‘Elvis’ follows the life and times of celebrity legend Elvis Presley, starting from his childhood through his meteoric rise to stardom and eventual slow decline. Told from the perspective of Elvis’ enigmatic and sticky-fingered manager, Colonel Tom Parker, the musical drama biopic takes a detailed look at the icon’s most significant moments through his star-studded journey.
From director Baz Luhrmann, who has brought us glittering musicals like ‘Moulin Rouge!‘ this movie is a veritable celebration of Elvis Presley’s life and a guaranteed treat for his many admirers. Now, if you’re a fan of musical biographies and enjoy watching stories of musical icons transformed into epic on-screen dramas, we’ve got some great suggestions. You can find most of these movies similar to ‘Elvis’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Bringing the explosive story of the West Coast hip-hop scene to screen, F. Gary Gray’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is an iconic modern music biopic. The film follows hip-hop pioneers NWA and features a dramatized version of rapper Ice Cube. The story is set amidst a tumultuous period in South Los Angeles and hints at broader issues like racism and police brutality. However, like ‘Elvis,’ front and center in the narrative is the remarkable story of the musicians that changed the face of their genre forever.
6. Sid and Nancy (1986)
Based on the obsessive and eventually destructive relationship between the Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, this movie, directed by Alex Cox, centers on a particularly dark story. Set in the brief but luminous heyday of the punk movement, its narrative masterfully describes the journey of the short-lived punk band by exploring the titular couple’s relationship. With Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb essaying Sid and Nancy, the film’s remarkable story has a fitting cast to pull it off. Like ‘Elvis,’ the story of ‘Sid and Nancy’ is a fantastically narrated slice of pop-culture history.
5. Rocketman (2019)
Executive produced by the legend himself, ‘Rocketman‘ is the authorized screen adaptation of music maestro Elton John’s life. The narrative focuses on his phenomenal rise to stardom, a subsequent drug crisis, and his return to a healthy life. Though it does miss out on Elton John’s later years, the Dexter Fletcher directorial is a visual extravaganza befitting the icon it centers on. As expected, the narrative is chock full of well-loved musical numbers. Like ‘Elvis,’ this is the story of a legend told opulently while mostly remaining true to life.
4. Amadeus (1984)
Set in Vienna, Austria, in the 18th century, Miloš Forman’s ‘Amadeus’ follows the remarkable story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Incidentally, much of the narrative is fictionalized and centers on the intriguing, decades-long rivalry between Mozart and the Italian composer Antonio Salieri.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, ‘Amadeus’ is a semi-biographical drama that you will not easily forget. Like ‘Elvis,’ this movie also follows the story of the central musician from his younger days till his death. ‘Amadeus’ could just as easily be at the top of our list, but the long run time and winding story might be a little much for those looking for a more concise watch.
3. Ray (2004)
Another classic musical biography about an icon, ‘Ray,’ dramatizes almost three decades of the life of rhythm and blues artist Ray Charles. From the time he grew up in abject poverty with his mother in Florida to his early years learning how to play the piano and eventual stardom, the film helmed by Taylor Hackford depicts several details (some fictionalized) about the titular musician.
For his role as Ray Charles, actor Jamie Foxx won the Academy Award for Best Actor as well as the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice awards. Once again, like ‘Elvis,’ this film tells the story of how a remarkable musician and global icon came to be.
2. The Dirt (2019)
Directed by Jeff Tremaine, ‘The Dirt’ follows the story of heavy metal cum glam band Mötley Crüe, following the group from its early days through a truly explosive journey. The biographical comedy-drama is an adaptation of the autobiographical book ‘The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,’ written by Neil Strauss along with band members Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx.
The film pays particular attention to the band’s infamous excesses and shows audiences just how it gained its notoriety. If you enjoyed seeing the tumultuous behind-the-scenes journey of the titular icon in ‘Elvis,’ then ‘The Dirt’ will give you a lot more “dirt” on Mötley Crüe.
1. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
A massive, glittering saga that pays homage to the British rock band Queen, Bryan Singer’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ follows the ups and downs in the life of the band, especially musical legend Freddie Mercury. Apart from dramatizing the formation of the iconic band and various highlights, including the release of the titular track, the story also delves into Mercury’s troubled home life. Rami Malek won an Oscar for his portrayal of the enigmatic frontman, and the film will have you humming Queen songs for days.
As an added seal of approval, band members Brian May and Roger Taylor came on as consultants in making the film. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ follows the band through the 1970s until their Live Aid performance in 1985. Fans of ‘Elvis’ can strap themselves in for an equally lush narrative that features all the surreal ups and downs of a musical icon. Both films take a good amount of artistic license with their central characters’ stories, but the entertaining results are definitely worth it!
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