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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Runnin' Down a Dream - documentary DVD review
Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 5 stars
Featuring: Tom Petty, Eddie Vedder, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Dave Grohl
Director: Peter Bogdanovich   Studio: Warner Bros. Records
DVD release: 16 October 2007   Runtime: 359 minutes
(3 DVDs, 1 CD)
DVD Features: 3 DVDs with 5+ hours of video, 1 CD rare/unreleased tracks, 2 DVD/4-hour Director's cut of Peter Bogdanovich's "Runnin' Down a Dream," never-before-seen footage and interviews with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers plus music from band's entire career, interviews with George Harrison, Eddie Vedder, Stevie Nicks, Dave Grohl, Jeff Lynne, Rick Rubin, Johnny Depp, Jackson Browne, 1 DVD of 30th Anniversary Concert Gainesville, FL

Remember the psychiatrist that Dr. Melfi would see on The Sopranos, Dr. Elliot Kupferberg? If you do, you'll know he was portrayed by director/actor/writer Peter Bogdanovich, who's done films like Paper Moon (1973), The Last Picture Show (1971), and Mask (1985), among many others. This time out, Bogdanovich delves into the world of rock n' roll with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Runnin' Down a Dream.

The great thing about this documentary is that you don't have to be a fan of Tom Petty to enjoy it. If you were ever in a band, or had the rock n' roll dream, or have an interest in the music business of today and yesteryear, you will enjoy this.

The film opens up with a touch of Americana as the seminal moments in rock, television, and music in general parallel Petty's youth: the emergence of Elvis, The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. It's quickly established that Petty absolutely loves music, and the film thoroughly chronicles Tom career from the "Mudclutch" days of the early Seventies through the band's initial success. Chock full of all kinds of rare and foreign performances, the film moves through the late Seventies and into the Eighties with the birth of MTV, carrying on through the '90s to the present day.

At nearly four hours long, Runnin' Down a Dream is comprehensive, to say the least. But it's not done in the typical "Behind the Music" fashion. Sure, if any entity in entertainment is around as long as Tom Petty, there is bound to be tragedy and triumph involved, but the struggles aren't sugarcoated, and the good times don't come off as saccharine sweet. The interviews with celebrities like Johnny Depp and producers Rick Rubin and Jimmy Iovine give a rounded perspective to it all.

The four-disc box set not only contains the documentary; it also has a bonus CD and The Heartbreakers' 30th anniversary show in Gainesville, Florida, which is a treat in and of itself. This is an incredible documentary that will send Tom Petty fans "Free Fallin'" into stores to pick up.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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