50 Music Documentaries

by mandojam | created - 22 Dec 2013 | updated - 19 Aug 2014 | Public
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1. Dig! (2004)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Music

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
76 Metascore

A documentary on the once-promising American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their respective founders, Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor.

Director: Ondi Timoner | Stars: Anton Newcombe, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Joel Gion, Matt Hollywood

Votes: 5,422 | Gross: $0.13M

2. We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen (2005)

91 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
66 Metascore

A feature-length documentary chronicling early 80's punk rock band the Minutemen, from their beginnings in San Pedro, California, to their demise after the death of singer D. Boon in 1985.

Director: Tim Irwin | Stars: Milo Aukerman, Joe Baiza, Kevin Barrett, Scott Becker

Votes: 786

3. A Band Called Death (2012)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
77 Metascore

A documentary on the 1970s punk trio Death, and their new-found popularity decades after they disbanded.

Directors: Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett | Stars: Bobby Hackney, David Hackney, Dannis Hackney, Robbie Duncan

Votes: 3,030 | Gross: $0.13M

4. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)

Unrated | 80 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

8.0
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82 Metascore

Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams.

Director: Sacha Gervasi | Stars: Robb Reiner, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Tiziana Arrigoni, Scott Ian

Votes: 14,093 | Gross: $0.67M

5. Dont Look Back (1967)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary, Music

8.0
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Documentary covering Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker | Stars: Bob Dylan, Albert Grossman, Bob Neuwirth, Joan Baez

Votes: 6,904

6. The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

PG-13 | 110 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.0
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77 Metascore

Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love.

Director: Jeff Feuerzeig | Stars: Daniel Johnston, Mabel Johnston, Bill Johnston, Laurie Allen

Votes: 7,872 | Gross: $0.33M

7. Imagine: John Lennon (1988)

R | 100 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.9
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A biography of the rock music star.

Director: Andrew Solt | Stars: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, George Harrison

Votes: 3,929 | Gross: $3.75M

8. George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)

Not Rated | 208 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.1
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Filmmaker Martin Scorsese examines the life of musician George Harrison, weaving together interviews, concert footage, home movies and photographs.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr

Votes: 7,948

9. Gimme Shelter (1970)

R | 91 min | Documentary, Music, Thriller

7.9
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80 Metascore

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts

Votes: 9,041 | Gross: $0.25M

10. The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)

R | 93 min | Documentary, Music

7.3
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Documentary showcase, what life was like for the music artists living during the Los Angeles Heavy Metal scene in the mid and late 1980s.

Director: Penelope Spheeris | Stars: Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper

Votes: 2,603 | Gross: $0.37M

11. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002)

Unrated | 92 min | Documentary, Music

7.5
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66 Metascore

First-time filmmaker and award-winning photographer Sam Jones documents the recording of Wilco's album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."

Director: Sam Jones | Stars: Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Leroy Bach, Glenn Kotche

Votes: 1,831 | Gross: $0.45M

12. 24 Hour Party People: The Factory Records Saga (2002 TV Movie)

49 min | Documentary, Music

8.2
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Add a Plot

Director: David Robertson | Stars: Arthur Baker, Mark 'Bez' Berry, Tim Booth, Bill Brewster

Votes: 47

13. Great Performances (1971– )
Episode: Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story (2007)

155 min | Biography, Drama, Music

7.5
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Spectacular rise & disgraced collapse of Memphis' socially-conscious, neighborhood-based Stax Records, which spawned many of the best soul sounds of the 60's and 70's is told mostly by its ... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Jim Stewart, Estelle Axton, Deanie Parker

Votes: 173

14. Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

PG | 108 min | Documentary, Music

7.8
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76 Metascore

Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

Director: Paul Justman | Stars: Joe Hunter, Jack Ashford, Uriel Jones, Richard 'Pistol' Allen

Votes: 3,071 | Gross: $1.60M

15. The Fearless Freaks (2005)

Not Rated | 103 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
78 Metascore

A documentary on the evolution of the Oklahoma band The Flaming Lips.

Director: Bradley Beesley | Stars: Bradley Beesley, Steve Burns, Dolly Coyne, Kenny Coyne

Votes: 1,017

16. End of the Century (2003)

Unrated | 110 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.0
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74 Metascore

The story of the punk rock band The Ramones.

Directors: Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia | Stars: Rick Rubin, Tommy Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone

Votes: 3,160 | Gross: $0.39M

17. You're Gonna Miss Me (2005)

91 min | Documentary, Music

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
64 Metascore

Documentary about rock pioneer Roky Erickson, detailing his rise as a psychedelic hero, his lengthy institutionalization, his descent into poverty and filth, and his brother's struggle with their religious mother to improve Roky's care.

Director: Keven McAlester | Stars: Byron Coley, 13th Floor Elevators, Evelyn Erickson, Roky Erickson

Votes: 873 | Gross: $0.00M

18. Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt (2004)

Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.9
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69 Metascore

Be Here to Love Me - Chronicles the fascinating and often turbulent life of Townes Van Zandt.

Director: Margaret Brown | Stars: Joe Ely, Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson

Votes: 1,053 | Gross: $0.13M

19. Bittersweet Motel (2000)

82 min | Documentary

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
47 Metascore

Bittersweet Motel is a documentary about the popular rock band Phish. The film focuses on Phish's music, with little emphasis on their die-hard fan base.

Director: Todd Phillips | Stars: Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell

Votes: 603 | Gross: $0.38M

20. Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007)

Unrated | 124 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.7
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79 Metascore

As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple | Stars: Joe Strummer, Steve Jones, Mick Jones, Brigitte Bardot

Votes: 3,296 | Gross: $0.25M

21. The Filth and the Fury (2000)

R | 108 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.7
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82 Metascore

A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

Director: Julien Temple | Stars: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon, Glen Matlock

Votes: 5,114 | Gross: $0.61M

22. The Clash: Westway to the World (2000 Video)

60 min | Documentary, Music

7.9
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A career retrospective of British punk band The Clash, featuring exclusive interviews with the entire band.

Director: Don Letts | Stars: Terry Chimes, Terence Dackombe, Topper Headon, Mick Jones

Votes: 955

23. Woodstock (1970)

R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music

8.1
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The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

Director: Michael Wadleigh | Stars: Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Roger Daltrey, Joe Cocker

Votes: 13,691 | Gross: $50.00M

24. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

Not Rated | 141 min | Documentary, Music

7.5
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74 Metascore

A documentary crew followed Metallica for the better part of 2001-2003, a time of tension and release for the rock band, as they recorded their album St. Anger, fought bitterly, and sought the counsel of their on-call shrink.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo

Votes: 14,884 | Gross: $1.22M

25. Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

G | 105 min | Documentary, Music

7.6
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81 Metascore

Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.

Director: Wim Wenders | Stars: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa

Votes: 14,389 | Gross: $7.00M

26. Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

PG-13 | 86 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.2
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79 Metascore

Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock n roller, Rodriguez.

Director: Malik Bendjelloul | Stars: Rodriguez, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey, Mike Theodore

Votes: 54,120 | Gross: $3.97M

27. Marley (2012)

PG-13 | 144 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.0
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82 Metascore

A documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Rita Marley, Jimmy Cliff

Votes: 11,851 | Gross: $1.41M

28. Patti Smith: Dream of Life (2008)

Not Rated | 109 min | Documentary, Music

7.2
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66 Metascore

An intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself.

Director: Steven Sebring | Stars: Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Oliver Ray, Tony Shanahan

Votes: 848 | Gross: $0.03M

29. Jandek on Corwood (2003)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
54 Metascore

"The longest-running, weirdest, loneliest enigma in popular music is a guy from Texas who calls himself Jandek." Jandek on Corwood is the 89-minute documentary that explores this man, his world and his music.

Director: Chad Freidrichs | Stars: Byron Coley, Calvin Johnson, Barry Hansen, John Foster

Votes: 256

30. Thunder Soul (2010)

PG | 83 min | Documentary, Music

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
81 Metascore

Alumni from Houston's storied Kashmere High School Stage Band return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for their beloved band leader who turned the struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s.

Director: Mark Landsman | Stars: Craig Baldwin, Craig Green, Conrad O. Johnson Sr., Bruce Middleton

Votes: 434 | Gross: $0.14M

31. Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub (2008)

Not Rated | 93 min | Documentary

7.8
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69 Metascore

On February 16, 1989 Larry Bloch and a team of novices achieved something unique in a former Chineese-food warehouse just south of the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan. Not only did this ... See full summary »

Director: Dean Budnick | Stars: Mabili Kregg Ajamu, Rob Barraco, Chris Barron, Tim Barry

Votes: 58 | Gross: $0.00M

32. Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2005)

PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
68 Metascore

A documentary on the legendary singer-songwriter, with performances by those musicians he has influenced.

Director: Lian Lunson | Stars: Leonard Cohen, Bono, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright

Votes: 1,927 | Gross: $1.04M

33. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (2012)

PG-13 | 113 min | Documentary, Music

7.1
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69 Metascore

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is a feature-length documentary film about the dismal commercial failure, subsequent massive critical acclaim, and enduring legacy of pop music's greatest cult phenomenon, Big Star.

Directors: Drew DeNicola, Olivia Mori | Stars: Jon Auer, Chris Bell, Alex Chilton, Rick Clark

Votes: 1,068 | Gross: $0.11M

34. The Last Waltz (1978)

PG | 117 min | Documentary, Music

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
88 Metascore

A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Van Morrison

Votes: 13,668 | Gross: $0.32M

35. It Might Get Loud (2008)

PG | 98 min | Documentary, Music

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
70 Metascore

A documentary on the electric guitar from the point of view of three significant rock musicians: the Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White.

