• Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011) (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Get an exclusive access behind the scenes of star performers past and present thanks to these eye-opening, inspiring music documentaries.
SBS Movies

2 Jun 2016 - 2:52 PM  UPDATED 26 Apr 2017 - 11:42 AM


USA, 2004
Director: Ondi Timoner
What's it about?
Musicians Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor emerged in the mid '90s to respectively head up to influential music acts: The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. Over a seven-year period, director Ondi Timoner (Brand: A Second Coming) followed the two groups' ups and downs, with the latter branching out from the independent scene to sign with a major record label. DIG! is also a fascinating insight into the complex relationship of friendship and rivalry between the Newcombe and Taylor, which won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.


loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies

USA, 2006
Director: Steven Cantor, Matthew Galkin
What's it about?
From Nirvana via Radiohead to U2, indie rock band The Pixies have been huge influence for many rocks bands ever since their unique sound made them college radio station favorites in the late 1980s. In 1993, however, creative disputes led the group to break up. This documentary follows the Pixies as they get together for their wildly successful reunion tour "Sell Out". Although thousands of fans cheer their return, the members find themselves struggling backstage as old issues resurface. 


When You're Strange

USA, 2009
Director: Tom DiCillo
What's it about?
Uncovering historic and previously unseen footage of the illustrious rock quartet, this terrific documentary narrated by Johnny Depp provides new insight into the revolutionary impact of the music and legacy of The Doors. Director DiCillo recounts their unique journey from the corridors of UCLA's film school, where Manzarek and Morrison met, and their formation in 1965, through to their electrifying live performances on the stages of sold-out arenas, and Jim Morrison's untimely death in 1971 in a Paris hotel. A must-see for any self-respecting fan.

Read ★★★ ½ review


Finding Fela!

UK, 2014
Director: Alex Gibney
What's it about?
Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief)Finding Fela! tells the fascinating story of Fela Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He created a new musical movement, Afrobeat, using that forum to express his revolutionary political opinions against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. But the film also explores the darker side of Fela Kuti, a man whose voracious appetites saw him marry 27 girlfriends, and infect many women with AIDS, from which he'll eventually die in 1997.

Read ★★★ review


Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

USA, 2011
Director: Michael Rapaport
What's it about?
Having forged a 20-year run as one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the Queens NY collective known as 'A Tribe Called Quest' have kept a generation hungry for more of their groundbreaking music since their much publicised breakup in 1998. The recent death of one its founders Phife Dawg was met with an avalanche of tributes from hip-hop fans and stars trumpeting his legacy. Michael Rapaport documents the inner workings and behind the scenes drama that followed the pioneers of alternative rap.

SBS Guide: To understand Phife Dawg’s genius, watch the incredible A Tribe Called Quest documentary
SBS Guide: 6 great hip-hop docos to G you up for "Murder Rap: Inside the Biggie and Tupac Murders"


Explore the entire "Music in the Movies" collection at SBS on Demand