No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

2005

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 17

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,580
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No Direction Home: Bob Dylan Photos

Movie Info

Renowned director Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan chronicles the career of the singer and songwriter during the tumultuous years between 1961 and 1966. Dylan allowed Scorsese to have access to hours of footage that had never before been made public, including a number of live performances, and footage of Dylan in the recording studio creating some of his landmark albums from the period. Dylan sits for an extensive interview, as does a variety of people who worked with him during this time period, including Joan Baez and fellow songwriter Pete Seeger. The film debuted on PBS stations around the country on September 26, 2005.

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Critic Reviews for No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (2)

  • Fans of Bob Dylan and others ambitious enough to sit through "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan" will discover early on that it yields no revelatory light to speak of on its subject.

    Jun 14, 2018 | Full Review…
  • ... Martin Scorsese has finally gotten around to doing for Bob Dylan what he did for the Band back in 1978.

    Jan 18, 2018 | Full Review…
  • As good as it gets in music documentaries.

    Sep 27, 2005
  • To narrate selected details from this journey from the Iron Range to Greenwich Village to Rock Star Babylon, we get generous, attention-span respecting clips of Dylan performances and reminiscences from carefully selected talking heads.

    Sep 23, 2005 | Full Review…

    David Yaffe

    Slate
    Top Critic
  • Creates a portrait that is deep, sympathetic, perceptive and yet finally leaves Dylan shrouded in mystery, which is where he properly lives.

    Sep 21, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • A document that will satiate Dylan fans over repeated viewings and should bring naysayers into the Dylan fold.

