The Who: The Kids Are Alright - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Who: The Kids Are Alright Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 14, 2010
A cracking compilation of archive interview and performance footage of The Who. This type of thing usually gets no further than preaching to the converted, but "The Kids Are Alright" is exceptional in that it could just turn you on to a band you might previously have been ambivalent about. What is abundantly clear to anyone is that they were an awesome live act, comprised of the best rock bassist, perhaps the best drummer and one of the most original songwriters of the era. Oh, and Roger Daltrey. The downside is that the interview footage is not especially illuminating. John Entwistle is largely reticent and Keith Moon hides behind his genial twit facade, but Daltrey manages to drop a few pearls of honest, no-nonsense wisdom. Pete Townshend comes across as a fascinating character, alternately self-effacing, jokey or pompous depending on how highbrow the interview is. My highlight was watching them record "Who Are You?" in the studio.
May 9, 2011
As a source of archive for The Who, this film worked really well. However, it did not really allow the audience to get to know the band beyond a few of their interviews. And, it needed to be more edited.
January 21, 2010
There's not much rhyme or reason to the construction of this movie; it's all interviews, TV appearances, promotional films and live performances thrown together. Only occasionally will there be some thematic link between one piece and the next. The Who was an exciting band with a sense of humor, so most of the material is golden. But why wasn't there anything from my favorite album, Quadrophenia? 9+ minutes of "Won't Get Fooled Again" and not one second of "Love Reign O'er Me"? Bah.
½ January 16, 2010
I love The Who, and I loved this movie. Has great live performance snippits spanning their entire career and it also shows some great interviews and homemovies of theirs. If you are a Who fan or even just a casual rock and roll fan, you'll love this film.
October 21, 2009
I finally opened this after having it forever. We used to watch this in my basement in high school all the time with the tv hooked up to the stereo for full effect. A great rockumentary with a small goldmine of stuff on Keith Moon the Loon . . .
½ August 14, 2005
From the footage of Tommy Smothers getting RF'd by Keith to John skeet shooting his gold records this one rocks.

And while I do like it, the idea the producers forced Pete to do the last two perfs (Won't Get Fooled Again and Baba O'Reily) live and these are the two Pete credits pushing his hearing loss to it's worst state, frankly blows.

Long Live Rock.
May 24, 2005
[color=#ffffff]Exuberant compilation of footage spanning the career of the Who, following the group from their initiation in Britain to their famous guitar-smashing antics in the '70s to their eventual comeback. It's a monumentally disjointed rock doc, but the various interviews and television appearances are hilarious, the concert footage is electric, and the soundtrack is superb; fans of the band will be especially pleased.[/color]
March 30, 2005
[color=blue]The greatest rock documentrey of all time, The Kids Are Alright, chronicles the rock band The Who, who lasted 20+ years with at least two of their original members. The Who...smashed guitars... drove cars into swimming pools...the legendary, most explosive rock band ever. The four original members of The Who includes Pete Townshhend, Keith Moon (Dead), John Entwisle (Dead), and Roger Daltrey. This is one of the best movies I've seen and is currently in my Top Ten.[/color]

[color=#0000ff]Yours truly,[/color]
½ September 25, 2004
When The Who started making waves in the music world in the mid-'60s, they were explosive. Jeff Stein's documentary "The Kids Are Alright" proves this by opening with their 1967 appearance on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". As Rock and Roll legend tells it, drummer Keith Moon loaded his kit with three times the gunpowder than was necessary for the show. Instead of a small pyrotechnics display, their performance of "My Generation" that evening ended with a major explosion, leaving leader Pete Townshend dazed, confused, and suffering from hearing problems for the rest of his life. But that was The Who. No other band in their prime was better able to summon the spirit of balls-to-the-wall Rock and Roll. "The Kids Are Alright" is not exactly a revealing documentary. It's nothing more than a bunch of performance clips, intercut every so often with snippets of interviews. The audience for this is simply Who fans. If you like The Who's music, you'll enjoy this movie. I happen to love the music of The Who. There's not really a whole lot to learn here. This doesn't chronicle the recording of an album, the falling apart of the group, or their therapy sessions. (Although the timing is right. The movie was released in 1979, the year after Moon's death. The Who would never be the same again.) We get scenes of Townshend - who loves his own voice - talking and raging about one thing or the other. He'll tell you The Who's music has no quality and is nothing more than "musical sensationalism," then follow this in another interview by saying, "Pop music is crucial to today's art, . . . crucial it should progress as art." It's obvious he's passionate about both sentiments. We get several scenes of Moon, one of Rock and Roll's all-time clowns. Moon was always on, and always thinking of the next great prank. There's Keith Moon taking off his shoes and tossing his socks on interviewer Russell Harty. There's another interview he gives stripped to the waist, wearing a leather mask, while being whipped by a dominatrix. And, of course, there's a montage devoted to Moon's hotel problems. His destruction of hotel rooms was so problematic, in fact, it supposedly earned The Who a life-time ban from all Holiday Inns. There's not a thing done in Rock today that The Who didn't do first. In contrast to Townshend and Moon, lead singer Roger Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle are fairly quiet. Daltrey pops off a quote in an interview every now and then, but he's much better at expressing himself onstage. He doesn't even look like he's interested in speaking to Tommy Smothers. At the end, when all the band members provide a closing thought, Entwistle says, "I can't think of anything to say." It occurred to me then that we didn't hear him say a thing for the entire movie. But we don't come to this movie to hear Townshend talk, Moon act up, or Entwistle think. Not entirely, anyway. We come to hear the music. I like that it's not chronological. It gives a more off-the-cuff feel that way. The various clips give us plenty of opportunity to study what made The Who so good. You so rarely see bands that so completely throw themselves into a performance. Townshend's guitar playing is so widely imitated that many who copy it have no idea who did it first. But Townshend onstage, standing spread-eagled, arm upraised ready to swing down on the guitar, is a classic Rock and Roll image. Moon is himself a percussive instrument, and when he throws himself onto his kit, you get the idea that that's exactly the noise he intended to make. It's most fun to watch Moon. He has such a childish enthusiasm while playing. He's a man who has made the world his playground, so he has to look at his job as a time to cut loose. The happiness he displays while playing is infectious. Daltrey has one of the greatest voices in the business, and how fortunate that Townshend found just the right mouth for his words. In interviews, Daltrey stands back, almost out of shyness. When he's singing, he's delivering the most important sermon in the world. Then there's Entwistle, who just stands there while on stage. But take a look at those hands. His fingers are dancing so fast over his bass, they're practically a blur. Highlights in the movie include the closing hair-raising performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again" and a studio performance of the recording of "Who Are You". The band is as exuberant in the studio as they are on stage, and I don't believe it's just because there was a camera there. Another movie highlight is, of course, a montage of Townshend destroying guitar after guitar. Like I said, there's not a thing happening in Rock and Roll today that The Who didn't do first. Townshend and Daltrey are the only members alive today. We sadly lost Moon to an overdose of pills, and Entwistle died in a Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel room in 2002 with a prostitute on one side of him and a line of coke on the other. Sad, indeed, but so very Rock and Roll.
April 10, 2016
A very real and essential rockumentary about The Who. A must for Who fans. Some rare footage is fascinating. The various vignettes and concert excerpts are together to provide an excellent time capsule of one of the greatest and most influential rock bands ever. Keith Moon died during the editing of the film, so the era provided encapsulates the genuine era of his tenure with the band. Some regard the true end of the band came with Moon's death.

The film is not that great, but the footage is priceless.
July 12, 2014
Outstanding piece of film!
½ October 14, 2013
My friends call me Keith, you can call me John.
May 10, 2013
As far as music documentaries go, this is effective in its simplest form, as widely constructed with the use of archive footage from concerts, tv show appearences and interviews we see the evolution of The Who, one of the most famous and one of the best rock and roll bands ever. To top it off, there are specially filmed performances including a beautifully shot performance of their famour hit 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. A priceless primary source based document on pop music culture, obviously filled with some amazing music.
½ November 5, 2012
.Right inbetween "Woodstock" and "The Last Waltz", this movie is the definition of rock and roll and deserves its notoriety as perhaps the great rock movie of the 20th century.
August 22, 2012
One of the best rock doc's out there with great music from one of the greatest rock groups of all time
May 28, 2012
What can i say? Greatest band ever!
November 11, 2011
The musical performances are incredible, but I desperately wish there could have been some interviews where the bandmembers actually talked honestly as opposed to combinations of sarcasm and outright silliness.
November 11, 2011
It was great to see footage of Keith Moon in one of the best music films I've ever seen.
August 12, 2011
Feels like someone captured a bunch of awesome performances and weird interviews and then forgot to edit them all together to make any sense. There's no sense of cohesion and not much in this doc you couldn't find by randomly looking at youtube clips.
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