Film and TV

The 20 Best YouTube Rock Docs You Can Watch Free (For Now)

**The 31 Best Music Documentaries of All Time

So you don't have Netflix, you hate the video stores (if you can even find one), you don't like going to the little red box next to the liquor store but you do have an Internet connection, plenty of time on your hands and an insatiable thirst for rock music knowledge.

You are in the right place since you are on Rocks Off, but also we have the cure to all your problems.

I have scoured YouTube for some of the best rock documentaries currently playing for free on the video giant. Legal? Probably not. Cheap? You betcha.

I tried to find some of them in full chunks when possible, and not cut up into chapters like most of them seem to be. Some would call this piracy, but when you are working on your homework before a big concert or a blog series, I make sure to watch as much footage as I can. Before YouTube -- among other things -- this wasn't possible.

So sit back and enjoy some great rock docs, and don't blame us -- okay, you can -- for when you get reprimanded at the office for watching The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years for the fifth time in a week. KNAC!!!

When You're Strange

Johnny Depp narrates this story of the Doors and Jim Morrison. Even casual Doors fans know all of this stuff, but it's still fun to see Jimbo in action.

Until The Light Takes Us

The best doc on black metal, possibly ever. You will end up feeling pity for some of these kids -- now adults -- and find yourself humming a Burzum tune in the shower.

Flight 666

Iron Maiden is hitting Houston in a little more than a week, so brush up on your Maiden lore with this look into the history of the band and their really, really big airplane.

Mayor of the Sunset Strip

If you don't know who Rodney Bingenheimer is, you should. One of the first champions of David Bowie, SoCal punk-rock and the best friend and fussy hanger-on to the stars.


Graphic, gross and hilarious, this doc on GG Allin sheds light on a man who few understood and who will never be forgotten.

The Beatles Anthology

You can find this on DVD with a hefty price tag or on VHS here and there, but why shell out the big bucks for a used copy when you click some links? Sure to put you in a Beatles coma for a few weeks.

Imagine John Lennon

More Beatles-centric stuff, this one picks up where the Anthology drops off, chronicling the dead Beatles' life after the Fab Four. It's a little old and dated, but the footage is wowing.

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne

A lot of you may have missed this during its all-too-brief stint at theaters, but this doc on the Prince of Darkness makes a good companion piece to his 2010 autobiography, I Am Ozzy. Lots of tears.

This Is It

Yes, this is the 2009 documentary rush-released after Michael Jackson's death to capitalize on fans willing to spend money on anything MJ-related.

If I Should Fall From Grace

All the Celtic-rock, booze and missing teeth you can handle in this look at Pogues front man Shane MacGowan.

Some Kind of Monster

Whiny, yes. Boring, no. Watch Metallica implode and reunite in this 2004 doc on the making of St. Anger.

Gimme Shelter

The big daddy of concert docs, with plenty of vintage Stones footage and a great studio take of "Wild Horses" to boot.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years

Where are you now, Wet Cherry?

Urgh! A Music War

Someone please release this on a deluxe edition DVD or Blu-ray soon. It's a New Wave treasure, and it got me into Klaus Nomi back in the day when I first saw it on USA.


The movie responsible for bringing the Pixies back into the focus of the music world and making them cool(er) for the '00s.

Pearl Jam Twenty

It only hit theaters a year ago, and you can already find this PJ doc scattered online. It doesn't go too terribly in-depth, but director Cameron Crowe found footage that even the band didn't know existed.

Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who

The Who story told from the perspective of friends and colleagues, and spun with great visuals.


The best look into the Seattle grunge scene, filmed just a year after the death of Kurt Cobain. It's pessimistic, funny and a great Gen X document, and the live footage is priceless even if most of the bands sucked.

Wesley Willis's Joy Rides

Rock and roll McDonald's! You will find here that Willis's family was just as damaged as he was, but sweet as candy.

The Girl Done Good

Pay respect to one of the saddest wastes of talent with this Amy Winehouse doc released just months after her death last summer.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty