10 fantastic music biopics that you may not know

Films you might have missed but need to see.

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Here’s a little more “inside AudioPhix” to start your day. You get an idea for an article – let’s just say “ten great musical biopics.” Your first step is to jot down all the titles that immediately leap to mind. Then, you do a bit of internet scouring, looking to see what you’ve missed – what others have routinely cited as the best in the field. You filter that new information through your own lens and come up with a long list of titles.

Then the fun begins. You curate. Maybe you rule out a couple of extremely popular, well-known candidates because they are already at the top of about a hundred other lists. I mean, do you really need to read another listicle that tells you Jerry Rice was the greatest receiver of all time, or that Seinfeld was the best sitcom? (The first example, by the way, is inarguable. The second – I’m beginning to have my doubts.)

So maybe you give some bonus points to some entries a bit off the beaten path. Mongrels and mutts that deserve a little more love. Then, if you’re lucky, maybe you even find a theme. Maybe you find a common thread that links the individual components so that you may end up with something more than a random collection of titles linked under a broad umbrella. Maybe you find meaning.

10 excellent musical biopics you definitely need to watch

Sadly, but not the least bit surprisingly, the common thread I found when putting together my list of greatest musical biopics is madness. There may be an exception or two – a subject who perhaps didn’t struggle with mental health issues, but whose life was nonetheless tragic. I’m not a trained health professional – nor have I read enough random internet articles (I believe the requisite minimum number is currently set at one) – to offer any worthwhile opinion about the nature of the madness.

In the movies I will be writing about, madness appears to have at times been brought on by external factors, such as poverty or substance abuse. Other times, it appears to have been stitched directly into the genes. Perhaps the furthest I can go is to say that creating great art often requires the artist to confront demons, and if that artist has a few chinks in the psychic armor, or maybe just some bad luck, that process can result in tragic results.

Here are ten great musical biopics, some of which you may know, but many which may be new to you. At least I hope so. I hate to be…you know…obvious.


The brilliant, incisive, and tragic story of Connor Friel told by Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer takes a deep dive...Sorry, I’m just funning you. Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island boys did make a great music biopic, but since it is about an entirely made-up figure and played for outlandish comedy, I guess it doesn’t qualify. If it did, I’d have to also include Dewey Cox, Stillwater, and the granddaddy of them all, Spinal Tap, on my list.