0 My Movies: Music Documentaries Worth Your Attention

by AltonMann | created - 05 Dec 2017 | updated - 28 Jul 2018 | Public
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1. Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Music

Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational ... See full summary »

Directors: Aram Avakian, Bert Stern | Stars: Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Chuck Berry, Chico Hamilton

Votes: 874

2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream (2007)

Not Rated | 239 min | Documentary, Music

"Runnin' Down A Dream," a film directed by cinema legend Peter Bogdanovich, is the story of one of America's great rock and roll bands told as never before.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Neil Armstrong, Mick Avory, Ron Blair, Peter Bogdanovich

Votes: 1,625

3. I Called Him Morgan (2016)

92 min | Documentary, Drama, History

90 Metascore

An exploration of the relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen, who was implicated in his murder in 1972.

Director: Kasper Collin | Stars: Lee Morgan, Helen Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Larry Reni Thomas

Votes: 1,226 | Gross: $0.10M

4. A.K.A. Doc Pomus (2012)

Not Rated | 98 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

83 Metascore

Doc Pomus was the most unlikely of rock & roll icons. Paralyzed with polio as a child, Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself first as a blues singer, renaming himself Doc Pomus, ... See full summary »

Directors: William Hechter, Peter Miller | Stars: Willi Burke, Marshall Chapman, Shawn Colvin, Dion DiMucci

Votes: 75

5. Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006)

PG | 103 min | Documentary, Music

85 Metascore

A film shot over during a two-night performance by Neil Young at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Pegi Young, Ben Keith

Votes: 2,722 | Gross: $1.83M

6. Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock'n'Roll (2000 TV Movie)

90 min | Documentary

Biography of Sam Phillips, the legendary record producer whose Sun Records label in Memphis, TN, produced records by such rock icons as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Johnny Bragg, Johnny Cash, Jack Clement, Rosco Gordon

Votes: 16

7. 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: 3,203 | Gross: $1.60M

8. 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

PG-13 | 91 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

83 Metascore

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Director: Morgan Neville | Stars: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill

Votes: 11,525 | Gross: $4.95M

9. Tom Dowd & the Language of Music (2003)

Unrated | 90 min | Documentary, Music

80 Metascore

A documentary about Tom Dowd, who was an innovative recording engineer and producer of noted albums with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers and many others.

Director: Mark Moormann | Stars: Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Ginger Baker

Votes: 499 | Gross: $0.04M

10. Let's Get Lost (1997)

96 min | Drama

Three friends, Steffen, Thomas and Mogens spend a lot of time together in Julies apartment while they talk about soccer and how to get enough money for tickets to the big game next week. At... See full summary »

Director: Jonas Elmer | Stars: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Bjarne Henriksen, Nicolaj Kopernikus, Troels Lyby

Votes: 338

11. Amy (III) (2015)

R | 128 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

85 Metascore

Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of the life and career of British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse.

Director: Asif Kapadia | Stars: Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Russell Brand

Votes: 44,958 | Gross: $8.41M

12. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

A documentary film about the life of pianist and jazz great Thelonious Sphere Monk. Features live performances by Monk and his band, and interviews with friends and family about the offbeat genius.

Director: Charlotte Zwerin | Stars: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Jimmy Cleveland, Harry Colomby

Votes: 904 | Gross: $0.52M

13. A Great Day in Harlem (1994)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Music

Art Kane, now deceased, coordinated a group photograph of all the top jazz musicians in NYC in the year 1958, for a piece in Esquire magazine. Just about every jazz musician at the time ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Bach | Stars: Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Hinton, Marian McPartland, Art Blakey

Votes: 395 | Gross: $0.53M

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: 11,224 | Gross: $5.02M

15. 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: 3,313 | Gross: $0.70M

16. Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (2016)

Not Rated | 99 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

An exploration of the global power and impact of the music of John Coltrane where the passions, experiences and forces that shaped his life and revolutionary sounds are revealed.

Director: John Scheinfeld | Stars: Denzel Washington, Reggie Workman, Ravi Coltrane, Ashley Kahn

Votes: 1,500 | Gross: $0.41M

17. What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

75 Metascore

A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the "High Priestess of Soul."

Director: Liz Garbus | Stars: Nina Simone, Lisa Simone Kelly, Roger Nupie, Al Schackman

Votes: 10,557

18. Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1987)

PG | 120 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

This documentary movie covers two concerts at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri, to celebrate Chuck Berry's 60th birthday, and also discusses his life and career.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Ingrid Berry

Votes: 1,148 | Gross: $0.72M

19. Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Music

76 Metascore

A tribute to jazz diva Anita O'Day, completed just weeks before her death in November 2006.

Directors: Robbie Cavolina, Ian McCrudden | Stars: Anita O'Day, Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bregman, Dick Cavett

Votes: 195

20. The Wrecking Crew! (2008)

PG | 101 min | Documentary, Music

67 Metascore

A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

Director: Denny Tedesco | Stars: Denny Tedesco, Brian Wilson, Dick Clark, Cher

Votes: 2,448 | Gross: $0.80M

21. Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog (1998)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary, Biography, Music

Nine years in the making, CHARLES MINGUS - Triumph of the Underdog is the first comprehensive documentary about jazz bassist, bandleader and composer Charles Mingus. A lucid involving ... See full summary »

Director: Don McGlynn | Stars: Charles Mingus, Gunther Schuller

Votes: 138

22. 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, Octavio Calderon

Votes: 15,596 | Gross: $7.00M

23. Calle 54 (2000)

G | 105 min | Documentary, Music

84 Metascore

A film featuring performances of several stars of the Latin Jazz music scene.

Director: Fernando Trueba | Stars: Michel Camilo, Tito Puente, Arturo O'Farrill, Rolando Guerrero

Votes: 728 | Gross: $0.18M

24. American Masters (1985– )
Episode: No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)

Not Rated | 359 min | Documentary, Biography

A chronicle of Bob Dylan's strange evolution between 1961 and 1966 from folk singer to protest singer to "voice of a generation" to rock star.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Bob Dylan, B.J. Rolfzen, Dick Kangas, Liam Clancy

Votes: 10,693

25. The Winding Stream (2014)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, Family

89 Metascore

The Winding Stream is a 90-minute High Definition music history documentary-in-progress that tells the story of the American roots music dynasty, the Carters and the Cashes. Starting with ... See full summary »

Director: Beth Harrington | Stars: Chet Atkins, Lorrie Bennett, John R. Brinkley, Peggy Bulger

Votes: 211 | Gross: $0.02M

26. A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly (1988 Video)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary, Music

Folkways: A Vision Shared--A Tribute To Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly pays stunning tribute to two legends of folk and blues. Narrated by Robbie Robertson, this documentary features ... See full summary »

Director: Jim Brown | Stars: Bono, Bob Dylan, The Edge, Ahmet Ertegun

Votes: 30



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