10 Best Rock & Roll Musicals, Ranked By Letterboxd


September 17, 2022, marked the 40th anniversary of the classic Pink Floyd rock and roll musical, The Wall. Based on the groundbreaking album of the same name, the movie played out like a feature length music video, with every song from the album played over scenes depicting the themes of the music.

When people think of musical movies, it is often comes with memories of Broadway musicals brought to the big screen. However, as bands like Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and The Who proved so many years ago, those are only the tip of the iceberg for movie musicals. Fans of rock and roll have plenty to find too, and Letterboxd fans have indicated these are just as great as any other musical.


10/10 Tommy (1975) – 3.4/5

Available To Rent On Prime Video & Apple TV

There weren’t many bands bigger than The Who in the 1970s. Even fans today know one of their songs thanks to it being the opening theme of C.S.I. for so many years. In 1975, guitarist Pete Townshend brought their music to a new level when he helped create what might be the first rock opera.

This movie is so different from the rock and roll musical movies that came before. Unlike the work of The Beatles, Tommy took the music and created a movie story using the songs. There wasn’t anything like it at the time and without Tommy, fans might not have gotten Pink Floyd’s The Wall a few short years later.

9/10 Rock ‘N’ Roll High School (1979) – 3.5/5

Stream On Peacock+

In 1979, a movie arrived that pretty much encapsulates everything a person needs to know about rock and roll in the 70s. This movie was the campy comedy movie Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. The movie featured PJ Soles as Riff Randall, a girl who loves The Ramones more than any other band in the world.

The movie also skewers the anti-rock music sentiment at the time from authority figures. What was great was when The Ramones appeared in the movie as themselves and threw the entire school out of whack. It remains one of the best movies for all rock fans.

8/10 Grease (1978) – 3.5/5

Stream On Paramount+

While Grease falls more in line with a typical musical movie based on a Broadway production, the songs help it stand out above the rest. With an actual musician in one of the lead roles in Olivia Newton-John and a young John Travolta opposite her, the movie remains a beloved classic.

Most of the songs remain familiar to people today, with shows like Dancing with the Stars making sure even younger generations know the hits from the movie. The movie is anti-authority, as the best rock musicals are, but has that extra something to make it a movie everyone can love.

7/10 The Beatles: Help! (1965) – 3.6/5

Available To Rent On Apple TV

There wasn’t a bigger band in the world in the 1960s than The Beatles. They arrived in America from the U.K. and helped change everything people knew about rock and roll. The Beatles also headed to Hollywood and brought their music to some movies, including their hit Help!

This was The Beatles’ second album, and it helped show the band’s move from a boy band to a group of counterculture musicians. The movie had mad scientists and was more experimental and was a critical hit, eventually getting its own Criterion Collection release.

6/10 The Monkees: Head (1968) – 3.6/5

Stream On Tubo & Tubi

When The Monkees arrived, they were mostly a spoof version of The Beatles for a comedic TV show. However, something unexpected happened when the series cast real musicians as the actors, and they ended up becoming extremely popular in their own right.

By 1968, The Monkees wanted something more than just mimicking the music of The Beatles. They got a chance to get off TV and into a movie, and they created a bizarre story of the band wanting to do nothing but break out of the box the network put them in. It was daring, brilliant, and has a Criterion Collection release for anyone wanting to learn more.

5/10 The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night (1964) – 3.8/5

Stream On HBO Max & Criterion Channel

The best Beatles musical hit in 1964 with A Hard Day’s Night. Unlike their later movies, Help! and the animated Yellow Submarine, this movie was a meta-film that showed the band attempting to prepare for a television appearance. Overworked, and wanting to get away, they did just that.

The movie was highly influential for the idea of rock and roll movie musicals and also for the upcoming popularity of music videos. It also helps that the movie had great songs and The Beatles at the height of their popularity.

4/10 The Blues Brothers (1980) – 3.9/5

Stream On Fubo & Showtime

The Blues Brothers is unlike other rock and roll musicals because, at its heart, it is an action comedy. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi started the characters on Saturday Night Live and ended up as one of the most beloved movies to come out of the sketch series.

The movie sees Jake and Elwood Blues on a musical mission from god to save an orphanage. The movie was both a critical and box office success, and it also spawned a chart-topping album with songs from the movie. The movie also featured musicians like Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Ray Charles.

3/10 This Is Spinal Tap (1984) – 3.9/5

Available To Buy On Prime Video & Apple TV

This is Spinal Tap is not only one of the best mockumentaries in movie history, but it is also one of the best rock and roll musical movies ever made. Directed by Rob Reiner, a batch of actors known best for improvisation did the impossible and became an actual talented band.

The band Spinal Tap was even more surprising than when The Monkees ended up becoming a successful hit-maker. With names like Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer creating music that is still played on rock radio today, it has stood the test of time. It is really, really funny too.

2/10 The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – 4.0/5

Available To Rent On Prime Video & Apple TV

The Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t for everyone, but as its Letterboxd score shows, it is a movie that a lot of people love. With over 11,000 people voting, the movie has a very high 4.0 average score, which is great for a movie about an alien “sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania.”

The movie is campy and comedic, but the songs are all catchy and memorable. Not only did this end up as one of the best rock and roll musical movies ever made, but it has stood the test of time. No other movie has been screening in theaters as long as Rocky Horror, as it still gets midnight screenings 47 years after its release.

1/10 Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982) – 4.0/5

Not Currently Available To Stream

Pink Floyd’s The Wall celebrated its 40th anniversary in September 2022. The rock and roll musical movie was basically a feature-length music video and had little to no dialogue other than the music. This made it unlike almost any other rock and roll movie in history.

Instead, Pink Floyd played the entire concept album from start to finish and had scenes playing out the themes of the songs, as Pink grew from a child boxed in and forced to structure to society into an emotionless adult rock star who can’t cope with reality. The movie ranks as the benchmark for rock and roll musical movies, as far as Letterboxd fans are concerned.

NEXT: The 10 Best Uses Of Pink Floyd Songs In Movies


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.