Bob Dylan is one of the most influential musicians of the last century. In fact, it would be wrong to see Dylan only as a musician. He was also an influential figure during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Because Dylan is one of the world’s most successful and versatile artists, his life, experiences, career, and the challenges he faced are of great interest to his fans. That’s why many documentaries have been made about the life of this successful artist. So what is the best Bob Dylan documentary?
Dylan began his career as a folk musician. Over time, his music was shaped by many influences, including gospel, country, and blues. He plays various instruments. Bob Dylan is without a doubt one of the most famous American musicians. He was the first musician in the world to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. In addition to music, he became interested in politics and human rights. His songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” became anthems for social change.
Best Bob Dylan Documentaries: We have given the choice to Reddit users
Before writing this article, we asked ourselves who should choose the best Bob Dylan documentary. We know a lot about Dylan’s life, but we decided that giving ourselves the right to choose the best documentary would be unfair to the people who have been Bob Dylan’s biggest fans all their lives. Where are we gonna find these fans? Reddit!
The biggest Bob Dylan fan page on Reddit is r/bobdylan and the members of this fan page have chosen the best Bob Dylan documentary.
Here are the best Bob Dylan documentaries according to fans:
- Don`t look back! (1967)
- No Direction Home (2005)
- Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (2019)
- Eat The Document ( 1972)
- The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival (2007)
These are the top 5 documentaries about Bob Dylan by the fans on Reddit.
1. Don`t look back! (1967)
In this musical documentary, director, and filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker accompanies musician Bob Dylan on a tour of England in 1965. The camera is with him every step of the way, from his arrival at the airport to his hotel room, the trips to the concerts, and, of course, the performances themselves.
Don’t Look Back shows only a few concert clips and instead focuses much more on the time before and after the performances.
One can observe that Dylan deals with journalists and fans sometimes arrogantly and belligerently. You can also see his first meeting with singer Donovan, who at the time was billed by the press as the “British Bob Dylan.”
Don’t Look Back begins with the song Subterranean Homesick Blues. It is one of the best Bob Dylan songs of the 60s.
Click the play button and listen to this unforgettable song while reading the rest of the article!
2. No Direction Home (2005)
Star director Martin Scorsese’s documentary paints a loving portrait of one of the greatest singers and artists of our time. With the help of old archive material and contemporary interviews, Bob Dylan’s early experiments are analyzed. The documentary focuses primarily on Dylan’s early years as a musician.
The documentary also contains previously unpublished material, including from Dylan’s private archive. Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Alan Ginsberg, and many more are also in the film.
3. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (2019)
It was released in 2019 and focuses on Bob Dylan’s iconic concert tour called the Rolling Thunder Revue, which took place in 1975-1976. The film combines concert footage, interviews, and fictional elements to create a unique and immersive experience.
One notable fictional element of the film is the inclusion of fabricated interviews with individuals who are presented as real participants of the tour but are actually portrayed by actors. This blurring of reality and fiction adds an extra layer of intrigue and mystery to the documentary.
The poetically so inspired and adventurous Dylan of the “Rolling Thunder Revue” should be enlightenment for many. He has hardly ever been seen as committed and energetic as he is here. Except perhaps in Dylan’s own film about the “Rolling Thunder” tour, the long-lost “Renaldo & Clara“, which Scorsese’s “mockumentary” rewrites and continues in an idiosyncratic way from contemporary live footage and cheekily faked interviews with real and invented contemporary witnesses.
4. Eat The Document (1972)
A documentary titled Eat the Document follows Bob Dylan and the Hawks on their 1966 tour of the UK and Ireland. D. A. Pennebaker, whose ground-breaking documentary Don’t Look Back followed Dylan’s 1965 British tour, directed the film, which was shot under Dylan’s supervision. The movie was initially commissioned for the ABC Stage 67 television program.
Although the movie’s filming was finished, the editing was put off due to Dylan’s motorbike accident in July 1966. Dylan personally edited the movie after being able to resume his work. The movie was rejected by ABC because it was too complex for a general audience.
5. The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival (2007)
Between 1963 and 1965, Bob Dylan plays at the “Newport Folk Festival” and transforms from a shy folk singer with an acoustic guitar to a charismatic rock poet with a band. Director Lerner dispenses with interviews and concentrates on Dylan’s performances. He comments, “Over the course of the three Newport performances, Bob Dylan becomes more and more aware of his charisma. He knows he can now reach a large audience with poetry.”
The documentary also features Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, among others, who join Bob Dylan at the 1965 Scandal concert. They shock the folk community with an electric performance. Bob Dylan looks like a schoolboy in work clothes. He will become a rock star with sunglasses, fancy clothes, and a large entourage in two years.
Particularly impressive is his touching duet “With God on Our Side” with Joan Baez at the 1963 festival or “Blowin’ in the Wind” with the Freedom Singers, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Joan Baez. In 1964 Bob Dylan already seems much more self-confident when he sings “Mister Tambourine Man,” and in 1965 he completed his metamorphosis and is on stage as a rock poet with electric guitar.
These are the best Bob Dylan documentaries.
Is Rolling Thunder Revue available on Netflix?
Yes, Rolling Thunder Revue is available on Netflix.
What is the documentary about Bob Dylan and The band?
There is a well-known documentary about Bob Dylan and The Band called “The Last Waltz.” Directed by Martin Scorsese, it was released in 1978 and documents the final concert of The Band, which took place on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.
“The Last Waltz” features performances by The Band, along with numerous guest artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, and many others. The documentary captures the energy and spirit of the concert, showcasing the musicians’ talent and the camaraderie among them.
What is your favorite Bob Dylan documentary? Let us know in the comments!