Special Report

Best Movies for Country Music Fans

Source: Courtesy of Republic Pictures

28. O, My Darling Clementine (1943)
> Directed by: Frank McDonald
> Starring: Roy Acuff, Isabel Randolph, lorna Gray
> Runtime: 68 min

The rather complex plot of this early country-music-heavy classic involves a traveling all-girl variety show, a small-town girl with a snooty mother, a lothario named “Dapper” Dan, some questionable real estate dealings, and more. The “more” involves lots of old-style country music, much of it focused on the legendary Roy Acuff — playing the local sheriff, whose name is Roy Acuff — and his Smoky Mountain Boys and Girls. Watch for Princess Sheba, a fake medium with the variety show, played by Irene Ryan, who later won stardom as Granny in “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Source: Courtesy of Swipe Films

27. Grand Theft Parsons (2004)
> Directed by: David Caffrey
> Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Christina Applegate, Marley Shelton
> Runtime: 88 min

“Grand Theft Parsons” tells the story of business manager Phil Kaufman and his relationship with singer-songwriter Gram Parsons, a country-rock trailblazer who died at just 26 years old. Parsons performed with the country-rock group The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Though New York Post critic Megan Lehmann found the film to be a “meandering road movie,” she thought the soundtrack, which featured tracks from Parsons, was “extremely cool.”

Source: Courtesy of No Distributor Found

26. The Last Ride (2012)
> Directed by: Harry Thomason
> Starring: Henry Thomas, Jesse James, Fred Thompson
> Runtime: 102 min

“The Last Ride” is a biopic about the final days of Hank Wiliams Sr., one of the giants of country music in the 1940s. Williams died in 1953 at age 29 from complications involving drug and alcohol abuse while trying to restart his storied career. Mario Tarradell of the Dallas Morning News said the movie “doesn’t give us a complete picture of Hank Williams. But it does ably illustrate the final days of his life.”

Source: Courtesy of Screen Gems

25. Country Strong (2010)
> Directed by: Shana Feste
> Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund
> Runtime: 117 min

Paltrow plays troubled country singer Kelly Canter, a recovering alcoholic who miscarried her baby falling off a stage while drunk, with real-life country star McGraw as her husband and Hedlund (who went on to star in “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Mudbound,” among other films) as her lover. Plenty of original country songs are performed as the story winds its way toward a tragic ending — one of which, “Coming Home,” was nominated as Best Original Song for both the Oscars and the Golden Globes.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

24. Falling from Grace (1992)
> Directed by: John Mellencamp
> Starring: John Mellencamp, Mariel Hemingway, Claude Akins
> Runtime: 100 min

“Falling from Grace” marked the acting and directorial debut of John Mellencamp. The rocker plays a country music performer who returns to his hometown in Indiana to escape the turmoil of life on the road, but his personal life becomes complicated once he returns home. Larry McMurtry, who’s written novels about the West, including “Lonesome Dove,” wrote the screenplay. Folk singer-songwriter John Prine, who died from COVID-19 in April of last year, appears in the film and on the movie’s soundtrack.

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