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The Best Films with Bluegrass Music

A soundtrack is so crucial a part of any film or TV series that there are numerous awards given to those that are able to leave the audiences at awe using it. It colours the overall message of the film and helps create atmosphere. Bluegrass is a music genre with American roots. It appeared back in the 1940s in the Appalachian region of the USA and originates in English an Irish ballads as well as African-American blues and jazz. Known for its emphasis on off-beat and acoustic string instruments, its rapid tempos and chord changes give it an uplifting yet nostalgic feel. Some movies are famous for employing bluegrass for their benefit, and here is the list of the best.

The Best Films with Bluegrass Music
The Best Films with Bluegrass Music

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)

A truly tragic story. Set in Ghent, Belgium, it features the lives of Didier (Johan Heldenbergh) and Elise (Veerle Baetens). Didier is a driven country/bluegrass musician, a romantic atheist, Elise is a creative tattoo artist, a religious realist. Although seemingly different, they fall for each other passionately and soon marry. Music brings them closer together; Elise joins Didier’s band and they create beautiful music together. However, the idillic fairytale is soon shattered as they struggle to cope with their six-year old daughter being diagnosed with cancer. The situation escalates after the child fails to beat the illness and dies around a year after the diagnosis. The entire experience they go through is enhanced by a mixture of old and newly written bluegrass tunes than accompany every major scene of the film and turn it into a monument for the power of bluegrass.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Deep south in the 1930s. This crime comedy-drama film with George Clooney in the role of a convict named Ulysses Everett McGill is a spectacular representation of people’s lives in the USA during the years of the Great Depression. Ulysses, together with Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro) and Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson), escape from a chain gang and rush to find a treasure Ulysses claims to have buried some time ago. The trio experiences numerous adventures along the way, some better than others. The film has received very positive reviews from the critics and the audience alike. Speaking of soundtrack, its bluegrass tones will not disappoint. It features music of the iconic Virginia bluegrass singer Ralph Stanley; the soundtrack has received official recognition – Grammy Award for the Album of the Year in 2001 and was strongly praised for masterfully using American folk music.

Deliverance (1972)
Deliverance (1972)

Deliverance (1972)

Known as a landmark picture in the American cinema, Deliverance is a tale of adventure. Four Atlanta men, Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds), Ed Gentry (Jon Voight), Bobby Trippe (Ned Beatty), and Drew Ballinger (Ronny Cox) go on a canoeing trip down in remote wilderness of Georgia, USA with the hopes of experiencing the beauty of nature before the Cahulawassee River is irreversibly flooded by a construction dam. During their trip they face the unpleasant truth of the local mountain men’s cruelty and other challenges which make the movie a tale of trial in difficult times. Deliverance is well-known for a music scene in the beginning, where Drew plays guitar with a local boy on a banjo.