Friday, July 7, 2017

The World's Best Female Lead Singer Movies

By Jose Alberto Hermosillo
The World's Best Female Lead Singer Movies  COPYRIGHT
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 privacy - many tragically sad stories of 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


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

 The Oscar Winner documentary about the life of the late singer 
Amy Winehouse,
Directed by Asif Kapadia, 
Pop, soul, jazz, and soft rock, (2015),
The United Kingdom. 
"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), 

“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), 
The USA.
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, and disco, (2017), 
“Lady Gaga: Five Foot Two”
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), 
The USA.
"Callas Forever" 
Fanny Ardant as the great Maria Callas.
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. 
Opera, (2002), 
Italy, France, Spain, 
The U.K., and Romania.
“20 Feet from Stardom”
An irresistible Oscar Winner documentary  
narrates the lives of the backup singers 
of several big stars.
Directed by Morgan Neville.
Rock, Pop, and Gospel, (2013), 
The USA.
An unauthorized biopic of Mexican controversial singer 
Gloria Trevi played by Sofía Espinosa. 
Directed by Christian Keller. 
Pop-Rock, (2014),
“Violeta Went to Heaven/
 Violeta se fue a los cielos” 
Francisca Gavilán as Violeta Parra
Singer, poet, composer, and activist. 
She was the founder of the Universidad Andina,
a university dedicated to the Floklorist arts of
South America. 
Directed by Andrés Wood. 
Folklorist, (2011), 
Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.

"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), 
The USA.
“Anna German/
        Ekho Lyubvi” 
Actress Darya Andreeva as the renowned 
Polish Singer Anna German.
She sang in more than 10 languages and become 
famous in Russia. 
Directed by Ilya Malkin for Russian TV. 
Vocal, (2011), 
"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.
“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), 
The USA.
 “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), 
“Life with Judy Garland:
Me & My Shadows.”
Judy Davis plays Judy Garland in this epic TV series.
Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman.
Musicals, (2001)
The USA.
“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).
“Lola, la película.” 
Gala Évora portrays one of the all-time greatest Spanish singers, 
the legendary Lola Flores 
Directed by Miguel Hermoso. 
Flamenco, (2007),
Courage, Passion & Glamour in Ethiopia.” 
This documentary showcases and rescues from oblivion the infectious music and 
beautiful voice of Asnaketch Worku, 
a cultural icon in her homeland, 
in the entire Africa, and around the world. 
Directed by Rachel Samuel. 
“Amália the Film” 
Sandra Barata Belo as Amália Rodriguez
Directed by Carlos Coelho da Silva.
Fado, (2008),
"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).
The United Kingdom.
"Florence Foster Jenkins."
Meryl Streep plays this heiress with 
a great heart and a terrible voice.
She wanted to be an Opera Singer but not even all her money
can buy success.
Directed by Stephen Frears, 
Opera, (2016).
The United Kingdom.

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.
"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 movies, numerous plays, and shows.
Actress Lynn Whitfield plays the exotic and brave
Josephine Baker.
Directed by Brian Gibson. (1995), 
The USA.
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),
The USA.
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 big monument at the Mariachi Plaza, 
East Los Angeles).
Directed by Arturo Ripstein. 
Ranchero, (1994), 
"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 the fame.
Directed by Karel Reisz. 
Country, (1985), 
The USA.
“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), 
"The Singing Nun"
Debbie Reynolds plays Sister Ann. 
Her famous ballad “Dominique” gained a worldwide success. 
(This biopic is loosely based on the real story, see “Sister Smile”). 
Directed by Henry Koster. (1966), 
The USA.
“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),
The United Kingdom.
"With a Song in My Heart
The Jane Froman Story."
Susan Hayward as Jane Froman.
Directed by Walter Lang.
American Medley, (1952),
The USA.
"Interrupted Melody"
Eleanor Parker plays Marjorie Lawrence, an Australian Opera Singer with polio. 
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt. 
Opera, (1955), 
The USA.
"I'll Cry Tomorrow" 
Susan Hayward as Lillian Roth
the Broadway, and Hollywood Star that merged her sorrows into alcohol and failing marriages. 
Directed by Daniel Mann. (1955),
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 about her sexual preference 
for other women.
Directed by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi
Ranchero, (2017).
USA, Mex, Spain.
"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).
The U.K., USA.
 “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),
The USA.
“The Helen Morgan Story” 
Ann Blyth played the torch singer Helen Morgan
Directed by Michael Curtiz. (1957), 
The USA.

