Almost Famous is a 2000 American comedy-drama film written and
directed by Cameron Crowe, and starring Billy Crudup,
Kate Hudson and
Patrick Fugit. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist
Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s while covering
the fictitious rock band Stillwater, and his efforts to get his first
cover story published. The film is semi-autobiographical, as Crowe
himself was a teenage writer for Rolling Stone.
The film is based on Crowe's experiences touring with rock bands Poco,
The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Crowe has discussed how during this period he lost his virginity, fell
in love, and met his heroes—experiences that are shared by
William Miller (Patrick Fugit), the boyish main character of the film.
Although a box office bomb, the film received widespread acclaim from
critics, and received four Oscar nominations, one of which led to an
award to Crowe for his screenplay. It was also awarded the 2001 Grammy
Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture,
Television or Other Visual Media.
Roger Ebert hailed it the best film
of the year, and also the ninth best film of the 2000s. It also won
two Golden Globes, for Best Picture and
Kate Hudson won Best
Supporting Actress. In a 2016 international poll conducted by BBC,
Almost Famous was ranked the 79th greatest film since 2000.
4.1.2 Other personnel
5.1 Box office
5.2 Critical response
8 External links
In 1969, child prodigy William Miller struggles to fit in with the
world. His widowed mother Elaine has led him to believe he is 13 years
old, until William's older sister, Anita, tells their mother to tell
the truth. His age is actually 11; his mother had him start first
grade at 5 years old and then he skipped fifth grade. Their mother
strictly controls and protects him and Anita, forbidding rock music
and other unwelcome influences, driving Anita to leave home and become
a flight attendant.
In 1973, 15-year-old William, influenced by the rock albums left by
his sister, aspires to be a rock journalist, writing freelance
articles for underground papers in San Diego. Rock journalist Lester
Bangs, impressed with his writing, gives him a $35 assignment to
Black Sabbath concert. He can't get backstage, but opening
band Stillwater arrives, and after he flatters them with critical
praise they bring him along. Lead guitarist Russell Hammond takes a
liking to him, partly because of William's new friendship with veteran
groupie Penny Lane, though she prefers the term Band-Aid. Feigning
retirement from her glory days, she takes William under her wing.
William is contacted by Ben Fong-Torres, editor of Rolling Stone, who
believes him to be older and hires him to write a story. He convinces
Ben to let him write about Stillwater, and he is instructed to go on
the road with them. Tensions between Russell and lead singer Jeff Bebe
are evident. William begins to interview the members of the band, but
Russell repeatedly puts it off. Penny watches the interaction and
sympathizes with William, whom they jokingly call "the enemy" because
he's a journalist, but he quickly becomes part of their inner circle
as he loses his objectivity.
The band experiences problems with promoters and venues on the tour,
and hires Dennis, a professional manager. Penny is told she must leave
them before New York, where Russell's ex-wife-girlfriend Leslie will
join them. Stillwater "loses" Penny and her three protégé groupies
to another band in a poker game; Penny acts nonchalant but is
devastated. Also, Dennis has chartered a small plane to allow them to
play more gigs than their tour bus does, and there is no room on it
for Penny, who is left behind.
However, Penny goes to New York on her own, and shows up at the
restaurant where the band learns that they will be featured on the
cover of Rolling Stone. Leslie notices her apparent attempts to get
Russell's attention, and Penny is asked to leave. William chases her
back to her hotel, where he saves her from overdosing on quaaludes.
The next day, the band flies to another gig, and the plane encounters
severe weather. Believing they are about to die, members of the group
confess their secrets to one another, bringing the conflicts between
Jeff and Russell into the open. Jeff insults Penny, but William
defends her and confesses that he loves her. The plane lands safely in
Tupelo, leaving everyone to ponder the changed atmosphere.
