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The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians

Updated February 24, 2020 6.3k votes 828 voters 21.6k views52 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • Walk the Line1
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    Walk the Line

    Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2005

    Directed byJames Mangold

    Johnny Cash and June Carter

    Walk the Line is a 2005 American biographical drama film directed by James Mangold and based... more on Wikipedia
  • Ray2
    213
    102

    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

    Ray Charles

    Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray... more on Wikipedia

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  • What's Love Got to Do with It3
    163
    78

    What's Love Got to Do with It

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

    Tina Turner

    What's Love Got to Do with It is a 1993 American biographical film directed by Brian Gibson,... more on Wikipedia
  • Straight Outta Compton4
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    77

    Straight Outta Compton

    O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins

    Released2015

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

    NWA

    Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Doors5
    151
    80

    The Doors

    Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer

    Released1991

    Directed byOliver Stone

    The Doors is a 1991 American biopic about the 1960-70s rock band of the same name which... more on Wikipedia
  • Coal Miner's Daughter6
    115
    65

    Coal Miner's Daughter

    Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek

    Released1980

    Directed byMichael Apted

    Loretta Lynn

    Coal Miner's Daughter is a 1980 biographical film which tells the story of country music... more on Wikipedia

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  • Amadeus7
    124
    81

    Amadeus

    Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon

    Released1984

    Directed byMiloš Forman

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed... more on Wikipedia
  • La Bamba8
    150
    78

    La Bamba

    Lou Diamond Phillips, Joe Pantoliano

    Released1987

    Directed byLuis Valdez

    Ritchie Valens

    La Bamba is a 1987 American biographical film written and directed by Luis Valdez that follows... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8 Mile9
    153
    114

    8 Mile

    Eminem, Kim Basinger

    Released2002

    Directed byCurtis Hanson

    Eminem

    8 Mile is a 2002 American hip-hop biopic film written by Scott Silver, directed by Curtis... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Buddy Holly Story10
    106
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    The Buddy Holly Story

    Gary Busey, Buddy Miles

    Released1978

    Directed bySteve Rash

    The Buddy Holly Story is a 1978 biographical film which tells the life story of rock musician... more on Wikipedia
  • Shine11
    91
    57

    Shine

    Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud

    Released1996

    Directed byScott Hicks

    David Helfgott

    Shine is a 1996 Australian biographical drama film based on the life of pianist David... more on Wikipedia
  • Bohemian Rhapsody12
    263
    69

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    Rami Malek, Ben Hardy

    Released2018

    Directed byBryan Singer

    Freddie Mercury and Queen

    Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 American-British biographical drama film directed by Bryan Singer.... more on Wikipedia

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  • Rocketman13
    223
    95

    Rocketman

    Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell

    Released2019

    Directed byDexter Fletcher

    Elton John

    Rocketman is a 2019 British-American biographical musical film directed by Dexter Fletcher.... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Temptations14
    87
    50

    The Temptations

    Smokey Robinson, Bianca Lawson

    Released1998

    Directed byAllan Arkush

    The Temptations is a four-hour television miniseries broadcast in two-hour halves on NBC,... more on Wikipedia

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  • Great Balls of Fire!15
    81
    59

    Great Balls of Fire!

    Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder

    Released1989

    Directed byJim McBride

    Jerry Lee Lewis

    Great Balls of Fire! is a 1989 American biographical film directed by Jim McBride and starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • Selena16
    124
    66

    Selena

    Jennifer Lopez, Constance Marie

    Released1997

    Directed byGregory Nava

    Selena is a 1997 American biographical musical drama film about the life and career of the... more on Wikipedia
  • Love & Mercy17
    44
    42

    Love & Mercy

    Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti

    Released2014

    Directed byBill Pohlad

    Brian Wilson

    A 2013 biopic about the life of Beach Boys' frontman Brian Wilson
  • Get On Up18
    60
    49

    Get On Up

    Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis

    Released2014

    Directed byTate Taylor

    James Brown

    Get on Up is a 2014 American biographical drama film about the life of singer James Brown... more on Wikipedia
  • Jersey Boys19
    65
    44

    Jersey Boys

    Christopher Walken, Francesca Eastwood

    Released2014

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons

    Jersey Boys is a 2014 American biographical musical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood... more on Wikipedia
  • Cadillac Records20
    68
    68

    Cadillac Records

    Beyoncé Knowles, Elvis Presley

    Released2008

    Directed byDarnell Martin

    Leonard Chess

    Cadillac Records is a 2008 musical biopic written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film... more on Wikipedia
  • Sid and Nancy21
    67
    60

    Sid and Nancy

    Courtney Love, Gary Oldman

    Released1986

    Directed byAlex Cox

    Sid and Nancy is a 1986 British biopic directed by Alex Cox. The film portrays the life of Sid... more on Wikipedia

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  • Notorious22
    56
    58

    Notorious

    Angela Bassett, Anthony Mackie

    Released2009

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

    Biggie Smalls

    Notorious is a 2009 American biographical film about the life of Christopher Wallace, an... more on Wikipedia
  • Green Book23
    69
    35

    Green Book

    Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali

    Released2018

    Directed byPeter Farrelly

    Don Shirley

    Green Book is a 2018 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. A bouncer (Viggo Mortensen)... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Pianist24
    33
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    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann

    Released2002

    Directed byRoman Polanski

    Wladyslaw Szpilman

    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski,... more on Wikipedia
  • The Runaways25
    60
    40

    The Runaways

    Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning

    Released2010

    Directed byFloria Sigismondi

    Joan Jett

    The Runaways is a 2010 American drama film about the 1970s all-girl rock band of the same name... more on Wikipedia

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