- Words Notion Staff
As the world eagerly awaits the new Amy Winehouse biopic, we run down seven biographical films that every music fan must see.
With biopics about Elvis, Elton John and Queen hitting theatres over the past half a decade, and the announcement of Amy Winehouse’s forthcoming biographical film, cinema evidently has a growing interest in great music stories.
To pull off a biopic, the onus is on whoever’s in the leading role to pull off an exceptional onscreen performance. Luckily, history has shown us that Hollywood can provide this in abundance. Here are seven biopics every music fan, no matter their taste, should watch.
Walk the Line
Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, Walk the Line follows the artist’s ascent to music royalty, his subsequent addiction, and romance with five-time Grammy winner June Carter. Considered to be one of music’s most influential songwriters of the 20th century, Johnny is a legend with a gruelling upbringing, which is well documented in this film. Directed by James Mangold, the plot peaks at Johnny’s live gig from Folsom Prison, California, where he became a hero among many of the inmates.
Released in 2019, Dexter Fletcher’s biographical movie drama about the life of Elton John came at a time when everyone needed lifting from the despair of Covid-19. An iconic pop figure, with prodigal tendencies, the piano prodigies had an astounding career, which was screaming to be documented. When Elton finally gave the green light, Rocketman failed to disappoint.
Austin Butler plays Elvis Presley in this latest biopic attempt of the Memphis native’s legacy. Returning to number one in the charts this week, the movie proved greatly successful at this year’s Golden Globes. With an electrifying, award-winning performance from Austin, the film gives a prismatic portrait of Elvis and his whirlwind story.
Straight Outta Compton
A visceral tale with an underdog narrative, Straight Outta Compton details NWA (Ni**az With Attitude) and the birth of Californian gangsta rap. Chronicling their rise and the ubiquitous police brutality, the film doesn’t shy from problematic sub plots in NWA’s journey to the top.
CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story
Following the rise of girl group TLC, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story is a television film biopic directed by Charles Stone III. The three-piece’s humble beginnings in Atlanta are soon swapped for an unprecedented ascent to international prominence, developing plenty of turmoil and tragedy along the way.
Earning Jamie Foxx an Oscar, Ray is an American biographical film drama looking into the life of Ray Charles: the world-famous rhythm and blues player. Going blind at the age of seven when living in Florida, the music legend’s turbulent childhood and developing stardom is transparently documented in this movie, directed by Taylor Hackford.
Providing an emotional look into the life of Eminem, 8 Mile is one of the rare biopics where a musician plays themselves. The notorious rapper’s career beginnings are far from pretty, as he battles against the steel city to make an honest living at a car manufacturing factory. The film is at its most enthralling when Slim Shady stands up to perform in Detroit’s underbelly of hip-hop clubs, battling the cities’ lyrical stalwarts and eventually coming up trumps.