Entertainment

The Best Rockumentaries of All Time  

Ranker Film
Originally by
5.4k votes 754 voters 31.2k views 90 items

List Rules Documentaries 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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looksharp added Documentary film, Concert film
Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is a 1987 documentary film directed by Taylor Hackford that chronicles two 1986 concerts celebrating rock and roll musician Chuck Berry's 60th birthday. A soundtrack ...more
27
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Sex Pistols
The Filth and the Fury is a 2000 British rockumentary film about the Sex Pistols, directed by Julien Temple.
28
No Direction Home is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
looksharp added Documentary
No Direction Home is a documentary film by Martin Scorsese that traces the life of Bob Dylan, and his impact on 20th-century American popular music and culture. The film focuses on the period ...more
29
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Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam Twenty is a 2011 American rockumentary directed by Cameron Crowe about the band Pearl Jam. Preliminary footage was being shot as of June 2010. Crowe completed filming in April 2011, ...more
30
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Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden: Flight 666 is a concert documentary film featuring the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. The film follows the band on the first leg of their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour ...more
31
Oasis: Supersonic is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
DamianO'Brien added Documentary, Music
Oasis: Supersonic is a 2016 British music documentary directed by Mat Whitecross. The film details the history of the Britpop band Oasis during their formative years and the height of their ...more
32
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punksnotdead added Music, Biographical film, Musical
A Band Called Death is a 2012 American documentary film directed by Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett. The documentary is about the 1970s rock band Death and their new-found popularity ...more
33
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clash1977 added The Clash
The Clash: Westway to the World is a 2000 documentary film about the British punk rock band The Clash. In 2003 it won the Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. Directed by Don Letts, the ...more
34
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looksharp added Music, Documentary film
Super Duper Alice Cooper is a 2014 music documentary film written and directed by Sam Dunn, Reginald Harkema and Scot McFadyen.
35
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Bob Dylan
Dont Look Back [sic] is a 1967 American documentary film by D. A. Pennebaker that covers Bob Dylan's 1965 concert tour in the United Kingdom. In 1998 the film was selected for preservation in ...more
36
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Elvis Presley
Elvis: That's the Way It Is is a 1970 American documentary film directed by Denis Sanders. The film documents American singer Elvis Presley's Summer Festival in Las Vegas during August 1970. It ...more
37
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slackMFr added Music, Biographical film, Documentary film
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All is a 2013 documentary, biographical, and music film directed by Deedle LaCour and Matt Riggle.
38
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Metallica
Some Kind of Monster is a 2004 documentary film featuring the American heavy metal band Metallica. It shares its name with the song "Some Kind of Monster" from Metallica's 2003 album ...more
39
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mark-lamotte-foster added Musical, Documentary film, Rockumentary
The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story is a documentary released on DVD on 24 March 2003, produced by Otmoor Productions in 2001 as part of the BBC's Omnibus series and originally called Syd ...more
40
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wmathis63 added Music, Biographical film, Musical
Dig! is a documentary film directed by Ondi Timoner, and produced by Timoner, Vasco Nunes and David Timoner. Compiled from seven years of footage, it contrasts the developing careers and ...more
41
Amy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
punksnotdead added Amy
Amy Winehouse
42
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Nirvana
Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! is a 1994 video album by Nirvana.
43
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Kyle Kruger added Hair I Go Again

Facing a mid-life crossroads, two longtime friends risk everything as they set out to fulfill their dreams of achieving rock & roll stardom. First and last chances happen only once as their improbable journey is chronicled in the Amazon Video #1Besteller, Hair I Go Again.

 

Featuring candid interviews with some of the most influential musicians and industry professionals of the 80’s rock era, including Eddie Trunk (That Metal Show), Jeff Keith and Frank Hannon (Tesla), Ron Keel (KEEL), Steve Blaze (Lillian Axe), Frank Bello and Joey Belladonna (Anthrax), Les Warner (The Cult), as well as members of Kix, Alice Cooper, Stryper, Queensrÿche, Quiet Riot, Warrant, Vixen, LA Guns and more.

44
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Judas Priest
Heavy Metal Parking Lot is a documentary short produced by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn in 1986.
45
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Bob Marley
Marley is a 2012 documentary and music film directed by Kevin MacDonald.
46
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wmathis63 added Music, Documentary film
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Shut Up and Play the Hits is a 2012 documentary film directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace that follows LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy over a 48-hour period, from the day of the ...more
47
Ranker Video
looksharp added Music, Cult film, Musical
Urgh! A Music War is a British film released in 1982 featuring performances by punk rock, new wave, and post-punk acts, filmed in 1980. Among the artists featured in the movie are Magazine, The ...more
48
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49
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Riot18 added Music, Cult film, Documentary film
The Grateful Dead Movie, released in 1977 and directed by Jerry Garcia, is a film that captures live performances from the Grateful Dead's October 1974 five-night stand at the Winterland ...more
50
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looksharp added Music, Documentary film
Classic Albums: Steely Dan: Aja is a 1999 musical documentary directed by Alan Lewens.