3 Movies Every Bob Dylan Fan Should See

The 82-year-old Duluth, Minnesota-born Bob Dylan is one of, if not the greatest American songwriter ever. While he has released dozens of albums, from Blonde on Blonde to The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, there are other mediums in which to enjoy his life and work. Like movies.

Videos by American Songwriter

Yes, some of the world’s best filmmakers and actors have dedicated parts of their lives to telling Dylan’s story. From growing up in the Midwest to moving to New York City and taking up residence in Greenwich Village as part of the burgeoning folk scene, to later in life as The Bard, these three films below depict Dylan from all sides.

[RELATED: Bob Dylan Launches Songwriter Fellowship]

1. No Direction Home

Perhaps the most definitive work about Dylan’s life, this documentary, which was released in 2005, was directed by none other than Martin Scorsese. The doc includes interviews with Dylan (a rarity) and follows largely a period of about five years, from his early years in New York City with the likes of beat poet Allen Ginsberg to when Dylan quit touring after a major motorcycle accident. It also highlights the time when Dylan went electric, a major before-and-after period in the career of the songwriter. The doc earned its director a Grammy Award in direction for best long-form video.

2. Don’t Look Back

This documentary came out during the height of Dylan mania in 1967. The film, which was directed by popular ’60s filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, follows Dylan during his spring 1965 tour of England. The film includes cameos from a number of big-name artists, including Joan Baez, Donovan, Alan Price of the Animals, Marianne Faithful and Ginger Baker. It’s as candid as it can be, as close to Dylan’s real life at the time as possible.

3. I’m Not There

Directed by Todd Haynes and released in 2007, this nonlinear movie (read: not a documentary) tells the story of Dylan’s life and his many personas via six actors, from Christian Bale to Cate Blanchett, each taking on a different Dylan-inspired role and chapter. For her part, Blanchett even earned an Oscar nomination. The movie is also the last to feature Heath Ledger released during his lifetime. While the film is nontraditional in how it shows Dylan and his story, switching between characters and narratives, it is an interesting take on his life from some of the best filmmakers in modern times.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1

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