10 Of The Best Musical Biopics: Will The Hendrix Movie Join the List?
While you wait to see Jimi Hendrix on the big screen why not watch the lives of some other legendary musicians?
With Andre 3000's Jimi Hendrix film, 'All By My Side' being premiered next week at SXSW festival, we thought it was about time to dig out some of our favourite music biopics of all time. Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison have all got the big screen treatment, so let's predict how the Hendrix movie will rank against these 10 musical masters.
Oliver Stone Helmed 'The Doors'
1. The Doors
Oliver Stone may have taken considerable artistic license when telling the story of influential 60s band The Doors and their iconic frontman Jim Morrison, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is a wonderfully made movie about the life one of music’s most captivating stars. Val Kilmer did a great job of stepping into the Lizard King’s leather trousers, whilst a young Meg Ryan gave good support as Morrison’s long suffering girlfriend.
Sam Riley Played Ian Curtis in 'Control'
The life of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis is documented in this fitting tribute to the singer who committed suicide before he was able to claim the recognition he deserved. Director Anton Corbijn perfectly managed to capture both the man and the music in sombre black and white film. Actor Sam Riley managed to encapsulates the complex Curtis whose inner demons often channelled out into his on stage performances.
3. Sid and Nancy
Sometimes its a bit trashy but after all this is a punk biopic. Gary Oldman famously dieted down to play heroin addicted Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious who became entangled with American groupie Nancy Spungen leading them both in a downward spiral. Chloe Webb also gave a star performance as the blonde Nancy whilst Alex Cox’s directing leads to someone wonderfully imaginative imagery as the pairs toxic love story is played out.
Now for something completely different if you will. Milos Foreman’s 1984 film about the life of musical protegee Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is an Oscar winning classic. Depicting the rivalry between Mozart and fellow composer Salieri, this movie is an epic tale of talent, jealousy and debauchery all set to some of the greatest music ever composed.
5. Beyond the Sea
Part tribute and part vanity project, Kevin Spacey tried to honour 60s singer Bobby Darin by playing him in this 2004 feature. Whilst it bombed at the box office and divided critics, Spacey tries hard to encapsulate the talented singer. It might not always work but the story itself is compelling enough to make this a decent watch. Also its got a really great soundtrack of Darin’s songs which Spacey tries his best to do justice to, if anything it might just make you dig out the originals.
Jamie Foxx as 'Ray'
Jamie Foxx received an Academy award for his portray of blind blues musician Ray Charles in 2004. The film took 15 years to make and grossed over $120 million at the box office thanks to Foxx’s powerhouse Oscar winning performance.
Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in 'Walk The Line'
7. Walk the Line
Another musical movie to win at the Oscar’s was Johnny Cash’s biopic 'Walk the Line’. Documenting the country legend’s rise to fame as well as his addiction problems and relationship with June Carter. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon turned in stellar performances as the famous country couple. The pair also did a tremendous job at re-recording some of the pair’s most famous songs whilst giving them their own unique spin.
8. Coal Miner’s Daughter
Before ‘Walk the Line’ brought country music to the big screen, there was ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’, the life of singer Loretta Lynn. Sissy Spacek earned an Academy Award for her portrayal of the country queen who faced hard times during her rise to the top of Nashville. The film also features Tommy Lee Jones as the singer’s husband and Beverly D'Angelo as Patsy Cline.
Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in 'I'm Not There'
9. I’m Not There
How many actors does it take to play Bob Dylan, six according to director Todd Haynes. Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, and Ben Whishaw all do their best Dylan impersonations to show the different facets and personas of the iconic singer in this 2007 film. The very unique movie worked much better than it looked on paper, with Cate Blanchett delivering another one of her excellent performances.
10. Nowhere Boy
John Lennon’s teenage years are retold in this 2009 biopic. Ignoring the singer’s more famous years this movie provided a more unique inside into the famous Beatle’s songwriter. It was the directorial debut of photographer Sam Tayor-Wood who used her keen photographic eye to show the younger Lennon as he set out on his path to fame.