Bob Dylan – Eat The Document

This was a film that covered Bob Dylan on his 1966 European tour backed up by the Hawks that eventually became The Band minus, Levon Helm. The film was to be shown on ABC television but ABC rejected and saying it was “incomprehensible” because Dylan himself was one of the editors and wanted the film to have more of an artistic feel.

It was filmed by D.A. Pennebaker who filmed Dylan’s 65 European tour when he played acoustically called Don’t Look Back. Don’t Look Back is terrific. This film is very disjointed. That is not saying I don’t like it. This is the Dylan period that probably is my favorite. The Hawks are raw and powerful and Dylan was

There are some highlights to this odd film. A spontaneous piano duet with Dylan and Johnny Cash, John Lennon and Bob Dylan very high riding around in a cab, and the famous concert where an audience member yells out “Judas” because of Dylan’s conversion to electric music. After the Judas remark, he proceeds to tell Robbie Robertson to play it loud and they kick off in a vicious “Like a Rolling Stone.” My favorite live version of that song. Those folk music fans were harsh.

The film is disjointed and frustrating to watch because some of the songs you want to see and hear are there…but only partly. You will be seeing Dylan performing something and then flash away to something else. Some of the concert footage and film from this ended up in the Martin Scorsese movie No Direction Home…I would recommend No Direction Home to everyone.

Bob was pale and nervous and there is no secret he was doing drugs heavily through this movie. After the tour, Dylan had a motorcycle wreck heard around the world and after he recovered he didn’t tour for years.

The cab ride with John Lennon is historical now. Both of them in sunglasses and Lennon trying to inject humor into the situation and Dylan is ok at first and then starts getting sick as the filming stops.

If you are a Dylan fan it’s worth a watch. I’m glad we have “No Direction Home” to see some clear film segments on that tour. Eat The Document has not been officially released but you can get a bootleg of it or watch most of it on youtube.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – Eat The Document”

  1. I have always thought that Dylan’s ‘motorcycle crash” may have saved his life- from watching this documentary and Don’t Look Back and reading a lot about him- although he was at his peak artistically with Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde he seemed to be spiraling out of control. He had the motorcycle accident and the Dylan after that seemed more in control and laid back man. I don’t think he could have kept going as he was without a major disaster of some kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. He came out after the crash Americana all of a sudden instead of the stream of consciousness stuff… He would have probably burned out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that had to be a shock. I love that footage in No Direction Home… That would be like the Stones 72 tour to me…that is the one I would have loved to see him on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That was when they got beat by Oakland and Blier and Franco was out right? I just saw that last year…the complete game.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes Franco and Rocky out- one healthy running back– and Oakland beat them.. They started off 1-4 that year and then ran the table.. I think they gave up one touchdown in the last 9 games and most of that was without Bradshaw. Back up QB Mike Kruczek didn’t even throw a touchdown pass in the 5-6 games he started. It was all Franco and Rocky and the Defense. Incredible to watch.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I feel the same way about the 77 Dodgers…they were better but not in that October.
        Those Steeler-Raiders games had to great to watch at the time. After I read Badasses I watched every game I could online and they were still exciting…You can tell by the fans reactions… It reminded me of the Dodgers-Yankees World Series.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Steelers- Raiders hated each other and I hated the Raiders but respected them- both teams played the same style of football. Yes those games are still worth watching decades later….. Harpo Speaks! came in today!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lol, this comment thread is as disjointed as Eat the Document! I’ll just say, 1) I own a copy of the doc and watch it every 3-4 years (the bit with Lennon kind of gives me a vertigo feeling just watching it), and, 2) I’ve seen one regular season football game in my life, and it was the ’78 or ’79 Steelers at Arrowhead vs. the Chiefs. I was 8 or 9, and the Steelers were my favorite team other than the St. Louis Football Cardinals. The Cards were never going to do anything post season-wise, so I had to have a favorite “great” team to follow. Being a life-long Cowboys hater, the Steelers were the perfect choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol…It is disjointed… I have always hated the Cowboys because to me they equaled the Yankees…
      I was always more of a baseball fan but I enjoyed football. I started to root for the Steelers because of the same reason as you. The first superbowl I remember watching and paying attention to was Dallas-Denver and I wanted Denver to win so bad…the next year the Steelers took care of the Cowboys… With players like Lambert, Greene, and company they were hard not to like.

      I like Eat The Document…I just wished they would have showed more songs completed… That is my favorite Dylan period.
      I do wish Dylan would just release it legit and clean. You may could watch the cab scene then lol.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: