With Straight Outta Compton being released to excellent reviews, we’ve decided to take a look at five of the best music biopics. These can either be about a band or group, or an individual within one of those groups or an artist who famous for doing it on their own, as long as they were famous for their music.
Get on Up
One of the first films ever reviewed here on Third Act Film, Get on Up didn’t get anywhere near the attention that it deserved. It was barely discussed during awards season, despite the great direction by Tate Taylor, and the extraordinary portrayal of James Brown by Chadwick Boseman, who completely transformed for the role.
This was the role that made Jamie Foxx into a star, and for a good reason. He not only captured the fun-loving public persona of the singer, but also showed the difficulty he faced day-to-day from being blind. Oh, he also did the singing for the film himself.
Walk the Line
A film so good it won Reese Witherspoon an Oscar (this was when she was still ‘her from Legally Blonde’, not regular awards nominee). It also has a stunning performance from Joaquin Phoenix, playing Johnny Cash. The film does a great job showing Cash for who he really was, and not trying to hide any flaws he might have had.
Notorious isn’t an excellent film, but it earns a spot on this list for one reason: Third Act favourite Anthony Mackie playing Tupac Shakur. This excellent casting alone deserves its own film! I might be being a little bit harsh, Notorious is stylish and it has some great performances, it’s just not quite as good as the rest of the films on this list.
Possibly the least accurate film on this list factually, this is nonetheless an excellent film, with a brilliant lead performance from Tom Hulce and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and an equally great performance from F. Murray Abraham, who’s playing Antonio Salieri, his rival. It is over two and a half hours long though, so be prepared for that.
Are there any musician biopics that we missed? Which of these is your favourite? Share any thoughts the comments.
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