50 years ago today, Beatlemania hit its height with the release of the film "A Hard Day’s Night." The flick showcased the band’s musical abilities and their natural penchant for comedy, a hilarious Rock and Roll masterpiece that remains one of the best music and comedy films, well, ever.
But "A Hard Day’s Night" serves a much larger purpose than just another trophy on the Beatles’ well accomplished mantle. It helped launch the rise of the Rock and Roll movie, a motion picture with heavy cinematic riffs and deep emotional cuts backed up with top notch music. In honor of "A Hard Day’s Night" 50th anniversary, here are ten rocking music films.
Based on Cameron Crowe’s true experience as a teenage journalist for Rolling Stone, this coming-of-age story of one young music writer’s journey covering an up and coming rock band is one of the 21st century’s early classics. Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand give top notch performances, but it’s Patrick Fugit as the young, rock-loving journalist William Miller who steals the show.
This Is Spinal Tap
One of the key films in the mockumentary genre, Rob Reiner’s satire about a fictional Heavy Metal band is equally hilarious to hard rockers and regular moviegoers alike.
One of George Lucas’s pre-"Star Wars" hits, "American Graffiti" explored that strange phenomenon brewing in the 1960s of teenagers driving around, listening to music, with no particular place to go. "American Graffiti" has one of the best movie soundtracks too in its glovebox, with hits from Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys and Chuck Berry.
20 Feet from Stardom
They sing on all of your favorite songs, they’ve performed with the most iconic rock artists, and you don’t even know their name. "20 Feet from Stardom" shined a spotlight onto the lesser known but equally talented backup singers in Rock groups. A true delight for any music lover.
The phenomenon of the 1969 Woodstock Festival is one of the most cited events of the 1960’s, a radical display of peace, love and music that echoed the mantra of the flower power generation. And director Michael Wadleigh captured it all with his seminal documentary "Woodstock." Highlights include Jimmy Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner, and the wily, out-of-control solo of an up and coming guitar player named Carlos Santana.
The Last Waltz
Martin Scorsese has always shown a strong affinity for the music of the 1960s and 1970s. And his chronicling of The Band’s last concert is often considered to be one of the best rock docs ever made. Bringing Hollywood level production values to a concert setting, Scorsese gave The Band a fond farewell.
"A Hard Day’s Night" wasn’t the only cinematic venture the Fab Four would take on screen. "Yellow Submarine" was a pop psychedelic journey, featuring dazzling visual images and iconic Beatles music.
The violent disaster that was the 1969 Altamont Free Concert symbolized the end of the 60’s, a travesty where four deaths were reported amongst a scene of concert-going chaos. Scorsese’s document on the Rolling Stones performance echoes the destructive and harrowing nature of the concert, a stunning display of the dark side of music, and humanity.
Searching for Sugar Man
How does one brilliant musician and songwriter just disappear off the face of the earth, only to randomly become a sensation in South Africa? That’s what "Searching for Sugar Man" answers, an incredible true story about Sixto Rodriguez, genius and prophetic musician on the level of Bob Dylan who fell off the map and had fame rise across the world.
Saturday Night Fever
Baby boomers know this flick by heart, a story of Disco, dreams and bell-bottom jeans. "Saturday Night Fever" was seminal in making Disco popular during the 1970s. And it made lesser known actor John Travolta into a household name. Decades later, and this flick is still stayin’ alive in moviegoers’ hearts.
Pink Floyd – The Wall
In conjunction with their masterful album "The Wall," Pink Floyd’s music was translated to the big screen in this hard rocking, psychedelic epic. Roger Waters wrote the screenplay, but it’s the striking animation that serves as "The Wall’s" greatest hit.
His behavior is flamboyant and nearly offensive, but Prince proved himself to be a welcome cinematic mainstay with the rock musical "Purple Rain." The movie has become a cult classic since its release.
Based off of The Who’s rock opera of the same name, "Tommy" was instrumental in pushing rock artists to adapt their albums to film. And with the natural story progression of the "Tommy" album, this flick was an easy hit.Tags: actor, concert, director, film, movie, music, release, singer