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Who is Harry Nilsson (and Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?2010

  • 4.3
WHO IS HARRY NILSSON…?, a wildly entertaining, star studded documentary tells the story of one of the most talented and versatile singer songwriters in pop music history and the man the Beatles dubbed their favorite American musician. The Grammy® Award winners “Everybody’s Talkin” and “Without You," the quirky “Coconut” (”Put de lime in de coconut…”), the whimsical “Me And My Arrow,” and the poignant “One” (”…is the loneliest number”), these recordings are all the work of Harry Nilsson. The documentary reveals his spirited relationship with John Lennon and close bond with Ringo Starr, as well as Harry the legendary “bad boy” party animal who was at the same time a devoted husband and father. Director John Scheinfeld brings added emotion and intimacy to the story with over fifty Nilsson recordings, rare or never before seen film clips, home movies and personal photos. To this are added compelling interviews with top music and movie personalities who knew Harry well. They include Micky Dolenz, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Al Kooper, Randy Newman, Yoko Ono, Van Dyke Parks, the Smothers Brothers, Jimmy Webb, Paul Williams, Robin Williams, Brian Wilson and many others. As film critic Leonard Maltin noted, “WHO IS HARRY NILSSON? is a vivid portrait of a gifted man… what a great reminder of his talent.”

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"Nilsson became the musician’s musician, admired for his crazy arrangements and his insistence on satisfying his own muse before making his record label happy." - Noel Murray, AV Club


4 members like this review

Sounds ingnorant, but I loved the guys music, without knowing anything about the guy.

If you played me all of Harry's music, I would say I knew about 50%, but I would have said all of it came from 10 different musicians.

I really loved this movie.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (45)

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top reviewer

Sounds ingnorant, but I loved the guys music, without knowing anything about the guy.

If you played me all of Harry's music, I would say I knew about 50%, but I would have said all of it came from 10 different musicians.

I really loved this movie.

4 members like this review

A lot of what Harry Nilsson did just kind of went over my head. As a kid in his teens, I didn' really get the Nilsson Smilsson show tune stuff. Or the Me and My Arrow kind of thing either. I was aware of him but just didn't quite get what he was about.

Now I get it. And I have a new found respect for Harry Nilsson.

This movie gets a full five stars.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

From its opening moments, this documentary hoists you aboard the bittersweet rollercoaster that was the life and times of one of the truly great singer-songwriters of the 1960’s and 70’s. It's a hell of a ride. Nilsson is gone, but he left us a magnificent catalog of great music. Long live Harry Nilsson!

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Wonderfully weird, ebullient, sentimental, with a bittersweet narrative, much like Nilsson's music. A tour-de-force for this kind of biography (you know the sweet guy/self-destructive jerk type). His music is and should always be universal and appropriate for any occasion. Thank You Harry!

1 member likes this review
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dan
top reviewer

If you know of Harry Nillson, you should definitely see this, it fills in the holes. If you don't know him you should REALLY see this to learn about the best singer of a generation.

1 member likes this review

Heard the hits but never really paid attention to Harry Nilsson as an artist. This documentary filled me in on the guy's fascinating life. I very much enjoyed it!

1 member likes this review

Excellent. I had forgotten Harry Nilsson until I heard his music again. How could anyone not know Harry! I will watch again I am sure.

1 member likes this review

Fabulous...

1 member likes this review

If you don't know who Harry Nilsson is, you should! He was probably one of the 20th Century's best vocalist...but as most of the greats from this period in Rock history, substance abuse took him down...sad ending!

1 member likes this review

Of course... there's great music. Then there's great musicians. Harry Nilsson's story is told coherently, humorously and with precise and clear vision. An American Hero with all the great attributes and human flaws of a larger than life legend and a very kind and ethical person. Wonderful.

1 member likes this review

4 stars for the doc; 5 and one or two more still blazing in memory of the man himself. Could you imagine heading out for a night on the town with Nilsson leading the pack? You might never return, let alone in one piece. But what a piece it would be! With a voice like an angel (or the 5th Beatle), the panache of a sweet-talking rogue or embittered rebel, and with the musical talent and wit of a street-savvy, chain-smoking and hard-drinking savant, Harry managed to survive the pall of heartache and grief that shrouded his youth and early manhood but, also, wouldn't you know it, found the joy, love, serenity and meaning he truly deserved (if anyone did) and that he had given to others by not being ordinary in any way whatsoever. Larger-than-life, like all self-invented geniuses with a broken heart and rough-hewn origins, he exceeded the expectations of everyone who knew him—in unexpected ways—and always on his own terms.

A real character, a real talent, great music, great documentary!

Good film on interesting musician.

Outstanding biography. Good look at inside the music biz...at a particular time in history.

Was always a fan of the Midnight Cowboy theme....feel much informed of Harry's contribution to the music industry, despite his faults that he strived to overcome.

SABROSO!

This is one of my favorite music docs. Do it!

This was fantastic. The participants' insights were so interesting and informative - this is a definite must-see. Highly recommend!

I was so ignorant about this singer/song writer...what a sad, sad story.

I really like it because I had the Pandemonium Shadow Show album and was a fan from then one. His voice was butter. A troubled soul, yes, but this helped me understand a little better what he was. Insecure, shy, low self-esteem? Perhaps. At least he let some of himself show.

Interesting movie. I had never hear of Harry Nilsson before. But I knew his music. So sad.

This was wonderful!

Oh my! Lions and Tigers and Bears! A great one!

Very informative.

A real piece of history a must see movie

Amazing documentary, a real trip down Harry Lane, meeting all he knew and loved, and who loved him. I was in Long Beach the day of his funeral and earthquake. I did not know he had died,now I'll remember the shaking every time I hear one of his songs. Tremendous genius he was.

magnificent man great documentary!

Great! Must-see.

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MFR

Good movie about a man who added to the back drop of a generation.

Like his music, it will leave you feeling warm and slightly vulnerable.

lime and coconut guy

fascinating, engaging tale of an artist I knew very little about

jolly good show

If you have been a casual fan of Nilsson, watching this movie will send you running to your old cds or albums to know Harry. If you haven't really heard of him or his music, this movie will send you to Spotify or itunes. Spend 112 minutes and get to know Harry. Fantastic.

Are you kidding me, fantastic

Brilliant documentary about a brilliant man. Thank God he left us his music!

very well done

very harry,,he came from the right place n the write time,,and a very large talent,,better off with him than without him,,,

Lovely. Fantastic. Heart breaking.

I was introduced to Harry's music and exquisite voice on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show when it was still in New York. If you don't know jack about Harry, this film is exciting, informative, uplifting, and disturbing, all at the same time and you owe it to yourself to enjoy this film.

Because he never performed live for an audience, he escaped much of the public notice and fame that comes from first-person familiarity with a performer.

This is our chance to get acquainted all over again.

Very good..a glimpse of the man who sand "Without You" and "Everybodys Talkin"

Excellent film. One of the best I have seen in a long time. What a great tribute to Harry Nilsson. It touched my heart. You must see this .

This is nuts but I never knew who this guy was but I sang his songs all of my life when I am in a good mood. "My best friend, Lime in the co co nut, One, I can't live, Everybody's talking at me" Blew me away.

A great tribute to a fantastic talent

This movie showed the genius of Harry Nilsson from the perspectives of his closest family and friends. It also features Harry himself, as background narrator.

Very well done and sentimental. I'll watch it again.