60 Amazing Movies For Musicians About Musicians

Are you looking for movies about music and musicians? We’ve selected these 60 masterpieces for you. There are biographical movies, fiction movies, and documentaries about real and fiction musicians and music lovers. Click through and enjoy your winter holidays with great musician movies from the years 1964 to 2016.

60 Movies for Musicians – Infographic
Get inspired with these movies and practice your music skills with other musicians on sofasession.com. Photo source: Flickr.

Movies for musicians – table of contents

14 Biographical movies about real musicians
18 Documentaries about musicians
28 Fiction movies about music and musicians


Biographical movies about real musicians

Movies based on lives of real musicians. From oldest to newest.

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

This comedy is starring the Beatles and portraying several days in the live of the band. An extremely funny black and white movie and a must for all Beatles lovers. 87 mins.

Amadeus (1984)

Man, music, magic, madness, murder, mystery. Find all in this story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart told by his peer and rival Antonio Salieri. 161 mins.

Sid and Nancy (1986)

Biographical movie about the bassist of the British punk band Sex Pistols and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. 114 mins.

The Doors (1991)

This biographical film tells the story of The Doors, focusing on the lead singer Jim Morrison. 140 mins.

Ray (2004)

The life story of the famous rhythm and blues musicians Ray Charles. 152 mins.

Walk the line (2005)

This drama is based on the early life and career of the country musician Johnny Cash. 153 mins.

Loud Quiet Loud: A Film About The Pixies (2006)

Just as the title says, this movie is telling the story of the four musicians and their difficult and triumphant return. Watch the movie here:

La Vie en Rose (2007)

A movie about the dramatic and tragic life of the french cabaret diva Edith Piaf.

Control (2007)

A biographical film telling the life of Ian Curtis, the singer of the post-punk band Joy Division. An extremely beautiful and sad movie about Ian’s attempt to gain control of his life. 122 mins.

Nowhere Boy (2009)

A movie about John Lennon’s adolescence, the relationship with his aunt, mother until he starts his career with the Beatles. 97 mins.

Taking Woodstock (2009)

To save his family from bankruptcy, the main character Elliot Tiber plays a big role in the generation-defining Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in the summer of 1969. 120 mins.

Love & Mercy (2014)

This biographical drama tells the story of the songwriter Brian Wilson, who is the co-founder of the Beach Boys. The movie was nominated for two Golden Globes. 121 mins.

Born to be Blue (2015)

A drama about the American Jazz musician Chet Baker. 97 mins.

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

This biographical movie is telling about the career of gangsta rap group N.W.A. including Dr. Dre., Eazy-E. and Ice Cube. 147 mins.

Documentaries about musicians

These movies are sorted from oldest to newest.

Buena vista social club (1999)

Documentary about the music of Cuba and was directed by Wim Wenders.

Some Kind of Monster (2004)

This documentary shows some studio and concert moments of the heavy metal band Metallica. 141 mins.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

This documentary is called “fascinating to watch” as it tells us about the life of the American musician Daniel Johnston. The musician deals with a bipolar disorder.

Refused are fucking dead (2006)

This documentary is showing the last year of the punk band Refused. 38 mins.

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007)

A documentary about Joe Strummer, the lead singer of the British punk band The Clash. 123 mins.

Music from the Inside Out (2007)

A documentary about the essence and power of music told by the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra. “PROFOUND AND MOVING!…uncommonly perceptive and inspiring.” says the The New York Times. View on amazon here.

The story of Anvil (2008)

A documentary about the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil including interviews with musicians who have been influenced by Anvil. 81 mins.

Lemmy (2010)

Subtitled 49% motherf**ker. 51% son of a bitch”. This documentary shows the life of the English musician Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, founder, bassist and lead singer of Motörhead. 116 mins.

Last Days Here (2011)

A documentary featuring Bobby Liebling, the lead vocalist of the American heavy metal band Pentagram who is struggling with his life decades after the band’s success. Watch the full movie on Amazon.

The Other F Word (2011)

Documentary about some aging punk rock musicians who turn into parents and try to maintain the contrast between punk and fatherhood. 98 mins.

Michel Petrucciani (2011)

A documentary about the french pianist Michel Petrucciani who became one of the most accomplished jazz pianists despite his osteogenesis imperfecta, which cause pain in his arms. 102 mins.

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

This documentary is showing the effort of two South American Fans who are trying to find out if the American musician Sixto Rodriquez has died or what happened to him. Rodriguez has become very popular in South Africa but never reached fame in the US. 86 mins.

A band called Death (2012)

Before the Sex Pistols and … this band was ahead of its time. The band Death from Detroit founded by three brothers. The band was rediscovered in our times and reunited for a tour.

Sound City (2013)

A documentary produced by Dave Grohl about the recording studio Sound City Studios in La, where Nirvana recorded their album Nevermind. 107 mins.

I dream of wires (2013)

An independent documentary about a new modular synth. The movie focuses on people, who dedicated their lives to this electronic music maker. Find access to the movie here.

Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)

A documentary about Nirvana’s front man Kurt Cobain from birth to death in April 1994 aged 27. 145 mins.

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

A biographical documentary about the American singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone. 101 mins.

