I Want My MTV

Our curated pick of the best rockumentaries on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Sky Arts.
Also featuring free to stream films from the BBC and YouTube.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week 

 | Apple Corps | 2016 | 1h 37m  

Acclaimed director Ron Howard explores the 250 concerts played between 1963 and 1966 by The Beatles and the rise of Beatlemania. Featuring never before seen interviews with the surviving Beatles, celebrity fans and great archive footage, the documentary aims to shed light on an often overlooked aspect of the band, their live performances.


David Bowie: Five Years

E | BBC Worldwide | 2013 | 1hr  

This  BBC documentary takes five seperate but important years of Bowie's life and charts the musical and artistic changes of an iconic artist. Created with the full support of Bowie's management, it includes rare, never seen before footage from his archives.

Keith Richards: Under the Influence

 | Netflix | 2016 | 1h 22m | IMDB: 7.2  

Following the huge success of Keith Richard's brilliant autobiography, this documentary gives fans a behind the scenes look at Richards life, his influences, his personal journey and his music. A lovingly (and beautifully) filmed doc from Academy Award Winner Morgan Neville (60 Feet from Stardom).

Oasis: Supersonic

 | Mint/Nemporer/On the Corner Films | 2016 | 2h 2m | IMDB: 7.9  

Featuring archival concert and interview footage, modern day talking heads with band members and a rags to riches rock and roll story about these working class brothers from Manchester. While Mat Whitecross' film stops after Knebworth and doesn't tell the slow but steady decline of the band, it does give a great account of the band's glory days and no doubt will have endeared them to the next generation of NME readers. Until the comeback tour is announced, this is the best we're going to get.

Nick Cave: 20,000 Days on Earth

 | Film4 | 2014 | 1h 33m | IMDB: 7.5  

Part fiction, part reality, this film is Nick Cave's personal analysis of his own life and his creative process. He also shares humourous asides with bandmate and frequent collaborator Warren Ellis, former Bad Seed, Blixa Bargeld, friend Ray Winstone, and Kylie Minogue.


 | Film4 | 2016 | 2h 2m | IMDB: 7.8  

Despite being a story that we all watched unfold in the tabloids, this film, from the award winning producers of Senna, still manages to find new angles for the viewer. Over 100 interviews were undertaken with close associates and friends, but it's the previously unseen footage of Amy which most astonishes.

Bed Peace with John Lennon & Yoko Ono

E | Bag Productions | 1969 | 1h 11m  

Yoko Ono has uploaded her 1969 film which documents John Lennon and Yoko's bed-ins in Toronto and Amsterdam and their 12 hour daily discussions with the world's media on peace.  As Yoko says in her notes to the video, "In 1969, John and I were so naïve to think that doing the Bed-In would help change the world. Well, it might have. But at the time, we didn't know..."  A wonderful historical document availble in full and for free.


Last Shop Standing 

 | Blue Hippo Media | 2012 | 50m | IMDB: 7.1  

We've written about this film before which documents the rise, fall and re-birth of the independent record shop. Now available to stream on Sky Arts on demand (on Sky and Now TV) it features talking head interviews with Richard Hawley, Paul Weller and Norman Cook and countless independent shop owners.

Our curated picks from the BBC archives - available to view online now. 

E | BBC archives | 1972-1985 | 12 episodes
The Blues
. A series of programmes featuring some of the most influential blues musicians of all time. Rediscover BB King recording his 1972 'in London' album, Alexis Korner's 'The Devil's Music' documentary series from 1972, and the six part BBC Arena series from 1985.

E | BBC archives | 1967 | 45 mins 
Whicker's World drops in on the 'Love Generation' in this 1967 BBC documentary which looks in detail at the rise of San Francisco's hippie generation, their drug use, and their conflicts with society and the local community. Although not directly about the music, it's never far away in this great doc which features an early Grateful Dead.

E | BBC archives | 2007 | 59 mins  
BBC Arena's
documentary 'Into the Limelight' meets the people playing tribute to musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Paul Weller and Kurt Cobain at the (now closed) Limelight club in Crewe.

Original cinema newsreel footage from the British Pathé archives - available online now.

E | British Pathé | 1963 | 13 mins
The Beatles Come to Town
. This news report follows the Beatles at their A.B.C. cinema, Ardwick, Manchester concert in 1963. This would have been one of the general public's first exposures to Beatlemania!

E | British Pathé | 1964 | 5 mins 
Rolling Stones Gather Moss follows the bad boys of British pop music to a concert in Hull in 1964 and proves that it wasn't only the Beatles who attracted screaming audiences.

E | British Pathé  | 1965 | 15 mins  
And the World Listened is a short (but great!) colour British Pathé documentary on the music of Liverpool and its impact around the world.