For years, rumors have circulated about the making of a documentary about Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue” tour. Now, Netflix has confirmed that those rumors are true. Martin Scorsese is directing Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, which Netflix described, in a statement provided to Variety, as “part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream.” There is no release date yet — Netflix told Variety that even an announcement of the film’s premiere is “months away.”
This isn’t the first time that Dylan and Scorsese have collaborated. Scorsese directed the 2006 documentary No Direction Home, which focused on Dylan’s life and music from 1961 to 1966.
Rolling Thunder Revue will feature interviews with Dylan himself, a rarity for the illusive musician who has often declined interviews, especially in front of the camera. The documentary will also feature concert footage from the 1975–1976 tour.
Netflix has released few details about the project, but provided Variety with a brief synopsis of the film:
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year. Part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream, Rolling Thunder is a one of a kind experience, from master filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
The Rolling Thunder Revue tour took place in two legs that traversed the U.S. and Canada. A number of artists joined Dylan on the tour — including Joan Baez, T Bone Burnett, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Mick Ronson, and even poet Allen Ginsberg. Other musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr, and Patti Smith joined Dylan for individual dates on the tour.
Variety reports that many of the musicians who partook in the tour have been interviewed for the documentary, and that most if not all of the interviews were conducted by Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen. Some of the film’s subjects say that they were interviewed as long as a decade ago.
Sources are speculating that there will be a box set from the Rolling Thunder Revue era to accompany the film — perhaps the next installment of Sony’s Bootleg Series, which has already included one double-disc live album from the tour’s first leg in 1975. Hard Rain, a widely panned live album from 1976, was recorded during the tour’s second leg that year.
In 2017, a source “close to the Dylan team” told Rolling Stone, “It’s a great period and there’s so much music that was so well-recorded. I think that’ll be a great companion piece to the film. We have incredible, incredible stuff.”
Colleen Cowie runs the blog Pass The Mic.