Shine a Light (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Biography, Music  |  4 April 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 9,339 users   Metascore: 76/100
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A career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their "A Bigger Bang" tour.


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4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - The Rolling Stones: vocals / guitar / harmonica
Himself - The Rolling Stones: guitar / vocals
Himself - The Rolling Stones: drums
Himself - The Rolling Stones: guitar (as Ronnie Wood)
Darryl Jones ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: bass guitar
Chuck Leavell ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: keyboards
Bobby Keys ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: saxophone
Bernard Fowler ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: vocals
Herself - The Rolling Stones: vocals
Blondie Chaplin ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: vocals
Tim Ries ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: saxophone / keyboards
Kent Smith ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: trumpet
Michael Davis ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones: trombone
Himself - Camera in Hand


Martin Scorsese and the Rolling Stones unite in "Shine A Light," a look at The Rolling Stones." Scorcese filmed the Stones over a two-day period at the intimate Beacon Theater in New York City in fall 2006. Cinematographers capture the raw energy of the legendary band. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, drug references and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 April 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shine a Light: The IMAX Experience  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,488,081 (USA) (4 April 2008)


$5,355,376 (USA) (13 June 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| | | (IMAX version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bruce Willis can be seen in the audience wearing a yellow hat. See more »


Mick Jagger: On the drums, Mr. Wang Dang Doodle, Charlie Watts. You Wanna say hello?
Charlie Watts: Hello.
Mick Jagger: He speaks.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing disclaimer: The preceding interviews and commentaries are for entertainment only. The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the of the individual speakers and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Paramount Classics, Shangri-La Entertainment, Concert Productions International or any of their respective affiliates or employees. See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 5 April 2008 (2008) See more »


I'm Free
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Courtesy of ABKCO Music, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

aka: 'Some Country for Old Men'
4 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Shine a Light displays, thrillingly and with the bombastic POP of a revisited 'happy place', why many love the Rolling Stones and many love the style of Martin Scorsese. It's mostly a concert movie shot over a period of two mights at the Beacon theater (as if doing a workhorse revival of thirty years ago, while Scorsese was busy shooting New York, New York in 76 and doing the Last Waltz concurrently, this time he shot the concert while finishing up the Departed), with some choice documentary footage interspersed in between some songs. On both fronts, however minor the (all archival) interview footage is, it's a big success, visually and musically, as good old rock and roll performance art (well, almost art, but I like it), and as visual virtuosity made incarnate.

It might be easy to adulate the Stones, as well as Scorsese. They've been around for so long, doing what they do, with each side rumored here and there to quit doing what they do (for the Stones it's every tour, much to their grinning bemusement, and for Scorsese it was a point in the 80s when he thought he'd have to leave Hollywood and make documentaries on saints). They're always acclaimed, usually big money-makers, and they've acquired a kind of nether-region between 'cult' audience and full-blown mainstream mayhem. It's this that is, in a way, the subtext for Shine a Light. While Scorsese stays mostly behind the scenes, the Stones are up and front and in center of a marvelous performance, and showcasing the energy and level of pizazz that quiets the naysayers. They sold out, and it doesn't get to them a single bit.

After some funny early footage of Scorsese (shot usually in black and white DV by Albert Maysles, who also appears here and there) getting into a minor tizzy about what the set-list is going to be, and getting some downtime with Bill Clinton, the show starts up like any good Stones show should- Jumpin' Jack Flash. Then onward come some given numbers (Shattered, Brown Sugar, Tumbling Dice), the masterpieces (Sympathy for the Devil, Loving Cup, featuring an awesome Jack White, and Champagne and Reefer with an equally awesome Buddy Guy), and a lot of unexpected tracks too (Live with Me with showy Aguilera, As Tears go By, some country song, and a kick-ass She Was Hot). For fans it's an amazing mix, and it allows for those who are just casual admirers to get their money's worth, primarily in IMAX. This is not just because of the quality of the music and the performances- which is, at its best, revelatory of what this band can do, at any age- but because of Scorsese's cameras, moving around in epic and roving fashion, edited with efficiency to not go all over the place or too slow, and, chiefly, to make it intimate like how many remember the Last Waltz to be (lots of neatly defined close-ups, lingering on to capture these hardened rockers).

And at the end, what is the point? Is it just another blah-blah Stones concert movie? Not necessarily. It doesn't have the heavy sociological context of Gimme Shelter, however it's not a little sloppy like Let's Spend the Night Together. Shine a Light celebrates its heroes, but it doesn't go completely overboard. Scorsese knows, as he did with Bob Dylan, not to get too cocky with these fogies. It's important to throw in those bits with the Stones getting interviewed, candid and without much overbearing ego present, and by the end you know there's still a place for them, firmly, in the public consciousness. They sold out in the most ironically good way in rock music history, with Scorsese now wonderfully in tow. A+

26 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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