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Favorite Music Biopics
Movie list created by kathy
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Director: Milos Forman
Based on the stage play by Peter Shaffer
Starring: Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice, Simon Callow, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones, Charles Kay and Cynthia Nixon.
Antonio Salieri believes that Mozart's music is divine. He wishes he was himself as good a musician as Mozart so that he can praise the Lord through composing. But he can't understand why God favored Mozart, such a vulgar creature, to be his instrument. Salieri's envy has made him an enemy of God whose greatness is evident in Mozart. He is set to take revenge.
Director: Ian Softley
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Sheryl Lee, Ian Hart, Gary Bakewell, Chris O'Neill, Scot Williams, Kai Wiesinger and Jennifer Ehle
A pre-fame Beatles head for the seedy clubs of Hamburg in search of success. The band meet up with a group of trendy German beatniks, one of whom (Astrid Kircherr), bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe falls in love with. Whilst best friend John Lennon can only watch, Sutcliffe has to choose between rock 'n roll and a new life in Germany...
Beyond the Sea (2004)
Director: Kevin Spacey
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, Greta Scacchi, Caroline Aaron and Peter Cincotti
Consummate entertainer Bobby Darin is making a movie about his life. He's volatile, driven by the love of performing, ambition, perfectionism and belief that he's living on borrowed time.
He begins in the Bronx: a fatherless lad learning music and dance from his mom. His career starts slowly then "Splish Splash" puts him at the top of the charts and on "Bandstand." He wants to be an entertainer, not a pop star, so he aims for the Copacabana; then it's on to the movies where he meets and marries Sandra Dee.
Afterwards, it's balancing career, health, marriage and family life - balances he doesn't always keep. Throughout, conversations with his boyhood self give him perspective.
The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
Director: Steve Rash
Starring: Gary Busey, Don Stroud, Charlie Martin Smith, Conrad Janis, William Jordan, Dick O'Neill, Amy Johnston and Maria Richwine
In the mid-1950s, Buddy Holly and his two high school chums — Jesse Clarence and Ray Bob Simms ('The Crickets') are playing traditional C&W fare in their home town of Lubbock, Texas. But word spreads like wildfire when Buddy premieres "That'll Be the Day" at the roller rink.
An executive at Decca Records who hears the three-some's music on the radio invites them to Nashivlle but then scorns their music as being "too ethnic". Back home again, Buddy learns one of his tapes has gotten around the East coast and is very popular. Holly and the Crickets head to New York City. Having learned a valuable lesson in Nashville, Holly talks Coral Records into allowing him to produce his own records.
Buddy then rides a streak of good fortune: he falls in love with and marries a Puerto Rican girl, Maria Elena Santiago, and his creative juices are flowing with new numbers which he performs as a solo artist.
Buddy misses The Crickets but, just before an expected reunion with his old group, he is killed in an airplane crash along with The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.
Cadillac Records (2008) (2008)
Director: Darnell Martin
Starring: Adrien Brody, Beyonce Knowles, Jeffrey Wright, Columbus Short, Cedric the Entertainer, Eamonn Walker, Mos Def, Gabrielle Union and Emmanuelle Chriqui
Depicting the phenomenal rise of Chess Records in Chicago during the 1950s and 1960s. Leonard Chess, an ambitious Polish immigrant, starts out running a bar but decides to take a stab at being a record producer in 1956. He is very lucky to land Muddy Waters as his first client. This poverty-stricken African-American is a highly skilled blues musician and singer/songwriter who breaks a path for others with his R&B success.
Chess also oversees the career of Little Walter, an energetic harmonica player who takes off as a singer as well. Three of his other finds are Howlin' Wolf, a gritty singer and rival of Muddy Waters; Chuck Berry, an inimitable pop performer; and Etta James, an emotionally damaged cross-over singer who needs special attention.
For a while, Chess treats his musicians like family and does his best to combat the racism they encounter when when they travel the country. But the film also reveals some of the unsavory details of Chess's business dealings with disc jockeys and later with his stable of performers.
The Doors (1991)
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan, Frank Whaley, Kevin Dillon, Michael Wincott, Michael Madsen and Josh Evans
The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison.
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Season Hubley, Shelley Winters, Bing Russell and Robert Gray
Biographical movie about the famous rock singer Elvis Presley.
The Glenn Miller Story (1954)
Director: Anthony Mann
Starring: James Stewart, June Allyson, Harry Morgan, Charles Drake, George Tobias, Barton MacLane, Sig Ruman and Irving Bacon
Biography of the bandleader Glenn Miller from his beginnings to his death over the English Channel in December 1944, featuring many of his arrangements and a partly-authentic cast.
