Just as many bands can draw throngs of crowds to see their favorite stars in concert, films about
these rock and rollers fill movie theaters with audiences as well. Whether the bands portrayed in
movies are real or fictional, moviegoers love to see that glamorous, tragic, rock-and-roll lifestyle.
Many documentaries have captured real-life musicians on film. One of the best is
Don't Look Back, directed by D.A. Pennebaker, which follows
Bob Dylan on a 1965 concert tour. Gimme Shelter is another
landmark documentary that focuses on the Rolling Stones' 1969 concert at Altamont Speedway that ended
in mayhem and murder.
Mark Wahlberg stars as the lead singer for a cover band who is asked to replace the leader of the band he
worships, Steel Dragon. Jennifer Aniston plays the girlfriend who believes in him.
This autobiographical film by Cameron Crowe follows a young, aspiring rock journalist on tour in 1973 with
the fictional band Stillwater as they shoot for the next level of stardom. Billy Crudup and Jason Lee play
bandmates coming to terms with success, and Kate Hudson was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of
Penny Lane, a "Band-Aid" who travels with Stillwater.
This is truly a film about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Val Kilmer plays Jim Morrison in this 1991 movie
directed by Oliver Stone. Meg Ryan plays Morrison's longtime flame Pamela Courson.
A Hard Day's Night
This movie exemplified Beatlemania at its pinnacle, chronicling a day in the life of the mop-topped four.
The result is a great film filled with music and extremely clever dialogue. The Beatles subsequently
released other musical films, including Help! and the animated
That Thing You Do!
Written and directed by Tom Hanks, this movie chronicles the success of a young band in 1964 and their
attempts not to become a one-hit wonder. Hanks even wrote some of the songs.
Sid and Nancy
With even more sex and drugs than The Doors, this film takes a look at the much darker side of rock by
examining the relationship between Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols and groupie Pamela Spungen. A respected
but stark, depressing film.
This is Spinal Tap
One of several "mockumentaries" featuring Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, Spinal Tap is a hilarious
cult classic that pokes fun at rock bands and the music industry. The inanities of life on the road with
Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls will make you laugh out loud. Billy Crystal, Paul Simon
and Paul Shaffer all have bit parts.