Most Popular Rock Documentaries Among IMDb Usersby IMDb-Editors | last updated - 02 Jun 2017
Want to see more movies like the Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip? Check out these top 50 rock music documentaries as ranked by popularity among IMDb users.
Long Strange Trip (2017) The tale of the Grateful Dead is inspiring, complicated, and downright messy. A tribe of contrarians, they made art out of open-ended chaos and inadvertently achieved success on their own terms. Never-before-seen footage and interviews offer this unprecedented and unvarnished look at the life of the Dead.
Searching for Sugar Man (2012) Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock-'n'-roller Rodriguez.
Amy (2015) Archival footage and personal testimonials present an intimate portrait of the life and career of British singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse.
Stop Making Sense (1984) An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.
The Last Waltz (1978) A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) 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.
Shine a Light (2008) A career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their "A Bigger Bang" tour.
Pink Floyd at Pompeii (1972) Live versions of the songs, filmed in an old Pompeii amphitheater. Songs included are Echoes (split into 2 parts), Careful with that axe, Eugene, A saucerful of secrets, One of those days, Set the controls for the heart of the sun, Mademoiselle nobbs (Seamus, but with Rick's dog on vocals). "Careful" and "Set the controls" are shot at night with minimal lighting, setting a beautiful mood. And the live Saucerful just has to be seen, with Waters jumping around in the sunlight banging the huge gong. The 80-minute version features studio footage from the recordings of Dark side of the Moon, with alternate versions of Us and them, On the run and Brain Damage, as well as interviews with the band.
Muscle Shoals (2013) 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".
Kurt & Courtney (1998) A documentary on the life of Kurt Cobain and his relationship with Courtney Love.
Hillsong: Let Hope Rise (2016) A documentary on the Australia-based band Hillsong and their rise to prominence as an international church.
The Song Remains the Same (1976) A documentary of a Led Zeppelin tour mixed with live concert footage, a unique fantasy, and interviews with those involved with the band.
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.
The Doors: When You're Strange (2009) A look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, including rare exclusive footage.
The Music of Strangers (2015) Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and other international artists of The Silk Road Project discuss their philosophies on music and culture.
Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies (1993) Documentary about notorious punk rock performer GG Allin.
Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) A look at the history of fame in the world through the eyes of pop star impresario, Rodney Bingenheimer.
Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.
The Kids Are Alright (1979) From the early black and white days to their colourful hedonistic era, you will Rock! See them at their most creative, and destructive, and experience The Who: Here!
The Filth and the Fury (2000) A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.
Sympathy for the Devil (1968) Godard's documentation of late 1960s Western counter-culture, examining the Black Panthers, referring to works by LeRoi Jones and Eldridge Cleaver. Other notable subjects are the role of news media, the mediated image, a growing technocratic society, women's liberation, the May revolt in France and the power of language. Cutting between three major scenes, including the Rolling Stones in the studio, the film is visually intercut with Eve Democracy (Wiazemsky) using graffiti which amalgamates organisations, corporations and ideologies. Godard also examines the role of the revolutionary within Western culture. Although he believes Western culture needs to be destroyed, it can only be done so by the rejection of intellectualisation. "There is only one way to be an intellectual revolutionary, and that is to give up being an intellectual."
Festival Express (2003) The filmed account of a large Canadian rock festival train tour.
Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day (2012) A concert documentary of Led Zeppelin's December 10, 2007 tribute performance for Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
Screamers (2006) Internationally known director Carla Garapedian follows the rock band System of a Down as they tour Europe and the US pointing out the horrors of modern genocide that began in Armenia in 1915 up though Darfur today.
Joy Division (2007) A chronological account of the influential late 1970s English rock band.
The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1996) Originally filmed in December 1968, "The Rock and Roll Circus" was originally intended to be released as a television special. The special was filmed over two nights and featured not only the Rolling Stones but The Who, Jethro Tull (with future Black Sabbath guitarist Tommy Iommi filling in for the recently departed Mick Abrahams), Marianne Faithful and an all-star jam featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Micthell. Sadly, this also marked the final appearance of the Stones founder and original guiding light, Brian Jones, who would be dead within six months after filming the special.
