Show me people moved by music.
February 27, 2011 7:32 PM   Subscribe

I want to see moments where people are moved by music.

I just watched a clip that showed an old man being moved to tears by Townes Van Zandt singing "Waiting Around to Die". I felt almost guilty watching him cry, but I'd still like to see more examples of people being genuinely moved by music, preferably during live performances. It could be sadness or joy or awe, but I'd like to see people become overcome by music, almost despite themselves. I'm picturing other excerpts from documentaries or live music recordings, but I'm sure examples could come from other sources.
posted by ajarbaday to Media & Arts (48 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
There is a beautiful scene in "Philadelphia" of this nature.
posted by mazienh at 7:37 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

A lot of live gospel music has a crowd of people that are moved.
Maybe you could try looking up some gospel performances on youtube. Another phrase to search for would be "negro spirituals".
posted by KogeLiz at 7:43 PM on February 27, 2011

It's not precisely what you're looking for - it's acting! - but you reminded me immediately of this scene from Amadeus.
posted by mhoye at 7:48 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Benjamin Zander's TED Talk - Classical music with shining eyes
posted by clearly at 7:48 PM on February 27, 2011 [5 favorites]

As long as we're listing fiction, the last scene from Paths of Glory is hard to beat.
posted by theodolite at 7:57 PM on February 27, 2011

I couldn't find a recording but I bet there's a newsclip out there somewhere: Opening night of Star Wars Episode I, I saw grown men cry when the famous overture started up at the beginning. I do remember seeing a clip on the news later.

(Of course, that was before we knew the prequel trilogy would mostly suck.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:01 PM on February 27, 2011

During the opera scene in Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts' character is moved to tears.
posted by amyms at 8:06 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

During Paul Potts' first appearance (singing Nessun Dorma) on Britain's Got Talent, judge Amanda Holden was moved to tears.
posted by amyms at 8:10 PM on February 27, 2011

Susan Boyle's performance of "I dreamed a dream" on Britain's Got Talent produced a lot of audience reaction.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:12 PM on February 27, 2011

Jean Renoir's La Marseillaise (1938) pretty much does the trick for you.
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 8:12 PM on February 27, 2011

The video for Bright Eyes' First Day of my Life shows people hearing the song for the first time. It's a good one.
posted by troublewithwolves at 8:13 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The documentary Young at Heart has a few scenes along those lines. However, be warned that you will find it difficult to remain objective because your eyeballs will be crying so much.
posted by palacewalls at 8:21 PM on February 27, 2011

There's a series of short videos of impromptu unannounced concerts of current "indie-ish" bands, which are usually recorded in for example the streets of Paris with the band just walking along and curious passersby coming up alongside and following, gradually building. Take Away Shows. The whole series is fun - you can see the spontaneous reactions of people in the streets to the music (for example, The Hidden Cameras). One of my favorites is the one with Arcade Fire, which was done in the hall where they were about to play a concert.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:23 PM on February 27, 2011

Might be a little light but the opera scenes in Moonstruck and Pretty Woman.
posted by victoriab at 8:24 PM on February 27, 2011

Children of a Lesser God has a few scenes like this, which are all the more transporting since the characters experiencing the music are often deaf. I started to pull some clips, but out of context (if you haven't seen the film), they just look silly.
posted by Mchelly at 8:37 PM on February 27, 2011

In The Shawshank Redemption, when Tim Robbins' character plays Mozart over the prison's PA system, the prisoners are awed.
posted by amyms at 8:38 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I figure The Beatles on Ed Sullivan is the base case for this sort of thing.
posted by logicpunk at 8:42 PM on February 27, 2011

I also seem to remember a few scenes like this in the movie Diva
posted by Mchelly at 8:50 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

After 9/11 there was a benefit concert in New York City for the firefighters, police officers, paramedics, etc. When The Who came on stage and hit the opening notes to Baba O'Reilly (Teenage Wasteland), for some reason it struck an emotional chord with the audience and a lot of people started crying. It was a powerful moment.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:00 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pretty much the first seven minutes of Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute is closeups of people in the audience as they watch the overture. No tears, but it's hard not to read emotions on their faces.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:03 PM on February 27, 2011

In Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her, one of the main characters is overcome while watching Caetano Veloso perform at a party. Here's a clip, but it's intercut with other scenes.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:18 PM on February 27, 2011

As far as moments go, this photo of a boy hearing music for the first time is hard to beat.
posted by newmoistness at 9:36 PM on February 27, 2011

There's a video of a surprise performance of Verdi's La Traviata at a market in Spain. Opera singers come out of the crowd and burst into song. Several people are shown crying.
posted by therewolf at 9:36 PM on February 27, 2011

In Star Trek TNG episode "Sarek", a Vulcan cries from listening to Brahms.
posted by sninctown at 9:36 PM on February 27, 2011

"La Marseillaise" in Casablanca.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:49 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you want to cry like a baby, this scene from Life is Beautiful with Offenbach's Barcarolle.
posted by therewolf at 10:08 PM on February 27, 2011

Dancer in the Dark: Bjork's character enters an ecstatic state when she hears music, even if it's just distant choir voices traveling through an air conditioner vent.
posted by hermitosis at 11:11 PM on February 27, 2011

I find this clip of a young Daniel Johnston to be moving.
posted by surfgator at 11:24 PM on February 27, 2011

"La Marseillaise" in Casablanca.

