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From Walk the Line to The Shine: 10 Best biographies on musicians available to stream online

Ryan Gomez

Ryan Gomez
Jun 24, 2021

Music is the only medium of entertainment that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of age, race, gender, or nationality. It is one of the reasons why singers, bands and musicians have enjoyed immense fanfare and popularity like no other for nearly three-quarters of a century. Musicians from the 50s to 90s in particular have transformed pop culture across the globe. Here is a list of some of the best biographical films based on the lives and careers of some of the greatest musicians of all time:

1
Bohemian Rhapsody
8.4OTTplay Rating
Freddie Mercury is arguably the most beloved singer to have enthralled music lovers for generations. His performance at the Live Aid concert at Wembley in1985 is probably one of the best musical performances from the 20th century. Rami Malek from Mr Robot gave the performance of his lifetime as Freddie Mercury, depicting the highs and lows of one the greatest singers of all time - which earned him an Oscar.
2
Rocketman
7.5OTTplay Rating
Chronicling Sir Elton John’s life is no easy task, simply because of the flamboyant lifestyle Sir Elton led. Taron Egerton, who rose to stardom from The Kingsman, won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the enigmatic musician. The film also won an Oscar for Best Original Song for a motion picture. Sir Elton was initially reluctant to sell the rights to his movie as he deemed only an R-rated version would do justice after he admitted that his life certainly was not ‘PG-13’.
3
Ray
8.1OTTplay Rating
Johnny Cash may not have sold the same number of albums as Elvis Presley, but he is considered by many as just as good as Elvis, if not better. The tale of success, loss, and redemption in Johnny Cash’s life and career was beautifully depicted by the brilliant Joaquin Phoenix, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role. Reese Witherspoon’s turn as a five-time Grammy award-winning singer, June Carter, earned her an Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role.
4
Walk the Line
7.6OTTplay Rating
Johnny Cash may not have sold the same number of albums as Elvis Presley, but he is considered by many as just as good as Elvis, if not better. The tale of success, loss, and redemption in Johnny Cash’s life and career was beautifully depicted by the brilliant Joaquin Phoenix, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role. Reese Witherspoon’s turn as a five-time Grammy award-winning singer, June Carter, earned her an Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role.
5
Notorious
7.2OTTplay Rating
The explosive story of 90s hip-hop stars Christopher ‘Biggie’ Wallace and Tupac Shakur, their intense rivalry and their respective murders have attained immortality. The movie Notorious is told from Biggie’s point of view, leading up to his murder shortly after the murder of Tupac. The movie focuses on Biggie’s life, relationships, and his well-publicised rivalry with Tupac. Both their murders remain unsolved to date.
6
Love & Mercy
7.8OTTplay Rating
One of the most influential rock bands from the 60s, the Beach Boys redefined the rock genre. Love and Mercy jumps between the 60s and 80s with Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson’s mental health issues and treatment under Dr Eugene Landy’s 24-hour therapy program. The film focuses on the struggles Wilson faced during this period and the control Dr Landy had over Wilson’s life. The older version of Brian Wilson is played by John Cusack while the younger version is played by the criminally underrated Paul Dano.
7
Almost Famous
8OTTplay Rating
A cult classic, the film is a semi-autobiography of the director of the film himself, Cameron Crowe. It is a story about a teenager writing stories for Rolling Stone magazine while touring with various bands across the US and meeting some of the legends of the music industry. The film was a critical hit that included a stellar ensemble cast of Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, Billy Crudup, Anna Pacquin, Patrick Fugit, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
8
Sid & Nancy
7.3OTTplay Rating
The pioneers of the punk rock genre in the United Kingdom were the Sex Pistols. However, what gained them more publicity was the tumultuous life and tragic deaths of bassist Sid Vicious and his American girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The film is a harrowing tale of a toxic relationship, drug abuse, mental health, and tragedy. Sid Vicious is played by the legend Gary Oldman, who transformed himself both mentally and physically for yet another phenomenal performance.
9
Shine
8.1OTTplay Rating
The heartfelt tale of Australian pianist David Helfgott earned lead actor Geoffrey Rush an Academy Award for Best Actor. Rush is also part of a list of elite actors to win the Triple Crown of Acting, given to those who have the Tony Award for theatre, Primetime Emmy Award for television, and an Academy Award for the film. Unlike some of the other films on this list, it is a moving story about family and mental health. The film was critically acclaimed upon release and is also the only Australian film on this list.
10
The Dirt
7.4OTTplay Rating
The movie was released on Netflix in 2019. It is the notorious story of one of the most famous heavy metal bands from the US, Mötley Crüe. The film is not the most critically acclaimed like the other award-winning titles on this list but it was popular among the fans and it has exposed a whole new generation to the hits of Mötley Crüe. The drama in the film is layered with humour which provides it with a dose of fun and entertainment.
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