1. 24 Hour Party People directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Steve Coogan
This 2002 British comedy-drama wittily tells the story of the rise of the Manchester music scene from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s. Coogan plays Tony Wilson, whose label, Factory Records, was to be instrumental in the careers of Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays.
2. A Hard Day’s Night directed by Richard Lester and starring The Beatles
Shot in record quick time, this film shows a “typical” 36 hours in the lives of the Fab Four. The plot involves the group getting to the Big Show on time and there are plenty of gags, humour and musical numbers. A must for Beatles fans.
3. This is Spinal Tap directed by Rob Reiner
This hilarious spoof follows heavy metal rock band, Spinal Tap, on their first tour of America to promote their LP Smell the Glove. Told like a real documentary, and largely improvised by the cast, it’s a classic which brought us the phrase “these go up to eleven” when one of the band members is talking about his amp!
4. The Commitments directed by Alan Parker
If you like soul music, then you’ll love this feel-good movie. Performed by a young cast of mainly unknown actors, it follows the fortunes of a band who want to bring rhythm and blues to the people of Dublin. Featuring high octane performances of soul classics and some memorable and likeable characters, this is a must-watch film from the early 90s.
5. Dreamgirls directed by Bill Condon and starring Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson
This is another film which perfectly captures the mood of a decade. The time is the 1960s and three singers are being moulded into the perfect girl group, The Dreams, by an ambitious manager. As they become more successful, relationships come under pressure and friendships are betrayed. Although this isn’t a documentary, it does give an accurate flavour of the early years of Motown and it’s full of beautiful musical numbers.
There are so many brilliant films about music it’s impossible to list them all. However, special mention also to:
Walk the Line (about Johnny Cash), The Wall (based on the Pink Floyd album) The Doors (about…..The Doors!) and Almost Famous (about the life of a young rock journalist).
For clips and trailers of these films search their titles in Google or YouTube. You could also rent or buy these films on DVD and Blu-ray. You may find that some come with audio description – it’s usually an option in the set-up before you ‘play’ the main feature film.
Check out your local cinema for new releases on a fashion theme. Some cinemas may offer audio described performances, just ask before booking your tickets.
Click on the images to purchase the film via Amazon. Living Paintings will receive a donation from Amazon per purchase.