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Patti Smith: Dream of Life (2008)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  6 August 2008 (USA)
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An intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself.


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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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A chronicle of the early NYC years in the lives of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe.



Complete credited cast:
Herself: vocals and clarinet
Lenny Kaye ...
Himself: guitar
Oliver Ray ...
Himself: guitar
Tony Shanahan ...
Himself: bass and vocals
Jay Dee Daugherty ...
Himself: drums
Jackson Smith ...
Jesse Smith ...
Tom Verlaine ...
Benjamin Smoke ...


An intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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character name in title | See All (1) »


Documentary | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

6 August 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Patti Smith Project  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,703 (USA) (15 August 2008)


$30,918 (USA) (15 August 2008)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was created over 11 years. See more »


Patti Smith: It's really funny when people ask you about that - How does it feel to be a rock icon? When they say that, I always think of Mt. Rushmore.
See more »


References Dont Look Back (1967) See more »


Momento Mori
Written by Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Oliver Ray, Jay Dee Daugherty and 'Tony Shanahan'
Performed by Patti Smith
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

The Godmother of Punk rock.
27 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Patti Smith has always been an astonishingly iconoclastic, performing and visual artist. She's always been the most influential woman, in the Punk rock world. She really helped kick-start this exciting new genre of music, when it was still just a fringe element of the rock scene, in the mid-70s.

Patti also single-handedly crafted a bold new image, of the female rock performer during the 70s. She startled the rock world with her unapologetic, devil-may-care androgynous style. Patti was the first woman in rock, to completely eschew glamor. Her clothes and shoes that she wears, have always been scruffy and disheveled. Her hair is scraggly, and she has a long, homely face. She is the complete personification, of what Punk rock is all about-brash, gritty, daring, and wickedly avant-guard.

This documentary highlights Patti's exceptional achievements as a visual artist, poet, and Punk rock icon. Her personal life is completely laid open for the viewer. Patti is shown at her childhood home in a humble working class neighborhood, visiting her parents. Patti's two children also appear in this film, and she shows how proud she is of her family. The viewer plainly realizes that instead of being a decadent rock star, Patti Smith is a warm, caring, and sharply intelligent human being.

This film has an arty visual style, which dovetails perfectly, with Patti Smith's status as a dedicated artist and performer. At times, the film drags on a bit. And there's a morose quality, underlying the film too. This factor is brought on mainly by Patti's intense focus, on the deaths of her spouse Fred, brother Todd, and friend Robert Mapplethorpe. It was obviously cathartic for Patti to discuss the sense of anguish that she feels, about the deaths of those she cared deeply about. That in itself is positive, but it dominated the film a bit too much.

For those who are not yet familiar with Patti Smith, seeing this film is a good way to acquaint yourself with her, and her legendary accomplishments as an artist/musician. Now in her early 60s, Patti Smith still reigns supreme, as the Godmother of Punk rock.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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