Music biopics, whether based on real-life bands or fictional bands created for the film, have been increasingly popular in recent years.
Numerous successful and widely acclaimed music biopics have been released in recent years. For the most part, whether it’s a real-life band or a fictional one, there’s a good mix of humor, music, and dramatic situations.
If you’re interested in learning more about the real-life musicians and bands who inspired your favorite songs, check out one of the many biopics about them. Films featuring imaginary bands and performers are intriguing since their stories are unexplored and can be told within the film’s running time.
1. Real: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Queen and their lead vocalist Freddie Mercury are vividly shown in the biography Bohemian Rhapsody, despite the fact that it isn’t a historically accurate portrayal. Throughout the film, we see the early years of Freddie Mercury’s life as he meets guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, and their bassist John Deacon.
Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury as well as the other actors’ portrayals of their real-life counterparts are excellent, leading to the band’s memorable performance at Live Aid.
2. Fictional: That Thing You Do! (1996)
To do that thing! follows a group of teens in the 1960s as they establish a band and become popular. It’s amazing how quickly a band can go from a small-town competition win to radio play and signing with a major record label.
Tom Hanks co-wrote and directed the film, in which he also stars as the band’s benevolent but demanding manager. The film’s soundtrack captures the spirit of 1960s rock & roll and lends credence to the band’s status as a one-hit wonder.
3. Real: Rocketman (2019)
From his youth through his meeting Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), Rocketman depicts the narrative of Elton John’s rise to fame and his subsequent battles with various addictions and romantic entanglements.
He does not try to imitate the actual Elton John, but he sings his classic songs without a trace of resemblance. With exquisite visual interludes depicting emotion and lyrics throughout, the film slips into a surreal realm.
4. Fictional: Once (2007)
There are two struggling artists who meet and begin to establish an emotional connection through music in the fictional narrative Once. The two create a songwriting duo and begin writing, singing, and performing original songs about their budding love for one other.
A handheld camera and heartfelt songs between the main protagonists lend the picture an intimate vibe.
5. Real: Love & Mercy (2014)
This biopic of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson examines both his personal journey and that of his bandmates throughout the band’s formative years.
Film moves between the 1960s, when The Beach Boys are gaining success, and the 1980s, when Brian Wilson is receiving 24-hour treatment for his mental health issues in a rehabilitation center. Wilson is portrayed by Paul Dano in the ’60s and by John Cusack in the ’80s.
6. Fictional: This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
An attempt is made by the fictitious band Spinal Tap to revive itself in the comedy film This Is Spinal Tap.
In spite of the fact that their new song hasn’t been well received, the heavy metal band from England nevertheless goes on tour, which leads in both humorous and catastrophic outcomes, including the death of their drummers in inexplicable circumstances.
7. Real: Nowhere Boy (2009)
Nowhere Boy focuses on John Lennon as a disobedient adolescent before the Beatles were formed, when he lived with his aunt and went to school. In spite of his aunt’s stern warnings, Lennon reaches out to his mother and begins to form a close rapport with her as she introduces him to a wide variety of music, including the most popular songs of that era and how to play the banjo.
As a result, John Lennon sets out in search of like-minded individuals with whom to form the band that would become known as The Beatles.
8. Fictional: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Even while fictional musician Llewyn Davis shares some traits with real-life musician Dave Van Ronk, the film as a whole isn’t based on him. The Coen brothers’ film follows aspiring folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) in the 1960s as he strives to make it famous.
On screen, Llewyn’s old singing partner and the difficulties he’s had making it as a solo artist are explored. It’s got great folk music, engaging people, and a compelling storyline that illustrates the complexities of the music business.
9. Real: Straight Outta Compton (2015)
N.W.A.’s meteoric climb to fame is chronicled in Straight Outta Compton, a documentary that uses the group’s own music and lyrics to tell the tale of their inception and rise to fame.
In the 1980s, the band becomes one of the most well-known in the genre, and the film recounts their breakup and eventual reunion amid the drama of the music industry and recording studios.
10. Fictional: A Star Is Born (2018)
Bradley Cooper made his directorial debut with A Star Is Born, which stars him and Lady Gaga as the two major musicians. As Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper’s character discovers and befriends a struggling musician, Ally, played by Lady Gaga in the film.
Ally’s rise to fame as a musician puts a strain on their relationship as Jackson wrestles with his own demons.