MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 669 this week

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

 -  Documentary | Music  -  4 June 1999 (USA)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 11,112 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 78 user | 91 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.

Director:

Writers:

(by), (original concept)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 16 Oct 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 13 Aug 2012
 
a list of 27 titles
created 20 Aug 2012
 
a list of 39 titles
created 4 months ago
 
a list of 22 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

Buena Vista Social Club (1999) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Buena Vista Social Club.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Heima (2007)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In the summer of 2006, Sigur Rós returned home to play a series of free, unannounced concerts for the people of Iceland. This film documents their already legendary tour with intimate ... See full summary »

Director: Dean DeBlois
Stars: Jon Thor Birgisson, Orri P. Dyrason, Georg Holm
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Award-winning director Fatih Akin takes us on a journey through Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia, and challenges familiar notions of east and west. He looks at the vibrant ... See full summary »

Director: Fatih Akin
Stars: Alexander Hacke, Ahmed Ulug, Cem Yegul
Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A movie with no conventional plot: merely a collection of expertly photographed scenes. Subject matter has a highly environmental theme.

Director: Godfrey Reggio
Stars: Lou Dobbs, Ted Koppel
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young
Marley (2012)
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Jimmy Cliff
Shine a Light (2008)
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their "A Bigger Bang" tour.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts
Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A look at the late '60s and early '70s rock band The Doors, including rare exclusive footage.

Director: Tom DiCillo
Stars: Johnny Depp, John Densmore, Robby Krieger
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary crew followed Metallica for the better part of 2001-2003, a time of tension and release for the rock band, as they recorded their album St. Anger, fought bitterly, and sought the counsel of their on-call shrink.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Stars: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

Director: Paul Justman
Stars: Joe Hunter, Jack Ashford, Uriel Jones
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Live versions of the songs, filmed in an old Pompeii amphitheater. Songs included are Echoes (split into 2 parts), Careful with that axe, Eugene, A saucerful of secrets, One of those days, ... See full summary »

Director: Adrian Maben
Stars: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright
Lemmy (2010)
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on the life and career of revered heavy-metal musician Lemmy Kilmister.

Directors: Greg Olliver, Wes Orshoski
Stars: Lemmy, Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Himself
Eliades Ochoa ...
Himself
Ry Cooder ...
Himself
Joachim Cooder ...
Himself
...
Himself
Omara Portuondo ...
Herself
Rubén González ...
Himself
Orlando 'Cachaíto' López ...
Himself
Amadito Valdés ...
Himself
Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal ...
Himself
Barbarito Torres ...
Himself
Pío Leyva ...
Himself
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea ...
Himself
Juan de Marcos González ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

A group of legendary Cuban musicians, some as old as their nineties, were brought together by Ry Cooder to record a CD. In this film, we see and hear some of the songs being recorded in Havana. There is also footage from concerts in Amsterdam and New York City's Carnegie Hall. In addition, many of the individual musicians talk about their lives in Cuba and about how they got started in music. Written by George S. Davis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cuba | song | concert | singer | guitar | See more »

Taglines:

Cubas Poesie Cubas Musik, Cubas Menschen, Cubas Poesie [The music of Cuba, the people of Cuba, the poetry of Cuba] See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

| | | |

Language:

|

Release Date:

4 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Havana Rhapsody  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£54,814 (UK) (8 October 1999)

Gross:

$6,997,620 (USA) (28 January 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Buena Vista Social Club album was put together by guitarist Ry Cooder in 1997 as a means of recapturing the "lost" music of pre-revolutionary Havana. The story was later made into this movie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Keeping the Faith (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Chattanooga Choo Choo
Written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon (as Mark Gordon)
Published by EMI Feist Catalog Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Wenders succeeds
14 October 1999 | by (islington, london, england) – See all my reviews

This is a top class film in so many ways.

To start with, there is the amazing backdrop of dilapidated old Havana, which Wenders admittedly got for free. Nevertheless, he pulls out shots which are so luminous and well constructed that they make you gasp, and all done on a digital betacam! This makes BVSC one of the few documentaries I have ever seen which must be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. Although I've never been to Havana, it also appeared to me that Wenders may have judged well in his balance by showing Havana as a poor broken down city and not just a place full of '50s cars, grand old buildings and omnipresent "faded glory".

The stars of the film are the old folks, of course. In some ways, the point of the film is not music - this could have been a film about people from any field. Instead, this is simply a record of what people have to say looking back on experiences from their lives which we can never repeat.

Perhaps there was a slight temptation at editing stage to steer the film towards certain themes. There was without a doubt rather a lot of places where the intended conclusion of the audience seemed to be "wow - old men can be cheeky... and they still have libidos!", but maybe only they can say whether the men themselves consider the film to be a fair reflection of the whole of their personalities, and I doubt we will ever find out.

Two points about the musical side. First, I continue to worry about Ry Cooder and his son Joaquim. Do they really need to be there? Ferrer and the old timers all kept tight lipped about Ry's slide guitar, NOT, I thought a prerequisite instrument of the average Cuban "son" band, and dare I say it, distractingly awful in at least one place in the film. Can't comment so much about Joaquim's style when playing the drums, but there must surely be some 50-90 year old cuban drummer cursing his luck that he isn't in on the party thanks to Cooder Jr.?

Second, what do Ferrer et al think about the music they are making now? How does it compare to how they considered they performed in decades gone by? Might they freely admit (as I suspect, honest and carefree as they clearly are) that they are reproducing now something which they did a lot better when they were younger? The question was never asked.

It's a tough point to make, but the average "son" singer does not I imagine consider at the outset of his career that he will only be hitting his peak in his eighth or ninth decade! If they do admit to having had a golden period in the past, why did Wenders not let us see footage of some of that. I doubt if any but a few of his audience have any knowledge of the Cuban music of the 40s and 50s so as to judge with any accuracy what merit there is in the music they are creating today. And without that, the risk is that the players are being cheered not for their musical skills but merely as museum pieces and for the fact that they are capable of doing it at their age at all. I had the slightly uneasy feeling by the end of the film that Wenders might have excluded old footage on the basis that it would show up the modern recordings as something less than the genre at its best.

You should go and see it and then tell me why I am wrong on those points, which hardly dent my rating for this as a definite 9+!


25 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Whats the song played at the end? ahmsuite
Che strontiaom90
Trailer Song nickjwebb
Inspiring and mesmerizing mirellytaylor
Where can I get the soundtrack? barnrat
Omara Portuondo ahmsuite
Discuss Buena Vista Social Club (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page