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Neil Young - Heart of Gold

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Product Details

  • Actors: Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Pegi Young, Ben Keith, Spooner Oldham
  • Directors: Jonathan Demme
  • Producers: Neil Young, Jonathan Demme, Elliot Rabinowitz, Gary Goetzman, Ilona Herzberg
  • Format: AC-3, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F48D00
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,923 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Neil Young - Heart of Gold" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Bonus song: "He Was the King"
  • Rehearsal diaries, narrated by director Jonathan Demme
  • Six in-depth featurettes: Fellow Travelers, Cruising with Neil, These Old Guitars, Cruising With the Players, Finishing Touches, Warming Up With Neil and the Jubilee Singers
  • Blast from the past: 1971 Neil Young performance on the Johnny Cash Show

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy-award winning director Jonathan Demme beautifully captures Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legend, Neil Young as he prepares and presents the performance of a lifetime with the help of his wife Peggi and friends country star Emmylou Harris, steel guitarist Ben Keith and more at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.

"I just want to play well, share the stage with my friends, give the best I can," says Neil Young before the concert that is the centerpiece of Heart of Gold. No problem, dude. Working with filmmaker Jonathan Demme, Young has come up with a gem--not all flash and bling-bling, but as understated as a single pearl, musically restrained yet emotionally open. Of course, neither Demme (an Oscar winner for The Silence of the Lambs; he also helmed Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense) nor Young would call it "a concert film"; the director describes it as "a dream concert, something that's literally being dreamt by Neil," while the singer-songwriter himself calls it "a multi-level story." Whatever, the project came together in 2005, as Young was finishing his Prairie Wind album (the latest in a string of lovely, country-flavored acoustic recordings dating back to 1972's Harvest) and preparing to debut the music at Nashville's fabled Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry. The fact that Young had also recently experienced a brain aneurysm might or might not have influenced his decision to film the show, but it certainly seems to have had an effect on the music. He and his band (which, with the addition of horns, strings, and backup singers, including Emmylou Harris, occasionally numbers forty or more musicians) perform Prairie Wind in its entirety, and there is some deeply moving, highly personal material here; in addition to the gospel-tinged "When God Made Me" and the dirge-like "No Wonder," Young sings about his recently-deceased father (the title song), his newly adult daughter ("Here for You"), the guitar he plays that once belonged to Hank Williams ("This Old Guitar"), and even his dog ("He Was the King"). Demme's direction is ideal for conveying the music's restrained acoustic textures, rich backing vocals, and simple, elegant melodies. Shots are held much longer than is usual in such films, and while there are lots of close-ups, there are no gimmicks. This superb DVD package is filled out by a second disc of bonus features, including a variety of featurettes and a solo performance of "The Needle and the Damage Done" from The Johnny Cash Show in 1971. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

A hall of fame concert film.
Flipper Campbell
Neil Young is the most wonderful story teller who shares his life experiences through his music and song.
Nancye M. Smith
I highly recommend this DVD for Neil Young fans.
Laura Brink

