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Top 9 Biographical Movies Based on Musicians Lives

I love lists, I love movies and I love music… so for my first list on my favorite website it made sense that I would do a movie list based on musicians. I watch a lot of movies from all different genres and time frames but by pure coincidence almost all 9 of these movies were made in my life time. I had very specific criteria in writing this list including the movie had to have musical performances in it and it had to have the musician’s real name… I did not want anything to be too fictionalized and remain true to the biographical format. In any case I hope you enjoy!


La Bamba (1987)

This movie is based on the story of young Ritchie Valens, the rock and roll pioneer who had a string of hits in his 8 month professional career as a recording artist. Valens career was cut short when he died in a plane crash at the age of 17. Buddy Holly and “The Big Bopper” were also on board this plane as it was traveling to North Dakota on February 3rd 1959, this has become known as the day the music died.

Lou Diamond Philips, was 25 years old when he played the 17 year old Valens. This film is generally regarded as his breakthrough role. The movie was nominated for a 1988 Golden Globe Award for best Motion Picture Drama.


Selena (1997)

Based on the story of Selena Quintanilla-Perez, the Grammy Award winning Mexican American singer, who was killed at the age of 23 by the president of her fan club; Selena was released by her family only 2 years after the tragic murder. I personally first heard of Selena after she had passed away when her English speaking album was released. Selena was extremely popular in the Hispanic community and over 60,000 mourners attended her funeral.

This movie made Jennifer Lopez a star. She beat out over 12,000 actresses to play Selena and was nominated for a Golden Globe for this role.


The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

Based on the life of Buddy Holly the famous rock musician in the 1950’s who died in the same plane crash as Ritchie Valens. Buddy Holly is also known as one of the first Caucasian bands to play at the famous Apollo Theatre.

Although he is known more for his unusual behaviour now than anything else, Gary Busey was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Holly. He was 10 years older than Holly at the time of his death, lost 32 pounds to play the role and along with the other actors did all of his own singing and played his own instruments for the musical numbers in the film.

This clip chronicles the famous Apollo Theatre incident.


What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993)

This is the movie adaptation of Tina Turner’s biography. It is extremely graphic in it’s vivid description of the domestic abuse that Tina endured from her husband Ike Turner during their tumultuous working and personal relationship. Both Laurence Fishburn and Angela Bassett were nominated for Academy Awards for their portrayals of the Turner’s.

Angela Bassett is praised for her role, as well she should be. Ms. Bassett went on a rigorous training schedule to gain Turner’s notoriously well tone figure, not to mention the song lyrics and dance routines she memorized for the musical numbers. Bassett won a Golden Globe for best actress for her portrayal, the first African American female to do so.

This clip shows off exactly why Bassett deserved the win, and although there is not a lot of violence in this clip I would strongly recommend that you be aware that the rest of the movie is extremely graphic.


Ray (2004)

Known as the movie that proved Jamie Foxx was more than just a background comedian, Ray is the story of Ray Charles, legendary pianist who at the age of 7 was blinded in an accident but through perseverance shaped the sound of Rhythm and Blues music as we know it.

This movie was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won two including a Best Actor nod for Jamie Foxx. Foxx wore prosthetics so that he was unable to see and played all the piano scenes in the film himself.


Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

This is one of my favourite films and I think the performances are brilliant. Sissy Spacek was hand picked by Loretta Lynn to star in this movie based on the biography that she co-wrote. Both Spacek and Beverly D’Angelo, who portrayed Patsy Cline in the film, performed all of their own material. The movie follows Lynn’s life from the backwoods of Kentucky to Country Superstardom.

Enclosed is a clip that showcases Spacek and D’Angelo’s friendship but it unfortunately has many of the performances cut out for some reason.


The Pianist (2002)

This movie is based on the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, an accomplished pianist in 1930’s Poland. When Poland is invaded by the Nazi’s in 1939 Szpilman becomes a prisoner and slave labourer before ultimately being freed after the occupation.

This movie was nominated for and won several awards most notable of which include winning the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes. As well the film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards and won 3 including Best Director for Roman Polanski and Best Actor for Adrien Brody in the lead role making him, at age 29, the youngest actor to win the award.

In preparation for this role Brody became a shut in and gave up many of his possessions so that he may understand what it might have been like in the situation. In addition he lost 30 pounds and learned to play Chopin on the piano.


Amadeus (1984)

This movie is based upon the lives of Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the competitive atmosphere surrounding them in 18th Century Austria.

I have not seen the entire movie but I have seen enough to know that the performances were brilliant. This movie is funny, dramatic and sad sometimes within 5 minutes. But We can let the numbers speak for themselves. Amadeus was nominated for 53 separate awards including 11 Oscar nominations. It went on to win 40 of those nominations, 8 of which were Academy Awards. Included in those 8 were Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. In a rare occurrence it should be noted that both actors who portrayed Salieri and Mozart were nominated for Best Actor.


Walk The Line (2005)

This movie is amazing and was the only choice for number one. This movie is based on Johnny Cash’s life, going from his childhood through his drug addiction and exploring his hidden romance and eventual marriage to June Carter Cash. Johnny and June are played by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon respectively and are brilliant in their performances. They both learned to play all their own instruments and performed all of the songs themselves.

Both Phoenix and Witherspoon were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances with Witherspoon winning the Best Actress award. It was rumoured that Phoenix’s subsequent admission to rehab for alcoholism was due in part to the fact that he became addicted while preparing for the part.

Contributor: SocialButterfly

  • NN

    Exceptional list, I don’t have much complaints. I feel like a loser because I haven’t watch Amadeus yet (Hoping to watch it soon).

