Recommend some good musical biopics?

Lately, I’ve been watching a bunch. So far I’ve enjoyed Why Do Fools Fall in Love, What’s Love Got To Do With It, and La Bamba. (The earlier stuff is my favorite.) I’ve got “The Buddy Holly Story” in my queue ready to go. What are some other good ones? Thanks!

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) is a really, really good movie chronicling Loretta Lynn’s career.

I lived in Houston when Selena was killed, but I wasn’t very familiar with her music. I happened to catch Selena (1997) the other day on television, and liked it quite a lot – I can understand why her death was so tragic.

For more recent ones, both Walk the Line (2005 – Johnny Cash) and Ray (2004 – Ray Charles) were quite good.

I’m waiting for a biopic about Jiles Richardson – together with La Bamba and The Buddy Holly Story, you could have a “Day the Music Died” film fest.

Sweet Dreams - with Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline

Great Balls of Fire! - with Dennis Quaid as Jerry Lee Lewis and Winona Ryder as his young cousin/wife.

The Doors - with Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison

I liked the Bobby Darin biopic “Beyond The Sea”, starring Kevin Spacey, though I’ll admit that it’s flawed.

Yeah, I was wondering why they didn’t do the Big Bopper as well…from what I saw of him in La Bamba, he seemed like a fascinating character.

Thanks for the tips, all!

Bird (Charlie Parker)

And a great fake biopic of a musician is Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown

There were a lot of fanciful musician’s bios back in the 40s – not accurate in the slightest, but a lot of fun.

Top among them, of course, was Yankee Doodle Dandy, but I have a fondness for Three Little Words.

Would This Is Spinal Tap qualify?



Speaking of fanciful, Ken Russell did a series of “biographies,” including Tchaikovsky (The Music Lovers), Liszt (Lisztmania), and Mahler (Mahler). These may not be what you have in mind, depending on where you are on combining drug use and movie-viewing.

ETA: I am fond of DeLovely, a Cole Porter bioflick of a few years back starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. It hews significantly more closely to the facts than the Cary Grant one of the '40s. If you like the Classic American Songbook, the film is filled with wonderful versions (by Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, and many others) of some of the best songs ever written. As a movie, it’s not without its flaws, but I own a copy and have watched it many times with great enjoyment.

How about some great roman-a-clef movies? Grace of My Heart (Carole King), Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe semi-autobiographical; as a 15-year-old *Rolling Stone *writer, he toured backstage with the Eagles and the Allman Brothers), The Rose (Janis Joplin via Bette Midler), Dreamgirls (Supremes), That Thing You Do (every one-hit wonder from the early 60s), etc.

Back Beat was a terrific movie about the early days of the Beatles.

Sid and Nancy

Ooh. Nice pick. Also not entirely accurate (nitpickers have complained about him singing songs before he actually wrote them), but it’s more like a Broadway musical in the way it uses songs to tell the story.

Add The Idolmaker, based on Bob Marucci, “discoverer” of Fabian, Frankie Avalon and the like.

If so, we could include Hard Core Logo! (Would you believe they’re talking about sequels?)

Velvet Goldmine depicts an artiste who resembles Bowie in many ways…

Topsy Turvey shows how Gilbert & Sullivan (may have) create The Mikado. Has anybody mentioned Amadeus?

(Why, yes, my musical tasts are wide-ranging.)

This reminds me of a good recent entry in the genre: Control (Joy Division)

This is more documentary than biopic, but **Tom Down and the Language of Music**was completely great. In case you’re not familiar with him, he was an engineer and producer for Atlantic Records from the time he was a teenager, and he worked with some extraordinary musicians.

I really enjoyed Walk the Line–the two leads are perfect in it.

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser

Immortal Beloved - it’s about Beethoven

Impromptu - Chopin

The best one is Walk Hard.

Young Man With A Horn - Kirk Douglas in a thinly veiled version of the life of Bix Beiderbecke.

The Five Pennies - Danny Kaye, loosely based on the life of Loring “Red” Nichols.

Elvis - Kurt Russell as Elvis in a film directed by John Carpenter.