20 Great Movies About Music and Musicians

Looking for some great movies about music and musicians? Check out our top picks below.

These include some wonderful cinematic adaptations of the lives of musicians and bands, both on and off the stage. Some of these movies help you discover the events and struggles that brought forth the famous songs we all adore.

Others are fictional pieces based strongly on the topic of music throughout the movie.

Whichever one you pick, you’re in for a treat with these movies:

1. Walk the Line (2005)

“Aw, June, love’s more important than the tour”

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash. The James Mangold directed romantic melody depicts the biopic of famous singer and songwriter, Johnny Cash.

Walk the Line is an excellent movie, with fantastic performances by both Phoenix and Witherspoon.

2. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

“We’re playing for the other misfits.”

As the name suggests, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a biopic based on the rise and struggles of Queens’ lead singer. The movie revolves around the real music rhapsody of Freddie Mercury. Bryan Singer directed this charged biopic tuned with the accordance of Mercury’s own life.

3. A Star is Born (2018)

“Music is essentially 12 notes between any octave. Twelve notes and the octave repeats. It’s the same story told over and over. All the artist can offer the world is how they see those 12 notes.”

A Star is Born is an Oscar-nominated movie with a hit song up its sleeve. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga play the lead roles in this critically acclaimed movie. Cooper plays a character that is actively helping an up-and-coming singer (played by Lady Gaga) on the path to success while struggling with his own life and career.

4. Once (2007)

John Carney’s direction put forth a fictional movie set in Dublin between a guy (played by Glen Hansard) and girl (Markéta Irglová). Once is a beautiful movie, with great acting, and a raw and fantastic soundtrack.

It’s main song, “Falling Slowly” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards. This was a tremendous achievement for a small budget movie.

5. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

“These go to eleven”

This is Spinal Tap’ is an American film chronicled by Rob Reiner about a fictional band known to be England’s loudest.

It satirizes the band’s journey to tour America and a mock documentary of the band’s journey amongst its profound music and pivotal lyrics and how it all comes to a crisis.

6. Rocketman (2019)

Remember when Taron Egerton said, “People don’t pay to see Reg Dwight! They pay to see Elton John!”

He certainly wasn’t showing off. The biopic outlines Elton John’s charged up life and dramatic chords making the audience gawk & gasp in amazement.

The keen direction of Dexter Fletcher depicts Elton’s strained relationship with his father.

7. Notorious (2009)

George Tillman Jr. directs a thrilling biopic based on the renowned rapper Christopher Wallace a.k.a the Notorious B.I.G and his short journey to fame starring the talented Jamal Woolard.

In the movie, the Notorious B.I.G says, “I’m just a guy trying to make you laugh.”

Well, his life story ended in the contrast of the dialogue. The film opens in a tragic incident of B.I.G’s death.

8. The Runaways (2010)

The Runaways’ is a movie about random five teenage females hurdled together into a band.

The movie plays on the eccentricities of subjects such as, feminism and morals. Director Floria Sigismondi portrays the pioneering days of rock and roll culture.

After all, “In rock ‘n’ roll, there’s a first time for everything” 

9. Straight Outta Compton’ (2015)

The iconic film is based on rap group N.W.A and its members Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre.

Remember the ‘La-da-da-da-dahh…Snoop Dogg’ voice on every other ringtone or playback?

The hit song also belongs to the movie ‘Straight Outta Compton’. This movie portrays truth wrapped in thorns with profound dialogues.

10. Selena (1997)

“They can’t make food hot enough for me.” That attitude, Oh Selena.

Jennifer Lopez starred in the movie ‘Selena’ and earned a Golden Globe nomination for it.

Based on the American singer Tejano, the movie was released two years after the star’s tragic murder.

11. Love and Mercy (2014)

“I want you to leave, but I don’t want you to leave me.” 

Bill Pohlad’s impeccable directing skills were put to use in ‘Love and Mercy’; the biopic of Brian Wilson, who is the lead singer of Beach Boys’.

The story depicts the rise and fall of Brian’s journey along with momentous battle with mental health issues.

12. The Pianist (2002)

“You’re an artist, Wladek. You do enough.” 

Wladyslaw Sziplman rollercoaster life couldn’t be portrayed well than the movie ‘The Pianist’.

The film shows the concert pianist’s acutely distressing personal life simultaneous to the piano keys.

Roman Polanski directs the pianist’s dark past at the labor camp. This flick earned the protagonist, Adrien Brody an Oscar for ‘Best Actor.’

13. Last Days (2005)

‘I lost something on my way to wherever I am today’ – Kurt Cobain in the movie ‘Last Days.’

As the quotes suggest, the movie is a fictional production of Kurt Cobain who is suppressed under isolation and fame. Under the direction of Gus Van Sant, the movie entails the wandering of the star who tries to escape the worldly affairs.

14. Control (2007)

The enigmatic direction of Anton Corbijn shows the fragility of a soul profoundly in Ian Curtis’s biopic, ‘Control.’

The singer’s personal and professional affairs become havoc for him laced with his zestful dreams eventually leading to an early morbid death.

The movie’s famous quotes are still remembered:

“A cloud hangs over me marks every move deep in the memory of what once was love.”

15. Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Behind the Candelabra’ is an American film based on the life of a pianist Władziu Valentino Liberace and his relationship with Scott Thorson.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the talented Michael Douglas’ stars in the film masterfully weaving the dark male-exploiting narcissist side and bright persona of the pianist.

16. I’m Not There (2007)

“Either be groovy or leave, man” 

The movie directed by Todd Haynes is the story of Bob Dylan’s life and his obsession with contradictions.

Interestingly, six different actors played the role of Bob Dylan’s public personas. ‘I’m Not There’ received prominence and good ratings.

17. Ray (2004)

“Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothin’ turn you into no cripple.” 

The movie is based on Ray Charles and his legendary rhythm. ‘Ray’ portrays the legend’s life in flashback. It is also about his turbulent childhood and drug battle.

18. 8 Mile (2002)

“A dope rapper?”

We all know who that dope rapper is. 8 Mile is mostly based on Eminem’s life. Starting from the day when he was a young boy who had a passion for rap.

Amidst his chaotic life, he tries to pursue his passion despite the bullying experience in his life.

19. Bound for Glory (1976)

“The human thing is just gone. It’s just gone, cos he’s afraid. Afraid that he’s gonna lose somethin’”

Hal Bashy’s direction of a partly fiction film based on the book ‘Bound for Glory.’

Starring David Carradine as the legendary singer, earned an Oscar for Best Cinematography.

20. La Vie En Rose (2007)

La Vie En Rose’ is a musical biopic of the iconic French singer Édith Piaf directed by Olivier Dahan.

The story revolves around the singer’s upbringing in a brothel and its effects on her life. The movie has won two Oscars.

The film’s famous quote is still remembered:

American journalist: If you were to give advice to a woman, what would it be?

Edith Piaf: Love.


That should be enough movies about music and musicians to have you binge watching for the next few weeks!

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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