  • JJ

    and now.. the “what about..’s”

    what about a Hard Day’s Night? beatlemania!! :D

  • NN: Amadeus is great – you really should see it – you will love it.

  • Ruairi

    I agree with Walk the Line, great movie. I suppose This Is Spinal Tap doesn’t qualify..? ;)

  • JJ

    and SPICEWORLD! jk.. it’s more like a pastiche on hard day’s night..

    good list though :)

  • JJ: Good lord – you may be starting a new war by mentioning the Beatles :)

    Ruairi: No :) But – for those who love it, we do have a complete top 10 list dedicated to it!

  • JJ: spiceworld? Get behind me Satan!

  • JJ

    oh nooo.. what’s happened with previous mentions? :O heehee

  • JJ: we ended up with a war on whether the Beatles or Led Zeppelin were better :)

  • JJ

    o noeees I def dont wanna go there lolz

    but led zeppelin didnt have a hard day’s night ;)

    and everytime I watch amadeus now I’m reminded of animal house.. damn memory association

  • Samsung

    On the whole this was a fantastic list – really well written and easy to follow. I too love biographical music films.
    Has anyone seen “I’m not there” – about bob dylan?. I can’t wait to see it.

    Just a slight error in the final entry:
    “Johnny and June are played by Joaquin Phoenix and June Carter respectively”

    Should be: “Johnny and June are played by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon respectively”

  • JJ

    I heard “I’m not there” is a must watch.. I’m getting right on it!

  • Great list Social! ‘Amadeus’ is an awesome film, I really need to see it again soemtime. It’s the only one I’ve seen on the list though…

    I knew ‘walk the line’ would be at #1 ;)

  • Samsung: error corrected – thanks :)

    dangorionhide: Walk The Line was surprisingly good – I didn’t really know any music by Cash before I saw it – the acting was great.

  • billy

    Anyone ever seen the made for TV movie “Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr Story”? It had Richard “John Boy Walton” Thomas playing Hank Williams Jr. It was like watching a car crash. You didn’t really enjoy watching it, but you were mesmerized by how bad it was. It was a lot like the Gary Busey as Buddy Holly, but the Busey as Holly thing worked.

  • otay

    Great list SocialButterfly! Was a wonderful read to wake up to! :D

  • Randall

    Nice list, really… but AGAIN… all movies made, for the most part, in the last 20 years. What about the great film biographies on musicians that came before?

    “The Joker is Wild” for instance, with Frank Sinatra? (Okay, Joe E. Lewis was a comic, but he started out as a singer)

    or even better (far better in fact) “The Glenn Miller Story,” with Jimmy Stewart?

    How about “The Fabulous Dorseys”… not the best, but at least the Dorsey brothers play themselves…

    Or “Night and Day,” the corny and fictionalized, but nevertheless entertaining, story of Cole Porter?

    What about “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the story of George M. Cohan?

    But then…. come to think of it, not one of these is as good as “Walk the Line,” or “Ray.”

    “Amadeus,” however, was vastly overrated. Despite all its awards, it’s memorable really only for F. Murray Abraham’s nice take on Solieri, and for Tom Hulce’s awful, over-the-top portrayal of Mozart. It’s no wonder we never saw Hulce again. He should have stayed at the Animal House.

  • Mom424

    Excellent List; All of these are worthy choices.

    The way Angela Bassett nailed Tina Turners speaking cadence as well as somehow shrinking her torso and lengthening her legs.

    It doesn’t matter what Gary Busey does now; his performance in Buddy Holly excuses all of his excesses of today.

    Sissy Spacek was amazing.

    I can say something great about all these movies – even Amadaus – with its fast and loose portrayal of Salieri is worthy. The music, the period costumes.

    Well Done, you made me get weepy (in a good way) before 9:00
    with your #1 pick. Oh so romantic.

  • Randall

    I came back to say to SocialButterfly that actually this is a very good list…. I just hate seeing great old movies forgotten or left out…

    …but then it occurs to me, really until recently there haven’t been that many decent films made on the life of musicians and singers. Even the oldies I mentioned were just kind of passable (though the Glenn Miller story is pretty damn good). Odd, that.

    But one other recent one that wasn’t mentioned: “Great Balls of Fire” — the life of Jerry Lee Lewis… with Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder.

    All the same, nice job S.B.

  • SoCalJeff

    I really enjoyed Ray and Walk the Line.

    The Glenn Miller Story is another movie biography that was pretty significant. Maybe one of the first big movie biographies of a musician.

  • Mom424

    Good morning Randall; I’m pretty sure the list writer said they picked movies from their lifetime. Its not Socialbutterfly’s fault she is a young’un.

    And the music and costumes were wonderful in Mozart. There is no way salieri could’ve have been that consumed by jealousy. Mozart was portrayed as an idiot fruit-cake. I agree.

  • cliff

    Great list Social. If I remember right ray didnt have a accident he just started going blind.

  • DiscHuker

    wow, what memories. la bamba was one of my very first date movies. i think i was 12 and i remember crying with the girl and singing the songs together at the end. good times. great oldies.

  • Mom424

    And yes, The Glen Miller Story was a damn fine movie. Another one that made me cry like a baby.

  • Kreachure

    Great list! I owe it to myself to see Amadeus sometime…

    … but every time I see that title I can’t help a certain song getting stuck in my head:

    “Rock-rock-rock-rock me Amadeus!”

    AAAGH curse you, now I’ll have that damn song in my head all day!

  • DiscHuker

    not to be too tight-assed here, but can you put a movie #2 on any list when you admit that you haven’t seen the whole thing?

