Top 10 Biopics with the Best Soundtracks

Top 10 Biopics with the Best Soundtracks
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
What's a biopic without an epic soundtrack? For this list, we'll be looking at the greatest tracks that score some of our favorite films. If we missed any bangers, let us know in the comments below. Our countdown includes "8 Mile," "Ray," "Rocketman," and more!

Top 10 Biopics with the Best Soundtracks

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Biopics With the Best Soundtracks.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the greatest tracks that score some of our favorite films. If we missed any bangers, let us know in the comments below.

#10: “8 Mile” (2002)

When it comes to “8 Mile,” we all know at least one song. “Lose Yourself” became a massive hit for Eminem in 2002 – so much so, that we forget about how great the rest of the “8 Mile” soundtrack is. The movie is a semi-autobiographical story about Eminem’s own life, and you can definitely tell when you listen to the soundtrack. The rapper’s fingerprints are all over this album, but he also incorporates amazing rhymes and beats from other artists. 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Macy Gray, Nas, and so many more all lend their voices to different tracks, and their styles only bolster Eminem’s.

#9: “La Bamba” (1987)

His career may have been cut short, but how important it was cannot be overstated. “La Bamba” tells the story of Ritchie Valens, a Mexican-American rock and roll singer who died less than a year after his career began. Though he was just 17, Valens took the charts by storm with hit songs like “Donna” and most notably, “La Bamba.” In the 1987 biopic, you can watch actor Lou Diamond Phillips pantomime the songs, but on the soundtrack, the rock band Los Lobos takes a stab at a slew of Valens’ best tunes. Ritchie’s family specifically asked that Los Lobos be involved in the film, giving this soundtrack a sweet, personal twist.

#8: “Sid and Nancy” (1986)

There is no story more tragic or more cautionary than that of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. The 1986 biopic “Sid and Nancy” chronicles the toxic relationship between the Sex Pistols’ bassist and his girlfriend, and is a difficult film to get through. When it comes to the soundtrack, though? We could listen to that all day. Weirdly enough, the tracklist doesn’t include any original songs from the Sex Pistols. Even so, every single pick perfectly captures the vibe and feel of the punk rock movement. Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer of the Clash, and the Pogues all contributed great songs to the album, making it one of the most cohesive we’ve ever heard.

#7: “Ray” (2004)

When it comes to music biopics, it can be really hard to accurately capture the heart and soul of an artist. But, in the 2004 “Ray,” Jamie Foxx truly embodies Ray Charles, even though he’s actually not the one singing in the film. Despite his voice talents and wonderful Ray Charles impression, the creators decided to keep Ray’s real vocals in place. While we would have loved to hear Foxx, we think this was the right decision for the soundtrack’s sake. It ends up being one glorious Ray Charles love fest. Throw it on, and you can listen to all your favorites at once.

#6: “Walk the Line” (2005)

Johnny Cash and June Carter have two of the most recognizable voices in the country music canon. Their iconography made casting them in 2005’s “Walk the Line” that much more difficult. Still, we think Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were great pics. Both managed to capture the essence of what made the dynamic duo so great. Not only do Phoenix and Witherspoon sing their own songs on the album, but other actors get the chance to do so as well. Tyler Hilton as Elvis, Waylon Payne as Jerry Lee Lewis – you name it. They all perfectly emulate their stars. The album won a Grammy, so we can’t be the only ones who think so.

#5: “Straight Outta Compton” (2015)

This movie soundtrack keeps it all in the family. “Straight Outta Compton” chronicles the career of N.W.A., a rap group featuring the likes of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella. The biopic makes incredible casting decisions, including letting O’Shea Jackson Jr. play Ice Cube – his IRL father. When it comes to the track list, it’s all original N.W.A. It includes the group’s famous jams from the 80s and 90s, as well as a few singles from group members. It’s a nostalgia fest to end all nostalgia fests, and offers the perfect mood and setting for the film.

#4: “Rocketman” (2019)

When you’re playing an icon like Elton John, there’s bound to be a lot of pressure involved. But watching Taron Egerton in “Rocketman?” You’d think he was born to be Elton. “Rocketman” is a little different from other biopics of this genre, in that it incorporates Elton John’s work the way a musical would to tell the story. Because of that choice, the soundtrack features songs we know and love, but with a twist. Some have different tempos, some are duets where they once were solos, and some have different instrumentation. Even though they’re slightly changed, they still wholeheartedly capture the glitz and glamor of Elton.

#3: “Sweet Dreams” (1985)

Sometimes, a biopic tracklist lends authenticity or mood to a film. Sometimes, it gives us the opportunity to languish in one artist’s discography. Sometimes, it does both. “Sweet Dreams” is a biopic about Patsy Cline, one of the greatest country singers to ever live. Patsy’s music populates the film, perfectly underscoring the rustic and bluesy setting. At the same time, it’s just wonderful to hear her dulcet tones. Because the singer passed away in a plane crash in 1963, her vocals were overdubbed on brand new orchestrations that were composed for the film. The album ended up certified Gold, so obviously we’re not the only ones who loved it.

#2: “Funny Girl” (1968)

You can try to rain on our parade, but we won’t let you. “Funny Girl” is a musical film based on the life of Fanny Brice. Brice is one of the most famous names in show business, and a lot of that has to do with just how popular this musical – and its soundtrack – were. In the 1968 film, the one and only Barbra Streisand starred as Brice, solidifying the movie’s star power. There’s nothing better than listening to Babs sing Fanny’s iconic songs, like “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “People,” and “My Man.” The joy in the music is so infectious that, try as you might, you won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Elvis” (2022)
It Peaked at Number One on the Billboard Soundtrack Chart & We Expected Nothing Less

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980)
We Sure Are Proud of This Coal Mining Soundtrack

“The Runaways” (2010)
A Cherry Bomb of an Album

“Into the Wild” (2007)
Eddie Vedder Makes This ‘Super’ Great

“Selena” (1997)
J-Lo Stole Our Hearts With This One

#1: “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972)

What do you get when you combine the power of Diana Ross with the power of Billie Holiday? The best biopic soundtrack ever made. In 1972, Ross starred as the famous jazz singer in “Lady Sings the Blues.” The double-album that accompanied the film became one of the best-selling of 1973, and for good reason. Ross is such an interesting and distinctive performer, and she was able to emulate Billie Holiday while not sacrificing her personal style. The soundtrack includes all of Holiday’s famous standards, such as “The Man I Love,” and Ross performs them with exceptional grace.