SOME OF THE BEST PIECES OF CINEMA HAVE BEEN DEFINED BY MUSIC - WHETHER THEY BE BIOPICS FOCUSING ON MUSICAL STARS OR MOVIES STARRING MUSICIANS BRANCHING OUT. THERE ARE A WHOLE HOST OF WAYS THAT MUSIC CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A KILLER OR A FILLER FILM IN YOUR COLLECTION. HERE’S OUR TOP TEN
Monterey Pop (1968)
The precursor to the more famous “Woodstock” film caught the essence of the 1967 festival – and the summer of love – and set the bar high for concert documentaries to come.
Best music moment: Hendrix burning and smashing his guitar at the end of “Wild Thing”, of course.
Gimme Shelter (1970)
It follows the Stones at the height of their ‘70s excess, from playing Madison Square Garden to the unfortunate death of a fan at Altamont. One of the camera operators was an unknown rookie called George Lucas.
Best music moment: “Brown Sugar” live, “Wild Horses” in the studio, “Honky Tonk Woman”, “Sympathy For The Devil”… it’s one long music moment.
The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)
This charmingly haphazard documentary captures the leading lights of the US glam-metal scene just as it was starting to slide into self-parody. Featuring an endless parade of drunken, semi-coherent rock star.
Best music moment: The Megadeth footage rocks fairly hard, but it’s the rambling interviews that you’ll enjoy the most.
Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
The film documents how Ry Cooder, long-time friend of Wim Wenders, brought together the ensemble of legendary Cuban musicians to record an album and to perform two times with a full line-up.
Best music moment: travel between Cuba and the United States is restricted due to the political tension between the two countries, so many of the artists were travelling there for the first time. The film shows their reactions to this experience.
The Filth And The Fury (2000)
With a title inspired by a howlingly neurotic Daily Mirror headline, this is where the Sex Pistols get to tell their side of the story.
Best music moment: A toss-up between ‘God Save The Queen’ and ‘Anarchy In The UK’.
Live Forever (2003)
It’s a solid love-note to the Britpop era, even if it relies too heavily on Liam Gallagher’s show-stealing quotes, playing it for laughs rather as opposed to examining the true cultural impact, and never dwelling on the darker side.
Best music moment: You’ve heard all these songs a thousand times before, but the Oasis and Blur tunes still set the pulse racing.
Walk The Line (2005)
Planned and filmed while Johnny Cash was still fresh in his grave, this movie nevertheless does a near-perfect job of capturing his tumultuous life. Joaquin Phoenix captures a man wrestling his demons and knocking out a legendary career simultaneously while Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for long-suffering wife June.
Best music moment: Halfway through “Jackson” when Cash stops and asks June to marry him.
Beastie Boys; Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot That! (2006)
Here’s a neat concept: borrow a bunch of video cameras, dispense them to 50 super-fans at a live show and give them one instruction: “Just keep filming”.
Best music moment: Cameo appearances include Doug E. Fresh and DMC (of Run DMC). Oh, and Ben Stiller rapping along with his missus.
Stunningly shot in black and white, the modern classic focusses on Joy Division and the band’s enigmatic frontman Ian Curtis, who commited suicide aged just 23.
Best music moment: The live show scenes, actually performed by the actors who learnt to play the bands’ songs.
ATP All Tomorrow’s Parties (2009)
Hailed by its makers as “post-punk DIY bricolage”, this documentary of the bi-annual ATP festivals brought film-making into a new dimension. Combining footage from the fans and the musicians attending the events, on a multitude of formats from Super8 to camcorder and mobile phone, it features everyone from Fuck Buttons to Belle & Sebastian.
Best music moment: Butlins’ security guards screaming at extreme noiseniks Lightning Bolt as they play an impromptu gig outside the resort’s pub.