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Don McLean: American Troubadour

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

40 years after his iconic "American Pie" reached #1 on the Billboard pop singles chart, Don McLean is the subject of an authorized documentary, Don McLean: American Troubadour. McLean granted unprecedented access and interviews for the film, revealing his personal account of a career spanning over four decades and performing songs that have become integral parts of American pop culture.

Don McLean: American Troubadour also features over 15 live performances including "American Pie, " "Vincent (Starry, Starry Night), " "Crying" and "And I Love You So" along with extensive commentary by historian and Rolling Stone journalist Douglas Brinkley, interviews with other artists such as Brian Wilson and REM's Mike Mills, footage of McLean on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and performances of his songs by Elvis Costello and Fred Astaire (who inspired "Wonderful Baby"). An abridged version of the documentary aired on PBS earlier this year.

Exclusive Bonus Features Include: Exclusive bonus songs (full-length): "Infinity, " "Wonderful Baby, " and "Building My Body; " Interview with Don McLean; Interview with Douglas Brinkley

Don McLean: American Troubadour was produced and directed by four-time Emmy Award winner Jim Brown, whose work includes Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time, and A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. McLean says, "We've known each other for forty years and he allowed my ideas to be fully realized while telling my story accurately and poetically. "

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Don McLean
  • Directors: Jim Brown
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Time Life Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2012
  • Run Time: 187 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008ST53CK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,040 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Richardson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2012
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I was a bit disappointed when I inserted this DVD into my player and it showed 55 minutes ..not the 187 shown on the Amazon.com page. The actual program is 55 minutes ...the other hour plus consists of the bonus features...which are three lesser known songs in full performance (2 from a very superior concert release)an import greatest hits from the UK which has a CD and a live DVD ...you must have an all region PAL compatible player to see this one sadly. Back to this the remainder of the hour of bonus features are many many interview questions with Mr McLean that they didn't use in the documentary...and for a lifelong fan are quite interesting. The last 20 minutes consists of an interview with historian Douglas Brinkley ...which I can't see viewing again frankly. So I am getting at the fact that the Amazon.com says this is a 187 minute program its not...its 55 minute documentary, 11 minutes of music bonus, 40 minutes of Don Mclean interview and 20 with an historian for a total of a bit over 120 minutes....so being a lifelong fan I was excited at the possibility of so much film and sad to report its not true.

The Program itself is much like you would expect from a professionally done sort of A&E Biography and its great in that respect. For me to rate this 5 stars it would need to be the length they advertise and have the option of viewing say the concert that is available only in the UK or a series of the songs shown as a concert only... which would be something a fan could watch over and over more than a documentary... and by the way...the 15 live performances that they tout are interrupted by interview footage etc...so I also think that is a misleading bit of advertising as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gary O. Shepherd on February 5, 2013
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I'd been a fan of Don McLean since his career began in the late 60's. However in more recent years I'd lost faith. He seemed to be going through the motions in concerts and seemed somewhat bitter and twisted. This documentary restored my faith in the man and explained the evolution of his career and how he currently feels about life in general and the music business as it now stands. Far from being bitter and twisted, he is, in fact, that rare thing, 'A Happy Man'. He's produced a fine body of work and openly admits to not feeling as driven as he once did. He seems to have become a person who has figured out what's important in life - and it isn't fame and fortune [although those things are nice to have]. Some great early clips and a selection throughout his career are worth the price alone.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger Harris on October 24, 2012
It is really irritating when you see a show on PBS and then order the show from either PBS or Amazon or whomever, and not get the same version. The version of this film shown on PBS before this was released commercially was longer. Other than that particular beef (which is a significant one) the content on Don is informative and well done. What he REALLY needs to release is the elusive and mega-rare film from the 70's called "Till Tommorow." Snippets of this show, which was only officially released in the Beta format, are seen in this film, and in Don's "Starry Starry Night" DVD in the "extras" menu. Now THAT would be a treat to see Don in those heady, early days when he wasn't so much of the crooner he has turned into. In the 70's, his singing was passionate and strident. I miss those days..!! The film is worth buying and certainly gives insight into his storied careed...even if it is a truncated version.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 22, 2013
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This is a good biographical DVD of Don Mclean, which really has not been done before. He narrates it and tells the story of his life. The purpose of this is not to give a concert but to show the man behind the music and that it seems to accomplish.
Don tells of his boyhood, some home movies and photographs are shown and his growing interest in music. He mentions his illnesses as a child and his `aloneness'. The guitar is his mask, and others such as Brian Wilson and Lori Lieberman speak about him and his music. There are snippets of concerts and songs as the years go by and the people who influenced him, such as The Weavers, Buddy Holly and Don's hero Josh White. You can see his annoyance at times and how it has come out in his compositions and also his joy. He does talk of `American Pie and his marriage and children.

The DVD itself is 85 minutes and there are extras of the full-length versions of him singing `Infinity', `Wonderful Baby', `Building my Body' and interviews that are another 15 minutes in length. There are no captions.
It is a revealing insight into the man and his music - not a concert.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NJ Gal on July 10, 2013
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For anybody who loves him and his music, this is a great addition to a home library. I had seen it on public television, but failed to record it, so was delighted to learn the DVD was available on Amazon. Don McLean is an amazing writer and performer and this DVD paints a wonderful picture of his life and career.
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Great look into the life and music of Don McLean, who is so incredibly talented. And don't expect to learn the meanings behind every line of "American Pie," he doesn't like it to be analyzed!
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By Ted1202 on January 13, 2013
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This is an exceptionally well done documentary revealing Don McLean's extraordinary musical and personal history. Highly recommend this thoughtfully crafted DVD to all his fans.
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Don McLean: American Troubadour
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