10 Greatest Music Biopics From The Last 20 Years

Joaquin Phoenix didn't think he should play Johnny Cash. He was wrong.

The recipe for a great musical biopic is quite a vague one. For a start, it doesn't necessarily require getting every detail of the person's life just right. Filmmakers are certainly allowed to take a few liberties with the source material, so long as the heart and soul of the subject remains intact - these aren't documentaries, after all. The problem that too many music biopics run into though, is how to present both sides of the coin. How much time should be spent focusing on the artists' music? And likewise, how far into their personal lives do we need to delve in order to paint the proper picture? The answer, of course, lies somewhere in the middle, and every subject requires its own unique blend. A lot of these biopics have been tremendously successful and entertaining despite their factual shortcomings, while others have nailed the historical accuracies but forgot that they were making a movie, not a book report. Of the surprisingly few number of musical biopics released in the last two decades, these 10 stand apart as brilliant examples of both cinema, and historical storytelling.

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Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeTrowbridge.