This article is from the Bob Dylan FAQ, by Adam K. Powers and John Howells firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
D.A. Pennebaker filmed "Don't Look Back," a documentary of Dylan's
1965 tour of England (it would be his last stand as a strictly 'folk'
performer). "Don't Look Back" is available on videocassette and features
footage of concerts, press-conferences and back-stage activity.
This is Dylan at his most playful/caustic, getting his digs at the
press, a hapless college student who wants to interview him and
Donovan, among others... Essential for the Dylan enthusiast.
The movie "Festival" covers several of the Newport Folk Festivals of the
1960's, and features Dylan infamous first 'electric' performance, with
the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
"Eat the Document" is a one-hour film shot by D.A. Pennebaker during the
landmark 1966 'electric' tour of England and later edited by Howard Alk
and Dylan himself. This rather bizarre anti-documentary film was shown
at a few theaters in 1971, and has had a rare television airing or two
since, but is not in print. A short tape of outtakes from the movie was
assembled by Pennebaker and circulates on videotape.
"The Concert for Bangladesh," available on both videocassette and
compact disc, is George Harrison's fundraising benefit filmed at
Madison Square Gardens in 1971. Dylan makes a rare early 1970's concert
guest appearance and steals the show!
"Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" is a Sam Peckinpah western tale of the
familiar outlaw. Bob Dylan wrote the soundtrack (includes "Knockin' on
Heaven's Door") and appears as "Alias," a bit part with a few amusing
scenes. The movie exists in the original release form, and a 'directors'
cut'. Both include some soundtrack music that is not on the soundtrack
"The Last Waltz" documents the 'farewell' concert by The Band in 1976,
and features Dylan as well as a bevy of other performers in what has been
hailed as one of the best rock-documentaries made.
"Renaldo and Clara" - this four-hour movie by Bob Dylan (and a two-hour,
edited version) was shown at a few theaters in 1978, received generally
dismal reviews, and disappeared from sight. It will probably not be
given official release on any format any time in the near future.
It does, however, contain some great live footage from the 1975
Rolling Thunder tour, during which this movie was recorded. Circulating
videotape copies probably originated from a mid-1980's late-night
television broadcast of this movie in Britain.
The Hard Rain television special - filmed in concert in Fort Collins,
Colorado, May 1976, this footage was broadcast on NBC, but has not seen
official release on videocassette. Some, but not all, of the performances
from this set are on the live album "Hard Rain"... There is an 'alternate'
version of the Hard Rain special, with a very different song selection,
from Clearwater, Florida, April 1976 that was never broadcast but also
circulates in the underground.
Bob Dylan also appears in the movie "Hearts of Fire," filmed in 1985,
playing the part of an aging rock star. The script of this movie is
pretty hackneyed stuff, and received poor reviews. Still, Dylan fans
will find some moments of interest.
"Hard to Handle" is a concert videotape from the 1986 tour
of Australia with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
"Backtrack" (aka "Catchfire") - Dylan makes a brief appearance as an
artist in this 1989 film directed by Dennis Hopper.
"The Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute" videotapes document Columbia
Records' massive Dylan tribute show at Madison Square Gardens in 1992.
Dylan himself appears only briefly, but a host of other performers
play songs here that Dylan rarely or never airs...