The 31 Best Music Documentaries Of All Time

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Hands down, above all of these following music documentaries, Craig's Hlist's two favorite of all-time are The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years, and The Beatles Anthology. We can watch both on repeat for days and not complain.

That will probably all change once we see Lemmy, the film about Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister in a few weeks, though. Fingers crossed they use some footage from the last Houston show. You may probably see CHL in the back somewhere screaming our fool head off like we're at a Justin Bieber show.

The Metal Years is just a big, stupid chronicle of hair metal in Los Angeles in the late '80s. The interviews are gold, especially the paint-huffing fans and Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P., who comes off as more animal than man. Plus, it has Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne talking straight about their drug use. We bought it as a bootleg DVD and it hardly leaves our player for weeks on end.

The Beatles Anthology maybe did more to fuel the fire that led to our current profession than any other film. We bought it on DVD a few years ago and fell into a Beatles spiral all over again.

Here is a list of the best rock documentaries out there for you to see. Be sure to check the last Craig's Hlist we did on rock concert films before you complain we left anything out. More than likely it is on that hlist, or we forgot it altogether because we aren't Wikipedia.

American Hardcore

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This hardcore chronicle is great, covering all the cities with scenes of fans and bands, interviewing the men and women who were on the frontlines of the genres birthing, including godfathers Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, and Ian MacKaye. Read the book too, it's got plenty about Houston's hardcore history as well.


DiG!

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This Ondi Timoner film made Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe an instant batshit rock and roll legend and painted The Dandy Warhols as a Pollyanna-ish pack of kids in over their heads.


The Devil & Daniel Johnston

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The best thing about this Daniel Johnston flick is that it does not shy away from explaining his mental illness, showing how DJ's fight effected his family and friends. The home footage and recordings are a great look into his jagged creative process.



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18 comments
almqvist_1992
almqvist_1992

are you seriously not even mentioning "That's the Way It Is" or "Elvis On Tour"? Two fantastic documentaries featuring the legendary performer. You must not be aware of them, or you'd want to list them.

dige
dige

The documentary about southeast blues and rock musician Nathan Davis, won some festival awards regionally and was a called "a must see for musicians". While he was not as famous as the artist in the above list, Nathan Davis was on the verge of breaking into the mainstream and was sometimes called the Bruce Springsteen of the south. It is certainly a heart wrenching tale for anyone who loves music and films about music. http://www.nathandavismovie.com/

Kvanessa
Kvanessa

Does music only mean 'white' music to you guys? This list sucks ass.

At least 20 of these docs are completely forgettable just like the genres and bands they profile.

SeeIt Loud
SeeIt Loud

Cool. Interesting number of films. 31.

You can get more information on all of these music films and more at MusicFilmWeb - the music documentary hub. Check us out at

http://www.MusicFilmWeb.com

Quantumrecords
Quantumrecords

Nova Rex: Ain't Easy Being Cheesy. The real-life exploits of glam band NOVA REX come back to life in this hilarious 2011 documentary DVD that recalls the heavy-metal group riffing through the late 1980s hair-band era before crashing into a wall of early '90s grunge. www.quantumrecords.com

Guest
Guest

Men så inni svarte granskog og mørke kratt ....

"​This is one of the best, if not only, documentary on black metal that adequately explains the bands and their ethos. It's harrowing and sad at parts"

What are you on about? no, No, NO!!

What about "Satan Rides The Media"?

Link YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

My fave:

Once Upon A Time In Norway is the real deal!

Link Imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt13...

And last, but not least : True Norwegian Black Metal

Link from the world of  YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Helvete - even this taken from the Norwegian NRK is better than Until ....

Link YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Guest
Guest

Men så satan ....

"​This is one of the best, if not only, documentary on black metal that adequately explains the bands and their ethos. It's harrowing and sad at parts"

What are you on about? no, No, NO!!

What about "Satan Rides The Media"?Link YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

My fave: Once Upon A Time In Norway is the real deal! Link Imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt13...

And last, but not least : True Norwegian Black MetalLink from the world of  YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Helvete - even this taken from the Norwegian NRK is better than Until ....Link YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Fiverowley5
Fiverowley5

"The Compleat Beatles" --now out of print

This_is_made_up
This_is_made_up

where's Depeche Mode 101? A film by DA Pennebaker and basically at that time and still the only real look you ever had at the band behind the scenes.

Rob
Rob

Awesome list. Especially "we jam econo," "hated," and "you're gonna miss me." they even zoomed in on me several times during roky's set at acl 05, found in the special features. And yes, I second the Harry nilsson doc. It's streaming on Netflix so check it out.

guest
guest

nobody zoomed in on you, dude.  you were standing where they zoomed.

Radio Zero
Radio Zero

The White Stripes - Under Great White Northern Lights is pretty interesting! You should check it out. Great list!

Jensen
Jensen

And the first film to include a rock song? "Blackboard Jungle," which featured Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock." For the story behind how the song was chosen, please check my Rockaeology blog at http://tinyurl.com/28f48z8

Thanks!

Katy
Katy

Good list!

I'm not sure about "Some Kind of Monster" - which Metallica now regrets making but might be a good chronicle of a bunch of rich middle-aged whiners.

But I rushed in expecting to find "Dig!" or "The Devil and Daniel Johnson" omitted, and ended up finding some weekend video possibilities...

Zach
Zach

the last waltz?

Katy
Katy

Generally considered to be among the best concert films.I'm not sure what the live performance-to-speechifying ratio has to be before a film takes the leap from documentary to concert film.

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