Almost Famous

Critics Consensus

Almost Famous, with its great ensemble performances and story, is a well-crafted, warm-hearted movie that successfully draws you into its era.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 166

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 324,833
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Movie Info

Writer and director Cameron Crowe's experiences as a teenage rock journalist -- he was a regular contributor to Rolling Stone while still in high school -- inspired this coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy hitting the road with an up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s. Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand) is a bright, loving, but strict single parent whose distrust of rock music and fears about drug use have helped to drive a wedge between herself and her two children, Anita (Zooey Deschanel) and William (Patrick Fugit). Anita rebels by dropping out of school and becoming a stewardess, but William makes something of his love of rock & roll by writing album reviews for a local underground newspaper. William's work attracts the attention of Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), editor of renegade rock magazine Creem, who takes William under his wing and gives him his first professional writing assignment -- covering a Black Sabbath concert. While William is unable to score an interview with the headliners, the opening act, Stillwater, are more than happy to chat with a reporter, even if he's still too young to drive, and William's piece on the group in Creem gains him a new admirer in Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen), an editor at Rolling Stone. Torres offers William an assignment for a 3,000-word cover story on Stillwater, and over the objections of his mother (whose parting words are "Don't use drugs!"), and after some stern advice from Bangs (who says under no circumstances should he become friends with a band he's covering), Williams joins Stillwater on tour, where he becomes friendly with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee). William also becomes enamored of Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a groupie traveling with the band who is no older than William, but is deeply involved with Russell. Lester Bangs and Ben Fong-Torres, incidentally, were real-life rock writers Crowe worked with closely during his days as a journalist. Almost Famous' original score was composed by Nancy Wilson of Heart (who is also Crowe's wife). ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

Billy Crudup
as Russell Hammond
Frances McDormand
as Elaine Miller
Kate Hudson
as Penny Lane
Jason Lee
as Jeff Bebe
Patrick Fugit
as William Miller
Noah Taylor
as Dick Roswell
Anna Paquin
as Polexia Aphrodesia
Fairuza Balk
as Sapphire
Zooey Deschanel
as Anita Miller
John Fedevich
as Ed Vallencourt
Jimmy Fallon
as Dennis Hope
Bijou Phillips
as Estrella Starr
Eion Bailey
as Jann Wenner
Terry Chen
as Ben Fong-Torres
Erin Foley
as Alison the Fact Checker
Zach Ward
as The Legendary Red Dog
Olivia Rosewood
as Beth from Denver
Alice Marie Crowe
as Mrs. Deegan
Mark Kozelek
as Larry Fellows
Michael Angarano
as Young William
J.J. Cohen
as Roadie Scully
Gary Douglas Kohn
as Roadie Gregg
Ray Porter
as Roadie Mick
Rainn Wilson
as David Felton
Charles Walker
as Principal
Jay Baruchel
as Vic Munoz
Pauley Perrette
as Alice Wisdom
Mitch Hedberg
as Eagles Road Manager
Devin Corey
as The Who Road Manager
Pete Droge
as Hyatt Singer
Elaine Summers
as Hyatt Singer
Eric Stonestreet
as Sheldon the Desk Clerk
Marc Maron
as Angry Promoter
Shane Willard
as Ticket Scalper
Chris McElprang
as Aaron Amedori
Kate Peckham
as Quiet Girl
Júlia Schüler
as Waving Girl
Brian Vaughan
as Real Topeka Kid
Anthony Martelli
as Poolside Provocateur
Ian Ridgeway
as Topeka Partier
Isaac Curtiss
as Topeka Partier
Chris Lennon Davis
as Topeka Partier
Reathel Bean
as Warwick Hotel Clerk
Tom Riis Farrell
as Plaza Doctor
Samuel Aaron Roberson
as High School Band Member
Brian Andreasen
as High School Band Member
Jared Hren
as High School Band Member
Mary Dragicevich
as High School Band Member
Aura Barr
as High School Band Member
Daniel Wilson
as Journalism Teacher
Holly Maples
as Flight Attendant
Matt Griesser
as PSA Co-Pilot
Susan Yeagley
as Have a Nice Day Stewardess
Nicole Spector
as Hippie Girl at Airport
Patrick Irmen
as Wanna Get High Guy
Nick Swardson
as Insane Bowie Fan
Cindy Weber
as Shocked Elevator Family Member
Kris Weber
as Shocked Elevator Family Member
Kaitlyn Weber
as Shocked Elevator Family Member
Kimberly Weber
as Shocked Elevator Family Member
Kristin Weber
as Shocked Elevator Family Member
Samer Sourakli
as Mustache Boy
Michelle Moretti
as Swingo's Desk Clerk
Ana Maria Quintana
as Arizona Housekeeper
Lisa Buchignani
as Arizona Housekeeper
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Critic Reviews for Almost Famous

All Critics (166) | Top Critics (37)

Audience Reviews for Almost Famous

  • Nov 06, 2017
    Majestic in storytelling and musicality, Almost Famous displays the brilliance of Cameron Crowe as well as breakthrough performances from Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand. The film's sleek humor and originality is a highlight that puts this above Crowe's achievements as well as listings for the year. 4/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2016
    One of the best "music movies" ever made and one of my favorite movies of all time. It must've been pretty easy for Cameron Crowe to write this film as it is loosely based on his experiences as a young writer on the road with the Allman Brothers Band in the 1960s-1970s. Film has arguably one of the best assembled soundtracks of all time. Billy Crudup is amazing as guitarist Russell Hammond and Jason Lee, who is known more for comedic roles, turns in an excellent dramatic performance as well. This movie is a must see even if you aren't a huge music fan as it is also an excellent coming-of-age film as well.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2015
    What really inspired me to watch Almost Famous was the soundtrack at first, which includes the likes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, David Bowie, The Who and Led Zeppelin. After watching the film, I looked over it as a really solid and strangely comforting film. Every time you watch Almost Famous, its like returning to your family at Christmas, comforting yet quixotic and constantly entertaining, especially if you're a fan of rock music and/or grew up in the era. The film features good performances and the emotional integrity of the characters is so raw that the film is almost autobiographical of our favourote celebrities and the people we had posters of on our walls as children, immortal and total. "It's all happening..."
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 20, 2015
    It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why this movie works so well, an excellent blend of drama, romance and crisp believable dialogue. The cast is deep and deliver strong performances. A captivating look into rock-and-roll circa 1970. The film is not really about any one particular theme be it young love, discovery or friendship. It is really more of a trip, a road trip, discovering and probing all of these things and more. I like to think of it as a look into the nature of basic human relationships (in their many forms) tested by the turmoil of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. Sometimes people do noble things, sometimes selfish thing, but always believable things. All of these elements create a very warm film that is surprisingly human in its approach. The sound track is also very strong and paired well with each scene. One scene was particularly memorable: a simple sing-a-long on a bus against the back drop of a classic song. Most people have at least one strong memory of this simple true Americana pleasure from their childhood, and this scene taps into that emotion. This was, in my humble opinion, Cameron Crowe's last really strong movie after a number of hits (including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything and Singles). These movies all share a common bond in that they were crafted with care, attention and a sharp eye for detail creating engrossing time capsules of these time periods (or places) and the social relationships of the characters. My small critique of this film, and most of Crowe's work, is that he can be heavy handed with the sitcom one-liners. While some of these lines pay off really well, others are a bit jarring.
    Shane S Super Reviewer

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