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

 (461)
1 h 55 min2006X-Ray16+
In this definitive documentary on the Grammy award winning music legend Harry Nilsson, friends, family and colleagues delve into the acclaimed singer-songwriter's music, creative process and personal demons.
Directors
John Scheinfeld
Starring
Harry Nilsson
Genres
Documentary
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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MVD VISUAL
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Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

461 global ratings

  1. 84% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Thomas TurkingtonReviewed in the United States on January 28, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Human Worth Some Love
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My intro to Harry Nilsson, like a lot of folk my age, was Midnight Cowboy. And The Courtship of Eddie's Father (Let me tell you 'bout my best friend...) I distinctly remember watching The Point on TV when it was broadcast, and loved the boy and his dog aspect, but also that it was this strange philosophical story that indicated there were quite a large number of paths through the universe.

A few days ago I started remembering something about Harry, one of his songs or The Point, exactly what, since forgotten, but ended up listening to a number of his songs on YouTube, only to get Without You being sung by an earwhig in my ears, well, ever since... I have to admit being somewhat flabbergasted by the number of songs he wrote, that I wasn't aware he'd authored or sang. A number of them are memorable elements of the soundtrack of my life, and hell, I wasn't paying attention...

Like the earwhig singing Without You, my mind kept wondering about that voice, and I kept thinking about how it was something not found elsewhere, except maybe the Beatles, oh, maybe Joni Mitchell, but definitely on a special side. This documentary only succeeds in blowing that wide open with brilliant light. If you want to ride a wave that started in the early 60's, rose high in the 70's, started breaking in the 80's, and then crashed in the 90's, well, this documentary is one way to do that...

Just a side note, the moment when he was asked to mimic Bing Crosby, and immediately dropped into that voice, was I thought pretty incredible. You get the feeling that maybe he was a vocal savant.
2 people found this helpful
peggy moffittReviewed in the United States on December 28, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Try "The Point" first, then watch this. You will get the measure of the man
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My parents introduced me to Nilsson's Point when I was a kid in the late 60s/early 70s on LP. Then, by the time my brother came around, we had a bootleg VHS (my dad was sure VHS would overcome Sony-- basically he believed in android vs iphone-- in this instance he was right). My brother watched it incessantly. Knew all the songs (Nilsson sang the wistful songs, Ringo was the hilarious MC, in his Ringo way). There was a dry spell of 10+ years where it was impossible to find. Until... mom found a VHS and we introduced my kids to it. What I didn't know was that my brother found The Point for HIS kids. Three generations of our family now know all of the songs! It is the best "follow your heart" and "don't let ANYone bully you" anthems ever. If you can find it, take the dive. It is sweet and funny and kind. "Who is Harry Nilsson" is a great companion piece but has very little sweet, funny, and kind. But the warmth is definitely still there.
19 people found this helpful
Charles WhitingReviewed in the United States on July 6, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Jump Into The Fire" and learn about the man !
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Harry Nillson was one of a kind. A genius steeped in the music he grew up with but one who was the future of modern interesting popular music. His many friendships within the industry is highlighted in this offering. So many of the other movers and shakers in the music industry tell their own tales of love, respect and personal friendship with a unique artist. Hanging with John & Ringo, Kieth Moon and a host of other like crazies took a toll on this very private man of our time. A great film.
3 people found this helpful
Blue DesertReviewed in the United States on March 28, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
Highly over-rated and boring.
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Nilsson had several low level "hit" songs in his day. The one he is most remembered for is "Everybodys Talkin' which he did not write (Fred Neil wrote it) from the ground-breaking movie MIDNIGHT COWBOY. Nilsson is said to have been a favorite of the Beatles and has been crowned by some as a top singer/songwriter in his era. Most of his songs are sing-songy and tuneless. No full songs here.Only song snippets. Nilsson was a depressed alcoholic druggie.This doc follows his rise to "fame" altjo many never heard of him. Then we witness his decline. The movie goes on and on and on. It's tedious and boring and an hour too long. One of the things I found most maddening was commentary by both Brian Wilson and Jimmy Webb,2 of the greatest songwriters of the era. Nilsson could not hold a candle to either one of these certified GENIUS songwriters. This is a puff-piece trying to coronate Nilsson. For SUPER-fans ONLY.Meh !
3 people found this helpful
bob dismasReviewed in the United States on March 26, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Harry, Harry, Harry, where have you gone, what have you done?
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A flat-out terrific rock doc on the late, great Harry Nilsson. I loved it, and I'm a big Nilsson fan going in. I'm a bigger fan for having watched it. His backstory was amazing and sad. His career achievements still stand tall, lo these many years later. His songwriting and interpretive skills were justifiably lauded in his day. His big open heart and hellraising legacy remain legendary. His broken voice never fully restored, yet he carried on valiantly. Death came far too soon, and the pop music landscape is all the lesser for it. Harry is gone, long live Harry! Highly recommended.
WannabmeReviewed in the United States on April 9, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Voice From Heaven
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I love Harry. Did you know that he was a good friend of John Lennon's? And that Harry was born in Brooklyn, New York? If you like Harry, then there's a book about him as well. It's called: Nilsson, The Life of a Singer-Songwriter by Alyn Shipton. It's a pretty large book. I have it in kindle format. I have not yet finished reading it yet. Harry had a beautiful voice. And there are some videos out there on the Tube if you are interested. I've just about seen them all. Harry also had an interesting life. God Bless you Harry!
11 people found this helpful
Tim FriskReviewed in the United States on August 24, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Harry Nilsson is Amazing
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This documentary, through commentary by his many close friends, coworkers, and business associates, gives an excellent view of Harry Nilsson's life, adventures, loves and failures. He lived one of the fullest lives of any modern man that I'm aware of. Most of us remember his vocals from the theme from Midnight Cowboy, "Everybody's Talkin" (and the story behind that song in the movie score is very interesting), but his body of work was very expansive, and discussed by people who know pop music, and know the contribution he made. He was friends with and respected by all of the Beatles, and especially close to John Lennon and Ringo Starr. The movie has been revised and re-released. This release is probably the most even in praise and criticism of Nilsson of the versions I have seen. Many of the deleted scenes are included in the Bonus Features, all of which are entertaining and enlightening. The one scene that I missed, though, is a promo that Nilsson did for one of his RCA records where Ringo Starr is sitting alone in a basketball stadium and Harry comes in, wearing an RCA ball cap, picks up a basketball and sinks a 40 foot dunk from half-court. Apparently it only took a couple of takes to get that scene, with the dunk. As I said, Harry's life was amazing.
13 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great documentary; I didn't know he was so talented
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Great documentary; I didn't know he was so talented. i remember his songs, especailly Why is Everybody Talkin at Me. It was popular right after I returned from Vietnam, so it takes me to San Francisco and LA in 68 and 69. I drove in a VW camper to LA and this song was being played a lot. '.only the ecoes of my mind.'
11 people found this helpful
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