Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The World's Best Female Lead Singer Movies

By José Alberto Hermosillo
The World's Best Female Lead Singer Movies  COPYRIGHT www.FestivalinLA.com
Cinema has taken on the glamorous, controversial, notorious, scandalous, tumultuous, and tragic lives of the most amazing female lead singers in the world.

Their music, talent, and hard work contrast with their private lives - many tragically sad stories of struggle, agony, sickness, addictions, alcohol, drugs, loneliness, depression, jail, suicide, and above all… redemption.

The motion pictures and documentaries based on women lead singers have taken some literary freedom that altered what actually happened in their lives - fans from around the world love and hate. 

For the right approach, filmmakers have chosen a musical, narrative/drama, documentary, or a television series to tell the story and serve justice to the singer's legacy.


The outstanding performers in the world whose lives have passed to an eternity in larger-than-life movies are:

1.
“La Vie en Rose” 
Marion Cotillard as the great Édith Piaf in a larger-than-life epic. 
The film won two Oscars, Best Actress and Best Makeup & Hairstyling.
Directed by Oliver Dahan. 
Vocal (2007).
France, U.K., Czech Republic
2. 
Coal Miner's Daughter” 
Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for her work as 
Loretta Lynn
Directed by Michael Apted. 
Country (1980), 
USA
3. 
Lady Sings the Blues
Diana Ross as the great Billie Holiday
Directed by Sidney J. Furie. 
 Jazz (1972),  
USA
  4. 
“Selena” 
Jennifer Lopez as Selena 
jumped to international fame with this film.
 Directed by Gregory Nava. 
Cumbia, Ranchero, Tex/Mex (1997), 
USA

5.
 “Amy” 
 The Oscar Winner documentary about the life of the late singer 
Amy Winehouse,
Directed by Asif Kapadia, 
Pop, soul, jazz, and soft rock (2015),
United Kingdom
6.
Katy Perry: Part of Me
A documentary on Katy’s life and music, 
which follows her on the California Dream Tour. 
Directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz. 
Pop-Rock, (2012), 
USA

7.
“What’s Love Got to Do with It” 
Angela Bassett was nominated for an Oscar for her incredible performance as  
Tina Turner
Directed by Brian Gibson. 
R&B Soul, Pop, and Rock (1993), 
USA
.
8
“Dalida”
Actress Sveva Alviti plays the iconic singer DALIDA,
an Egyptian born woman with a beautiful voice who went to 
Paris sang in twelve languages and sold more than 
170 million records worldwide.
Directed by Lisa Azuelos, 
Ballad, pop, disco (2017), 
France
9.
Judy”
Renée Zellweger gives this Academy Award-winning performance as
Judy Garland.
Directed by Rupert Goold, 
Ballad (2019)
U.K./ USA
10.
Callas Forever
Fanny Ardant as the great Maria Callas.
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. 
Opera (2002), 
Italy, France, Spain, 
U.K., Romania
11.
“Respect”
Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson performs the life of
of the late singer Aretha Franklin
Directed by Liesl Tommy.
Soul (2020).
USA
12.
“20 Feet from Stardom”
An irresistible Oscar Winner documentary  
narrates the lives of the backup singers 
of several prominent stars.
Directed by Morgan Neville.
Rock, Pop, and Gospel, (2013), 
USA
13.
“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound
of My Voice”
A heartfelt documentary about the trajectory of the Mexican-American singer.
Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman.
Country, Rock, Pop, Ranchero (2019).
USA
14.
“Nico, 1988.”
Touring in Europe and Africa, this biopic follows the
last year of life of the German singer Christa Päffgen also known as Nico, 
who is has to deal with her demons and drug addiction while
her Velvet Underground music is a hit.
Directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli.
Undergroun (2017). 
 Italy/Belgium
15.
“Barbara”
In this evocative flick, a film director wants to shot a biopic 
based on the life of the great 
French singer Barbara.
Actress Jeanne Balibar 
gets caught in the middle of an emotional roller-coaster.
Directed by Mathieu Amalric.
Ballad (2017).
France.
16.
“Amazing Grace”
A concert recorded in two parts at the New Bethel Baptist Church
in Watts, South Los Angeles, in January of 1972.
Directed by Alain Elliott, Sydney Pollack.
Soul (2018).
USA
17.
“Lady Gaga: Five FootTwo”
Premiering at TIFF. This 
Netflix verité style documentary follows 
Lady Gaga during her concerts and behind 
the stage, rehearsals, 
and home videos that make 
this presentation a must-see!
Director Chris Moukarbel.
Pop (2017).
USA
18.
“Gloria”
An unauthorized biopic of controversial Mexican singer 
Gloria Trevi played by Sofía Espinosa. 
Directed by Christian Keller. 
Pop-Rock, (2014),
Mexico
 19.
“Violeta Went to Heaven/
 Violeta se fue a los cielos” 
Francisca Gavilán plays Violeta Parra
Singer, poet, composer, and activist. 
She founded the Universidad Andina,
a university dedicated to the Folklorist arts in
South America. 
Directed by Andrés Wood. 
Folklorist (2011),
Chile, Brazil, Argentina.