William leaves the group, to finish the article at the Rolling Stone
office in San Francisco, writing the whole truth about what he has
observed. Fearful the story will damage the band's image, Russell
tells the magazine's fact-checker that the boy's story is untrue,
killing the article and crushing William emotionally. William's sister
happens to encounter him sitting dejected in the airport, and offers
to take him anywhere in the world; he chooses to go home to San Diego,
where their mother is overcome to have both of them back.
One of the groupies chastises Russell for what he did to William.
Russell calls Penny and asks to meet with her, but she tricks him,
giving him William's home address instead. When the door to the house
is opened, rather than Penny appearing, he finds himself face to face
with William's mother who, upon hearing who he is, scolds him for his
behavior. He is forced to face William and apologizes; William finally
gets his interview, and Russell reverses himself and confirms
William's article to Rolling Stone, which runs it as a cover feature.
Meanwhile, Penny purchases a ticket to Morocco, fulfilling her
Patrick Fugit as William Miller
Michael Angarano as Young William
Billy Crudup as Russell Hammond
Frances McDormand as Elaine Miller
Kate Hudson as Penny Lane
Jason Lee as Jeff Bebe
Zooey Deschanel as Anita Miller
Anna Paquin as Polexia Aphrodisia
Fairuza Balk as Sapphire
Bijou Phillips as Estrella Starr
Noah Taylor as Dick Roswell
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs
Terry Chen as Ben Fong-Torres
Jay Baruchel as Vic Munoz
Jimmy Fallon as Dennis Hope
Rainn Wilson as David Felton
Mark Kozelek as Larry Fellows
Liz Stauber as Leslie Hammond
Zack Ward as The Legendary Red Dog
John Fedevich as Ed Vallencourt
Eric Stonestreet as Sheldon the Desk Clerk
Crowe used a composite of the bands he had known to come up with
Stillwater, the emerging act that welcomes the young journalist into
its sphere, then becomes wary of his intentions. Seventies rocker
Peter Frampton served as a technical consultant on the film. Crowe and
his then-wife, musician Nancy Wilson of Heart, co-wrote three of the
five Stillwater songs in the film, and Frampton wrote the other two,
Mike McCready of
Pearl Jam playing lead guitar on all of the
Crowe based the character of Penny Lane on the real-life Pennie Lane
Trumbull and her group of female promoters who called themselves the
Flying Garter Girls Group. Though they were not in the Flying
Garter Girls group, various other women have been described as Crowe's
inspiration, for instance
Pamela Des Barres
Pamela Des Barres  and Bebe Buell.
The character of William Miller's mother (played by Frances McDormand)
was based on Crowe's own mother, who even showed up on the set to keep
an eye on him while he worked. Though he asked his mother not to
bother McDormand, the two women ended up getting along well.
Alice in Chains' guitarist/vocalist
Jerry Cantrell was Crowe's first
choice for the role of Stillwater bass player Larry Fellows. Cantrell
is friends with Crowe and had previously appeared in two films
directed by him, Singles (1992) and
Jerry Maguire (1996). Cantrell was
busy writing the songs for his solo album
Degradation Trip and had to
turn the role down.
Mark Kozelek was cast instead.
Crowe took a copy of the film to London for a special screening with
Led Zeppelin members
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. After the screening,
Led Zeppelin granted Crowe the right to use one of their songs on the
soundtrack — the first time they had ever consented to this since
allowing Crowe to use "Kashmir" in
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fast Times at Ridgemont High —
and also gave him rights to four of their other songs in the movie
itself, although they did not grant him the rights to "Stairway to
Heaven" for an intended scene (on the special "Bootleg" edition DVD,
the scene is included as an extra, sans the song, where the viewer is
instructed by a watermark to begin playing it).
In his 2012 memoir My Cross to Bear,
Gregg Allman confirms that
several aspects of the movie are directly based on Crowe's time spent
with the Allman Brothers Band. The scene in which Russell jumps from
the top of the Topeka party house into a pool was based on something
Duane Allman did: "the jumping off the roof into the pool, that was
Duane—from the third floor of a place called the
Travelodge in San
Francisco. My brother wanted to do it again, but the cat who owned the
place came out shaking his fist, yelling at him. We told that story
all the time, and I have no doubt that Cameron was around for it." He
also confirms that he and
Dickey Betts played a joke on Crowe by
claiming clauses in their contract did not allow his story to be
published — just before he was to deliver it to Rolling Stone.
