3 Movies for Classic Rock Fans

Classic rock is the style of music that gets your motor running. It’s a unifying sound, one of the ties that bind. So, of course, the genre is going to show up in some of the greatest movies ever.

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But which movies give the viewer the best sense of the sonics? Which movies display that love affair with classic rock, the same kind so many enjoy while they head down the highway, work out or party like it’s 1979?

Here are three movies that show a deep affection for classic rock and offer the audience an excellent soundtrack as well as showcase real musicians playing real music.

[RELATED: 3 Movies for Every Jimi Hendrix Fan]

1. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

This is every classic rock fan’s favorite movie. The 1984 movie, which is available for free on YouTube (below), is what’s known as a “mockumentary,” or a spoof on a documentary. It follows an aging rock band that is slowly going down the tubes but doesn’t quite know it yet. With inside jokes galore and catchphrases you’ll recognize, this movie depicts the life of a touring rock musician from the ’70s and beyond impeccably.

2. School of Rock (2003)

School of Rock is the movie that made Jack Black a star. While Black had been in other music films prior, including High Fidelity, this one put him front and center with an electric guitar and a wealth of knowledge about everyone from Janis Joplin to The Who to Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. Black, who would rocket even higher into the stratosphere thanks to his actual rock band Tenacious D, loves rock and roll. It’s evident here. So much so that the movie could stand in as a college-level course when it comes to learning the history of the classic rock genre.

3. Almost Famous (2000)

Not quite as “real” as This Is Spinal Tap, but this movie shows what the life of a rock artist was like in the ’70s. Band conflicts, groupies, hotels, planes, busses, more band conflicts. This movie is also about a love affair with writing and journalism and getting to the truth of the muse when it comes to the electrified genre. Almost Famous also has actors playing instruments and performing in the fictional band Stillwater. Though the band is real, too, in that they have a song on the movie’s soundtrack. It’s all very meta and all very classic. Oh, and the movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the former husband of classic rock artist Nancy Wilson of Heart.

Bonus: Dazed and Confused (1993)

A movie written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also directed School of Rock, this movie isn’t so much about music… but it has just a great classic rock soundtrack. Worth it every time!

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

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