Rockin' Reels (Or, How I Learned About The Sixties)

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There has been much conversation at Talk of the Nation over our Rock and Roll movie segment. Is Saturday Night Fever a rock and roll movie or merely a disco abomination? Why does Val Kilmer look so much like Jim Morrison? Which Elvis movie is truly the best? These are questions for the ages, but it's quite possible that Murray Horwitz has some of the please, please, please tell us what you think are the quintessential rock movies.



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The Who has a knack for making great rock operas that end up as terrible movies. Go back and watch either Tommy or Quadrophenia and ask yourself if they withstand the test of time like Viva Las Vegas. Okay, maybe Viva is dated, too, but man, check out Ann-Margaret in the closing number. Oh yeah, forgot about that Ann-Margaret beans scene in Tommy. Anyway.... What was I saying?

Oh, and let's not forget Jesus Christ Superstar. Yeah, it's dated, but hey, it's a period piece. :-)

Sent by andy carvin | 3:28 PM | 3-15-2007

"This is Spinal Tap" is certainly the quintessential rock 'mockumentary.'

Sent by D Frank | 3:34 PM | 3-15-2007

Best rock movies?

Blow Up

Almost no dialogue, the Yardbirds onstage and Vanessa Redgrave in swinging London... what more could you want? The scene with David Hemmings stumbling out of the Yardbirds gig with a shattered guitar neck clutched in his hand is timeless.

Sent by Mela | 3:47 PM | 3-15-2007

"This is Spinal Tap" is definitely a rock and roll movie - albeit it's a mockumentary. One of the best though (outside of Woodstock)is "The Last Waltz."

Sent by Liz DeLaRossa | 3:49 PM | 3-15-2007

is the Beatles 'Help' never shown anymore and is not for sale anywhere. Is it because it's politicaly incorrect?

Sent by Bruce | 3:51 PM | 3-15-2007

THe ROlling Stones' Rack and ROll Circus--a wonderful movie, a post-modern variety show including old circus performers. I think it was made for tv but not widely shown, perhaps because the Stones thought that the Who outshone them. But they didn't! It's on dvd.

Sent by Sarah Wilcox | 3:53 PM | 3-15-2007

The Last Waltz is my favorite. An unbelievable collection of musical talent wrapped around the history of The Band. Pulling this oldie off the shelf is a great way to spend a Saturday night

Sent by Mac from Syracuse | 3:55 PM | 3-15-2007

Rock n Roll High School -- for sheer exuberance!!!

Or turn in your dancing shoes

Sent by Eddy Goldberg, Amherst, Mass | 3:55 PM | 3-15-2007

What about Almost Famous? By far, I believe this was the best rock n' roll movie of all time.

Sent by Kellie | 3:59 PM | 3-15-2007

I believe "Help" is hung-up because of legal and copyright issues. You recall that it was only a few wks ago that Beatles' songs finally became available for iPods and similar devices. That is, the legal issues involved in those songs was finally resolved.

Prob only a matter of time before "Help" is released as a DVD,

Sent by phillip g torrez | 4:00 PM | 3-15-2007

Gotta agree with Rocky Horror, what about Eddie and the Cruisers?

Sent by Gina | 4:00 PM | 3-15-2007

"This is Spinal Tap" is totally the quitisential rock movie!
What about "Hair". It not only had some decent classic rock, but it was all about the revolutionary influences of the music.

Sent by Cassie | 4:02 PM | 3-15-2007

Grease is one of my favorite rock and roll musicals.

and there should be one more category in addition to the three mentioned on the air (documentary, musical, about rock) - movies that just have great rock soundtracks.

I'm specifically thinking of Platoon.

Sent by Lou, Jacksonville, NC | 4:03 PM | 3-15-2007

Let's not forget about the infamous Ramones movie Rock n' Roll High School. One of my favorites!

Sent by abby | 4:03 PM | 3-15-2007

OH, and we can't POSSIBLY forget to at least mention Rocky Horror!

Sent by Lou, Jacksonville, NC | 4:05 PM | 3-15-2007

Pink Floyd's The Wall has got to be the best rock & roll movie of all time!

Sent by Rachael | 7:22 PM | 3-15-2007

I can't believe nobody's mentioned "the Blues Bros."- funny movie, excellent soundtrack.

Sent by Mark | 9:30 PM | 3-15-2007

How about Festival Express?

Sent by LW | 11:50 AM | 3-16-2007

How about the little known "Girl Can't Help It" with Little Richard, Jane Mansfield and others. One of the first rock and roll movies.

Sent by Bruce Nolen | 4:00 PM | 3-16-2007

Breaking it down between musical/narratives and documentaries/concert films, and in honor of going to 11:

1. A Hard Day's Night
2. This Is Spinal Tap
3. The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash
4. The Blues Brothers
5. That Thing You Do!
6. Rock "n" Roll High School
7. The Harder They Come
8. Sid And Nancy
9. The Commitments
10. 24 Hour Party People
11. The Buddy Holly Story

1. Don't Look Back
2. Stop Making Sense
3. The Last Waltz
4. Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll
5. Woodstock
6. The Filth And The Fury
7. The Kids Are Alright
8. Monterey Pop
9. X: The Unheard Music
10. Urgh! A Music War
11. Rust Never Sleeps

Sent by Mike Hernandez | 10:40 PM | 3-16-2007

I can't believe that no one has brought up the film SLC Punk. This is a Matthew Lillard film about Punks living in Salt Lake City in the 80's. A great film that discusses rebellion,drugs and self realization through the eyes of disenchanted punks. Herion Bob is a great character and I think this is probably one of Matthew Lillard's best roles.

Sent by Travis Wright | 11:49 PM | 3-17-2007

Agree: "The Girl Can't Help It." The title song is one of Little Richard's best. Add: "Mean Streets," sound track and "Gimme Shelter."
The Beatles are Pop not Rock.

Sent by GT Buckley | 4:09 PM | 3-20-2007

i'd like to say that any movie based on rock & roll is an amazing movie. it's like some kind of rule.

i've never seen a bad rock & roll movie. EVER.

i really like the doors movie & purple rain & almost famous.

has anyone ever seen pink floyd's movie, the wall? i haven't seen it but one of my friends told me it wasn't very good. i doubt that.

Sent by samantha | 3:32 PM | 7-30-2007

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