Once Were Brothers (2019) - IMDb
A confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robbie Robertson's young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band.


Daniel Roher


Daniel Roher
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
The Band ... Themselves (archive footage)
Robbie Robertson ... Self
Bruce Springsteen ... Self
Rick Danko ... Self - Bass and Vocals, The Band (archive footage)
Levon Helm ... Self - Vocals and Drums, The Band (archive footage)
Richard Manuel ... Self - Piano and Vocals, The Band (archive footage)
Garth Hudson ... Self (archive footage)
Eric Clapton ... Self
Martin Scorsese ... Self
Taj Mahal ... Self
Rosemarie 'Dolly' Robertson ... Self - Robbie's Mother (archive footage)
Chuck Berry ... Self (archive footage)
Jann Wenner ... Self - Co-Founder, Rolling Stone Magazine
Ronnie Hawkins ... Self
Jim Robertson ... Self - Robbie's Father (archive footage)


Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band is a confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robbie Robertson's young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band. The film is a moving story of Robertson's personal journey, overcoming adversity and finding camaraderie alongside the four other men who would become hi brothers in music and who together made their mark on music history. Once Were Brothers blends rare archival footage, photography iconic songs and interviews with many of Robertson's friends and collaborators including Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison Martin Scorsese, Peter Gabriel, Taj Mahal, Dominique Robertson, Ronnie Hawkins, and more. In a career spanning six decades, Robbie Robertson has continued to create as a songwriter, producer, performer, actor, author and film composer. A half-Mohawk, half-Jewish kid from Toronto, Robertson would travel from the dives of Yonge Street to ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

life | See All (1) »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and drug references | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The distinct signature sound Garth Hudson has on the organ is from a Lowrey organ. See more »


Robbie Robertson: [regarding the name, The Band] It felt unpretentious, un-jivey, un-cute.
See more »


Edited from The Last Waltz (1978) See more »

User Reviews

Americana as it was--seminal music influencing even today.
2 March 2020 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' 'bout half-past dead." The Band's The Weight featuring Levon Helm

With that song, the world of mid-century America became aware of a new sound, Americana: a country rock with soul and surpassingly genial musicians. Daniel Roher's Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band is a memorable documentary as well as a most engaging history of the colorful era of '60's and '70's rock, where loud, sensual music eclipsed any other form in previous cultural changes.

With the producing guidance of Martin Scorsese, who helmed The Last Waltz about the Band's final concert, Robbie Robertson, guitarist and songwriter, guides us through his teen years and hookup with musicians who themselves would hook up with Bob Dylan, to help him tour to the boos of audiences that just didn't get the electric guitar: Dylan exclaims, "They were gallant knights for standing behind me."

Deftly carrying us through photo album pics and original music, this remarkable doc makes it feel like we are there, reliving the charismatic troupe's glory days and eventually its struggle with drugs. As Robbie says, "It was so beautiful, it went up in flames."

However, it's a story well told, even down to the homely shots of Robbie courting Dominique and their eventually blissful marriage.

Heroin emerges (as it frequently seems to do) with devastating effect on the gifted Levon. Through it all, Robbie lets us know how much he loved this brotherhood, and we see the contribution he continues to make to the welfare of music and people.

We have been blessed in the last few years with outstanding films about music-let Once were Brothers be at the top of the list: It was "a sound you've never heard before, but like they've always been here." Bruce Springsteen

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Canada | USA



Release Date:

21 February 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,828, 23 February 2020

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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