The documentary came out in the early 90's and is still the #1 most successful documentary of all time. When it hit theaters no one had ever seen anything like it before. It was a back stage glimpse at what celebrity life is really like. Some believe this was at the height of Madonna's success when she was beyond big. Today no one has come close to the caliber she reached at that point. There was only her out there, whereas today there are so many and most are just marketed, packaged clones of what was already done.
Madonna is brazen, bold and maybe even loud mouthed. Is she playing it for the camera? In some sequences there is a definite heightened version shown on screen of what she wanted people to see. Other times she is completely oblivious to the camera's being there like for example when she's angry with her sound crew for not making sure that the sound and microphones were top notch.
This isn't just about celebrity, this also showed Madonna's ferocious work ethic and attention to detail. It displayed the business side of her that most are or were unaware of. Siskel & Ebert had commented that this was someone who could run a business empire if she wanted to just quit music for good.
At this point Madonna had rarely done interviews and she was way beyond powerful. No one was quite sure what she was like. This gave viewers an up close and personal view. What was also great about this was it also showed her generous side by allowing her back up singers and dancers adequate screen time.
The documentary is in black and white, but it cuts into color for the many on stage concert performances of the tour she was on while this was being filmed. The Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990. This was a technically staged concert that was so elaborate it had also never been done before and set the bar really high for performers and musicians to really put on a great show. We later saw other artists like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga do the same - just to name a few.
This film was so well done and so well received that even the Madonna haters went to see it as well, coming out of the theaters saying things like, "Well I never liked her, but after seeing this I have to say I do admire how hard she works. I have a new found respect for her."
If you can turn a life long hater to folding and admitting they have appreciation for her even if they don't care for her music then you know the film did its job.
Madonna is much calmer and more spiritual now so I should warn that this documentary features strong language and sexual innuendo that might be deemed offensive to some. However, most know what Madonna is like and can be, so no warning should be necessary.
It's unfortunate that the full tour concert has yet to be released on DVD, but in this film you do get an edited glimpse of some performances that include, "Express Yourself", "Oh Father", "Like A Virgin", "Live to Tell", "Holiday", "Vogue" and "Keep it Together".