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Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (2019)

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (original title)
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A confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robbie Robertson's young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band.

Director:

Daniel Roher
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Martin Scorsese ... Himself
Bruce Springsteen ... Himself
Levon Helm ... Himself (archive footage)
Bob Dylan ... Himself
George Harrison ... Himself (archive footage)
Robbie Robertson ... Himself
Eric Clapton ... Himself
Rick Dano ... Himself
Peter Gabriel ... Himself
Chuck Berry ... Himself (archive footage)
Van Morrison ... Himself
David Geffen ... Himself
Jann Wenner ... Himself
Taj Mahal ... Himself
Ronnie Hawkins ... Himself
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Storyline

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band is a confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robbie Robertson's young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band. The film is a moving story of Robertson's personal journey, overcoming adversity and finding camaraderie alongside the four other men who would become hi brothers in music and who together made their mark on music history. Once Were Brothers blends rare archival footage, photography iconic songs and interviews with many of Robertson's friends and collaborators including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison Martin Scorsese, Peter Gabriel, Taj Mahal, Dominique Robertson, Ronnie Hawkins, and more. In a career spanning six decades, Robbie Robertson has continued to create as a songwriter, producer, performer, actor, author and film composer. A half-Mohawk, half-Jewish kid from Toronto, Robertson would travel from the dives of Yonge Street to ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and drug references | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robertson and Hawkins remark in the film that Robbie Robertson composed two songs that Hawkins recorded with his band, The Hawks, for their 1959 album, Mr. Dynamo - titled "Hey, Baba Lou" and "Someone Like You" - when he was only 15. See more »

Quotes

Bruce Springsteen: This was in the middle of the psychedelic era... . And here come these voices that sound like you've never heard them before -- and they've been around forever and ever.
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User Reviews

 
A compelling account of the rise of The Band, even if told from Robbie's perspective
7 September 2019 | by krenskycSee all my reviews

Before even commenting on the film, which I had the pleasure to see during the TIFF opening night showing, one needs to address the controversy that precludes it. The feud between Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson, and the sides many fans fall into, paints the film into a corner. It constantly dances around the bitter aspects of their relationship, portraying Robbie as saddened by the visceral animosity directed at him. Yes, the movie is based on Robbie's book, and Levon can no longer refute the claims made, but perhaps it is time to give Robbie a chance to explain his perspective. There was no way an autobiographical film would display the conflict in an unbiased and fair manner, since that is not what the film is about. It is about Robbie and his journey with The Band, their rise and dissolution as seen through his eyes, and his final reminiscence on a time when he truly was part of a brotherhood that he lost. Robbie is never critical of Levon, perhaps even sympathetic, but his pain does feel real. The story is emotional and endearing, supported by the multitude of supporting voices including Ronnie Hawkins (who steals the show!), Bruce Springsteen, Martin Scorcese, and managers, friends, and family who knew The Band the best.

Beyond the story as told by the many participants lending their reflections to this doc, I must say that the filmmaking is quite well done. Daniel Roher weaves a film with archival footage, testimonials, and the legendary music into something that is exciting to watch for any fan of The Band. It is emotionally touching, funny, insightful, and ultimately a great tribute. Yes it is Robbie's portrait of The Band, but it nevertheless faithfully chronicles a musical force that would influence generations to come.


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