7 (Unintentionally) Inspiring Guitar Movies

It’s probably impossible to come up with the perfect guitar/music movie list, but here are seven of my favorites. These aren’t all Oscar winners, but they all have their unique charms.

For anyone getting into guitar, I hope these movies will give you a bit of the inspiration and good humor that has helped me on my own guitar-learning path.

In no particular order:

  1. School of Rock: Not only is the soundtrack an all-time best, but this movie has a great message about how music can empower people of all ages and backgrounds. My friends and I left the theater singing at the top of our lungs.
  2. Stop Making Sense: I’ve seen many concert-films, but this is the only one that inspired a bunch of college kids (including me) to exercise weekly by dancing like crazy to this and other New Wave ’80s goodness.
  3. Crossroads: Sorry Britney fans, it’s not that Crossroads. Imagine the Karate Kid on a journey to find Robert Johnson’s legendary lost song with Joe Seneca (the bad guy from The Blob remake) as a crusty old blues man who secretly needs to get his soul back from the Devil, and a very young Steve Vai as a demon guitarist. As if that’s not awesome enough, a slide blues and metal-style duel breaks out, recorded by Ry Cooder and Steve Vai.
  4. Almost Famous: A great film about the good, the bad, and the craziness of rock and roll in the classic rock era… and maybe a reminder not to let things go to your head.
  5. This Is Spinal Tap: This movie is deservedly considered one of the funniest of all time. And it gets bonus points for making all of us musicians look at ourselves and laugh.
  6. Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The only true documentary on the list, I had to include this if only because the Funk Brothers were so influential, so prolific, and so amazingly talented, despite few people knowing who they are. This is a must if you’re a fan of Motown.
  7. Airheads: An unabashedly silly movie with an excellent ’90s comedy cast. It’s still funny the 20th time I’ve seen it, and oddly enough, it does teach a lesson about differentiating yourself to get noticed (not that I am encouraging anyone to take a radio station hostage with squirt guns full of hot sauce).