Many films show drummers at work. Some of these drumming movies are very entertaining and just might give you that extra motivation to practice! If you’re interested in learning more about the world of drumming, then you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve comprised a list containing some of the best drum movies for fun and inspiration. Here you can find movies about musicians, movies that have great drum-focused soundtracks, and documentaries about great drummers.
Let’s dive into the list!
- 1. Whiplash
- 2. The Gene Krupa Story
- 3. A Drummers Dream
- 4. Birdman
- 5. Sound of Noise
- 6. That Thing You Do
- 7. Ain’t in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
- 8. Beware of Mr. Baker
- 9. The Mambo Kings
- 10. The Drummer
- 11. The Strip
- 12. Sound of Metal
- 13. Hop
- 14. Tenacious D – The Pick of Destiny
- 15. Adventures of Power
- 16. Drumline
- 17. Wayne’s World
- 18. Step Brothers
- 19. This is Spinal Tap
Probably the most famous movie on this list, Whiplash is a masterpiece, directed by Damien Chazelle, revolving around a jazz drum student and his obsessive professor, for which role J. K. Simmons won an Oscar. This movie is a great combination of wonderful jazz scores played in the movie itself and the great story between the two main characters.
You can learn something about jazz drums from watching this movie and you can see in detail how music schools actually work (apart from obsessive professors, of course). Even though you probably already watched this Miles Teller movie, this list can’t be complete without it.
2. The Gene Krupa Story
The Gene Krupa Story is a movie from 1959, which depicts the life of famous jazz drummer Gene Krupa. All the music in the movie is played by Krupa himself and it is a story of his rise to fame and then spending it all on drugs and alcohol. Even though it’s kind of cheesy by today’s standards, the movie allows you to listen to the great playing of Krupa, which is enough by itself.
3. A Drummers Dream
A Drummer’s Dream is a documentary film that features seven of the best drummers in the world, which are holding classes and passing their knowledge on to the younger generation of drummers.
This is a beautiful movie about the love of music, but you will be able to learn a lot about many different styles these drummers played and mastered, from jazz, soul, funk, rock to the Latin rhythms, you can hear it all firsthand from the masters of this craft. You’re guaranteed to learn something from watching this documentary, no matter the style you play.
Even though this is not a movie about drumming or music at all, it’s included on this list because almost all of the soundtrack is just drums. And great drums to be exact. An Oscar–winning movie about an aging movie star trying to revive his career in a Broadway production is great by itself, but what’s making it legendary is really the soundtrack.
Constant drumming with just a hint of other instruments at times is a real winner for this movie.
5. Sound of Noise
Sound of Noise is a Swedish movie that has probably the most imaginative plot on this list (or ever…). The plot is this: a group of six guerilla percussionists terrorizes the city with their playing and a tone-deaf, music–hating inspector is trying to catch them.
Even though it sounds silly, the movie itself is rather funny and has great editing combined with a brilliant soundtrack that consists of percussions on everyday items found in a city. A big recommendation to find and watch this movie, because you will laugh and enjoy great music while at it.
6. That Thing You Do
This is a nice movie written and directed by Tom Hanks about a young band in the mid-’60s that reaches fame when their drummer breaks his arm and his sub introduces them to the 4/4 rhythm, bringing that Beatles sound to the USA.
Even though this is a family-time movie, it has a nice story and you can learn a lot about how show-business really works from it.
7. Ain’t in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
Another documentary about a drumming legend, Levon Helm, drummer of legendary The Band. This documentary shows his reflections on his history with the band, the way he played, and also shows him practicing for a Band reunion after 25 years.
Documentaries like these are a great way to preserve knowledge and introduce younger generations to some of the drumming legends that are now retired, but can still bring on quite a show and have had an immense influence on drumming and music development over the years.
8. Beware of Mr. Baker
One of the most famous drummers in the world, Ginger Baker revolutionized the way drums are used, especially in rock music. In this documentary, he looks back on his work with the Cream, where he and Eric Clapton made history together, and then his work with Fela Kuti, the legendary African musician.
Today, he lives on his farm in South Africa, and this documentary is a great monument to one of the most influential drummers in the history of music.
9. The Mambo Kings
Mambo Kings is a movie about two Cuban brothers musicians migrating to the USA and trying to make it as a band together in a music world.
Even though this is a classic drama, it still has a great amount of music in it and if you’re a Latin music lover, this movie will be your favorite. Armand Asante and Antonio Banderas both know how to sing and with added female voices you’re in for a great, emotional ride all the way through.
