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, Pearl Jam, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, KISS, Steely Dan, 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.
- The Beatles Anthology is a documentary series on the career of The Beatles. It was broadcast on UK television in six abridged parts between 19 and 23 November 1995, while in the U.S. it was seen as ...more
- The Kids Are Alright is a 1979 rockumentary film about the English rock band The Who, including live performances, promotional films and interviews from 1964 to 1978.
- "This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on the charts, including everything from its complicated history of ups and downs, gold ...more
- Artists and producers highlight the history of the recording studio in Van Nuys, Calif., and discuss the impact of music in the age of technology.
- History of the Eagles is a 2013 two-part authorized documentary about the career of the American rock group the Eagles, directed by Alison Ellwood and co-produced by Alex Gibney. After screening at ...more
- In 1969, 500,000 people descended on a small patch of field in a little-known town in upstate New York called Woodstock. In this documentary, the iconic event is chronicled in unflinching detail, ...more
- In this follow-up to the 1981 punk rock documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization," filmmaker Penelope Spheeris dissects the world of heavy metal. Through live performance footage and ...more
- Featuring performances by popular artists of the 1960s, this concert film highlights the music of the 1967 California festival. Although not all musicians who performed at the Monterey Pop Festival ...more
- A documentary about the Canadian rock band Rush relates the group's 40-year history and examines its continuing popularity. Using extensive archival footage, it follows the resilient rockers, lead ...more
- Runnin' Down a Dream is a 2007 documentary film about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The 4-hour documentary chronicles the history of the band, from its inception as ...more
- Seventeen years after joining forces as the backing band for rockabilly cult hero Ronnie Hawkins, Canadian roots rockers The Band call it quits with a lavish farewell show at San Francisco's ...more
- Filmed in 1973 over the course of a three-night stand at New York City's Madison Square Garden, this concert film shows Led Zeppelin at the apogee of their hard-rocking glory. In addition to ...more
- A documentary that traces the roots of Jim Morrison's iconic rock group and their live and studio performances.
- End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones is a 2003 documentary film about highly influential New York punk rock band the Ramones. The film, produced and directed by Jim Fields and Michael ...more
- Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is a 1972 concert documentary film featuring the English progressive rock group Pink Floyd performing at the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy, directed by ...more
- Rock icons -- Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White -- from three different generations come together to discuss the electric guitar and their musical influences. The men swap stories and crank up ...more
- Director Jonathan Demme captures the frantic energy and artsy groove of Talking Heads in this concert movie shot at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in 1983. The band's frontman, David Byrne, first ...more
- This mock documentary riffing on the story of pop legends The Beatles follows a fictional band, The Rutles, as they climb to the top of the charts. Complete with jet-black bowl cuts, the four ...more
- "The film takes us on the 16 year journey of the Foo Fighters, from Dave Grohl and Pat Smear’s surviving the aftermath of Nirvana to Dave, Pat, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett’s rise ...more
- Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute is a 2021 American concert documentary film directed by Laura Segura. In a star-studded evening of music and memories, a community of iconic performers honor Dolly ...more
- Though he faded into obscurity in the U.S., an early '70s musician known as Rodriguez became a huge hit in South Africa and was widely rumored to have died. Two obsessed fans set out to learn the ...more
- Tina is an 2021 American-British music documentary film, directed by Dan Lindsay and T. J. Martin. A revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her ...more
- This documentary film traces musician Bob Dylan's evolution from folk troubadour to iconic rock star. Live concert footage and press conferences from the 1960s and a new interview with Dylan are used ...more
- Lemmy is a 2010 documentary film written and directed by Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver.
- The Beatles: Get Back is a 2021 American-British-New Zealand three-part documentary film directed by Peter Jackson. It covers the making of the Beatles' 1970 album Let It Be, which had the working ...more