Even if you don’t plan on ever picking up a drum set again, a good drum movie might provide the inspiration you need to get back into the swing of things. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve put together a complete list of 11 of the greatest drumming films ever made.
1. Sound of Metal
A new addition to this list and one of the most intense drumming movies ever is Sound Of Metal, which was released in 2019. Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed) is the drummer in a metal combo with Lou Berger (Olivia Cooke), and the film is directed by Darius Marder and written by Marder and Derek Cianfrance.
As important as drumming is to the story, the focus is on Ruben as he deals with losing his hearing and adjusting to his new existence. Riz Ahmed received two Academy Awards and two BAFTA Awards for his performance in Sound of Metal, one of the most critically praised drumming movies of all time.
In any ranking of the greatest drumming movies ever created, Whiplash must be included. Miles Teller, J. K. Simmons, and Melissa Benoist are just a few of the well-known performers who appear in this 2014 film. In addition to winning three Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Simmons, the picture was widely praised by film critics and audiences alike.
This is the story of jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Teller) and his relationship with his cruel and abusive coach, Terence Fletcher (Simmons). Original jazz pieces created and performed for the film are also included in the soundtrack.
3. Wayne’s World
An American comedy picture based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, Wayne’s World (released in 1992) was both critically and commercially successful. It revolves around Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, two metal-obsessed buddies who host a popular local access cable network TV show from their basement.
A memorable moment in the film sees Dana Carvey’s character Garth, who plays the drums, perform a drum solo at a music store. During the solo, the background changes to reflect Garth’s fantasy of performing on stage, before returning to reality. After being complimented on his talents, he responds, “Thanks. In my spare time, I enjoy participating in sports.
Carvey is a talented drummer in real life, and he played the drum solo in the film.
Drumline, starring Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana, is another excellent film on drumming and percussion from 2002. Cannon portrays Devon Miles, a recent high school grad, in the teen drama. On a scholarship, he enters Atlanta A&T University, where he becomes involved in a feud with Morris Brown.
The final battle between the A&T and Morris Brown drumlines takes place at the end of the film, as you would expect. On top of all that, the film received two MTV Movie Award nominations and three Teen Choice Award nominations and received an A+ CinemaScore from CinemaScore.com.
5. Step Brothers
Two 40-year-old step brothers forced to live together as step brothers in Step Brothers are Brennan Huff and Dale Doback, both of whom still live at home with their parents and are forced to share a house with each other after their parents marry. It’s not a drum movie, so why is it on this list?
After Dale tells Brennan not to mess with his drum equipment, one of the movie’s best moments occurs. Brennan, of course, plays the drums in an entertaining sequence, and Dale notices a minor chip on one of his drum sticks and becomes suspicious. What ensues is one of the most epic battles over a drum kit ever filmed.
6. A Drummer’s Dream
Nasyr Abdul Al-Khabyyr developed the Nasyrium Drum Camp in 2008, which is featured in John Walker’s A Drummer’s Dream. He is backed by a host of great percussionists, including Horacio Hernadez, Kenwood Dennard, and Dennis Chambers, during the course for young drummers.
It’s not just the camp that’s included in the documentary; it’s also a diversity of drumming techniques. Above all, the film depicts the performers’ passion for their drum sets and examines the delicate balance that must be struck between technical proficiency and the joy of performing.
7. The Rocker
The Rocker, despite its terrible box office performance, is still a terrific option for anyone who like lighthearted, feel-good drum flicks. In 2008, Rainn Wilson starred as Robert Fishman, an ambitious drummer who was kicked out of his band, Vesuvius, as they were pursuing a record deal.
Twenty years later, Vesuvius has become a worldwide sensation, whereas Fishman has given up drumming altogether. So long as the regular drummer for A.D.D, the band of his nephew, isn’t suspended from school, that is. A.D.D. offers Fishman a chance to redeem himself after a successful local career and a record deal of their own.
8. Beware of Mr. Baker
In Beware of Mr. Baker, the jazz and rock drummer Ginger Baker reflects on his illustrious career, which was directed, written, and produced by Jay Bulger. Bulger spent time in South Africa with Baker, where he interviewed him for an essay for which he was writing the film.
Anyone interested in reality-based drumming movies might check out Beware of Mr. Baker, which features Eric Clapton and Charlie Watts. One of music’s most contentious and groundbreaking individuals, it presents viewers with unique insights into his life and what made him so renowned and groundbreaking in the first place.
9. Sound of Noise
Sound of Noise is the best percussion film out there, hands down. Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, who wrote and directed the short film Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers in 2001, wrote and directed the 2010 comedy.
At the center of Sound of Noise is a six-member “guerrilla percussionists” group, who perform anarchist music in Stockholm. With their skills and a range of everyday objects, including oxygen tanks in a hospital and a paper shredder, they compose music utilizing these everyday items, which wouldn’t normally be considered musical.
10. That Thing You Do!
Among the most star-studded movies ever created about drumming is That Thing You Do!, which was released in 1996. It contains Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, and Charlize Theron as well as Kevin Pollak, Bryan Cranston, and Rita Wilson.
At the center of the story is Guy Patterson, a jazz drummer who steps in for a band called The Oneders during a talent event. Once they get a record deal, have a hit single, and become renowned as a one-hit wonder band, the saga of the band, subsequently renamed The Wonders, continues.
11. Adventures of Power
And last, the 2009 film Adventures of Power is a drumming film like no other. The film, which stars Ari Gold, Michael McKean, and Jane Lynch, tells the story of a man named Power, portrayed by Gold, who has an obsession with air drumming because his family couldn’t afford to buy him one.
As a result of this compulsion, Power sets out to become the undisputed king of the air drumming world. Some reviewers have described it as a cross between This Is Spinal Tap and Napoleon Dynamite, which should be of interest to any drummers who are lovers of any of those movies. The late, great Neil Peart makes a cameo appearance in the film.