Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
2019 | Documentary/Musical | In English | 144 minutes
This fascinating documentary/musical was not directed by Martin Scorsese. Instead, Scorsese edited the film brilliantly weaving together scenes from Bob Dylan’s historic 1975 Rolling Thunder tour with previously unseen archival footage. The tour was unlike any other by a renowned rock star. Dylan wanted a break from the crowds and from the press. Instead of appearing in huge stadiums and auditoriums, Dylan opted to tour the country performing in small towns like Bangor, Maine and Plymouth, Massachusetts. Film critic Owen Gleiberman called it “a small-time ramble of a concert tour.” He kept ticket prices low and the shows were announced by passing out flyers. For company, Dylan invited some old friends like Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Allen Ginsburg, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott to join him. Dylan’s name was not highlighted. He was simply one of the many acts that performed in each three-hour show. Scorsese gathered a huge amount of material that required long hours to edit and condense. The end result is this extraordinary film.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 93%
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Martin Scorsese has turned Bob Dylan’s legendary floating carnival of a 1975 rock ‘n’ tour into the rock doc that never was: a time capsule that keeps on giving, even if at times it’s too much of a good (indulgent) thing.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen and cine-revelers of every type, to this mesmerizing motion picture. Thrill to Dylan, a troubadour with a white-smeared face and peacock feather in his wide-brimmed hat, as he electrifies and sometimes confuses audiences with his melodious musings.
This is an immersive experience, like being plunged back into the 70s. There is passion there. No matter how chaotic or bleary things get, no one is in any doubt that the music counts.
Martin Scorsese has made brilliant music documentaries over the years, but none as playful or inventive as this one. Full of eye-opening musical performances, the film also sparkles with tongue-in-cheek humor, and features contemporary interviews that are often far from what they seem. You have to go back to AFTER HOURS to find a Scorsese pic with a similarly mischievous wit.
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