    Sep 12, 2005 | Full Review…

    Phil Gallo

    Variety
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

  • Nov 13, 2012
    What I liked about this is that it shows the cluelessness of the press who interviews Dylan as a phenomenon not an entertainer--"do you think you should be the leader of the rebels of your generation" "would you suck on your sunglasses for a photo" etc. The questions they asked him at the press conferences were so ridiculous, I definitely felt his pain as he tried to be polite while at the same time wanting to tell them to bugger off. I am a Dylan fan without being a Dylan worshiper. This is the first time I saw him interviewed or perform except for a lackadaisical show in Boston a number of years ago where I thought he probably had the flu--everyone else did. Anyway, I was surprised at his physical beauty. Surprised at his artistry. Surprised at the ordinariness of Joan Baez who was gifted with angelic pipes but given the curse of wanting to sing for a cause which negates the whole entertainment thing which Bob Dylan was after and for which I admire him. I admire his foray into rock and other genres and experiences. As he says, "if you're not busy being born,you're busy dying."
    Bathsheba M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 12, 2012
    Jeez, the first documentary was "Don't Look Back", and almost 40 years later, Bob Dylan still has no direction home, and he's about two years away from just going ahead and telling us that he's not there. Maybe Bob Dylan should have looked back, so he could figure just where in the world he is, because at this point, he just sounds like he got lost somewhere along way. Either that, or he keeps assuring us that he really isn't going back. I can't tell, because Bob Dylan has always been kind of hard to understand, so I was going into this documentary really hoping that Martin Scorsese could tell me exactly what is up with good ol' Bobby D, mostly because if Big Brows is going to make me sit through a two-and-a-half documentary about Bob Dylan, it better be informative. Seriously Marty, you couldn't spend an extra thirty minutes or meditating upon the life and times of the Dalai Lama in that one rushed, only 134 minute long biographical "epic", and yet, you choose to have a documentary break the 200 minute mark? Well, in all fairness, maybe this documentary stands to be little bit longer, because they barely touched on Bob Dylan's childhood as a young black boy, and barely went in depth on his career as a man's man, who's clearly a woman; I figured they would have brought that up. So yeah, as you can tell, "I'm Not There" is still my favorite biographical piece on Bob Dylan, which isn't to say that this documentary is bad, because this is quite the fine product that Scorsese has put together, yet it is to say that it's not the most enjoyable study on the folk rock legend, and for a few reasons. As interesting as Bob Dylan's life and career is, I was going into this film dubious, thinking that they couldn't pull off a three-and-a-half hour long documentary on the folk legend, and yet, upon actually seeing the film, I can comfortably say that, of course, I now know that they couldn't pull off a three-and-a-half hour long documentary on the folk legend. No, but seriously though, on the whole, this documentaries sprawling length is made to fit like a glove, yet that stretch isn't always a terribly comfortable one. The documentary goes bloated, with repetition and excess footage, not just of Bob Dylan, but of many, many fellow and inspiring folk singers, whose incorporation, or rather, at times, crowbaring into the documentary leaves its focus to fall into momentary inconsistency, occasionally to where it exacerbates the documentary's ever so mild, yet still rather present convolution, spawned mostly from the pacing being all over the place. Okay, maybe "all over the place" is a bit of an exaggeration, as the film is rarely too slow and is hardly ever, if at all too hurried, yet the film's momentum remains somewhat inconsistent, with consistency at least being in the fact that either side of pacing spectrum has occasions where it was too much, as the film gets to be ever so occasionally overbearing and often a tad dull. The film's steam takes quite the number of blows, leaving it, for all extents and purposes, to collapse under the immense pressure, maybe not to mediocrity, yet still decidedly to some degree of blandness. As it stands, however, this documentary stands as quite the satisfying one. I don't know if this film delivers because of my rule that if a film is over three hours, then it better be good, or whatever, yet eitherway it goes, this documentary gets to be piercing, and just often enough for it to stand out as very much well worth the watch. The written and Martin Scorsese's directorial structure of this documentary is rather unique, with consistent intrigue amidst a gradual rise in resonance that mirrors the story structure of an impacting feature film. Sure, this rise isn't always smooth, yet it gets there, and gets there with a kind of cleverly manipulated dramatic energy that gives the documentary a degree of scope that borders on sweeping. I don't know if you could consider this some kind of epic documentary, yet the fact of the matter is that it is so broad and cinematic, with dynamic dramatic appeal that gives the film both an enthralling grandness, as well as a sense of the complex dynamicity within both Bob Dylan and the music industry to which he belonged and, to a considerable degree, influenced the same way it influenced him. If all else fails and the dramatic aspects fall dim amidst such a lengthy study, it's still hard to not find yourself engrossed, as the documentary is simply extremely fascinating, with a strong attention to detail and insight that may also may have its spotty occasions, yet generally cuts deep in its analysis of its subject. The way the countless clips of rare and deeply insightful footage, interviews and overall material is assembled together, and atmospherically enhanced by Martin Scorsese's direction, is unique and theatrical, making such a narrative as a mere series of footage flashbacks, framed around people in an interview, feel vast, yet still concentrated. Even with spotty moments in the midst of a sprawling runtime, this documentary is consistently engaging, if not simply entertaining, on the whole. Flaws still stand and tear at the final product, yet at the end of the day it will probably take you to watch this, it's hard to not walk away generally satisfied by this both sweeping and insightfully detailed study on the life and ever a-changin' times of Bob Dylan. Overall, the lengthy runtime is achieved by such not-so commendable means as some repetition, as well as some excess footage that throws inconsistency in the documentary's focus and renders it ever so occasionally convoluted, a situation made worse by a somewhat uneven pacing, yet where the film could have fallen flat, it is, much like Bob Dylan in "Pressing On", well, pressing on, carried by a fascinating attention detail that creates engagement value, augmented by a unique structure and execution that gives the film a degree of sweeping dramatic scope and the intriguing insight that helps in making "No Direction Home" a generally satisfying, thoroughly engaging sprawler of a portrait on folk music and, most of all, one its most legendary icons. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 28, 2011
    Probably the best music documentary I've seen. This masterpiece focuses as much on the roots of Dylan as Dylan himself.
    Graham J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 12, 2011
    "You had many contact out there among the lumberjacks." A perfect mix of Dylan growing up, the controversy with turning electric (and better), and how Scorsese got a lot of the footage is incredible. Covering everything from musical and literary influences, even an interview with Ginsberg, that still leave large mysteries in the puzzle that is mumbling Bob Dylan. More than worth the afternoon it will take you to watch it. You don't want to know something is happening and not know what it is, do you, viewer?
    Jonny B Super Reviewer

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