Rentals

Sonic

Personal, powerful and lyrical, this is where music and film collide, a meeting place for rock biopics, probing documentaries, groundbreakers and old stagers.

The hugely popular sonic cinema strand from the BFI London Film Festival and BFI Southbank can now be enjoyed on BFI Player.

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Rent for £3.50

The Man from Mo'WaxThe Man from Mo'Wax

Documentary2017116 minsDirector: Matthew Jones

The exhilarating, no holds-barred story of Mo'Wax records founder James Lavelle, one of the most enigmatic yet influential figures in British music culture.

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Bros: After the Screaming StopsBros: After the Screaming Stops

Documentary201897 minsDirector: David Soutar

Matt and Luke Goss take on the big screen – and each other – in this candid documentary charting the reunion of 80s pop sensations Bros; an affectionate portrait that generates more than a touch of Spinal Tap-esque hilarity.

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: CodaRyuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Documentary2017101 minsDirector: Stephen Schible

A graceful, intimate study of a the legendary Japanese musician, composer, actor, writer and activist.

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Grace Jones: Bloodlight and BamiGrace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Documentary2017115 minsDirector: Sophie Fiennes

Grace Jones is laid bare in this intimate and electrifying insight into the fascinating world of a pop-cultural phenomenon.

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WhitneyWhitney

Documentary2018120 minsDirector: Kevin Macdonald

Stunning revelations and captivating reminiscences paint a picture of the extraordinary life of singer Whitney Houston, in this in-depth portrait by acclaimed filmmaker Kevin MacDonald (Touching the Void, Marley).

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Whitney: Can I Be MeWhitney: Can I Be Me

Documentary2017101 minsDirector: Nick Broomfield

Documentary titan Nick Broomfield turns his gaze to the troubled pop star whose sensational voice masked an inner identity crisis.

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SupersonicSupersonic

Documentary2016117 minsDirector: Mat Whitecross

Relive the stratospheric rise of the kings of Britpop in this rousing nostalgic trip from the producers of Amy.

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ControlControl

Biopic2007122 minsDirector: Anton Corbijn

The life story of Ian Curtis, the tortured singer of Joy Division who suffered epilepsy and crippling self-doubt, filmed in stunning monochrome.

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England Is MineEngland Is Mine

Biopic201794 minsDirector: Mark Gill

A deeply insecure young Morrissey dreams of escaping drudgery but seeks the confidence to bloom, in this captivating account of The Smiths' genesis.

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VS.VS.

Drama201899 minsDirector: Ed Lilly

A foster teen channels his rage into rap in Ed Lilly’s urgent freestyling drama.

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Searching for Sugar ManSearching for Sugar Man

Documentary201286 minsDirector: Malik Bendjelloul

The BAFTA and Oscar-winning documentary sensation uncovers the mystery behind Sixto Rodriguez, a forgotten musical hero of apartheid-era South Africa.

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On the RoadOn the Road

Drama-documentary2016121 minsDirector: Michael Winterbottom

Michael Winterbottom’s sexy and idiosyncratic tour film follows 2018 Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice, merging thrilling live footage with a fictional backstage romance.

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20 Feet from Stardom20 Feet from Stardom

Documentary201387 minsDirector: Morgan Neville

This moving documentary shines a spotlight on the backing singers behind some of the great musical hits of the 21st century.

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Chi-RaqChi-Raq

Musical2015127 minsDirector: Spike Lee

Spike Lee’s bold and vivacious hip-hop musical restages an ancient Greek battle-of-the-sexes in 21st-century Chicago.

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The WizThe Wiz

Fantasy1978134 minsDirector: Sidney Lumet

NYC becomes Oz in the cult, urban reimagining of the family favourite, featuring an all-African American cast including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

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Being Frank: The Chris Sievey StoryBeing Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

Documentary2019101 minsDirector: Steve Sullivan

Frank Sidebottom was a pillar of alternative comedy of the late 80s/early 90s, this charming documentary remembers the man behind the papier-mâché head.

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FrankFrank

Comedy201395 minsDirector: Lenny Abrahamson

Michael Fassbender is the man inside the papier-mâché head, in this fictionalised reimagining of the story of northern entertainer Frank Sidebottom.

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We Are the Best!We Are the Best!

Drama201398 minsDirector: Lukas Moodysson

A raucous coming-of-age comedy about three schoolgirls who form a punk band in 1982 Stockholm, from director Lukas Moodysson (Show Me Love).

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The Stone Roses: Made of StoneThe Stone Roses: Made of Stone

Performance201396 minsDirector: Shane Meadows

Avid Stone Roses fan Shane Meadows records the reunion of the pivotal 1990s rock band, in this heartfelt and inspiring documentary

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Pulp: A Film about Life, Death and SupermarketsPulp: A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets

Documentary201490 minsDirector: Florian Habicht

Jarvis and co’s farewell concert is captured in Florian Habicht’s affectionate and intriguing documentary, which also acts as a profile of Pulp’s home city of Sheffield and its residents.

