Music & Musicals
Click for Instant Only
The Decline of Western Civilization
rating:4.4

The Decline of Western Civilization

1981Runtime:0 minutes
Before she directed Wayne and Garth in Wayne's World, Penelope Spheeris helmed this music-driven documentary about the hard-hitting Los Angeles punk scene, a film that proved so potent at its first screening that it was banned by the LAPD. Highlights include live performances by Black Flag, the Germs, X, the Bags, Circle Jerks, Catholic Discipline and Fear, plus interviews with the bands and the extreme fans who love them.

Directed by:

  • Penelope Spheeris
  • rating:4.4 4.4 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    The Police: Certifiable
    rating:4.2

    The Police: Certifiable

    2008Runtime:0 minutes
    Filmed on the stage of the world-famous Riverplate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this rock documentary from filmmakers Jim Gable and Ann Kim captures the legendary band the Police during their monumental reunion tour in 2008. In addition to performances of classics like "Roxanne," "Message in a Bottle" and "Every Breath You Take," the program also features Jordan Copeland's behind-the-scenes documentary, Better Than Therapy.

    Directed by:

  • Jim Gable
  • Ann Kim
  • Jordan Copeland
  • rating:4.2 4.2 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    U2 3D
    rating:4.2

    U2 3D

    2008Runtime:0 minutes
    Irish rock legends U2 take their sound to a new dimension -- literally -- in this 3D concert experience. Culled from more than 700 hours of footage captured during the band's "Vertigo" tour, the film was shot with a record number of 3D cameras. Watch Bono and the boys perform such hits as "Vertigo," "Beautiful Day," "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "With or Without You" before adoring crowds in Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

    Directed by:

  • Catherine Owens
  • rating:4.2 4.2 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Lemonade Mouth
    rating:4.1

    Lemonade Mouth

    2011Runtime:0 minutes
    Detention may seem an unlikely launching pad, but that's exactly what it turns out to be for five high school students who meet there by (mis)chance and form a band that not only rocks their school but becomes a force for good in this Disney musical.

    Directed by:

  • Patricia Riggen
  • rating:4.1 4.1 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    The Decline of Western Civilization Part III
    rating:4.1

    The Decline of Western Civilization Part III

    1998Runtime:0 minutes
    Director Penelope Spheeris completes her trilogy documenting the Los Angeles music scene with this look at the homeless teens who roamed the streets in the late 1990s and professed to live a punk lifestyle of music, drugs and authority flouting. Spheeris maintains a tender attitude toward her young subjects, who often don't truly understand the culture that began before they were born. Songs by Final Conflict and Naked Aggression are featured.

    Directed by:

  • Penelope Spheeris
  • rating:4.1 4.1 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
    rating:4.1

    The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years

    1988Runtime:0 minutes
    Featuring concert footage and interviews with stars and fans, the second of director Penelope Spheeris's documentaries about the Los Angeles music scene focuses on heavy metal, the raucous genre that has provoked controversy since the late 1960s. With her penetrating questions about sex, drugs, money and gender politics, Spheeris examines the lives of rock idols Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Stanley and Steven Tyler, as well as those of their devoted fans.

    Directed by:

  • Penelope Spheeris
  • rating:4.1 4.1 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Music Instinct: Science and Song
    rating:4.0

    Music Instinct: Science and Song

    2009Runtime:0 minutes
    Its impact bridging time, geography and culture, music serves to unite all peoples of the globe. This groundbreaking documentary explores how and why humans are so inexorably affected by rhythm and melody. Art and science intersect as leading researchers and prominent musicians such as Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma reveal surprising connections between music, the brain, the body and human evolution.

    Directed by:

  • Elena Mannes
  • rating:4.0 4.0 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Gogol Bordello: Non-Stop
    rating:3.9

    Gogol Bordello: Non-Stop

    2008Runtime:0 minutes
    Soak up the eclectic sounds of Gogol Bordello -- the New York City-based "gypsy punk" outfit headed by vibrant front man Eugene Hütz -- as filmmaker Margarita Jimeno takes you onstage and behind the scenes with the band from 2001-06. With musical influences running the gamut from klezmer to dub to the works of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, the band generates a serious buzz as fans flock to their notoriously raucous shows.

    Directed by:

  • Margarita Jimeno
  • rating:3.9 3.9 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Shut Up & Sing
    rating:3.8

    Shut Up & Sing

    2006Runtime:0 minutes
    Directed by Barbara Kopple (of Harlan County, U.S.A. fame), this documentary centers on country music's The Dixie Chicks and their nationwide vilification over critical statements they made about President Bush in 2003. Over a three-year period, the singers went from darlings of the industry to political targets, receiving constant death threats and being demonized by the national media and denounced by their fans. Cecilia Peck co-directs.

