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Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006)



Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 98
Fresh: 88 | Rotten: 10

Proving that it's neither better to burn out nor fade away, Neil Young: Heart of Gold works both as a concert film and a meditation on mortality.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 5

Proving that it's neither better to burn out nor fade away, Neil Young: Heart of Gold works both as a concert film and a meditation on mortality.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 92,268

My Rating

Movie Info

In the fall of 2005, Neil Young returned to the sound and style of his iconic 1972 album Harvest with Prairie Wind, a set of ten songs which look to America's past and future accompanied by sweet but rough-hewn country-rock. The album was written and recorded after Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, and shortly before he went into the hospital for surgery for the condition, Young played a pair of special concerts at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry,

Jun 13, 2006


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All Critics (101) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (88) | Rotten (10) | DVD (13)

...Even those who haven't followed Young's every recent move could well find his performance here surprisingly captivating.

October 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The best moments in the film are when Ellen Kuras's camera just sits there taking in the whole stage, the whole gorgeous ecosystem.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It doesn't penetrate his craggy mystique, or make us hear his music in a new way. Instead, it's the same old choir song.

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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This Prairie Wind concert is one long sweet twang of wistful not-quite-regret.

March 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

When it comes to pop-music icons, Neil Young is the full package.

March 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some defiant rockers are forever young. This one is in name only.

February 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic


August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Proves it's better to burn out, than to fade away.

June 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Upstage Magazine
Upstage Magazine

Pleasant, but hardly pulse-quickening stuff.

October 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK] | Comment (1)
Guardian [UK]

Shows the famed songwriter's performance and work off with reverance, and a faithfullness to the live experience.

October 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The result is simply spellbinding.

October 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

...Neil Young has experimented with film many times, but this is by far the most accessible cinematic treatment of his music; a troubadour at the top of his game.

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: BBC

Young's presence, his heartfelt delivery, and the audience's fore-knowledge of his brain aneurysm add enough weight to make the film a surprisingly emotional experience

August 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A potent brew of humanity, empathy, and dignity.

June 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Regardless of what you call it, Heart of Gold is a revelation and one of 2006's best movies.

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source:

Demme continues to make concert films not because he's a fan, but because the concerts are inherantly cinematic and make perfect sense.

June 11, 2006 Full Review Source:

...The arrival of Neil Young: Heart of Gold should be an inspiration to music buffs and cinephiles alike.

May 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

The beauty of the movie is in how alive it all sounds: rich and rueful and satisfying.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

While his lyrics aren't complicated, both the words and the delivery reflect years of pain and anguish, particularly in seeing time pass, friends come and go.

May 4, 2006 Full Review Source:

As pure of a musical concert film as I've ever seen.

May 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

The usual scope and spectacle of filmed concerts is done away with for a creation of intimacy.

April 27, 2006 Full Review

Lets the music do the talking and that's great as far as I'm concerned: I love Young's sound.

April 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It shows the whole of Young's music as a well-worn mixture of brawn and grace. But it reveals the new Young album, Prairie Wind, as a sometimes musty echo of his 1972 acoustic-rock classic, Harvest.

April 6, 2006
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Audience Reviews for Neil Young: Heart of Gold

In 2005, lauded musician Neil Young was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. After getting this news, he wrote and recorded Prairie Wind- an album of ten sweet and folksy, but rough-hewn country rock songs that are both reflective on the past, but also look into the future. Shortly before he went in for surgery to correct the brain aneurysm, Young and his band, along with special guest Emmylou Harris, played a pair of concerts at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee- the original home of the Grand Ole Opery. The concerts featured the Praire Wind album in its entirety, along with an encore set of older songs that had been previously recorded in Nashville.

Filmmaker Jonathan Demme was there to document this event on camera, and this film, is the resulting compilation of the major highlights. It's very folksy, reflective, and full of sentimentality. Only one song features an electric guitar, but there's still a great deal of heart, soul, and hope to be found here.

Peppered with some of Neil's dry humor and a few interviews at the beginning, this is an elegantly simple concert film that is quite enjoyable and really comforting. The great thing about Neil is that he's always been great at performing both folksy acoustic music and raw electric jams with great skill. All of what's featured here is the former, but, even though I tend to prefer his more 'grungy' electric stuff, sometimes nothing beats the lighter stuff.

All of the musicians are at the top of their game, the Prairie Wind album is pretty decent, and the songs for the 'classics' set are well chosen, and have a few of my favorites like "Heart of Gold", "Harvest Moon", and "The Needle and the Damage Done", so that makes me happy.

If you're a fan, you definitely dig it. If you're not a die hard, you might find it to be decent, and if you're a newcomer, this might not be the best place to start, but it probably couldn't hurt, either.
May 2, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Well shot and interesting, but the featured album (Prairie Wind) is kind of "same old Neil," and though listenable, the lyrics are kind of schlocky. As far as concert films go, though, this is something worth seeing - the Ryman auditorium is such an amazing venue.
June 18, 2007

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Neil Young: Heart of Gold" is a concert film capturing Neil Young and friends performing songs from his album "Prairie Wind", along with some of his older songs, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in 2005. The movie as directed by Jonathan Demme places the emphasis where it belongs - squarely on the musicians, the audience never being shown.(I recall a critic praising Demme for using a similar technique in "Stop Making Sense." Now, there is a movie I have to see one of these days...) The empty auditorium is shown at the start and end of the film. There are perfunctory interviews in the beginning which set the scene(the new album, Neil Young's recovery from a brain aneurysm, etc.), mostly filmed in the back seat of cars which give the impression of there being little time to spare. The concert itself is wistful and contemplative, with Neil Young paying homage to times gone by, and people no longer alive, especially his father who had just died. Overall, he gives the impression of somebody at peace with himself.[/font]
April 26, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A fitting tribute to a great and still underappreciated artist. Demme succeeds where Young fails in his later Trunk Show film. Well rounded film that lets the music do the talking and what a story it tells.
January 30, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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