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Runnin' Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2007) - Movie Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Runnin' Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2007) - Movie Review

Tom Petty in Concert

(c) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The Bottom Line

Whether or not you're a huge Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fan, you'll love this all-inclusive documentary that traces the developments of the legendary rocker's most famous band from its inception to its record-setting 30th anniversary. Tom Petty, who serves as on camera narrator, is witty and appealingly anecdotal as he talks about his artistry, inspirations and the friendships he's formed during his unusually long-lasting career. Famed director Peter Bogdanovich applies his extraordinary storytelling skills, making this four-hour film seamlessly entertaining.
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  • Meet Tom Petty up close and personal, telling his story from his childhood to the present day.
  • Comments and tributes by legendary rockers including George Harrison, Stevie Nicks and Eddie Vedder
  • Phenomenal sound track includes never before released cuts.
  • The clips from live concerts are better than music videos.
  • Peter Bogdanovich's storytelling and direction are brilliant.


  • None worth mentioning


  • After screening one time only in fifteen selected cities, the film is being released on DVD, available only at Best Buy.
  • The DVD package includes the four-hour director’s cut of the film, plus the entire 30th Anniversary Concert.
  • Additional interviews include Rick Rubin, Roger McGuinn, Dave Grohl, Johnny Depp, Jeff Lynne, Jackson Browne and more.
  • DVD extras include a CD with several never before released recordings and other gems drawn from the documentary film.
  • Thirty years is a long career; this is a long film. Seeing it on DVD allows you to take a break whenever you need one.
  • The sound track is absolutely terrific. Make sure you're listening in stereo, and turn the volume way up.

Guide Review - Runnin' Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2007) - Movie Review

Runnin’ Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is an epic four-hour documentary feature in which Tom Petty, interviewed on camera, reveals anecdotal details about his band's development and quirks. Petty's laid back and somewhat self-effacing manner is quite appealing, as he talks about the good moments and some of the bad moments he and his musical cohorts have experienced.

Petty's saga begins with his childhood and guitar-plucking adolescence in Gainesville, Florida--long before the Heartbreakers released their debut album in 1976. Since their first album, the band has sold more than 50-million records. They remain one of the biggest touring acts in the music business.

To mark the 30th anniversary of his reign as king Heartbreaker, Petty chose Peter Bogdanovich to direct this celebratory, Warner Bros.-financed film. It's Oscar-nominated (The Last Picvture Show)Bogdanovich's first documentary, and in it he brilliants interweaves Petty's on camera commentary with archival footage of Petty's past: childhood and adolescence, music making with pre-Heartbreakers bands, live concert clips, music videos and on camera praises from famous musicians including George Harrison, Stevie Nicks and Eddie Vedder, among others.

There are also extraordinary clips from the Traveling Wilburys, the superband formed by George Harrison with Petty, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison.

Aside from dropping information about the druggie days of yore and the ongoing heroine addiction that lead to Heartbreakers' member Howie Epstein's demise and death, there's very little in the film that might be deemed controversial. It's all good, it's all impressively friendly and it's all very entertaining.

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