7.2/10
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Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2019)

It will tell the story of a group that went from backing up Bob Dylan to become one of the most influential groups of its era.

Director:

Daniel Roher
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Martin Scorsese ... Himself
Bruce Springsteen ... Himself
Eric Clapton ... Himself
Bob Dylan ... Himself
Robbie Robertson ... Himself
Peter Gabriel ... Himself
Rick Dano ... Himself
David Geffen ... Himself
Van Morrison ... Himself
Jann Wenner ... Himself
Taj Mahal ... Himself
Ronnie Hawkins ... Himself
Jimmy Vivino ... Himself
John Scheele John Scheele ... Himself
Larry Campbell Larry Campbell ... Himself
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Storyline

It will tell the story of a group that went from backing up Bob Dylan to become one of the most influential groups of its era.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 2019 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
A compelling account of the rise of The Band, even if told from Robbie's perspective
7 September 2019 | by krenskycSee all my reviews

Before even commenting on the film, which I had the pleasure to see during the TIFF opening night showing, one needs to address the controversy that precludes it. The feud between Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson, and the sides many fans fall into, paints the film into a corner. It constantly dances around the bitter aspects of their relationship, portraying Robbie as saddened by the visceral animosity directed at him. Yes, the movie is based on Robbie's book, and Levon can no longer refute the claims made, but perhaps it is time to give Robbie a chance to explain his perspective. There was no way an autobiographical film would display the conflict in an unbiased and fair manner, since that is not what the film is about. It is about Robbie and his journey with The Band, their rise and dissolution as seen through his eyes, and his final reminiscence on a time when he truly was part of a brotherhood that he lost. Robbie is never critical of Levon, perhaps even sympathetic, but his pain does feel real. The story is emotional and endearing, supported by the multitude of supporting voices including Ronnie Hawkins (who steals the show!), Bruce Springsteen, Martin Scorcese, and managers, friends, and family who knew The Band the best.

Beyond the story as told by the many participants lending their reflections to this doc, I must say that the filmmaking is quite well done. Daniel Roher weaves a film with archival footage, testimonials, and the legendary music into something that is exciting to watch for any fan of The Band. It is emotionally touching, funny, insightful, and ultimately a great tribute. Yes it is Robbie's portrait of The Band, but it nevertheless faithfully chronicles a musical force that would influence generations to come.


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