American Masters (1985– )
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No Direction Home: Bob Dylan 

Trailer
1:45 | Trailer

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A chronicle of Bob Dylan's strange evolution between 1961 and 1966 from folk singer to protest singer to "voice of a generation" to rock star.

Director:

Martin Scorsese
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Dylan ... Himself
B.J. Rolfzen B.J. Rolfzen ... Himself (voice)
Dick Kangas Dick Kangas ... Himself
Liam Clancy Liam Clancy ... Himself
Anthony Glover Anthony Glover ... Himself (as Tony Glover)
Paul Nelson Paul Nelson ... Himself
Allen Ginsberg ... Himself (archive footage)
Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk ... Himself (archive footage)
Maria Muldaur Maria Muldaur ... Herself
John Cohen John Cohen ... Himself
Bruce Langhorne Bruce Langhorne ... Himself
Mark Spoelstra Mark Spoelstra ... Himself
Suze Rotolo Suze Rotolo ... Herself
Izzy Young Izzy Young ... Himself
Mitch Miller ... Himself
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Storyline

He is one of the most influential, inspiration and ground-breaking musicians of our time. Now, Academy Awardâ"¢ winning director Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, 1990) brings us the extraordinary story of Bob DylanâEUR(TM)s journey from his roots in Minnesota, to his early days in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village, to his tumultuous ascent to pop stardom in 1966.

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

PBS [United States]

Country:

UK | USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 September 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bob Dylan Anthology Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Hibbing, Minnesota, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD) | (2 part TV-miniseries) |

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Scorsese voiced the quotations of Bob Dylan's controversial speech made at the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee while receiving a Tom Paine Award. See more »

Goofs

When A&R man John Hammond is introduced, Billie Holiday, whom Hammond signed to Columbia Records, is heard singing the anti-lynching protest song "Strange Fruit." In truth, Hammond did not allow Holiday to record "Strange Fruit" for Columbia; she recorded the song for Milt Gabler's Commodore Records instead. See more »

Quotes

Bob Johnston: I believe in giving credit where credit's due. I don't think Dylan had a lot to do with it. I think God instead of touching him on the shoulder he kicked him in the ass. Really. And that's where all that came from. He can't help what he's doing. I mean he's got the Holy Spirit about him. You can look at him and tell that.
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Soundtracks

Help Me Jesus
Written by Roebuck 'Pops' Staples (as Roebuck Staples)
Performed by The Staple Singers
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User Reviews

Foggy Ruins of Time
11 December 2005 | by tedgSee all my reviews

There's good about this. It is extremely well done. It is endowed with a breath as film, and I suppose we can credit Steve Jobs with assuring that only first class talent was used. Among that talent was Scorsese, a master, certainly in the act of shaping something with a natural rhythm.

That competence makes this absolutely essential viewing. I am not putting it on my essential films list because as a film it doesn't merit it. But if you, dear reader, were not there, actually there as part of the events depicted, you need to see this as a social document. The world then was as different to now in the flows of energy than any other time in the past 500 years is from now,

And this man was every bit as powerful as this hints. More, and that's part of the problem.

The problem is that Scorsese decided to make an understandable story. So he pruned and pruned and pruned until what was left depicts a recognizable arc with extreme clarity, so clear it appears as if the life were invented for this telling.

And sure enough, we get a crisp story about a man who insinuated himself into a Greenwich Village crowd, and absorbed the poetic beat flavor of the time but not the fecklessness. He adopted the guise of a protest singer to get his foot in the door, then assumed the role for many years as our premier poet.

Martin brings us three acts: boy to New York and maturity, Bobby to eminence as a folksinger, Dylan's adventures in rock in spite of adversity. Perhaps the first act isn't as clean because the footage feels more like real history instead of a scripted life.

No mention is made of drugs, or his family (though "Visions of Johanna" is featured). Nothing of his well known exploits with multiple mystical cosmologies. No sex at all. No Beatles or Brian Wilson. All elided in the name of clarity. Well, fine.

And the thing only addresses the first couple really interesting years and avoids the next six or seven where he pounded us with changes and challenges far exceeding those depicted here.

I am reviewing everything there is of Dylan for the upcoming "I'm Not There: Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan" which will feature both Cate and Julianne. It should be something special, something challenging and not artificially straightened like this is.

Until then, view this not as Scorsese intended, or as the confused audiences he goes to extremes to depict. Try to view this as someone who was engaged at the time, someone who knew that stronger constructions than "we shall overcome" would be needed to negotiate a way through the world of human brambles and flowers. Try to actually submerse yourself in the art and forget the story of the artist as he would have had it at the time.

It could still save you.

Or if not, look at this as a film which presented Scorsese with a huge problem. Here we have a brilliant young man of whose singular brilliance all the interviewees attest. And then we have recent interviews with the man himself, dull, inarticulate, even stupid. The conventional shaping of the thing would explain by saying he destroyed his gift through drugs and related excesses like fundamentalist religion.

That would be the obvious route, but it complicates the story Scorsese wants to tell. It complicates it simply, because Marty has another image in mind. And it would complicate it indirectly because then you'd have a simple success, drugs, redemption storyspine that you'd have to escape.

So what to do? The solution is to build in a long, otherwise irrelevant stream of press interviews where stupid questions are asked over and over. Stupid, always stupid ones and when faces are shown, it is clear they are those of dolts. Then the recent interview footage of Dylan is tied to that. Surely we don't expect answers to similar questions. It is the choice of a master storyteller to channel our curiosity so. It makes for a clean, Scorsese-type character map.

But if you weren't there, it will cheat you out of the ambiguities and complexities of the real story and that you can find in any Dylan song from "Tambourine Man" to "Lily and the Jack of Hearts."

Still, watch it. But do so lucidly. We can only hope that Jobs wants to tell the rest of the story.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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