Rock and roll has been a major influence on popular culture since its inception in the 1950s. From Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones, rock and roll has been the soundtrack of generations and a unifying force for people of all ages and backgrounds. It's no wonder that movies about rock and roll have been made over the years, capturing the energy and passion of this beloved genre. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the top rock and roll movies of all time, from classic musicals to biopics. Read on to find out which ones made the cut.
Rock and roll movies are few and the few with wide release are often divisive among critics and viewers. For example, I thought Rock of Ages was entertaining, but apparently, I'm singing the movies praises alone. At RebelsMarket, we've done the grunt work for you in selecting and ranking the best rock and roll movies of the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. These films cover the gamut of rock and roll from early rock influences to hair metal and heavy metal. No matter the genre, you'll find yourself nodding – or banging – your head to the music.
10.Queen of The Damned (2002)
To be fair, Queen of The Damned was panned by critics, and its prequel Interview With the Vampire will always be better remembered. But there's no arguing that Stuart Townsend's seductive, deep-voiced Lestat is a much more enjoyable watch than Tom Cruise's comical, mincing version. Having Lestat head up a quasi-Satanic band and adding Korn frontman's Jonathan Davis' head-thrashing vocals made for a truly mesmerizing character - albeit it in a lukewarm plot. Check out this Rock and roll queen video and get your head bangin!!
9.Velvet Goldmine (1998)
The pretty-boys-in-panned-films theme continues with Velvet Goldmine, which revels in the glam era of 70s rock epitomized in David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust phase. Lou Reed and Iggy Pop are additional influences on the fictional glam rockers portrayed by Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, whose surreal stage performances, wild costumes and atypical sexuality make for necessary viewing for rock-loving followers everywhere.
8.Get Him to The Greek (2010)
The head-scratching personality of manic, formerly drug-addicted Russell Brand finds its home in this tribute to the end of the golden age for rock gods. Russell Brand was at least 10 years too young for the role, but he's the perfect cast as the disaffected and burnt-out rock star who still enjoys enveloping those around him in debauchery. Jonah Hill's character, a too-earnest believer in the power of rock, is too fun to watch as he freaks out at Brand's misbehavior.
7. Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)
As the oldest film on this list. Rock 'n' Roll High School is one of the closest to its musical inspirations. The Ramones are real characters in this teenage musical comedy about a band of high school friends determined to win tickets to one of their favorite concerts. The clash (no pun intended) of teenage rebellion and school authority makes for an explosive ending, and the soundtrack boasts original songs from The Ramones as well as material from Devo, Brian Eno and Alice Cooper.
6.Wayne's World (1992)
Wayne's World isn't included on most lists of top rock and roll movies, and that's bogus. Wayne's adoration of hair metal informs every aspect of the plot, from the theme song of his basement broadcast to his love interest – a badass frontwoman of a rock band – to meeting with a surprisingly well-read Alice Cooper. The Bohemian Rhapsody scene has left an indelible mark on film, and Wayne's narration to the viewer is the most entertaining since Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Plus, the bromance between Wayne and Garth is one of the finest on film.
5.Blues Brothers (1980)
Bromance is here in spades between literal brothers Jake and Elwood Blues. While the film isn't called Rock Brothers, it pays tribute to the vocal and musical titans of black music who paved the way for rock music to even exist. Just try not to dance when Aretha Franklin belts “Respect” in a diner or James Brown makes an entire church jump and jive. Great music, deadpan humor, two bang-up car chases and a hilariously homicidal Carrie Fisher are just some of the reasons to keep coming back to this one-of-a-kind film.
4.Almost Famous (2000)
Cameron Crowe's winding, sentimental directorial style succeeds in this love letter to the early 1970s rock scene. Patrick Fugit's teenage journalist character, a thin fictionalization of Cameron Crowe in his youth, finds himself on the road with a fledgling rock band and gets entangled in its personalities and relationships. A strong cast and a feel-good – if predictable – plot make this an entertaining tour of the rock world some 40 years ago.
3.High Fidelity (2000)
Romantic dramedy High Fidelity has all the makings of a great rock and roll film. A failing record store managed by a music lover, a fantastic soundtrack and a real emotional core about growing up and getting wise. John Cusack's Rob Gordon manages to connect to the audience despite his music snobbery; he relishes digging into ignorant customers with employee Barry (Jack Black). The film's screenwriters screened over 2,000 songs to find the perfect mix for Gordon, and it shows; you'll hear dozens of songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, and much, much more.
2.Sid and Nancy (1986)
Ugly personalities and destructive lifestyles make for strangely hypnotic viewing in this smartly-executed film. A young Gary Oldman wears Sid Vicious eerily well, while Chloe Webb's Nancy is equally accurate. Watch a clip of the movie, then an interview with the real couple, and you'll be shocked at just how close the portrayals are to life. Punk life in 1970s Britain, the dynamics and infighting of the Sex Pistols, and the concerted self-destruction of the starcrossed couple all make for fascinating, if not 100% true-to-life, viewing. Just don't expect a happy ending.
1.This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
It's a testament to the staying power of This Is Spinal Tap that 30 years later, so many moments – Stonehenge, the airport security screening, and the infamous amp, to name a few – are etched into the collective consciousness. Spinal Tap's music is both hilarious and good enough to listen to, and the movie inaugurated the mockumentary genre. If you're a fan of Christopher Guest's later work, or The Office or Parks and Recreation or a thousand other iterations on Spinal Tap's genius template, you can't miss this side-shredding comedy.
Choosing among rock and roll movies is no easy task; for this list, we relied mainly on the ratings of critics and viewers to find those movies that resonate most with their audience from their costumes to rock, pop and metal fashion. Now we want to hear from you. What movies would you add to, or subtract from, this list? What are earlier rock films you a fan of?
Courtesy of flickfacts.com, bluray.com, rockandrollarmy.com, hollywoodsuite.ca, funny-pictures.picphotos.com, rogerebert.com, ultimateclassicrock.com.