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Rock And Roll Movies | 20 Films That Will Rock Your World

Rock and Roll Movies

From the gritty streets of Liverpool to the sun-soaked boulevards of Los Angeles, rock and roll has been the soundtrack of rebellion, love, and everything in between.

The movies that have captured this spirit are as diverse and dynamic as the music itself. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the films that have rocked our screens and rolled into our hearts, showcasing the best rock and roll movies of all time.

Get ready to turn up the volume and experience the power of rock and roll cinema

Counting Down The Best Rock And Roll Movies

20. Airheads (1994)

Rock and Roll Movies

“Airheads” kicks off our rock and roll movie list with a bang. Set in Los Angeles, this ’90s film is about The Lone Rangers, a band that takes a radio station hostage to get their demo played.

Starring Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler, it’s a fun take on the “get big” story, with a dash of Die Hard-esque thriller and great music jokes. The band’s music isn’t too bad, and the genre jokes hit the mark, though the character arcs are flat, and Fraser’s singing leaves something to be desired.

19. Heavy Metal (1981)

Rock and Roll Movies

This animated fantasy movie brings early metal album art to life. “Heavy Metal” is an anthological accompaniment to a soundtrack, featuring dystopian fantasy vignettes linked by the narrator, an immortal green orb called “The Loc-Nar.”

The film’s rotoscope animation style is incredibly detailed, inspired by a comic magazine series of the same name. The soundtrack features ’80s hits from Devo, Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, Sammy Hagar, and more.

Both epic and gritty, the film can be slow at times, with some strange song choices.

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18. 200 Motels (1971)

Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels” is a surreal tribute to the insanity of life on the road with a rock band. Shot on video, this highly experimental film is loaded with experimental effects, acidic color manipulation, and speed changes.

The story references real conflicts within Zappa’s band, with dialogue from secret recordings. The soundtrack features new songs, orchestral arrangements, and concert footage, with cameos from Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and The London Philharmonic Orchestra.

While boldly surreal and featuring awesome music, the film’s humor can feel dated, and it can be hard to finish.

17. Head (1968)

Rock and Roll Movies

“Head” is a celebration of the end of The Monkees, featuring absurdist shorts that flow with a stream of consciousness. Directed by Bob Rafelson and co-written by Jack Nicholson, the film deconstructs the band’s pop image with ink film coloring, crazy jump cuts, and Surrealist struggles.

“Head” is absurd and fun, but the film lacks a strong story, and the music is just okay.

16. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)

Rock and Roll Movies

This film is a teen rocker’s fantasy, with Riff Randell leading a student rebellion against the evil principal Togar, with help from the Ramones. The film is high energy, with fun slapstick “Rock Out” gags and a punk rock spirit.

The rebellious students’ wardrobes contrast with the school’s uniformity, underscoring the rebellion against establishments trying to stop rock.

Despite being a bit cheesy and low budget, the film is filled with fun and energy.

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15. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Rock and Roll Movies

Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury earned him an Oscar in this biopic of Queen. The film features a cameo from Mike Myers and a soundtrack loaded with songs from the band’s career.

While the film follows a similar formula to other rock biopics, it’s a playful ride with great performances and a killer song choice, despite some flaws in chronology and dramatization.

14. Detroit Rock City (1999)

Rock and Roll Movies

Set in 1978, “Detroit Rock City” follows four friends desperate to see KISS play in Detroit. The film is a coming-of-age story with a rock and roll twist, filled with disco-era rivalries and head-shop humor.

The visuals may not be stunning, but the story is a fun celebration of adolescent defiance and the “us and them” feeling that fueled the rock and roll movement.

13. Yellow Submarine (1968)

“Yellow Submarine” holds an important place in The Beatles’ legacy, with its unique visual style and soundtrack featuring many Beatles’ staples.

The story starts with Ringo recruited to help save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies, reflecting the hippie sentiment of rock music at the time.

The film is a great love letter to the imaginative power of music, despite being a bit slow and nonsensical at times.

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12. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Rock and Roll Movies

A spoof of rock biopics, covering the career of fictional rockstar Dewey Cox, who had a hand in every significant moment of the genre’s history. The film spoofs scenes from other rock biopics and borrows jokes from the lives of real rock legends.

It’s a genre spoof, a comedy, and a love letter to classic rock, with John C. Reilly perfectly cast as Dewey Cox. The film is ambitious and works well enough to earn its place as a classic.

11. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Rock and Roll Movies

“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is a time-traveling comedy about two high school rockers who receive help from a time traveler to pass their history class and write a song that will unite the world in peace.

