10 great music biopics like Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody

1 June 2019, 20:00 | Updated: 1 June 2019, 20:01

Control poster and Ian Curtis of Joy Division in 1980
Control poster and Ian Curtis of Joy Division in 1980. Picture: Press/Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty

Want more movies like the recent Elton John and Freddie Mercury films? Radio X has the ultimate list of great music biographies for you to watch.

  1. Ian Curtis and Joy Division: Control (2007)

    Anton Corbijn shot some of the Manchester band’s best known photographs, so who better to direct this grim biopic of the tragic singer, who took his own life aged just 23? It’s not completely depressing - there are some funny moments - but the climax is suitably harrowing. When are they going to do the New Order story?

    Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes

  2. Jim Morrison: The Doors (1991)

    Controversial director Oliver Stone tackled the mystical LA rockers before he took on the John F Kennedy assassination and the results are interesting. Val Kilmer plays the Lizard King himself Jim Morrison and the film captures the queasy world of psychedelics, sex and music in the late 60s. Some good tunes, too.

    Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes

  3. Brian Jones and The Rolling Stones: Stoned (2005)

    Nobody has been brave enough to tackle the whole Rolling Stones story, so Stephen Woolley focuses on one of the darker episodes in their history: the death of founding member Brian Jones in 1969. Leo Gregory plays the drug-addled, abusive Jones, who was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool, while Paddy Considine is the builder who is one of the key suspects in the mystery of the Stone’s demise. Did he do it? You decide. Ben Whishaw - now known for voicing Paddington Bear - plays Keith Richards!

    Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes

  4. Tina Turner: What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993)

    Angela Bassett gives a compelling performance as Tina Turner and Lawrence Fishburne is suitably unpleasant as abusive husband Ike in a story of music and triumph over adversity.

    Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes

  5. Jimi Hendrix: Jimi - All Is By My Side (2013)

    André Benjamin, better known as OutKast’s André 3000, gives a convincing turn as the superstar guitarist, who died in 1970 aged 27. It’s slightly hampered by not being able to use any of Hendrix’s original songs, but the performances are good.

    Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes

  6. Buddy Holly: The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

    He may be better known these days as a reality TV star, but in ’78, Gary Busey got an Oscar nomination for his role as the pioneering rock ’n’ roll musician. Another story that ends in tragedy (this time a plane crash), but Busey excels as the down to earth, yet determined Holly.

    Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes

  7. Morrissey: England Is Mine (2017)

    The story of Steven Patrick Morrissey, from his teenage years as a would-be author and pop legend to meeting Johnny Marr and forming The Smiths in 1982. A great depiction of drab 1970s Manchester and a superb cast, including an excellent portrayal of the musician by Jack Lowden.

    Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes

  8. NWA: Straight Outta Compton (2015)

    Businesslike biopic of the LA hip hop collective, complete with gang battles, violence, police harassment and various record label launches. It’s a hard-hitting look at the era, but eminently watchable.

    Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes

  9. Ian Dury: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2010)

    Andy Serkis gives a show-stopping performance as the quirky musician, while Bill Milner plays his son Baxter, who watches his father juggle disability with a successful rock career. It’s a solid biopic and gives a great flavour of life in the mid 70s.

    Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes

  10. Sid Vicious: Sid & Nancy (1986)

    Maverick director Alex Cox directs Gary Oldman as the punk anti-hero from his days as the Sex Pistols’ superfan to becoming their bassist and ending up arrested on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend Nancy Spungen (played expertly by Chloe Webb). It drifts into fantasy towards the end, but the desperate circumstances of the couple’s heroin addiction and Sid’s descent into a personal hell are gripping viewing.

    Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes