my favorite music documentaries

with the announcement of an upcoming bob dylan movie, i’ve decided to look back at some of my favorite music docs !! as everyone knows, i love music, but i also love anything that could be related to music. reviews, documentaries, books: i love them all. but one of my favorite forms of media relating to music is music documentaries !! today i’ll be showing off some of my favorite ones and giving a little summary of them:) enjoy !!

walk the line

walk the line is a movie about johnny cash’s rise to stardom, and the effects that had on him and his family. joaquin phoenix plays johnny cash, and actually sings and plays all the instruments himself- something that is rare in music biopics. phoenix completely demolished this role in the best possible ways. in this movie, we see cash start his music journey and quickly rise to the spotlight. he then meets the love of his life, june carter. however, he still has a family back home, including a wife. like many artists of his time, cash had many serious decisions to make about his new life in regards to his music. 10/10 movie, absolutely loved it. 

bohemian rhapsody

i wish i could put into words what this movie made me feel the first time i saw it. not only was the casting perfect- a task that isn’t easy to accomplish perfectly- but the acting was just as perfect, if not more. this movie took me through so many emotions, and i’d feel them all again at a moment’s notice. in this movie, the focus is on queen frontman: freddie mercury. this too like walk the line goes through the beginning of the band to their rise to stardom, but there is a particular focus on freddie himself. we find out about his personal issues, such as his struggle with his sexuality and his own relationship- one that he cherished, and even wrote a song for. we see everything: from the band’s formation to their monumental live aid performance. of course, we also see the worsening state of freddie himself, and eventually his death. 100/10 movie, cannot recommend it enough.

love & mercy

maybe this is just because of my slight obsession with paul dano, but i’ve always thought that this movie was truly beautiful. a lot like bohemian rhapsody, love & mercy depicts the rise of the beach boys, and more importantly: the slow deterioration of their frontman, brian wilson. this movie goes back and forth between two time periods: brian during the beach boys, and brian after the beach boys. during the beach boys, we get to see brian’s brilliant mind at work. however, we also get to see his issues and struggles that at the time, no one knew about. after the beach boys, we see brian under the toxic influence of his full-time therapist. later in his life, he meets a woman, and she slowly tries to help him escape from the people completely controlling his life. it ends on a good note, but i don’t want to spoil it !! (i know, i’ve spoiled all the rest of them, so why spoil this one?) well, it’s because i honestly don’t think people really know about what happened to brian wilson; i believe most people are aware of freddie mercury’s death and johnny cash’s infidelity. definitely recommend this one, it really moved me. 


this is another movie i’m going to refrain from spoiling, as i don’t think many people know about the life of ian curtis: one that is very sad and cruel. this movie DESTROYED me, and not in a good way. well, kind of in a good way. it’s incredibly sad, and definitely portrayed his life in an accurate, but unfair and depressing way. this movie is much like the last ones, in which it shows us the rise of one of the most influential post-punk bands, joy division. we see more of the life of ian curtis in this one: the frontman of the band. we learn about his life before joy division, during joy divison, and well, at the end of joy division. we learn about his infidelity and his epilepsy diagnosis. we see him struggle with both of these problems until it finally ends towards the end of the movie.. but not in the way you think</3. 10/10, will make you sob.

the devil and daniel johnston

this movie is more in the documentary style, but trust me, it is done just as well. also won’t be spoiling this one, as daniel johnston is criminally underrated and i think people need to give this movie a chance. we see the ups and downs of the life of daniel johnston: one that is equally as sad as ian curtis, but much more compelling to learn about. daniel johnston suffered from a variety of things in his life, but he was still able to create beautiful outsider music that is praised by even the likes of kurt cobain, lead singer of the late band nirvana. a very long and interesting story, and every second of this movie was worth it. 10/10 !! definitely check it out. 

heaven adores you


you should have expected this one. yes, the elliott smith documentary. i have watched this movie over and over and over and OVER. i wouldn’t even care if it was absolutely horrible, i’d still be horribly addicted to it. thankfully, it isn’t absolutely horrible, it’s actually very good and it is one of my all time favorite movies. (wonder why…) it follows the life of indie rock musician, elliott smith. it goes through his life- as early as birth- to his depressing death in 2003. we see his rise to somewhat fame, and his plight with drug usage. i may be biased, and by may be, i mean that i am.. but i do believe this documentary is well done and very beautiful. if you love elliott smith, watch it. hell, if you love ME, you would watch it. 1,000,000/10, forever and always.

so those were some of my fave music documentaries/biopics !! i’m sure when the bob dylan one comes out, it’ll make its way to this list. (most likely in my top 3 too) hope you enjoyed this, i know i did !! cya next week !!!

Author: Erin Erter

erin (they/them) is a published writer who creates in their darkest moments.

4 thoughts on “my favorite music documentaries”

  1. I’ve been meaning to watch bohemian rhapsody but have been putting it off because I was afraid it wouldn’t be good. I’m glad to hear you like it!

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