Rockabilly Central
The Seventies

American Hot Wax (1978)

Director Floyd Mutrux has accomplished what many have claimed and few have evoked: the poetry of experience represented by rock and roll. The film is the tale of true-life '50s disc jockey and rock icon Alan Freed, and the events that led up to his landmark Brooklyn concert. Tim McIntire delivers a powerful performance as Freed, and the film includes early appearances from '90s sitcom queen Fran "The Nanny" Drescher and late-night gab guru Jay Leno.

The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

A powerful biography of '50s Texas rockabilly phenomenon Buddy Holly who took his band the Crickets to the top of the charts before a tragic airplane accident ended his life. Portrays Holly as regular, hardworking type who struggles with peers and the music industry before he makes it big with the huge hit "That'll Be The Day." Also details the final events leading up to the plane crash, en route to Minnesota in a snow storm on February 3, 1959, which also claimed the lives of Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.

More info at Big Star

Wanderers (1979)

The high school scene of the Bronx in 1963 is the setting for this music oriented drama. Features tunes by "Dion," "The Shirelles," "The Four Seasons" and others.

More info at Big Star

American Graffiti (1973)

The bittersweet innocence of pre-Kennedy-assassination America is brilliantly captured in Lucas' study of a night in the lives of the Class of 1962. Cruising in their hot rods, eating at Mel's Diner, and listening to Wolfman Jack spin the latest platters draws a nostalgic pastoral with the shadow of Vietnam almost visible on the horizon. Academy Award Nominations: 5, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best (Original) story and Screenplay.

A nostalgic look back at one night during the summer of 1962 in a small Northern California town. "American Graffiti" is set in the time just prior to JFK's assassination, when the country still retained a sense of innocence and hope. The loosely-woven story revolves around a group of teenagers just out of high school, cruising the streets enjoying their last precious moments of summer freedom. Among the characters are a young man who plans to leave the next day to attend college in the East, another man who would prefer to stay at home with his girlfriend, and a somewhat older male who remains undecided about the course his life should take -- even though he's reached his early 20s.

More info at Big Star

That'll Be The Day (1973)

The story of a rock musician's struggle and eventual rise to stardom. Ringo Starr and Keith Moon add musical authenticity to this nostalgic look at the rock scene of the late 1950's.

Starring rock performer, David Essex, the coming-of-age story about a young man's dream of becoming a rock and roll sensation in 1950s Britain.

More info at Big Star

Rock & Roll High School (1978)

At Rock 'n' Roll High School, the students have the lowest academic scores in southern California, none of the school's athletic teams have won a game in years, and three principals have been hurriedly admitted to the funny farm. A musical (and often quite funny) tribute to the rock legends the Ramones.

More info at Big Star, extended review at Laser RoT

Quadrophenia (1979)

A film version of the classic rock opera about the gang battles between the Mods and the Rockers which took place in England during the mid-sixties. Music of Sting, the Police, Phil Daniels, and Leslie Ash is featured.

In 1963 Britain, an alienated young man feels that he can only achieve a sense of identity and meaning in life through his gang and rock and roll music.

More info at Big Star

Breaking Glass (1979)

A bold contemporary musical drama which goes behind the scenes of the "new wave" music phenomenon. Hazel O'Connor plays the lead singer who wrote and performs the films new songs. Also featrues Phil Daniels (seen previously in Quadrophenia) as the bands manager.

More info at Big Star

Jubilee (1978)

The first original punk feature film from Derek Jarman. Featuring artists: Gene October, Wayne Country and Little Nell Jordan.

Set in 1578, Queen Elizabeth I asks her court magician to give her a vision of "the shadow of her time." They are transported to a grim future where, now a recording studio, Buckingham Palace is the center of an entertainment empire controlled by a tyrant who must be overthrown by Elizabeth's mirror image and friends.

Director Derek Jarman's unique, and darkly comic vision of contemporary England has an angel transporting Queen Elizabeth and her court magician from 1578 into the future. What they find is a violent post-Thatcher wasteland where civilization has come to a standstill.

More info at Big Star

Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)

A highly rated British sci-fi tale about an alien (David Bowie) who ventures to Earth in search of water and becomes a successful businessman. His ulterior motive is to exploit the Earth's resources to aid his thirsty planet. Based on a novel by Walter Tevis. An alien being travels to earth in human form with a plan to capture the world's water supply for his own dying planet. Once on earth, the superintelligent space-traveller begins making the social and financial climbs necessary for his plot to succeed. But he finds earthly pleasures far more enticing than he ever imagined, and gradually slides into a life of shallow debauchery.

More info at Big Star

Gimme Shelter (1970)

The Maysles Brothers unwittingly captured the end of the '60s as they documented the Rolling Stones's tragic 1970 free concert at Altamont, California. The backstage world of touring superstars and the logistics that go into planning an event that was to be attended by 300,000 people pales as the Hell's Angels stomp an audience member to death while Jagger helplessly shrieks "Sympathy for the Devil." Terrifying and electrifying filmmaking.

More info at Big Star

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