Best Movies & TV Series About Real-Life Rock Stars, Ranked


The hardcore lifestyles of musicians and rock stars have been the subject of several classic films and shows. With fame and fortune, there is usually some drama and conflict that comes with it. At the same time, if you’re watching a movie about a famous rock star, you are surely going to get to listen to some great music throughout the movie. Encapsulating the persona of a real human being is not an easy task for an actor. They have to put in the time and research to make sure that they nail their voice, physicality, and on-stage persona. Audiences were wowed when Rami Malek played Freddy Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsodyand he deservingly won an Academy Award for his performance.

Although the lifestyle of a rock star may seem intriguing, there is usually a lot of baggage that comes with it. In films like Rocketman and The Doors, we sadly watched as some of our favorite musicians fell deep into the rabbit hole of addiction. There are many heartbreaking stories, and sometimes lives are lost along the way. Fans and critics alike are eager for the upcoming Baz Luhrman film, Elvisdepicting the life of the one and only, Elvis Presley. Austin Butler is taking on the role of Presley, and judging by the movie’s recent trailer, he is sure to deliver the goods. Before that, let’s look at the best television series and movies about real-life rockstars, ranked.

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9 The Runaways

The Runaways showcases the rise and fall of the all-woman band of the same name. The story focuses on the relationship between Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart). Stewart absolutely delivers as the music icon, Joan Jett, and she gives an honest and effective performance. Stewart was able to grasp Jett’s persona on and off stage, and her physicality was top-notch.


8 I’m Not There

It was quite ambitious to cast Cate Blanchett as rock n roll legend Bob Dylan, but it absolutely paid off. I’m Not There features an ensemble cast who all play Dylan at different points of his life. Many would absolutely agree that, of all the actors, Blanchett’s performance was the most effective. She completely transforms into Dylan on-screen and nails his voice, personality, and physicality. Blanchett rightfully earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

7 Sid and Nancy

In the 1986 film Sid and Nancy, Gary Oldman takes the role of bassist for the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious. Oldman is unrecognizable in his performance, as he is with many of the films that he takes on. The story focuses on the complicated relationship between Sid and Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb). The chemistry between the two was top-notch, and Oldman gives a brutal, yet honest depiction of heroin addiction.


6 The Doors

Filling the shoes of rock legend Jim Morrison was no easy task, but Val Kilmer definitely nailed it in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. There is no doubt that Kilmer took the time to get the voice, persona, and performances of Morrison absolutely right. Morrison was a very unique individual with a highly original on-stage presence and Killmer completely captures it.

5 Pam and Tommy

Pam and Tommy introduced the world to the story behind the infamous videotape. The two leads, Lily James and Sebastian Stan, both completely transformed into their characters, physically and mentally. Stan, in particular, captured the physical and mental persona of Tommy Lee, giving one of his greatest performances of his career. At times, it seemed as if Tommy Lee was actually on-screen. According to GoldDerbyStan’s performance is being hailed a top contender for the Emmys this year, specifically in the category of Oustanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series / TV Movie.

Related: How Hulu’s Pam & Tommy Series Succeeds at Healing Old Wounds

4 Rocketman

The story behind the legendary musician, Elton John, was filled with tragedy, drama, as well as inspiration. Taron Egerton gives one of his greatest performances yet playing Elton John in Rocketman. In the low points of John’s life, Egerton captured his mental breakdowns and struggles with drug addiction convincingly, giving us a highly emotional performance. Egerton went on to win a Golden Globe for his performance. Speaking to AccessJohn stated that he chose Egerton specifically to play him.

3 Ray

There is no question that Jaime Foxx’s performance as Ray Charles in Ray is the best of his career. Foxx completely transforms into Charles, physically and mentally. At the same time, Foxx gives an honest depiction of the many struggles that Charles overcame throughout his life including drug addiction. The character was a feat for any actor to take on, and Foxx absolutely delivered.


2 Walk The Line

There is no doubt that Joaquin Phoenix is ​​one of the greatest actors working. His performance as musician Johnny Cash in Walk the Line was top-notch from beginning to end. Phoenix captures his persona on and off the stage. Cash had a highly original stage presence that was unique to him. At the same time, Phoenix depicted the many emotional struggles throughout Cash’s life. His chemistry with Reese Witherspoon is spectacular, giving us a wonderful love story.

1 Bohemian Rhapsody

Playing one of the greatest performers of all time was an extraordinary feat for Rami Malek, and the world was introduced to Malek’s extraordinary talents as an actor. When watching Maleck’s rendition of the iconic Live Aid performance in Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s as if we are actually watching Mercury on stage. Malek is flawless from beginning to end, and was unquestionably the best choice to play Mercury. Malek went on to win a Golden Globe and Academy Award for his spectacular performance.



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