  • Mama-Kali

    You should also consider movie “Shine”

  • On a side note, the actor who played Loretta Lynn’s father in Coal Miner’s Daughter was Levon Helm, real-life drummer for The Band. He also did vocals and his distinctive voice can be heard on The Weight. He went on to a solo career and is still recording, I believe. Levon Helm & the RCO All-Stars is my all-time favorite disc. The guy is great!

  • kiwiboi

    Well done. Nice list, but…you couldn’t find one more to make it a Top 10 ? Top 9 just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it :)

  • volks73

    How could so many of you have missed “Amadeus”? The movie is amazing and the performances superb! I’d put it and the “The Pianist” higher on the list (say “Amadeus” #1 and “The Pianist” at #2) followed by “Coal Miners Daughter”. The three movies seem to transcend the “musician’s life” genre and might even be classified as period pieces (especially “Amadeus”).

  • JwJwBean

    Well done, SocialButterfly. It always amazes me the transformations actors and actresses do for their parts. I saw your criteria for your movie choices. Did The Doors fall under one of those making it excluded? Course I just love looking at Val Kilmer.

  • trojan_man

    Great list. I’ve seen all of them.

    On a slightly different note. How about a list of musical documentaries. “Some Kind of Monster” and, my personal favorite, “The Last Waltz” are great movies.

  • PhineusQButterfat

    I believe Amadeus should definitely be placed in the #1 spot. Walk the Line was a good film but not to the caliber of Amadeus.

    Interesting fact: There was no artificial lighting used for the filming of Amadeus. All scenes were lit from practical sources, eg. candles, natural daylight, etc.

  • chillipacker

    how about ‘Control’?

  • SaturnIon

    Where’s The Doors?!

    I’m shocked that it didn’t make the cut! That movie put Val Kilmer on the map for his amazing portrayel of Jim Morrison.

  • astraya

    Ah, yes, I was trying to remember the name “Great Balls of Fire”. Thanks for reminding me.
    The other Cole Porter bio-pic was “De-lovely”, which played very fast and loose with the story (including the tall, handsome, capable singer Kevin Kline in the role).
    “Amadeus” is so not based on historical fact. Nice costumes and music, though.
    I only know Levon Helm as an actor in The Right Stuff. I love his accent.

  • SocialButterfly

    WOW!! What a response allready! I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to see this on here soo soon… I just submitted it last night!

    First I want to say thank you so much for the kind responses and I would like to address the major ones now.

    Randall(and a few others): I knew you would mention the older movies and I would like to say that The Glen Miller story was actually on my list of possibilities. I can’t tell you why it iddin’t end up making the cut because it is a favourite of mine but one factor was the fact that there are NO videos out there of the movie. Selena almost didn’t make it because of this as well (Most are poorly made fan vids). But if Jamie wouldn’t mind I would like to make this an honourary mention?

    Dischuker: I missed the first 15 minutes of Amadeus. The reason it is number two is becuase of Abraham’s brilliant performance as Salieri (who in my opinion was the main character) I agree that Hulce’s Mozart was over the top though.

    JwJw: There were a few movies that didn’t “make the cut” for a few reasons…including The Doors… I will write out my list in the forums later on today. Val Kilmer was pretty hot in that movie though. :)

    There were quite a few movies that don’t qualify for my criteria including Spice World and Spinal Tap… I am planning on making a fictionalized list sometime soon though. Must say though, I don’t think Spice World would actually make it on…. ridiculous movie.

  • SocialButterfly

    And one final note for those who disagree with my putting Walk The Line above (insert your opinion here) I have two things to say to that:

    1) Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix learned to play all of their own instruments and sing all of their own songs AS WELL as the other preperations that normally go into readying yourself for a character. In my opinion that was a major factor.

    2) Someone is always going to be unhappy with the way a list is… Some of you are saying Amadeus doesn’t belong and some are saying it should be number one. MY suggestion to you would be to either fight it out in a cage match or create your own list… Jamie loves contributors!

    Thank you all for your opinions though I appreciate the feed back on my first list!

  • islanderbst

    WTG, Social. Glad to see La Bamba included. Haven’t seen Walk the Line yet, even though I’m a big Johnny Cash fan. It’s because I’m not a Reese or Joaquin fan, so I keep hesitating.

  • islanderbst

    Have you seen Beyond the Sea? Kevin Spacey does good job singing himself.

  • carpe_noctem

    I definitely agree with Randall about The Glenn Miller Story, even if it was well before my time. Definitely consider it for an honorary mention!

    And Tom Hulce almost destroyed Mozart’s credibility as a person singlehandedly. Mozart wasn’t a near insane, pompous little girl, he was actually quite dignified. And Salieri was one of his closest friends until his death, their compositional relationship based on one of friendly rivalry rather than outright hatred.

    That being said, The Pianist is far and away my favourite on this list, and one of my favourites of all time, but Walk the Line was the obvious choice for number 1, and Ray was always going to be high on this list.

    Superb work, I’ve got some new movies to watch!

  • Iain

    Chillipacker – definitely ‘Control’ (Ian Curtis/Joy Division) – presumably the compiler hasn’t seen it – easily top 5 at least for this topic.

  • james

    Amadeus always makes me laugh. It is filled with inaccuracies. The one I enjoy the most is that Amadeus was not his name. It was a joke name he would sign in letters to close friends. His real name was Wolfgang Amade Mozart. Good list though

  • Jake

    Good list, but how in the hell is Walk the Line number one? It was terrible. It’s not even in the same league as Amadeus or The Pianist.

  • Scott

    What about Purple Rain? :)

  • Mama-Kali

    Has anybody here heard of this one.
    I find it magnificent, way up there with The Pianist. It is based on the true story of Australian pianist David Helfgott

  • toolnut

    Superb list, I wouldn’t change anything, except maybe adding The Doors. Other than that, awesome SB!!!

