- Rated: PG-13
- Run Time: 1 hours, 33 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: August 5, 2008
- Originally Released: 2007
- Label: Miriam Collection
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Entertainment Weekly - 11/16/2007
"[A] stirring, revelatory film, which captures Seeger as the media-age Johnny Appleseed of folk." -- Grade: A
Pete Seeger is a revered singer and performer, an ambassador of the world's folk music traditions, and a patriot, but whenever Jim Brown's very moving documentary verges too close to hagiography, interviews with the gently self-effacing subject himself steer the focus back onto the issues and the music. Using a rich array of archival film footage, photography, and intimate one-on-one conversations, Brown tells the story of the singer's life, from his roustabout childhood as the son of itinerant musicians, through his radical days on the Harvard University campus (where, during WWII he received his political awakening), his military service, and marriage to lifetime love Toshi Seeger.
The documentary spends a lot of time covering his early career with the Weavers singing group, who were blacklisted from television and live appearances and lost their record contract for holding leftist political views at the height of the McCarthy era. Clips of Seeger testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee, humbly standing by his First Amendment rights in response to their questions about his politics, and pointing out the Un-American nature of such an invasion of privacy, is required viewing for any conscious citizen. The film also documents his outspoken anti-war activities during the '60s, and, in more recent years, his grass roots efforts to clean up the Hudson River. Brown's documentary succeeds wildly not only as a thorough biographical account, but as a rousing testament to the power of music to communicate ideas and unite people around worthwhile causes.