Movies About Music & Musicians (Fictional or Real Life)

by celso-rlx | created - 25 Feb 2016 | updated - 3 months ago | Public
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1. The Art of Listening (2016)

Documentary

The Art of Listening is a documentary film about the journey music takes to reach a listener's ear, from the intent of an instrument maker and composer, to the producers and engineers who capture and preserve an artist's voice.

Directors: Michael Coleman, Emmanuel Moran | Stars: John Luther Adams, Peter Alyea, Beacon, Jason Bentley

Votes: 353

2. Score: A Film Music Documentary (2016)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary, Music

67 Metascore

A look at the cinematic art of the film musical score, and the artists who create them.

Director: Matt Schrader | Stars: Marco Beltrami, Jon Burlingame, Leonard Maltin, Bill Field

Votes: 3,448 | Gross: $0.10M

3. Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted (1990 TV Movie)

50 min | Drama, Fantasy, Music

The performer of Twin Peaks theme Julee Cruise's experimental concert film, which opens with a short intro where a man breaks up with his girl over the phone, which devastates her. The concert is set in her nightmarish subconscious mind.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Laura Dern, Nicolas Cage, Julee Cruise, Lisa Giobbi

Votes: 1,562

4. Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

PG | 108 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

Director: Paul Justman | Stars: Joe Hunter, Jack Ashford, Uriel Jones, Richard 'Pistol' Allen

Votes: 3,210 | Gross: $1.60M

5. Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation (2012)

Unrated | 92 min | Documentary, Music

65 Metascore

Explores the music scene in Greenwich Village, New York in the 60's and early 70's. The film highlights some of the finest singer/songwriters of the day.

Director: Laura Archibald | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Happy Traum, Tom Bernadin, Doug Yeager

Votes: 267 | Gross: $0.02M

6. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

93 Metascore

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund

Votes: 127,409 | Gross: $13.24M

7. Cadillac Records (2008)

R | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Music

65 Metascore

Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists.

Director: Darnell Martin | Stars: Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Beyoncé, Columbus Short

Votes: 18,749 | Gross: $8.20M

8. Ray (I) (2004)

PG-13 | 152 min | Biography, Drama, Music

73 Metascore

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell

Votes: 130,100 | Gross: $75.33M

9. Get on Up (2014)

PG-13 | 139 min | Biography, Drama, Music

71 Metascore

A chronicle of James Brown's rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Director: Tate Taylor | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis

Votes: 19,384 | Gross: $30.51M

10. Bird (1988)

R | 161 min | Biography, Drama, Music

78 Metascore

The troubled life and career of jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker (Forest Whitaker).

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker, Samuel E. Wright

Votes: 10,698 | Gross: $2.18M

11. Miles Ahead (2015)

R | 100 min | Biography, Drama, Music

64 Metascore

An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

Director: Don Cheadle | Stars: Don Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Ewan McGregor, Michael Stuhlbarg

Votes: 8,727 | Gross: $2.61M

12. Born to Be Blue (2015)

R | 97 min | Biography, Drama, Music

64 Metascore

A re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker's musical comeback in the late '60s.

Director: Robert Budreau | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie, Tony Nappo

Votes: 7,356 | Gross: $0.83M

13. The Deaths of Chet Baker (2009)

8 min | Short, Biography

An exploration of the mysteries surrounding the death of jazz legend Chet Baker who was found dead below an Amsterdam hotel window in 1988.

Director: Robert Budreau | Stars: Stephen McHattie, Ted Dykstra, Sten Eirik

Votes: 58

14. Let's Get Lost (1988)

Not Rated | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

85 Metascore

Documentary on the life of jazz trumpeter and drug addict Chet Baker. Fascinating series of interviews with friends, family, associates and lovers, interspersed with film from Baker's ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Weber | Stars: Chet Baker, Carol Baker, Vera Baker, Paul Baker

Votes: 1,694

15. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

A documentary film about the life of pianist and jazz great Thelonious Sphere Monk. Features live performances by Monk and his band, and interviews with friends and family about the offbeat genius.

Director: Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Jimmy Cleveland, Harry Colomby

Votes: 921 | Gross: $0.52M

Birth name: Thelonious Sphere Monk Born: October 10, 1917 Rocky Mount, North Carolina, U.S. Died: February 17, 1982 (aged 64), Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.