Jolson Sings Again (1949)
Director: Henry Levin
Starring: Larry Parks, Barbara Hale, William Demarest, Bill Goodwin and Ludwig Donath
In this sequel to 'The Jolson Story', we pick up the singer's career just as he has returned to the stage after a premature retirement. But his wife has left him and the appeal of the spotlight isn't what it used to be. This time Jolson trades in the stage for life in the fast lane: women, horses, travel.
It takes the death of Moma Yoelson and World War II to bring Jolson back to earth - and to the stage. Once again teamed with manager Steve Martin, Jolson travels the world entertaining troops everywhere from Alaska to Africa. When he finally collapses from exhaustion it takes young, pretty nurse Ellen Clark to show him there's more to life than "just rushing around".
The Jolson Story (1946)
Director: Alfred E. Green
Starring: Larry Parks, Evelyn Keyes, William Demarest, Ludwig Donath and Bill Goodwin
The early career of the singer Al Jolson, a little Jewish boy who goes against the will of his father in order to be in showbiz. He becomes a star, falls in love with a non-Jewish dancer and marries her. In the end he chooses success on the stage.
Director: Brian Gibson
Starring: Lynn Whitfield, Rubén Blades, David Dukes, Louis Gossett Jr., Craig T. Nelson and Kene Holliday
Chronicling the life of the dancer, singer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker. Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906, Baker spent her youth in poverty before learning to dance and finding success on Broadway.
In the 1920s she moved to France and soon became one of Europe's most popular and highest-paid performers. She worked for the French Resistance during World War II and during the 1950s and 1960s devoted herself to fighting segregation and racism in the United States.
After making her comeback to the stage in 1973, Baker died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1975 and was buried in France with military honors.
Directors: Richard Carpenter and Joseph Sargent
Starring: Cynthia Gibb, Mitchell Anderson, Peter Michael Goetz, Michael McGuire, Lise Hilboldt, Kip Gilman, Richard Minchenberg, Scott Burkholder and
Story of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Karen Carpenter, who became a famous singer before battling anorexia and bulimia.
Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan, Paul Hampton, Sid Melton, Virginia Capers and Yvonne Fair
The story of the troubled life and career of the legendary Jazz singer Billie Holiday.
La Vie en Rose (2007)
Director: Olivier Dahan
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Gérard Depardieu, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory, Emmanuelle Seigner, Jean-Paul Rouve, Clotilde Courau and Jean-Pierre Martins
Biography of legendary Parisian singer Edith Piaf, whose passion for her music saw her through a life filled with tragedy. From her forlorn childhood in a brothel to her big break at Louis Leplée's nightclub and her premature death at the age of 47.
Nowhere Boy (2009)
Director: Sam Taylor
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, David Threlfall, Anne-Marie Duff, Thomas Sangster, Josh Bolt and David Morrissey
Liverpool, 1955. 15-year-old John Lennon is a living with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George, who have been his surrogate parents since he was five. He is especially close to his uncle, a very playful man. When George unexpectedly dies, John's strict and unemotional aunt tells the boy that now it's just the two of them. Aunt Mimi expects John to do well in school but he'd much rather be drawing or doodling. Her call to responsibility doesn't register at all with this rebellious youth who is still searching for his passion.
John is excited to he learn that his mother Julia lives nearby with her three young children and common-law husband. They are happily reunited and John begins seeing his mother regularly. Julia teaches him how to play the banjo and, when he picks up a tape of an African-American singer, Julia is the one he plays it for. In a crowded cinema, John is enthralled by the adulation given to Elvis Presley and soon he adopts the singer's hair style and swagger.
As soon as he is proficient on guitar, John starts his own band called The Quarrymen. He adds Paul McCartney to the group and is impressed with his talent and his ability to write original material.
Director: Taylor Hackford
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Harry Lennix, Bookeem Woodbine, and Aunjanue Ellis Sharon Warren
Growing up poor, black and blind in the rural south, Ray Charles learns - under the tutelage of his tough-love mother - to turn these handicaps into assets. With this training, Ray eventually plays his way into a major deal with Paramount Records and earns icon status as an American legend.
Along the way, the high cost of fame leads him to engage in abusive relationships, manipulative behavior and struggles with drugs and alcohol.
