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The Doors: When You're Strange (2009)

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



2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
The Doors ...
Themselves (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (voice)


A chronological look at The Doors, focusing on lead singer, Jim Morrison (1943-1971), from the formation of the band in 1965, it's first gigs, and first album, to Morrison's death, after years of alcohol and drug use. Along the journey, we see archival footage of rehearsals, performances, and private moments including a Miami concert resulting in Morrison's arrest and trial for indecency. His love of the spotlight, his desire to be a poet, and his alcohol-fueled mood swings lead to a back and forth between public and private desires, successes, and failures. The band's music plays throughout. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content including references, nudity, drug material and language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

12 May 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ha idegen vagy - A Doors története  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$66,833 (USA) (9 April 2010)


$238,632 (USA) (11 June 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Depp, the narrator was also in Dark Shadows and Sweeney Todd which both revolve around music. See more »


A mock newspaper clipping announces both that Sharon Tate and her friends have been found murdered and that Charles Manson and his "Family" are suspected. Manson and the "Family" were not identified as the Tate killers until December 1969, more than four months after the murders happened. See more »


Edited from Feast of Friends (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

Definitive history of The Doors from the inside
30 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I attended a special screening of the music documentary "When You're Strange: A Film about The Doors" at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival. This was my 18th screening here and the first to be completely sold out.

Writer/director Tom DiCillo was able to gain access to original footage shot from 1966-71 by Paul Ferrara, a UCLA Film School buddy of flamboyant lead singer Jim Morrison. Those old, grainy films are all that were needed to make this stunning documentary -- no modern-day or additional footage was shot.

The dramatic voice-over was provided by Johnny Depp who, in a statement from DiCillo read prior to the screening, was the one person the filmmakers felt qualified to narrate the movie. It had to be someone with a passion for the music of The Doors, and Depp fit the bill.

With the assistance of the remaining living members, particularly band co-founder and keyboardist Ray Manzarek (who sat in front of me), the film is destined to be the definitive chronicle of the band's history. We finally discover the shocking truth behind the curious myths -- did Morrison really expose his genitals at that infamous Florida concert? Did he fake his own death? "When You're Strange" separates fact from fiction and puts to rest the many rumors surrounding the manic life and untimely death of Jim Morrison. The heretofore secret details behind the making of each amazing album (one took 11 months, another took less than a week) are mind-boggling. Naturally, there's plenty of music. Tons of it.

Like all music docs, the degree to which one connects with the film is directly proportional to one's familiarity with the music and/or artists featured in the production. This certainly applies here. Like some of the thrilling music documentaries I've seen at festivals in the past couple of years ("The U.S. vs. John Lennon," "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing," "The Wrecking Crew," "Kurt Cobain About a Son"), I put "When You're Strange" right at the top of my list. I was blown away. However, while I walked away feeling that this was an absolutely brilliant film, I have to give it a qualified thumbs up if only because there is no doubt many simply won't have the emotional response that I did. But, for fans of this music, "When You're Strange" is absolutely a must-see.

48 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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the footage of jim driving in the desert... RobertEroicaDupea2
Doors chronology error in movie cryptical70
Depp to narrate filmbuff2
A question for people who have already seen the movie skittles_funky_monkey
Would have been a better film if it had had interviews with the Doors clive-ihd
General Public Release? s_kowalczyk86
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