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The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Aiyana Elliott

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Plot Summary

From his unlikely roots as the son of a Brooklyn doctor, to his ongoing ramblings as the last of the singing cowboys, Ramblin' Jack has packed so many adventures into his life that he seems more myth than man. After running away to join the rodeo at fifteen, he traveled and sang with Woody Guthrie and became friends and mentored Bob Dylan. His music helped ignite a folk revolution and has influenced some of the most popular musicians and performers of our day. Jack's daughter Aiyana wanted to capture the great rambler in action and bring his story to light. But when she hit the road with him the focus of the story shifted from the roving cowboy's life on the road to the search for a father who was rarely at home. Shot over the course of two years, the film skillfully weaves stellar performances, contemporary verite, candid interviews and a wealth of archival material, resulting in a film that takes us beyond the legend and into the psyche of the man.

Customer Reviews

Critics Rave

"A devastating portrait. Compelling, poignant, touching and acutely perceptive."
-Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"The deep human element of the film is honest, bluesy and full of emotion."
-Chris Riemenschneider, Austin Chronicle

"Anyone with any feeling for American music should see this film. Basically everyone should see this film."
-Jeff Wells, Park City Confidential

"**** (Highest Rating.) Extraordinary. A rich and absorbing chronicle of an iconoclast. Seamlessly woven with compelling footage is entertaining, and often eloquent commentary. With humor and honesty, Aiyana Elliott presents both sides of Jack Elliott. The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack is an important chronicle of American music. Any audience that craves authenticity, and is frustrated by the synthetic formulas that pass for so much art today, will be invigorated by this entertaining and original film."
-Loren King, Boston Globe

"Excellent! In The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack the grace of forgiveness shines through with such clarity, with such genuine appeal, you may actually emerge from the theatre a better person. Don't miss it."

-Jamie Hook, The Seattle Stranger

"Two thumbs up!"

-Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper,

"***1/2 *. Extraordinary and remarkably humorous. Affectionate, honest, vivid."
-Gene Wyatt, Nashville Tennessean

"Dynamic, emotionally compelling and interesting visually. This movie is so good it hurts, and so hurtful it's funny; but funny in a tragic way, though not too terribly tragic."
-Mike McGonigal, New York Press

"A loving, affecting documentary. Throughout Elliott sustains a wistful, funny monologue that imparts his own particular brand of wisdom. He's a master storyteller, and it's easy to get caught up in the spell of his words."
-Michael Agger, The New Yorker

"Fascinating. The home-video footage deliciously captures the folk-revival period."
-Tom Scanlon, Seattle Times

"One of the best documentaries of the year. Aiyana Elliott has crafted an extraordinary portrait of an American original as well as a beautiful story of a daughter trying to come to terms with her distant father. An amazing wealth of archival footage, a film of universal poignancy."
-Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News

Much better than I expected

I wasn’t expecting much from this, but I was curious about Ramblin’ Jack. It was very well done. It’s hard to make a good film, and this is a good film.

The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2000

Customer Ratings

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