With the Hank Williams biopic, I Saw The Light, coming out this past spring, I got to thinking about some of the great country music movies that have been made in the past.
Many feature a top billed cast and some are biographical in nature, but they all have one thing in common: They’re about great country music. Here are my top 10:
10. Sweet Dreams (1985)
Jessica Lange stunningly portrays Patsy Cline, the velvet-voiced country music singer who died in a tragic plane crash at the height of her fame.
9. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.
8. Nashville (1975)
This movie tells the intersecting stories of various people connected to the music business in Nashville. Barbara Jean is the reigning queen of Nashville but is near collapse. Linnea and Delbert Reese have a shaky marriage and 2 deaf children. Opal is a British journalist touring the area. These and other stories come together in a dramatic climax.
7. Pure Country (1992)
Dusty Chandler (Strait) is a super star in the country music world, but his shows have the style of a ’70s rock concert. One day he takes a walk – out of his overdone concerts to find his real country roots. He’s helped and hindered by friends and staff, but pushes on in his search for a real music style as well as a real romance.
6. Country Strong (2010)
A drama centered on a rising country-music songwriter (Hedlund) who sparks with a fallen star (Paltrow). Together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager (McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer (Meester).
5. Honkeytonk Man (1982)
As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the missus’ brother. A roguish country-western musician, he has just been invited to audition for the Grand Ole Opry, his chance of a lifetime to become a success.
4. Tender Mercies (1983)
Alchoholic former country singer Mac Sledge makes friends with a young widow and her son. The friendship enables him to find inspiration to resume his career.
3. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Mississippi, 1937. Three convicts escape from a jail chain-gang intent on getting to the loot stashed away by one of them. As this is at his house soon to be flooded by a new dam, speed is of the essence. They find themselves fast-talking their way out of one jam after another, and along the way not only have to be wary of riverside sirens but even get to make a pretty good country record.
2. Walk The Line (2005)
A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash’s life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
1. Crazy Heart (2009)
Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who’s had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can’t help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician.