Drumming Movies: The Complete List of the Best Drum Movies About Drummers or With a Drummer

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It is challenging to find the best drumming movies for drum fanatics with a single internet search. Well, this is the Zero to Drum comprehensive listing of all the greatest drumming movies ever made, but there may be others elsewhere.

Best Drum Movies With a Drummer in 2021

We are passionate about any kind of movie about drums and drumming. After watching all the great movies listed below, we worked out the best possible list of different drum movie set we believe has been ever created in human history.

1. Whiplash, the Best Movie About a Jazz Drummer, JK Simmons Movie (2014)

Whiplash is the best jazz drummer film directed and written by Damien Chazelle. There aren’t many movies that focus specifically on this style of percussion instruments. Most often, we only hear about jazz drummers through interviews or documentaries. We don’t know anything about them personally. So, when you watch this movie, you will learn a little bit more about the life of a jazz drummer. You’ll meet several different characters along the way. Some of them play musical instruments, others sing, and others write lyrics. But no matter what role they take on, each character brings something unique to the table. Together, they form a dynamic rhythm section that creates a perfect backdrop for the songwriter. 

Whiplash film shares a lot of similarities with other movies that have been made about drummers. What makes it stand out from the rest is it has an actual drummer in it. He’s not just some guy who plays the drums on screen. He does his stunts! This makes for a much more realistic portrayal of what goes into being a professional drummer than most films can offer. It also gives us a chance to see how hard these guys work at their craft.

Is Whiplash the Best Movie About Drumming?

The story follows Andrew Neiman, a young man from New York City who dreams of becoming a rock star. He decides to move out west so he can be closer to where all the action happens. The film is the best as it portraits Andrew Neiman, an aspiring young drummer pushed to the edge by JK Simmons, a ferocious band instructor who wants his students to play instruments with the same intensity and ferocity as he needs.

Is the Movie Whiplash Based on a True Story?

Whiplash is not based on a true story. However, the film is inspired by Damien Chazelle’s experiences as a drummer growing up. He lived and breathed jazz drumming in high school, only to come to the realization that he was not fighting a war but playing music. The young drummer struggles to become a top jazz drummer under the tutelage of a ruthless band conductor.

In his quest for perfection, he finds himself at odds with JK Simmons, his drumming instructor, who pushes him beyond what he thought possible. This movie is “a modern-day musical” because it features many elements from classic and iconic movies.

2. Drumline, the Drummer Documentary With the Famous Drumming Duel (2002)

A young drummer, Nick Cannon, joins the Atlanta A&T University and gets the attention of the musical director, Dr Lee. However, the leader of the band, Devon, takes advantage of him after realizing that he can’t read music. Lee does not like the self-centered attitude of Devon as he believes in the band’s slogan “one band, one sound.”

Dr. Lee is left with whether to allow Devon to perform despite his egotistical attitude towards Nick Cannon. Devon has to prove through a drum battle to Lee that he can show his drumming skills while still being part of the team. The film director was Charles Stone III with music artists Petey Pablo and Blu Cantrell.

3. Beware of Mr. Baker (2012), The Snare Drum Hero Documentary, on Netflix

Beware of Mr. Baker is an American documentary film directed by Jay Bulger that focuses on a legendary English drummer named Ginger Baker, one of the most famous drummers of all time. This documentary explores Baker’s personal history while focusing heavily on his time spent playing great music. Throughout the film, viewers are treated to rare archival footage from all four decades of Baker’s professional career.

Ginger Baker also made history with Fela Kuti (legendary African musician) in rock music. Additionally, it features interviews with numerous musicians who have worked closely with Baker during his lifetime. Ginger Baker also performed with various drum solo projects throughout his career. He was the greatest drummer at the forefront of the revolution of rock music.

4. The Gene Krupa Story (1959) Full Movie

The film focuses on a great jazz drummer known as Gene Krupa. It is about the life of Gene Krupa’s achievement and success in pop culture. However, his father did not want Gene Krupa to play jazz despite his irrefutable talent in playing jazz drums.

Following his father’s death, he studied theology, the path his dad wanted him to take. He later dropped out because it wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. He got back on track with his passion for jazz music until he met his wife.

Despite gaining more fame and success, he succumbed to the opposing sides too. During his career, he disrupts his marriage as a result of alcoholism and disloyalty.

5. A Damsel in Distress (1937)

A Damsel in Distress is an English musical comedy film from Hollywood featuring Fred Astaire, an American actor and dancer. Fred Astaire sails to meet Joan Fontaine in A Damsel in Distress. While performing in London, Jerry Halliday rescues Lady Alyce, an Academy Award winner Joan Fontaine (Marshmorton’s daughter) from an arranged marriage to “protect Albert’s investment.”

