25 handiest documentaries about musicians

Musicians lead unheard of lives stuffed with experiences most folks can handiest dream of going on to them. They shuttle the world, bear live performance halls and auditoriums with adoring followers, party with actors and other smartly-known folks, and in most cases absorb immeasurable wealth. Now not handiest is there passion of their music, but there moreover is an passion of their lives.

One of the essential handiest ways to uncover about musicians is with the abet of filmmakers who’re as by them as each person else. These artists turn their lens on the musicians who captivate audiences and elevate their reviews to existence. The filmmakers level of curiosity on the musicians’ paths to popularity, the relationships they forged and destroyed, their loves, and their histories.

Stacker looked at essentially the most extremely rated documentaries on Metacritic and ranked the pinnacle 25 music documentaries on the list. Initial ties are broken by the IMDb user ranking, and extra ties are broken by the preference of evaluations on Metacritic. To qualify, the movie must still be about musicians or music groups.

There are tales referring to the female musicians who broke via the glass ceiling in both digital music and jazz instrumentation. Another fable takes audiences on a tour as a put together travels with just a few of the final discover musicians. These motion photos are uplifting, informative, though-provoking, spicy, and tragic. Every is a reminder of honest appropriate how unheard of these musicians are and how they’ve influenced our lives.

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#25. ‘Sisters With Transistors’ (2020)

– Director: Lisa Rovner

– Metascore: 82

– IMDb user ranking: 7.4

– Runtime: 86 minutes

Filmmaker Lisa Rovner gives audiences an in-depth scrutinize on the female trailblazers of digital music. She tells the fable of quite quite a bit of pioneers relish “Doctor Who” theme co-writers Delia Derbyshire and Wendy Carlos, who helped Robert Moog in the construction of his synthesizer. Many pay tribute to those unheard of and innovative female artists, relish Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth.

#24. ‘Marley’ (2012)

– Director: Kevin Macdonald

– Metascore: 82

– IMDb user ranking: 7.9

– Runtime: 144 minutes

This documentary is a primer on every little thing Marley. Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald looks to be like support at reggae memoir Bob Marley’s upbringing along with his white father; how reggae improved; and how both Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, both co-founders of the Wailers, made their exits from the band. From relatives to surviving contributors of the Wailers to archival footage of Marley both on stage and in the studio, audiences obtain the lowdown on the charismatic reggae pioneer and memoir.

#23. ‘Anvil! The Fable of Anvil’ (2008)

– Director: Sacha Gervasi

– Metascore: 82

– IMDb user ranking: 7.9

– Runtime: 80 minutes

Anvil, a Canadian metal band, by no system grew to turn correct into a predominant player despite the indisputable fact that it influenced many hit bands including Slayer and Metallica. Filmmaker Sacha Gervasi documents band contributors and handiest guests Robb Reiner and Steve “Lips” Kudlow as they document a fresh album and documents the americaand downs of Anvil. Gervasi became an Anvil roadie in the band’s early days.

#22. ‘My Title Is Albert Ayler’ (2005)

– Director: Kasper Collin

– Metascore: 83

– IMDb user ranking: 7.1

– Runtime: 79 minutes

Albert Ayler, a tenor saxophonist space out to interrupt jazz traditions along with his music in the genre of free jazz. Filmmaker Kasper Collin documents Ayler’s existence from the moment where he walked onstage at a John Coltrane performance and impressed Coltrane—who grew to turn correct into a fan, to the final weeks of Ayler’s existence when he went lacking and became learned in Fresh York’s East River in 1970.

#21. ‘Seymour: An Introduction’ (2014)

– Director: Ethan Hawke

– Metascore: 83

– IMDb user ranking: 7.5

– Runtime: 84 minutes

Pianist and instructor Seymour Bernstein is the level of interest of this movie that Stephen Farber, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, called “very smartly crafted, tightly edited and assuredly photographed.” Ethan Hawke is impressed by Bernstein, whom he met at a feast, and looks onscreen in the movie, despite the indisputable fact that the filmmaker moreover contains interviews and piano lessons between Bernstein and his college students. The filmmaker even gets the as soon as live performance pianist to give an intimate performance in Fresh York at Steinway Corridor sooner than the movie’s conclude.

