10 Best Music Films To Watch This Summer
Now that summer is here, relaxing vacations are on the horizon. And with all the work you’ve done this year, you’ve earned it. The only downside is travel time boredom. Whether driving or flying, there’s going to be some time to kill. And although you’ll probably spend some time reading and using your phone’s data, there are other ways to make long trips seem shorter.
Watching movies about music is a great way to pass the time traveling. And although you may have seen some of these films before, timeless stories never get old, even if they’re relatively new. So, if you’re looking for some great movies to watch this summer, look no further. These 10 movies are an excellent escape any time of the year.
- Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995). This film portrays the life of Glenn Holland, who wants to compose something that will generate a lasting influence on the world. He takes a job teaching to pay the bills and as the years go by, realizes that as an instructor, he is fulfilling that goal, only differently than he intended. Nominated for Best Actor in the Oscars and Golden Globes, this is a great film for providing both students and teachers with inspiration.
- I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951). Starring Doris Day and Danny Thomas, along with James Gleason, this movie is a heartwarming tale. Don’t confuse this film with the 2015 remake (not nearly as great). It tells the story behind the success and decline of lyrist Gus Kahn, particularly how he created the words for the song “It Had to Be You.” Day sparkles as Mrs. Kahn whose determination and drive throughout the marriage is one of the reasons for her husband’s success.
- Amadeus (1984). Tom Hulce plays Mozart in this engrossing story, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri, as a series of flashbacks. The extreme manic and vulgar behavior displayed by Mozart disgusts Salieri, and he envies his talent to the point of obsession. This film is a classic, portraying the genius personality of a divinely gifted artist, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
- Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2010). Winner of three César Awards (France), Best Actor in a Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and a number of others, this film displays the tempestuous life of French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. From growing up in Nazi-occupied Paris to his death in 1991, this movie examines his avant-garde life, his incredible influence on French pop-culture, and how an artistic gift can be squandered through alcoholism (adult themes).
- Rhapsody in Blue (1945). George and Ira Gershwin are depicted with an all-star cast and tons of Gershwin music in this movie. A very absorbing composer biography, this film highlights his incredible drive to succeed and the personal sacrifices he made to make it happen. The plot is embellished a bit, but it remains an excellent look at the life of one of America’s greatest composers.
- I’m Not There (2007). In this film, six different actors (including Cate Blanchett and the late Heath Ledger) portray the personalities of Pulitzer Prize winning songwriter, poet, and singer, Bob Dylan. With a combination of reality, myth, and assumptions shown through some recreations of old black and white documentary film, this movie examines the depth of one of America’s most influential artists through the stages of his life.
- The Soloist (2009). Robert Downey Jr. plays a journalist who befriends a homeless man named Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx). Ayres is mentally ill, but a highly talented and Julliard-trained musician. It shows a heart-warming, real-life story about how the two friends interact and overcome both of their struggles together.
- Shine (1996). This is another music film biography that accurately displays the results of an artist’s mental illness combined with unrelenting pressures. Child piano prodigy, David Helfgott gains fame and success, but he ends up in and out of mental institutions, only to return to music later in life in this Oscar winning film.
- Immortal Beloved (1994). The life, death, and many loves of the legendary composer/musician Ludwig van Beethoven are explored in this film. The story revolves around trying to discover the identity of his mysterious lover from a letter he has written. With Gary Oldman as Beethoven and Isabella Rossellini starring in this film, it’s a perfect summer escape.
- No Where Boy (2009). This underrated film examines the influences, such as Elvis, of the early life of John Lennon. Don’t expect to hear a bunch of Beatles music, the story ends as the band is formed (for that, watch Hard Day’s Night).
Other great summer movies include Impromptu, Sid and Nancy, and Leadbelly, but the above list can get you started. Have fun and get inspired this summer by watching these excellent films.