If you love music, there’s nothing more fascinating than taking a journey through the life of your favourite artist. To find out where they came from, the struggles they went through on the way to success, and in many cases the struggles they continued to have even after becoming well-known in the world of music. That’s why we’ve collated this list of the 10 best music biopics you can watch right now.
Many of the greatest musicians are complex characters who have had extraordinary lives, and that’s why so many of the stories that are told through musical biopics can be so compelling – especially if you are someone who loves music as well as drama.
Here are ten of the very best music biopic dramas (not documentaries) from the last few decades that we believe you should go and watch right now. So no matter what your musical taste, from pop to punk and grunge to hip hop, there should be something on this list that you will love.
So, if you are ready, it’s time to tune the guitar, do your vocal exercises and get ready for a journey of musical discovery…
Sid and Nancy (1986)
One of the best music biopics is Sid and Nancy. The movie tells the story of Sid Vicious, the bassist for the punk rock band the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. It chronicles their tumultuous relationship and ultimate demise. The movie is gritty and realistic, and it features great performances by Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb as Sid and Nancy respectively.
The Doors (1991)
The Doors is a 1991 American biographical drama film about the 1960–70s rock band of the same name, focusing on the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison. It was directed by Oliver Stone, and stars Val Kilmer as Morrison and Meg Ryan as Pamela Courson, Morrison’s girlfriend. The film features Kyle MacLachlan as Ray Manzarek, Kevin Dillon as John Densmore, and Frank Whaley in his film debut as Robby Krieger.
The 2019 biopic Rocketman tells the story of Elton John’s early career, from his time as a struggling musician to his meteoric rise to fame. The film does an excellent job of capturing John’s musical style and energy, and the performances by Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell are both outstanding. Rocketman is a must-see for any music fan.
Straight Out of Compton (2015)
The best music biopics offer an inside look at the lives of some of the biggest names in music. Straight Out of Compton tells the story of N.W.A., one of the most controversial and influential rap groups of all time. The film chronicles the group’s rise to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as their struggles with success, fame, and each other. It’s a must-watch for any fan of hip hop or rap.
Last Days (1998)
Although not directly a biopic, this film is loosely based on a fictionalised version of Kurt Cobain, the frontman of one of the biggest grunge bands in the world, Nirvana. The movie follows the story of a fictional young musician called Blake who is looking to escape the pressures of fame and the music industry by seeking solitude.
Walk the Line (2005)
The film chronicles Johnny Cash’s life, from his humble beginnings to his rise to fame. It also covers his struggle with drug addiction and his relationships with other country music icons. The film features excellent performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Carter. The film also features some of Cash’s most iconic songs
Ray is a musical biopic about the life of Ray Charles. The film follows Ray’s life from his childhood in the segregated South to his groundbreaking career as a musician. The film features several of Ray’s most famous songs, including “I Got a Woman” and “Georgia on My Mind”. Ray Charles was one of the most influential musicians of his generation, and this film does an excellent job of capturing his life and work.
What’s Love Got to Do With It? (1993)
What’s Love Got to Do With It? is a biopic about the life of singer Tina Turner. The film follows Turner’s career from her early days as a struggling musician to her eventual rise to fame. The film also chronicles Turner’s tumultuous marriage to husband Ike Turner, and how she was able to overcome abuse and become a successful solo artist. What’s Love Got to Do With It? is an inspiring story of survival and resilience, and features some of Tina Turner’s greatest hits.
The film chronicles the early days of the Beatles in Hamburg, Germany. It focuses on the band’s resident rebel, Stuart Sutcliffe, and his relationship with German photographer Astrid Kirchherr. The film captures the energy and excitement of the Beatles formative years as they honed their craft and wrote some of their earliest hits. The film stars Stephen Dorff as Stuart Sutcliffe and Ian Hart as John Lennon in a great ensemble cast.
Love and Mercy (2014)
Love and Mercy is a biographical drama film about the life of Brian Wilson, the co-founder of The Beach Boys. The film follows Wilson from his early days as a talented musician to his struggles with mental health and eventual comeback. Paul Dano and John Cusack play Wilson at different stages in his life, with Dano portraying him during his younger years and Cusack portraying him during his later years. Elizabeth Banks also stars as Melinda Leadbetter. The film was well-received by critics, with many praising the performances of Dano and Cusack.