“Somebody Loves Me” 
Betty Hutton plays Blossom Seeley
Directed by Irving Brecher. (1952), 
The USA.
"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), 
The United Kingdom, Brazil.
"Mercedes Sosa: 
The Voice  of Latin America"
A documentary regarding the music and lyrics 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), 
“Whisper If I Forget/
Unutursam Fidilda.” 
Actress Farah Zeynep Abdullah played Humeyra
a Turkish Pop Star with Alzheimer. 
Directed by Çagan Irmak. 
Pop, (2014), 
“Love Me or Leave Me.” 
Doris Day plays Ruth Etting performing at the Ziegfeld Follies. 
Directed by Charles Vidor. 
Jazz, (1955), 
The USA.
Actress Christine Ghawi portrayed the renowned Céline Dion.
This unauthorized biopic made for TV. 
Directed by Jeff Woolnough. 
Pop and soft rock, (2008), 
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), 
The USA.
A Broadway musical based on the early days of “The Supremes.”
Directed by Bill Condon.
R&B and Soul, (2006),
The USA.
"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).
The United Kingdom.
"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), 
The USA.
“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), 
The USA.
“The Runaways” 
A biopic about the 1970’s teenage all-girl rock band named The Runaways
Directed by Floria Sigismondi. 
Rock, (2010), 
The USA.

"The Girls in the Band."
This is a documentary about a female jazz band singers from the 1930's.
 Directed by Judy Chakin. 
Jazz, (2013),
The USA. 
"Shooting the Moon."
"Pumpuang Duangjan"
Actress Paowalee Pornpimol plays the Queen of
Thai Country Music 
Pumpuang Duangjan
Directed by Bundit Thongdee. (2011),
"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),
The United Kingdom, Australia.
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),
The USA.
“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), 
old movies streaming
"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. 
“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 Jece Valadâo. 
Samba, (1968), 
all music
"Mary Lou Williams: 
The Lady Who Swings the Band"
A documentary of the famous jazz pianist
Mary Lou Williams.
Directed by Carol Bash. (2015), 
The USA.
"Carefully, Carefully/Cuidadito, Cuidadito"
The subject of this documentary is the 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), 
A two-part-film made for TV about Dalida’s life which is played 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 and sold more than 170 million albums. 
Directed by Joyce Buñuel. 
Pop, (2005), 
Yaya DaCosta plays Whitney Houston
 in this biopic made for TV. 
Directed by Angela Bassett.
The USA.
"Toni Braxton"
The TV movie about the life of the singer Toni Braxton
The USA.
Special mention:
- “Madonna: Truth or Dare” (1991), a documentary about her Blond Ambition World Tour. 
- “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.
Aretha Franklin, Soul, USA. 
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 Rostandt, USA/Mexico.
Liza Minnelli, USA.
Liza Wang, Opera, Hong Kong.
Lola Beltrán, Ranchero, Mexico.
Lolita, Balads/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.
Sara Gonzales, Cuba.
Sarita Montiel, Spain.
Sade, USA.
Sonia Amelio, castanet player, Mexico.
Vera Lynn, vocal, U.K.

Research by: Jose Alberto Hermosillo.
Special thanks to:
Julián Hernández, Mexican filmmaker, and music in film specialist;

Images may be subject to copyright.

Copyright © 2017 Festival in LA


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

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

  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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