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I was just discussing great music movies, especially inspirational ones with a friend of mine. Here's a list of some that we thought of, add more to it!

Mr. Holland's Opus
The Red Violin
The Pianist
Music of the Heart
The Competition
Drumline (not really, I hated it, but whatever!)
August Rush (Coming Soon, a Robin Williams movie)
 

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I couldn't stand Mr. Holland's Opus. Richard Dreyfus can't conduct and his character's opus was terrible.

And Jean Louisa Kelly, adorable as she is, sings the bridge to "Someone To Watch Over Me" wrong by halving the meter.

Altogether a musically lame movie.

(Yet Dreyfus was really credible as a pianist in "The Competition.")
 

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The Sweet Smell of Success and Some Like It Hot - not music movies per se but there's some very good music in both and they've got that "jazz/sleeze" thing going which is kind of simple-minded but I still know i'm a complete sucker for it. "The Piano Teacher" with Isabelle Huppert is a wonderful study of that kind of "classical" obsession with perfection that a lot of musicians feel and how that pans out in relation to the world at large. "Sweet and Lowdown" - the Woody Allen film with Sean Penn is a nice film too.
 

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I enjoyed The Pianist, I watched it again about a week ago. I love it!
 

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I remember seeing a movie with Tony Curtis playing a sax player arriving in NY seeking his furtune. I think it was call Rat Race. It was pretty good.
 

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When I was in my early teens and just getting into jazz (via swing), I used to love watching "The Glenn Miller Story" and "The Benny Goodman Story" on the old movie networks.
 

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Drum Line was a seriousy cool movie (while the drums were playing). I'm way into DCI and see a show or two most years. I'm a sucker for the dynamics and awesome brass.
 

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Al Stevens said:
Lush Life
My all-time favourite music film. It has some silliness but a lot of authenticity as well. I've seen it many times. The sound track by Lennie Niehaus swings its ever-lovin' butt off. Some other favourites of mine that haven't been mentioned:

Hilary and Jackie - about the relationship between Jacqueline du Pre and her sister. Can't vouch for the accuracy but an interesting insight nevertheless.

Song of Summer - a wonderful film about Delius' last days and his assistance who helped him compose as he was dying.

Paris Blues - Paul Newman and Sydney Poitier about two American jazzer ex-pats in Paris, their relationship to the music as well as to the American racial problems. Sound track by Duke Ellington with a cameo by Louis Armstrong.

Young Man With a Horn - Kirk Douglas as a trumpet player looking for that elusive note he can never find. Silly dialogue but nice sound track by Harry James and Doris Day.

Tic Code - wonderful little movie about a boy piano player who has a bad tic and obsessions (Tourette's Syndrome), his empathetic mentor a jazz sax player (Gregory Hines) who also has the syndrome, and a wonderful portrayal by Polly Draper as the boy's vulnerable mother. Includes a cameo by Carol Kane as his crazed piano teacher.

Mo Better Blues - Denzel Washington as a trumpet player struggling to find his place not only musically, but as a man. Spike Lee directed it.
 

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With Sam Butera voicing Tony Curtis' saxophone, methinks...
BobD said:
I remember seeing a movie with Tony Curtis playing a sax player arriving in NY seeking his furtune. I think it was call Rat Race. It was pretty good.
 

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Al Stevens said:
I couldn't stand Mr. Holland's Opus. Richard Dreyfus can't conduct and his character's opus was terrible.

And Jean Louisa Kelly, adorable as she is, sings the bridge to "Someone To Watch Over Me" wrong by halving the meter.

Altogether a musically lame movie.

(Yet Dreyfus was really credible as a pianist in "The Competition.")
Mr Holland's Opus is one of the most inspirational and emotional films I have ever seen. All the actors are brilliant, including Dreyfuss. The Opus itself is heard throughout the movie as non-diegetic music and in the finale, we only hear half of it, diegetically. The late Michael Kamen's score is truly amazing and I think the entire Opus could have been played verbatim at the end - they could have intercut the audience's and musicians' reactions with stills and footage from earlier on Holland's life and even shown stills from his musician days prior to becoming a teacher.

The producers were originally just going to use Kamen's CoOncerto for Saxophone as the Opus, until they said they wanted the exclusive rights to it. They then said, 'oh, you can just write a symphony in a couple weeks'!!!!. Kamen went onto lengthen his Opus written for the film into a longer work. The director, star and composer co-founded the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, providing musical instruments for schoolchildren. Kamen was working on a musical stage version of Holland's Opus when he died. I met Michael Kamen in 1996, when giving a talk and demonstrating on his trusty Kurzweil sunth, some of the main motifs and themes.

The film inspired me to start teaching music.
 

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:line4:
ramZsax said:
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I have both the DVD of the version released in the US and the UK (and elsewhere) and also the special edition DVD - released only in Italy - of the original Italian cut, with the original title La Leggenda Dell Pianista sul'Oceano. It makes a great film even greater.
 

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Kritavi said:
Round Midnight was a great film.
OH, man how could I have overlooked that. Another vote for it.

(Although every time I see it I want to take the Francis Borler character out in the rain and slap him silly for the way he was neglecting his daughter!)

Regarding Opus - as a roommate of mine used to say - "To each his own". I thought the musical "opus" itself was mundane. Whatever. Something about that film must have resonated with me (and been visible) because after watching it with my wife, the next thing I knew is that she had booked an airline ticket for my son in the US to come and visit me.
 

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When I was a kid, We went to see "The Music Man". Seventy-Six Trombones brought tears to my eyes. The only newer movie to have kind of that effect was Tenacious D!
 

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Re: Opus

The spit valve schtick was kind of pale, too.

I've always been a Richard Dreyfuss fan, but Opus really disappoints me. Someone should have shown him how to swing a baton for starters. And the too-obvious sexual tension they built between his and Kelly's characters is badly portrayed and totally unnecessary to the story.

My favorite movie about musicians is "The Fabulous Baker Boys." It captures what being a lounge musician is really like. I've lived that movie. And Grusin's soundtrack is wonderful.
 

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Al Stevens said:
Re: Opus My favorite movie about musicians is "The Fabulous Baker Boys." It captures what being a lounge musician is really like. I've lived that movie. And Grusin's soundtrack is wonderful.
Yeah Al, but that's because we're hip.

"Are we hip, Al? Are we hip?"
"Yeah baby, we're hip."
"Why are we hip, Al?"

:D
 

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A couple that haven't been mentioned yet:
Shine - about an Aussie concert pianist battling a mental disorder
32 Short Films about Glenn Gould

Some Classic Musicals:
West Side Story
A Star is Born - Judy Garland singing some jazz
42nd St - from the early 30's
An American in Paris - Gene Kelly
Singin' in the Rain - Gene Kelly
Swing Time - Fred Astair & Ginger Rogers
 
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