Next Tuesday, the Criterion Collection will release an all-new, stunningly restored, and just plain wonderful Blu-ray version of A Hard Day’s Night, the classic Beatles musical comedy that, wouldn’t you know it, also turns 50 years old this summer. To mark the release of that acclaimed rocker (and the theatrical unveiling of the thus-far less-acclaimed Four Seasons biopic Jersey Boys), we decided to round up the best rock movies of all time — no concert films and no documentaries (been there, done that), but narrative films where popular music plays a vital role.
25. Purple Rain
Prince’s 1984 musical drama is no great shakes as cinema; the dramatics are often turgid, the pace drags, and its attitudes towards women are (to put it mildly) problematic. But the music — not just from the Artist Formerly Known As, whose performances of “Let’s Go Crazy” and the title song pretty much stop the movie, but from Morris Day and the Time, who embrace their rival roles with relish.