The staff of Tottney Castle arranges suitors on who Lady Alyce will choose. Lady Alyce encounters Fred Astaire in London after leaving the castle one day. The two secretly have a romantic interest without Lord Marshmorton’a family knowing. At the end of the scene, Jerry Halliday and Lady Alyce find romance.

6. A Drummer’s Dream (2010), A Documentary About Drummer at Music School

On a remote farm in Canada’s wilderness, some of the best drummers got together for a drum camp. The band shared their knowledge with 40 jazz drum students, but they discovered something more ‘The Heartbeat’. A drummer’s dream: that is what drumming is all about if you got a young drummer who’s got the fastest hands to unite the audience at a visceral level.

It was a fantastic opportunity for the band to create their artistic expression. An Undeniable talent, humour, passion, and irresistible personality come together in a magical setting when seven great drummers create a profound, brilliant soundtrack and unforgettable experience.

7. The Big Short (2015)

In 2005, Dr Michael Burry takes Big Investment Banks on Wall-street through selling and establishing Credit Default Swaps on Mortgage-Backed Bonds to him. He was the first person to do so, and later other investors and investment banks would use his idea to structure various derivatives on the American housing market.

Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and Brad Pitt are the stars in this comedy-drama film based on Michael Lewis’ book. The story follows four traders who work for an investment bank during the 2007–2008 financial crisis. They are tasked to short sell subprime mortgages that were packaged into securities by their employer. After discovering that these investments will not pay off as expected, they try to convince others to stop selling them.

Mesmerizing soundtrack By Nicholas Britell comes in when four outsiders saw the investments refusing to pay off leading to the global collapse of the economy.

8. Step Brothers (2008)

Brennan and Dale are two brothers who have been estranged for years. They decided to reunite when their parents fell in love and married each other. Robert confronts them to find new jobs and move out within a month. Brennan and Dale live with each other as stepbrothers as their aggressive laziness and narcissism threaten to tear the family apart. This leads to some awkward moments between them.

Later, the two immature and middle-aged men bring about an insane plan that would bring their parents back together. The reunion is not as smooth as they had hoped it would be. They form an unlikely bond that finally gets them out of the house to pull it off their plan.

Dale loves playing the drums but warns Brennan never to touch his drum set. At the end of the film, Brennan sings Andrea Bocelli’s “Por ti Volare,” while Dale plays the drums.

9. The Mambo Kings (1992)

In 1952 two Cuban brothers came to America during the mambo craze. The two Mambo Kings arrived in New York City with suitcases full of songs to desperately pursue their big dreams. Tempers flared, and only their music could keep the two Cuban brothers Cesar and Nestor Castillo, from falling apart. As Cesar takes pleasure in the fame and women, Nestor Castillo mourns lost love back from his homeland.

Cathy Moriarty wins the Academy Award-nominee, and Desi Arnaz, Jr appears as the bandleader. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the controversial and steamy bestseller The Mambo Kings. Arne Glimcher is the director of the film.

10. That Thing You Do (1996)

In the fictional 1960s, a one-hit jazz band ‘The Wonders’ recruits a great drummer whose enlivening up-tempo beats propels them to success. However, the band is also one of the many that try to match The Beatles sound. The film tells the story of the rise of the band and its fall with pop stars like Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Charlize Theron, and Ethan Embry.

The film hit and won Academy and Golden Globe awards, with the song’s title having the same name as the film. Adam Schlesinger wrote the song, which was later performed by “The One-Ders.” Tom Hanks is the writer and director of the film.

11. Wayne’s World (1992) And the ’80s Style Drum Kit

The film is based on two cordial and aimless metal band friends Garth (Dana Carvey) and Wayne (Mike Myers). They broadcast an irrelevant pop-culture comedy talk show in Wayne’s basement on local public television.

Rob Lowe, a network executive, comes to the show’s attention and hires them to produce a better version of “Wayne’s World.” However, the sleazy executive producer also wants Wayne’s girlfriend Cassandra, a rock singer. The two battles Rob Lowe to save their show and Cassandra (Tia Carrere). Director Myers, Penelope Spheeris, and Carvey improve the cast’s energy with a lot of silly and funny jokes on the film.

12. More Bad News (1988)

More bad news pulls it off for another film after four years of being the subject of a documentary. Even though a rock journalist reforms the bands, it still encounters pitfalls on the way as it tries to get back on track. The fictional English Heavy Metal Band plays several live gigs as Bad News.