The plot is easy to absorb, making it one of the best rock and roll movies ever. The journey is filled with air guitar moments and a comedy montage that builds to one of the best in film history.

10. Wayne’s World (1992)

“Wayne’s World” showcases Mike Myers’ ability to create timeless characters. Directed by Penelope Spheeris, who has a history with rock and roll, the film is filled with excellent one-liners and fourth wall breaking jokes.

The plot centers around Wayne and Garth’s TV show and the pressure to sell out their classic style.

A must-watch for any rock fan, with great production design, amazing characters, and a well-done plot.

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9. Purple Rain (1984)

Rock and Roll Movies

Based on Prince’s life, “Purple Rain” is a highly emotional musical film about a young rocker known as “The Kid” and his band The Revolution. The film captures every bit of flare and charisma, with Prince’s performance being one of the greatest of all time.

The wardrobe is immaculate, and the film won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score. It’s a true story with elements of musical performances and a slightly sad story.

8. Wild Zero (1999)

Rock and Roll Movies

“Wild Zero” is about a Japanese rock band, Guitar Wolf, fighting off an army of alien-created zombies. The film plays mostly as a B-horror movie with all the blood, monster makeup, and more blood to boot.

It’s praised for its tasteful handling of a transgender character, which was rare in films of that period and genre.

7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rock and Roll Movies

Part late-night comedy, part monster movie, and part musical extravaganza, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” follows Brad and Janet as their world turns upside down after meeting Dr. Frankenfurter.

The set and costumes steal the show, with the film’s well-known musical number “Let’s Do The Time Warp Again” capturing the Transylvanians in a low-budget Broadway show style.

The film has a well-known cult following and even inspired a TV remake in 2016.

6. Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)

“Pink Floyd: The Wall” is a feature-length dramatization of Floyd’s masterpiece, exploring the breakdown at the peak of an artist’s career.

The film stars Bob Geldof as Pink, with animated sequences and moodily-lit sequences that ponder the effects of war, trauma, isolation, and the power of idols.

The soundtrack features unique renditions of songs from the album, giving it a life of its own outside the studio album.

5. Tommy (1975)

bets rock movies

The Who’s rock opera comes to life in this film about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who becomes a pinball champion and a messianic figure. “Tommy” is a visually stunning and musically rich experience.

“The Who” is credited with marketing an album as a “Rock Opera,” with “Tommy” being about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who becomes a pinball champion and a messianic figure.

The film is packed with commentary on religion, society, and idolatry, with a soundtrack filled with covers of The Who’s songs by exceptional artists like Elton John, Tina Turner, and Eric Clapton.

The elaborate costumes and sets evoke classic studio musicals, making it a powerful visual and musical experience.

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4. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006)

“Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny” is an origin story masterpiece about Jack Black and Kyle Gass’s quest to find a legendary guitar pick made from the devil’s tooth.

The adventure is laced with signature Jack Black physical comedy, a rock training montage, and a colorful mushroom trip musical number.

At the same time, it’s soundtrack is produced to perfection, containing all original compositions made for the film.

3. Almost Famous (2000)

best movies about rock and roll

“Almost Famous” follows a young writer named William Miller who aspires to be a rock and roll journalist. The film explores themes of unrequited love, transient families, greed, and youthful naïveté, painting pictures of a genre built on a lie.

The ensemble cast includes Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Frances McDormand, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, making it an incredibly heartfelt coming-of-age story amidst the death of rock.

2. School of Rock (2003)

rock and roll movies

“School of Rock”is a rare film that perfectly balances family-friendly and adult themes. Jack Black plays a down-on-his-luck rocker who becomes a substitute teacher and discovers his students’ musical talents.

He teaches them to believe in themselves and chase their dreams, just as rock music has always taught us.

The soundtrack is loaded with classic rock hits, and the battle of the bands performance is unforgettable.

1. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

This Is Spinal Tap” is a hilarious mockumentary directed by Rob Reiner, following the fictional band Spinal Tap on their declining American tour. The film is a brilliant parody of the “behind the music” genre, with fantastic performances and guest appearances from Fran Drescher, Ed Begley Jr., Billy Crystal, and more.

The songs, written by the band, are genuine hard rock hits, and the film is filled with unforgettable quotes and scenes. It’s a perfect blend of music and comedy, making it an iconic rock movie.

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Thanks for letting us entertain you. Next time you’re mindlessly scrolling Netflix for something to watch on a Wednesday night, give one of these classic rock and roll movies a go.

Let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments below