Musician Biopics and the Film Industry

In the early 2000’s the film industry had a slight obsession with creating biopics about musicians. While this is not something new to the film industry, this particular trend produced some incredible films. So here are 5 films in 5 years that if you enjoy music or film you absolutely need to see.

The Pianist

Starting in 2002 we had Adrien Brody portraying Wladyslaw Szpilman. This is the story of a Polish Jewish pianist who spends 1939-1945 in Warsaw, hiding and evading the Germans after being separated from his family. To prepare for this role Brody gave up a phenomenal number of worldly possessions from his car to his apartment. He stopped seeing his then-girlfriend and drastically reduced his diet all while becoming an unbelievable pianist.

Hard to argue with the results as Brody became the youngest actor ever to win an Oscar for Best Actor at the age of 27. The Pianist was nominated for 7 Oscars and took home 3 that night.

8 Mile

That same year a surprise by the name of ‘8 Mile’ hit the box office. The story of rapper Marshall Mathers is otherwise known as Eminem. 8 mile took home an Oscar for Best Original Song and a total of 250 million dollars at the box office which isn’t too shabby based on its 40 million dollar budget. Many praised Eminem for his talents on the screen while some were quick to discredit him simply because he was reenacting his own life…. those people we aren’t friends with. The cast also features the late Brittany Murphy who does a phenomenal job with the amount of screen time she is given in this dark and gritty film.


In 2004 Jamie Foxx played Ray Charles, side note, I was 9 years old when this movie came out and I remember seeing bits and pieces of it and being so impressed that they had a blind actor playing Ray Charles. I quickly came to learn that wasn’t true but had only thought that because Jamie Foxx was remarkable as Ray. It is quite a performance and one that snagged him the Best Actor at the Oscars. The cast also consists of Kerry Washington & Regina King, two women who year after year have delivered amazing performances.

It is one of those movies that is so well done you can’t help but move in your seat a little as the band swells and people are dancing on tables because you just want to join them, or maybe that’s just me here.

Walk the Line

Joaquin Phoenix has of course been talked about quite a bit in the last 2 years because of his portrayal as the Joker. This leads people to go back through his filmography and the absolute stand out to me is ‘Walk the Line’. The film about Johnny Cash’s life was directed by James Mangold who recently helmed ‘Ford v. Ferrari’. Nominated for 5 Oscars it takes a look at the early bumpy years of Mr. Cash’s life, a star of which is June Carter. Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for best actress in this role and it’s not hard to see why. It’s hard to watch this movie then immediately not want to slick your hair back, dress in black, and learn how to play the guitar. Seriously, go watch it, you’ll want to.

I’m Not There

“I’m Not There” – This film wasn’t the most successful or even the most critically acclaimed. But it’s damn hard not to watch this and not be impressed with Cate Blanchett’s performance as the famed singer songwriter Bob Dylan. Although, if you plan on watching this film I suggest researching a little bit of Dylan’s life. Or else you might find yourself a bit lost. The cast is littered with talent from Christian Bale to Richard Gere to the late Heath Ledger. Chances are if you enjoy art you’ll get something out of this.


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