Director: Davis Guggenheim | Stars: Jimmy Page, The Edge, Jack White, Link Wray

Votes: 11,227 | Gross: $1.61M

36. Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1987)

PG | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.8
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This documentary movie covers two concerts at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri, to celebrate Chuck Berry's 60th birthday, and also discusses his life and career.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Ingrid Berry

Votes: 1,070 | Gross: $0.72M

37. Bob Geldof: Saint or Singer? (2004 TV Movie)

50 min | Documentary

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Add a Plot

Director: Mike Connolly | Stars: Bono, David Bowie, Bob Geldof, Sting

38. Ray Davies: The World from My Window (2004 TV Movie)

50 min | Documentary

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Add a Plot

Director: Matthew Longfellow | Stars: David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Ray Davies, Bob Geldof

39. Live Aid (1985 TV Special)

960 min | Documentary, Music

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The broadcast of the biggest benefit concert in history, organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief.

Director: Vincent Scarza | Stars: Bob Geldof, Bryan Adams, Stuart Adamson, Mo Amin

Votes: 1,577

40. Glastonbury (2006)

R | 138 min | Documentary, Music

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
60 Metascore

A documentary on the 30th anniversary of Britain's best-known music festival.

Director: Julien Temple | Stars: David Bowie, Björk, James Brown, Billy Bragg

Votes: 753 | Gross: $0.01M

41. Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (2006)

95 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
65 Metascore

A documentary on the influential musician Scott Walker.

Director: Stephen Kijak | Stars: Damon Albarn, Dot Allison, Marc Almond, David Bates

Votes: 1,089

42. Are We Not Men? (2012)

90 min | Documentary, Musical | Post-production

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The official documentary of the band DEVO. This new film takes you into the brains that created the concept, the music, and the spectacle of Devo. Devo the band was more than the highly ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Pemberton | Stars: David Bowie, Dave Grohl, Iggy Pop, Chrissie Hynde

43. Hotel California: LA from The Byrds to The Eagles (2007 TV Movie)

90 min | Documentary

8.1
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Add a Plot

Director: Chris Wilson | Stars: David Crosby, David Geffen, Mark Strong

Votes: 63

44. The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights (2009)

Unrated | 93 min | Documentary, Music

8.0
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In 2007 the legendary American duo White Stripes toured Canada. Besides playing the usual venues they challenged themselves and played in buses, cafés and for Indian tribal elders. Music ... See full summary »

Director: Emmett Malloy | Stars: Alex Debogorski, Maria Durham, Jack White, Meg White

Votes: 2,186

45. Meeting People Is Easy (1998)

99 min | Documentary, Music

7.5
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An entertaining "rockumentary" about Radiohead that shows some of the tedium of being a rock star, as well as some of the fun stuff.

Director: Grant Gee | Stars: Radiohead, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien

Votes: 2,834 | Gross: $0.05M

46. Queen: Champions of the World (1995)

120 min | Documentary, Music

9.1
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This documentary on the music group Queen includes performance and rehearsal footage, and exclusive interviews from backstage at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.

Directors: Rudi Dolezal, Hannes Rossacher | Stars: Queen, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor

Votes: 140

47. The Punk Singer (2013)

Not Rated | 81 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
75 Metascore

A look at the life of activist, musician, and cultural icon Kathleen Hanna, who formed the punk band Bikini Kill and pioneered the "riot grrrl" movement of the 1990s.

Director: Sini Anderson | Stars: Kathleen Hanna, Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon, Joan Jett

Votes: 2,353 | Gross: $0.12M

48. Muscle Shoals (2013)

PG | 111 min | Documentary, Biography, History

7.7
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75 Metascore

A documentary that celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the signature sound he developed in songs such as "I'll Take You There", "Brown Sugar", and "When a Man Loves a Woman".

Director: Greg 'Freddy' Camalier | Stars: Rick Hall, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards, Candi Staton

Votes: 3,029 | Gross: $0.70M

49. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.5
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An in-depth look at the Canadian rock band Rush, chronicling the band's musical evolution from their progressive rock sound of the '70s to their current heavy rock style.

Directors: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen | Stars: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, Trent Reznor

Votes: 3,327

50. Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings (2012)

Not Rated | 54 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

8.2
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This intimate documentary gives viewers a singular glimpse into Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele virtuoso, but also Jake, the young boy who grew up in a modest apartment to a single mother and unsuspectingly rose to international stardom.

Director: Tadashi Nakamura | Star: Jake Shimabukuro

Votes: 90