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The Best Band Movies

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There have been some bad movies about those in the music industry (Glitter suddenly comes to mind). But, there have also been some worth not only watching, but listening to, over and over again. The following is our list of best band-related movies. Sit back, relax, and, for goodness sake, turn up the volume.

Eddie and the Cruisers (1983):  This early 1980s film told the tale of a 1960s rock band that becomes famous after playing gigs throughout New Jersey. After this band, aptly named Eddie and the Cruisers, makes an album that is everything Eddie hoped it would be, the album is rejected by the head of the record company. Devastated, Eddie drives his car off a bridge and Eddie, as well as his reject album, disappears. Twenty years later, a television producer decides to do a documentary on Eddie and the Cruisers and reconnects with many of the band mates, all of whom have moved on. It is during this time that an older looking Eddie resurfaces, thus setting up the sequel: Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives.

Not only did this movie touch on the frustration and sacrifices of the music industry, but it also put an unknown band on the map: John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. Performing the soundtrack to the original and the sequel, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown band released the theme song of the movie, “On the Dark Side;” it was a hit single and can still be heard on present-day radio stations.

This is Spinal Tap (1984): A Rob Reiner directed mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap features a heavy metal rock band and its wild behavior. A film that pokes fun at the music industry, certain scenes offended some musicians, at least initially, hitting rather close to home. However, once people realized they shouldn't take themselves so seriously, the intention of the movie – to be satirical and make fun of pretentiousness – was made more obvious. 

Many of the scenes were improvised and ad-libbed, leaving the outcome very funny to many viewers. This is Spinal Tap was listed as 64 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies and climbed to 29 on AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs. It quickly became a cult classic and was deemed, in 2002, as culturally significant by the Library of Congress. From here, it was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry.

That Thing You Do (1996): Any film that is written by, directed by, and stars Tom Hanks has got to be good: this film was just that. Taking place in the 1960s, this film features Hanks as a manager of the Wonders, a one-hit wonder with Beatles-like undertones.  As the Wonders climb their way to fame, getting on the radio and eventually gaining a record contract and touring nationally, the foundations within the band begin to unravel. The band soon follows.

Made up of an all-star cast, including Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Liv Tyler, Charlize Theron, Rita Wilson, and Giovanni Ribisi, That Thing You Do also features all-star music with a soundtrack that includes music by Rick Elias, Scott Rogness, and Howard Shore. The movie's most memorable song, "That Thing you Do," mirrored fiction when it became a hit and helped launch the career of Fountains of Wayne. 

Almost Famous (2000): Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous was just that – almost famous – when it came to its less than block bluster performance at the box office. Critically, however, it received high acclaim including four Academy Award nominations. Renowned film critic Roger Ebert called it the "best movie of the year."

Following the journey of William Miller, Almost Famous tells the tale of a young man caught in a whirlwind of madness, excitement, and lust when he tours with a rock band. A semi-autographical story, this movie is based on Crowe's experience as a young writer touring with Led Zeppelin.

Musically, Almost Famous won the Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. The film featured songs from Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Thunderclap Newman, Peter Frampton, and Nancy Wilson.

Dreamgirls (2006): Released nationally on Christmas Day 2006, Dreamgirls became a hit, winning three Golden Globes and two Oscars. Adapted from the 1981 Broadway musical, Dreamgirls is set in the 1960s and 1970s; it follows the careers of The Dreamettes, a Detroit group with a strong resemblance to The Supremes. Dreamgirls takes us into the world of R&B and the Motown movement that changed our nation.

Dreamgirls may be best remembered as launching the film career of Jennifer Hudson, a former American Idol contestant. But, it is likely it will also be remembered for its music. The soundtrack is filled with music that is more present day than the score of the 1981 Broadway play, but still pays homage to R&B roots. Among the singers featured are Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx. 

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About JM Jordan

  • Gladys Day

    What? No Purple Rain? Shame on you.

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    No Commitments? That was a great movie.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com DukeDeMondo

    Finally! Some love for Eddie & The Cruisers! Brilliant!

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com DukeDeMondo

    and also, as a great fan of Fountains Of Wayne, i am utterly ashamed that i had no idea of the connection to that flick. so that was them? doin the tune played nigh-on three thousand times during that particular picture, as i recall?

    also, it’s just got a funky upgrade DVD, a Tom Hanks directors cut with a buncha extra scenes paddin out the run time. so probably four thousand times, the song plays now.

  • aikijeet

    where is the movie “Rock Star”
    this is a real kick-ass movie.

    and “The school of rock”

  • zingzing

    24 party people? (ok, so it’s not perfect.)

    but no purple rain… my god… that’s just sad.

  • Aidil Fitri

    what about the korean movie called ‘The Happy Life’! 2007 ..that will inspire you…

  • fre

    right off the bat, “still crazy” and “backbeat” and let me chime in…. what, no “rock star” or “purple rain”??? for shame

  • Mrinal

    THE DOORS was the best band movie ever

  • meh

    CONTROL

  • Milos

    Does anybody know what was the name of the film where the bass player leaves the band, some chick comes to play, they are going somewhere in Britain, practicing their music, some reporter (who’ s pretending to be their friend) is trying to steal their music…. They are living in big house with some rich mr and mrs, who are pretending to be butlers…. ????? Please help

  • Keith

    Almost Famous wasn’t based on Crowe touring with Zeppelin, it was based on Crowe touring with The Allman Brothers.

