Biopics of Classical Composers

by ursulahemard | created - 05 Jun 2011 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

biographical movies about the lives of composers of classical music ... research started in 2007 ... work in progress ... any suggestions welcome

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1. Strauss' Great Waltz (1934)

Approved | 80 min | Biography, Music, Romance

The story of Johann Strauss the elder and younger.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Esmond Knight, Jessie Matthews, Fay Compton

Votes: 1,000

Johann Strauss I (German: Johann Baptist Strauß, Johann Strauss (Vater); also Johann Baptist Strauss, Johann Strauss, Sr., the Elder, the Father; March 14, 1804 – September 25, 1849) was an Austrian Romantic composer. Johann Strauss II (October 25, 1825 – June 3, 1899), also known as Johann Strauss, Jr., the Younger, the Son (German: Sohn), Johann Baptist Strauss, was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas.

2. The Life and Loves of Beethoven (1936)

116 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Lyrical biography of the classical composer, depicted as a romantical hero, an accursed artist.

Director: Abel Gance | Stars: Harry Baur, Annie Ducaux, Jany Holt, Jean-Louis Barrault

Votes: 211

Ludwig van Beethoven (17 December 1770[1] – 26 March 1827) was a German composer.

3. The Great Waltz (1938)

Passed | 104 min | Biography, Drama, Music

In 1845 Vienna, Johann Strauss II - Schani to his friends - would rather write and perform waltzes than anything else, this at a time when a waltz is not considered proper society music. ... See full summary »

Directors: Julien Duvivier, Victor Fleming, Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Luise Rainer, Fernand Gravey, Miliza Korjus, Hugh Herbert

Votes: 894

Johann Strauss II (October 25, 1825 – June 3, 1899), also known as Johann Strauss, Jr., the Younger, the Son (German: Sohn), Johann Baptist Strauss, was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas.

4. New Wine (1941)

87 min | Drama

Biography of composer Franz Schubert

Director: Reinhold Schünzel | Stars: Alan Curtis, Ilona Massey, Billy Gilbert, Binnie Barnes

Votes: 16

Franz Peter Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer.

Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem).

6. The Great Mr. Handel (1942)

Not Rated | 89 min | Biography, Drama, Music

A lavish period drama produced in 1942 by Lord Rank's G.H.W. Productions Ltd.

Director: Norman Walker | Stars: Wilfrid Lawson, Elizabeth Allan, Malcolm Keen, Michael Shepley

Votes: 61

George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German, later British Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos.

7. A Song to Remember (1945)

Not Rated | 113 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Biography of Frederic Chopin.

Director: Charles Vidor | Stars: Paul Muni, Merle Oberon, Cornel Wilde, Nina Foch

Votes: 1,028

Frédéric François Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, was a Polish composer and a virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era, who wrote primarily for the solo piano.

8. The Magic Bow (1946)

Approved | 106 min | Biography, Musical, Romance

Biography of the famous--and notorious--Italian violinist Nicola Paganini.

Director: Bernard Knowles | Stars: Stewart Granger, Phyllis Calvert, Jean Kent, Dennis Price

Votes: 143

Niccolò (or Nicolò) Paganini (27 October 1782 – 27 May 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique.

9. Song of Love (1947)

119 min | Drama, Music, Romance

Composer Robert Schumann struggles to compose his symphonies while his loving wife Clara offers her support. Also helping the Schumanns is their lifelong friend, composer Johannes Brahms.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid, Robert Walker, Henry Daniell

Votes: 798

Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck; 13 September 1819 – 20 May 1896) Robert Schumann (8 June 1810 – 29 July 1856) Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897)

10. Young Chopin (1952)

Approved | 98 min | Biography, Drama, History

A story of the formative years in Chopin's life between 1825 and 1831, a time of social unrest throughout Europe, of rising nationalism, and of cries for reform. Chopin, an outstanding ... See full summary »

Director: Aleksander Ford | Stars: Czeslaw Wollejko, Zbigniew Lobodzinski, Józef Nieweglowski, Jerzy Duszynski

Votes: 35

Frédéric François Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, was a Polish composer and a virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era, who wrote primarily for the solo piano.

11. Puccini (1953)

119 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Produced in Italy in breathtaking Technicolor, this biographical story of Puccini (played by L'avventura's Gabriele Ferzetti) spans his creative life from early student days to the height ... See full summary »

Director: Carmine Gallone | Stars: Gabriele Ferzetti, Märta Torén, Nadia Gray, Paolo Stoppa

Votes: 38

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (22 December 1858 – 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas are among the important operas played as standards.