16. The Search for Robert Johnson (1992 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 72 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

A UK television documentary film about the legendary Delta blues musician Robert Johnson.

Director: Chris Hunt | Stars: Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, John Hammond, Gayle Dean Wardlow

Votes: 134

17. 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

83 Metascore

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill

Votes: 11,567 | Gross: $4.95M

18. Of Mind and Music (2014)

PG-13 | 98 min | Drama, Music

A story about a beautiful street musician suffering from memory loss and a disheartened neuroscientist intent on helping her, bringing together the city of New Orleans and the jazz that made it famous.

Director: Richie Adams | Stars: Joaquim de Almeida, Aunjanue Ellis, Bill Cobbs, Ruth Negga

Votes: 308 | Gross: $0.02M

19. The Benny Goodman Story (1956)

Approved | 116 min | Biography, Drama, Music

The young Benny Goodman is taught clarinet by a Chicago music professor. He is advised by bandleader Kid Ory to play whichever kind of music he likes best, but to make a living, Benny begins by joining the Ben Pollack traveling band.

Director: Valentine Davies | Stars: Steve Allen, Donna Reed, Berta Gersten, Barry Truex

Votes: 1,046

20. The Glenn Miller Story (1954)

Approved | 115 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Biography of bandleader Glenn Miller from his beginnings to his death over the English Channel in December 1944.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, June Allyson, Harry Morgan, Charles Drake

Votes: 7,434

21. Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968 (1968)

58 min | Documentary, Music

A close-up of bass player and composer Charlie Mingus as he and his five-year-old daughter await eviction by the City of New York.

Director: Thomas Reichman | Stars: Walter Bishop, Charles McPherson, Carolyn Mingus, Charles Mingus

Votes: 95

22. Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog (1998)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

Nine years in the making, CHARLES MINGUS - Triumph of the Underdog is the first comprehensive documentary about jazz bassist, bandleader and composer Charles Mingus. A lucid involving ... See full summary »

Director: Don McGlynn | Stars: Charles Mingus, Gunther Schuller

Votes: 139

23. Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

R | 144 min | Biography, Drama, Music

The story of the troubled life and career of the legendary Jazz singer, Billie Holiday.

Director: Sidney J. Furie | Stars: Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan

Votes: 3,447

24. Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Music

Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational ... See full summary »

Directors: Aram Avakian, Bert Stern | Stars: Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Chuck Berry, Chico Hamilton

Votes: 879

25. A Great Day in Harlem (1994)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Music

Art Kane, now deceased, coordinated a group photograph of all the top jazz musicians in NYC in the year 1958, for a piece in Esquire magazine. Just about every jazz musician at the time ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Bach | Stars: Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Hinton, Marian McPartland, Art Blakey

Votes: 396 | Gross: $0.53M

26. Jazz (2001)

114 min | Documentary, History, Music

A survey of the musical form's history and major talents.

Stars: Keith David, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Duke Ellington

Votes: 1,745

27. Lackawanna Blues (2005 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 95 min | Drama, Music

In a story fueled by rhythm and blues, a young boy's life is shaped by love and the stories of a cast of characters in the boarding house where he lives in 1960s Lackawanna, New York.

Director: George C. Wolfe | Stars: S. Epatha Merkerson, Marcus Carl Franklin, Yasiin Bey, Carmen Ejogo

Votes: 2,164

28. Habana Blues (2005)

115 min | Drama, Music

Two cuban friends play in a blues band in La Habana. When a spanish music producer offers them a contract to record an album and to build a career in Europe, they will have to decide ... See full summary »

Director: Benito Zambrano | Stars: Alberto Yoel, Roberto San Martín, Yailene Sierra, Mayra Rodríguez

Votes: 2,368

29. Paris Blues (1961)

Approved | 98 min | Drama, Music, Romance

61 Metascore

During the 1960s, two American expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris meet and fall in love with two American tourist girls.

Director: Martin Ritt | Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier, Louis Armstrong

Votes: 2,380

Blues / Jazz Music: Fictional characters

30. 'Round Midnight (1986)

R | 133 min | Drama, Music

A troubled, but talented musician flees the US to escape his problems, finding refuge and support in Paris.

