Movies about music are not musicals. They may have wonderful music, either from the characters or from the soundtrack, but they tend to focus more on the musicians themselves or on the music in general. This is an important distinction to be made that distinguishes these films from musicals. Movies about music tend to show a glimpse into the lives of musicians or music lovers, and how their lives influence their own music or taste in music.
Music is a powerful force, which can lift or bring you down, and using music as a device, or even as a character in a movie, is a creative and fun way to tell a story. From powerful singing performances, lengthy monologues on a favorite album, to incredible soundtracks, all the movies on this list use music in different ways, but it’s clear that any musician or music enthusiast will love them.
10 Inside Llewyn Davis
Oscar Isaac and company create some of the most beautiful, albeit melancholic, musical performances ever filmed in Inside Llewyn Davis. This Coen Brothers film follows Llewyn, a struggling folk singer, as he tries to navigate the complexities of the Greenwich Village music industry in the early 1960s, as well as his own personal relationship issues. Filled with music from the late great folk singer Dave Van Ronk, one of the earliest mentors of the New York folk scene, and produced by T-Bone Burnett, Inside Llewyn Davis Bursts with passion and musical excellence. And with much of the musical performances recorded live on set, audiences can revel in the true sound of heartfelt folk music.
9 Without rudder
This poignant directorial debut from William H. Macy shows the bond between a father and son, and the grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one. After his son passes away, Sam leaves the successful life he once lived to drink in despair. But after finding old demo tapes of his son’s music, he starts playing the songs himself and attracts the attention of another young guitarist who wants to play with him. What follows is an in-depth exploration of grief and loss, and how music can heal deep wounds.
Damien Chazelle Lash is a cinematic tour de force about a young jazz drummer and a seething, headstrong instructor who makes his life hell. Combining beautiful cinematography, precision editing, and wonderful performances by Miles Teller and JK Simmons, Lash It is a masterclass in management.
Other than that, Chazelle has a great knowledge of music and clearly a deep love and admiration for jazz. From the physical drums, the musical numbers the band plays, to the soundtrack and incredible sound editing, Lash it will remain in the viewer’s ears for days after viewing.
7 The blues brothers
This classic from SNL cast members John Belushi and Dan Akroyd is a wonderfully fun musical adventure that’s getting crazier and crazier. Jake and Elwood have to raise money to save their old orphanage, so they decide to reunite their band, The Blues Brothers, and earn the money by playing shows. But they make enemies along the way, having to go through a band of neo-Nazis, members of field gangs and the police. Filled with a superb cast and even better musical performances and soundtrack numbers, The blues brothers is a fun rock-n-roll game.
6 High Fidelity
Rob Gordon makes his way through life as the owner of a bankrupt record store, where he and his employees hang out and talk about music all day. But Rob also has to come to terms with his failed relationship along with his failed business, of which he has no idea.
With a strong understanding of how music enthusiasts live and speak, combined with a wonderful story about the love and responsibility of both Rob and his love interests, High Fidelity succeeds as a fun rom-com that music lovers are sure to enjoy.
5 8 miles
As Eminem’s film debut, 8 miles offers viewers a partially autobiographical glimpse into his rise to stardom. With great commentary on class and race, especially hip-hop, the film follows B-Rabbit as he rhymes and raps through Detroit’s hip-hop and battle rap scene. Rabbit has skill, but as a white male, he struggles to break into the predominantly African-American hip-hop industry. Featuring a great hip-hop soundtrack, including original Eminem songs, 8 miles has established itself as one of the best films about hip-hop music and culture ever made.
4 Walk the line
This biopic brought Joaquin Phoenix to fame for his brilliant portrayal of the incomparable man in black, Johnny Cash. Following Cash’s life from childhood to stardom, Walk the line includes wonderful renditions of his music by Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of June Carter. Cash had a turbulent life of difficulties and setbacks, mistakes and failures, but what Walk the line What he does so well is showing how he overcame those misgivings and still wrote and performed some of the most famous music of the 20th century.
This epic drama from acclaimed director Milos Forman depicts a fictional rivalry between Antonio Salieri and his more talented counterpart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Filled with beautiful classical music, mainly by Mozart, Amadeo reveals the life of one of the greatest songwriters of all time, including his crazy and eccentric personality. But with his childish demeanor and antics, Mozart was still a musical prodigy and had a genius level of understanding in music theory and composition. He died at a young age, but his music and this 3-hour epic will keep his legacy alive forever.
two Almost famous
A beautiful and sentimental drama about coming of age, Almost famous Follow young William as he embarks on a road trip with one of the biggest gangs of the day. After being assigned to interview Stillwater, a famous fictional rock band, he has the opportunity to travel with them on tour, opening his eyes to new experiences and people.
Finding first love, meeting his heroes and going through difficult situations make William’s life exciting and reveal the real life of rock stars and groupies he has never seen before.
1 Sound of metal
This engrossing drama follows Ruben, a talented drummer who turns his life upside down when he begins to lose his hearing. Riz Ahmed delivers a powerful performance as Ruben, who has to come to terms with his hearing loss as well as his addiction and relationship issues when pushed into an unthinkable situation. She moves forward while living in a recovering deaf addiction home, but struggles to come to terms with her situation, both with her hearing and with her relationship. Filled with hilarious performances by the band and incredible sound editing, revealing what Ruben himself hears (or doesn’t hear) Sound of metal It gives viewers a glimpse into the life of a deaf person, and the pain that hearing loss can cause a musician like Rubén.
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