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Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune (2011)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

78

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,793

My Rating

Movie Info

Documentary filmmaker Kenneth Bowser profiles American folk singer Phil Ochs, who rose to fame in the 1960s and whose hopeful, incisive ballads were written to inspire positive change in an era of profound social turbulence. Equally critical of the left and the right -- not to mention the politically apathetic -- Ochs penned countless songs and released seven albums, ultimately growing a sizable following thanks to his positive message and talent for songwriting. In 1976, following the deaths of

Jul 19, 2011

$0.3M

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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

"Phil Ochs" not only is a good look at a man who carved a small but important niche into the folk world but a good record of the turbulent 1960s and what motivated its protesters.

March 17, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The short and tragic life of Phil Ochs is as involving as the music he wrote and played, and that is saying a great deal.

March 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A compassionate but not uncritical portrait of an artist whose creativity and vulnerability were inseparable from the political distemper of his era.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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At once an unsentimental portrait of the ambitious singer who thought himself bound for glory, and an affecting elegy for a time when song was a form of revolution.

January 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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A complex portrait of an ultimately unknowable man.

January 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A warts-and-all portrait of a singer and his celebrity, Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune is an overdue look at the '60s folk movement's anti-Dylan.

January 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Top-notch documentary on edgy protest singer-songwriter of the 1960s and 1970s Phil Ochs.

August 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This brilliantly composed docu about Phil Ochs not only captures the power of the singer/songwriter's personality, it reveals the period's social and poltical strife by following events in his career and reflected in his lyrics.

July 26, 2011 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

Kenneth Bowser's loving but honest documentary gives him his proper due as an important artist, without sugarcoating his troubled, and eventually self-destructive, nature.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

It's a bit too worshipful, but certainly fills in the gaps in our knowledge of the life and times of the late 1960s singer-songwriter.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

An engaging, sobering documentary that celebrates his life and music while suggesting that in the Dylan-Ochs rivalry, Ochs never had a chance.

March 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

... a "must see" for those who lived through the turbulent 1960s, and those who today question our country's continuing engagement in foreign wars.

March 19, 2011 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

Proves his work is still relevant, even if you don't know the words.

March 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

If nothing else, this film serves as a neat introduction to the music that helped create the anti-Vietnam War movement and define a generation.

March 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Ken Bowser's film biography of a seminal American protest singer of the '60s and '70s is conventionally told but also informative and moving.

March 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

First-time filmmakers Wes Orshoski and Greg Olliver trained their cameras on Lemmy for three years and the results paid off.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

More than just a biopic of the famed troubadour, Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune is also a brief, brisk, brilliant history of social turmoil in America in the '60s.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Despite all the sadness and disappointment in his story, Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune is an invigorating survey of its subject's life and times.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY
eye WEEKLY

This film, which shows Ochs' life -- flaws and all -- offers up a history lesson to those who are not that familiar with his musical work and societal contributions, and for Phil Ochs it provides some overdue recognition.

February 6, 2011 Full Review Source: NY1-TV
NY1-TV

keenly contrived

January 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

...keenly contrived

January 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A touching look at a great American performer with a moral about ambition as well.

January 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

Audience Reviews for Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune

This soon-to-be beloved documentary may have the inspiration it needs, but without a larger budget to put this documentary together it is extremely dull. The story is intriguing and Phil Ochs is an amazing human beings, but there is a big chunck of something missing that most great documentaries have, a certain direction with the interviews. I held my hands up with my hands in boredom as I was watching this film, but by the end of the picture, I was facinated by how such an average person became so rich and famous. This was a very solid documentary and I recommend it!
August 9, 2011
KJ Proulx

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