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 142 people found the following review helpful By NJA on April 2, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When I heard this was being done with Jonathon Demme, I knew it was going to be outstanding. Neil surrounds himself with Pegi, Spooner, Ben, Emmylou, and other old friends. He plays Hank Sr's guitar, which hasn't graced the stage of the Ryman since 1951. They run through most of the songs on Prairie Wind, and Neil gives very personal reasons for writing some of them...I'm not going to spoil that for anyone reading here. After that, they do some older material: I am a Child, Harvest Moon, Old Man, Needle & the Damage Done, Old King, 4 Strong Winds, and an incredible One of These Days. I probably missed a song or 2, and then...the lights go down, and it's just Neil on the stage, no crowd, no bandmates, playing The Old Laughing Lady thru the credits. Was the whole show just a dream of Neil's? Thank you Mr. Demme.
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202 of 210 people found the following review helpful By John C. Bergeron on March 24, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In the summer of '05, Neil Young, having just survived a close call with a brain aneurysm, performed two concerts at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium. Documented here, the concerts premiered Young's most recent, and critically acclaimed release, Prairie Wind, followed by many classics from the gentler compartment of his massive, magnificent catalog. From the opening interview snippets to the final scene of Neil Young alone on stage, Jonathan Demme, as one would expect, has created a masterpiece, a film suitable to its subject. No two-second ADD camera work here, this wonderful film was shot with the same grace, intelligence and intimacy as the music Young and his friends--including Emmylou Harris!--perform. I saw this film four times while it was in town, and now I can't wait for the DVD release. Don't miss this (literally) glowing tribute to one of rock/blues/folk/country's genuine icons.
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Timothy P. Merritt on April 27, 2006
Format: DVD
Neil Young has always been a conumdrum; part genius, part guitar hack, part poet, part flack. He has played many roles;a Canadian-born singer songwriter, child of the late fifties, darling of the sixties and spokesman for the seventies. Then later, Reagan supporter in the eighties and grandfather to American grundge in the nineties. Now in the twilight of his career, Neil Young remains one of a handful of voices that can generate industry-wide attention just by releasing a new cd or heading out on tour. He has produced some of the most memorable and occassionally the most forgettable music in popular culture. So while it's no surprise that diehard fans continue to line up whenever the venerable rocker releases new material, many others check in sporadically to see what the old man is up to.
Well,diehards and estranged fans alike should be ecstatic. And they should check out Young and a cast of nearly forty as Jonathan Demme's Heart of Gold captures the singer-songwriter in at one of the most pleasing sonic moments of his four decade career.

This is Young at his best, backed by a host of top level players including Ben Keith, Tim Drummond, and Spooner Oldham, among others. These are all veteran musicians that Young has collaborated with several times over the years, most notably during his Harvest session and during his occasional reprises to that genre which produced Harvest Moon, Silver and Gold, and the recent Prarie Wind.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Graeme J. W. Smith on May 11, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
because that is what this is - some top notch musicians who have played together for years - practising their craft. The old timers just stand and play, no histrionics, not leaping around the stage - they just play - and they play WELL. Everyone looks so relaxed that at times it appears they are almost not doing anything - but the sound is superb and the band so tight it sounds like this came out the studio.

It is a meausure of how well everyone plays together that Emmylou Harris - no mean performer herself - can be seen watching Neil's chords like a hawk while she duo's (extremely successfully) on her guitar alongside. The rest of the guys - they don't need to look - they just play. Watch for the pan down a line of 6 guitars in a row as all the fingers move together through the chord sequences and the occassional gently angled shot to give a laid back, guitar to the fore look.

Think of this concert as a sort of "MTV Unplugged" (but plugged in) piece in terms of people sitting down and just playing together. Only WAY better.

Sharp hats Neil.....

It's on my wishlist for release day.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By o dubhthaigh VINE VOICE on April 26, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There is a lot to recommend this film - Young's best music in a very long time, the twin passionate motivators of his father's passing from dementia and his own brush with an aneurism, the brilliant musicianship of all the support players, and perhaps most importantly, Emmylou Harris. (hopefully there will be some additional material on the dvd)I can't think of any better pairing in music than these two, and it has always been that way. More so than with CSN, CH, whatever garbanzo group he cobblers together, the moment he and Harris collaborate, whatever the song, it takes on a majesty that is unsurpassed in my ears. In all honesty, in this film, Harris is riveting. It is as much her film, in a supporting role, as it is Young's, and that is without attempting to grandstand. It is the pairing that does it.

The first half of the film is devoted to PRAIRIE WIND, its recording and presentation on stage. Demme delivers as impressive a tableaux for Neil as he did for Talking Heads. You'd forget altogether the coked stumble bum of THE LAST WALTZ, or even the crazed Dylan uber-fan from the Zimmerman tribute. Demme gets up close with Neil and lets his sardonnic humour shine through. To Young's credit, he knows the camera is there and slyly mocks it, and the whole genre of concert footage. At the opening he explains he never asks for any particular musicians and just goes with the flow of who is assembled. Then all of the supporting players tell how he has explicitly asked for them. It is just a perfect example of an extraordinarily dry wit who, as he explains in the background of the story about Louis Avila, "I'm just lucky, I guess.
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