Best Movies About Music Or Musicians | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Ever since the dawn of cinema, filmmakers just can’t get enough of making biopics, especially when it comes to those who’ve left their mark in the music world. These movies hit you right in the feels; whether they’re showing the captivating journey from rags to riches or taking you through the ups and downs of a musical genius’s life, they really strike a chord.

With that being said, here are the 10 best films to savor that center around the musician or the craft itself. 

Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash follows a young jazz drummer named Andrew Neiman and his finicky music teacher, Terence Fletcher, at a known conservatory. Andrew’s dream of becoming a great drummer is tested by Fletcher’s tough teaching methods, blurring the line between ambition and obsession.

The film’s brilliant story, coupled with exceptional performances, has earned it many honors, including an Academy Award. If you believe in the mantra “greatness demands everything,” this movie is your anthem.

A Star is Born (2018)

In Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born,” we witness the rollercoaster romance between seasoned musician Jackson Maine and wanna-be singer Ally. Told from the perspective of multiple characters, the film explores both Ally’s rising career and Jackson’s struggles with paranoia and depression.

In layman’s terms, “A Star is Born” is a heartfelt exploration of love, fame, and the sacrifice that success demands. With performances that hit all the right notes and songs that are basically magic, this film will have you humming long after the screen goes dark. 

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Gary Gray’s “Straight Outta Compton” tells the story of N.W.A.’s rise in the late ’80s. The movie follows Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube as they navigate the music business amid racial tensions and create their groundbreaking album. It goes beyond the band’s history, addressing bigger social and political issues.

The best thing about the film is its realistic portrayal of N.W.A.’s journey, the times they lived in, and how their music shaped rap and hip-hop. If you’re a die-hard Ice Cube fan like me, this film is a must-watch. 

The Pianist (2002)

Don’t pick this one up unless you’ve to heart to complete it. Roman Polanski’s The Pianist tells the wartime story of pianist Władysław Szpilman, played by Adrien Brody. It’s a true story of survival during the harsh realities of the Warsaw Ghetto and German-occupied Poland. Amid the dangers of being caught and sent to Auschwitz, music becomes Szpilman’s only friend and lifeline when he’s discovered by a German Officer.

The Pianist isn’t a movie but a love letter to all of us, telling us never to lose hope, even in the face of certain death. 

Singin' in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Singin’ in the Rain is a classic musical directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. It’s all about Hollywood’s switch from silent movies to talkies. The film tracks silent film star Don Lockwood, his friend Cosmo Brown, and an aspiring actress Kathy Selden, as they sing and dance their way through the amusing challenges of this big movie industry change.

This film isn’t just entertaining, but also cleverly pokes fun at Hollywood’s changes with a touch of affectionate satire. If you’re a fan of classic films or musicals! Don’t let this one slip away. 

De-Lovely (2004)

In “De-Lovely,” directed by Irwin Winkler, the musical journey of American composer Cole Porter, played by Kevin Kline, comes to life. Watch his life flare through a series of flashbacks and explore his convoluted relationships, especially with his wife, Linda Lee Porter, portrayed by Ashley Judd.

The cherry on top is that you can enjoy musical performances of many of Porter’s timeless songs that still hit home. In the simplest of terms, De-Lovely is a ticket into the life of a 20th-century musical genius, capturing both his songs and the spirit of that era. 

Ray (2004) 

“Ray,” directed by Taylor Hackford, rocks to the beat of Jamie Foxx portraying the legendary Ray Charles. We witness the life of the music maestro from his Florida childhood, dealing with sight loss to conquering the music world. One of the best biopics, Ray, is a harrowing portrayal of his struggles, love life, and groundbreaking contributions to Jazz music.

Jamie Foxx nails it with an Oscar-worthy performance, perfectly channelling Ray Charles’s voice and charisma. Fun fact: Foxx won an Academy Award for this masterpiece. 

8 mile

8 Mile (2002)

Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile takes place in Detroit, Michigan, spotlighting Jimmy Smith Jr., aka B-Rabbit, played by Eminem. From a tough neighborhood, Jimmy dreams of rap stardom. The movie dives into his challenges, relationships, and his quest to prove himself in the cutthroat hip-hop scene, especially through intense rap battles along 8 Mile Road. 

8 Mile mirrors Eminem’s own journey and is well-liked for its raw portrayal of urban life. In addition, the soundtrack, featuring the Academy Award-winning Lose Yourself, struck a chord with audiences and critics alike.

Once (2007)

In Dublin, a street musician and a Czech immigrant connect through music, turning their struggles into a sweet melody. Once is a heartfelt ode to the city’s streets, where every note tells a story. Between daily challenges, a love story blossoms between these two.

Once is a sweet love story that keeps it real, steering clear of typical Hollywood stuff. In addition, the awesome music, like the Academy Award-winning “Falling Slowly,” makes it extra special. 

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Last but definitely not least, This Is Spinal Tap gives you a side-splitting peek into the fictional world of the legendary but totally made-up rock band Spinal Tap. Directed by Rob Reiner, the film takes you through their hilariously disastrous U.S. tour.

This Is Spinal Tap goes beyond being a mockumentary; it’s a comedic work that stays with audiences for its clever wit, memorable dialogues, and hilarious take on the world of rock music. 

So, this was our top picks for movies about music and musicians. Did your favorite make the cut? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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