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#20. ‘20,000 Days on Earth’ (2014)

– Directors: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard

– Metascore: 83

– IMDb user ranking: 7.5

– Runtime: 97 minutes

This work of fiction is primarily primarily primarily based on trusty-existence musician Cut Cave, who documents the dramatized 24-hour cycle of his 20,000th day on this planet. “20,000 Days on Earth” sides encounters with other artists relish Kylie Minogue, rehearsals, and treatment sessions that culminate in a are living performance. The movie became nominated for a British Academy of Film and Tv Arts award for handiest documentary.

#19. ‘Cobain: Montage of Heck’ (2015)

– Director: Brett Morgen

– Metascore: 83

– IMDb user ranking: 7.5

– Runtime: 145 minutes

Director Brett Morgen, who became moreover liable for “The Shrimp one Stays in the Picture,” “Chicago 10,” and “Crossfire Storm,” interweaves excerpts from interviews, live performance clips, journal entries, drawings, dwelling movies, and audio recordings to raise Kurt Cobain to existence for the viewers. This documentary is the fundamental that Cobain’s estate licensed, and it marries the singer’s existence and music in an unforgettable methodology.

#18. ‘Orion: The Man Who Would Be King’ (2015)

– Director: Jeanie Finlay

– Metascore: 84

– IMDb user ranking: 7

– Runtime: 86 minutes

The man in the cowl became the Elvis repair that Presley’s followers wished after his loss of life in 1977. Orion had a say relish Elvis and is the level of interest of this stranger-than-fiction documentary, which featured the singer masquerading because the King in an unattainable scheme. It became impressed by the e book “Orion” by Gail Brewer-Giorgio.

#17. ‘Calle 54’ (2000)

– Director: Fernando Trueba

– Metascore: 84

– IMDb user ranking: 7.4

– Runtime: 105 minutes

Latin jazz is the level of interest of this documentary by Spanish director Fernando Trueba. Performers world huge, including Tito Puente, Chico O’Farrill, and father and son Bebo and Chucho Valdés, expose their passion for Latin jazz both personally and together. The movie won the viewers award at The Miami Film Competition.

#16. ‘Bob Dylan: Don’t Peep Reduction’ (1967)

– Director: D.A. Pennebaker

– Metascore: 84

– IMDb user ranking: 8

– Runtime: 96 minutes

This documentary follows the 1965 United Kingdom tour of 1 in all essentially the most influential singers and songwriters of the 1960s. With the utilization of his hand held digicam work, D.A. Pennebaker no longer handiest chronicles the upward thrust of Dylan, but moreover captures existence on the avenue. The movie includes performances by Donovan and Joan Baez and an epic opening sequence, which may maybe well change into the “Subterranean Homesick Blues” video.

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#15. ‘Mali Blues’ (2016)

– Director: Lutz Gregor

– Metascore: 85

– IMDb user ranking: 6.9

– Runtime: 90 minutes

“Mali Blues” makes a speciality of how necessary music is to the nation’s custom and the threat musicians face from radical Islamists who absorb banned music. Malian musicians Ahmed Ag Kaedi, Fatoumata Diawara, Bassekou Kouyaté, and Master Soumy are featured, as are interviews and cinematography that showcase the unattainable thing referring to the nation that claimed to initiating the blues.

#14. ‘Competition Explicit’ (2003)

– Directors: Bob Smeaton, Frank Cvitanovich

– Metascore: 85

– IMDb user ranking: 7.5

– Runtime: 90 minutes

In 1970, predominant musicians relish The Grateful Tiring, Janis Joplin, Sha Na Na, and The Band rolled, by process of put together, into Canada and performed in predominant cities over the route of 5 days. “Competition Explicit” documents this legendary musical go, which became more necessary for the captured footage of the artists on the put together than for its monetary success. The tour became really a failure, with protestors boycotting the label prices.

