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The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians 

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Updated February 24, 2020 6k votes 809 voters 21.1k views 52 items

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.

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1
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Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Ginnifer Goodwin

Released: 2005

Directed by: James Mangold

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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#350 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #4 of 195 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
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Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

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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#12 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #10 of 195 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
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Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander

Released: 1993

Directed by: Brian Gibson

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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#17 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #57 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #21 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

4
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Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Kelly Hu

Released: 1991

Directed by: Oliver Stone

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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#11 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #256 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #372 of 385 The Best Movies to Watch While Stoned

5
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Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy

Released: 2002

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

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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All The Ways 8 Mile Is Radically Different From Eminem's Actual Life #1,069 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Straight Outta Compton ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Jankowskim added O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell

Released: 2015

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

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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#275 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #52 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #71 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

7
La Bamba is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Lou Diamond Phillips, Joe Pantoliano, Brian Setzer

Released: 1987

Directed by: Luis Valdez

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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#14 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #48 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #5 of 15 The Best Movies That Capture The Mexican-American Experience

8
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Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole

Released: 1984

Directed by: Miloš Forman

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

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#171 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #179 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
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Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Beverly DAngelo

Released: 1980

Directed by: Michael Apted

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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#197 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #786 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
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Gary Busey, Buddy Miles, Paul Mooney

Released: 1978

Directed by: Steve Rash

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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#18 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #227 of 554 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
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Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee

Released: 2018

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Freddie Mercury and Queen

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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The Real Bohemian Rhapsody Ending: What Actually Happened To Queen After Their Live Aid Performance #9 of 195 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Rocketman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden

Released: 2019

Directed by: Dexter Fletcher

Elton John

Rocketman is a 2019 British-American biographical musical film directed by Dexter Fletcher. The life of Elton John (Taron Egerton) is tracked from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of ...more
13
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darron-portis added Smokey Robinson, Bianca Lawson, D. B. Woodside

Released: 1998

Directed by: Allan Arkush

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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#71 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #54 of 171 The Best Miniseries in TV History #12 of 32 The Best Black Movies of the 1980s

14
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Great Balls of Fire! Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Dennis Quaid

Released: 1989

Directed by: Jim McBride

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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#51 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #132 of 235 The Best Movies Based On True Stories #13 of 33 The Best Historical Movies Released in the 1980s

15
Selena is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Jennifer Lopez, Constance Marie, Edward James Olmos

Released: 1997

Directed by: Gregory Nava

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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#1,206 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #175 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #44 of 124 The Most Rewatchable Movie Musicals

16
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Courtney Love, Gary Oldman, Kathy Burke

Released: 1986

Directed by: Alex Cox

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen

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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#35 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #240 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #369 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

17
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Ferry73 added Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer

Released: 2014

Directed by: Tate Taylor

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
18
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Ferry73 added Christopher Walken, Francesca Eastwood, Steve Schirripa

Released: 2014

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

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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#63 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #277 of 372 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #20 of 46 30+ Great Period Films with a 1960s Aesthetic

19
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Beyoncé Knowles, Elvis Presley, Emmanuelle Chriqui

Released: 2008

Directed by: Darnell Martin

Leonard Chess

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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#158 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #40 of 63 The Best Movies About Singing #4 of 10 The Best Blues Movies

20
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चरणदास-का-हब्बार्ड-वेल्लेर added Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, John Cusack

Released: 2014

Directed by: Bill Pohlad

Brian Wilson

A 2013 biopic about the life of Beach Boys' frontman Brian Wilson

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#83 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #38 of 46 30+ Great Period Films with a 1960s Aesthetic #101 of 149 The Very Best Biopics About Real People

21
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Angela Bassett, Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke

Released: 2009

Directed by: George Tillman, Jr.

Biggie Smalls

Notorious is a 2009 American biographical film about the life of Christopher Wallace, an American rapper better known by the stage name The Notorious B.I.G. The film stars Jamal Woolard as ...more

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#132 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #132 of 195 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

22
The Sound of Music is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians
Tom Islava added Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

Released: 1965

Directed by: Robert Wise

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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Every Song in The Sound of Music, Ranked by Singability #1 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
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Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Released: 2018

Directed by: Peter Farrelly

Don Shirley

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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Who Was Don Shirley, The Virtuosic Pianist At The Center Of 'Green Book'? #30 of 195 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
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Diana Ross, Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams

Released: 1972

Directed by: Sidney J. Furie

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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#97 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #215 of 554 The Best '70s Movies #47 of 54 The Best Movies "Loosely" Based on True Stories

25
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Tom Islava added Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox

Released: 2002

Directed by: Roman Polanski

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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