Almost Famous (soundtrack)
Almost Famous soundtrack album was awarded the 2001 Grammy Award
for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television
or Other Visual Media.
Billy Crudup ("Russell Hammond") - guitar
Jason Lee ("Jeff Bebe") - lead vocals
John Fedevich ("Ed Vallencourt") - drums
Mark Kozelek ("Larry Fellows") - bass guitar
Marti Frederiksen – vocals
Almost Famous had its premiere at the 2000 Toronto International Film
Festival. It was subsequently given a limited release on September
15, 2000, in 131 theaters where it grossed $2.3 million on its first
weekend. It was given a wider release on September 22, 2000, in 1,193
theaters where it grossed $6.9 million on its opening weekend. The
film went on to make $32.5 million in North America and $14.8 million
in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $47.4 million
against a $60 million budget.
Almost Famous received widespread critical acclaim. It currently holds
an 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 166 reviews, with
an average rating of 7.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads,
"Almost Famous, with its great ensemble performances and story, is a
well-crafted, warm-hearted movie that successfully draws you into its
era."  The film also holds a score of 90 out of 100 on Metacritic,
based on 38 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."
Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and
described it as "funny and touching in so many different ways." In
his review for The New York Times,
A.O. Scott wrote, "The movie's real
pleasures are to be found not in its story but in its profusion of
funny, offbeat scenes. It's the kind of picture that invites you to go
back and savor your favorite moments like choice album cuts." Time
Richard Corliss praised the film's screenplay for "giving
each character his reasons, making everyone in the emotional debate
charming and compelling, creating fictional people who breathe in a
story with an organic life." In her review for the L.A. Weekly,
Manohla Dargis wrote that "the film shimmers with the irresistible
pleasures that define Hollywood at its best—it's polished like
glass, funny, knowing and bright, and filled with characters whose
lives are invariably sexier and more purposeful than our own."
Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers wrote, "Not since A Hard Day's
Night has a movie caught the thrumming exuberance of going where the
music takes you." In his review for Newsweek,
David Ansen wrote,
"Character-driven, it relies on chemistry, camaraderie, a sharp eye
for detail and good casting."
Entertainment Weekly put it on its
end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, " Every
Cameron Crowe film
is, in one way or another, about romance, rock & roll, and his
romance with rock & roll. This power ballad of a movie, from 2000,
also happens to be Crowe's greatest (and most personal) film thanks to
the golden gods of Stillwater and their biggest fan, Kate Hudson's
incomparable Penny Lane."
Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "A−" rating and Owen
Gleiberman praised Crowe for depicting the 1970s as "an era that found
its purpose in having no purpose. Crowe, staying close to his
memories, has gotten it, for perhaps the first time, onto the
screen." In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan
praised Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of Lester Bangs: "Superbly
played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, more and more the most gifted and
inspired character actor working in film, what could have been the
cliched portrait of an older mentor who speaks the straight truth
blossoms into a marvelous personality." However, in his review for
The New York Observer,
Andrew Sarris felt that "none of the
non-musical components on the screen matched the excitement of the
music. For whatever reason, too much of the dark side has been left
out." Desson Howe, in his review for the Washington Post, found it
"very hard to see these long-haired kids as products of the 1970s
instead of dressed up actors from the Seattle-
Starbucks era. I
couldn't help wondering how many of these performers had to buy a CD
copy of the song and study it for the first time."
Main article: List of accolades received by Almost Famous
^ a b "
Almost Famous (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 10,
^ "Biography," The Uncool: The Official Website for Everything Cameron
Crowe. Accessed Dec. 14, 2014.
^ "The 21st century's 100 greatest films". BBC. August 23, 2016.
Retrieved January 12, 2017.
