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U2: Rattle and Hum (1988)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  4 November 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,884 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 14 critic

A documentary of Irish rock group U2's Fall 1987 tour of North America.


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Title: U2: Rattle and Hum (1988)

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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dennis Bell ...
Adam Gussow ...
Jack Hale ...
Jim Horn ...
Wayne Jackson ...
Himself (as The Memphis Horns)
Andrew Love ...
Himself (as The Memphis Horns)
Sterling Magee ...
Joey Miskulin ...
Himself (as Joseph M. Miskulin)
Gayl Murphy ...
Herself (as Press Conference Interviewer)


This film documents the 1987 North American tour of the great rock band, U2. Fresh with their success of their best selling album, The Joshua Tree, the band plays monster gigs. Along the way, the band takes the opportunity in indulge in some special musical activities like playing with BB King and performing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking" with a famous church choir. All the while, concert footage of the band's biggest hits on tour is featured while Bono speaks his mind on the problems of his homeland. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 November 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rattle and Hum  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,600,823 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of the band's goals with this film was to recognize its musical roots, which is shown by the large number of homages: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Van Morrison, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Jimi Hendrix are all alluded to directly or indirectly (and the studio recording sessions included further homages to Presley, Dylan, and The Righteous Brothers). Unfortunately, this was not communicated well to the press, leading many critics to misinterpret the homages as an attempt on U2's part to have themselves "ranked among the greats". See more »


[opening bars of 'Helter Skelter' are heard]
Bono: This is the song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We're stealin' it back.
See more »


Featured in U2: The Best of 1980-1990 (2002) See more »


Bullet The Blue Sky
Words Bono
Music U2
Recorded live at Sun Devil Stadium Tempe AZ Dec 20th 1987
See more »

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User Reviews

A 480 min. Directors cut?

Tens of thousands of feet of film were shot during the making of 'U2: Rattle and hum', Most of it in black and white. Some of this was intentional, but allot of it was due to the fact that director Phil Joanou had a limited budget to work with and black and white film at least at that time was less expensive. Shooting in 16mm as well as 35mm was another reason that this film was shot almost entirely in black and white. About 90% of the footage was done in that format rather than color. From Watching the final cut of the film it would seem to suggest that it was more like 80% of the over all footage, but keep in mind there was allot more black and white footage cut from the film than color. I obtained a great amount of the footage that was never seen in the original version of 'U2: rattle and hum', 480 minutes of it to be exact. When I first saw 'U2: rattle and hum'

In 1988, I was fortunate enough to see it at a 'century theater' complex in San Jose Ca. On the biggest screen they had out of the 2 blocks of 'century theaters' lining one side of Winchester blvd. There in San Jose. They even had a special concert PA system temporarily installed for this special feature. It was truly the best way to see this movie, and the experience has stuck with me ever since. For many years I have felt that this movie could very well be the best film about a band ever made. Maybe even possibly the best music related film ever made with the exception of 'Woodstock' or perhaps 'The last waltz'. The movie has at times a real gritty look to it due to the 16mm footage. It feels earthy, grounded, cultural, important. Especially the portion of the film where U2 put on the 'Free the yuppies' concert at the 'embarcadero center' in San Francisco. This was the portion of the film where the band performs 'All along the watch tower'.

This concert was monumental (no pun intended) for the history of music in many ways. For one this concert was announced 2 hours prior to the performance over San Francisco's 'Live 105' fm alternative station. The concert was not scheduled prior to the two hour announcement. Bono, the edge, larry mullen jr., adam clayton as well as their management decided to put the show on the day before it actually took place. I was living in San Jose at the time and heard the announcement on the radio that day. I didn't have to work that day so I could have easily made it but a problem came up and to my bitter disappointment I was unable to attend the show. The entire show is truly wonderful (I have the entire performance on video). The monumental thing about this performance was of course the point in which Bono paints the Monument erected many years before in the embarcadero square by a french artistic designer.

The now infamous "rock and roll stops the traffic" slogan that bono spray painted on the monument is one of the greatest moments in music history. What most don't know is that bono never left the stage during all along the watch tower, the monument was painted during another song. which one was it? Well you'll have to find out for your self, I'm not telling. I went to see the monument the next day late at night. A friend and I climbed the thing to see the painted area. It was already painted over but you could see where it had been painted from the color shades being off a bit. I did make it to the performance at Oakland Stadium the next day. This was of course the 'Joshua tree' tour. Bono managed to find the french artist who created the monument that bono had spray painted just the day before. After a short 'wave hello' the artist proclaimed "U2 can spray paint anything I create any time they want!". This was in retaliation to the mayor of San Francisco who banned U2 from returning to San Francisco for the deed. Later the ban was lifted. But now back to the footage cut from the final film released through 'Paramount pictures'.

It is anybody's geuss as to why some of the best footage was cut from the film. Most notably 'the voices of freedom' performance at 'madison square garden'-performing 'still haven't found what I'm looking for' with the band. It is truly touching and would have been 'hands down' the best part of the entire movie had it made the final cut. directly after the group of church singers leave the stage U2 kicks into a rare live performance of 'Spanish eyes'. It is really a shame that these performances were left out of the fianl cut. I have 40 minutes of footage of U2 on their van ride to the church where they were to first meet the 'voices of freedom' as well as 40 minutes of footage after they arrive at the church. Also the entire graceland tour was filmed which I also have. I can understand why joanou left most of this out, it can be rather dull to watch, but it was interesting to hear allot of U2's questions and comments as they went along the tour. Hours of other precious moments are also seen in the deleted footage. 'U2: rattle and hum' is a true classic music film, but if phil joanou and U2 wanted to share those precious moments with the rest of the world they might think about releasing the entire thing in a directors cut. I had to pay allot of moola for the footage I have, and I mean allot!, all 480 minutes of it. Having seen it for myself in my opinion it is a crime to hide this footage from the public. U2: 'rattle and hum' is a great movie, a complete directors cut would make it a landmark in the history of the cinema.

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