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Johnny Cash: The Last Great American (2004)


Chris Rodley


Johnny Cash


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Credited cast:
Johnny Cash ... Self (archive footage)


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A warm and enjoyable tribute to Cash
2 July 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

A week or so ago I watched the film Walk The Line and it had the effect of me immediately putting my "best of" album back onto my iPod and also saw me more interested in the man and his career. Coincidentally BBC4 had a short evening about Cash and this film was part of it. This documentary doesn't focus on any particular part of Cash's career but does more work on the cultural impact of the man by following his career and also having plenty of talking heads from family, friends and peers to reminisce and comment. As a result there is not a huge amount of detail but yet at the same time it is warm, affectionate and interesting to watch.

I say this not as a great fan who knows everything but even those who are very familiar with Cash will still enjoy this film because it does come over as more of a tribute than a documentary. OK so it does "inform" but it uses this more as a structure for the film rather than the raison d'etre. I liked this and it does make even the casual viewer warm to the man in the way the film managed to do as well. The talking heads are well selected and also well used. There are one or two famous faces in there that have tenuous links but mostly the choice of children, band members and so on mean that the comments are informed, personal and interesting – this is not a "list" film with lots of talking heads who know little but are c-grade celebs who had a free slot in their schedule.

I'm not totally sure about the "last great American" claim of the title but regardless Cash had a great career that covered decades. This film is not the place to come to learn new things about the man and his music but rather it is an enjoyably warm and personal tribute to him down the years and it is worth seeing for that.

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Release Date:

26 February 2004 (UK) See more »

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BBC Manchester See more »
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