Director: James David Sadwith
Starring: Philip Casnoff, Marcia Gay Harden, Olympia Dukakis, Joe Santos, Gina Gershon, Bob Gunton, Nina Siemaszko and Joe Grifasi
Chronicling the celebrated performer's meteoric rise to fame from his boyhood in Hoboken, New Jersey to his triumphant performance at Madison Square Garden in 1974.
Song of Norway (1970)
Director: Andrew L. Stone
Starring: Florence Henderson, Toralv Maurstad, Christina Schollin, Frank Porretta, Harry Secombe, Robert Morley, Edward G. Robinson, Oskar Homolka and Frederick Jaeger
The early struggles of composer Edvard Grieg and his attempts to develop an authentic Norwegian national music.
Director: Stephen Woolley
Starring: Leo Gregory, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey, Ben Whishaw, Tuva Novotny, Amelia Warner, Monet Mazur and Luke de Woolfson
The wild months leading up to the death of Brian Jones, the founder and original leader of The Rolling Stones.
Director: Marvin J. Chomsky
Starring: Anthony Higgins, Stephen McGann, John Gielgud, Edward Fox, Alice Krige, John Rhys-Davies, Cherie Lunghi, Lisa Harrow, Anton Lesser, David Yelland, Vernon Dobtcheff, Ronald Lacey, Geoffrey Whitehead, Paris Jefferson, Sophie Ward, Tevor Peacock, Christopher Benjamin, Emily Richard, Duncan Bell and Adrian Lukis
The tale of the Strauss family, made up of the famous father, one famous and two lesser-known sons. Rising from obscurity to become the director of music at the court of the Austro-Hungarian emperor, Johann Strauss Sr fathered six legitimate and seven illegitimate children. He managed this before dying at 45. His three legitimate sons were all composers and conductors of music, with Johann Jr, known as Schanni, by far the most recognised of them.
Director: Karel Reisz
Starring: Jessica Lange, Ed Harris, Ann Wedgeworth, James Staley, John Goodman and David Clennon
Jessica Lange stunningly portrays Patsy Cline, the velvet-voiced country singer who died in a tragic plane crash.
Walk the Line (2005)
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reece Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Dallas Roberts, Dan John Miller, Larry Bagby and Shelby Lynne
Traces the life of Johnny Cash from his boyhood with loss of his brother and his father's affection to 1968 when his outlaw side and his unhappiness give way to the twin triumphs of his concert at Folsom Prison and June Carter's acceptance of his marriage proposal.
Along the way there's his first composition, first recording, first marriage, the birth of his daughters, becoming smitten with June, divorce from his first wife, addictions to pills and booze and an empty life until the Carter family nurses him back to health - June eases Johnny out of a ring of fire.
Director: Brian Gibson
Starring: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Penny Johnson, Rob LaBelle, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Chi McBride, Sherman Augustus and Khandi Alexander
The true story of Tina Turner's rocky road to stardom and her abusive relationship with domineering husband Ike.
17-year old Anna Mae Bullock leaves the backwoods of Tennessee for St. Louis to be reunited with her step mother and elder sister, Alline. One evening, Alline brings Anna Mae to the night club where a group led by singer-hearthrob Ike Turner plays. Ike makes a nightly ritual of passing the microphone around the dance hall and on one visit to the club Anna Mae grabs it and belts out a song.
Soon Anna's whole life is in Ike's hands: he's changed her name to Tina and taken total control of her singing career. Though he's paternalistic and artistically demanding, she's fascinated by his forceful masculinity, stylistic charisma and creative vision. But not long after their quickie Mexican marriage, things turn sour. Ike viciously abuses Tina, who, eventually struggles to free herself of his psychotic reign of terror.
Telstar: The Joe Meek Story (2008)
Director: Nick Moran
Starring: Con O'Neill, Kevin Spacey, Pam Ferris, J.J. Feild, James Corden, Tom Burke, Ralf Little and Sid Mitchell
A music-infused drama about Joe Meek, the flamboyantly gay, tone deaf, songwriter-producer behind the 1960s hits "Have I the Right?", "Just Like Eddie", "Johnny, Remember Me" and "Telstar."
Young Toscanini (1988)
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophie Ward, Pat Heywood, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Nicolas Chagrin, Philippe Noiret and John Rhys-Davies
Charting the early career and romances of the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini, including his relationship with a famous opera diva called "the divine Nadina Bulycova", who is also the Emperor of Brazil's mistress.
A list of my favorite films about famous people in the music business.
Listed in alphabetical order.
12 votesMy Music Film Lists (5 lists)
list by kathy
Published 6 years ago
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