The Best Music Bipoics Polled – but which one is best?

There is a growing trend of musical biopics in cinema, with Austin Butler’s star turn in Baz Lurhman’s Elvis back in 2022 as the most recent headline-grabbing venture. With the King’s memory firmly in our minds, we thought there was no better time to bring you our definitive list of the greatest musical biopics of all time. Biopics usually come with one or two issues that they must navigate, and the navigation of these problems determines whether that film can be deemed a success.

Biographical films about musicians have always been a hallmark of popular culture. Fans of every music star looking forward to the day they get to see a film about their musical idols and we’ve seen lately where three of the five most successful films in the genre have been released in the last few years, including the multiple award winning Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), which tells the story of the legendary British rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid in 1985. The recent Elvis film starring Austin Butler was also well received.

With biopics in the works for musical giants including Bob Marley, Cher, and Whitney Houston, it’s the perfect time to revisit some of the biggest films to come from the genre. We’ve ranked some of the greatest music stories to grace the screen based on their Rotten Tomatoes critics scores, from famous composers of the 18th century to hip-hop game changers.

9 Control

Singer Ian Curtis Is the Subject Of This Biopic. Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, whose personal, professional, and romantic troubles ultimately led him to commit suicide at the age of 23, is the subject of the film Control. Sam Riley, who plays Diaval in the Maleficent movies portrayed Ian Curtis in the movie.

The movie, which has a 88% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, won several awards including a BAFTA, and multiple awards at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.

8 Amadeus

F Murray Abraham Won Several Awards For His Role In This Movie. Mozart’s life, success, and troubles are the subject of Amadeus, a 1984 biopic narrated by Antonio Salieri, the composer who claimed to have murdered Mozart due to his jealousy. The film has over 150 reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes with an 89% score on the tomatometer.

F Murray Abraham won several awards for his role as Mozart in the film including an Oscar, a Golden Globe and more.

7 Straight Outta Compton

O’Shea Jackson Jr Played His Dad In This Biopic. Straight Outta Compton is the only Hip-Hop biopic on the list. It tells the story of the rap group NWA, which emerged out of the mean streets of Compton, Los Angeles, California, from the mid-1980s and revolutionized Hip Hop culture through their music and stories about life in the hood. The movie also has an 89% rating on the tomatometer.

6 Rocketman

Taron Egerton Is A British Music Icon In This 2019 Biopic. Like the last two films, Rocketman also has an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is a 2019 biographical film based on the career of British music icon Elton John. Taron Egerton, known for his roles in the British television series The Smoke, and The Kingsman movies, portrayed Elton John in the movie.

Eagerton also played Elton John in the music video for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”, a single that was released for Rocketman.

5 Love & Mercy

John Cusack Played Brian Wilson In This 2014 Film. John Cusack stars in this Beach Boys biopic about Brian Wilson’s struggle with psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece in the 1960s. In the 80s, Dr. Eugene Landy, a shady therapist, watches over him 24 hours a day. Love & Mercy has a 90% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes from over 200 reviews, as well as an 85% audience score from over 10,000 ratings.

4 Shine

This Biographical Film Was Released in 1996. The story of Shine is inspired by the life of world-famous Australian pianist, David Helfgott. Driven by his father and teachers, he suffers a breakdown. After years away from the piano, he returned to it bigger than before. The 1996 biopic has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the movie’s leading man, Geoffrey Rush, who played Captain Barboosa in The Pirates of The Caribbean franchise winning the best actor award at the Oscars and the Golden Globes that year for playing David Helfgott in the film.

3 Behind The Candelabra

This 2013 Biopic Has A 94% Rating. Scott Thorson and Liberace’s turbulent six-year relationship is chronicled in the movie. Released in 2013, with Michael Douglas portraying the famous singer alongside Matt Damon who plays Scott Thorson, the biopic has a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Behind The Candelabra won many accolades including for best actor at the Golden Globes (Michael Douglas), Matt Damon was also nominated in the same category.

2 What’s Love Got To Do With It

Angela Bassett Is The Star Of This Biopic as Angela Bassett in one of her best roles still to this day, tells the story of singer Tina Turner’s rise to stardom and how she gained the courage to break free from her abusive husband, Ike Turner. What’s Love Got To Do With It has a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the second highest rated on the list.

Many believe Angela Bassett was robbed of an Oscar for her portrayal of Tina Turner in the film, she however won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.

1 The Buddy Holly Story

This Is The Highest Rated Biopic With a perfect score of 100%, The Buddy Holly Story is the highest rated biographical film about a musician on Rotten Tomatoes. The film follows the life and career of the early rock and roll singer, from his meteoric rise to fame to his untimely death in 1959.

The biopic which was released almost two decades after his passing, won the Academy Award for Best Adaptation Score by Joe Renzetti, in addition to Garey Busey being nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Buddy.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


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