Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

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Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band is a confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robertson's young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band. The film is a moving story of Robertson's personal journey, overcoming adversity and finding camaraderie alongside the four other men who would become his brothers in music, together making their mark on music history. Once Were Brothers blends rare archival footage, photography, iconic songs and interviews with Robertson's friends and collaborators including Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and more.


  • Martin Scorsese
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Bob Dylan
  • Robbie Robertson
  • Eric Clapton
  • Peter Gabriel
  • David Geffen
  • Rick Dano
  • Taj Mahal
  • Van Morrison

Did You Know?


  • Robertson and Hawkins remark in the film that Robbie Robertson composed two songs that Hawkins recorded with his band, The Hawks, for their 1959 album, Mr. Dynamo - titled "Hey, Baba Lou" and "Someone Like You" - when he was only 15.


    • Robbie Robertson: Ronnie depended on us to pick musicians with potential. He wanted to have the best band in the land.
    • Ronnie Hawkins: Have you ever heard me sing? I BETTER have a good band!
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Feb 20, 2020

Once Were Brothers could have been a peacemaking gesture, a magnanimous work of reflection and tribute that would gather Robertson some belated goodwill, and the film’s first half makes some moves in that direction. But damned if that hatchet just won’t stay buried.

Metacritic review by Jack Hamilton
Jack Hamilton
Sep 6, 2019

Although, structurally speaking, the production follows a safely familiar path, it doesn’t require a lot of fancy footwork when you’ve got an enthusiastic on-camera fan base including Bruce Springsteen, Scorsese, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal and Van Morrison, a terrific storytelling arc, a treasure trove of archival footage and, naturally, those iconic songs.

Metacritic review by Michael Rechtshaffen
Michael Rechtshaffen
The Hollywood Reporter
Sep 6, 2019

This conventional rock-doc is light on new insights — and its focus on Robertson’s viewpoint short-changes his former bandmates in this often-contentious group — but it tells its story with considerable affection.

Tim Grierson
Screen Daily