American Hardcore (2006) The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986
Shut Up & Sing (2006) A documentary on the Dixie Chicks in the wake of singer Natalie Maines' anti-George W. Bush statement at a 2003 concert.
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973) The July 3rd, 1973 historic concert of the 'leper Messiah'. This was to be David Bowie's last concert with the Ziggy persona and the Spiders from Mars. A great medley of 'Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud'/'All The Young Dudes'/'Oh! You Pretty Things', a Lou Reed cover, and a Rolling Stones cover are but some of the highlights.
The Grateful Dead (1977) The Grateful Dead performs live at Winterland in San Francisco in October 1974.
Urgh! A Music War (1981) Punk, New Wave, Reggae and Techno bands from Europe and the US recorded live in several locations in 1980. The biggest names on the bill are the Police and UB 40 but every performance is a jewel, a time capsule of the influenced and the influential in rock music right up to today.
Eput (2016) The story behind Finland's rock giants and their songs, and their love for performing, even from childhood, and also the story of two very different brothers trying to fit in the same band.
Good Ol' Freda (2013) A documentary in which Freda Kelly looks back at her career as lifelong secretary for The Beatles.
Pussy Riot (2013) Three young women face seven years in a Russian prison for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral. But who is really on trial in a case that has gripped the nation and the world beyond, three young artists or the society they live in?
1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992) David Markey's documentary of life on the road with Sonic Youth and Nirvana during their tour of Europe in late 1991. Also featuring live performances by Dinosaur Jr, Babes In Toyland, The Ramones and Gumball.
Hype! (1996) Documentary covering the growth and subsequent overexposure of the Seattle "grunge" music scene in the early 90s.
Eagles: Hell Freezes Over (1994) The Eagles perform in concert, in celebration of the group's reunion, which was supposed to occur "when hell freezes over."
Punk's Not Dead (2007) On the edge of the 30th anniversary of punk rock, Punk's Not Dead takes you into the sweaty underground clubs, backyard parties, recording studios, and yes, shopping malls and stadium shows where punk rock music and culture continue to thrive. Thirty years after bands like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols infamously shocked the system with their hard, fast, status-quo-killing rock, the longest-running punk band in history is drawing bigger crowds than ever, "pop-punk" bands have found success on MTV, and kids too young to drive are forming bands that carry the torch for punk's raw, immediate sound. Meanwhile, "punk" has become a marketing concept to sell everything from cars to vodka, and dyed hair and piercings mark a rite of passage for thousands of kids. Can the true, nonconformist punk spirit still exist in today's corporatized culture? Featuring interviews, performances, and behind-the-scenes journeys with the bands, labels, fans, and press who keep punk alive, Punk's Not Dead dares to juxtapose pop-punk's music and lifestyle against the roots in the 70s and 80s, resulting in unexpected revelations. A DIY search for the soul of a subculture and a celebration of all things loud, fast, and spiked, Punk's Not Dead shows punk is stronger and more relevant today than it's ever been.
The Nomi Song (2004) Looks like an alien, sings like a diva - Klaus Nomi was one of the 1980s' most profoundly bizarre characters to emerge through rock music: a counter tenor who sang pop music like opera and brought opera to club audiences and made them like it. The Nomi Song is a film about fame, death, friendship, betrayal, opera, and the greatest New Wave rock star that never was!
Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who (2007) A documentary on The Who, featuring interviews with the band's two surviving members, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.
The Concert for Bangladesh (1972) The first benefit rock concert when major musicians performed to raise humanitarian relief funds for the refugees of Bangladesh of 1971 war.
Blue (2017) A thorough look at the 90's Turkish rock scene, one legendary stage band and its two members: Kerim Capli and Yavuz Cetin... An inquiry of their existential battles with the society, the industry and their own minds.
