Top 10 Amazing Jazz Movies

Here is a list of the top ten extra-ordinary jazz movies of all time.

Born to Be Blue

Born in 1929, Chet Baker was a vocalist and trumpeter from the United States. The jazz legend, who died in 1988, was among the few music artists, who were whites, rated as part of jazz greats like Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. Robert Budreau, a Canadian movie maker, concentrated on the final years in the life of Chet in his (Robert’s) movie entitled Born to Be Blue, which stars Ethan Hawke.

Let’s Get Lost

There are many striking documentaries among the various movies on the most celebrated jazz music artists in the world. Released in 1988, this film is an extraordinary work, covering many decades of the career of Chet as a jazz musician. Let’s Get Lost was nominated for an Oscar Award.

The Glenn Miller Story

The Glenn Miller Story is an award-winning film that earned this recognition in 1955.  Starring Glenn Miller as the trombonist and James Stewart as the prominent bang leader, the film was directed by Anthony Mann. It narrates a love story that is melodramatic with music playing a chief part in it. Also, the movie is a fantastic Technicolor film.

Sweet and Lowdown

A passionate player of clarinet, Woody Allen showed with Sweet and Lowdown, released in 1999 that a jazz movie can be breath-taking when focused on real-life music artists. This film narrates the story of Sean Penn, a talented swing and jazz guitarist in the 1920s. It features comedic scenes which do the integration, humorously, of documentary-style interview sessions with biographies as well as critics of this fictional music artiste.

The Cotton Club

Francis Ford Coppola equally took a look back in time in the 1920s jazz movie scene in this movie. Released in 1984, The Cotton Club was the name of a famous nightclub in New York from 1923 – 35. This movie integrated a gangster story and music, and starred Diane Lane and Richard Gere, just to mention a few. Though it was received nominations for many awards, the film underperformed at the box office.

Kansas City

Ten years later, Robert Altman served as the director of a movie with a concept related to Coppola, his colleague. Also, this film narrates a gangster story that was set in a jazz scene hot-spot. But it was in 1934 in Kansas City this time. Among the film stars in Kansas City were Jennifer Jason and Harry Belafonte.

Round Midnight

This is one of the greatest movies about jazz that was ever produced by Bertrand Tavernier, a French movie director. The film was released in 1986, set in the 1950s in Paris and narrates the story of a player of saxophone, who was a dipsomaniac. The director preferred real music in the movie; so many musicians featured in it. One of them was Dexter Gordon, who took the lead role.


In his biopic Bird (1988), Clint Eastwood paid tribute to Charlie Parker; a legendary player of the trumpet.The performance of Forest Whitaker in the lead role was spectacular, which helped him win the best actor award in Cannes.  Bird contains atmospheric sequences that covered the life of Parker between drugs as well as music, up until the period when he died quite young, aged 34.

‘Mo’ Better Blues

This film is a musical drama of Spike Lee, a director that is an ardent fan of jazz music. The movie was released in 1990 and set in 1969 in Brooklyn. It demonstrates the career of Bleek Gilliam, a fictional trumpeter character, which Denzel Washington played.