#13. ‘Neil Younger: Heart of Gold’ (2006)

– Director: Jonathan Demme

– Metascore: 85

– IMDb user ranking: 7.7

– Runtime: 103 minutes

Godfather of Grunge, Neil Younger’s two-evening performance at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium is the level of interest of this Jonathan Demme documentary where Younger performed songs from his 2005 album “Prairie Wind” and some of his older hits. Singer Emmylou Harris and Younger’s companion, singer Pegi Younger, present backup vocals. Writing for AV Membership, Keith Phipps famed, “Casting his self-discipline in an autumnal glow, Demme yet again eliminates the distance between artist and viewers, and Younger responds by performing without a whit of self-consciousness.”

#12. ‘Amy’ (2015)

– Director: Asif Kapadia

– Metascore: 85

– IMDb user ranking: 7.8

– Runtime: 128 minutes

Asif Kapadia tells the fable of 1 in all current music’s ultimate and most tragic artists, Amy Winehouse, who obtained a publishing kind out EMI at 19 and became ineffective by 27 from alcohol poisoning. Kapadia makes use of previously unreleased archival footage and deepest commentaries to give audiences a thorough portrait of the artist’s existence and transient, but impressive, profession. Winehouse’s father, Mitch, became no longer partial to the Oscar-favorable documentary because of he believed it portrayed him in a inappropriate gentle.

#11. ‘Let’s Procure Misplaced’ (1988)

– Director: Bruce Weber

– Metascore: 85

– IMDb user ranking: 7.9

– Runtime: 120 minutes

This documentary is a portrait of jazz gargantuan Chesney Henry Baker, greater is named Chet Baker. Director Bruce Weber’s shadowy-and-white movie moreover sides many other smartly-known folks relish the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, mannequin Lisa Marie, and Chris Isaak. Baker is shown from his glory days to the times when his dependancy had used him, making a damage of no longer handiest him, but of his profession.

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Gray Water Park Productions

#10. ‘Rolling Exclaim Revue’ (2019)

– Director: Martin Scorsese

– Metascore: 86

– IMDb user ranking: 7.6

– Runtime: 142 minutes

Legendary director Martin Scorsese returns to his rock live performance documentary roots with this amalgamation of fact and fiction surrounding the Rolling Exclaim Revue tour where Bob Dylan went on “tour” in 1975. He performed for the sheer own of artwork and music at some keen venues with some musical guests including Joan Baez. Against the backdrop of archival footage from the tour, Scorsese interweaves fictional parts relish Sharon Stone recounting a outing backstage as a teen and Michael Murphy showing up as his onscreen persona Jack Tanner from the HBO sequence “Tanner ’88.”

#9. ‘The Velvet Underground’ (2021)

– Director: Todd Haynes

– Metascore: 87

– IMDb user ranking: 7.5

– Runtime: 121 minutes

Andy Warhol launched the Velvet Underground in the 1960s, but at final the band and the pop custom artist and icon stopped working together. On this documentary, Todd Haynes brings the minute last archival footage of the band and combines it with commentary from living Velvet Underground contributors, John Cale and Maureen Tucker, while the voices of Lou Reed and Expedient Campbell, who both died, may maybe well well also be heard relish ghosts from the past on the worn footage.

#8. ‘The Final Waltz’ (1978)

– Director: Martin Scorsese

– Metascore: 88

– IMDb user ranking: 8.2

– Runtime: 117 minutes

The Band’s swan tune came on Thanksgiving Day in 1976 at its final expose in San Francisco. “The Final Waltz” documents for the time being, which incorporated performances by other legendary musicians relish Neil Younger, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, and Muddy Waters and The Band collaborator Bob Dylan. Martin Scorsese moreover centered on interviews with contributors of The Band.

