20 Best Musical Biopics of All Time

The most remarkable thing about Anton Corbijn's intense, heartbreaking and surprisingly funny film about Joy Division front man Ian Curtis is that it was Sam Riley's film debut.
Great Balls of Fire
Though it's been criticized for sanitizing the true story, Great Balls of Fire succeeds in capturing the way rock and roll shook up the country completely.
Lady Sings the Blues
If you ever need a reminder not to write off a film completely based on casting, just re-watch Diana Ross' Oscar-nominated performance as Billie Holliday.
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I'm Not There
Less a straight-forward biopic than a series of vignettes based on Bob Dylan's public personas, I'm Not There is worth a watch for Cate Blanchett's gender-bending tour de force alone.
Walk the Line
Before he decided to launch a rap career - and chronicle it in the insane I'm Still Here - Joaquin Phoenix proved his musical chops with a wonderful, Oscar-nominated performance as Johnny Cash.
It was easy to write off Jamie Foxx as a goofy comedian, and then he gave a career-changing, Oscar winning performance as Ray Charles.
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What's Love Got to Do with It
Tina Turner was a powerhouse performer, and she needed someone to give a powerhouse performance in order to capture that on film; Angela Bassett delivers on that front, and then some.
La Vie En Rose
Marion Cotillard came out of nowhere to win the Best Actress Oscar in 2007, and it's all thanks to her intense, emotional, devastating portrayal of French singer Edith Piaf.
Nowhere Boy
Before he was a musical and cultural icon, John Lennon was just a wisecracking boy from Liverpool with a love of rock and roll and a difficult relationship with his mother... then he met Paul, and the rest is history.
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Coal Miner's Daughter
Although many biopics face contention from the artists they're celebrating or the families thereof, Loretta Lynn was directly involved with her film, and she even hand-picked Sissy Spacek for the lead role.
Sid and Nancy
A critical and box office flop upon release, Sid and Nancy has endured as a cult classic largely thanks to the in-your-face, self-destructive performances from Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb.
Behind the Candelabra
It might have been a TV movie, but Behind the Candelabra has everything that makes a great big-screen biopic: music, secrets, scandals and two powerhouse performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
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Selena not only captured the life, career and tragic death of one of the most influential Tejano musicians of all time, but it also turned Jennifer Lopez from Fly Girl into a superstar.
Unlike most biopics, which paint their subjects in the best light possible, Amadeus showcased the childish, egotistical side of its title character, and is all the better for it.
Forget Jersey Boys; if you want to see Clint Eastwood handle a musical, look no further than Bird, his film about the life of iconic jazz saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker.
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24 Hour Party People
A weird, goofy, "post-modern" take on the rise of New Wave told through the eyes - and biases - of Tony Wilson, a TV presenter and record label owner who managed bands like the Happy Mondays, New Order, and Joy Division.
Before there was Ringo, there was Stuart Sutcliffe; the forgotten Beatle gets his due in Backbeat thanks to a fantastic performance by Stephen Dorff.
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
Andy Serkis doesn't need motion capture to give an incredible performance, and his intense, angry, charming and unpredictable turn as punk pioneer Ian Dury proves just that.
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La Bamba
Though it doesn't have the same kind of glamour as some other music biopics, La Bamba succeeds simply by telling the story of the man behind the song that's been stuck in everyone's head for decades.
Notorious is far from a perfect film, but it's worth a watch for the way that newcomer Jamal Woolard inhabits Biggie (and for the chance to see Anthony Mackie play Tupac Shakur).