Chicago Sun-Times - 05/01/1998
"...A time capsule..."
Rolling Stone - 11/27/2003
"Bob Dylan on the road in England, 1965...all hostile glamour and wired rock & roll charisma..."
Mojo - 12/01/2004
"[Dylan's] restlessness to move beyond his folk troubadour phase is responsible for much of this film's crackling musical tension."
Uncut - 03/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "Watching it now is to see pop culture being born. It was Pennebaker's good fortune to be in the room at a moment of great significance."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/02/2007
"[S]hot in black and white, with Dylan frequently in black moods and nearly always exhibiting white-hot creative power....[The documentary] remains a mesmerizing document." -- Grade: B
Sight and Sound - 07/01/2007
"Unflinchingly real where other 1960s rock films dealt in fantasy, DON'T LOOK BACK is about more than music....The most objective portrait of Bob Dylan we've ever had..."
A raucous and intimate road movie of Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, DON'T LOOK BACK may be the most influential rock star documentary of all time. D.A. Pennebaker's trademark cinema verité approach, with its comprehensive perspective, captures the paradoxical Dylan in alternating moments of confrontational belligerence and contemplative repose, all within the framework of the pop culture hurricane of one of the most publicized concert tours of the mid-1960s. Mobbed by frenzied fans and stalked by confounded journalists and music critics unable to penetrate his carefully evasive yet antagonistic persona, Dylan takes refuge with Joan Baez, his folk contemporary, and Albert Grossman, his juggernaut manager. As the tour progresses, a pattern emerges from Dylan's modes of expression, offering a glimpse of what would come to be a constant in his career: his perpetual redefinition of himself. Displaying the enigmatic performer's roles as both folk artist heir apparent to the Woody Guthrie throne and electric guitar rock pioneer who turned the Beatles on to pot, DON'T LOOK BACK preserves not only Dylan's musical genius but his inimitable, vital, and profound defiance of definition.
The rock and roll documentary that launched a thousand imitations, D.A. Pennebaker's loose shooting style and focused interviewing paved the way for films of this nature; it details Dylan's celebrated 1965 tour of England and features appearances by Joan Baez and Dylan's manager Albert Grossman. The film also includes one-of-a-kind performances of "The Times, They Are a Changin'," "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," and "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
Essential Cinema |
Folk Songs / Music |
Music Video |
Rock And Roll |
Rock Documentaries |
Rock Legends |
Theatrical release: 1967
DON'T LOOK BACK was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1998.
The "Subterranean Homesick Blues" cue-card scene was conceived by Bob Dylan; it was later copied in a music video by INXS.