10 Greatest Rock Documentaries Ever Made

A Look Behind the Scenes.

Spinal Tap Nigel
Embassy Pictures

For most of us, it's probably for the best that we don't see what's behind closed doors in the music industry. Though some of our favorite artists might look good outside of the context of being onstage, you're always going to be just as liable to put your foot in your mouth before actually saying something worthwhile behind the camera. When you do peel back the curtain though, you sometimes get something even more compelling than the music in front of you.

Aside from the usual band drama that you get along the way, these movies were able to stand on their own as great pieces of storytelling regardless of if you know the band or not. While the classic songs on display certainly help matters, there are a lot of stakes going on in these films, where artists either decide to put down the layers of rock mystique or instead make something that's almost intentionally tough to watch.

Even though you might know the outcome of these things if you're a fan, it's still hard to watch how things can go from bad to worse and then back up again time after time. These aren't the most comforting stories ever told...but then again was rock always about being happy all the time?

10. Hype! - Various

The idea of a documentary is normally focused on capturing the ins and outs of what happened during its creation. It gets a little bit tricky with rock and roll though, with most of the lavish movies taking place well after any of the nitty gritty tales actually happened. In that respect, it's practically a miracle that we actually managed to get a movie like Hype! at all.

While most other grunge aficionados would point you towards a movie like Singles as capturing the spirit of the Seattle sound, Hype! is probably the more focused documentary when it comes to the actual music taking place. Having clips from heavyhitters in the scene like Buzz Osbourne and Chris Cornell, this entire documentary feels like being on the ground floor of the entire grunge operation, almost like the artists themselves are completely unaware with how much things are going to blow up in the coming years.

It's almost uncanny how much is covered here since it was made pretty much in tandem with when grunge was starting to take off, as most of the rock stars in question talk about the entire scene as if it's far away in the past. Although the world took a little while longer to catch on, this is the healthy retrospective of grunge before the alternative waves finally hit the shore.


I'm just a junkie for all things media. Whether it's music, movies, TV, or just other reviews, I absolutely adore this stuff. But music was my first love, and I love having the opportunity to share it with you good people.