Critics Consensus

Kevin Macdonald's exhaustive, evenhanded portrait of Bob Marley offers electrifying concert footage and fascinating insights into reggae's greatest star.



Reviews Counted: 106

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Average Rating: 4.3/5

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Movie Info

Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Marley is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Marley

All Critics (106) | Top Critics (32)

  • Marley is highly watchable, finely crafted legacy preservation - and it's either a white-washed sham or awesomely shaded.

    May 18, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It wants to show us the man behind the famous dreads, beatific smile and durable songs of love, hope and longing. In this task it succeeds admirably.

    May 17, 2012 | Rating: 3/4
  • Sprinkled with riffs, concert footage and home videos, the family-authorized documentary does what the artist usually did: When in doubt, return to the beat.

    Apr 20, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Scott Bowles

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • Macdonald supplies some interesting and novel details about the musician's life and art, though the movie's narrative arc and documentary methods are totally predictable.

    Apr 20, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Given the legal and logistical constraints on this long-delayed project, this lengthy movie is as comprehensive a history as Marley's fans could have hoped, but the uninitiated may not catch a fire.

    Apr 20, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Bob Marley wrote the same song about 8,000 times, and the documentary "Marley" makes sure to include each version.

    Apr 20, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Marley


An exhaustive (2.5 hour) chronicle of the life of the world famous reggae legend. Die-hard fans will be thrilled with the extensive interviews and concert footage; as a more casual fan, after an hour I had learned almost everything I ever wanted to know about the man and was ready for the filmmakers to wrap it up---I was shocked to realize I was less than halfway through the movie.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer


Marley is an insightful, inspirational, and deeply moving documentary on the life of a legend. Though the runtime is a bit much, and the film starts to drag near the end, for the most part, Marly features electrifying concert footage, and great interviews. Hilarious, touching, disturbing, exhausting, fascinating and sad, Marley is a must see for any Bob Marley fan.

Raymond Wieser
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

Marley is a must watch documentary about the musical icon that was and is Bob Marley. There isn't a person around who doesn't know the name, despite the fact that they may not be familiar with his music. For fans of his, this is a real treat. Marley's life is handled with such care. Every aspect of his life is given its due share. We see the life of Marley from his birth to a white man and black woman to his ultimate death at the age of 36. In between, there's a lot of emphasis put on his political and religious views.  I couldn't think another documentary will ever touch this one on sheer information and entertainment value. There's some better musical figure documentaries out there, but not too many. This isn't only a must watch for his die hard fans, but for music lovers in general. Even if you don't like him, there's no denying that he is one of the biggest icons in music ever. You definitely have to have a taste for his music to enjoy it, but still, even if you don't like his music, watch this film. Marley is a informative, entertaining, and stunning piece of filmmaking. It's a long film, at about two and a half hours, but the runtime never drags. There's enough stuff that happened in Marley's life to warrant a runtime of this scale. There's some great footage and pictures that just add to the overall entertainment value the film already has. There's amazing interviews that range from Marley's lovers to his kids to his lawyer to his childhood friends to his bandmates. Each interview gives us another piece of Marley's life. I expected a great documentary and that is exactly what I got. I was glued to the movie the entire time and actually did end up learn some stuff I had never even heard about. It's a movie that knows exactly what it set out to achieve and it did, and then some.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer


Bob Marley is one of the most iconic musicians that ever lived. Director Kevin Macdonald crafts a solid documentary about the life of the legendary Reggae musician. Comprising of interviews with the people that knew him best, Marley is a near perfect film, one that definitely is a must see for fans of the artist. Brilliant in telling his story, Marley is among the best music documentaries that I've seen. Bob Marley's life is legendary and his contribution to the music world is unique. Even if you're not a fan of his music, you can't deny the impact that Bob Marley has had on music. This film covers all the aspects from his life. With terrific interviews and archival footage, Marley is a fine film that should definitely appeal to fans of his music. In terms of a documentary, Marley is definitely a well constructed film that tells important facts on its subject. This is a well put together film that should be seen by every music lover, even if you're not a fan of Marley's music, give this film a shot. Very insightful and it gives a history of the birth of Reggae music as well. I've seen plenty of documentaries on various genres of music as well as rock and metal bands, and Marley is among the best music documentaries that you can watch. Although Reggae is not my style of music, I certainly loved the film, and thought the interviews were well done, amusing, sad and thorough. Fans of Bob Marley's music will love this stunning film.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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