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The Big MeltThe Big Melt

Documentary201371 minsDirector: Martin Wallace

Jarvis Cocker and acclaimed director Martin Wallace's feature-length elegy to the men and women who toiled in Sheffield's steelworks is a hymn to Britain's proud industrial past.

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The Possibilities Are EndlessThe Possibilities Are Endless

Documentary201483 minsDirector: Edward Lovelace

A moving and haunting account of singer Edwyn Collins’s long and difficult recovery from a stroke.

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Song of GraniteSong of Granite

Biopic201797 minsDirector: Pat Collins

A formally audacious account of the life and times of traditional Irish folk singer Joe Heaney, combining ‘fictional’ drama, documentary footage and musical sequence

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BabymotherBabymother

Musical199877 minsDirector: Julian Henriques

Neeta and her crew rise to dancehall fame in North West London's Caribbean community, in the first Black British musical.

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Sing StreetSing Street

Drama2015106 minsDirector: John Carney

The third in John Carney’s trilogy of musical films is the utterly charming story a boy who escapes his troubles through fronting a pop band.

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Only Lovers Left AliveOnly Lovers Left Alive

Romance2013123 minsDirector: Jim Jarmusch

Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton star as ageless, blood-drinking lovers in Jim Jarmusch’s clever, funny and sexy vampire tale.

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David Brent: Life on the RoadDavid Brent: Life on the Road

Comedy201696 minsDirector: Ricky Gervais

The long-awaited big-screen outing for Slough’s premier paper salesman finds Ricky Gervais’ genius comic creation cashing in his pension for one last shot at rock ‘n’ roll success.

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JubileeJubilee

Drama1977106 minsDirector: Derek Jarman

The mythological past and a soon-to-be bleak future converge on the sparse, grey streets of London in Jarman’s personal vision of the punk movement.

Rent for £2.50

Some PeopleSome People

Drama196290 minsDirector: Clive Donner

Cult 1960s musical drama about a leather boy who forms a Shadows-style guitar band.

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PrivilegePrivilege

Science Fiction1967103 minsDirector: Peter Watkins

An exalted pop star holds the country's youth in his thrall, but secretly his popularity is being carefully managed by the state.

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RayRay

Biopic2004152 minsDirector: Taylor Hackford

Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his extraordinary performance as Ray Charles, in a film that revived the potency of the musical biopic.

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The Music MachineThe Music Machine

Drama197990 minsDirector: Ian Sharp

Get Saturday night fever - North London style - with Patti Boulaye and Gerry Sundquist in this bubbly British disco drama.

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Lambert & StampLambert & Stamp

Documentary2014118 minsDirector: James D. Cooper

The fascinating story of how two aspiring filmmakers set out to capture swinging 1960s London, but instead inadvertently helped create The Who.

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EdenEden

Drama2014131 minsDirector: Mia Hansen-Løve

Mia Hansen-Løve’s stylish and transcendent story of house music is one of the great films about dance culture.

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Midnight BreaksMidnight Breaks

1988113 minsDirector: Laurens C. Postma

Big Audio Dynamite’s Don Letts made his acting debut in this gripping, gritty 1990 drama of dreads, drugs, and music business corruption.

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Jimi All Is by My SideJimi All Is by My Side

Biopic2013118 minsDirector: John Ridley

OutKast’s André Benjamin stars as Jimi Hendrix on the cusp of greatness, honing his act in Swinging London, in this revealing and alternative take on the rock biopic.

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Expresso BongoExpresso Bongo

Drama1960111 minsDirector: Val Guest

Val Guest's 1959 London-shot Brit Beat classic charts the fortunes of aspiring musician Bert Rudge (Cliff Richard)

Rent for £1.00

Oh Boy!Oh Boy!

195925 minsDirector: Rita Gillespie

Rock ‘n’ roll fuels Jack Good’s groundbreaking music TV show, with songs by Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde.

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I've Gotta HorseI've Gotta Horse

Musical196592 minsDirector: Kenneth Hume

Great British rock and roller Billy Fury buys himself a racehorse in this colourful musical for all the family.

Rent for £2.50

Cleo and JohnCleo and John

198255 minsDirector: Vernon Lawrence

Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth cook up red hot jazz together live on stage, chat about married life together, and recall lengthy musical careers.

Rent for £1.00

Cool for CatsCool for Cats

195826 minsDirector: Brian Taylor

The only known existent edition of this long-running 1950s ITV pop show features songs by Tommy Steele, Paul Anka and Connie Francis.

Rent for £1.00

Fan FeverFan Fever

195622 minsDirector: Peter Morley

Straight from the earliest days of teenage pop-star adulation, an eye-opening investigation into the strange and startling world of obsessional fans.

More music films in our Subscription collection, Sonic: Music in Movies.