The Top 10 Films Starring Musicians

Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, Prince in Purple Rain, Beyonce in Dreamgirls, and Rihanna in Guava Island

We’re huge music fans here at Caavo...when we’re not preoccupied watching movies and TV. In fact, we’re such fans that you can now control your Sonos sound system with the Caavo remote. Besides a bowl of popcorn and a Control Center, music is the perfect accompaniment to a movie. No, we’re not talking about the soundtrack or score. We’re talking about the musicians themselves. Sometimes our favorite musical artists make the jump to the silver screen and kill it with their theatrical performance. Ice Cube and Queen Latifah were some of the first crossover artists and more recently, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. That’s why we’ve decided to choose some of our favorites for your viewing pleasure.

So below is a list of our favorite films that star some of our favorite musicians (in no particular order).

 

Purple Rain - Prince

Of course you knew that this would be on the list because Prince can do nothing wrong. This film was developed to showcase off Prince’s talents various talents and it certainly did. Playing the role of “The Kid,” a young up and coming musician who must deal with rival singers, abusive parents, and a blossoming romance. Peppered with musical sequences and concert shots, the best thing about this movie was that Prince recorded a whole album to coincide with this film and he also won an Oscar for Best Original Score.


A Star is Born - Lady Gaga

Although this film is a remake of the old-classic 1937 film with the same name, the 2018 version stands on its own musically as well as cinematically. Bradley Cooper gives a powerful performance as an over the hill country music singer, but the real star is Lady Gaga as she steals the show not just with her singing but with her acting chops as well.


Dreamgirls - Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson

A film à clef (work of fiction taking strong inspiration from history), this film follows a girl group in the 60’s called the Dreamettes (inspired by the Supremes) as they struggle to make it big, while dealing with their adulterous and manipulative record executive. Jennifer Hudson plays Effie White (based on Florence Ballard) and Beyonce plays Deena Jones (based on Diana Ross), two of the singers in the Dreamettes, so the music is obviously fantastic, but drama quickly unfolds as their characters both fall in love with the same man.


The Blues Brothers - All Musicians  

While this movie follows the Blues Brothers based on their characters on SNL (played by John Belushi and Dan Aakroyd), the real star of this film is music. Peppered with star-studded cameos from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin, this film is the perfect film for someone who loves music and comedies.

 

The Italian Job - Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey

The artist formerly known as Mos Def stars in this action caper as “Left Ear,” a demolitions expert who you guessed it, can only hear in his left ear. While Yasiin Bey has starred in more poignant roles since then, the Italian Job was one of his earlier film roles and really shows his range due to his comedic timing and ability to break the ice during the serious and action scenes.


The Social Network - Justin Timberlake

We’ll never forget that he brought SexyBack, but sometimes we forget that Justin Timberlake has acting chops as well. While mostly known for his rom-coms and hilarious tropes with Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake has range as well. His portrayal of Napster co-founder Sean Parker is perfect because he’s likeable and yet we hate him so much at the same time.

 

Boyz in the Hood -  Ice Cube

Before he was known for starring in family-friendly films and comedies, he got his start in this visceral film about growing up in South Central, Los Angeles. Directed by the late great John Singleton, this film follows three friends and their different paths as they navigate living in the hood. Ice Cube has a breakout performance in this film as Darrin “Doughboy” Baker, one of the three friends who incidentally becomes a member of the Crips.


Chicago - Queen Latifah

Ask any person under 20 and they’ll probably say to you that Queen Latifah is an actor first and a singer second. Well, they’re wrong. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, Queen Latifah was a rapper and one of the best in the game, until she decided to take her skills into acting (her first big break was on the FOX sitcom, Living Single). Eventually she would go on to play the role of Mama Morton in the critically-acclaimed musical-film Chicago. Her performance in the film was so good that it garnered her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


Ocean’s 8 - Rihanna

Just like in real life, Rihanna’s character in Ocean’s 13 is also smart, calm, and cool.

Playing the role of Nine Ball, the hacker/tech extraordinaire of the group, she quickly steals the scene from this star-studded film with her quick and dry wit. It’s also nice to see Rihanna dip her toes into acting. She also recently starred in the Donald Glover/Childish Gambino short film, Guava Island.


Searching for Sugarman - Rodrigo

The only documentary on the list, this film follows two music enthusiasts from Cape Town, South Africa, who go on a journey to find out if the rumored death of American musician, Rodrigo is actually true and if not, what had actually happened to him. While his music was never popular in the United States, it was extremely popular in South Africa, even though very little was known of him in that country.

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