  • Iâran

    Great list! I really think all of these movies deserve to be on a top 9… But why not a top 10, and squeeze in ONE more movie? “The Doors” is a strong candidate…

    …but my personal favourite would be “Immortal Beloved”. Not very historically accurate, but a great movie. Kind of like “Amadeus”.

  • bamaslug

    Forgot The Doors !

  • antlyon

    Gotta have The Doors greatest American band ever.
    Great Balls of Fire was good to.

  • copperdragon

    was hoping to see The Doors or Purple Rain included.

    other notable omissions:
    Great Balls of Fire
    Hard Days Night

    Is it easier for an actor to learn to play music? or for a musician to learn how to act?

  • This is a really good list. Thanks for putting it together SocialButterfly.
    Being an old fart I will add one more besides the ones Randall mentioned and that’s The Benny Goodman Story played by Steve Allen. Not a really great movie but I always liked Steve Allen because he could do anything. He could sing ,composed lots of music, wrote many books, acted and was great at comedy.

  • schiesl

    “I’m Not There” was a very very good film! Jamie, you should watch it, its great. When you are finished you will probobly have to put it down as a special mention

  • clash62

    What about Sid and Nancy ? One of the best rock bios ever.

  • Jonny

    Are you having a fucking laugh! Where is Sweet Dreams Patsy Cline? And any self respecting CASH fan should hate everything about Walk The Line.

  • indiefreak19

    I kind of agree with most of this list, Walk The Line is awesome. And Ray, Amadeus, the Pianist and La Bamba are very good movies…

    But what about Sid & Nancy? The Doors? Could Velvet Goldmine count as its based on Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, though is not endorsed or ‘official’….

    And my number one, one of my favourite ever films, is Anton Corbijns ‘Control’, based on Ian Curtis of Joy Division. Its such an amazingly crafted, acted and detailed movie, that even people I know who don’t like the band love the movie!

    Also, not really a musician, but 24 Hour Party People, based on Tony Wilson’s life is well worth watching!

  • phil

    What about Bird? Immortal Beloved?

  • mzfly

    I have been waiting for this list! And I think you did a great job SocialButterfly. Kudos. I agree with most of your choices and they are all great films.

  • erin

    Walk the Line is number one wahoo!

  • erin

    The Doors was a horrible movie and doesn’t to be on any list, let alone this one

  • kiwiboi

    phil – Bird and Immortal Beloved ? Right on both counts! Excellent movies.

  • Cedestra

    I give my kudos! Fantastic list! I loved all the submissions and agree with Amadeus, although others seem to disagree.
    I’d be curious to see the Glenn Miller story. I *love* Jimmy Stewart, but he played the same man in every movie. He was very type-casted and didn’t deviate very far from that likeable, slightly goofy character. His characters in Harvey, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Rear Window, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Philadelphia Story, ad nauseum, were basically all the same man. What his portrayal in the Glenn Miller Story different? If not, depending on the overall success of the movie, I probably wouldn’t include it.

  • Kreachure

    Amadeus Amadeus,
    Amadeus Amadeus,
    Amadeus Amadeus,
    Oh oh oh Amadeus.
    R-r-r-rock me Amadeus!

    Yes, I still have that darn song in my head.


  • NeoLudd

    Anyone notice how all these movies are depressing?
    Or maybe it’s just me

  • Aaron

    Thank you for including Amadeus on this list, I was hoping to see it here. It’s one of my favorites and every time I see it inspires me to go and write something (music I mean)

  • Angelina

    Social: Great List! I love Amadeus!!! :-)

  • NoodleTheCat

    What about the biography of Stillwater, “Almost Famous?”

    I read an article where lead singer, Jeff Bebe, was outraged by being portrayed as having an inferiority complex to lead guitarist, Russel Hammond. Russel Hammond declined to be interviewed.

  • Alicia

    “I did not want anything to be to fictionalized and remain”

    The second ‘to’ should be ‘too’.
    Yay for keeping listverse grammatically correct.

  • Csimmons

    Social: GREAT LIST! i love all these movies and musicians, great first list!

  • Jackie

    NoodleTheCat: Stillwater in Almost Famous was a fictitious band I’m pretty sure. The band was actually based on a combination of multiple bands with whom Cameron Crowe, the director, had some similar experiences with.

    There was a band called Stillwater in the 70s but the two are unrelated.

  • Bad News

    Great list. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is a personal favorite. Good move leaving off “The Doors”, in my opinion, and here’s another vote for “Sid and Nancy”.

  • BishopWhiteT

    Sid and Nancy should definately be included. Very depressing, but phenomenal performances, especially by Gary Oldman.

    A couple of other notable movies would be “Sweet and Lowdown” with Sean Penn and “Imagine: John Lennon”, although the latter might be a bit more of a documentary.

  • BishopWhiteT

    Doh! I guess sweet and lowdown was about a fictional dude. My bad. Still a good flick though.

  • Nevermore

    I’m only able to see La Bamba.. Is this a glitch that will be fixed soon?

  • I’m sorry, but Amedeus blew.

  • stevenh


    Blew who?

  • Andi

    La Bamba is the only entry listed. Crazy glitches!

  • stevenh


    Thank you for the excellent list.
    I haven’t seen many of these, so I’m heading over to NetFlix now.

  • I give up – is La Bamba the only movie based on a musician’s life or am I missing something?

    *skims over the comments*

    Okay, so I’m not missing something.

  • mariecardona

    I can only see the intro, #9, and #5-1 as well.

  • some of these ive never seen

  • CrimsonChrissi

    Boy, I sure would like to see #8, 7, & 6……. is the Doors one of them.. should be! And prob I’m not There.

