10 Movie Rock & Roll Rebels
Wade Walker (Johnny Depp), Cry Baby (1990)
In one of his first film roles, Johnny Depp played fictional ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll rebel Wade Walker, nicknamed “Cry Baby” because of his talent for crying on-cue, on-stage. Bit emo.
Rebellious Moment: Maybe the bit in prison where he gets a tear-drop tattoo. Or maybe the bit when he gets sent to prison.
Real-Life Rebel? Prison, crying, tattoos… Perhaps the most accurate real-life comparison would be Amy Winehouse. “Wah wah wah, life is so hard and I’m always sad and wrecked.” Boo bloody hoo.
Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman), Sid And Nancy (1986)
A lot of debate surrounds the accuracy of Alex Cox’s biographical film.
Portraying Sid’s relationship with Nancy Spungen, the film delves into the dark waters of drugs, fame, love and destruction.
Rebellious Moment: Sid adding extra expletives to The Sex Pistols’ song lyrics. “And we don’t fucking care!” No need, Sid. Just no need.
Real-Life Rebel? Sid’s final years were a bit of a bloody mess, and after the Nancy’s death, he descended into a world of drugs, assault, prison, attempted suicide, and, ultimately, proper suicide. A rebel ’til his dying day.
Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix), Walk The Line (2005)
The most recent biopic to bring the legendary country rebel to the screen illuminated some of Cash’s brightest, and darkest, moments.
Rebellious Moment: Cash gives an almighty two-fingers to authority when he goes against all advice and stages a legendary concert at Folsom Prison, performing to a group of violent convicts.
Then he attempts to turn those prisoners against their captors by smashing a glass up.
Real-Life Rebel? A little-known fact is that Johnny Cash actually did shoot a man in Reno just to see him die. OK, we may have made that up.
Jesco White (Edward Hogg), White Lightnin (2009)
It’s out this week. And it’s got Carrie Fisher in it. And it looks bloody good.
White Lightnin’ tells the story of Jesco White, the “Dancing Outlaw”, who rose to fame on account of his talent for mountain dancing and his run-ins with the law.
Rebellious Moment: When Jesco meets Norma Jean, he plans to rob her, but ends up marrying her instead. He’s rebelling against his own rebellion!
Real-Life Rebel? Earlier this year, 53-year-old White was arrested on drugs charges. That’s one dedicated rebel.
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Back To The Future (1985)
He’s so rebellious he even rebels against the concept of time itself .
In a climactic scene (set in 1955), Marty gets on stage with The Starlighters to perform Chuck Berry’s "Johnny B. Goode".
Rebellious Moment: When Marty gets carried away and goes into a crazy guitar solo, kicking over the amp and rolling around on the floor, before looking out at a stunned audience. “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that, yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”
Real-Life Rebel? Chuck Berry was pretty rebellious – Johnny B. Goode is said to be one of the songs to shape Rock and Roll.
The Monkees (The Monkees), Head (1968)
They tried. They really, really tried to smash the system. Unfortunately all they barely managed to shunt it.
In Head , the Monkees spend much of the screen-time running around and causing mild disturbances.
It’s the kind of passive rebellion that’s usually done on mopeds.
Rebellious Moment: The opening, where those pesky kids interrupt a politician’s speech. Ooh, calm down.
Real-Life Rebel(s)? No. They probably didn’t write any of the songs in the film – they didn’t write the script, for that matter. Jack Nicholson did, though. Shame on you, Jack!
Brian Slade (Johathan Rhys-Meyers), Velvet Goldmine (1998)
Centring around the glam-rock era of the 1970s, Meyers’ Bowie-esque Slade fakes his own death and causes a lot of unnecessary bother. Take that, society!
Rebellious Moment: Asserting that “Rock and Roll is a prostitute, it should be tarted up.” Slade rebels against Rock and Roll .
Real-Life Rebel? The real-life Slade, David Bowie, has always been a controversial performer and personality. In “Rebel, Rebel”, Bowie tears his own dress, and gets their face in a mess.
Don’t know if that’s proper rebellion, but we’ll let you off, David.
Buddy Holly (Gary Busey), The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
The Buddy Holly Story marked a career high for Busey (if you don’t count Gingerdead Man ), who gained an Oscar nomination for his part in the biopic.
Rebellious Moment: The Crickets play the Apollo, after being informed that no white act has ever played there. The applause dies at first, before the band proceed to rock everyone’s socks off.
Real-Life Rebel? If altering the course of music history wasn’t edgy enough, the real-life Holly trained at New York’s Actors’ Studio, whose previous students included screen rebels Marlon Brando and James Dean.
Jim Morrison (Val Kilmer), The Doors (1991)
In Oliver Stone’s The Doors , Morrison’s rock naughtiness is mostly concerned with getting very drunk and very high and doing very sexy things.
Rebellious Moment: Morrison causes a ruckus and irritates various club owners by fannying about on stage and improvising many of the lyrics to his songs.
Real-Life Rebel? It’s difficult to tell whether the film is accurate or just a string of elaborate fibs, as most of Morrison’s friends have poo-pooed much of the script. We can only speculate that he was at least 50% Rebel.
Jesus (Ted Neeley), Jesus Christ Superstar (1991)
One of the best-loved rebels of all time got a Rock and Roll makeover in Jesus Christ Superstar , with Neeley’s Son of God rocking out to some Andrew Lloyd-Webber corkers.
Rebellious Moment: When he gets into a tizzy at the market, and mucks the place up a bit. Chill out.
Real-Life Rebel? Well, yes. The Romans got so annoyed at Jesus going around rebelling all over the place that they crucified him.
And then, a few hundred years later, they decided that he might have been the son of God after all! Egg all over their faces.