*beep* Blues (1972) This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows the Rolling Stones on their 1972 North American Tour, their first return to the States since the tragedy at Altamont. Because of the free-form nature of filming, *beep* Blues captured band members and entourage members taking part in events the Rolling Stones preferred not to publicize. It can only legally be screened with director Robert Frank in attendance. The title of the film is the same of that of a Rolling Stones song (aka Schoolboy Blues), which was written to complete the band's contractual obligations to Decca Records and specifically to be unreleasable.
Edgeplay (2004) A documentary feature film about the 1970's seminal all girl band, The Runaways.
Feast of Friends (1970) A documentary about the doors, made by the doors. It is filmed by two UCLA mates of Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrisson. It shows the atmosphere between the members and a live version of The End.
X: The Unheard Music (1986) This film is a documentary about the personalities in, and the music of, the early 1980's Los Angeles punk band X. There are studio and live performances by the band and interviews with band members; all nicely interspersed with footage of area DJs, record stores, old TV shows and commercials.
Rust Never Sleeps (1979) Documentary covering Neil Young's October 22, 1978 concert performance at the Cow Palace.
Oil City Confidential (2009) The story of Dr Feelgood, four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early '70s, sandpapered the face of rock'n'roll, leaving all that came before a burnt-out ruin - four estuarine John-the-Baptists to Johnny Rotten's anti-Christ. Taking London by storm, they sped through Europe and conquered the UK with No 1 chart success, before imploding just as punk was born and America beckoned with open arms. Contributions from members of The Clash, Blondie and The Sex Pistols join Dr Feelgood with collaborators Jools Holland and Alison Moyet to tell the story of Canvey, '70s England and the greatest local band in the world.
Get Thrashed (2006) The GET THRASHED journey begins in the early 80s, where Metallica and several other bands laid the groundwork for what would become a lasting impression on the face of heavy metal music. These bands helped ignite local scenes in Los Angeles, the Bay area of California and New York City, which helped fuel a worldwide thrash metal movement. By the dawn of the 1990's, thrash bands had gone from playing backyard barbeque parties to headlining arenas and Metallica were on their way to becoming one of the biggest metal acts of all time. But as legions of headbanging, stage diving and moshing metalheads were flocking to see their favorite bands, the tides had begun to change. In the early 1990's, a changing musical landscape sent thrash spiraling back into the underground. Some of the musicians passed away, some returned to their day jobs and some bands broke up. While the music lived on, the scene was forever changed. Get Thrashed traces the rise, fall and impact of thrash metal; from its early years, through its influence on grunge, nu metal and today's heavy metal scene. It is the story of the heaviest, hardest music of the 80s and early 90s as told by the bands who lived it, the fans and bands that grew up on it and by the artists that carry the "thrash metal" flag today. The documentary throws new light on an overlooked, yet incredible music scene and how it went from a simple rumbling in the underground to a loud, obnoxious and constant roar in the (almost) mainstream.
Guns N' Roses: The Story (2007) A look at the history of Guns N' Roses.
Get Back Liverpool music from the post war years to the present day. Liverpool is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The film puts into context the musical outpourings of nearly 60 years of world conquering music and the hundreds of bands who have contributed to a musical scene that produced the world's greatest band - The Beatles. What might not always be understood is that in that golden period of 1956 - 1964, Liverpool played host to over 1000 bands and hundreds of venues. It was the home of the UK's largest Country & Western scene, of a hundred skiffle bands, jazz bands and folk. Toxteth was the centre of the black music scene and influences poured in from the docks and the nearby US Airbase. A melting pot of energy and talent - something had to give and it did - bigger than anything that had gone before. How do you follow that? Well, with some years of quiet waters, Liverpool was ready to set sail again to conquer the world. Matthew Street was at the heart of things again and another scene was created out of yet another cellar - Eric's nightclub - with bands such as Deaf School, Echo and the Bunnymen and OMD leading the charge. But the City hadn't finished there. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the Farm and the La's. There was Cream and Biscuits - well half a biscuit, and half a man - dance and surrealism and still it hasn't stopped. With Wombats, Zutons and Coral, the Liverpool scene keeps on reinventing itself. There are many featured bands, not named here.