Beth Harrington Productions

#7. ‘The Winding Movement’ (2014)

– Director: Beth Harrington

– Metascore: 89

– IMDb user ranking: 7.7

– Runtime: 90 minutes

A history of the Carter family, nation music’s genuine first family, “The Winding Movement” explores the musical family’s beginnings with A.C. Carter, his companion Sara, and her cousin Maybelle, straight via to the Carter Family Fold, a museum and performance venue. Filmmaker Beth Harrington includes interviews and archival footage to gift the elephantine fable of those nation musicians who went on to steer a bunch of artists in the commerce, including Johnny Money, who married June Carter and remained along with her except their deaths within four months of every other in 2003.

#6. ‘Cease Making Sense’ (1984)

– Director: Jonathan Demme

– Metascore: 89

– IMDb user ranking: 8.6

– Runtime: 88 minutes

This Talking Heads live performance movie chronicled their album “Talking in Tongues.” The movie featured older hits as smartly relish, “As soon as in a Lifetime,” and a version of “Psycho Killer” with David Byrne and a guitar and bid field. “Cease Making Sense” won the Nationwide Society of Film Critics award for handiest documentary.

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#5. ‘I Called Him Morgan’ (2016)

– Director: Kasper Collin

– Metascore: 90

– IMDb user ranking: 7.3

– Runtime: 92 minutes

Helen Morgan helped her customary-law husband, jazz musician Lee Morgan, via his heroin dependancy, but later murdered him as he performed onstage at Slugs’ Saloon, a Fresh york club. “I Called Him Morgan” examines Morgan’s music, their relationship, and it includes an audio interview with Helen from 1996.

#4. ‘The Ladies in the Band’ (2011)

– Director: Judy Chaikin

– Metascore: 90

– IMDb user ranking: 7.7

– Runtime: 81 minutes

“The Ladies in the Band” makes a speciality of the sexism and challenges confronted by females who wanted to be instrumentalists in jazz and gargantuan bands. These roles in most cases belonged to men, and females were relegated to the more female roles such as singer. The movie moreover explores the history of the all-girl bands that fashioned in this male-dominated self-discipline.

#3. ‘One Extra Time With Feeling’ (2016)

– Director: Andrew Dominik

– Metascore: 92

– IMDb user ranking: 8.3

– Runtime: 113 minutes

Andrew Dominik offers an especially deepest portrait of Australian singer Cut Cave and his inventive process as he offers with a tragedy. Cave financed and commissioned the documentary, which moreover documents the recording of the album “Skeleton Tree” with the Nefarious Seeds. This became a approach to steer clear of having to reply to the inevitable onslaught of questions from the media surrounding his son Arthur’s loss of life from an unintended drop taken after ingesting the drug LSD.

#2. ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’ (1981)

– Director: Penelope Spheeris

– Metascore: 93

– IMDb user ranking: 7.6

– Runtime: 100 minutes

Penelope Spheeris decided to doc the still unknown bands of the punk scene. Whether it’s Dark Flag’s Ron Reyes $16-a-month sleeping lodging in a falling-down church or Exene Cervenka from the Los Angeles band X figuring out how unparalleled is too unparalleled for a label to a expose, the movie sides a raw scrutinize at a raw music genre.

#1. ‘Woodstock’ (1970)

– Director: Michael Wadleigh

– Metascore: 95

– IMDb user ranking: 8.2

– Runtime: 184 minutes

Michael Wadleigh’s Oscar-favorable documentary, holding the epic three-day own and music competition held in Bethel, Fresh York, in 1969, sides damage up-mask technology to expose what became going on on stage while moreover revealing what became going on off, relish visitors jams and sex. Legendary movie director Martin Scorsese served as an editor and assistant director alongside editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who would spin on to a decades-lengthy collaboration with the director.

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