Chelsea on the Rocks

Watch Chelsea on the Rocks

  • R
  • 2008
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 6.0  (486)
  • 57

Chelsea on the Rocks is a documentary film released in 2008 that chronicles the vibrant history of the iconic Chelsea Hotel in New York City. The film is directed by Abel Ferrara, who is known for his contributions to cult films and independent cinema. Throughout the film, viewers meet a cast of characters who lived, worked, or simply hung out at the Chelsea Hotel. The documentary is not structured like a standard narrative film, but instead offers a collection of anecdotes and interviews that provide a loose history of the hotel.

Among the notable interviewees are Stanley Bard, the manager of the Chelsea Hotel for over 40 years, and Ira Cohen, a counterculture poet and artist who lived at the hotel in the 1960s. Other residents and visitors include legendary musicians such as Patti Smith and Dee Dee Ramone, as well as artists, writers, and celebrities like Dennis Hopper, Ethan Hawke, and Milos Forman.

Throughout the film, viewers are offered a glimpse into the unique culture that flourished at the Chelsea Hotel. The hotel was known as a haven for artists, bohemians, and free spirits, who were often drawn to the hotel's cheap rates, central location, and famed history.

However, the hotel was also known for its darker side. The documentary touches on the tragic deaths of several residents, including Nancy Spungen, who was famously murdered at the hotel in 1978. The film also explores the hotel's decline, as it became less of a haven for artists and more of a transient lodging spot.

Despite these challenges, the documentary captures the spirit of the hotel's heyday. Viewers are offered rare glimpses into the private spaces of residents, including the cluttered studios of struggling artists and the cramped rooms of transients. The film also celebrates the hotel's communal spaces, such as the infamous lobby that served as a meeting spot for beat poets and hippies.

One of the most striking aspects of the documentary is its use of archival footage and photographs to bring the hotel's past to life. Viewers are treated to glimpses of the Chelsea's famous balcony, which served as the backdrop for Bob Dylan's music video for "Positively 4th Street," as well as video footage of Andy Warhol's Factory, which was located on the hotel's lower floors.

The film's soundtrack is also notable, featuring songs by artists who lived or worked at the Chelsea Hotel. Viewers are treated to haunting renditions of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel #2" and a raw version of Ian Dury's "Wake Up and Make Love with Me."

While the film does not provide a comprehensive history of the Chelsea Hotel or delve deeply into any one resident's story, it does offer a stunning visual and auditory portrait of the hotel's cultural significance. Viewers are left with the sense that the Chelsea was more than just a hotel - it was a living, breathing reflection of the artistic soul of New York City.

Overall, Chelsea on the Rocks is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of New York's cultural scene or the role of the Chelsea Hotel in that scene. The film is a visually stunning tribute to the hotel's unique culture and the individuals who called it home.

Chelsea on the Rocks is a 2008 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0 and a MetaScore of 57.

Chelsea on the Rocks
Where to Watch Chelsea on the Rocks
Chelsea on the Rocks is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Chelsea on the Rocks for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (486)
  • Metascore