Best Movies for Kids who Dream of Musical Superstardom

So your kid wants to be a rock star. When they’re not on or watching the next up-and-comer hit in big on The Voice, their dreaming of their own moment in the spotlight. While there’s no shortage of movies about musicians, the most honest, genuine ones are rated R (mainly due to language). Though they are great films, children might be bored by Amadeus, completely confounded by I’m Not There, or shocked by Sid and Nancy. And some of the best movies about rap and hip-hop – 8 Mile and Straight Outta Compton – are just too raw to recommend for youngsters.

So, we found the flicks that are the most fun, entertaining, or educational, and put them all together here, along with a few “bonus tracks” at the end). Be aware that we’ve included a few R-rated films, so use your own discretion before planning a guitar-driven movie night with the kiddoes.

Then, turn the amps up to 11, and enjoy!

Jem and the Holograms

2015, PG

Based on a beloved cartoon, this movie was maligned by hardcore fans when it was released in theaters, but it’s a candy colored romp that younger kids (especially girls) are sure to love. The story follows Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples), a shy but talented teen singer-songwriter whose dreams of stardom come true when she forms the group Jem and the Holograms. (Spice World would make for a nice double feature – break out the hair brush microphones and fire up the Vine account!)

Josie and the Pussycats

2001, PG-13

Josie (Rachael Leigh Cook), Melody (Tara Reid), and Val (Rosario Dawson) are three pretty, plucky small-town girls determined to take their rock band out of the garage and to the world stage, but they find that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

We Are the Best!

2013, Not Rated

Three raucous teenage girls (Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne) form a punk band in 1980’s Stockholm, and despite opposition to their wild, new sound they’re determined to be the best.

That Thing You Do!

1996, PG

Set in the summer of 1964, this movie tells the story of the rise and fall of a one-hit wonder pop band. Written, directed, and starring Tom Hanks, this is a feel-good flick from start to finish.


1988, PG-13

Part road trip comedy and part coming-of-age musical, Satisfaction follows Jennie Lee (Justine Bateman) and her rock ’n roll band “The Mystery” on their way to audition for a make-or-break summer gig. 

Coal Miner’s Daughter

1980, PG

Truly and accurately based on the amazing and true rags-to-riches story of country superstar Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek, Oscar for Best Actress), Coal Miner’s Daughter is an amazing, inspiring film that will appeal to anyone interested in an engrossing tale regardless of musical preference. Watch as Loretta rises from local honky-tonks to the Grand Ole Opry, befriending her idol Patsy Cline (Beverly D’Angelo) and becoming a country music icon, all while maintaining her often prickly private life as a wife and mother.


2007, R

A Dublin vacuum repairman (Glen Hansard) moonlights as a street musician as he waits and hopes for his big break (with songs like “Broken-Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy,” how can he miss?). Fate intervenes when a beautiful flower-selling immigrant (Marketa Irglova) confides in him her dreams of musical fame, and so the pair decide to collaborate. The songs they compose reflect the story of their blossoming love – the ultimate concept album. 


2014, R

This is a very offbeat fantasy about an aspiring musician (Domhnall Gleeson) who finds himself way beyond his comfort zone after he joins a pop group led by an enigmatic character (Michael Fassbender) who wears a giant fake head… all the time.


1997, PG

In this biopic (with a sad ending), Selena (Jennifer Lopez) is born into a musical Mexican-American family in the heart of Texas. Her father (Edward James Olmos) fosters her career until they have a disagreement on how her career should take shape, and with whom. Seeking mainstream stardom, Selena begins recording an English-language album, unfortunately drawing the attention of a fanatic.


2004, PG-13

Legendary soul singer Ray Charles is flawlessly portrayed by Jamie Foxx in this Oscar-winning biopic, which follows his long and storied career from beginning to end, with all its ups, downs, pitfalls, and proudest achievements.


2006 PG-13

Deena (Beyoncé Knowles), Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) form a singing trio called the Dreamettes. All is going beautifully and harmoniously until their ambitious manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx) takes creative control of the group and pushes the singers into the spotlight. That’s when their dream begins to crumble. There are some pretty serious themes in this film, but it’s a fine dramatization and overview of the history of African American girl groups; it received three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and two Oscars at the Academy Awards.

Bonus Section: Best Documentaries

Katy Perry: Part of Me
Michael Jackson: This Is It
The Other F Word
20 Feet From Stardom

What are some of your favorite movies that are all about the music?

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