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Pete Seeger: The Power of Song (2007)

PG  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  29 April 2007 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 377 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 7 user | 13 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

Interviews, archival footage and home movies are used to illustrate a social history of folk artist and activist Pete Seeger.

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Himself (as President)
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Ronnie Gilbert ...
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Lee Hays ...
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Fred Hellerman ...
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Leadbelly ...
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Roger McGuinn ...
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George Pataki ...
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Interviews, archival footage and home movies are used to illustrate a social history of folk artist and activist Pete Seeger.

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Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild thematic material | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

29 April 2007 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,945 (USA) (26 October 2007)

Gross:

$175,099 (USA) (22 November 2007)
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Superbly done documentary
17 June 2007 | by (Washington, D.C.) – See all my reviews

Although not yet scheduled for general release, "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" is a must-see for anyone who has ever heard Pete Seeger sing or admired him for his work to clean up the Hudson River or loved/hated him for his opposition to the Vietnam War and his efforts to promote integration. More than anyone else, Pete Seeger was responsible for the folk revival of the 1960's, as is attested in interviews with Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie and other leading figures of the time. The film, much of it archival material from various stages in Pete's career, is filled with song and also provides a rounded portrait of Seeger's life, including the long years when he was blacklisted for his political views and his refusal to yield to the demands of the House Un-American Activities Committee that he take a loyalty oath. Seeger acknowledges that he was a card-carrying Communist until "around 1948," though he insists that his views are and were solidly rooted in American values. The songs which Seeger wrote (like "Turn, Turn, Turn...to Everything there is a Season" and "Where are All the Flowers Gone") or made famous (like "We Shall Overcome") are heard in clips from the time, and there are many scenes with Seeger still vigorous in his mid-80s at the home he built with his own hands decades earlier. His wife, Toshi, his children, his siblings appear in person and there are numerous clips featuring Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the young Joan Baez as well as Pete himself as a member first of the Almanac Singers and later of the Weavers. The "lost years" when Pete was blacklisted and eked out a living by touring college campuses, teaching a generation of musicians to play the banjo and singing to school children are also covered in detail. The hour-and-a-half this documentary is on screen flies by quickly and -- for those old enough to remember -- is a nostalgic walk through the life and career of the man whom many consider to be the premier folksinger of the age.


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