8.0/10
7,077
42 user 63 critic

Dont Look Back (1967)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 24 February 1968 (Sweden)
Trailer
2:17 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Documentary covering Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
4 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Gimme Shelter (1970)
Certificate: GP Documentary | Music | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor
Monterey Pop (1968)
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A film about the greatest pre-Woodstock rock music festival.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker
Stars: Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar
65 Revisited (Video 2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A collection of rare outtakes and performances from D A Pennebaker's 1965 classic DONT LOOK BACK.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker
Stars: Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Bob Neuwirth
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Bob Dylan and The Hawks (aka The Band) on their infamous 1966 "Judas" tour of the UK.

Director: Bob Dylan
Stars: Bob Dylan, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson
Woodstock (1970)
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

Director: Michael Wadleigh
Stars: Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Roger Daltrey
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Jimi Hendrix's landmark concert in Monterey County Fairgrounds in California in which he plays signature songs like "Purp;e Haze," "Foxy Lady," and "Wild Thing."

Directors: Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker
Stars: Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell
Documentary | Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Documentary on Otis Redding's performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker
Stars: Otis Redding, Booker T. & the M.G.s, Steve Cropper
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An unvarnished chronicle of Bob Dylan's metamorphosis from folk to rock musician via appearances at the Newport Folk Festival between 1963 and 1965.

Director: Murray Lerner
Stars: Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins
Salesman (1969)
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Paul Brennan, Charles McDevitt, James Baker
Grey Gardens (1975)
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director: Barbara Kopple
Stars: Norman Yarborough, Houston Elmore, Phil Sparks
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
... Himself
Albert Grossman ... Himself
Bob Neuwirth ... Himself
... Herself
Alan Price ... Himself
Tito Burns ... Himself
... Himself
Derroll Adams ... Himself
Jones Alk ... Herself
Howard Alk ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

Portrait of the artist as a young man. In spring, 1965, Bob Dylan, 23, a pixyish troubador, spends three weeks in England. Pennebaker's camera follows him from airport to hall, from hotel room to public house, from conversation to concert. Joan Baez and Donovan, among others, are on hand. It's the period when Dylan is shifting from acoustic to electric, a transition that not all fans, including Baez, applaud. From the opening sequence of Dylan holding up words to the soundtrack's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," Dylan is playful and enigmatic. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Artistic License Films

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1968 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Don't Look Back  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in 1965 during Dylan's British tour. See more »

Quotes

Bob Dylan: Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.23 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
(uncredited)
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Bob Dylan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Iconic and unforgettable portrait
12 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

Do you know that feeling when a song captures you completely? One minute there's all these thoughts running around in your head and the next minute someone switches the radio on and it's kinda like it screams, STOP!

You can feel it. You let your whole being be absorbed by it. You're on a high. Then you catch your breath . . .

Bob Dylan, as depicted in Don't Look Back, is the kind of megastar that can grip you emotionally and intellectually. While their neighbours joined screaming mobs that bayed at the Beatles, Bob Dylan fans listen in rapt silence, taking in every word.

"How many times must the cannon balls fly - Before they're forever banned? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind."

He inhabits a hallowed quality. Anti-war protesters, educated and disenchanted youth, all see him as their hero. An emblem of hope. Dylan inspired people. Made them feel they could make a difference. Somehow make it a better world.

It was also the Swinging Sixties. Music videos hadn't been invented. In cinema, TV commercials director Richard Lester had kicked off a style of pop musical with the Beatles in A Hard Day's Night (1964). Andy Warhol projected live footage of a band to heighten a live performance (The Velvet Underground and Nico, 1966). Whereas for the opening scene of D.A. Pennebaker's film, Don't Look Back, a deadpan Dylan simply discards one large white card after another. They contain random words from the overlaid soundtrack song, Subterranean Homesick Blues.

That scene has been copied and parodied. Like the kiss-on-the-beach-at-the-edge-of-the-waves in From Here To Eternity, far more people know of and recognise the scene than have ever seen the film. Words are deliberately misspelt. Alan Ginsberg haunts the background as if he's wandered in from another film lot. The scene became one of the first 'music videos'. And the film became one of the early examples of fly-on-the-wall cinema.

Don't Look Back is one of the important movies of the decade for its development of cinema verité, a documentary style with many offshoots but at that point made possible with the new lightweight cameras and sound recorders. These were less intrusive and meant that events could be recorded in a way less staged, the filmmakers having opportunity to follow subjects down corridors or seemingly eavesdrop on conversations.

Don't Look Back follows Bob Dylan through his most iconic phase, dark glasses and leather jacket, on his 1965 UK tour at the height of his fame. (He is about to dispense with a rustic folksy style and upset fans by embracing rock and roll and electric guitars.) It is the Bob Dylan so cryptically emulated by Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There. This is the legend. And the man who became a legend in his own lifetime, constantly reinventing his poetry. He would one day be awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." Not to mention an honorary degree from the prestigious St Andrews University in Scotland.

The follow-the-tour format is a little like In Bed With Madonna. But the immediacy of the film foreshadow movies like Control. Stark black and white photography and a personality that dominates the screen without even trying. Joan Baez (who was near the end of an affair with Dylan) is singing in a hotel room. Dylan looks up with rapt attention (and obvious admiration) for the shy young folk singer Donovan. And clips from his sell-out Albert Hall concert. Throughout – and in sharp contrast to almost everyone else captured in all their bygone sixties primness – Dylan still looks cool and self-assured in his own skin even by 21st century standards. Somehow his image hasn't aged.

There was something almost mystical about Dylan at the time. Press conferences in the film (that would also be re-staged later in I'm Not There) show journalists nonplussed by the youngsters response. News stories marvel at how thousands of well-behaved youngsters are packing concert halls – in essence to listen to several hours of one man's poetry. His lyrics, ranging from poignant stories to stream-of-consciousness collections, were emotionally resonant with metaphors and phrases that could be appropriated to every person's private suffering, every cry of pain behind anti-establishment (and particularly anti-war) sentiments. Dylan never claimed to be any other than a poet and a guitarist. "I got nothing to say about these things I write – I just write them . . . I don't write them for any reason. There's no message." His almost angry 1960s disclaimer in the film will still be uttered almost 40 years later at great length in his Chronicles biography. No-one wanted to believe he was only interested in writing poetry. But his openness and honesty in facing down critics is disarming.

For non-music fans and people not specifically interested in the period, the film has slightly less to offer. Poor definition on many hand-held shots gives a lack of visual elegance. The lack of any voice-over means the viewer has to work out many details themselves. And, while it is a remarkable and very vibrant portrait of an esteemed artists at one of the most famous and influential periods of his career, there are maybe too few songs for fans.

Dylan would go on to win Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards and receive several Nobel Prize nominations for literature. The film stops long before he had achieved such mainstream critical acclaim. It never features him singing the credits song, Subterranean Homesick Blues, or the song from which the title is taken. Ironically, it looks back to a period he himself had abandoned by the time the film was released.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 42 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page