Best Music Movies of 1981

1.

The Great Muppet Caper

5.1
7.2/10 IMDB

Kermit and Fozzie are newspaper reporters sent to London to interview Lady Holiday, a wealthy fashion designer whose priceless diamond necklace is stolen. Kermit meets and falls in love with her secretary, Miss Piggy. The jewel thieves strike again, and this time frame Miss Piggy. It's up to Kermit and Muppets to bring the real culprits to justice.

Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Charles Grodin, Diana Rigg, John Cleese, Robert Morley, Peter Ustinov ..
Directed by: Jim Henson
Release date: 1981-06-26
2.

Heavy Metal

4.8
6.7/10 IMDB

A glowing orb terrorizes a young girl with a collection of stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.

Starring: Rodger Bumpass, Jackie Burroughs, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramis, John Candy, Don Francks, Caroline Semple, Richard Romanus, Susan Roman, Harvey Atkin ..
Directed by: Gerald Potterton
Release date: 1981-08-07
3.

American Pop

3.9
7.3/10 IMDB

The history of American popular music runs parallel with the history of a Russian Jewish immigrant family, with each male descendant possessing different musical abilities.

Starring: Ron Thompson, Lisa Jane Persky, Jeffrey Lippa, Frank De Kova, Roz Kelly, Mews Small, Elsa Raven, Vincent Schiavelli, Richard Moll, Lynda Wiesmeier ..
Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
Release date: 1981-02-13
4.

The Decline of Western Civilization

3.9
7.6/10 IMDB

The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.

Starring: Alice Bag, Claude Bessy, Black Flag, Don Bolles, Dinah Cancer, Exene Cervenka, Circle Jerks, Philo Cramer, Darby Crash, John Doe ..
Directed by: Penelope Spheeris
Release date: 1981-07-01
5.

This Is Elvis

3.9
7.5/10 IMDB

Though several actors portray Elvis Presley at different stages of his life, this documentary is comprised mostly of actual performance footage and interviews with Elvis, his fans and those close to him. This biographical docu-drama features rare footage of Elvis and dramatically recreated scenes from Elvis' life.

Starring: Elvis Presley, David Scott, Paul Boensch III, Johnny Harra, Linda Thompson ..
Directed by: Malcolm Leo, Andrew Solt
Release date: 1981-04-04
Best Music Movies of 1981 : Downtown '81
6.

Downtown '81

3.7
7.1/10 IMDB

The film is a day in the life of a young artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who needs to raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. He wanders the downtown streets carrying a painting he hopes to sell, encountering friends, whose lives (and performances) we peek into.

Starring: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Debbie Harry, Vincent Gallo, Coati Mundi, Debi Mazar, George Quinones, Walter Steding, Steven Brown, Eszter Balint, Kid Creole ..
Directed by: Edo Bertoglio
Release date: 1981-01-01
7.

Pennies from Heaven

3.6
6.5/10 IMDB

A musical set in the great Busby Berkeley style. In Chicago during the depression, sheet music salesman, Arthur Parker, is trying to sell his products, but it's not easy to convince unwilling music store owners to buy them. Although he's already married to the somewhat drab Joan, when he meets school teacher Eileen in a music store, he falls in love with her.

Starring: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper, Vernel Bagneris, John McMartin, John Karlen, Tommy Rall, Christopher Walken, Francis X. McCarthy, M.C. Gainey ..
Directed by: Herbert Ross
Release date: 1981-12-11
Best Music Movies of 1981 : Genesis: Three Sides Live
8.

Genesis: Three Sides Live

3.5
8.2/10 IMDB

Three Sides Live is a 1982 concert film of the Abacab tour by British rock band Genesis. It tied in with the double live album of the same name. The songs featured are mostly from the group's then most recent albums Duke and Abacab, plus a medley that comprises extracts from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway ("In the Cage" and "The Colony of Slippermen") and Selling England by the Pound ("The Cinema Show"), leading into "Afterglow" from Wind & Wuthering.

Starring: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Daryl Stuermer, Chester Thompson, Tony Smith ..
Directed by: Stuart Orme
Release date: 1981-11-28
Best Music Movies of 1981 : Simon & Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park
9.

Simon & Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park

3.5
8.4/10 IMDB

The Concert in Central Park is a live album by Simon & Garfunkel. On September 19, 1981 the folk-rock duo reunited for a free concert on the Great Lawn of New York's Central Park attended by more than 500,000 people. They released a live album from the concert the following March (Warner Brothers LP 2BSK 3654; CD 3654). It was arranged by Paul Simon and Dave Grusin, and produced by Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Phil Ramone and Roy Halee. The concert was also shot on videotape, televised by HBO in 1982, and subsequently released on various home video formats. The VHS and DVD contain two songs that were omitted from the live album: "The Late Great Johnny Ace" and "Late in the Evening (Reprise)". "Johnny Ace" was disrupted by a fan rushing the stage who came very close to attacking Paul. This incident was both frightening and coincidental, as the song is an elegy upon the murder of John Lennon just one year earlier.

Starring: Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel ..
Directed by: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Release date: 1981-09-16
10.

Urgh! A Music War

3.3
8.0/10 IMDB

Urgh! A Music War is a British film released in 1982 featuring performances by punk rock, new wave, and post-punk acts, filmed in 1980. Among the artists featured in the movie are Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Magazine, The Go-Go's, Toyah Willcox, The Fleshtones, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, X, XTC, Devo, The Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Dead Kennedys, Gary Numan, Klaus Nomi, Wall of Voodoo, Pere Ubu, Steel Pulse, Surf Punks, 999, UB40, Echo & the Bunnymen and The Police. These were many of the most popular groups on the New Wave scene; in keeping with the spirit of the scene, the film also features several less famous acts, and one completely obscure group, Invisible Sex, in what appears to be their only public performance.

Starring: Sting, Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers, Devo, Gang of Four, Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, Oingo Boingo, Danny Elfman, Toyah Willcox ..
Directed by: Derek Burbidge
Release date: 1981-11-07

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