    Directed by:

  • Cecilia Peck
  • rating:3.8 3.8 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt
    rating:3.8

    Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt

    2004Runtime:0 minutes
    While singer, songwriter and quintessential outsider Townes Van Zandt never found lasting mainstream success, his music found a home in the repertoire of diverse artists such as Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and The Meat Puppets. Through archival footage and interviews with Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and more, Texas-based filmmaker Margaret Brown's directorial debut presents a moving portrait of an influential artist.

    Directed by:

  • Margaret Brown
  • rating:3.8 3.8 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    As I Lay Dying: This is Who We Are
    rating:3.8

    As I Lay Dying: This is Who We Are

    2009Runtime:0 minutes
    Jam-packed with a feature-length documentary, live performance footage and music videos, this comprehensive compilation gives fans a backstage pass to the history and music of Grammy-nominated metal band As I Lay Dying. Formed in San Diego in 2000, the group has garnered an extensive fan following. The documentary includes a series of fascinating interviews with the band members and their friends, families and colleagues.

    Directed by:

  • Denise Korycki
  • rating:3.8 3.8 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Atlantic Records: The House that Ahmet Built
    rating:3.8

    Atlantic Records: The House that Ahmet Built

    2007Runtime:0 minutes
    With a $10,000 loan from his dentist, Ahmet Ertegun co-founded Atlantic Records in 1947. By the 1950s Atlantic was the country's premier R&B label. Ertegun's wondrous rise is recounted in this lively episode from the PBS series "American Masters." It took director Susan Steinberg more than four years to capture Ertegun in candid conversations with music greats Robert Plant, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Ray Charles and many others.

    Directed by:

  • Susan Steinberg
  • rating:3.8 3.8 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter
    rating:3.7

    The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter

    1970Runtime:0 minutes
    Featuring classic renditions of "Sympathy for the Devil," "Under My Thumb," "Satisfaction," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Wild Horses," this unvarnished documentary chronicles the Rolling Stones' chaotic 1969 American tour. The film starts off on a high note at a riveting New York City show and concludes in the aftermath of the infamous Altamont Speedway gig, where Hell's Angels who were hired to do security ultimately brutalized concert-goers.

    Directed by:

  • Albert Maysles
  • David Maysles
  • Charlotte Zwerin
  • rating:3.7 3.7 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music
    rating:3.7

    High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music

    1994Runtime:0 minutes
    Longtime fans of bluegrass music and those only recently discovering it will appreciate this documentary on the genre, which was born of a combination of African and Celtic sounds and is the base of American country music. This film traces the musical form from its Appalachian roots to the present and features more than 100 songs performed by legends such as Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, Mac Wiseman, Jimmy Martin, Flatt & Scruggs and others.

    Directed by:

  • Rachel Liebling
  • rating:3.7 3.7 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Africa Unite
    rating:3.7

    Africa Unite

    2008Runtime:0 minutes
    This documentary tribute to legendary reggae icon Bob Marley centers on the Marley clan's 2005 visit to Ethiopia, in which they perform a live musical salute to the family luminary, with more than 300,000 fans in attendance. The film also includes never-before-seen footage of Marley, along with a soundtrack full of his studio hits and appearances by the likes of Danny Glover and matriarch Cedella Marley Booker.

    Directed by:

  • Stephanie Black
  • rating:3.7 3.7 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Harp Dreams
    rating:3.7

    Harp Dreams

    2010Runtime:0 minutes
    Blythe Danner narrates this music-driven documentary about the prestigious USA International Harp Competition, a discriminating contest held every three years that attracts talented harpists from all over the world. With footage shot in the United States, Paris, Moscow and Zurich, Switzerland, the film follows a handful of young contenders all vying for the coveted grand prize: a lucrative recording contract and a priceless instrument.

    Directed by:

  • Susan Schwibs
  • rating:3.7 3.7 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Now and Then
    rating:3.8

    Now and Then

    1995Runtime:0 minutes
    Waxing nostalgic about the bittersweet passage from childhood to puberty in this tender coming-of-age tale, four childhood girlfriends -- Teeny, Chrissy, Samantha and Roberta -- recall the magical summer of 1970. During their walk down memory lane, they reconcile experiences with boys, secrets, bullies and more. Lesli Linka Glatter directs; Gaby Hoffmann, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Cloris Leachman, Thora Birch and Christina Ricci co-star.

    Directed by:

  • Lesli Linka Glatter
  • rating:3.8 3.8 Average Rating

    Buy On Amazon
    Now and Then (1995)
    A heartwarming movie about four childhood girlfriends who, in adulthood reunion, relive their experience of the life-changing summer of 1970, including a mystery death, divorce, standing up to the boys, first kiss, and the meaning of true friendship. Each explores her unique identity amidst family and friends. Beautifully directed by Lesli Linka Glatter.
    - Frances   
    We periodically update our movie database by adding new female directors and their movies. If you would like to receive notice of these new additions when they happen, please email us at:
    frances 'at' femaledirectors.com