15 Guitarists Who Actually Played the Guitar in Movies

Actor Jack Black stars in new comedy The School of Rock, which we feature in Fall Sneaks. With co–stars, from left, Robert Tsai, Joey Gaydos Jr., Jack Black, Kevin Clark, Miranda Cosgrove and Rebecca Brown
(Image credit: Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The rather dorky title of the upcoming Ricki and the Flash flick, directed by Jonathan Demme, doesn't diminish the fact that rocker Rick Springfield wields a 1968 Gibson SG in the movie, and Academy Award winner Meryl Streep spent six months actually learning how to play guitar — for real — during filming. 

This brings to mind real-life guitar players who actually performed with their guitars on the silver screen—and guitar-strumming actors who honed their six-string skills for a real onscreen performance.

So let's consider 15 big guitar moments in film, where reality existed side by side with movie magic...

Prince - Purple Rain (1984)

Steve Vai - Crossroads (1986)

Jeff Healey - Roadhouse (1989)

Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck “Stroll On” - Blow Up (1966)

John Lennon and George Harrison “If I Fell” - A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Jack Black - School of Rock (2003)

Johnny Depp  “Minor Swing” - Chocolat (2000)

Adam Sandler “Somebody Kill Me” - The Wedding Singer (1998)

Jeff Bridges “Fallin’ & Flyin’” - Crazy Heart (2009)

Clint Eastwood “When I Sing About You” - Honkytonk Man (1982)

Zakk Wylde “Stand Up and Shout” - Rock Star (2001)

Joan Jett “Light of Day” - Light of Day (1987)

Steve Cropper, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Donald “Duck” Dunn “Rawhide” - The Blues Brothers (1980)

Christopher Guest and Michael McKean “Big Bottom” - This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Elvis Presley “The Lady Loves Me” - Viva Las Vegas (1964)