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The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

Updated May 11, 2020 6.3k votes 889 voters 36.1k views89 items

List RulesDocumentaries about rock music and rock musicians only.

When it comes to the history of rock and roll, there's nothing like a good rockumentary. This list of the best rockumentaries has been ranked by rock music lovers and includes documentary films about all the best rock and roll musicians and bands, with trailers. If you need to rock out, but also get the scoop on your favorite rockers, these great documentary films about rock and roll are what you need.

What are the best rockumentaries of all time? Whether you're interested in The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, KISS, or even the Dixie Chicks, there's a great rockumentary out there for you. Bill Drake first coined the term in 1969, in a History of Rock & Roll radio documentary broadcast and since then, it has been used broadly to define documentaries and concert films and become its own genre.

Notable filmmakers have even tried their hand at the rockumentary, including Martin Scorsese (The Last Waltz), Jim Jarmusch (Year of the Horse), and Jonathan Demme (Stop Making Sense). More than just movies about music, these films take a closer, documentarian style look at the world of rock music, and the famous rock musicians who gave us all this great music. The best of these films provide historical context for these rockers and showcase much of their music as well.

This list ranks the best documentaries about rock music in the history of film. The rockumentaries featured on this list include Don’t Look Back, Woodstock, Cracked Actor, The Kids are Alright, AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, Bring on the Night, Rattle and Hum, Year of the Horse, and Back and Forth.

Don't see the rockumentary you think is the greatest on the list? Add it for other music and film fans to vote on and help make this the most comprehensive list of good rockumentaries anywhere on the Internet. And when you're done here, check out our list of the best rock music movies.

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  • 26
    No Direction Home
    43
    35

    Released2005

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    No Direction Home is a documentary film by Martin Scorsese that traces the life of Bob Dylan,... more on Wikipedia
  • 27
    61
    24

    Roger Water's The Wall

  • 28
    AC/DC: Let There Be Rock

    ActorsBon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Cliff Williams

    Released1980

    Directed byEric Dionysius, Eric Mistler

    AC/DC: Let There Be Rock is a live concert motion picture featuring the Australian hard rock... more on Wikipedia
  • 29
    Dont Look Back
    40
    41

    Released1967

    Directed byD. A. Pennebaker

    Dont Look Back [sic] is a 1967 American documentary film by D. A. Pennebaker that covers Bob... more on Wikipedia
  • 30
    Some Kind of Monster

    Released2004

    Directed byJoe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

    Some Kind of Monster is a 2004 documentary film featuring the American heavy metal band... more on Wikipedia

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  • 31
    Year of the Horse
    41
    32

    ActorsBernard Shakey, Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot, Frank Sampedro

    Released1997

    Directed byJim Jarmusch

    Year of the Horse is a 1997 documentary directed by Jim Jarmusch following Neil Young and... more on Wikipedia
  • 32
    Lemmy
    44
    13

    Lemmy

    Music, Biographical film

    ActorsDave Grohl, Slash, Billy Bob Thornton, James Hetfield, Henry Rollins

    Released2010

    Directed byGreg Olliver, Wes Orshoski

    Lemmy is a 2010 documentary film written and directed by Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver.
  • 33
    Iron Maiden: Flight 666

    Released2009

    Directed bySam Dunn, Scot McFadyen

    Iron Maiden: Flight 666 is a concert documentary film featuring the British heavy metal band... more on Wikipedia
  • 34
    The Clash: Westway to the World

    ActorsJoe Strummer, Siouxsie Sioux, Shane MacGowan, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon

    Released2000

    Directed byDon Letts

    The Clash: Westway to the World is a 2000 documentary film about the British punk rock band... more on Wikipedia
  • 35
    Super Duper Alice Cooper
    30
    30

    Super Duper Alice Cooper

    Music, Documentary film

    Released2014

    Directed bySam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Reginald Harkema

    Super Duper Alice Cooper is a 2014 music documentary film written and directed by Sam Dunn,...
  • 36
    Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All
    38
    21

    Released2013

    Directed byDeedle LaCour, Matt Riggle

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
  • 37
    Pearl Jam Twenty
    46
    31

    ActorsAdam Sandler, Michael J. Anderson, Vicky Tiu Liu

    Released2011

    Directed byCameron Crowe

    Pearl Jam Twenty is a 2011 American rockumentary directed by Cameron Crowe about the band... more on Wikipedia
  • 38
    Classic Albums: Steely Dan: Aja
    17
    19

    Classic Albums: Steely Dan: Aja

    Music, Documentary film

    Released1999

    Directed byAlan Lewens

    Classic Albums: Steely Dan: Aja is a 1999 musical documentary directed by Alan Lewens.
  • 39
    Oasis: Supersonic
    30
    18

    Oasis: Supersonic

    Documentary, Music

    ActorsLiam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Paul Arthurs, Paul McGuigan, Tony McCarroll

    Released2016

    Directed byMat Whitecross

    Oasis: Supersonic is a 2016 British music documentary directed by Mat Whitecross. The film... more on Wikipedia
  • 40
    Amy
    25
    20

    Amy

    Biography

    ActorsAmy Winehouse

    Directed byAsif Kapadia

    Amy Winehouse
  • 41
    Heavy Metal Parking Lot
    30
    27

    Released1986

    Directed byJohn Heyn, Jeff Krulik

    Heavy Metal Parking Lot is a documentary short produced by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn in 1986.

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  • 42
    Patti Smith: Dream of Life

    ActorsPatti Smith, Flea, Tom Verlaine, Lenny Kaye, Jay Dee Daugherty

    Released2008

    Directed bySteven Sebring

    Patti Smith: Dream of Life is a 2008 documentary film about Patti Smith directed by Steven... more on Wikipedia
  • 43
    Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
    11
    19

    Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times

    Biographical film, Documentary film

    Released1995

    Directed byDon Was

    Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times is a 1995 biographical musical film directed... more on Wikipedia
  • 44
    Nirvana: Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!

    ActorsDave Grohl, Krist Novoselic

    Released1994

    Directed byKevin Kerslake, Mark Racco

    Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! is a 1994 video album by Nirvana.
  • 45
    Shut Up and Play the Hits
    5
    13

    Shut Up and Play the Hits

    Music, Documentary film

    Released2012

    Directed byDylan Southern, Will Lovelace

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
  • 46
    Urgh! A Music War
    11
    19

    Urgh! A Music War

    Music, Cult film

    Released1981

    Directed byDerek Burbidge

    Urgh! A Music War is a British film released in 1982 featuring performances by punk rock, new... more on Wikipedia
  • 47
    Western Stars
    2
    1

    Western Stars

    Western Stars is a 2019 American concert film directed by Bruce Springsteen and Thom Zimny.... more on Wikipedia
  • 48
    Color Me Obsessed
    7
    13

    Color Me Obsessed

    Musical, Documentary film

    Released2011

    Directed byGorman Bechard

    Color Me Obsessed, which made its film festival debut in April, 2011, is a rockumentary by... more on Wikipedia
  • 49
    A Band Called Death
    20
    19

    A Band Called Death

    Music, Biographical film

    Released2012

    Directed byJeff Howlett, Mark Covino

    A Band Called Death is a 2012 American documentary film directed by Mark Christopher Covino... more on Wikipedia
  • 50
    Dig!
    14
    23

    Dig!

    Music, Biographical film

    Released2004

    Directed byOndi Timoner

    Dig! is a documentary film directed by Ondi Timoner, and produced by Timoner, Vasco Nunes and... more on Wikipedia