Best Guitar Movies Ever Made

Looking for a movie that will inspire you to pick up a guitar and start strumming? Look no further than this list of the best guitar movies ever made.

From classic rock to classical music, these films showcase the power and beauty of the instrument in all its forms.

Whether you’re an aspiring musician or simply appreciate great cinema, these movies are sure to strike a chord with you.

So grab your popcorn, settle in, and get ready to be entertained by some of the most iconic guitar performances on screen.

Crossroads (1986)

I just watched this with my daughter, which inspired this post.  She was blown away by the epic guitar battle with Steve Vai – making it a must-watch for a guitar player.

This movie was released in 1986 and tells the story of Eugene Martone, a young guitarist who’s trying to find his own voice. The historical context of this film is crucial because it shows how music can transcend cultural boundaries and bring people together.

The blues is an important element in Crossroads, as it highlights the struggle that African Americans faced during the early 20th century. The legend of Robert Johnson also plays a significant role in this movie, as it inspires Eugene to seek out his own musical path.

The way that music impacts personal and cultural identity is evident throughout the film, especially when Eugene meets Willie Brown, an old blues musician who helps him on his journey.

Overall, Crossroads is one of the best guitar movies ever made because of its powerful message about the importance of finding your own voice through music. It showcases how different genres can come together to create something truly unique and special.

Whether you’re a fan of blues or rock n’ roll, this movie will leave you feeling inspired and ready to pick up your guitar. So if you haven’t seen Crossroads yet, make sure to add it to your watchlist today!

Spoiler video if you want to watch the guitar battle with Steve Vai

This is Spinal Tap (1984)

I still find myself quoting this moving. It was the first real guitar movie I watched and saw it before I first picked up a guitar in 1986.  Maybe this inspired me.

This movie is satirical take on the rock music industry still resonates with audiences today. The film follows a fictional British heavy metal band on their disastrous US tour, poking fun at everything from ridiculous stage antics to egotistical band members. But what makes This is Spinal Tap truly genius is how it uses satire to reveal deeper truths about the music industry.

Exploring satire: the genius of This is Spinal Tap

  • The film exposes the absurdity of rockstar personas and the lengths musicians will go for fame.
  • It highlights the commodification of music and how record labels prioritize profit over artistry.
  • Through its fake interviews and concert footage, it parodies the self-seriousness of music documentaries.
  • The characters’ exaggerated personalities reflect common stereotypes in bands, such as the lead singer’s ego or the bassist’s lack of importance.
  • The film also taps into larger cultural critiques, like gender roles in rock music and society’s obsession with celebrity.

Understanding the impact of mockumentaries on music culture

Mockumentaries like This is Spinal Tap have had a lasting impact on both film and music culture. They paved the way for later films like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, as well as TV shows like The Office. In terms of music, mockumentaries influenced MTV’s Behind the Music series and reality shows like American Idol. They also allowed musicians to poke fun at themselves, from Weird Al Yankovic’s parodies to Tenacious D’s comedy rock albums.

This is Spinal Tap remains one of the best guitar movies ever made not just because it’s hilarious (although it definitely is) but because it has something important to say about an entire industry. Its humor might be silly at times but its message is serious: behind all those spandex pantsuits and wild haircuts are people who are just trying to make a living. It’s a reminder that sometimes the best way to critique society is to laugh at it.



La Bamba (1987)

If you’re a fan of music biopics, then La Bamba (1987) should be on your must-watch list. The film tells the story of Ritchie Valens, a young musician who pioneered Chicano rock in the 1950s.

With its iconic hit song ‘La Bamba’, the movie takes you through Valens’ struggles to make it big and his untimely death at just 17 years old. It’s an emotional journey that showcases the power of music and how it can change lives forever.

Undoubtedly, one of the most heart-wrenching guitar movies is La Bamba, which portrays the tragically short life of Ritchie Valens and his impact on the Chicano rock movement. As a biopic about Valens, it is one of the few films that accurately represents Chicano culture and its influence on music. The movie was not only a tribute to Valens’ talent but also to his ethnicity, celebrating his Mexican-American heritage in a time when representation of Chicanos in Hollywood was scarce.

Moreover, La Bamba presented an honest portrayal of Valens’ life as a young musician who broke through barriers with his unique sound and style. The film’s soundtrack features some of his biggest hits such as “Donna” and “La Bamba.” It also sheds light on how Valens paved the way for other Latino artists in the music industry. Through this movie, viewers can experience firsthand how Valens’ legacy influenced generations to come. Overall, La Bamba will always be remembered as an essential biopic that captured not just Ritchie Valen’s incredible story but also celebrated Chicano culture in all its glory.


School of Rock (2003)

You’ll feel like you’re in the classroom with Jack Black as he rocks out with his students in School of Rock. This 2003 film is often considered one of the best guitar moves and has become a cult classic among guitar enthusiasts and music lovers alike. The story follows Dewey Finn, a struggling musician who pretends to be a substitute teacher at an upscale elementary school. He forms a band with his young students, teaching them how to play rock music and inspiring them to embrace their inner creativity.

