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No Direction Home

No Direction Home
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Bob Dylan
Theme music composer Bob Dylan
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Susan Lacy
Jeff Rosen
Martin Scorsese
Nigel Sinclair
Anthony Wall
Editor(s) David Tedeschi
Cinematography Mustapha Barat
Running time 208 minutes
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Original release
  • July 21, 2005 (2005-07-21)

No Direction Home is a documentary film by Martin Scorsese that traces the life of Bob Dylan, and his impact on 20th-century American popular music and culture. The film focuses on the period between Dylan's arrival in New York in January 1961 and his "retirement" from touring following his motorcycle accident in July 1966. This period encapsulates Dylan's rise to fame as a folk singer and songwriter, and the controversy surrounding his move to a rock style of music. The title is taken from a lyric of Dylan's 1965 hit single, "Like a Rolling Stone".

Production and content

The film was first shown on television in both the United States (as part of the American Masters series on PBS) and the United Kingdom (as part of the Arena series on BBC Two) on September 26–27, 2005.[1] A DVD version of the film and accompanying soundtrack album (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack) were released that same month.

The project eventually titled as No Direction Home began to take shape in 1995 when Dylan's manager, Jeff Rosen, began scheduling interviews with Dylan's friends and associates. Among those interviewed were poet Allen Ginsberg and folk musician Dave Van Ronk, both of whom died before the film was completed. Dylan's old girlfriend Suze Rotolo also granted a rare interview, and she later told Rolling Stone Magazine that she was very pleased with the project's results. Dylan himself also sat for ten hours in a relaxed and open conversation with Rosen in 2000.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, an unnamed source close to the project claimed that Dylan himself had no involvement with the project apart from the interview, saying that "[Dylan] has no interest in this . . . Bob truly does not look back." However, work on the first installment of Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Vol. 1, did overlap production of the project, though it's unclear how much, if any, influence Chronicles may have had on No Direction Home.

Though raw material was being gathered for the project, Rosen needed someone to edit and shape it into a quality motion picture, and celebrated filmmaker Martin Scorsese was approached to 'direct' the documentary planned from the project. Scorsese eventually agreed and came aboard in 2001.

In the meantime, Dylan's offices gathered hundreds of hours of historical film footage dating from the time covered in No Direction Home. These included a scratchy recording of Dylan's high school rock band, his 1965 screen test for Andy Warhol, and newly discovered footage of the famous Manchester Free Trade Hall concert from May 17, 1966, when an angry fan called out "Judas!" just before Dylan and The Hawks performed "Like A Rolling Stone." Shot by D.A. Pennebaker, the onstage color footage was found in 2004 in a pile of water-damaged film recovered from Dylan's vault.

The cover photo on the DVD package, by Barry Feinstein, shows Dylan standing in front of the Aust Ferry terminal in Gloucestershire, England, in May 1966, shortly before the opening of the Severn Bridge which replaced the ferry.

Reception and awards

The film received positive reviews from film critics, as review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 93% of critics gave the film positive write-ups, based on 14 reviews.[2] Critic Roger Ebert gave the film 4/4 stars, stating that it "creates a portrait that is deep, sympathetic, perceptive and yet finally leaves Dylan shrouded in mystery, which is where he properly lives".[3] The film received a Peabody Award in April 2006[4] and a Columbia-duPont Award in January 2007,[5] and Martin Scorsese received a Grammy Award in direction for best long-form video.


  • No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan, Robert Shelton, 1986, Da Capo Press reprint 2003, ISBN 0-306-81287-8
  1. ^ "Bob Dylan About the Film". 
  2. ^ "No Direction Home". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (2005-09-20). "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  4. ^ 65th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2006.
  5. ^ "Past duPont Award Winners". The Journalism School, Columbia University. 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2008. 

External links

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