Special Report

Great Movies Starring Musicians

Source: Courtesy of Island Pictures

10. Down by Law (1986)
> Starring: Tom Waits, John Lurie
> Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
> IMDb rating: 7.8/10

“Down by Law” (1986) is another film directed by Jim Jarmusch in which a musician is cast in a prominent role. Tom Waits stars as Zack, a man arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Alongside of him is Jack, played by musician and actor John Lurie, band leader of the jazz group the Lounge Lizards. Both Lurie and Waits contributed music to the film.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

9. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
> Starring: Frank Sinatra
> Directed by: John Frankenheimer
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10

Frank Sinatra, whose movie career was boosted by movies such as “From Here to Eternity” and The Man With the Golden Arm” in the 1950s, starred as an Army intelligence officer trying to thwart an assassination attempt on the U.S. president in “The Manchurian Candidate.” The movie, directed by John Frankenheimer, is considered to be one of the greatest American political thrillers.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

8. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
> Starring: Will Smith
> Directed by: Gabriele Muccino
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10

Will Smith has been a successful actor for so long that some may not remember the Hollywood leading man was first a rapper, releasing music as early as 1987 as part of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. In 1990, Smith landed his breakout role in the TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” before starring in blockbuster movies such as “Independence Day” (1996) and “Men in Black” (1997). One of his most appreciated films, according to online reviewers, is the 2006 drama “The Pursuit of Happyness,” about a salesman and his son who have fallen on hard times.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

7. Rio Bravo (1959)
> Starring: Dean Martin
> Directed by: Howard Hawks
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10

The smooth-singing stylist who effected a lovably inebriated persona on the big screen and television starred in this Howard Hawks-directed Western with John Wayne and Walter Brennan as a former deputy who takes to drink after his love has left him. Martin had appeared in films with former partner Jerry Lewis and Rat Pack pal Dean Martin. “Rio Bravo” is considered one of Martin’s best films.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

6. The Iron Giant (1999)
> Starring: Harry Connick Jr.
> Directed by: Brad Bird
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10

Musician Harry Connick Jr. worked on music for movies before ever acting in them. In 1989, he coproduced the soundtrack for “When Harry Met Sally”, winning a Grammy award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. He would appear on screen a year later in the war film “Memphis Belle.” In 1999, Connick lent his voice to the character Dean McCoppin in the highly rated “The Iron Giant,” working alongside Jennifer Aniston and Vin Diesel.

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