The Best Music Documentaries So Far...

by hoonsoup | created - 08 Oct 2013 | updated - 08 Oct 2013 | Public

The best music documentaries i have seen giving an insight into the highs and lows of the creative process and the business.

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1. Dig! (2004)

R | 107 min | Documentary, Music

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: 5,515 | Gross: $0.13M

2. Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story (2005)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary

Documentary film based on the life of the late Andrew Wood, Singer/Songwriter for the legendary Seattle based band Mother Love Bone, a band that would later become Pearl Jam.

Director: Scot Barbour | Stars: Jeff Ament, Chris Cornell, Stone Gossard, Kim Thayil

Votes: 106

3. Last Days Here (2011)

Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary, Music

71 Metascore

Documentary follows Bobby Liebling, lead singer of seminal hard rock/heavy metal band Pentagram, as he battles decades of hard drug addiction and personal demons to try and get his life back.

Directors: Don Argott, Demian Fenton | Stars: Bobby Liebling, Sean Pelletier, Phil Anselmo

Votes: 1,579 | Gross: $0.01M

4. Beware of Mr. Baker (2012)

Not Rated | 100 min | Documentary

78 Metascore

Ginger Baker looks back on his musical career with Cream and Blind Faith; his introduction to Fela Kuti; his self-destructive patterns and losses of fortune; and his current life inside a fortified South African compound.

Director: Jay Bulger | Stars: Ginger Baker, Femi Kuti, Eric Clapton, Stewart Copeland

Votes: 2,790 | Gross: $0.11M

5. Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

G | 105 min | Documentary, Music

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: 14,714 | Gross: $7.00M

6. Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

PG | 108 min | Documentary, Music

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: 3,121 | Gross: $1.60M

7. Pearl Jam Twenty (2011)

Not Rated | 109 min | Documentary, History, Music

59 Metascore

A documentary on the band Pearl Jam that marks their 20th anniversary in the year 2011.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Cameron Crowe

Votes: 7,099 | Gross: $0.45M

8. Sound City (2013)

Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

A documentary on the fabled recording studio that was located in Van Nuys, California.

Director: Dave Grohl | Stars: Trent Reznor, Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, Vinny Appice

Votes: 11,032 | Gross: $0.42M

9. loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies (2006)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Music

63 Metascore

loudQUIETloud is the story of this unforseen plot twist. A deeply compelling portrait of four band members and their difficult, tense, and ultimately triumphant return.

Directors: Steven Cantor, Matthew Galkin | Stars: Frank Black, Kim Deal, David Lovering, Joey Santiago

Votes: 1,216 | Gross: $0.00M

10. You're Gonna Miss Me (2005)

91 min | Documentary, Music

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: 892 | Gross: $0.00M

11. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)

Not Rated | 80 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

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: 14,404 | Gross: $0.67M

12. Hype! (1996)

Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary, History, Music

Documentary covering the growth and subsequent overexposure of the Seattle "grunge" music scene in the early 90s

Director: Doug Pray | Stars: 7 Year Bitch, Valerie M. Agnew, Carrie Akre, Jeff Ament

Votes: 2,063 | Gross: $0.27M

13. Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

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

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: 55,600 | Gross: $3.97M

14. Stop Making Sense (1984)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary, Music

89 Metascore

An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steven Scales

Votes: 9,833 | Gross: $5.02M

15. The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

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

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: 8,021 | Gross: $0.33M

16. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

Not Rated | 141 min | Documentary, Music

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: 15,200 | Gross: $1.22M

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

Unrated | 124 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

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: 3,361 | Gross: $0.25M

18. The Last Waltz (1978)

PG | 117 min | Documentary, Music

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: 13,955 | Gross: $0.32M

19. Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film (2012)

60 min | Documentary, Musical

A collection of live performances and a glimpse of the road from Bill Callahan's American leg of the 2011 Apocalypse tour.

Director: Hanly Banks | Star: Bill Callahan

Votes: 29

20. A Band Called Death (2012)

Not Rated | 96 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

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: 3,123 | Gross: $0.13M

21. Muscle Shoals (2013)

PG | 111 min | Documentary, Biography, History

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: 3,112 | Gross: $0.70M

22. Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell (2008)

Not Rated | 71 min | Documentary, Romance

A portrait, mostly chronological, of composer, cellist, and vocalist Arthur Russell (1951-1992). His parents, friends and colleagues such as Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass, his long-time ... See full summary »

Director: Matt Wolf | Stars: Bob Blank, Ernie Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass

Votes: 404

23. It Might Get Loud (2008)

PG | 98 min | Documentary, Music

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, Dallas Schoo

Votes: 11,442 | Gross: $1.61M

24. TAD: Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears (2008 Video)

93 min | Documentary

Sex, Drugs, and Rock N Roll with a side dish of lawsuits and in-band turmoil, Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears chronicles the band's rise and eventual disintegration. It contains archival ... See full summary »

Directors: Adam Pease, Ryan Short | Stars: Mark Arm, Chad Channing, Charles Cross, Kurt Danielson

Votes: 45

25. Marley (2012)

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

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: 12,061 | Gross: $1.41M

The best Reggae documentary to date...

27. Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (2006)

95 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

65 Metascore

A documentary on the influential musician Scott Walker.

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

Votes: 1,111

28. Meeting People Is Easy (1998)

99 min | Documentary, Music

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: 2,863 | Gross: $0.05M

29. Bananaz (2008)

92 min | Documentary, Music

A documentary on the cryptic cartoon band, Gorillaz.

Director: Ceri Levy | Stars: Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett, De La Soul, Ibrahim Ferrer

Votes: 268

30. Gimme Shelter (1970)

GP | 91 min | Documentary, Music, Thriller

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: 9,280 | Gross: $0.25M

31. Woodstock (1970)

R | 184 min | Documentary, History, Music

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

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

Votes: 14,017 | Gross: $50.00M

32. To Tulsa and Back: On Tour with J.J. Cale (2005 Video)

167 min | Documentary

There's not really a plot, since this is a Documentary. In my opinion, it's a very good, very entertaining, documentary of the second half of the 2004 JJ Cale Band tour. I'm Rocky, the ... See full synopsis »

Director: Jörg Bundschuh | Stars: J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton, Rocky Frisco, David Fulgham

Votes: 134

33. A Skin, a Night (2008 Video)

63 min | Documentary, Music

Seeking the right lyrics, notes, sounds, instruments to express yourself is not easy. It's even harder if a whole group of artists is looking into a sea of good ideas. A communion with the ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Moon | Stars: Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf

Votes: 88