12. Magic Fire (1956)

Approved | 120 min | Biography, Drama

The life and career of German composer Richard Wagner.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Yvonne De Carlo, Carlos Thompson, Rita Gam, Valentina Cortese

Votes: 96

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, "music dramas").

Franz Peter Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer.

14. Song Without End (1960)

Not Rated | 141 min | Biography, Drama, Music

The romantic story of Hungarian pianist Franz Liszt (Dirk Bogarde), whose scandalous love affair forced him to abandon his adoring audiences.

Directors: Charles Vidor, George Cukor | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Capucine, Geneviève Page, Patricia Morison

Votes: 508

Franz Liszt (Hungarian Liszt Ferencz, in modern usage Liszt Ferenc (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was a prolific 19th-century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger, philanthropist and Franciscan tertiary.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)

16. Omnibus (1967–2003)
Episode: Song of Summer (1968)

Not Rated | 74 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

Traces last 5 years of the life of Frederick Delius through the eyes of a young composer called Eric Fenby.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Max Adrian, Maureen Pryor, Christopher Gable, David Collings

Votes: 305

Frederick Theodore Albert Delius, CH (29 January 1862 – 10 June 1934) was an English composer.

17. The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968)

94 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach as presented by his wife, Anna.

Directors: Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub | Stars: Gustav Leonhardt, Christiane Lang, Paolo Carlini, Ernst Castelli

Votes: 922

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period.

18. The Music Lovers (1971)

R | 123 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

Piano teacher Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky struggles against his homosexuality by marrying, but unfortunately he chooses a nymphomaniac whom he cannot satisfy.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian, Christopher Gable

Votes: 2,027

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (25 April/7 May 1840 – 25 October/6 November 1893), often anglicized as Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was a Russian composer of the late-Romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire

19. Tchaikovsky (1970)

Not Rated | 157 min | Biography, Drama

The life and work of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tschaikovsky is shown through his relationship with aristocratic art connoisseur Nadezhda Filaretovna von Meck.

Director: Igor Talankin | Stars: Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy, Antonina Shuranova, Kirill Lavrov, Vladislav Strzhelchik

Votes: 330

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (25 April/7 May 1840 – 25 October/6 November 1893), often anglicized as Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was a Russian composer of the late-Romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire

20. Song of Norway (1970)

G | 138 min | Biography, Drama, Musical

Based on the life of Norway's greatest composer Edvard Grieg, and filmed in Norway where he lived. The soundtrack is all Edvard Grieg's music with added lyrics.

Director: Andrew L. Stone | Stars: Florence Henderson, Toralv Maurstad, Christina Schollin, Frank Porretta

Votes: 358

Edvard Hagerup Grieg (15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist.

21. The Strauss Family (1972)

60 min | Drama, Romance

A seven-part mini-series produced in England about Vienna's Strauss family in the 19th-century. Members of the London Symphony Orchestra provided the music.

Stars: Stuart Wilson, Anne Stallybrass, Barbara Ferris, Christopher Benjamin

Votes: 82

Johann Strauss I Sr., the Elder, the Father; (March 14, 1804 – September 25, 1849) Johann Strauss II (October 25, 1825 – June 3, 1899), also known as Johann Strauss, Jr., the Younger, the Son (German: Sohn) Eduard Strauss (15 March 1835 – 28 December 1916) Josef Strauss (20 August 1827 – 22 July 1870)

22. Mahler (1974)

PG | 115 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Composer Gustav Mahler's life, told in a series of flashbacks as he and his wife discuss their failing marriage during a train journey.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague, Miriam Karlin

Votes: 1,930

Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austrian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation.

23. Lisztomania (1975)

R | 103 min | Biography, Comedy, Music

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt attempts to overcome his hedonistic lifestyle while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas, Ringo Starr

Votes: 1,851

Franz Liszt (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was a prolific 19th-century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger, philanthropist and Franciscan tertiary.

24. Verdi (1982– )

Not Rated | 70 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Giuseppe Verdi was born in 1813 and lived until 1901, his life spanning nearly a century of political turmoil and considerable personal turmoil. This 1982 biographical television miniseries... See full summary »

Stars: Ronald Pickup, Carla Fracci, Giampiero Albertini, Omero Antonutti

Votes: 206

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (10 October 1813 – 27 January 1901) was an Italian composer of operas.

25. Wagner (1981– )

300 min | Biography, Drama, History

A huge panorama of Wagner's life and work, from before the 1848 Revolution, through his exile in Switzerland, his rescue by the besotted King Ludwig II of Bavaria to the final triumph at ... See full summary »

Stars: Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave, László Gálffi, John Gielgud

Votes: 392

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, "music dramas").

