46 user 16 critic

U2: Rattle and Hum (1988)

A documentary of the Irish rock group U2 on their Fall 1987 tour of North America.


Phil Joanou
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Bono ... Self
The Edge ... Self
Adam Clayton ... Self
Larry Mullen Jr. ... Self
B.B. King ... Self
Phil Joanou ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dennis Bell Dennis Bell ... Self
Adam Gussow ... Self
Jack Hale Jack Hale ... Self
Jim Horn ... Self
Wayne Jackson Wayne Jackson ... Self (as The Memphis Horns)
Andrew Love Andrew Love ... Self (as The Memphis Horns)
Sterling Magee ... Self
Joey Miskulin Joey Miskulin ... Self (as Joseph M. Miskulin)
Gayl Murphy Gayl Murphy ... Self (as Press Conference Interviewer)


This film documents the 1987 North American tour of the great rock band U2. Fresh with their success of their best selling album "The Joshua Tree", the band plays monster gigs. Along the way, the band takes the opportunity to indulge in some special musical activities like playing with B.B. King and performing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking" with a famous church choir. All the while, concert footage of the band's biggest hits on tour are featured while Bono speaks his mind on the problems of his homeland. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


"All Along the Watchtower" was recorded in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco in front of what many consider to be the ugliest sculpture in the city. Bono's spraypainted words required a formal apology from the band and were removed within days. See more »


[the band is thrilled to be playing with B.B. King]
B.B. King: If we could find somebody to play chords... I'm no good with chords. I'm horrible with chords.
Bono: Um... yeah... well, uh, the Edge can do that.
See more »


Featured in It Might Get Loud (2008) See more »


Hawkmoon 269
Words Bono
Music U2
See more »

User Reviews

A 480 min. Directors cut?
28 July 2004 | by childrenwithknivesSee all my reviews

Tens of thousands of feet of film were shot during the making of 'U2: Rattle and hum', Most of it in black and white. Some of this was intentional, but allot of it was due to the fact that director Phil Joanou had a limited budget to work with and black and white film at least at that time was less expensive. Shooting in 16mm as well as 35mm was another reason that this film was shot almost entirely in black and white. About 90% of the footage was done in that format rather than color. From Watching the final cut of the film it would seem to suggest that it was more like 80% of the over all footage, but keep in mind there was allot more black and white footage cut from the film than color. I obtained a great amount of the footage that was never seen in the original version of 'U2: rattle and hum', 480 minutes of it to be exact. When I first saw 'U2: rattle and hum'

In 1988, I was fortunate enough to see it at a 'century theater' complex in San Jose Ca. On the biggest screen they had out of the 2 blocks of 'century theaters' lining one side of Winchester blvd. There in San Jose. They even had a special concert PA system temporarily installed for this special feature. It was truly the best way to see this movie, and the experience has stuck with me ever since. For many years I have felt that this movie could very well be the best film about a band ever made. Maybe even possibly the best music related film ever made with the exception of 'Woodstock' or perhaps 'The last waltz'. The movie has at times a real gritty look to it due to the 16mm footage. It feels earthy, grounded, cultural, important. Especially the portion of the film where U2 put on the 'Free the yuppies' concert at the 'embarcadero center' in San Francisco. This was the portion of the film where the band performs 'All along the watch tower'.

This concert was monumental (no pun intended) for the history of music in many ways. For one this concert was announced 2 hours prior to the performance over San Francisco's 'Live 105' fm alternative station. The concert was not scheduled prior to the two hour announcement. Bono, the edge, larry mullen jr., adam clayton as well as their management decided to put the show on the day before it actually took place. I was living in San Jose at the time and heard the announcement on the radio that day. I didn't have to work that day so I could have easily made it but a problem came up and to my bitter disappointment I was unable to attend the show. The entire show is truly wonderful (I have the entire performance on video). The monumental thing about this performance was of course the point in which Bono paints the Monument erected many years before in the embarcadero square by a french artistic designer.

The now infamous "rock and roll stops the traffic" slogan that bono spray painted on the monument is one of the greatest moments in music history. What most don't know is that bono never left the stage during all along the watch tower, the monument was painted during another song. which one was it? Well you'll have to find out for your self, I'm not telling. I went to see the monument the next day late at night. A friend and I climbed the thing to see the painted area. It was already painted over but you could see where it had been painted from the color shades being off a bit. I did make it to the performance at Oakland Stadium the next day. This was of course the 'Joshua tree' tour. Bono managed to find the french artist who created the monument that bono had spray painted just the day before. After a short 'wave hello' the artist proclaimed "U2 can spray paint anything I create any time they want!". This was in retaliation to the mayor of San Francisco who banned U2 from returning to San Francisco for the deed. Later the ban was lifted. But now back to the footage cut from the final film released through 'Paramount pictures'.

It is anybody's geuss as to why some of the best footage was cut from the film. Most notably 'the voices of freedom' performance at 'madison square garden'-performing 'still haven't found what I'm looking for' with the band. It is truly touching and would have been 'hands down' the best part of the entire movie had it made the final cut. directly after the group of church singers leave the stage U2 kicks into a rare live performance of 'Spanish eyes'. It is really a shame that these performances were left out of the fianl cut. I have 40 minutes of footage of U2 on their van ride to the church where they were to first meet the 'voices of freedom' as well as 40 minutes of footage after they arrive at the church. Also the entire graceland tour was filmed which I also have. I can understand why joanou left most of this out, it can be rather dull to watch, but it was interesting to hear allot of U2's questions and comments as they went along the tour. Hours of other precious moments are also seen in the deleted footage. 'U2: rattle and hum' is a true classic music film, but if phil joanou and U2 wanted to share those precious moments with the rest of the world they might think about releasing the entire thing in a directors cut. I had to pay allot of moola for the footage I have, and I mean allot!, all 480 minutes of it. Having seen it for myself in my opinion it is a crime to hide this footage from the public. U2: 'rattle and hum' is a great movie, a complete directors cut would make it a landmark in the history of the cinema.

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Release Date:

4 November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

U2: Rattle and Hum See more »

Filming Locations:

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,821,351, 6 November 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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