Director: Bertrand Tavernier | Stars: Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet, Gabrielle Haker, Sandra Reaves-Phillips

Votes: 4,363 | Gross: $3.27M

Jazz Music: Fictional characters

31. Crossroads (1986)

R | 99 min | Drama, Music, Mystery

55 Metascore

Ralph Macchio is Lightning Boy. A kid who can make a slide guitar sing. Blind Dog is an old pro who knows it. Together, they're headed to a place where deals are made. And legends are born.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Ralph Macchio, Joe Seneca, Jami Gertz, Joe Morton

Votes: 13,197 | Gross: $5.84M

Willie Brown Genres: Delta blues country blues Born August 6, 1900. Clarksdale, Mississippi, U.S. Died December 30, 1952 (aged 52). Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.

32. The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

R | 114 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

85 Metascore

The lives of two struggling musicians, who happen to be brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer.

Director: Steve Kloves | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges, Ellie Raab

Votes: 20,649 | Gross: $18.10M

33. Lulu on the Bridge (1998)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Music, Mystery

A famous jazz saxophonist whose life is forever changed after he is accidentally shot.

Director: Paul Auster | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, Richard Edson, Don Byron

Votes: 3,736

Jazz Music: Fictional characters

34. Whiplash (2014)

R | 106 min | Drama, Music

88 Metascore

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

Director: Damien Chazelle | Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser

Votes: 644,727 | Gross: $13.09M

Jazz Music: Fictional characters

35. Beyond the Sea (2004)

PG-13 | 118 min | Biography, Drama, Music

46 Metascore

A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin and specifically his relationship with wife Sandra Dee.

Director: Kevin Spacey | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, Bob Hoskins

Votes: 14,144 | Gross: $6.32M

Bobby Darin Born May 14, 1936 East Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S. Died December 20, 1973 (aged 37). Los Angeles, California, U.S.

36. Jersey Boys (2014)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, Music

54 Metascore

The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza

Votes: 31,066 | Gross: $47.03M

37. This Is Elvis (1981)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Music

The life and career of Elvis Presley are chronicled in home movies, concert footage, and dramatizations. Subjects include early performances, army service, Ed Sullivan Show appearance, marriage, 1968 comeback, health decline and death.

Directors: Malcolm Leo, Andrew Solt | Stars: Elvis Presley, David Scott, Paul Boensch III, Johnny Harra

Votes: 1,058 | Gross: $2.03M

38. Nowhere Boy (2009)

R | 98 min | Biography, Drama, Music

67 Metascore

A chronicle of John Lennon's first years, focused mainly in his adolescence and his relationship with his stern aunt Mimi, who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson | Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, David Threlfall

Votes: 33,443 | Gross: $1.45M

39. Jimi Hendrix (1973)

R | 98 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

This documentary was made three years after Jimi Hendrix's untimely death. At the time it was an example of how a visual biography should be done, but some of the information in it needs ... See full summary »

Directors: Joe Boyd, John Head, Gary Weis | Stars: Arthur Allen, Albert Allen, Stella Benabon, Eric Barrett

Votes: 1,334

40. American Hot Wax (1978)

PG | 91 min | Drama, History, Music

The story of Alan Freed, the pioneering disc jockey who was instrumental in introducing and popularizing rock 'n' roll in the 1950s.

Director: Floyd Mutrux | Stars: Tim McIntire, Fran Drescher, Jay Leno, Laraine Newman

Votes: 1,098

Alan Freed

41. Rock Around the Clock (1956)

Not Rated | 77 min | Comedy, Music, Romance

Orchestra manager Steve Hollis realizes that big-band music is dead. People want something new, but what? On their way to New York, Steve and his companion Corny, stop at a motel in a small... See full summary »

Director: Fred F. Sears | Stars: Bill Haley and the Comets, The Platters, Ernie Freeman Combo, Tony Martinez and His Band

Votes: 954 | Gross: $4.00M

42. Stardust (1974)

R | 111 min | Drama, Music

The rise and fall of the rock singer Jim Maclaine, in the mid 60s, with his manager, Mike, and his group, "The Stray Cats."

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: David Essex, Adam Faith, Larry Hagman, Ines Des Longchamps

Votes: 763

43. The Wrecking Crew! (2008)

PG | 101 min | Documentary, Music

67 Metascore

A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

Director: Denny Tedesco | Stars: Denny Tedesco, Brian Wilson, Dick Clark, Cher

Votes: 2,451 | Gross: $0.80M