Muscle Shoals (2013)

PG  |   |  Documentary, Biography, History  |  25 October 2013 (UK)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,236 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 24 user | 54 critic | 23 from

A documentary that celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the signature sound he developed in songs such as "I'll Take You There", "Brown Sugar", and "When a Man Loves a Woman".

Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Director: Morgan Neville
Stars: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is a feature-length documentary film about the dismal commercial failure, subsequent massive critical acclaim, and enduring legacy of pop music's greatest cult phenomenon, Big Star.

Directors: Drew DeNicola, Olivia Mori
Stars: Jon Auer, Chris Bell, Alex Chilton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ginger Baker looks back on his musical career with Cream and Blind Faith; his introduction to Fela Kuti; his self-destructive patterns and losses of fortune; and his current life inside a fortified South African compound.

Director: Jay Bulger
Stars: Ginger Baker, Femi Kuti, Eric Clapton
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

Director: Denny Tedesco
Stars: Brian Wilson, Dick Clark, Cher
Sound City (2013)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on the fabled recording studio that was located in Van Nuys, California.

Director: Dave Grohl
Stars: Trent Reznor, Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The life and work of the enigmatic folk rock singer-songwriter.

Director: John Scheinfeld
Stars: Gerry Beckley, Lee Blackman, Perry Botkin Jr.
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary on Levon Helm, a founding member of The Band, at home in Woodstock in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years.

Director: Jacob Hatley
Stars: Larry Campbell, Jay Collins, Elizabeth Danko
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary in which Freda Kelly looks back at her career as lifelong secretary for The Beatles.

Director: Ryan White
Stars: Freda Kelly, Paul McCartney, John Lennon
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Explores the music scene in Greenwich Village, New York in the 60's and early 70's. The film highlights some of the finest singer/songwriters of the day.

Director: Laura Archibald
Stars: Oscar Brand, Tom Chapin, Judy Collins
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the "High Priestess of Soul."

Director: Liz Garbus
Stars: James Baldwin, Stokely Carmichael, Walter Cronkite
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A portrait of Keith Richards that takes us on a journey to discover the genesis of his sound as a songwriter, guitarist and performer.

Director: Morgan Neville
Stars: Steve Jordan, Keith Richards, Waddy Wachtel
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


Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Badger ...
Himself / Interviewer
Jerry Carrigan ...
Jerry Phillips ...
Barry Beckett ...
Jerry Wexler ...
Jesse Boyce ...
Bryan Owings ...
Candi Staton ...
John Gifford III ...
Clarence Carter ...
John Paul White ...


Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the 'Singing River' as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals changed the world and sold millions upon millions of copies. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white together in Alabama's cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations while giving birth to the 'Muscle Shoals Sound' and 'The Swampers'. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Bono, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential today. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The incredible true story of a small town with a big sound.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, language, smoking and brief partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

25 October 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Muscle Shoals - Dove nascono le leggende  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,901 (USA) (27 September 2013)


$695,625 (USA) (7 March 2014)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


David Hood: [about working for Rick Hall] That was very frustrating and hard on the musicians, because you think "Well, I already did that."
Rick Hall: Nobody ever worked in the music business without getting their ass kicked. If they did, they're on the street somewhere pushing a wheelbarrow of concrete.
Jesse Boyce: He was kind of like a task master, and I don't fault him for that because he is an imperfect perfectionist. That's what made him great, though.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although Steve Winwood is feature prominently, including with on-screen name identification, hie name is NOT listed in the end credits. See more »


Version of Muscle Shoals See more »


The Weight
Written by Robbie Robertson
Performed by King Curtis
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not what I expected, but quite good nonetheless
27 November 2013 | by (San Jose, California, USA) – See all my reviews

I always loved listening to the great albums recorded at the two Muscle Shoals studios, so I looked forward to seeing this documentary in the hopes of learning what exactly made the Muscle Shoals sound so distinctive.

Unfortunately, I think the musicians interviewed couldn't really explain what it was that made Muscle Shoals so special from a technical perspective. Bono, as always, was quite articulate, but he didn't offer anything technical. He instead talked philosophically about the power of the Tennessee River just as the Mississippi influenced the Blues. Most of the other musicians fell back on platitudes and clichés about funky white guys. Keith Richards was beyond hopeless as an interviewee. He seemed like he was doing a really bad Saturday Night Live impersonation of himself.

Don't get me wrong. The stories were entertaining. I particularly liked Greg Allman's story about how his brother Duane learned to play the slide guitar and Wilson Picket's story about the first time he came to Muscle Shoals. I also thought the documentary did a good job telling the history of the original FAME studio as well as the second studio started by the so-called "Swampers".

Nevertheless, I think at least one interview segment with a Rock historian or a musicologist to put everything in context and offer technical explanations would have been a great addition.

Finally, although it's clear that the Muscle Shoals musicians were far ahead of their fellow southerners on the issue of race, and the film rightly showcased this, it also showed clips of Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert proudly displaying a confederate flag. Displaying a confederate flag in 2013 is beyond bad taste. It's simply unacceptable.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Lynyrd Skynyrd JabezGill
Name of first track? jimmyrayp
Finally! CLewey44
If you like this..... jsszafon
Any mention of Arthur Alexander in the movie? jpw43
Candi Staton Jem333
Discuss Muscle Shoals (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: