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

The embodiment of ultimate evil, a glowing orb terrorizes a young girl with bizarre 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, Pino Van Lamsweerde, John Bruno, Jimmy T. Murakami, John Halas, Paul Sabella, Harold Whitaker, Jack Stokes, Barrie Nelson, Julian Harris
Release date: 1981-08-07
3.

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: 1981-04-03
4.

American Pop

3.9
7.2/10 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
5.

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
6.

Pennies from Heaven

3.5
6.5/10 IMDB

During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher.

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
7.

Zoot Suit

3.5
6.8/10 IMDB

Part fact and part fiction, Zoot Suit is the film version of Luis Valdez's critically acclaimed play, based on the actual Sleepy Lagoon murder case and the zoot suit riots of 1940s Los Angeles. Henry Reyna is the leader of a group of Mexican-Americans being sent to San Quentin without substantial evidence for the death of a man at Sleepy Lagoon. As part of the defense committee, Alice Bloomfield and George Shearer fight the blatant miscarriage of justice for the freedom of Henry and his friends.

Starring: Edward James Olmos, Charles Aidman, Tyne Daly, John Anderson, Abel Franco, Mike Gomez, Alma Martinez, Lupe Ontiveros, Ed Peck, Robert Phalen ..
Directed by: Luis Valdez
Release date: 1981-10-02
Best Music Movies of 1981 : Simon & Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park
8.

Simon & Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park

3.5
8.3/10 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
Best Music Movies of 1981 : Genesis: Three Sides Live
9.

Genesis: Three Sides Live

3.4
7.8/10 IMDB

Three Sides Live is a 1981 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 : Purlie
10.

Purlie

3.4
8.8/10 IMDB

Based on Davis' 1961 play Purlie Victorious (which was later translated into the 1963 film Gone Are the Days! and which included all of the original Broadway cast, including Ruby Dee, Alan Alda, Beah Richards, and Godfrey Cambridge), Purlie is a musical with a book by Ossie Davis, Philip Rose, and Peter Udell, lyrics by Udell, and music by Gary Geld. It won two Tony Awards and was also nominated for Best Musical. This 1981 television adaptation is directed by Rudi Goldman and stars Broadway cast members Guillaume, Moore, Hemsley, and Hopkins, with Brandon Maggart as Cotchipee, Clarice Taylor as Idilla, and Don Scardino as Charlie. The production won a CableACE Award.

Starring: Robert Guillaume, Melba Moore, Sherman Hemsley, Clarice Taylor, Don Scardino, Linda Hopkins, Rhetta Hughes, Brandon Maggart, Loretta Abbott, Brenda Braxton ..
Directed by: Rudi Goldman
Release date: 1981-10-12

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