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A Mighty Wind (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy , Music | 9 May 2003 (USA)
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ON DISC
Mockumentary captures the reunion of 1960s folk trio the Folksmen as they prepare for a show at The Town Hall to memorialize a recently deceased concert promoter.

Director:

Christopher Guest
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Moret ... Newscaster
Stuart Luce Stuart Luce ... Irving Steinbloom
Mary Gross ... Ma Klapper
Marty Belafsky ... Ramblin' Sandy Pitnik (as Marty Belasky)
Michael S. Baser Michael S. Baser ... Pa Klapper (as Michael Baser)
Jared Nelson Smith Jared Nelson Smith ... Young Chuck Wiseman
Ryan Raddatz ... Bill Weyburn
Todd Lieberman Todd Lieberman ... Fred Knox
Matthew Joy Matthew Joy ... Boy Klapper
Laura Harris ... Girl Klapper
Brian Riley Brian Riley ... Young George Menschell
Harry Shearer ... Mark Shubb
Michael McKean ... Jerry Palter
Christopher Guest ... Alan Barrows
Eugene Levy ... Mitch Cohen
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Storyline

When folk icon Irving Steinbloom passed away, he left behind a legacy of music and a family of performers he has shepherded to folk stardom. To celebrate a life spent submerged in folk, Irving's loving son Jonathan has decided to put together a memorial concert featuring some of Steinbloom's best-loved musicians. There's Mitch and Mickey, who were the epitome of young love until their partnership was torn apart by heartbreak; classic troubadours The Folksmen, whose records were endlessly entertaining for anyone able to punch a hole in the center to play them; and The New Main Street Singers, the most meticulously color-coordinated neuftet ever to hit an amusement park. Now for one night only in New York City's Town Hall, these three groups will reunite and gather together to celebrate the music that almost made them famous. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Back together for the first time, again.

Genres:

Comedy | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 May 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Christopher Guest Project See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,112,140, 20 April 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$17,508,936, 27 July 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Castle Rock Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Michael Higgins wrote all of the vocal arrangements for The New Main Street Singers. Originally the group was going to be a nine-piece ensemble that sang in unison (everyone singing the same part) but it was decided to give Higgins free rein with it. See more »

Goofs

Pen on top of Lars Olfen's legal pad changes position between shots. See more »

Quotes

Alan Barrows: And they had no hole in the center of the record.
Mark Shubb: It would teeter crazily on the little spindle.
Jerry Palter: No, you had to provide it yourself. They were still good records. Good product.
Mark Shubb: If you punched a hole in them, you'd have a good time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the film, before the traditional scrolling credits, the screen is filled with all the main actors' names. One at a time, each star's name is highlighted, in alphabetical order. The scrolling credits are in order of appearance. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Fugitive: Thrill of the Chase (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Skeletons Of Quinto
Written by Christopher Guest
Performed by The Folksmen
See more »

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User Reviews

Subtle Bull's Eye
14 March 2004 | by bsl9See all my reviews

Christopher Guest's movies, like his performances, are generally subtle and always low-key. They are not for people who need laugh tracks to follow the humor and most of his work is so contextually-based that some knowledge of the subject he's dissecting is a definite asset. Guest, who was a performer in the very early SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, is, in many respects, the Anti-Belushi of modern American comedy.

Nevertheless, he shares with Belushi - and many of their contemporaries, who came from one or another branch of the Second City organization - a certain fondness for off-the-wall elements in his work; Guest's tend to be slipped in, quietly, while Belushi's popped out of exploding cakes.

A MIGHTY WIND is a spot-on satire of the American Folk Music movement of the early and mid-1960s. The narrative conceit is a memorial concert for a recently deceased impressario, organized by his son, which reunites three folk groups from the 60s.

The real elements of the film are the send-ups of a variety of tropes of the era, musical styles, personalities, and quite an array of music-business cliches. Remarkably, however, the songs are genuinely entertaining in themselves; both the writing and the performances. They're satirical, but so subtlely performed that it's easy to loose the thread of the lyrics and wind up mindlessly nodding heads and grooving along, which pretty neatly captures the popular music experience for the last several generations. Satire within satire.

The musical performances are excellent, recreating, almost frighteningly, the taste and texture of folk music of the era. And, bringing several real 60s folk acts to mind.

The acting is typical of Guest movies, such as SPINAL TAP and BEST IN SHOW; very quiet, restrained, low-key, with, apparently, a lot of dialogue improvised. The performers are mostly drawn from the same group Guest has used in the past: Eugene Levy (who co-wrote the script with Guest) and Catherine O'Hara, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, Ed Begley, Jr., and Guest, himself.

Comparisons with Guest's most popular picture, THIS IS SPINAL TAP are both interesting and tricky. Interesting because both movies were written and directed by the same man, and shared most of the same casts. Tricky, because while some seem to compare AMW unfavorably with TIST, a looking at these films, together, they have a lot in common. So much so, in fact, that it's reasonable to consider them a pair; very similar takes on two, distinct musical genres of a similar era. The writing, acting, tone, pacing of these two movies is very similar. The jokes are similar. The points of view are similar. The focus on both performers, and the behind-the-scenes people is similar. The real difference is the music.

This, in turn, tends to suggest that those who react very differently to these two films may be reacting more to the music, directly, and to the ambiance of the world around the particular musical genre more than anything else.

Guest's movies don't have many laugh-out-loud moments. Most of the humor is more the "big-smile", sometimes, the chuckle, kind. But, Ed Begley, Jr. has perhaps his best comic scene, ever, when he does a take as a Swedish-American public television producer dropping Yiddish into his conversation; one word per sentence. It's a totally dead-pan and very quiet performance which, like so much of Christopher Guest's humor, you will either get or not get. If you do, you may fall off your chair.

Eugene Levy, who co-wrote the script, with Guest, is also very good, having finally invented a second character after having spent something more than 30 years (since his Second City TV days) doing variations of one.

Who might enjoy A MIGHTY WIND? Anyone who remembers the era and the music, and anyone who enjoys show business insider takes. It's a more difficult call for those born later. And, if you have trouble keeping Janis Joplin and Joanie Mitchell distinct in your mind, you probably won't follow most of what's going on.


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