  • james

    i cant see #8, 7, & 6 either

  • chris

    THE DOORS????

    one of the best out there, shame you left it out, could have at least been number 10. haha

  • For the fans …… You’ve been warned

  • Rosa

    Great list SocialButerfly!!! (Thank goodness you didnt include Spiceworld. I completely agree with you…. RIDICULOUS movie…)

  • JC

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! There are 3 entries missing, and all are films about american singers.

    WHERE’S La Vie En Rose, which WON the academy award this year??

    Terrible job Socialbuterfly!

  • yeah, what are the picks for 8-6?

  • kerrick

    all i see is La Bamba… man wtf :(

  • Kreachure

    Oh oh, LA VIE EN ROSE! They finally found this list’s Achilles Heel!

    2-Oscar-winning film, about singer Edith Piaf’s life? There’s no excuse to not have included this one!

    It even would have made the list a perfect top 10!!!

    Goa ahead SocialButterfly. You can go ahead and say,


  • Kreachure

    Hey I just made a comment here but I can only see it on the main page recent comments! Is that normal?

  • lolo

    i can’t see anything other than la bamba!!!!!!!!!! wtf?!?!?!?!?! help, jfrater!!! i rely on these lists!!!!! lol!!! but no seriously, wtf….

  • I’m sure you’re aware, or if not should be, that Amadeus is not historically or biographically accurate, however it is probably a very good movie (I have not seen it, but I am a history buff and I have heard that about the film).

  • Cyn

    YouTube vids-
    could be YouTube or could be your system…like you’ve hit enter too often or maybe try refreshing the screen. sometimes it is LV. best thing to do if you don’t get a vid to play right off. stop. wait. refresh screen. if that doesn’t work. do not keep trying. give it a rest and try again later.

    as for comments directed to J..keep time zones in mind please.

    i’m sorry if anyone is having problems w/ vids playing or slow response time …but don’t just keep entering a comment or hitting play on a vid. stop. wait. and then try again. except for commenting. once is enough.


  • Two days in a row Cyn! Getting lonely?

  • Cyn

    Crimanon- getting tired of reading the same kinda comments again and again. YouTube has always been trouble for me wherever i go except its main site and even there sometimes its iffy. seems like it has been getting better lately though. so i already know to not blame the site on which you find a vid…blame YouTube.
    and yes, LV has its issues too. there is no site online that doesn’t. and it just gets old…you’d think people just got online for the first time. granted some folks may have but almost any commenter here has been online for a while and still they’ve not figured it out. anyplace you comment has filters set. so some comments will get tossed into moderation because of those filters. which are there to keep spam out. so if you comment and it doesn’t show up…stop commenting. give it a rest. and check for it later.
    like here…anytime you put in a link. or a number. or bold or italics…chances are it’ll get kicked. so don’t do that.
    for links…write it out. don’t post the link. if you want to write a comment w/ numbers in it…write the word not the number. especially one. or that f word. f. i. r. s. t. like f comment.
    any site you post comments has filters set for more than just tool enhancement ads…specific filters for what has posed a problem for that site.
    i dunno. guess i’m just talking to myself on this. so no Crimanon, not lonely…just tired. and yeah, i may not comment often. doesn’t mean i’m not here. and yeah, there are some comments that remain that if i had my way..they’d not be here.

  • stormy617

    Hey Cyn, I was just looking at this list again, I read it this morning before I went to work, and it’s not that the videos not there the list literally isn’t there. I can only see number 9 on mine now.

    But as you said the time zone has to be taken into consideration, since it is almost 5 am where he lives.

  • stormy617

    *should have said the it’s not that the videos will not work, the list literally isn’t there.

  • Kreachure

    Haha, “the f word”… yes, bad bad word. Foul-mouthed children!

    Also, do comments get canned for trying to put up italics or bold?

    But how will I convey emphasis? I need EMPHASIS, EMPHASIS on my WORDS!

  • Phillies

    I wanted to see Walk the Line. My brother and his (then) girlfriend saw it and both loved it. I saw Ray though, that was incredible!

    And Randall, I’ve seen Yankee Doodle Dandy before. That’s actually my Dad’s favorite movie (he doesn’t get out much at all). James Cagney was such a fantastic actor, definitely one of my favorites of all time.

    See, not all the oldies are lost on the younger generation ;-)

  • Cyn idea why its doing it now. i can see nine then it skips to five. the coding is the same but i think it has something to do w/ ad placement. when the list was orginally posted whatever ads were there off the rotation ‘fit’. for some reason the ads now are messing it up. and i can’t mess w/ coding and certainly not w/ ads.
    J will have to look at this and fix it.
    yeah..u 2 funnee. not.
    will send J an email about the problems w/ this list and then i’m offline. so behave!

  • Ya, we have to do something about the odd glitches, namely the email (will not be published) I can see that Phillies either is or was a student at one time. Ya, there are some problems.

  • stormy617

    Just wanted to clear that up LOL ;), night night Cyn

  • Cyn

    and yeah ..stormy i took care of your repeat.

    uh..not sure but it could be site issues too. cuz this page didn’t load right for me either. its so hard for me to tell w/ this piece of shit computer i’ve got. and then when you’ve got outside sources coming in like ads…and vids…it can mess stuff up too.

    so ya’ll just be patient please and give J a chance to sort it out.

    thanx. :)

  • frozen_midwest

    I can only see entry 9 – I had to right-click and view the page source to see the other entries.

    It might be my browser (Firefox) and OS (Linux) that don’t like something in the html.

  • lol wtf

    im only seeing number 9

  • BOB123

    yeah i got firefox too and i only see number 9

  • Apparently there is a mismatch at the end of the source comment about the competition.


    Look around line 259 of the source.

    Depending on your browser, it will mis-interpret the comment one way or the other. Gotta love programs that get idiosyncratic about correct syntax :)

  • Got edited out

    Competition blurb (with extra spaces so it will slide by the checker


  • stormy617

    thanks cyn and sorry about that, I wrote the comment and then posted it, it didn’t show up then I noticed that I had no user name or email addy in my comment box so I thought it didn’t go through!!

  • SocialButterfly

    Kreachure (#90): I never saw La Vie En Rose… therefore it did not end up qualifying on my list… and just because a movie wins 2 oscars does not mean it deserves a spot on the list. I had at least 4 other movies which I would put on before that movie which I have heard from others is an amazing performance by Cotillard and not much else.

    I don’t understand why you are actively looking for an “Achille’s heel” for my list but from monitoring your coments over the past few months I can say that it doesn’t surprise me as you are an extremely negative person.

    And for the record… who said that all lists had to be a top 10 format? Just because you are a slave to society’s boundaries does not mean that I am.


  • joe

    Am I the only one that sees just La Bamba… and that’s it?

  • okay – there was a bug in my code on the page – many apologies – it is now fixed.

  • sue

    I loooooooooooove this list.Some of my favourite movies are mentioned here.I first watched Mozart when I was about 7 but even then I could see how brilliant it was.I liked Ray as well,and Walk The Line…La Bamba.Excellent choices,excellent list!

  • erkan shaqiri

    2 excellent movies are missing in this list:

    THE DOORS – jim morrison biography
    CONTROL – ian curtis biography

  • Kreachure

    SocialButterfly: WHAT? I was just kidding! I never take lists so seriously, anything I say that seems negative is only sarcasm, like in this case.

    I only thought that La Vie en Rose qualified perfectly to your list, but you just didn’t notice it or hadn’t considered it, which ended up being kind of true.

    Well, I can promise this much to you: I’ll start including smilies more often in my comments so other commenters like you realize that I’M JUST KIDDING! ( :) ) I was only kidding with the ALL comments I made for this list, for starters.

    (For example, if you hadn’t put a smilie below your comments about me being a slave to society’s boundaries, I would’ve thought you were serious! :P )

  • Phillies

    I can see the lists just fine, and I can’t see anyone’s email. I use Firefox too. Strange…

    And, yes, I am a student. Now I know who to blame if my inbox suddenly gets an influx of porn I “subscribed” to. :)

  • Phillies: I’m a safari freak and it happens to me and due to my incredibly bad short term memory I can only remember the college. You’re safe.

  • CJ

    Mozart was baptized Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.

    Amadeus was heavily fictionalized so it doesn’t really meet the author’s criteria here but it’s a pretty good movie.

  • Spinner

    I agrees with thems that noted ‘Control’
    All hail Ian (you poor bastard)

  • mitchellhackman

    “I’M NOT THERE” anyone?

    Bob Dylan is portrayed by Cate Blanchett, Ben Whishaw, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin, and Heath Ledger.

    What more can i say? Bob Dylan portrayed throughout his life as a woman, african-american kid, and a bunch of awesome actors???
    (ben whishaw did a really enjoyable part, though it didn’t call for much.)

    plus…christian bale is amazing. Christian Bale as Bob Dylan????? Doesn’t get much better to me!

  • Belle Epoque

    Walk the Line truly deserves to be no. 1!

    I agree with anyone who cries “I’M NOT THERE” – amazing movie, really. It should be included.

    And Control! Haven’t seen it yet, but it looks so good – and i mean, Joy Division? …

  • SocialButterfly

    Kreachure: Aside from my reasoning for La Vie En Rose my entire post was made with tongue firmly planted in cheek to show you how important smilies can be. I am glad to see you have the point now. :D

    CJ: If you are referring to the criteria regarding using the artist’s real name, Mozart is referred to as Mozart in the movie…which is all that I meant.

    For example: 8 Mile is loosely based on Marshall Mathers/Eminem’s life but the main character has a completely different name Jimmy Smith/B Rabbit.

    If you are referrring to the fictionalized aspect of the movie, I am fully aware that some of the story was fictionalized but imho there was more than enough historical accuracy in the movie as a whole to make up for the discrepancies.

    And in the end I wrote the list so if I want to add a fantastic movie in and bend the rules that is my right.

  • Kiribub

    Nothing about “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story?”

    Wow. Sandoval’s a legend, and the movie is good.

  • capo

    the pianist should have been number 1….an amazing film

  • erwin

    Mozart pissed me off, because they showed every opera in Italian language, but dubbed the German (Die Zauberflöte) wich is kind of disrespectful.

  • Shane

    all good movies, but the best is yet to come……..

    THE DIRT !!!!!!!!

    currently in production,

    the story of MÓTLEY CRÚE
    if the movie is only half as good as the book i’ll be happy

  • ericxdraven26

    everyone go see walk hard
    is by far my favorite biography of any singer
    yes its complete trash, and has no truth or point
    but its funny
    im not saying it belongs on this list, i am saying that its a good comedy to watch

    on the serious note alot of these were exaggerated, and it bothers me, especially johnny cash’s. the fiction of it bothers me.

  • ericxdraven26

    everyone go see walk hard
    is by far my favorite biography of any singer
    yes its complete trash, and has no truth or point
    but its funny
    im not saying it belongs on this list, i am saying that its a good comedy to watch

    on the serious note alot of these were exaggerated ALOT, and it bothers me, especially johnny cash’s. the fiction of it bothers me.