One of the reasons School of Rock has such a strong cult following is due to its unique teaching methods. Instead of simply lecturing about music theory and technique, Dewey uses hands-on experiences to teach his students about rock music. He encourages them to explore their own musical tastes and express themselves through playing instruments and writing songs. This approach not only helps the children learn more effectively but also inspires them to develop their own passions for music.

The film’s soundtrack features classic rock songs from iconic bands such as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and The Clash. Its popularity has even spawned musical adaptations on Broadway and across the world. But beyond its catchy tunes and humorous plotline lies an important message about creativity and self-expression that resonates with viewers of all ages. School of Rock proves that anyone can learn how to play guitar or any instrument if they have the right motivation, inspiration, and guidance from a passionate teacher like Dewey Finn.


August Rush (2007)

Released in 2007, August Rush tells the heartwarming story of a young musical prodigy named Evan Taylor who uses his extraordinary talent to reunite with his long-lost parents. The movie explores the power of music and its ability to connect people despite physical distance and time.  It may not be as fun as School of Rock, but its still one of the best guitar movies and it tells a much more dramatic story.   Plus the kid has sick chops.

Throughout the movie, we’re reminded that music isn’t just about creating something beautiful, but also about finding oneself and connecting with others. One of the central themes in August Rush is the importance of family. Though Evan has never met his parents, he feels their presence through music and believes that they will eventually find him. Thats kinda cool.

As he embarks on a journey to New York City, Evan meets various characters who become his makeshift family. He finds solace in their kindness and support as they help him navigate the harsh realities of life on the streets. The film culminates in a powerful performance where Evan’s parents finally hear him play for the first time since he was born. It’s a cool moment that highlights how much music can bring people together.



Once (2007)

Here’s one you probably haven’t heard of so I wanted to throw this in here.  If you’re looking for a movie that captures the essence of musical collaboration and the power of raw, stripped-down performances, Once is a must-see.

This indie film follows the story of an Irish busker and a Czech immigrant who bond over their love of music and begin to write songs together. The musical themes explored in Once are both universal and timeless, as they touch on topics such as heartbreak, friendship, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

The music in this movie seemed to resonate with audiences worldwide, earning it both critical acclaim and commercial success. The song ‘Falling Slowly’ actually won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2008.

Overall, Once stands out as one of the best guitar movies ever made because it showcases how music can bring people together regardless of cultural or linguistic barriers. It also demonstrates how indie films can be just as impactful as mainstream blockbusters if given the chance to shine. If you haven’t seen this gem yet, make sure to add it to your watch list – you won’t regret it!

Almost Famous (2000) – The Best Guitar Move

This is my favorite guitar movie and also my teenage daughter’s favorite movie. Feels like I walk through our living room every month and see this movie on the TV.  I primarily play rock on the guitar with a good dose of classic rock and just love the time period, so this movie really resonates with me.  And it doesn’t hurt that it has an incredible soundtrack.

Almost Famous is a coming-of-age film that follows the story of a young journalist named William Miller, who is given the opportunity to tour with the fictional rock band Stillwater in the early 1970s. William is a huge fan of rock music and has a passion for writing, so he jumps at the chance to join the band on their tour as a writer for Rolling Stone magazine.

William travels with the band on their tour bus, and quickly becomes friends with guitarist Russell Hammond and the rest of the band. He also developed a crush on a key character, Penny Lane, a groupie who is infatuated with Russell. The tour is filled with wild parties, drugs, and groupies, but William remains focused on his assignment to write a story about the band.  T

Semi-autobiographical film based on Cameron Crowe’s experience

Cameron Crowe is an accomplished movie director that got his start in the entertainment industry by working for Rolling Stone magazine as a teenager.

This movie is based in part on his experience touring with several bands, with much of the context coming from his experience on his first assignment as a journalist touring with The Allman Brothers.

Iconic scene featuring “Tiny Dancer” sing-along

In a coincidental turn of events, the iconic scene in Almost Famous features an awesome sing-along to ‘Tiny Dancer’ by Elton John and this scene has become synonymous with this beloved film.  As the characters on screen belt out the lyrics, you can’t help but feel like you’re part of something special.    So here’s the deal, this is by far, my favorite scene of any movie and I don’t think I’m the only one.

The impact of music in film cannot be overstated, and ‘Tiny Dancer’ is a perfect example. The song’s uplifting melody and relatable lyrics are what makes it so memorable. When used in Almost Famous, it adds depth to already complex and likable characters.  Check it out below or hold off if you want to be surprised.

Watching the Best Guitar Movies

Why do we love these movies so much? Perhaps it’s because they tap into our own passion for the guitar, or maybe it’s simply because they remind us of some of our favorite songs and artists. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear – these films are truly special and will continue to inspire generations of guitarists for years to come.

These films, the songs, and the guitarists are what inspire many of us to pick up a guitar.  So after you watch a few of these, plug in your amp, turn up the volume, and keep that awesome vibe going!

Rob Z

Got my first guitar in 1987, took lessons and played nonstop. Spent some time in hard rock and metal bands in the 1990s. I eventually switched to acoustic guitars only and rarely played for years. I got back into electric guitars when my daughter began playing in 2018. I now collect way too much gear.
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