Five Great Films to Enjoy (again)

Perhaps you’ve heard about Maestro, the new movie about composer Leonard Bernstein. Given that the world of classical music is full of drama and passion, the compelling stories of composers, musicians and even instruments have naturally made it to the big screen. Here are five great classical music flicks to dust off and watch during your next movie night.

For family drama, take a peek at Hilary and Jackie, which portrays sisters Jacqueline and Hilary du Pré. Both were musicians—Jackie played cello and Hilary the flute—with Jackie gaining more fame. However, her success was cut short by multiple sclerosis, which led to her death at just 42 years of age.

If you’re a fan of Igor Stravinsky, high fashion, or both, you’ll want to add Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky to your must-watch list. Theirs is a tale of passion set in Paris, where they were quite the power couple in their heyday. An early scene shows Stravinsky’s disastrous debut of “The Rite of Spring” in 1913 (which Chanel attended), but the film is really about their love affair that heated up after World War I.

Interested in Ludwig von Beethoven? Immortal Beloved is described as a love story, but it also showcases the composer’s sometimes provocative reputation during his life: “his music arouses such passion as to be dangerous.” As the mystery of the woman referred to as his “immortal beloved” is revealed, we see his life and musical genius.

In a bit of a twist, The Red Violin follows the story of an intriguing instrument rather than a musician. Although not a true tale, it’s inspired by an actual Stradivarius called “The Red Mendelssohn.” The movie takes place over the course of five time periods, with the violin’s mysterious history slowly revealed as it changes hands. This one’s a hidden gem of a film.

The 1984 film Amadeus may be the most popular movie about classical music in recent memory. A drama with a touch of irreverence, it tells the story of Mozart’s life, with a hefty dose of murder and mayhem. Central to the story is his rivalry with contemporary composer Antonio Salieri; take that with a large grain of salt, though. Scholars say they were more colleagues than homicidal rivals.