  • ericxdraven26

    sorry for the duplicate, i hit “submit” then put “alt” in then hit it again before it loaded

  • TMo

    Walk the Line is one of the most overrated movies I’ve ever seen. The second I saw this list’s title, I said to myself, “Oh God, let Walk the Line please NOT be on this list, then I can sleep tonight.”

    But no. Some one obviously does not want me to sleep, as this utter piece of crap does not belong NEAR the likes of Amadeus, Ray, The Pianist, etc. Walk the Line is crap. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. I will avenge the late Cash’s unforgivable desecration.

  • Bumhaskins

    Control, Ian Curtis was amazing

  • Gezzanater

    You forgot The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart. Sure it was mae in the 50’s but it was a highly successful movie based on the life of one of the top jazz musicians of the 40’s. It should be your 10th movie.

  • Carmella

    Sweet Dreams..Patsy Cline…that should be here…it was a good movie..made me cry…good love story too

  • tascha

    what about the doors?

  • warningdontreadthis

    Nr 3 is a fantastic movie, I havent seen the others though. Well except for Selena…

  • Robyn

    What about Great balls of Fire… Jerry Lee Lewis? :D

  • V

    Control should be at least in the top 3. All the actors who were playing the band also played the music. In the OST it isn’t Joy Division, but the actors performing. Also, the acting was amazing, Sam Riley who isn’t even a professional actor was brilliant.

  • Tonya

    What about Elvis and Me, by Pricilla Presley? It was a WONDERFUL look into the life of Elvis. I am sad to see it not just number 1 , but not even on your list.

  • MistressJ

    What about The Doors????
    Val Kilmer was amazing as Jim Morrison!!!
    The Doors is my all time favorite “musician” movie….and my very favorite band of all time!!

  • my bum hurts

    what about the doors movie? and what about a movie about kurt korbain? or how ever u spell it. u no there will be one for speers.

  • tom

    what movie was it about Beethoven and the 9th Symphony?

  • LSD.chaos

    I have to agree the doors movie was awesome and proably top 5 movies of all time. Don’t get me wrong I had to watch it twice to fully get it. The first time I was like cool, but what the hell? The second time I was stumped, i loved it. Plus Val Kilmer is awesome

  • nuriko

    i love this list! gosh, been visiting your site and this appears for the first time! haha! :D

  • robby57

    The film ‘Crossroads’ isn’t based on the life of blues legend Robert Johnson but deserves a mention as it is one of the greatest ‘musician based’ films ever made.
    Does anybody agree?

  • Ryon

    “Imortal Beloved” the Beethoven story with Gary Oldman!

  • JSAL

    Walk the Line should not be on this list. It’s all about his drug problem, not the music that he created.

  • Boo

    @ Randall (19) I AGREE!!! “Great Balls Of Fire” is one of my favorites =]

  • Starr Calo-oy

    If anyone is still reading these entries, what about “Stand by Your Man” the George Jones & Tammy Wynette story? Also, “The Temptations?” Also, “The Beach Boys; An American Family?”

  • Orucly


    How come I’m Not There about Bob Dylan is NOT listed -_-?

  • Iffy


  • Emasaurus

    no immortal beloved, excellent film about beethoven!gary oldman gives an outstanding performance!

  • Starr Calo-oy

    Here is a complete list,but if you have any more, please let me know! I collect these!
    Musician Biographical Movies
    • Stand by Your Man- George Jones/Tammy Wynette
    • The Temptations
    • Walk the Line- Johnny Cash
    • Coalminers Daughter- Loretta Lynn
    • Beach Boys
    • La Bamba- Ricky Valens
    • Selena
    • Buddy Holly Story
    • What’s Love got to do with it?- Tina Turner
    • Ray- Ray Charles
    • The Pianist-
    • Amadeus- Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    • The Glen Miller Story- Jimmy Stuart
    • Sweet Dreams- The Patsy Cline Story
    • Great Balls of Fire- Jerry Lee Lewis
    • Shine- Australian pianist David Helfgott
    • The Doors
    • Beyond the Sea- Kevin Spacey
    • Janis Joplin
    • Control- Ian Curtis of Joy Division.
    • Sid & Nancy
    • Bird
    • Immortal Beloved
    • Sweet & Lowdown- Sean Penn
    • La Vie En Rose
    • I’m not There- Cate Blanchart
    • Elvis & Me
    • Crossroads- Robert Johnson
    • Lady Sings the Blues
    • All That Jazz

  • nicoleredz3

    @SocialButterfly [38]: Excellent choices, but ofcourse I’m entitled to my opinion, I must say I don’t agree with the order of this list. BUT, they all belonged here.

    I thought “What’s Love Got To Do With It” would’ve ranked much higher…

  • Danzik1

    You forgot walk hard: a dewey cox story XD

  • Will Trame

    “Beyond The Sea” was a much better movie than I anticipated. Spacey did a good job as Bobby Darin.

    See the movie based on Hendrix’s life? Overall, I thought that one was a bummer. Hendrix was an excellent musician, but was a hard man to pin down overall. He was extremely moody and a lot of the sequences dealing with Hendrix’s sometimes animosity toward bassist Noel Redding was downplayed. I’ve read accounts of some of the vicious rows those two often had.

    I don’t believe that time has been too kind towards “The Doors”. I idolize that band as well, and , even though Val Kilmer was a much better Jim Morrison than a Batman, I don’t think he captured Morrison’s entire essence and mystique. There were a lot of historical blurbs in the movie. One actor who did come close to his portrayal of Morrison (I can’t recall the actor’s name) was the one who appeared on one episode of the short-lived NBC series “Dark Skies” which I believe ran in the late ’90s.

