The recently released movie “Hustlers,” about a group of strip club employees who team up to steal from their clients, has already grossed more than triple its production budget at the domestic box office less than two weeks after its release. One compelling aspect of the film is the number of musicians cast in it. Grammy-nominated singer Jennifer Lopez appears in a starring role as seasoned exotic dancer Ramona, and she is accompanied by musicians Cardi B, Lizzo, and Usher.
These performers were not chosen for their musical talent — none of their songs appear in the movie — but for their acting ability. Many musicians have tried their hands at acting throughout history, and in some cases they found that they have a genuine knack for it.
24/7 Tempo has identified 40 great movies starring musicians. While the extent to which each performer has dedicated himself or herself to acting as a career varies, they have all left their mark on these exceptional films.
The inclusion of musicians in feature films has a long history. Crooner Bing Crosby added acting to his music career in the 1920s and starred in major hits such as “White Christmas” and “High Society” throughout the 1950s. Rock acts such as Elvis Presley and The Beatles appeared in movies in the 1960s as their popularity increased. The latter musical act even had plans to do a psychedelic adaptation of a famous book series with Stanley Kubrick. These are 50 fascinating facts about the Beatles.
It’s not uncommon to see musicians appear in movies these days, though some take to the craft much more seriously than others. Artists such as Björk and rapper Eminem have starred in feature films, but they are far more active in the music industry. Others, including Will Smith and Mandy Moore, have all but abandoned music in the pursuit of their silver screen success. In Smith’s case, he’s left the music-making to his children. These are the celebrity parents with famous musician children.
To determine the list of 40 great movies starring musicians, 24/7 Tempo reviewed numerous user-generated lists of musicians who act. We then looked at each musician’s filmography and selected the top-rated film on Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for which the musician has a leading role. To be included, a film must have had at least 10,000 user ratings on IMDb. Concert films and documentaries were not considered.