20.
What Happened, Miss Simone?"
She was named the "High Priestess of Soul." 
An Oscar nominee documentary about the life of the legendary Nina Simone
A Netflix production on the life of this great
American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist.
Directed by Liz Garbus. 
Soul (2015), 
USA
 21.
“Anna German/
      Ekho Lyubvi” 
Actress Darya Andreeva as the renowned 
Polish Singer Anna German.
She sang in more than 10 languages, and become very
famous in Russia. 
Directed by Ilya Malkin for Russian TV. 
Vocal (2011), 
Russia
 22.
Lola Montez
Martine Carol plays Lola Montèz 
 An adventurous woman who
ends up as a circus performer. 
Directed by Max Ophüls. (1955),
France/West Germany
23.
“Funny Girl” 
Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice
a singer who goes from the Jewish slums of 
N.Y. to the Ziegfeld Follies. 
Director William Wilder. 
Vaudeville, (1968), 
USA
24.
 “When I Leave/
Cuando me vaya.” 
Argentinean actress Libertad Lamarque plays 
Maria Grever
the Mexican composer who lived in
N.Y. and wrote more than
800 Boleros and music for movies in Hollywood. 
Directed by Tito Davison. 
Bolero, (1954), 
Mexico
25.
Maria by Callas
A documentary about the life of the Greek-American opera singer, Maria Callas.
Directed by Tom Volf, 
Classic (2017).
France
26.
“Life with Judy Garland:
Me & My Shadows”
Judy Davis plays Judy Garland in this epic TV series.
Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman.
Musical (2001)
USA
27.
“Whitney”
The most complete documentary about the life of late singer Whitney Houston
An emotional journey that took the image of Whitney
from her very beginning to the top of the world, her decadence, and her tragic departure.
Directed by Kevin MacDonald.
Soul, pop, gospel (2018).
U.K. / USA
28.
“Monica Z / Waltz for Monica”
The life of a Swedish iconic Jazz singer, actress, 
and performer
Monica Zetterlund (Edda Magnason). 
She evolves from stardom to hardship of her carrier.
Directed by Per Fly,
Jazz (2013).
Sweden
29.
“Lola, la película.” 
Gala Évora portrays one of the all-time most excellent Spanish singers, 
the legendary Lola Flores
Directed by Miguel Hermoso. 
Flamenco (2007),
Spain
30.
ASNI:
Courage, Passion & Glamour in Ethiopia” 
This documentary showcases and rescues from oblivion the infectious music
and the beautiful voice of Asnaketch Worku, 
a cultural icon in her homeland, 
in entire Africa, and around the world. 
Directed by Rachel Samuel. 
Guttural (2013),
Ethiopia
31.
“Amália the Film” 
Sandra Barata Belo plays Amália Rodriguez
Directed by Carlos Coelho da Silva.
Fado (2008),
Portugal
32.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep plays this heiress with
a great heart and voice.
She wanted to be an Opera Singer but not even all her money
can buy success.
Directed by Stephen Frears, 
Opera (2016).
United Kingdom

 32.
Marguerite
Catherine Frot plays Marguerite Dumont,
a wealthy woman who wants to be an Opera Singer.
Directed by Xavier Giannoli, 
Opera, (2015).
France, Czech Republic, Belgium
33.
The Josephine Baker Story
A T.V. movie based on the life of the famous Afro-American 
singer and performer,
who left her country for racial discrimination and found fame in
Paris - making 12 films, numerous plays, and shows.
Actress Lynn Whitfield plays the exotic and brave
Josephine Baker.
Directed by Brian Gibson. (1995), 
USA
 34
“Bessie” 
A TV movie about the story of the blues performer Bessie Smith during
the Great Depression Era, 
portrayed by Queen Latifah.
Directed by Dee Rees, 
Blues (2015),
USA
35.
Queen of the Night/
 La Reina de la Noche” 
Patricia Reyes Espindola as Lucha Reyes
the first woman in history to sing with Mariachi. 
(She has a monument at the Mariachi Plaza, 
East Los Angeles).
Directed by Arturo Ripstein. 
Ranchero (1994), 
Mexico
36.
Sweet Dreams
The Story of Patsy Cline
Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline. A country singer who died in
a tragic plane crash at the peak of her fame.
Directed by Karel Reisz. 
Country (1985), 
USA
37. 
“Sister Smile/
Soeur Sourire” 
Cécile de France plays the rebellious Belgian singing nun Jeannine Deckers. 
(This is the second and more accurate movie version of “The Singing Nun”). 
She was a composer, singer, and guitar player – 
Her song “Dominique” was a worldwide success. 
Directed by Stijn Coninx, (2009), 
Belgium/France
38. 
The Singing Nun
Debbie Reynolds plays Sister Ann.
(This biopic is loosely based on the real story, see “Sister Smile”). 
Directed by Henry Koster. (1966), 
USA
39. 
“Hilary and Jackie” 
Emily Watson as the performer Jacqueline Du Pré and 
Rachel Griffiths as Hilary Du Pré.
Jackie is a renowned cellist, and her sister, 
a prodigy remained a housewife for the rest of her life. 
Directed by Anand Tucker. 
Classic (1998),
United Kingdom
40.
“Dolly Parton's
Heartstrings”
InEight episodes about the songs of the famous American country singer
Dolly Parton.
Directed by Liesl Tommy.
Ballad (2019).
USA
41. 
With a Song in My Heart
The Jane Froman Story
Susan Hayward as Jane Froman.
Directed by Walter Lang.
American Medley (1952),
USA
42.
“Interrupted Melody
Eleanor Parker plays Marjorie Lawrence, an Australian Opera Singer with polio. 
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt. 
Opera (1955), 
USA
 43. 
I'll Cry Tomorrow.
Susan Hayward as Lillian Roth
the Broadway, and Hollywood Star that merged into her sorrows, 
alcohol, and failing marriages. 
Directed by Daniel Mann. (1955),
USA
44.
Spice World
The Spice Girls Movie
The adventures of the famous Spice Girls 
traveling around London in a luxurious 
double-decker tour bus
performing for their fans.
Director Bob Spiers. 
Pop (1997).
United Kingdom
  45.
Madonna Truth or Dare
This documentary follows Madonna on her controversial 
Blond Ambition Tour in 1990.
Directed by Alek Keshishian.
Pop (1991).
USA

46.
Chavela
A documentary that follows the life of Chavela Vargas,
her journey and international fame
singing ranchero as well as any man could do.
The film is focusing on her sexual preference 
for other women.
Directed by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi
Ranchero (2017).
USA, Mex, Spain
47.
“Céline” 
Actress Christine Ghawi portrayed the renowned Céline Dion.
This unauthorized biopic made for TV. 
Directed by Jeff Woolnough. 
Pop and soft rock (2008), 
Canada
48.
Grace Jones 
Bloodlight and Bami
This documentary is about the life of Grace Jones and her concerts around the world.
Directed by Sophie Fiennes, 
Disco (2017).
United Kingdom
 49.
Whitney: Can I Be Me
A documentary that follows Whitney Huston's journey 
from her start to her big success, 
including some very intimate moments of her life.
Directors: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
R&B (2017).
U.K. / USA
50.
 “Janis: Little Girl Blue” 
A documentary about the life of
the great Janis Joplin
narrated by musician Cat Power.
Directed by Amy Berg, 
Rock (2015),
USA
51.
The Girls in the Band
This is a documentary about a female jazz band singers from the 1930s.
 Directed by Judy Chaikin. 
Jazz (2013),
USA

