The inclusion of musicians in feature films has a long history. Bing Crosby began acting in the late 1920s and starred in major hits such as “White Christmas” and “High Society” throughout the 1950s. Rock acts such as The Beatles and Elvis Presley picked up the torch in the 1960s, carrying numerous titles based on the recognizability of their names alone.
Some artists merely dipped their toes in the world of cinema. Icelandic singer Björk only has a handful of acting credits in feature films, yet she struck gold with her turn in Danish auteur Lars Von Trier’s critically acclaimed drama “Dancer in the Dark.” Rapper Eminem is a similar case – despite appearing in only four feature films, he wowed audiences with his performance in the biopic “8 Mile,” which grossed over $245 million worldwide.
Others have managed to build hugely successful acting careers. Will Smith began as a rapper but is now considered primarily an actor. Pop singer Mandy Moore released her last album in 2009 but has acted in seven feature films that have been released since.
To determine the list of 40 movies starring musicians, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed numerous user-generated lists of musicians who act. We then looked at each musician’s filmography and selected the top-rated film on IMDb for which the musician has a leading role. To be included, a film must have at least 10,000 user ratings on IMDb. Concert films and documentaries were not considered. Musicians must have found success in the music industry prior to any acting success.
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