26. Spring Symphony (1983)

PG-13 | 103 min | Biography, Music

Chronicles the illustrious 19th-century love affair between composer Robert Schumann and pianist Claire Weick.

Director: Peter Schamoni | Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Herbert Grönemeyer, Rolf Hoppe, Anja-Christine Preussler

Votes: 271

Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck; 13 September 1819 – 20 May 1896) Robert Schumann (8 June 1810 – 29 July 1856) Johannes Brahms (7 May 1833 – 3 April 1897)

27. Amadeus (1984)

R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, History

93 Metascore

The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporary composer who was insanely jealous of Mozart's talent and claimed to have murdered him.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice

Votes: 314,404 | Gross: $51.97M

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)

28. Puccini (1984 TV Movie)

113 min | Biography, Drama

In Torre del Lago, by Lake Massaciuccoli, Puccini is writing "The Girl of the Golden West" when his wife Elvira accuses him of a dalliance with their maid, Doria Manfredi, a young women ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Palmer | Stars: Robert Stephens, Virginia McKenna, Judith Howarth, Robert Urquhart

Votes: 16

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (22 December 1858 – 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas are among the important operas played as standards.

George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (23 February 1685 (O.S.) [(N.S.) 5 March] – 14 April 1759)

30. Vergeßt Mozart (1985)

92 min | Mystery

In the dead of night, a few hours after Mozart's death, the usual suspects (Konstanze, Salieri, van Swieten, etc.) are summoned to Mozart's room by Count Pergen, head of the secret police, ... See full summary »

Director: Miloslav Luther | Stars: Armin Mueller-Stahl, Max Tidof, Wolfgang Preiss, Catarina Raacke

Votes: 65

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)

31. God Rot Tunbridge Wells! (1985 TV Movie)

119 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Shortly before death, George Fredrick Handel (1685-1759), old, blind, portly, sometimes raging and usually reflective, narrates a look back over his life. As he tells his story, his music ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Palmer | Stars: Trevor Howard, Dave Griffiths, Christopher Bramwell, Ranald Neilson

Votes: 23

George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (23 February 1685 (O.S.) [(N.S.) 5 March] – 14 April 1759)

Franz Peter Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer.

33. Wahnfried (1986)

112 min | Drama, Musical

Richard's Wagner and his wife Cosima.

Director: Peter Patzak | Stars: Otto Sander, Tatja Seibt, Fabienne Babe, Peter Matic

Votes: 37

Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, "music dramas").

34. Testimony (1987)

Not Rated | 157 min | Biography, Drama, History

The story of the great Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) and his life and career during the rule of Stalin.

Director: Tony Palmer | Stars: Ben Kingsley, Sherry Baines, Magdalen Asquith, Mark Asquith

Votes: 208

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (25 September[1] 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet composer and pianist, and a prominent figure of 20th-century music.

35. Paganini (1989)

81 min | Biography, Drama, History

Klaus Kinski believed that he lived through the same experiences as the legendary "devil violinist" Niccolò Paganini, who set all of nineteenth-century Europe into a frenzy and through ... See full summary »

Director: Klaus Kinski | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Debora Caprioglio, Nikolai Kinski, Dalila Di Lazzaro

Votes: 819

Niccolò (or Nicolò) Paganini (27 October 1782 – 27 May 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer.

36. Impromptu (1991)

PG-13 | 107 min | Biography, Comedy, Music

In 1830s France, pianist/composer Frédéric Chopin is pursued romantically by the determined, individualistic woman who uses the name George Sand.

Director: James Lapine | Stars: Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters

Votes: 4,144 | Gross: $4.08M

Frédéric François Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849),

37. La note bleue (1991)

135 min | Drama, Music, Romance

the film covers the last few days of fragile Chopin's professional life.

Director: Andrzej Zulawski | Stars: Marie-France Pisier, Janusz Olejniczak, Sophie Marceau, Féodor Atkine

Votes: 310

Frédéric François Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849),

38. Tous les matins du monde (1991)

Not Rated | 115 min | Biography, Drama, History

It's late 17th century. The viola da gamba player Monsieur de Sainte Colombe comes home to find that his wife died while he was away. In his grief he builds a small house in his garden into... See full summary »

Director: Alain Corneau | Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Anne Brochet, Guillaume Depardieu

Votes: 5,593 | Gross: $3.09M

Marin Marais (31 May 1656, Paris – 15 August 1728, Paris) was a French composer and viol player. He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully, often conducting his operas, and with master of the bass viol Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for six months. He was hired as a musician in 1676 to the royal court of Versailles.

