We comprised a list containing some of the best drum movies for fun an inspiration. Here you can find movies about musicians, movies that have great drum-focused soundtracks and documentaries about great drummers.
Let’s get into the list!
1. 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.
2. A Drummers Dream
A Drummer’s Dream is a documentary 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 and firsthand from the masters of this craft. You’re guaranteed to learn something from watching this documentary, no matter the style you play.
Probably the most famous movie on this list, Whiplash is a masterpiece revolving around 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 really 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, this list can’t be complete without this movie.
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 brilliant soundtrack that consists of percussions on every-day 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 really 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 showing him today practicing for 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, 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 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, 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.
We hope that this list has enabled you to find some of the movies you haven’t heard about before and expand your horizons on drumming movies out there. Whether you want to watch a documentary about a great drummer or just a movie with great drumming in the background, you can find something on this list.
Of course, there are other great movies out there, both about drummers or featuring drumming, but we feel that movies that are on this list are the best in that field. We hope you will enjoy watching them, both for yourself or in a company, and that you will take away something from each one of them.