25 Best Movies About Music for Musicians and Music Fans

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We present the 25 best movies about music that highlight the struggles and triumphs of musical artists and the magic and emotion of musical performances.

image from movie 'whiplash' in dark blue and light blue colors. text "25 movies about music"

Music is a universal language that can touch the hearts and souls of people from all walks of life.

Whether you are a musician yourself or just a music lover, you might enjoy watching movies that explore the world of music in different ways.

From biopics of legendary artists to musicals that celebrate the joy of song and dance, there is a movie for every taste and mood.

We have curated a list 25 of the best movies about music that you should watch if you are a fan of this art form. These movies will inspire you, entertain you, and make you appreciate the power and beauty of music.

Each film is a melody waiting to be heard and cherished.

movies about music checklist

Best Movies About Music

1. Whiplash (2014)

  • Director: Damien Chazelle
  • Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
  • Genre: Drama, Music
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb: ‘Whiplash’ on IMDb

Whiplash is an intense drumroll of a movie! It follows Andrew, a young drummer hungry for greatness, and his tumultuous relationship with his music instructor, Terence Fletcher. This film is absolutely fierce in showcasing the pursuit of perfection in music at any cost.

2. A Star is Born (2018)

This remake of the beloved classic is a heartfelt journey through the highs and lows of the music industry. It tells the story of a seasoned musician, Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls for a struggling artist, Ally. Their passionate romance intertwines with the challenges of fame, making for an emotional viewing.

3. Amadeus (1984)

  • Director: Milos Forman
  • Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb: ‘Amadeus’ on IMDb

This classic dives into the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but from the perspective of his rival, Antonio Salieri. The film beautifully captures the genius of Mozart’s music while exploring themes of jealousy, passion, and the desire for musical greatness.

4. Grand Piano (2013)

  • Director: Eugenio Mira
  • Cast: Elijah Wood, John Cusack
  • Genre: Music, Mystery, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb: ‘Grand Piano’ on IMDb

Here’s a thriller that hits all the right notes! Tom Selznick, a piano prodigy, faces a life or death situation during a comeback performance. The tension is palpable as he strives to execute a flawless performance while a sniper threatens his life.

5. Crossroads (1986)

  • Director: Walter Hill
  • Cast: Ralph Macchio, Joe Seneca
  • Genre: Drama, Music, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb: ‘Crossroads’ on IMDb

This one’s a gem! It follows a young guitar prodigy, Eugene, on a quest to find legendary blues musician Robert Johnson’s lost song. Eugene teams up with a bluesman named Willie and embarks on a road trip that’s as much about music as it is about self discovery.

6. La La Land (2016)

  • Director: Damien Chazelle
  • Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb: ‘La La Land’ on IMDb

Prepare for a mesmerizing, modern musical! La La Land takes you on a whirlwind romance between a jazz musician, Sebastian, and an aspiring actress, Mia. Amidst pursuing their dreams in Los Angeles, their love story harmonizes with beautifully choreographed song and dance.

7. All That Jazz (1979)

This film is a captivating dive into the life of a workaholic Broadway director and choreographer, Joe Gideon. It’s a dazzling yet dark exploration of his career highs and personal lows, intertwined with breathtaking dance sequences and an unforgettable soundtrack.

8. Tar (2022)

  • Director: Todd Field
  • Cast: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss
  • Genre: Drama, Music
  • Rating: R
  • IMDb: ‘Tar’ on IMDb

Lydia Tár stands as a trailblazing icon in the classical music world, breaking barriers as the first female principal music director of the Berlin Philharmonic. Her illustrious career seems unassailable, but behind the conductor’s poised façade lies a complex tale of ambition and struggle. As pressures mount, cracks appear in Lydia’s polished exterior, unveiling hidden truths and the destructive influence of power. Will the formidable conductor weather the storm as life threatens to dismantle her pedestal?

9. The Competition (1980)

This is a romantic drama that follows two talented pianists, Paul and Heidi, competing in a high stakes music competition while navigating the complexities of love, ambition, and the pursuit of perfection.

10. Drumline (2002)

  • Director: Charles Stone III
  • Cast: Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
  • Rating: PG-13
  • IMDb: ‘Drumline’ on IMDb

This energetic film follows a talented drummer, Devon, who joins a university’s marching band. It’s a spirited journey through the world of competitive drumming, filled with rhythm, camaraderie, and the pursuit of excellence.

11. Mahler (1974)

  •  Director: Ken Russell
  •  Cast: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale
  •  Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
  •  Rating: R
  •  IMDb: ‘Mahler’ on IMDb

This is Ken Russell’s biographical take on the life of the famous composer Gustav Mahler. It explores Mahler’s struggles, passions, and his profound impact on music, painting a portrait of the artist through his tumultuous journey in the world of classical music.

12. 8 Mile (2002)

  •  Director: Curtis Hanson
  •  Cast: Eminem, Brittany Murphy
  •  Genre: Drama, Music
  •  Rating: R
  •  IMDb: ‘8 Mile’ on IMDb

Enter the world of rap battles and aspirations. This movie follows Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr., portrayed by Eminem, as he navigates through the struggles of life and attempts to find his voice and identity as a rapper in Detroit’s underground music scene.

13. Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny (2006)

Get ready for a wild rock ‘n’ roll adventure! Follow Jack Black and Kyle Gass as they form the legendary band Tenacious D, seeking to acquire a magical guitar pick that they believe will make them rock gods. Hilarious and rocking all the way through!

14. Sound of Metal (2019)

This film follows Ruben, a heavy metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing. It’s a profound exploration of identity, acceptance, and the journey through silence, capturing the struggles and emotions of a musician faced with a life-altering change.

15. Sing Street (2016)

  •  Director: John Carney
  •  Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton
  •  Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
  •  Rating: PG-13
  •  IMDb: ‘Sing Street’ on IMDb

Set in 1980s Dublin, Sing Street follows a teenage boy who forms a band to escape his turbulent family life and impress a girl. It’s a charming and nostalgic coming of age story, filled with catchy tunes and heartfelt moments.

16. Soul (2020)

  •  Director: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers (co-director)
  •  Cast: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey
  •  Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
  •  Rating: PG
  •  IMDb: ‘Soul’ on IMDb

This Disney Pixar movie is a heartfelt animated adventure that delves into life’s biggest questions. It follows Joe Gardner, a middle school music teacher, and aspiring jazz musician, whose journey through the afterlife leads him to ponder what truly makes life worth living.

17. Ray (2004)

  •  Director: Taylor Hackford
  •  Cast: Jamie Foxx, Regina King
  •  Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
  •  Rating: PG-13
  •  IMDb: ‘Ray’ on IMDb

This biopic chronicles the life of legendary musician Ray Charles. Jamie Foxx delivers an incredible performance as he portrays Charles, showcasing his musical genius and triumphs alongside the challenges and personal struggles he faced.

18. Walk the Line (2005)

  •  Director: James Mangold
  •  Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon
  •  Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
  •  Rating: PG-13
  •  IMDb: ‘Walk the Line’ on IMDb

Follow the journey of country music legend Johnny Cash, beautifully portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix. The film explores Cash’s rise to fame, his tempestuous relationship with June Carter (played by Reese Witherspoon), and the challenges he faced on the road to success.

19. Moulin Rouge! (2001)

  •  Director: Baz Luhrmann
  •  Cast: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor
  •  Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
  •  Rating: PG-13
  •  IMDb: ‘Moulin Rouge!’ on IMDb

Moulin Rouge! is a vibrant, visually stunning musical extravaganza set in 19th century Paris. It follows the passionate love story between a poet, Christian, and a cabaret actress, Satine, amidst the glitz, glamour, and tragedy of the Moulin Rouge.

20. Songcatcher (2000)

  •  Director: Maggie Greenwald
  •  Cast: Janet McTeer, Aidan Quinn
  •  Genre: Drama, Music
  •  Rating: PG-13
  •  IMDb: ‘Songcatcher’ on IMDb

Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the early 20th century, Songcatcher follows a musicologist who discovers and records traditional folk music. The film beautifully captures the essence of the region’s music, culture, and the importance of preserving heritage.

21. Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

This touching film follows the journey of Glenn Holland, a high school music teacher. Over the years, he inspires countless students through his dedication to teaching music while balancing his personal dreams and challenges.

22. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Set in the 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene, this film follows Llewyn Davis, a struggling folk singer. It’s a character driven exploration of his turbulent life, aspirations, and the pursuit of artistic success.

23. Respect (2021)

  •  Director: Liesl Tommy
  •  Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker
  •  Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
  •  Rating: PG-13
  •  IMDb: ‘Respect’ on IMDb

This biographical film portrays the life of the legendary singer Aretha Franklin. Jennifer Hudson delivers a powerful performance, depicting Franklin’s rise to stardom, her struggles, and her impact on the music industry.

24. That Thing You Do! (1996)

Directed by Tom Hanks, this feel-good film follows the meteoric rise of a 1960s one hit wonder band, The Wonders. It’s a joyful ride through the music industry, capturing the highs and lows of fleeting fame.

25. Bird (1988)

  •  Director: Clint Eastwood
  •  Cast: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora
  •  Genre: Biography, Drama, Music
  •  Rating: R
  •  IMDb: ‘Bird’ on IMDb

Clint Eastwood’s biopic tells the story of legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker. The film paints a portrait of Parker’s musical genius while delving into his personal struggles and contributions to jazz music.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found some movies that interest you.

Music is a wonderful way to express yourself, connect with others, and have fun.

Whether you are a musician or a music fan, you can learn a lot from watching these movies and listening to their soundtracks. They will show you the struggles and triumphs of musical artists, the diversity and richness of musical genres, and the magic and emotion of musical performances.

These movies are not only entertaining, but also educational and inspirational. They will make you appreciate the art of music and the people who create it.

Thank you for reading and happy watching!

movies about music checklist

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So, what are your thoughts on the movies included in this list? What additional movies would you have included? What movies would you have left off?

We encourage all comments and discussion!

Everyone is welcome!


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