Best Biopics On Musicians
written by Souranath Banerjee
While watching the recent biopic Love & Mercy (2014) based on
Beach Boys lead singer Brian Wilson’s life (starring John Cusack,
Elizabeth Banks, Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti), I had this observation that the more famous the artist, the more is the chance for them to be vulnerable and gullible in their personal life.
The extremely talented Musicians who are superstars on the stage, with all the money and fame in the world but in their real life, most of them are so alone and disturbed and emotionally unstable.
Either their family lives are torn apart as a direct side-effect of fame (too much of drugs, sex and ego) or else they are being bullied, cheated, harassed or exploited by none other than their close friends and relatives.
These films in the list are some of the Best Biopics on Musicians across the world, the lives of the crazy and the genius.
Let the music flow!
10. Amadeus (1984)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIzhAKtEzY0
‘I am a vulgar man but i assure you my music is not’ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Directed by Milos Forman, an epic biopic made on the life of arguably the best composer ever existed.
Mozart, Music and Murder -a colorful masterpiece, nominated for 11 Oscars and won eight of them, including best picture, actor and director!
9. The Doors (1991)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU0tR0EjAXA
Jim Morrison, the God of Rock – the story of his eccentric life; the madness and the genius.
Starring Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan, the film perfectly captures the energy, the style and the vibrant personality of the ‘Electric Poet’.
Directed by brilliant Oliver Stone, a visual treat and for me, in the rock n’ roll genre this is the best biopic ever made. Watch it.
8. I’m Not There. (2007)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFUEofAr9GA
Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Ben Whishaw and Marcus Carl Franklin – six actors, six characters, one life, one artist – Bob Dylan!
Soaked in Dylan’s soulful music, it is made in a non-linear and avant garde fashion, a complete original take by director Todd Haynes.
Challenging but certainly not mainstream.
7. Walk the Line (2005)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsvZGwd8vrI
Directed by James Mangold, this one is a biopic on country music legend Johnny Cash’s life.
His fame and family, his love and addiction, his depression and his will to survive; his ultimate success.
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon both were Oscar nominated for their outstanding performances and Reese finally won the award.
6. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pivm4oMEDRs
The legendary singer Loretta Lynn and how she changed the rhythm and style of country-music forever.
From poverty to worldwide fame, her life and her musical career is a story to be told. Starring Sissy Spacek (oscar winning role), Tommy Lee Jones and Levon Helm.
Directed by Michael Apted, this biography deserves much more attention than it received.
5. Nowhere Boy (2009)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0Qu62_vPbo
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, this biopic focuses on the early life of musical sensation John Lennon.
Lennon’s relationship with his aunt Mimi and his mother Julia, his love for music and how he met his friends Paul McCartney and George Harrison!
Experience the evolution of the revolution, the man behind the most popular band ever – The Beatles.
4. Ray (2004)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVHCQfcugdw
Directed by Taylor Hackford, this one tells the story of Ray Charles, the legendary rhythm and blues musician of the 60s.
At the age of seven he lost his eyesight but still with his gifted voice and compositions, and his brilliance in playing the piano he became one of the most successful musicians of the time.
Jamie Foxx won Oscar for his role.
3. Control (2007)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c2_B_cWK_M
A biography of the famous lead singer of the band Joy Division – Ian Curtis.
Directed by Anton Corbijn, the film depicts the troubled life of the musical genius which ended at the young age of 23 (he committed suicide).
The film is a simple yet stylized series of black and white visuals shot brilliantly by Martin Ruhe.
2. What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbzbd2wUGao
It’s a biopic on Tina Turner’s courageous life, both stage and personal.
The way she shot to stardom and became famous, the tough years when she was traumatized by her abusive husband Ike Turner and finally how she managed to break free.
Directed by Brian Gibson, a film that every woman should see and take inspiration from.
- Shine (1996)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTt4Ar6pzO4
Piano player David Helfgott, a child prodigy who had a breakdown early in his life but later came back and became popular.
Directed by Scott Hicks, a film that is so intense and yet so satisfying, so true to the life of the artist.
The prime reason to watch this biopic is for Geoffrey Rush‘s brilliant performance for which he won the Oscar that year!
and now, (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).
+1. La Vie en Rose (2007)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzEJ7NV_g98
A superb biopic on Édith Piaf‘s life, the famous French singer.
With the ever-beautiful Marion Cotillard in the lead, the film takes us into a nonlinear journey of the vulnerable yet talented singer’s childhood, then her rise to fame and the various ups and downs of her life.
Directed by Olivier Dahan, a great work of passion and emotion.
Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com, www.festivalinla.com.