From Love & Mercy To Sid & Nancy: 7 Best Musical Biopics Of All Time

  • 08 September 2018

Here at Contactmusic, we can't get enough of a good musical biopic whether it's 'The Runaways', 'The Doors' or 'Nowhere Boy' - the list is endless. There are only a handful, however, that make for a truly evocative and memorable experience of some of the most influential artists in the world.

Here are our seven favourite musical biopics of all time:

Image caption Paul Dano in 'Love & Mercy'

1. Love & Mercy (2014) - The Beach Boys maybe be one of the most innovative rock 'n' roll bands in history, but - as is the curse with most creative geniuses - Brian Wilson did not have the easiest of lives. Directed by Bill Pohlad and starring Paul Dano and John Cusack as the younger and older Wilson respectively, it gives deep insight into the legendary songwriter's mental health struggles over the years.

Image caption 'Straight Outta Compton'

2. Straight Outta Compton (2015) - Gritty, unrelenting and unapologetic, the story of the NWA starring Ice Cube's own son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., as him is thrilling as it is candid, and well deserving of its Oscar nomination. These gangsta rappers might have inspiration thousands of hip hop artists, but their story has as many tragedies as triumphs.

Image caption 'Control'

3. Control (2007) - If you've seen this film, you'll likely find it almost impossible to separate Sam Riley and Ian Curtis in your mind forevermore. Directed by Anton Corbijn, it's based on the biography 'Touching from a Distance' by the JOY DIVISION singer's widow Deborah, and explores their complicated relationship and his struggle with epilepsy and depression which ultimate led to his suicide at just 23.

Image caption 'Sid & Nancy'

4. Sid & Nancy (1986) - One of the most twisted, disastrous and tragic tales of rock 'n' roll in history. To think the Sex Pistols started out as antiestablishment non-conformists whose biggest controversy was swearing on television, and ended in such heartwrenching tragedy is bewildering. Unfortunately, this was a band cut short after heroin addiction took the lives of bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen - played by Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb.

Image caption 'Walk the Line'

5. Walk the Line (2005) - Johnny Cash remains one of the finest country artists who ever lived and made a living as an outlaw musician who performed in prison for inmates with whom he felt a certain kinship. An excellent portrayal by Joaquin Phoenix, as was Reese Witherspoon's June Carter, ultimately winning her an Academy Award.

Image caption Chadwick Boseman in 'Get on Up'

6. Get on Up (2014) - A true rags to riches story if it isn't to cliched to say. Starring Chadwick Boseman, this follows the rise to fame of James Brown from his poverty-stricken roots, he's multiple brushes with the authorities and prison to ultimately how he came to earn the prestigious title of Godfather of Soul.

More: Read our review of 'Love & Mercy'


Image caption 'I'm Not There'

7. I'm Not There (2007) - There's a good reason why Bob Dylan became the first musical artists to earn the Nobel Literature Prize back in 2016. His something of a folk hero, the 'voice of a generation' and a literary genius. 'I'm Not There' is truly a unique exploration of his life; with six different actors portraying difference aspects of his persona including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw.