Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

Watch Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

  • R
  • 2020
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 7.4  (2,070)
  • 61

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band is a documentary film that explores the history of a group called The Band and their lead guitarist, Robbie Robertson. The film starts with Robertson's childhood in Toronto and his early experiences in the music industry. It then moves on to cover the formation of The Band, their rise to fame and eventual breakup.

One of the most striking things about Once Were Brothers is the incredible range of famous musicians and artists that appear in the film providing interviews and insights into The Band's music and influence. These include such luminaries as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Taj Mahal, and Martin Scorsese, who directed the concert documentary film The Last Waltz in which The Band played their farewell concert in 1976.

Through these interviews and archival footage, the film paints a vivid picture of the environment in which The Band emerged. In the mid-1960s, they were a group of young Canadians that ended up backing up Bob Dylan, leading to Dylan's infamous "going electric" and the subsequent tour of 1966 that included some of the most famous rock concerts of all time. The Band left Dylan's tour and honed their own distinctive style, blending rock, blues, folk and country sounds into a unique sound that became hugely influential.

The film also delves into the internal dynamics of The Band, and especially the creative partnership between Robertson and the late Richard Manuel, the group's pianist and vocalist. Robertson and Manuel were close friends, but also struggled with addiction and personal demons. Their relationship is explored in depth in Once Were Brothers, with Robertson providing a candid and heartfelt account of the joys and challenges of working with Manuel.

In many ways, the story of The Band is a classic tale of musicianship, creativity and collaboration, but the film does not shy away from the darker aspects of the group's history. Particularly moving is the account of how the Band's drummer, Levon Helm, was diagnosed with throat cancer in the late 1990s, leading to a reunion between Helm and Robertson after years of tension and estrangement.

Overall, Once Were Brothers is a beautifully crafted and moving tribute to one of the most iconic and influential bands of the 20th century. The film captures the magic and majesty of The Band's music, and the complicated relationships that fueled their creativity. It's a must-see for anyone interested in the history of rock and roll, and an important reminder of the power of music to bring people together and tell stories that change the world.

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band is a 2020 history movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4 and a MetaScore of 61.

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
Where to Watch Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (2,070)
  • Metascore