    I’m going to have to check out that Ian Curtis movie someday as he too strikes me as a tortured genius who shedded this mortal coil all too soon.

  • Frank

    The Doors and Control should’ve been ESSENTIAL for this list.

  • yo yo

    this list is so far off. what about the wall for pink floyd? the doors? this list BLOWS COCK

  • zaza

    Anyone who hasn’t seen Amadeus seriously needs to it’s fantastic

  • Melissa

    what about the Doors movie? come ooooonnnn

  • RubyMoon

    Thank you for placing Walk the Line at number 1 because it deserves to be there!!I absolutely love this movie,it is brilliant with brilliant actors in it!!

  • RubyMoon

    Oh but you forgot about the Doors movies,which had Val Kilmer.and what about La Vie En Rose?

  • Apocalyptic & Insane

    Why is Immortal Beloved always overlooked?? It’s my all-time favorite film. Gary Oldman deserved an Oscar for that role

  • Bex

    oh man what a GREAT list! idk if you have made one about movies of the lives of artists or not, but Basquiat & Pollock…two amaaazing films about the lives & times of the artists. jeffrey wright as Jean Michel Basquiat & David Bowie as Andy Warhol make that movie SHINE. & Ed Harris did a great job as Jackson Pollock. just thought id mention 2 films about painters in case anyone would be interested. Basquiat is my favorite movie EVER. the rest of the cast is SO amazing: dennis hopper, claire forlani, benecio del toro, courtney love, gary oldman, parker posey just to name a few. seriously, anyone who loves art..see Basquiat!!! xo!

    • To Bex, I give you two thumbs up, and I mean WAY up for those two movies “Basquiat” and “Pollock”. Both such tragic lives and of course dying way too young. Did I hear correctly that Basquiat had an affair with Madonna ? And also for the record, Just a few months ago a Jackson Pollock went up for auction and fetched $160,000,000 which broke the record, but then again if that record has broken, I would not be surprised.

  • I would like to quote from a video / movie guide about an omission from this list that may be compelling to you. Its called VideoHound’s Golden Retriever Guide. The name of the movie : “Sid And Nancy”….The tragic, brutal true love story of the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious and American Groupie Nancy Spungen, from the director of “Repo-Man”, Alex Cox. Remarkable lead performances in a very dark story that manages to be funny at times. Depressing but engrossing, no appreciation of Punk Music or sympathy for the self-destructive way of life is required. Actor Gary Oldman (as Sid Vicious) and Chloe Webb (as Nancy Spungen are superb. Music by Joe Strummer, The Pogues, and Pray For Rain. Also, how could you ever, ever omit the movie “The Doors” about Jim Morrison starring Val Kilmer as the hopelessly alcohol and drug addled “Lizard King”. When the movie critic Gene Siskel was alive, he was quoted as saying that Kilmer’s performance of Morrison goes down as one of the greatest acting achievements every filmed. And one other, and that is “The Gene Krupa Story” starring Sal Mineo as Krupa

  • In my opinion, this list should be at least the Top 50 ever made as their are so many great movies about the lives of musicians and composers

  • What I find amazing about Gary Oldman is that he could portray Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols’ in “Sid And Nancy” and then a few years later portray Ludwig Van Beethoven in “Immortal Beloved”. Talk about the flip of a coin !!!

  • Tom : “Immortal Beloved”

  • To yo yo. You must remember that Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” is just one of those Orwellian stories and not about the life of the guys in Pink Floyd, however a movie about the founding member, Syd Barrett would be a good. But I stand behind you 100% for “The Doors” of course about the life of Jim Morrison

  • Starr Calo-oy

    Here is a complete list,but if you have any more, please let me know! I collect these!
    Musician Biographical Movies
    • Stand by Your Man- George Jones/Tammy Wynette
    • The Temptations
    • Walk the Line- Johnny Cash
    • Coalminers Daughter- Loretta Lynn
    • Beach Boys
    • La Bamba- Ricky Valens
    • Selena
    • Buddy Holly Story
    • What’s Love got to do with it?- Tina Turner
    • Ray- Ray Charles
    • The Pianist-
    • Amadeus- Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    • The Glen Miller Story- Jimmy Stuart
    • Sweet Dreams- The Patsy Cline Story
    • Great Balls of Fire- Jerry Lee Lewis
    • Shine- Australian pianist David Helfgott
    • The Doors
    • Beyond the Sea- Kevin Spacey
    • Janis Joplin
    • Control- Ian Curtis of Joy Division.
    • Sid & Nancy
    • Bird
    • Immortal Beloved
    • Sweet & Lowdown- Sean Penn
    • La Vie En Rose
    • I’m not There- Cate Blanchart
    • Elvis & Me
    • Crossroads- Robert Johnson
    • Lady Sings the Blues
    • All That Jazz

  • Beth

    Why Do Fools Fall In Love?

  • All Great and Entertaining Movies, however, switch No.5, “Ray” around with No.1, “Walk The Line”. And also, don’t you think that No.2, “Amadeus” was a bit on the “Hollywoodish” side ? Salieri did not have any hatred for Mozart at all, if you read the history books, you will find that Salieri was a great admirer of Mozart (even though Salieri was 6 years older than Mozart) There is a book entitled “1791”, which is the year Mozart died and at in the back of the book is a list of every documented ailment that he suffered from going back to when he was a 5 year old. You will be astounded to read as to what illnesses he suffered from and survived. Simply put, he just didn’t take care of himself and was obviously overworked.

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  • Ian

    I couldn’t see Control.

  • mani

    where is “La Vie en Rose”…

  • loryn johnston

    a good list but a little incomplete i feel, where’s the doors? where”s nowhere boy ? i agree with ray though, i love that movie.

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