This scene is guaranteed to make me cry.
posted by kmz at 11:34 PM on February 27, 2011

This video of a 2008 performance of Round Here by Counting Crows shows audience members visibly moved several times, although only in brief glimpses.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:56 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

32 short films about Glenn Gould
posted by hortense at 12:37 AM on February 28, 2011

Probably not exactly what you were thinking of but I think this fits. Technically.
posted by BoscosMom at 2:26 AM on February 28, 2011

Vladimir Horowitz playing Traumerei in Moscow... particularly the old man weeping at 1:30.
posted by Ljubljana at 4:46 AM on February 28, 2011

This clip from The Lives of Others is my favorite example of the kind of moment you mean. (Be warned: this clip could spoil the movie. And this is a movie worth not spoiling.)
posted by minervous at 5:08 AM on February 28, 2011

I remember nothing about Too Beautiful For You except one gag. Having already established the Depardieu character's emotional susceptibility to Schubert, the film puts him in the audience at a music recital where they play... you guessed it.

It's particularly funny if the viewer is also prone to weeping at Schubert.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:59 AM on February 28, 2011

Another fictional example: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen," the final episode of M*A*S*H. The subplot with Major Winchester and the Korean musicians.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:43 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Movie example, from Joyeux Noel
posted by metatomorrow at 10:25 AM on February 28, 2011

Not sure if it will float your boat, but there are a few points in the film Så Som I Himmeln (As it is in heaven) that show people reacting strongly to music.
In Gabriellas Sång, her song is well received by the audience, but the reaction of the other members of the choir is greater. The bit that gets me though is the singer herself's reaction to singing the song. Without spoiling very much, this song has been written for her, she is physically abused by her husband and has just left him. The song is about daring to live her own life, her right to joy.

Very spoilerish is this part from the end, with the audience and the choir director being terribly moved.
posted by Iteki at 11:29 AM on February 28, 2011

I'm currently renting the one-season TV show Crusade. In the episode "The Needs of Earth," one alien (I forget the name of the race) is completely bowled over by hearing Mozart. He later saves the entire cultural records of his people, which has been destroyed.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:10 PM on February 28, 2011

I witnessed a moment like you mention live last Fall at MagnoliaFest, an outdoor festival in FL.

The Mosier Brothers band was playing and during the instrumental jam portion of their song, Shining Man, Oteil Burbridge (bassist for The Allman Brothers, who was sitting in with The Mosier Brothers) launched into an amazing bass solo. Then, totally impromptu and unrehearsed, he added his awesome scat vocals and just blew everyone away, especially the lead banjo player/vocalist Jeff Mosier.

Jeff's immediate emotional reaction to Oteil's solo was genuine and touching to witness. Luckily it was caught on video.

This was definitely a real life example of a person visibly moved by music!
posted by ourroute at 1:41 PM on February 28, 2011

The Beatles at Shea Stadium
Pretty much any footage from Woodstock (sorry about the backing music on this one)
Goa in the 90s
posted by turkeyphant at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2011

The scene from Mulholland Drive where Betty and Rita watch the "silencio" performance at the midnight show... It moves me to watch how much the characters are moved, not to mention the perfomance that moves them is, in and of itself, moving.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 3:44 PM on February 28, 2011

I think this clip of Glenn Gould is a perfect example of a man being moved by music, albeit as a performer, not a listener.
posted by Rora at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2011

Can't believe nobody's mentioned Cake's video for Short Skirt, Long Jacket yet. The reactions run the gamut and are priceless: "Sounds like some super girl some feminist would approve of or something.." And that garnered 23 upvotes! Hope for the unwashed TouYube masses yet.
posted by Devika at 6:09 PM on February 28, 2011

At the premiere of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 the audience erupted into applause that he couldn't hear because he had gone completely deaf by that point. One of the singers turned him around so he could see the cheers and applause. Dramatizations from Immortal Beloved and Copying Beethoven. (Lots of emotion in both; the latter features at least one person moved to tears.)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:56 PM on February 28, 2011

Saxophonist Ben Webster can be seen crying during this performance of 'old folks'. Apparently he heard that his longtime friend and mentor Johnny Hodges had died just prior to the performance.

Incidentally I find that Benjamin Zander Ted talk linked above to be manipulative and intellectually dubious. I would have been very uncomfortable to be in that audience.
posted by leibniz at 4:40 AM on March 1, 2011

This performance of Bach's double violin concerto by David & Igor Oistrakh is also absolutely amazing. Maybe as I listener, I project too much into it, knowing that they are father and son, but their whole relationship seems captured in this duet and Igor at least is quite visibly moved. Their restraint even seems to magnify the effect. This is how professionals perform music, not with overbearing gestures, but staying in control and letting the music do the talking.
posted by leibniz at 5:07 AM on March 1, 2011

If you can find it, you MUST see Crazy. It's a documentary that shows Dutch soldiers that served in UN peacekeeping missions in former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Cambodia, Rwanda. They talk about the music that helped keep them sane and deal with their experiences. It's an incredible film.
posted by kristi at 10:23 AM on March 1, 2011

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