Whether it’s a background soundtrack or a featured song, music is an important part of movies, setting the tone and adding extra detail. Some films have music as their core, such as musical adaptations or musical biopics, and tell the stories of fictional and real musicians. While biopics focus on a real musician or band, others base their story on a fictional band created for the movie. While these bands may be fictional, they deliver great songs and performances that make you wish they were real. Here are the best fictional movie groups, ranked.
11 Wonders – What you do! (1996)
20th century fox
In Tom Hanks’ debut film That Thing You Do!, The Wonders are a 1960s pop group who win a local talent show and rise to fame. Led by Johnathon Schaech as lead singer Jimmy, they move from their talent show roots to beloved, talented musicians in film. They only had one hit, but it was a great hit that charted on the real music charts, and the band is a perfect homage to the 1960s era of pop.
10 Josie and the Pussycats – Josie and the Pussycats (2001)
Josie and the Pussycats, directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, sees the title group (played by Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid and Rosario Dawson), become a famous girl group performing original songs. The film is a fun satire of the music industry, but the Pussycats are a truly talented group, blending the musical styles of the late 1990s and early 2000s into big girl group hits.
9 Sex Bob-Omb – Scott Pilgrim Against the World (2010)
In Scott Pilgrim vs. the World of Edgar Wright, Scott (Michael Cera) must battle all of his girlfriend’s exes while trying to get a record deal with his band, Sex Bob-Omb. Sex Bob-Omb is a fun garage band that’s so bad they’re actually good. Their songs, which were written for the film by Beck, are fast and high-energy, perfectly suited for the film, and they even have cartoon graphics that appear around them as they play.
8 Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem – The Muppets Franchise (Since 1975)
Distribution of associated films
Beginning on The Muppet Show and first appearing in James Frawley’s The Muppet Movie, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem – along with Dr. Teeth, Animal, Janice, Floyd Pepper, Zoot and Lips – have been a big part of the Muppets franchise, performing covers and original songs. With a powerful rock sound, the Electric Mayhem not only add to the Muppets stories, but are also a great band in their own right. They’re talented enough to make you forget they’re puppets.
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7 Venus in Fur – Velvet Goldmine (1998)
Velvet Goldmine is director Todd Haynes’ homage to 1970s glam rock, with a band that completely delivers that vibe. Musician Brian (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) takes on a Ziggy Stardust-esque alter ego and stars as Maxwell Demon with Venus in Furs, a supergroup comprised of Thom Yorke and Bernard Butler. They work magic on the film’s soundtrack, fusing the glam rock era with their own unique sound.
6 School of Rock – School of Rock (2003)
Directed by Richard Linklater, School of Rock stars Jack Black as Dewey, a musician who finds his way into teaching fourth graders whom he turns into a band, the School of Rock. He educates them about music and encourages their talents, becoming a loving mentor as the kids grow more enthusiastic about music. It seems like an odd couple, but with Dewey as the frontman, the band come together to win hearts with their performances, with a talent far beyond their years.
5 The Blues Brothers – The Blues Brothers (1980)
Premiering on Saturday Night Live and then in the John Landis film, Elwood (Dan Akyroyd) and Jake (John Belushi) are The Blues Brothers. On a mission to save their orphanage, they reform their group of famous blues performers, and energetically mix jazz and soul. The brothers have also performed with legends like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, proving they have real musical talent with their humor.
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4 Stillwater – Almost Famous (2000)
Inspired by the experiences of director Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous follows teenager William (Patrick Fugit), who writes about 1970s band Stillwater. Strong characters and great talent make Stillwater a real band that really means a lot to the fans. Stillwater captures the 1970s perfectly, paying homage to that era in music, fashion and attitude. The film has remained popular, and Variety reports that a stage musical adaptation will hit Broadway this fall.
3 Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
New line cinema
John Cameron Mitchell adapted the film version of the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He plays Hedwig, an East German rock star who performs with his band, The Angry Inch. The group performs both rock songs and ballads with equal talent, character and style. Creative and unique, they are the perfect accompaniment to Hedwig, bringing her songs and story to life.
2 Sing Street – Sing Street (2016)
The Weinstein Society
Directed by John Carney, Sing Street is about teenager Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who starts a band called Sing Street to impress a girl in 1980s Ireland. They start singing covers, then write their own songs , often influenced by their favorite bands – and it’s great fun to see their outfits change when they discover a new band. The catchy and relatable songs cover different styles, which shows their incredible range and talent.
1 Spinal Tap – This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Rob Reiner’s debut film, This is Spinal Tap is a mockumentary by heavy metal band Spinal Tap (consisting of Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer). With mostly improvised dialogue, the film parodies the musical realm in the band’s actions and songs. But besides being a hilarious take on rock bands, the band is seriously awesome, with humor and talent in every song. Spinal Tap turned out to be so great and beloved that, according to Billboard, the actors actually performed gigs as a group.