Soundbreaking (2016)

This newest series explores the art of recording music. The eight episodes include 160 original interviews with famous musicians like The Beach Boys, Radiohead, U2, Beyoncé, the Beatles and more. Find out more on the series’ website.

Fiction movies about music 

Yellow Submarine (1968)

An animated comedy film inspired by the music of the Beatles, who only participated in the last scene. The movie is said to bring attention to animation as an art form. 87 mins.

Fame (1980)

This musical is following a group of High School students who studies Performing Arts in New York city. 133 mins.

Blues Brothers (1980)

After coming out of jail, Joliet Jake embarks with his brother Elwood on a holy mission to reunite their old band, rocking with famous musicians and running from police, Illinois nazis and angry country bands  on the way. 132 mins.

Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)

This animated horror film based on a screenplay by Pink Floyd vocalist and bassist Roger Waters tells the story of a rocker named Floyd “Pink” Pinkerton constructs a metaphorical wall to protect himself from the world. 95 mins.

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

A mockumentary comedy portrait of the fictional heavy metal band Spinal Tap. 82 mins.

The Commitments (1991)

This musical film tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young musician from Dublin, Ireland who is forming a soul music band with working-class youths. 118 mins.

Sister Act (1992)

The comedy stars Whoopi Goldberg who goes into witness protection. She pretends to be a nun and takes over the direction of the choir. 100 mins.

High Fidelity (2000)

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, the movie tells the story of Rob who is a music-lover but struggles to understand women. The movie is about the two most beautiful and difficult issues of humanity: love and music. 113 mins.

Almost Famous (2000)

Comedy drama telling the story of a fictional teenage journalist writing for the Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. 122 mins.

8 mile (2002)

Starring the famous rapper Eminem, this American drama tells the story of the young rapper Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr. He is trying to start a career in rap, which is dominated by African Americans. 110 mins.

24 Hour Party People (2002)

This comedy-drama shows the pop music community of Manchester between 1976 and 1992. It dramatizes real events mixed with rumors, legends, and the scriptwriter’s imagination. Watch the full movie here.

School of Rock (2003)

The main character forms a band of fourth-graders and attempts to win the Battle of the Bands. A funny, crazy movie showing you the music lessons you dreamt of as a child. 109 mins.

Dreamgirls (2006)

A musical drama about three black female soul singers who land in the pop charts in the early 1960s. The musical focuses on personal struggles of the musicians. 130 mins.

Tenacious D (2006)

A fictitious story about the band Tenacious D’s origins in the 1990s. The musicians attempt to find a pick belonging to Satan to become rock legends. A very black comedy. 94 mins.

Once (2007)

A movie about two struggling musicians in Dublin, Ireland. 86mins.

Sweeney Todd (2007)

This musical horror movie re-tells the story of Sweeney Todd, who is an English barber and serial killer. 116 mins.

Across the Universe (2007)

A musical romantic drama based on the songs by the Beatles. 133 mins.

Berlin Calling (2008)

Ickarus (starring Paul Kalkbrenner) is a DJ in Berlin and is institutionalized for drug abuse. The movie shows him creating music and dealing with drugs. The soundtrack was exclusively written by Paul Kalkbrenner, a real German DJ. The movie is not biographical, though. More info here.

The boat that rocked (2009)

This British Comedy movie tells the story of a fictional pirate radio station “Radio Rock” who broadcast rock and pop music in the year 1966. You get to hear many amazing 60ies tracks and learn about the life between sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. 135mins.

Get him to the Greek (2010)

A record company intern Aaron has to accompany the out-of-control rock star Aldous Snow from London to a concert in L.A.’s Greek Theater. 109 mins.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

One day in the life of the folk singer Llewen Davis in the year 1961. The musician is struggling to achieve success with his music and to keep his life in order. 104 mins.

Begin Again (2013)

A young female singer-songwriter from New York is discovered by a struggling record label employee. Together they produce an album. 104 mins.

Whiplash (2014)

The story about a young drummer and his conservatory teacher, who will stop at nothing to realize his student’s potential. The whole sofasession team loved this movie for musicians. If you haven’t watched it already, it’s a must!

Frank (2014)

The main character Jon joins the pop band Soronprfbs led by the mysterious Frank. An extremely odd comedy about complicated relationships of a band with a crazy frontman. 95 mins.

We Are Your Friends (2015)

A coming-of-age drama which follows a young DJ trying to establish himself in the music industry. 96 mins.

Sing Street (2016)

The musical comedy-drama tells the story of a boy who creates a band to impress a girl. The movie is playing in the 80s. 105 mins.

Sing (2016)

This Americal 3D computer animation is the newest movie on the list. It’s a comedy musical about animals and a music theater which is in danger of closing down. So the director starts a singing competition. A funny and cute way of showing struggles of the music business.


Some last words

We keep this list updated, so make sure to bookmark it. Do you know some amazing music movie we forgot here? We’re happy about your comment, then. Cheers.

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  • Glenn Howard

    Just seen the musical The Greatest Showman again …a must see Musical. Amazing all the way through.

  • Branko van Oppen

    inspiring list, but missing – for my taste – is the beautiful, heart wrenching “Hilary and Jackie” about the Du Pré sisters, with splendid performances by Rachel Griffiths and Emily Watson in titular roles, and a wonderful supporting cast including James Frain and David Morrissey.