The 4 Best Types of Music-Themed Movies

by Megan Hemenway
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There’s no doubt that Hollywood has produced its fair share of music-based movies. Many of them rake in big box office bucks while others inevitably flop. Either way, something truly magical happens when the perfect song combines with just the right on-screen moment. Even when realistically, a musical number would never actually occur. So, in honor of these films, here are our four best types of “music” movies.

1. Biopics

Recently, there has been a doozy of biopics based on bands. Just last year, audiences were gifted with both “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rocketman.” The first followed the trials and tribulations of the rock band, Queen, while the latter gave a highly musical take on the glamorous yet sad life of Elton John. Both did amazing in theaters. This is because biopics not only get audiences going with music they love, but they also put a story to our favorite artists. Although the stories are often sad, it is incredible to see the process a band/artist goes through to become the star they are now. Plus, biopics rarely lack their share of shenanigans and rock-star antics.

Examples: Bohemian Rhapsody, The Dirt, Rocketman, Jersey Boys, Straight Outta Compton, Get On Up, Walk the Line

2. Movies That Use Music to Drive the Plot

Now, this category may seem a little ambiguous, but it definitely has its distinctions. While most movies typically have music, these films music to their greatest advantage. They set the tone, move the plot along, and overall just make the experience that much more memorable. One film in particular that represents this perfectly is “Baby Driver.” This film is not only about music and the protagonist’s relationship with it, but also it has a soundtrack that deepens the meaning of the movie and makes some it’s best scenes even more iconic.

Examples: Baby Driver, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, A Star is Born, Yesterday, Blinded by the Light, Guardians of the Galaxy,

3. Musicals

Of course, we couldn’t talk about “music” movies without highlighting musicals. These films are more than self-explanatory. Rather than just featuring music, their soundtracks are the entire exposition, action, climax, and ending. The music almost acts as one of the characters. While most musicals start on stage then move to the box office, one interesting film is “The Greatest Showman.” Now, this film is no doubt a musical, however, it came to be without a previous stage run. It has a variety of stunning, inspirational numbers that make the film what it is. Without the music, musicals wouldn’t be possible.

Examples: Mamma Mia, The Greatest Showman, Cats, Singin’ in the Rain, Into the Woods, Les Miserables, Rent

4. Movies About Music

Moving from the most musical to probably the least, we have movies simply about music. Now, where these movies use music to move them along, they usually rely more heavily on their plot. However, this does not mean that these films are any less interesting and immersive than the others. One movie to note is “Whiplash.” This film follows a music student who begins to study under one of the toughest, most aggressive jazz musicians at his school. Of course, the film has many aspects, but music is the most important theme. Not only do we see this boy’s journey to becoming a better drummer, but we also see how it is his downfall. Just like in biopics, films can sometimes show the darker side of the music industry. Either way, these films can be informative, vibrant, or just a lot of weird fun.

Examples: The Pianist, Whiplash, Almost Famous, Cold War, Pitch Perfect, That Thing You Do, Nowhere Boy

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In the end, “music” movies come in many shapes and sizes but all hold something special in them. Music can be one of the best additions to a film, so to use it, and use it well, is an admirable skill. So, which “music” movies do you love? Are there any that you hate? Let us know!

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