10 Best Movies To Watch If You Like Respect
Aretha Franklin has stolen several generations of hearts with her beautiful voice and powerful songs. Respect was released in theaters to honor the legendary singer, and the film focuses on her obstacles and personal struggles from childhood to stardom. It also showcases the journey and meaning behind many of her songs, including the titular “Respect.” While the film generally received positive reviews, Jennifer Hudson gracefully steals the show as Franklin. She flawlessly replicates her magnetic energy on-screen, and her performance is now garnering Oscar buzz for Best Actress.
With all that being said, Respect is not the first musical biopic of its kind. Many legendary musicians had their stories shown on the big screen to celebrate their legacy and lifelong obstacles. As many of these films commemorate the memory of talented musicians, it has become a recipe for Oscar-worthy performances like Hudson’s.
10 The United States Vs. Billie Holiday (2020) – Available On Hulu
Jazz music was at its peak between the 1930s and 1940s, and Billie Holiday was one of the most prominent Black singers at the time. However, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics investigated her to find a reason to arrest her and stop her from singing her song “Strange Fruit,” and this became the focus of her biopic, The United States vs. Billie Holiday. In the film, Grammy and Oscar nominee Andra Day portrays Billie Holiday.
Like Hudson, Day has an established career as a singer and showcases a powerful performance as Holiday, capturing her strength and voice. Considering that Respect also discusses important issues like civil rights and substance abuse, viewers will be captivated by Billie Holiday’s story and reflect on dark moments of the United States’ history and their mistreatment of Black people.
9 Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – Available On Hulu & FXNOW
Queen is still one of the most popular and legendary rock bands. Part of Queen’s success stems from Freddie Mercury’s genius in many of their hits, and his story was honored in 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Like Respect, the film was titled after Queen’s most iconic song to date. The film highlights the making of popular songs like the titular “Bohemian Rhapsody” alongside the conflict between bandmates. It also covers certain life-changing moments in Mercury’s life, such as his AIDS diagnosis.
The film experienced controversies and received criticism for its editing and pacing, but these problems were easily overlooked by most moviegoers thanks to Rami Malek’s exceptional performance as Mercury. In one of Malek’s best movies, he uncannily resembles the musician’s facial features and flawlessly showcases his quirky personality and mannerisms, eventually earning an Oscar for Best Actor. Viewers will be mesmerized by Malek’s performance and enamored by the opportunity to relive Queen’s best moments in Bohemian Rhapsody, including the breathtaking Live Aid concert.
8 Walk The Line (2005) – Available On IMDb TV
Johnny Cash is one of the most influential country singers in American history, but his life was not always easy. His 2005 biopic focuses on his life as a rising country star while also developing a romantic relationship with June Carter. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon portray Johnny Cast and June Carter, respectively.
Walk the Line follows a similar story organization as Respect, from Cash’s struggling childhood to his transition into a country star. Central to the biopic is his relationship with June Carter, so it also has some romantic elements. Fans who love Respect will love the performances and chemistry from Phoenix and Witherspoon and the candid storytelling of Cash’s life in Walk the Line.
7 Get On Up (2014) – Available On Netflix
James Brown played a part in revolutionizing funk music during the 1950s, and many people will not forget his groovy moves when taking the stage. The man who brought this legacy to life in film was the late Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Brown in his biopic, Get on Up.
Get on Up follows Brown’s life from childhood hardships as a Black man in Georgia to his eventual fame due to his hard work and musical passion. Boseman nailed his portrayal as Brown by singing some of his songs and perfecting his dances. Many people will find Get on Up a worthy musical biopic, and Brown is one of Boseman’s most impressive roles.
6 La Bamba (1987) – Available On Prime Video And IMDb TV
La Bamba follows the story of Ritchie Valens, the musician who popularized Chicano rock music. His biopic covers everything from his teenage years, when he faced prejudice as a Mexican American, to his transition into an overnight superstar following hits like “Donna” and “La Bamba.” The film also highlights the final moments of his life before his plane crash at a young age.
Lou Diamond Phillips displays a charming portrayal of Ritchie Valens. The film showcases the sentimental value of family support, a similar plot point covered in Respect. Therefore, La Bamba is a refreshing and different tale of a rising musician that fans of Respect will appreciate. It is also widely regarded as one of the best rock musical biopics of all time.
5 Ray (2004) – Available On Peacock
While many musicians worked tirelessly to become the superstars today, Ray Charles had to work harder due to developing glaucoma that caused him to lose his vision. Nonetheless, his blindness did not stop him from producing music and played a part in pioneering soul music. His legacy became central in 2004’s Ray, and Jamie Foxx played Ray Charles.
Like Hudson, Jamie Foxx also has a background in music, making his performance more authentic and energetic. The story honors the musician’s life and showcases his courage and passion for making music. Many people will feel inspired by his story, and Foxx’s Oscar-winning performance will leave them astonished.
4 Rocketman (2019) – Available On Hulu & Paramount+
Rocketman follows gay musical legend Elton John as he transforms from a kid named Reginald Dwight to a worldwide superstar. It focuses on the high and low points in John’s life, including his relationship with his mother and his struggles with substance abuse and abusive relationships, a similar backstory covered in Respect.
The film takes a different approach from the standard biopic style by showcasing a more Broadway essence to its storytelling which fits the fairytale and magical theme. It recreates some of his best music and showcases his powerful story. Furthermore, Taron Egerton was destined to play Elton John. Not only does Egerton perfectly showcase John’s flamboyant personality, but he also sings every song to embody the superstar. For fans of Respect, they will immerse into the fantasy world of Elton John’s Rocketman.
3 What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993) – Available On FuboTV & IMDb TV
Perhaps, the film most similar to Respect is the Tina Turner biopic, What’s Love Got to Do with It. The film follows significant moments of her life, like singing at a church during childhood, living through an abusive relationship, and growing as a world-class singer. Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne play Tina Turner and Ike Turner, respectively.
What’s Love Got to Do With It depicts Turner’s powerful story of her professional and personal relationship with first husband Ike Turner. Despite a few inaccuracies with some accounts, the film has a strong message and showcases exceptional performances from Bassett and Fishburne, so it too deserves a watch from Respect fans.
2 Selena (1997) – Available To Rent On Apple TV+
Despite her passing 26 years ago, Selena remains one of the most memorable musicians in history, and her fans still jam to popular songs like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” Her story was dramatized in 1997’s Selena, and Jennifer Lopez received the honor of playing her.
Like Respect, Selena follows a similar plotline as a young singer whose father recognizes her talents and wants her to become a superstar. The film highlights her obstacles, including facing prejudice as a Latina and entering into a romantic relationship with a bandmate. Lopez’s performance as Selena is breathtaking and vibrant as she flawlessly showcases her best songs and dance moves. Ultimately, Selena is one of Lopez’s best roles. Overall, Selena recreates the best moments of the Queen of Tejano and is a must-watch.
1 La Vie En Rose (2007) – Available To Rent On Amazon & Google Play
La Vie en Rose follows Édith Piaf’s story, a legendary French singer looking for stardom. The film also deals with issues of substance abuse and loss which are similar plotlines seen in Respect.
Piaf’s legacy is honored in the French biopic that showcases her magnetic voice and range as a singer. Marion Cotillard exceptionally embodied the real-life figure on-screen from her distinctive looks to her emotions when performing her music. La Vie en Rose has the heart and soul of a musical biopic and is a must-watch due to Cotillard’s Oscar-winning performance.
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