It’s the season of the rockumentary. Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic about the arena rockers Queen and their larger-than-life frontman, Freddie Mercury, recently opened at number one in the theaters. The movie followed on the heels of another huge musical drama — the remake of A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.
All these movies about music got us thinking about some of the great biopics and rockumentaries that are currently available for streaming. These movies run the gamut from biographical films about legendary superstars to intimate documentary films about the people in the background who helped to make the hit songs that we all know by heart.
So sit back, get comfortable, and get ready to rock out with this lineup of films that are sure to appeal to music lovers, and leave you with a new appreciation for these legendary artists.
With the A Star is Born soundtrack tearing up the charts, how could we not include this documentary on Lady Gaga? Five Foot Two gives little monsters an unfiltered look at Gaga, going behind the scenes into nearly every aspect of the singer’s life. Gaga takes viewers along for the recording process of her latest album and prep for the Super Bowl, as well as her personal health struggles and the ups and downs of stardom.
Steven Tyler’s been the banshee voice of Aerosmith for 40 plus years, but oddly enough didn’t put out his first solo album until 2016. Perhaps, even more, head-scratching is that he opted to do a country album. Out on Limb takes a look at Tyler as he records and tours his new album with a new band and where he sees himself going after a lifetime in the rock n’ roll spotlight.
Make no mistake about it, Frank Sinatra was the first real rock star. He had the hit records and was adored by both men and women alike. This documentary takes a look at the leader of the Rat Pack, shining a spotlight on everything from his high-profile romantic relationships to connections with the mob in Las Vegas. It’s a must-see for anybody who loves Sinatra’s music, movies, or just Mr. Blue Eyes himself.
A documentary about a recording studio shouldn’t be interesting, but hear us out. Dave Grohl is a man on a mission and turns his focus on telling the story of this Los Angeles recording studio that gave birth to hit records by everybody from Fleetwood Mac to Nirvana. Interviews with just about every rock star on the planet and never-before-seen footage of making these iconic albums give you a new appreciation for the art of recording music.
Val Kilmer gives one of the best performances of his career in this raw and cutting look at the 1960s rock band. Kilmer has an uncanny resemblance to the late Jim Morrison and channels his inner rock star, delivering a performance that brings justice to the unpredictable and dangerous life of the iconic Lizard King. If you’re a fan of other rock biopics like Ray and Walk the Line, this one should be right up your alley.
The subjects of this music documentary may not be household names, but their voices are instantly recognizable. The film takes a detailed look at the lives and careers of the background singers who lent their vocal talents to some of the biggest songs in popular music. Interviews with the singers themselves and the superstars that they recorded with will leave you captivated with the amazing talents of these background singers who far too often, didn’t get the credit they deserved.
Your familiarity with John Lennon is likely centered on his life within and after The Beatles. This 2009 biopic focuses on Lennon’s life before he helped give birth to the most popular band in the world. From his obsession with Elvis Presley to his not-so-great childhood in hardscrabble Liverpool, Nowhere Boy is an intimate portrait of the early days of one of the world’s greatest songwriters.
As Rush’s lead vocalist and bassist Geddy Lee puts it, “We’re the most popular cult band in the world.” This documentary captures the spirit of the radio with Canada’s premier prog rock band and details their earliest beginnings to eventual stardom. Even if you’re only a casual fan, you’re likely to find yourself feeling like Paul Rudd’s Rush-fanatic character from I Love You, Man by the time it’s over.