^ Ammann, Ana (September 7, 2012). "Will the real Penny Lane please
stand up?". Oregon Music News. Archived from the original on September
^ Lecaro, Lina (December 15, 2010). "
Zooey Deschanel to Play Original
Groupie Pamela "I'm With the Band" Des Barres in HBO Series
(NSFW)". LA Weekly.
^ "Wild Things:
Cameron Crowe and Bebe Buell". Talk. March 2001.
^ Goldstein, Patrick. "This Time, It's Personal A '70s rock film
co-starring . . . Mom? It's Cameron Crowe's life story, and he's tried
to tell it for years,"
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times (August 27, 2000). Archie on
^ "Alice in Chains'
Jerry Cantrell almost starred in the movie 'Almost
Famous'". YouTube. November 12, 2017. Retrieved November 24,
^ Allman, Gregg; Light, Alan (2012). My Cross to Bear. William Morrow.
pp. 242–43. ISBN 978-0062112033.
^ Kehr, Dave (August 25, 2000). "Organic Growth In Toronto". The New
York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
^ "Almost Famous". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
Almost Famous (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved
March 6, 2018.
Almost Famous Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved
November 1, 2016.
^ Ebert, Roger (September 15, 2000). "Almost Famous". Chicago
Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
^ Scott, A.O (September 15, 2000). "Almost Famous". The New York
Times. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
^ Corliss, Richard (September 10, 2000). "Absolutely Fabulous". Time.
^ Dargis, Manohla (September 21, 2000). "Gonna Make You Groove". L.A.
Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
^ Travers, Peter (December 10, 2000). "Almost Famous". Rolling Stone.
^ Ansen, David (September 18, 2000). "He's With The Band". Newsweek.
^ Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz,
Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg,
Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim;
Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon;
Ward, Kate (December 11, 2009), "The 100 Greatest Movies, Tv Shows,
Albums, Books, Characters, Scenes, Episodes, Songs, Dresses, Music
Videos, And Trends That Entertained Us Over The Past 10 Years".
Entertainment Weekly. (1079/1080):74-84
^ Gleiberman, Owen (September 15, 2000). "Almost Famous".
Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
^ Turan, Kenneth (September 13, 2000). "Almost Famous". Los Angeles
Times. Archived from the original on September 11, 2009. Retrieved
^ Sarris, Andrew (September 17, 2000). "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll-Where
Are the Sex and Drugs?". The New York Observer. Retrieved
^ Howe, Desson (September 22, 2000). "Almost Poignant". Washington
Post. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
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Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
An American in Paris (1951)
With a Song in My Heart (1952)
Carmen Jones (1954)
Guys and Dolls (1955)
The King and I (1956)
Les Girls (1957)
Gigi / Auntie Mame (1958)
Porgy and Bess /
Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Song Without End /
The Apartment (1960)
West Side Story / A Majority of One (1961)
The Music Man /
That Touch of Mink
That Touch of Mink (1962)
Tom Jones (1963)
My Fair Lady (1964)
The Sound of Music (1965)
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966)
The Graduate (1967)
The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
American Graffiti (1973)
The Longest Yard (1974)
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
A Star Is Born (1976)
The Goodbye Girl
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Breaking Away (1979)
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
Romancing the Stone
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Prizzi's Honor (1985)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Hope and Glory (1987)
Working Girl (1988)
Driving Miss Daisy
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Green Card (1990)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The Player (1992)
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
The Lion King
The Lion King (1994)
As Good as It Gets
As Good as It Gets (1997)
Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Almost Famous (2000)
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Lost in Translation (2003)
Walk the Line
Walk the Line (2005)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
The Hangover (2009)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The Artist (2011)
Les Misérables (2012)
American Hustle (2013)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
The Martian (2015)
La La Land (2016)
Lady Bird (2017)
Cameron Crowe filmography
Say Anything... (1989)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Almost Famous (2000)
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Pearl Jam Twenty (2011)
The Union (2011)
We Bought a Zoo
We Bought a Zoo (2011)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
The Wild Life (1984)