The Bad News Tour’s first series debut was in 1983 in Comic Strip Productions. It took much more motivation from the 1976 BBC documentary of Mark Kidel. The episode features notable songs by Simon Brint and Edmondson. 

The band stopped the series for few years before reviving it in 1986. The band played Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington, ending it with all the four in hospital.

13. Vice Versa (1988)

Vice Versa (1988) is a body-swapping comedy film of stars Judge Reinhold, Fred Savage, and Jane Kaczmarek. Several films in the 80s had the same theme, but Vice Versa was at the top shine. The judge got this nickname from his dad, but his real name is Edward. Fred Savage enjoys a Rock jam session in the music store and does his best before his dad and dad’s boss come.

Vice Versa is a story of a successful buddy rich businessman, divorced father, and self-styled workaholic. He falls victim to the magical powers of a mysterious skull when he and Charlie (his son) change ages and swap bodies.

14. Subway (1985)

Subway (1985) is a film about love between three people, Fred (Lambert), Helena (Adjani), and music. At the beginning of the car chase, Fred is looking for good music, only to find a suitable tape, the chase starts for real. Fred claps and mimics the drums demonstrating that it is more than a chase but a way of playing music.

Fred comprises documents at a shady entrepreneur’s property before bonding with the tycoon’s wife. He later ends up the chase in the Parisian subway, trying to avoid the police chase. Fred establishes a romantic relationship with Helena as she opens up after having a boring caged life. As the police continue with the search, the right-hand man of Helena’s husband get hold of Fred and shoots him. The film ends as the two lie beside each other as the audience applauds them.

15. Hop (2011)

Hop (2011) is an American animated fantasy and comedy film. Illumination Entertainment was the producer of the film, and Universal Pictures released it. The film explains the life of an Easter Bunny in his attempts to become a successful drummer.

Jobless Fred injures an Easter Bunny forcing him to take and host him. However, the Easter Bunny starts causing trouble, leaving Fred attempting to keep or release him back to the wilderness. The rabbit follows his dream as a drummer rather than succeeding the father as Easter Bunny. The royal guards sent by the Easter Bunny’s father search and find him sending the rabbit back.

16. The Rocker (2008)

The Rocker is a 2008 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Cattaneo. Wallace Wolodarsky and Maya Forbes were the writers of the film, explain the life of Robert, who is at the edge of giving up as a rock star.

As a young drummer with the ’80s hair band Vesuvius, Robert “Fish” Fishman lived his dream as a rock ‘n’ roll star until his bandmates kicked him out. Twenty years later, he gets a second shot at sitting on the throne of music stardom when he hears his teenage nephew’s group is trying to hire a new drummer. The band reluctantly hires him as the latest member giving Robert a chance to reclaim the rock ‘n’ roll throne he always dreams of. Robert takes the young band along for the ride of their lives despite his repeated failed attempts.

17. The Muppets (2010)

The Muppets (2010) is the first theatrical release from the Muppets franchise. The writing genius of Jason Segel brought the screenplay to the theatre in over a decade with Kermit (frog), Segel, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, and friends back in full force. The Muppets join forces with Kermit to save the Muppet Theater from Tex Richman, demolishing it and drilling oil in the spot.

Kermit has come a long way from his home place, ‘The Swamp,’ to be the world’s most famous frog. Despite being recognized as the world’s pop culture icon, he does not let international success go to his head. Some of his hit singles are “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and “Rainbow Connection,” which hosts the “The Muppet Show.”

18. Airheads (1994)

Airhead (1994) is an entertaining movie with a phenomenal cast and original story about radio and metal music. In Los Angeles, producers turn down the three loser musicians trying to broadcast their demo tapes.

The film is full of energy, humour, and positive vibes. Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, and Steve Buscemi are three band members who seek attention as they break into a radio station. It is not easy for an aspiring drummer to “break” into the music business, but these three band members just found a way. They wind up using plastic guns to hold everyone hostage and playing their demo tape when the DJ refuses to play them.

19. The Drummer Movie (2007)

The drummer is a movie about the life of a drummer. An arrogant and rebellious young man adjusts to discipline and transformation. Kenneth Bi is the writer and director of the film. It’s based on an actual story that happened in Hong Kong. The U-Theatre (Chinese Zen drumming group) is a young band in a Zen community practising martial arts and tai chi.

Sid (Kwan’s son) is caught having an affair with the girlfriend of his father’s boss Stephen Ma (Kenneth Tsang). Kwan sends Sid to Chiu, his uncle in Taiwan, who watches over him. While in Taiwan, Sid joins a Zen Buddhist Band to practice playing the drums.