  • mario

    Worst list ever.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Mario, you should submit an article entitled, ‘The Top 10 Worst Lists Ever’.

    ;-p

  • Rock_Music

    Guys ,Also a goog movie is “it might get loud’…Its more of a documentry than a movie..

  • bob the builder

    commitments, still crazy..that list is very american based…BTW “almost famous” was sh1te

  • Robby Lane

    In response to Milos…I have your answer. The movie you seek is called “Rock My World” starring Peter O’Toole, Joan Plowright, and the rock chick bass player is Alicia Silverstone. I have this movie on DVD. Decent story with some real good soundtrack music.

  • casper

    does anyone know the name of the movie when a band is wearing masks and no one knows who they are? and at the end the singer off the band brings his son up on the stage? plz answer

  • Will Cardinal

    I can’t remember the title of the English movie about reforming the old band, the singer looks like death walking, but his performance is incredible! All I remember is it was more fun than the Commitments and less silly than Spinal Tap

  • http://www.fathappyandblue.com LouiseP

    Will, that Brit movie you’re referring to is “Still Crazy”. It is hilarious and the casting is brilliant. Haven’t seen the Commitments yet, but we love Spinal Tap in a different way to Still Crazy. Yes, it’s silly, but we have a lot of musician friends who totally fit the descriptions!

  • http://www.fathappyandblue.com LouiseP

    A question of my own – I have been trying to track a movie about a rock band from some unlikely part of the world – maybe mongolia or Siberia – the poster showed a group of really hairy looking characters (big mustaches and stuff), sort of looking a bit like warriors but supposedly a comedy about these guys trying to make it big.

    It would have been made between late nineties to mid 2000 – we missed it for some reason.

    I’ve searched using every possibly key word I could think of with no success – any help would be appreciated

  • Erol

    HYSTERIA: THE DEF LEPPARD STORY

  • http://www.myspace.com/freakpit1 Roforone

    Where’s The Blues Brothers? In my book it’s better then Spinal Tap.

    LouiseP – maybe Leningrad Cowboys Go America?

  • nat bite

    anyone know the movie were this guy makes a computer generated girl and he makes her the lead singer for their band? and he ends up falling in love with one of the guitar players? i really want to find it! such an awesome movie

  • Dusty

    I’d have to add Electric Apricot. Les Claypool of Primus Plays in a struggling Jam Band Mockumentory, Hilarious.

  • big daddy

    the hairy guy band i believe your thinkin of is ANVIL

  • Jim…

    The Rose was also a great movie…

  • shaun

    anyone know the film with an american rock band and they kidnap the studio to finish ther album

  • jamie

    channel four films in england released two excellent ‘spoof documentary”films’about a failing heavy metal band called,’BAD NEWS TOUR’,and,’MORE BAD NEWS’.these were released before spinal tap,these really are very funny,and well worth a look-thanks,let’s rock!

  • Batmansux

    Where is Oliver Stones film “The Doors” and purple rain, no list is complete without them, there for, this list sucks

  • Himynameisjames

    Open Your Mouth and Say Mr Chi Pig

    That movie is amazing, its about the Punk band SNFU’s lead singer.

  • Gustav

    What’s that movie about the amateur rock band on tours and one guy is practicing to be a dad with a watermelon as a baby?

  • happy

    electric apricot! best band movie/mockumentary ever.

  • http://www.jorgepineda.com.mx GI-Giorgio

    Dude! really the top 10… No way! Dream Girls! I almos collaps. Good luck with your next top 10….

  • mmmm

    the doors

  • WTF!

    SCHOOL OF ROCK FTW!!!!

  • Steel Bag

    Anvil got it right, working crap jobs and playing at night for the few. But the Anvil guys were pathetic at that age. The rest of these movies were completely fake. You did see the real douche in Some Kind Of Monster.

  • MadatX

    Try
    Scot Pilgrim vs. the world
    The Rocker
    Detroit Rock City

  • Navarro

    HELP! SOMEONE KNOWS THE NAME OF A MOVIE ABOUT A ROCK BAND FORMED ALL FOR BOYS WHERE THE SINGER (I THINK THAT HIS THE SINGER)LOOKS A LITTLE BIT LIKE JOHNNY ROTTEN FROM SEX PISTOLS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?, I REMEMBER THAT IN THAT MOVIE THE GUYS ARE ON A TOUR IN USA BUT THEY AREN’T FAMOUS, THEY MOVE IN A VAN AND THEN A GUITAR BROKE AND THEY DON’T HAVE MONEY TO BUY ANOTHER ONE, THEY HAVE FIGHTS AND DRUGS AND THAT STUFF, THE VOCALIST BREAKUP WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND AND HE SING A SONG ABOUT HER, THINK THE NAME OF THAT GIRL WAS ANNE OR ANN…I’M ALMOST SURE THAT IS A MOVIE FROM THE 90’S . SOMEBODY HELP ME TO FIND THE NAME OF THE MOVIE PLEASE!IT ISN’T A COMEDY FILM, LOOKS LIKE THE STORY OF A BAND! SORRY IF MY ENGLISH IS BAD! I SPEAK SPANISH.