10 fantastic music biopics that you may not know

Films you might have missed but need to see.
Colin McPherson/GettyImages
7 of 11


MARLEY (2012)

The recent dramatic film Bob Marley: One Love fell victim to what often plagues biopics. It seemed to please fans of the reggae legend by sticking to a broad palette, playing as a greatest hits album often does. For anyone looking to go deeper – to gain a better understanding of the icon than you could simply get by reading an internet article or two, check out Scottish director Kevin McDonald’s documentary.

McDonald was fortunate to get cooperation from Marley’s family, so that his wife Rita, and several of his children, including son Ziggy, offer their insights into his life. There is a wealth of personal material – photos and film footage – to supplement the talking heads. But even though Ziggy and Bunny Wailer do serve as producers on the project (along with eight other people not affiliated with Marley), McDonald is able to maintain an even-handed perspective. He clearly admires Marley as both a performer and a public influencer, but this never becomes hagiographic.  

And of course, there is plenty of great music. The movie runs almost two-and-a-half hours, but with the music and the performance, as well as the fascinating insights we get into Marley’s life, it never feels long.