Melodic Cinematic Masterpieces: 8 Must-See Classical Music Movies for Every Avid Music Enthusiast


Jul 31, 2023

Enjoy this selection of films where the central theme is classical music .

Frame from the film 'Amadeus'

These are some of the movies that you must see if you like classical music. / Photo: YT

Numerous films have been made about music, of all kinds of genres and of all times. Classical music has also had its place in the cinema, with stories that reflect the lives of famous composers, musicians, and singers. We have also seen films that show the relationship of music with history and others that have used fiction to create wonderful stories. We have selected 8 films where classical music occupies an important place,look for your popcorn and enjoy them.

1. Copying Beethoven (2008) by Agnieszka Holland

We start with this film that, as its name implies, is about part of the life of the genius from Bonn: Ludwig Van Beethoven, who is played by Ed Harris (The hours, The Truman Show) . On December 16, the 250th anniversary of his birth is celebrated, nothing better to celebrate it than listening to his work and seeing this film. The story deals with the creative relationship between a fictitious copyist and Beethoven prior to the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, when the composer was already deaf.

2. Amadeus (1984) by Miloš Forman

This film is an adaptation of a play, it narrates the life of the famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with many historical licenses, among them an alleged musical rivalry (and beyond) with the also famous composer Antonio Salieri. Mozart is shown as a talented and sarcastic artist who makes his way at court, overshadowing the figure of the main composer, Salieri, who does not welcome the arrival of the genius. This film has become a classic of this genre, the rivalry between the two composers is interesting, as it creates an imaginary story about the death of Mozart.

3. Le Concert (2009) by Radu Mihăileanu

French comedy that tells the story of a Russian orchestra that will meet to play an international tour several decades after their last concert together. Most of its members left music due to problems with the Soviet State and the subsequent crisis with the fall of the USSR. But an opportunity to play Tchaikovsky in Paris, with a famous soloist, gives them the chance to return to the stage to assert themselves. The film is a critique of the state of art in Russia after its golden age during the Soviet era, as well as the role of corruption and politics in music.

4. All the Mornings of the World (1991) by Alain Corneau

Tous Les Matins du monde is a film about the life of Marin Marais, a French Baroque composer. Marais is played by multi-award winning Gerard Depardieu (Asterix, Cyrano de Bergerac) and his son Guillaume Depardieu in his young version. In this film we can see the viola da gamba, a little-known instrument, which becomes important in history as we see the relationship between Marin Marais and her viola teacher, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. In addition to that, the soundtrack was provided by the famous Catalan artist Jordi Savall.

5. Le roi danse (2000) by Gérard Corbiau

Le roi danse is the French title of this film. In it we can observe the creative relationship (and that in parts goes further) between Jean Baptiste Lully and the “Sun King”, Louis XIV. Lully was an Italian composer who earned a privileged place at the court of the King of France, at a historic time when the country was a true powerhouse in many ways. We can appreciate, in an atmosphere of dance and music, the role and influence of Lully on the king and his relationship with other geniuses such as Jean Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière.

6. My name is Bach (2003) by Dominique de Rivaz

This film revolves around the composition of one of Bach’s most important works, the Musical Offering. According to this film, the genesis of the work occurred from the meeting between Frederick II, King of Prussia, and the composer. The king gave Bach a melody with which the composer developed a whole work. In Mein name ist Bach we see the last years of the genius’ life, when blindness and age ended the little time he had left to compose.

7. The Red Violin (1998) by François Girard

John Corigliano is the composer of the soundtrack of this film, which won the Academy Award in that field. The Red Violin tells us the history of a violin throughout time, and in particular, throughout the different periods of music. We can listen to all kinds of music from different eras and styles, depending on the era in which the violin is found, until it reaches an auction today. The story of the tape is a clear allusion to the famous Stradivarius violins, whose creation and sound are legendary.

8. The Pianist (2002) by Roman Polanski

This multi-award-winning tape is a classic that you have surely seen many times, now you can see it again from the point of view of music. The film portrays the life of Wladislay Szpilman, a Polish pianist who suffered the ravages of World War II in his country with the German invasion.Besides the brilliance of the film, the music also stands out, Chopin is the other great protagonist. From the Ballad in G minor to the Great Brilliant Polonaise, all the music present in the film is worth listening to.


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