There are some seriously amazing movies out there that capture the essence of the world of country music. Jeff Bridges won an Oscar portraying a country singer in Crazy Heart and Robert Duvall also nabbed an award playing the fictional Mac Sledge in Tender Mercies. Real-life country stars Willie Nelson, George Strait and Kris Kristofferson have all taken a stab at acting in musical films that let them show off their acting and singing chops. But as much as we love a good story, Nashville's greatest stars have some of the most interesting lives that rival what even Hollywood's greatest writers can conjure up.
Here are 8 of the best country music biopics, ranked.
8. I Saw the Light
Not all country music fans were wild about Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of the legendary Hank Williams Sr, but I Saw the Light still deserves a place of recognition on this list. The British actor brings to life Williams with Elizabeth Olsen co-starring as his first wife, Audrey. It captures their marriage falling apart due to his infidelity and alcoholism while including his rise to country fame.
While certain fans and family members didn't love Hiddleston's singing skills or the fact that he was British, Williams' granddaughter Holly Williams told Rolling Stone she was a fan of the performance.
"Tom really put his whole heart and soul into it. He worked so hard to embody everything about Hank, all of the nuances and who Hank really was. Tom put all his passion into his performance," she said.
7. Patsy & Loretta
In this Lifetime original, Broadway actress Megan Hilty plays the legendary Patsy Cline alongside Jessie Mueller, another Broadway star, who plays Loretta Lynn. The film starts in the late '50s with both women leading their own lives. The flick showcases their respective careers and the close friendship the singers developed before Cline passed away in 1963.
This lesser-known indie film tells the story of Nashville guitarist Hank Garland. He was one of the most prominent guitarists of the '50s, highly sought after for recording sessions with the likes of Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, The Everly Brothers and Elvis Presley. The twang of his guitar is what makes the classic holiday songs "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" so memorable. Country singer Waylon Payne did an amazing job bringing Garland to life with Ali Larter co-starring as his wife Evelyn.
5. Your Cheatin' Heart
There have been a few biopics about Hank Williams Sr over the years. We've already mentioned I Saw the Light and there was also The Last Ride which stars Henry Thomas in the final days of the country legend's life. But the best, in our opinion, is Your Cheatin' Heart -- the 1964 musical starring George Hamilton. Hank Williams Jr did the singing for his father's character and Audrey Williams actually lobbied the studio for George Hamilton to win the part of Hank. The actor had been a longtime fan of the country legend and knew he could do him justice on the big screen. He definitely delivered!
Ethan Hawke wrote and directed this biopic based on the life of Texas singer-songwriter Blaze Foley. Ben Dickey played Foley with Alia Shawkat and Sam Rockwell co-starring. Despite not having widespread success at the box office, this indie film was met with critical acclaim as it told the story of Foley's career, relationships with friends and more. Fun fact, this was actually the final film Kris Kristofferson appeared in before he formally retired from acting.
3. Sweet Dreams
Jessica Lange earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Patsy Cline in this beloved biopic. Sweet Dreams chronicles Cline's love story with Charlie Dick (Ed Harris), her divorce from her first husband and her rise to stardom before her tragic death at the young age of 30.
2. Walk the Line
This film, based on two Johnny Cash biographies, is one of the most notable biopics in recent years. Joaquin Phoenix may have seemed like a random choice to play the Man in Black, but he absolutely deserved his Best Actor nominations at the Oscars. Reese Witherspoon took home a Best Actress win for her portrayal of June Carter Cash which was deserved as well. The film follows some of the most pivotal parts of Johnny Cash's life, from his historic performance at Folsom State Prison to his romance with June Carter and struggles with addiction throughout his rise to fame.
1. Coal Miner's Daughter
The biopic of all biopics has to be Coal Miner's Daughter, which follows the life story of the legendary Loretta Lynn. From her days growing up in Butcher Holler to marrying her husband Doolittle (Tommy Lee Jones) and becoming a huge star. Sissy Spacek landed an Academy Award for Best Actress and the film itself was nominated for Best Picture. It is widely considered one of the best music films ever made and was even one of the highest-grossing movies in 1980.
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