In college I, like many others, took Theater 101 just for an “easy A.” But after attending the first mandatory performance, I was hooked on live theater and live music. After the semester ended, I went to theaters when I could and googled local venues with live acts. By far the easiest and cheapest way to enjoy a piece of the live experience, was through great musical films and films about music. There is an endless number of great musical films, but here is a list of some films about music. These films pay homage to live music and its musicians while also creating an interesting narrative within each film.
In chronological order:
The Last Waltz (1978, dir. Martin Scorsese)
Musical Credit: features Woodstock players, The Band, and actual concert footage from their epic final show.
Across the Universe (2007, dir. Julie Taymor)
Musical Credit: Okay, this one might be a straight up musical, but it’s good! An entire period drama based on iconic songs by The Beatles and sung by the cast.
Control (2007, dir. Anton Corbijn)
Musical Credit: homage to real life band, Joy Division.
Nowhere Boy (2009, dir. Sam Taylor-Johnson)
Musical Credit: homage to real life band, The Beatles.
Begin Again (2013, dir. John Carney)
Musical Credit: performances by the cast, including Keira Knightley and Adam Levine, of an original soundtrack.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, dir. Joel & Ethan Coen)
Musical Credit: performances by the cast, including Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake, and a cameo of Bob Dylan’s “Farewell.”
Mozart in the Jungle: Season 1 (2014, network: Amazon)
Musical Credit: inspired by the memoir of a New York Philharmonic oboist of the same title, has a behind-the-scenes vibe of classical music in modern day NYC.