The Joy of the Guitar Riff by director Sam Bridger examines extensively the history of the guitar riff.
Beginning with the rise of the electric guitar and subsequently iconic riffs in the 1950's thanks to the likes of guitarists such as the massively influential Chuck Berry, the documentary explores how the riffs have changed over the years. The riff is often the most memorable part of a song and in many cases, it is the reason why guitarists have picked up a six-string.
Ultimately what happens with riffs is they change over the years in style but not in a fundamental way. Musicians have always been influenced by artists they idolise and that impression always adds to the style of their own work and so on so forth.