vote on everything
Watchworthy
885 voters

The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

Updated May 11, 2020 6.3k votes 885 voters 35.7k 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.

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    This Is Spinal Tap is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    182
    99

    This Is Spinal Tap

    Mockumentary, Cult film

    ActorsBilly Crystal, Fran Drescher, Anjelica Huston, Dana Carvey, Rob Reiner

    Released1984

    Directed byRob Reiner

    This Is Spinal Tap is an American 1984 rock music mockumentary written, scored by, and... more on Wikipedia

    More This Is Spinal Tap 

    Behind The Scenes Of 'This Is Spinal Tap,' The Fake Documentary That Was Actually All Too Real#682 of 1,647 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • 2
    The Kids Are Alright is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    ActorsPete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle

    Released1979

    The Kids Are Alright is a 1979 rockumentary film about the English rock band The Who,... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Woodstock is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    136
    77

    Woodstock

    Various – Woodstock festival

    ActorsJimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, Keith Moon

    Released1970

    Directed byMichael Wadleigh

    Woodstock is a 1970 American documentary of the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival... more on Wikipedia

    More Woodstock 

    Inside Jimi Hendrix’s Legendary And Controversial National Anthem Performance At Woodstock '69#690 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

  • 4
    Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    ActorsBilly Corgan, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, Matt Stone, Les Claypool

    Released2010

    Directed bySam Dunn, Scot McFadyen

    Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is a 2010 documentary film directed by Scot McFadyen and Sam... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    The Last Waltz is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    129
    74

    Released1978

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    The Last Waltz was a concert by the Canadian rock group the Band, held on American... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    History of the Eagles Part One is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    Released2013

    Directed byAlison Ellwood

    History of the Eagles is a 2013 two-part authorized documentary about the career of the... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    The Song Remains the Same is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    146
    90

    ActorsJimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones

    Released1976

    Directed byPeter Clifton, Joe Massot

    The Song Remains the Same is a concert film featuring the English rock band Led Zeppelin. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    The Beatles Anthology is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    94
    51

    ActorsPaul McCartney,George Harrison,Ringo Starr,John Lennon

    Released1996

    The Beatles Anthology is a documentary series on the career of The Beatles. It was broadcast... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Sound City is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    81
    30

    Sound City

    Music, Documentary film

    ActorsRalph William Tarr

    Released2013

    Directed byDave Grohl

    Sound City is a 2013 documentary film produced and directed by Dave Grohl, in his directorial... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    The Decline of Western Civiliz is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    ActorsOzzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons, Bret Michaels, Paul Stanley, Joe Perry

    Released1988

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is a documentary film directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    Released1972

    Directed byAdrian Maben

    Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is a 1972 concert documentary film featuring the English... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Stop Making Sense is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    101
    75

    Stop Making Sense

    Talking Heads

    Released1984

    Directed byJonathan Demme

    Stop Making Sense is a concert movie featuring Talking Heads live on stage. Directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    It Might Get Loud is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    82
    55

    It Might Get Loud

    Jimmy Page, The Edge

    ActorsMichael McKean

    Released2008

    Directed byDavis Guggenheim

    It Might Get Loud is a 2008 American documentary film by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim. It... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    When You're Strange is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    76
    38

    ActorsJohnny Depp, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger

    Released2009

    Directed byTom DiCillo

    A documentary that traces the roots of Jim Morrison's iconic rock group and their live and... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    End of the Century: The Story  is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    ActorsDebbie Harry, Rob Zombie, Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone

    Released2003

    Directed byMichael Gramaglia, Jim Fields

    End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones is a 2003 documentary film about highly... more on Wikipedia

    More End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones 

    #24 of 84 The Best Documentaries About Music#29 of 33 The Best Punk Movies

  • 16
    Gimme Shelter is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    76
    64

    Gimme Shelter

    The Rolling Stones

    ActorsKeith Richards, The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts

    Released1970

    Directed byAlbert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
  • 17
    Rattle and Hum is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    Released1988

    Directed byPhil Joanou

    Rattle and Hum is the sixth studio album by rock band U2, and a companion rockumentary film... more on Wikipedia

    More Rattle and Hum 

    #1466 of 3,110 The Greatest Albums of All-Time#113 of 339 The Greatest Album Covers of All Time

  • 18
    Foo Fighters: Back and Forth is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    Released2011

    Directed byJames Moll

    "The film takes us on the 16 year journey of the Foo Fighters, from Dave Grohl and Pat Smear’s... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Monterey Pop is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    58
    32

    Monterey Pop

    Various - Monterey County Fairgrounds

    ActorsJimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Otis Redding, Michelle Phillips

    Released1968

    Directed byD. A. Pennebaker

    Monterey Pop is a 1968 concert film by D. A. Pennebaker that documents the Monterey Pop... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Runnin' Down a Dream is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    66
    30

    Runnin' Down a Dream

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    ActorsKevin Costner, Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder

    Released2008

    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

    Runnin' Down a Dream is a 2007 documentary film about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    The Filth and the Fury is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    53
    42

    ActorsSteve Jones, Malcolm McLaren, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook

    Released2000

    Directed byJulien Temple

    The Filth and the Fury is a 2000 British rockumentary film about the Sex Pistols, directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    The Rutles is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    44
    34

    The Rutles

    Mockumentary, Musical

    ActorsBill Murray, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, Dan Aykroyd, Paul Simon

    Released1978

    Directed byEric Idle, Gary Weis

    All You Need is Cash
  • 23
    The Decline of Western Civiliz is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    ActorsExene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, John Doe, Dave Alvin, D. J. Bonebrake

    Released1981

    Directed byPenelope Spheeris

    The Decline of Western Civilization is an American documentary film filmed through 1979 and... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time
    41
    29

    Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll

    Documentary film, Concert film

    ActorsKeith Richards, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison

    Released1987

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

    Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is a 1987 documentary film directed by Taylor Hackford that... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Elvis: That's the Way It Is is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Rockumentaries of All Time

    Released1970

    Directed byDenis Sanders

    Elvis: That's the Way It Is is a 1970 American documentary film directed by Denis Sanders. The... more on Wikipedia

    More Elvis: That's the Way It Is 

    #266 of 553 The Best '70s Movies#82 of 195 The Best Movies About Music

FilmsFilmEntertainmenttop 50poll