Movies and rock music go hand in hand, and the big screen is full of rock films about the genre and its many inhabitants. Rock fans have a plethora of specific tastes, and some films perfectly capture the virtuous aura of rock ‘n’ roll better than others.
That his semi-biographical films like almost knownor twisted horror comedies like The Phantom of Heaven, there are plenty of rock movies to delight fans. While there are plenty of classic rock movies out there, Reddit users have taken to the site to specifically mention which ones they think are best suited for rock fans.
What’s love got to do with it? (1993)
Although the definition of rock ‘n’ roll is broad, some figures cross different genres and find success as rockers. A deleted user mentioned his favorite rock movie, writing “I will add What’s love got to do with it?… Angela Basset becomes Tina Turner. And the music is volcanic.”
While legendary singer Tina Turner isn’t the first name that comes to mind when people think of rock, her legacy is certainly genre-bound (and Ike Turner’s “Rocket 88” is often cited as the very first record of rock ‘n’ roll). Attempting to capture the complicated life of one of the most important women in rock history, What’s love got to do with it? brings the singer to life in a raw portrait.
Blinded by the Light (2019)
Some rock movies are about the rockers themselves, while others focus on specific fan experiences and their connection to music. User nutellabloat admitted movie guilty pleasure, writing “Blinded by the light. A little cheesy at times but it’s full of heart and I can’t help but be a little biased because I’m a huge Springsteen fan.”
Blinded by the light is the story of a British Pakistani teenager who finds solace and community in the music of American rocker Bruce Springsteen. Although the film isn’t about The Boss, it captures the typical rock fan experience and explores how the audience’s emotional connection to the tunes can change their lives.
While rock ‘n’ roll can take people to great heights, it can also take people to much darker places. User zueslovesme mentioned a more austere rock movie, commenting “I think Control, the story of Joy Division is a breathtaking film. Really get a sense of what it must have been like to suddenly hit the big time.”
Post-punk band Joy Division were poised to take the world by storm in the early 1980s, but the suicide of frontman Ian Curtis changed the musical landscape forever. Capturing the desperation of England’s Joy Division days, the film’s tone matches the band’s pseudo-gothic sound.
High School Rock ‘N’ Roll (1979)
As stadium rock dominated the airwaves in the 1970s, a smaller, much rougher genre bubbled to the surface. User walkertexasharanguer vehemently defended his favorite rock movie, saying “There’s only one rock-n-roll movie: it’s called ‘Rock’n’roll High School’ and he features the Ramones.”
Tell the story of a band of rebellious high school students, rock ‘n’ roll high school is light on plot but heavy on rock. With musical performances by the Ramones, the film is a silly, loud good time that feels like a time capsule from the 1970s.
School of Rock (2003)
Although the golden days of rock seemed to be over in the early 2000s, a few films came to remind viewers that rock has always had power. A deleted user wrote about his favorite rock movie “I actually really enjoyed school of rock. It was a cool story with decent acting and a great soundtrack. Plus, these kids were actually playing these instruments.”
Telling the story of a failed musician who fights his way to a teaching position at a prestigious school, school of rock is a rock comedy about how music can help build communities. One of the things that makes the film soar is its superb soundtrack which is filled with incredible songs from rock’s storied past.
Pirate Radio (2009)
Music biopics are all the rage, but sometimes a movie comes along that tells a lesser-known story from rock’s hallowed history. User Handro3 reviewed a rock movie saying “pirate radio was really fun to watch. Great soundtrack and great story, with great actors.”
Set in 1960s England, pirate radio tells the story of a rogue radio station that broadcast rock music from the deck of a ship offshore. Recounting the days when rock was a scandalous enterprise, the film is a silly take on a true historical event. Like the best rock movies, it’s anchored by its classic 1960s rock soundtrack.
Ghost of Heaven (1974)
Rock movies aren’t always about telling a piece of rock history, and some movies go in an entirely different direction with their approach to storytelling. A deleted user went to an unorthodox place mentioning a rock movie, writing “ghost of paradise deserves to be mentioned here”.
Generally recognized as one of the greatest rock operas of all time, ghost of paradise is the story of a gifted composer who sells his soul to the devil so his music can be performed by a woman he loves. Make subtle comments about the music business, Phantom is a hilarious and horrifying film without equal.
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
In the days before music videos, the only way for many fans to see their favorite bands was to see them appear on the big screen. User paelf8 outright declared his favorite by commenting “A hard day’s Night, because the Beatles”.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Beatles, and their film debut saw them play silly approximations of themselves. Light on the plot and heavy on the music, the film is a treat for anyone who loves The Beatles or classic rock music in general. Also, the film showed that the Fab Four were quite adept at their own brand of goofy comedy.
It’s Spinal Tap (1984)
Most rock movies help glorify the image of rock ‘n’ roll and add to the genre’s exaggerated reputation, while others aim to poke fun at the whole affair. User _grant_ opted for a more comedic film when writing”“It’s Spinal Tap” Why? It’s super hilarious, but it also makes a great argument about the absurdity of the stereotypical rock and roll lifestyle.”
Told in mock documentary style, the film chronicles the fictional band Spinal Tap as they go from failure to failure. Never pulling any punches, the hilarious comedy is the perfect satire of the industry, as well as the inflated egos of rockers. Filled with a plethora of iconic moments, the film captures the rock better than any of its more serious contemporaries.
Almost Famous (2000)
Movies and music share a common thread, they both aim to escape real-world problems, even if only for a moment. User erock7488 praised his favorite rock movie, writing “almost knownalthough not an actual rock band, it is based on Cameron Crowe’s experiences working at rolling stone and travel with a group”.
The film follows a budding music journalist who is invited on the road with an up-and-coming band. There, he becomes more mature seeing both the good and the bad sides of the rock industry. Filled with excellent music from the 1970s, almost known is as much about experience as it is about history. Like many of the best rock albums in music history, the film only gets better with each subsequent revisit.
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