52.
“The Star of Emi Bonilla” 
The documentary about the life of the Spanish singer
  Emi Bonilla
is narrated by Juanma Lara.
Directed by Jorge Agó, 
Copla (2019),
Spain
 53.
Carmen Miranda: 
Bananas is My Business
The life and fame of Carmen Miranda told in this fantastic documentary
she was known in Hollywood as
the Brazilian Bombshell. 
Director Helena Solberg. 
Tropical (1995), 
United Kingdom, Brazil
 54.
“Whisper If I Forget/
Unutursam Fidilda” 
Actress Farah Zeynep Abdullah played Humeyra
a Turkish Pop Star with Alzheimer's. 
Directed by Çagan Irmak. 
Pop (2014), 
Turkey
55.
Mercedes Sosa: 
The Voice  of Latin America
A documentary regarding the music and lyrics were written by Mercedes Sosa in her 
“Nuevo Cancionero.” 
One of the greatest composers of South America Andina Music.
Directed by Rodrigo H. Vila. 
Folklorist (2013), 
Argentina
56.
“Anita O'Day:
The Life of a Jazz Singer”
A heartfelt documentary made a tribute to one of the greatest
Jazz vocalist, unfortunately, Anita O’Day couldn’t see the work finished
due to her passing.  
Directed by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden
Jazz (2007).
USA
57.
“Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt”
Egypt’s superstar came to alive in this beautiful documentary narrated by the legendary actor Omar Sharif
Directed by Michal Goldman
Vocal (1996).
Egypt, USA
58. 
Shooting the Moon
"Pumpuang Duangjan"
Actress Paowalee Pornpimol plays the Queen of
Thai Country Music 
Pumpuang Duangjan
Directed by Bundit Thongdee. (2011),
Thailand
59.
“Somebody Loves Me” 
Betty Hutton plays Blossom Seeley
Directed by Irving Brecher. (1952), 
USA
60.
“The Helen Morgan Story” 
Ann Blyth played the torch singer Helen Morgan
Directed by Michael Curtiz. (1957), 
USA
61.
“Love Me or Leave Me.” 
Doris Day plays Ruth Etting performing at the Ziegfeld Follies. 
Directed by Charles Vidor. 
Jazz (1955), 
USA
 62.
"Demi Lovato Simply Complicated" 

Singer Demi Lovato opens up in an interview about her drug addiction.
Hannah Lux Davis, 
Vocal (2017).
USA
63.
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B” 
Alexandra Shipp plays the tragic life of a music and video star Aaliyah for American T.V. 
Directed by Bradley Walsh. 
Soul/R&B, (2014), 
USA
64.
“The Linda McCartney Story” 
Elizabeth Mitchell as Linda Eastman McCartney.
The story focuses on Paul McCartney and the group they had after
the Beatles breakup in 1970 named Wings. 
Directed by Armand Mastroianni. 
Rock (2000), 
Canada/USA
65.
"Dreamgirls"
A Broadway musical based on the early days of “The Supremes.”
Directed by Bill Condon.
R&B and Soul, (2006),
USA
66.
"The Rose"
Bette Midler plays a self-destructive rock star, 
in a story loosely based on the life of 
Janis Joplin
Directed by Mark Rydell. 
Rock (1979), 
USA
67. 
“Walk the Line” 
A superb Oscar-winning performance by Reese Witherspoon as the singer, 
musician, and composer 
June Carterthe second wife of Johnny Cash.
Directed by James Mangold. 
Country (2005), 
USA
68.
“The Runaways” 
A biopic about the 1970’s teenage all-girl rock band named The Runaways
Directed by Floria Sigismondi. 
Rock (2010), 
USA
 69.
"The Sapphires" 
Loosely based on a true story, tells the journey of four 
Australian aborigines singers who traveled to Vietnam to perform for the troops  
during the war in 1968.
Directed by Wayne Blair. 
Cellist (2012),
United Kingdom, Australia
70.
“Nina” 
A drama based on 
the life of the legendary singer and activist Nina Simone,
 portrayed by Dominican actress Zoe Saldana.
Directed by Cynthia Mort, 
Soul (2016),
USA
71.
"Nini's Movie/
La Pelicula de Nini."
The greatest Argentine comedy actress and singer who made a career in Mexico during the 
Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. 
She is still in the memory of many Argentinians who remember her dearly. 
Directed by Raul Etchelet, (2005), 
Argentina
72. 
“The Night of My Love/
A Noite Do Meu Bem” 
Regina Célia as the great Dolores Duran. 
This Brazilian film is lost, and it needs to be found.
Directed by Jesse Valadâo. 
Samba (1968), 
Brazil
all music
73.
"Mary Lou Williams: 
The Lady Who Swings the Band"
A documentary about the famous jazz pianist
Mary Lou Williams.
Directed by Carol Bash. (2015), 
USA
74.
"Carefully, Carefully/

Cuidadito, Cuidadito"
The subject of this documentary is a famous singer, actress, 
and comedian María Victoria
who sang and in more than forty films
including some from 
The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema,
 and fifteen TV shows.
Directed by Sergio Muñoz Güemes. 
Bolero, (2013), 
Mexico
 75.
“Dalida”
A two-part TV film about Dalida’s life layed by Italian actress Sabrina Ferilli. 
Dalida was born in Egypt and became a French citizen, 
ranking as one of the top six most popular singers in the world.
The “Tragic Diva” sang in more than 15 languages. 
She sold more than 170 million albums. 
Directed by Joyce Buñuel. 
Pop (2005), 
France/Italy
 76.
"Whitney" 
Yaya DaCosta plays Whitney Houston in this biopic made for TV. 
Directed by Angela Bassett.
(2015),
USA
77. 
"Toni Braxton"
The TV movie about the life of the singer Toni Braxton
(2016),
USA
Special mention:
- “La Mala,” young vocalist Lena Burke gets inspired by Cuban Singer La Lupe (2008), Puerto Rico.
- "Pina," the Oscar nominee documentary based on the work of the German choreographer Pina Bausch, directed by Wim Wenders (2011), Germany.
- "ABBA: The Movie," a documentary about a DJ that follows the famous Sweden group on tour in Australia. Directed by Robert Caswell and Lassie Hallström (1977), Australia/Sweden.
                                                               
In the works:
Destiny's Child project. 
Jenni Rivera project.
Celia Cruz project
Rocio Durcal project.
La Lupe project.
Lupe Velez, 3 projects.

World Lead Singers Who Deserve a Movie:
Ailee, South Korea.
Alejandra Guzmán, Rock, Mexico.
Björk, Vocal, Iceland.
Cesaria Evora, Cape Verde.
Chabuca Granda, Afro-Peruvian, Perú.
Coco Lee, Pop, Hong Kong.
Consuelo Velazquez, Bolero, Mexico.
Delia Derbyshire, Electronica, U.K. 
Elis Regina, Bosa Nova, Brazil.
Ella Fitzgerald, Jazz, USA.
En Voge, Rap/Pop, USA. 
Flans, Pop, Mexico.
Karina, Pop, Venezuela.
Lata Mangeshkar, Bollywood, India.
Libertad Lamarque, Tango, Argentina/Mex.
Linda Ronstadt, USA/Mexico.
Liza Minnelli, USA.
Liza Wang, Opera, Hong Kong.
Lola Beltrán, Ranchero, Mexico.
Lolita, Ballads/Flamenco, Spain.
Lucha Villa, Ranchero, Mexico.
Madonna, Pop, USA.
Margarita, Cumbia, Colombia.
María Dolores Pradera, Spain.
Marinella, Greece.
Melina Mercouri, Greece.
Mina, Italy.
Mireille Mathieu, France.
Nacha Guevara, Argentina.
Ninón Sevilla, Rumba, Mexico/Cuba.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistan.
Patty Smith, Punk, USA.
Raffaella Carrà, Pop, Italy. 
Rosetta Tharpe, Rock, USA.
Sade, Vocal, USA.
Sonia Amelio, castanet player, Mexico.
Sara Gonzales, Cuba.
Sarita Montiel, Spain.
Vera Lynn, Vocal, U.K.

Research by: José Alberto Hermosillo.

Special thanks to:
Julián Hernández, Mexican filmmaker, and music in film specialist;
Eve Holmes, Performer, and Singer, Palm Springs; Vladek Juszkiewicz, Polish Film Festival L.A.; Ozan Aybey, Turkey; Daniel Camargo, Brazil; Antonio Albella, Spain; Masaki Arai, Japan; Michael Villalobos, Los Angeles. 

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14 comments:

  1. Excellent! It would be awesome to watch each of those movies.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you Natalia. Like 10 movies are not avialable in th US. I hope we can get them soon.

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  2. Yes, I was thinking the same, about buying them on dvd or watch them some how. Now with the new timewarner streaming, Netflix and other cable companies can be easy to watch them at home. Thank you for reading Natalia. #WomenSingers

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