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10 Best Movies About Rock Idols

25 April 2013 | Features, Film Lists, Guest Posts | by David Zou

rock idol movies

Rock and Roll stars have always enthralled us; we are continually fascinated by their lives, lifestyles and antics. They almost seem to lead a surreal life of excess, indulgence and extraordinary fame and we cannot help but want to follow them, and see what they have been up to, what they are going to be up to next and what havoc they are causing.

It provides us civilians with some excitement and drama in our lives as us mere mortals would lose our jobs if we even thought of arriving at work drunk or smashing a chair over our desk – but they have a job because of it. So it would make sense that big name movie producers would want to make movies about our idols – these incredible rock legends that provided the theme music to our lives, helped us get through our break ups and were there for the best parties, the worst hangovers and the most special memories.

Here are the 10 Best Movies about rock idols and some of the best rock and roll movies of our time. So make a point of getting hold of these movies – the oldies, the goodies, the classics and the brand new ones. These are a selection of iconic movies that you don’t want to miss.

10. Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man

This epic award winning story is the latest in what is about to become a timeless rock legend classic. This moving story is the result of two South African fans who were desperate to find out what had happened to the man who provided them their soundtrack to their youth in the 70’s. Not much was known about him then and when they discovered the story about Rodriguez– it was a story that mad the world sit up and take notice.

 It has recently won a coveted Oscar and 27 other awards as well as ranking in some 17 nominations so far. A wild documentary that will bring tears to your eyes and warmth to your soul, a tale of how big time music producers went on to rip of a legendary man – a humble labourer who has taken the world by storm.

9. La Bamba

La Bamba

This brilliant classic film was the premier debut for actor Lou Diamond- Phillips when he took the role of ill-fated Ritchie Valens – the famous rocker who lost his life in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. The cast brought to life a brilliant and chaotic story of the rise and ultimate fall of Ritchie Valens, his family issues with his troubled brother – played by Esai Morales. The story truly comes to live with some incredible music performances by Marshall Crenshaw who played Buddy Holly and Joe Pantoliano who played Ritchie’s iconic manager.

8. The Runaways


Hurtling Kristen Stewart right into an iconic spotlight and far away from the madding Twilight crowds, this vehicle is responsible for the massive rise in her fame; she played legendary singer Joan Jett in the movie the Runaways.  Dakota Fanning is all grown up and the two of them prove that they are both incredible actresses, with Dakota given the chance to prove that she is way much more than a child star.  The movie is based on the book called Neon Angel that was written by the original lead singer – Cherrie Currie, played by Dakota, and revolves around the unique often volatile relationship between Joan and Cherrie. Sexy, explosive and effortless it is a period piece that has been put together most magnificently and not to be missed.

7. The Doors


This incredible movie about lead singer and energetic band member of the Doors – Jim Morrison – wasn’t a massive box office hit in the end unfortunately. But it was Val Kilmer who literally astonished Doors fans the world over. His incredible portrayal of Jim Morrison – right down to the mannerisms, voice control and stage presence literally left people with their hair standing on end. There is much controversy and unanswered questions about the mysterious life of Jim Morrison – a Shaman Lizard King, who is said to have had visions in the desert and whose life was brought to an abrupt halt in Paris where he died very mysteriously.

6. Wattstax


Set in the Los Angeles Coliseum, this moving and powerful documentary was focusing on portraying an iconic soul concert that was held in 1972. The concert was held some 7 years after the chaotic Watts riots and it captured the experience of black music and the soul of black America in Los Angeles at the time. It is something of a concert slash documentary and was organised by Stax Records with a fantastic cast including the hilarious Richard Pryor and even Jesse Jackson.

5. The Kids are Alright

the kids are alright the who movie

The Kids are Alright is a documentary about the British band The Who. It includes plenty of interviews, vintage clips and live performances going back to 1964. It was made by an American fan that had very little – probably none – film experience at all. The idea was originally rejected but Jeff Stein, the fan, managed to convince them to go ahead. It’s basically a collection of personal photographs and memories and will really only delight audiences that are serious fans. But the original movie has been re-released onto DVD with loads of extra footage and worth a look.

4. Sid and Nancy


The original review of this astonishing movie was quite apt – even today. It was touted as being ‘’powerful, frightening, hilarious and entertaining.” It is a tragic love story about Sid Vicious who was the legendary bassist of the famous Brit punk band – The Sex Pistols and his American love, Nancy Spungeon who is played by Chloe Webb. Gary Oldman played the role of Sid and it was the movie that thrust him into the limelight and put him on the map as a serious actor. It is a truly moving account of the love story between two people – it will bring tears to your eyes.

3. Walk the Line


This brilliant film that showcases the life and times of the incredible man – Johnny Cash – has a collection of some of the most incredible actors and it is no surprise that it raked in so many awards – Oscars included. The film is by James Mangold and stars Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and June Carter played by Reese Witherspoon. Incredible cameo roles make this tale of a lowly country singer turned rock legend come to life and shows the sad side of addiction and demise of a celebrity life.

2. Control


Control is an indie movie starring Sam Riley as he plays the lead as Ian Curtis who was the lead singer of the 1970’s post punk band called Joy Division. It is a touching account of the ill-fated lead singer and tells the story of a troubled life, based on the memoirs written by his widow Deborah called Touching From a Distance. Curtis struggled with his marriage as he struggled with epilepsy and depression and an on-going affair with journalist Annik Honore, which eventually resulted in him taking his own life in 1980. It’s an incredible life story with a legendary soundtrack with Riley doing all of his own singing.

1. No Direction Home : Bob Dylan


A beautifully directed portrayal by Martin Scorsese about Bob Dylan traces the life and times of this incredible musician who literally revolutionized the music industry at the time. Although it doesn’t showcase his entire career, it shows off a time of his life where he rose from simple folk singer to worldwide celebrity rock star. It has won a multitude of awards including Martin Scorsese winning a Grammy for his brilliant efforts. Not a film to be missed.

Author bio: Korah Morrison, writer on that helps students achieve their academic goals.


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  • Steven Flores

    This list is alright but being a rock expert. I can name a few films that are way better. I’m Not There about Bob Dylan and 24 Hour Party People about the Manchester music scene. I also recommend the documentary American Hardcore, The Filth & the Fury, New York Doll, and Westway to the World. I would definitely not put The Runaways or The Doors in that list because both films take too many dramatic liberties to tell the story. The former for not putting enough coverage on the members who weren’t Cherrie Currie and Joan Jett that included Lita Ford while the band had 2-3 different bass players during that time. The latter for just being extremely filled with a lot of inaccuracies and exaggerations as I think it is one of the worst films ever made.

    • Mark Harding

      Totally agree, also if Kids and No Direction are to be listed, then The Last Waltz should be as well. Considered the best rock concert film ever made.