39. Beethoven Lives Upstairs (1992 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 51 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

A young boy learns to appreciate the music of his upstairs boarder, Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Director: David Devine | Stars: Neil Munro, Illya Woloshyn, Fiona Reid, Paul Soles

Votes: 403

Ludwig van Beethoven (17 December 1770[1] – 26 March 1827)

40. Bizet's Dream (1994 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 53 min | Music, Drama, Family

A 12 year old Parisian girl takes piano lessons from composer Georges Bizet and becomes captivated by his story of the gypsy Carmen.

Director: David Devine | Stars: Maurice Godin, Brittany Madgett, Catherine Barroll, Yseult Lendvai

Votes: 36

Georges Bizet (25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875), registered at birth as Alexandre César Léopold Bizet, was a French composer of the romantic era. Best known for his operas in a career cut short by his early death, Bizet achieved few successes before his final work, Carmen, which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire.

41. Immortal Beloved (1994)

R | 121 min | Biography, Drama, Music

The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved, and the movie tries to ... See full summary »

Director: Bernard Rose | Stars: Gary Oldman, Jeroen Krabbé, Isabella Rossellini, Johanna ter Steege

Votes: 20,738 | Gross: $9.91M

Ludwig van Beethoven (17 December 1770[1] – 26 March 1827)

42. England, My England (1995)

153 min | Biography, Drama, History

In 1960s, a British playwright attempts to reconstruct the life of real life 17th century English composer Henry Purcell even though little is known about him. Purcell's life is reenacted and his music performed.

Director: Tony Palmer | Stars: Simon Callow, Michael Ball, Rebecca Front, Lucy Speed

Votes: 137

Henry Purcell (c. 10 September 1659[Note 1] – 21 November 1695) was an English composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell's legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music.

Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896) was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets.

44. Rossini's Ghost (1996 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 52 min | Biography, Drama, Family

Nine-year old Reliana witnesses Rossini's efforts to salvage his seemingly cursed new opera, the Barber of Seville.

Director: David Devine | Stars: Joseph Di Mambro, Melissa Pirrera, Frances Bay, Margaret Illmann

Votes: 51

Gioachino Antonio Rossini (29 February 1792 – 13 November 1868) was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces.

45. Liszt's Rhapsody (1996 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 49 min | Biography, Drama, Family

A dashing Franz Liszt appears to have it all - talent, success, wealth and adoring fans. Yet when he takes on a young street musician as a violin student, his own fork is transformed.

Director: Richard Mozer | Stars: Geordie Johnson, Drew Jurecka, Peter Keleghan, Ida Carnevali

Votes: 46

Franz Liszt (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was a prolific 19th-century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger, philanthropist and Franciscan tertiary.

46. The Temptation of Franz Schubert (1997 TV Movie)

60 min | Drama

The darker side of the composer is explored when he stays in the hospital for syphilis.

Director: Peter Webber | Stars: Simon Russell Beale, Jason Flemyng, Emilia Fox, Richard Van Allan

Votes: 29

Franz Peter Schubert ( 31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer

47. Bride of the Wind (2001)

R | 99 min | Biography, Drama, Music

35 Metascore

This movie is a biopic of Alma Mahler, the wife of composer Gustav Mahler (as well as Walter Gropius and Franz Werfel), and the mistress of Oskar Kokoschka.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Sarah Wynter, Vincent Perez, Jonathan Pryce, Simon Verhoeven

Votes: 545 | Gross: $0.42M

Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austrian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation.

48. Chopin. Pragnienie milosci (2002)

R | 134 min | Drama, Romance, Music

The biography of world famous Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin.

Director: Jerzy Antczak | Stars: Piotr Adamczyk, Danuta Stenka, Sara Muldner, Jadwiga Baranska

Votes: 546

Frédéric François Chopin (22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849)

49. Il était une fois Jean-Sébastien Bach (2003)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama

J.S. BACH: THE MUSIC, THE LIFE, THE LEGEND is a dramatic look at the life of Johann Sebastian Bach, a man who dedicated his life to the service of music.

Director: Jean-Louis Guillermou | Stars: Christian Vadim, Elena Lenina, Frédérique Bel, Jean Rochefort

Votes: 71

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period.

50. Eroica (2003 TV Movie)

129 min | Drama, Music

On June 9, 1804, Ludwig van Beethoven and his pupil Ries assemble a group of musicians to give the first performance of his Third Symphony, 'Bonaparte', to his patron Prince Lobkowitz and ... See full summary »

Director: Simon Cellan Jones