20. The Strip

The Strip is a 1951 American film noir directed by John Farrow and starring Mickey Rooney, William Demarest, and Sally Forrest. Allen Rivkin was the writer of the screenplay. It tells the story of Stanley Maxton, who returns to Las Vegas as a drummer in a nightclub band.

Stanley Maxton falls in love with Jane Tafford (cigarette girl). However, Jane Tafford is more interested in the hoodlum alleged to influence the film industry.

The Strip film captures the pragmatic glee and mood from the club scene. The film storyline could be classified as a film noir because of Mickey Rooney’s pain as a perennial love victim. However, when Rooney is lost in the music, he finds his soul.

21. Sound of Metal (2019)

Sound of Metal (2020) is a music drama fueled by itinerant metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed). Ruben begins to experience intermittent hearing loss, and a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen. He worries that his music career and life are over.

Lou (Olivia Cooke), his drum-mate girlfriend, checks over him in a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent relapse and help Ruben adapt to his new situation. Ruben is a recovering heroin addict. However, a particular community welcomes and accepts him just as he is. Ruben has to balance and drive to reclaim the life he once knew.

Director Darius Marder great utilizes drum-focused soundtracks to take the audience into the life and experience of Ruben’s journey into becoming a heavy metal drummer.

22. Ain’t In It for My Health: Levon Helm (2010)

Ain’t In It for My Health is a documentary about Levon Helm. He is a founding member of The Band at home in Woodstock in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. It gives us a captivating look at his life as an art lover, singing, and survival. The film captures the final years of rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Levon Helm and founding member of the influential Roots-Rock Quintet The Band.

Levon Helm is the most compelling and exciting portrait of music for a long time. This highly anticipated documentary film focuses on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and four-time Grammy winner after his 2007 comeback album. Dirt Farmer brought Levon Helm back to the spotlight.

23. Spinal Tap (1982)

Spinal Tap follows an England fictional heavy metal loudest band. The film wasn’t an immediate hit as the audience found the camerawork too shaky. However, the film found some viewers later after its release on a home video. Musicians like Harry Shearer gave the film the highest compliment that the film resembles what is going through their lives.

The Library of Congres selected the film as preservation of the National Film Registry in 2002. This is because the film was culturally and historically significant. Marty DiBergi is a devoted fan and filmmaker of the musical documentary film. The film proves a fateful tour of the band and interviews with everyone within the band.

24. Tenacious D – The Pick Of Destiny Ending

Tenacious D – The Pick Of Destiny is a 2006 musical comedy cast directed by musician and puppeteer Liam Lynch. After leaving his religious family and oppressive Midwestern town for Hollywood, Jack Black, a promising drummer, encounters an acoustic guitarist, Kyle Gass.

After learning the deepest secrets of rock ‘n’ roll, the two give rise to the greatest rock duo band of all time – Tenacious D. In the film’s showdown, Jack Black and Kyle Gass try to explain to Lee what happened to his car. Later, after moving in with Lee, they sing the rock song they played the night before.

Iconic is the scene when they fight against the Devil, greatly impersonated by Dave Grohl. We love that scene!

25. Birdman (2014)

Birdman is an American black comedy film written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It shows the story of Michael Keaton (Birdman), a popular iconic superhero who struggles to revive his Broadway production play. The film criticizes the modern world where everyone is observed with the ideas of higher versus lower.

The modern world has twisted art into commercialism. Everybody focuses on what other people think of them and remaining irrelevant. Michael Keaton liked playing Birdman, but he chose to leave that part of life because of how others viewed it. He gives everything for the play, yet it isn’t working out. At the end of his performance, Keaton tries to kill himself. People misinterpret his suicidal attempt as a reality of him to blend reality into fantasy.

26. The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)

Man with the Golden Arm is an American romance drama film directed by Otto Preminger. The film tells us the story of Frankie Machine (Frank Sinatra), a recovering heroin addict. Frankie Machine sets up for a new start of becoming a drummer after incarceration. Frankie tries out in an audition to become a drummer for a band to kick off his addiction for good.

Despite coming out clean from prison, Frankie Machine makes every effort to stay that way trouble but succumbs back on drugs, dealing cards, and poker games all night. It reaches a time he gets back in a cell at a local Chicago Police Precinct, but Schwiefka bails him out. Louie hooks him up on drugs again, making Molly (Kim Novak) leave him.

Do you know any other movies with drummers?

Please comment down below 🙂

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