10. The Drummer
The Drummer is a Hong Kong movie, about a mobster’s son that has to be hidden on an island to protect him from blood revenge, where he starts turning his wishes from becoming a rock drummer to zen Buddhist drummer. In this movie, you will find a great combination of both rock and Buddhist traditional drumming, a sound which you most probably connect with Chinese folk music.
This is a great way to learn something more about Asian folk drumming and also about Buddhism itself.
11. The Strip
One of the iconic movies, The Strip is a tale about a drummer looking to move to Los Angeles and open his own club, only to get mangled with mobsters and get accused of murder.
Even though this is a crime, film-noir movie of that era, it still has a great deal of music in it, especially jazz. It’s a great showcase of the LA jazz clubs of the time, and if you’re a jazz drummer or want to learn something about jazz drumming, this movie is going to provide you with that. Drum solos in the movie are truly astonishing and the guest’s appearance of Louis Armstrong just makes everything better.
12. Sound of Metal
Sound of Metal is a movie about a drummer who slowly losses his hearing. The movie revolves around an avant-garde metal duo that travels across the US and does gigs. The drummer suffers from rapid hearing loss for which he can’t afford surgery.
The movie follows his journey throughout the whole process, dealing with the mental state and slowly finding his way back into a positive mainframe. A movie that depicts the horrifying condition of tinnitus and how it affects most musicians. One worth watching!
Hop is a 2011 animated comedy movie following the life of an Easter bunny who attempts to reach success as a drummer. A hilarious and interesting plot, to say the least. The Easter bunny refuses to fulfill his father’s whishes to take his place, instead, he pursues his own dream of becoming a drummer.
It’s good to sometimes reach into the world of animation for entertainment. An intriguing movie to watch when you want to break the norms of conventional comedy, and also have some music while you’re at it.
14. Tenacious D – The Pick of Destiny
Tenacious D – The Pick of Destiny is an all-time classic for music lovers. This fun and thrilling music film follow the journey and formation of ‘the greatest band in the world’.
Members JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) come to a conclusion that all the best bands in the world, more so the best guitarists in the world used the same pick and that’s why they were so good. They set on a journey to find the pick of destiny while encountering the Devil (Dave Grohl) in an epic showdown. A movie worth your time!
15. Adventures of Power
Adventure of Power follows the life of Power, a young drummer as he pursues his passion and dream of becoming the best air-drummer in the world. A hilarious plot with a lot of drum material worked into it that just makes for a fun experience overall. The movie even features a competition between real drummers and air-drummers that just adds a more comedic sense and excitement.
This 2008 comedy movie is one to keep in mind if you’re on the hunt for a fun, drumming film experience.
Drumline is a 2002 comedy movie featuring Nick Cannon in the leading role as a street drummer from Harlem. The movie follows his journey and talent as he joins a Southern university and its marching band lineup.
While being an extremely talented drummer, the movie shows that talent is sometimes not good enough, instead hard work is needed to reach the next level. A fun movie experience for those looking for inspiration and entertainment at the same time!
17. Wayne’s World
Wayne’s World is a 1992 comedy following the adventures of Wayne Campbell and his buddy Garth Algar who are trying to promote their cable show. The movie features some of the best hits up until that time and makes for a fun and hilarious experience.
Drummers will certainly enjoy the prolific and not-anticipated drumming skills of Garth as he showcases his talents. A movie worth watching for a fun and entertaining time!
18. Step Brothers
Step Brothers is a 2008 American comedy film featuring Will Ferrell (Brennan Huff) and John C. Reilly Dale Doback). It revolves around two middle-aged men who become step-brothers as their parents get married.
Forced to live together, this film offers some hilarious material and scenes that will make you laugh uncontrollably. Probably the funniest scenes are regarding Dale’s drum set for which he has a no-touching rule, of course, Brennan violates this rule and gives the audience something to laugh about.
19. This is Spinal Tap
This is Spinal Tap is a rockumentary regarding the world’s loudest band. Spinal Tap are an English heavy metal group dubbed as the loudest band in the world and the movie is simply clever in its way of exaggerating the classic heavy metal scene.
Depicting classic band dilemmas like canceled gigs and arguments about their cover, this movie brings it tenfold when it comes to comedic genius. One worth watching for sure!
There are lots of movies that depict drummers and the work they do. Some of them are really fun and easy to watch, while others are a bit more serious and deep. All in all, lots of good movies for drummers on this list.
It’s great that this subject has been made into films that portray accurate portrayals of the drumming world – even if some might be slightly exaggerated. If you want an insight into the world of drumming this is certainly the place to look.
Check out all these movies above, lots of diversity here, and each one with its own unique story. From drumming movies all the way to animation, you’re sure to find a movie that suits your taste!