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I Saw the Light is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
rjoepenk added Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Hiddleston, David Krumholtz Hank Williams

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Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Little Richard Frankie Lymon Why Do Fools Fall in Love is a 1998 American romantic drama, directed by Gregory Nava and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is a biographical film of the brief but intense life of ...more

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Benjamin Vozzo added Keke Palmer, Lil' Mama, Rochelle Aytes CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story is a 2013 American television biographical film about the R&B and hip hop musical trio TLC. It derives its title from the title of the group's second album, ...more

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Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman Bobby Darin Beyond the Sea is a 2004 American biographical film based on the life of singer/actor Bobby Darin. Starring in the lead role and using his own singing voice for the musical numbers, Kevin Spacey ...more

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Marion Cotillard, Gérard Depardieu, Emmanuelle Seigner Edith Piaf La Vie en Rose released in France as La Môme, is a 2007 French and Canadian biographical musical film about the life of French singer Édith Piaf co-written, and directed by Olivier ...more

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Blaze is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Sam Rockwell Blaze is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by Ethan Hawke, based on the novel Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze by Sybil Rosen. The life and death of Blaze Foley ...more

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Kristin Scott Thomas, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, David Morrissey John Lennon Nowhere Boy is a 2009 British biographical musical drama film about John Lennon's adolescence, his relationships with his guardian aunt and his mother, the creation of his first band, the ...more

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Martin Scorsese, Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon composite of Bud Powell & Lester Young Round Midnight is a 1986 American-French musical drama film directed by Bertrand Tavernier and written by Tavernier and David Rayfiel. It stars Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet and Herbie ...more

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Sheryl Crow, Ashley Judd, Alanis Morissette De-Lovely is a 2004 musical biopic directed by Irwin Winkler. The screenplay by Jay Cocks is based on the life and career of Cole Porter, from his first meeting with Linda Lee Thomas until his ...more

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Randy Quaid, David Carradine, Melinda Dillon Woody Guthrie Bound for Glory is a 1976 American film directed by Hal Ashby and loosely adapted by Robert Getchell from Woody Guthrie's 1943 autobiography Bound for Glory. The film stars David Carradine as ...more

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Miles Ahead is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Ewan McGregor, Don Cheadle, Michael Stuhlbarg

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Born to Be Blue is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie

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Asia Argento, Kim Gordon, Michael Pitt Kurt Cobain Last Days is a 2005 American drama film directed, produced, and written by Gus Van Sant, and is a fictionalized account of the last days of a man who has the same type of lifestyle as Kurt ...more

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Bijou Phillips, Shane West, Lauren German Darby Crash What We Do Is Secret is a 2007 American biographical film about Darby Crash, singer of the late-1970s Los Angeles punk rock band Germs. Rodger Grossman directed the film and wrote the ...more

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Ken Russell, Christopher Gable, David Collings Frederick Delius Song of Summer is a 1968 black-and-white television film written, produced and directed by Ken Russell for the BBC's Omnibus series which was first broadcast on 15 September 1968. It portrays ...more

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sandovalarturo1 added Gloria Estefan, Andy Garcia, Mía Maestro For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story is a film about Arturo Sandoval starring Andy García. The biographical drama was produced for the HBO premium cable network and first aired ...more

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Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Vincent Laresca Hector Lavoe El Cantante is a 2007 biographical film which stars singers Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. The film is based on the life of the late salsa singer Héctor Lavoe, who is portrayed by ...more