Music by Bob Marley

Edited by Dan Glendenning

Cinematography by Mike Eley & Alwin H. Küchler

Produced by Charles Steel  & Steve Bing and Ziggy Marley & Chris Blackwell

Directed by Kevin Macdonald




Bob Marley

Rita Marley

Cedelia Marley

Ziggy Marley

Neville “Bunny” Livingston

Chris Blackwell

Donald Kinsey

Lee “Scratch” Perry


Production Studio:

Theatrical: Tuff Gong Pictures & Cowboy Films

Video: Magnolia Home Entertainment



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD50

Feature Size: ca. 30 GB

Bit Rate: Moderate (25-30 Mbps)

Runtime: 145 minutes

Chapters: 15




English DTS-HD MA 5.1



English SDH (incl song lyrics)




Commentary with Director Kevin Macdonald & Ziggy Marley

Around the World - the influence of BM on youth - in HD (18:30)

Interview with Bunny Wailer - in HD (19:00)

Children’s Memories - Stephen, Ziggy, Cedelia - in HD (10:00)

Ziggy Marley speaks with Jimmy Cliff, Feb 2012 (2:00)

Listening to “I’m Loose” - in HD (3:45)

Photo Gallery

Theatrical Trailer



Amaray Blu-ray Case: BRD x 1

Street Date: August 7, 2012

Critical Press:

Los Angeles Times

Only 36 when he died of cancer on May 11, 1981, Marley went from strength to strength as a recording artist and cultural figure, breaking out from early Jamaican success to enthrall a world of listeners in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.  Marley achieved so much in those few years, had such a complex personal life and became so significant a figure in spiritual and political as well as musical spheres, that this film's two-hour, 25-minute running time is barely enough to contain it all. . . Working with the cooperation of the extended Marley family as well as the rights to big chunks of dazzling performance footage, director Kevin Macdonald has done exhaustive research and interviewed just about everyone of any significance in Marley's life, including wife Rita, children Ziggy and Cedella, key collaborators such as Lee "Scratch" Perry, Bunny Wailer (in full Rastafarian regalia) and Neville Garrick as well as close friends and even girlfriends. – Kenneth Turan


Boston Globe

Marley overcame a ghetto upbringing in the Trench Town neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica, to become a gifted writer of socially conscious, spiritually uplifting reggae anthems. If you love this music, you’ll be dazzled by the generous 66 songs in the film but you’ll also appreciate the ruthlessly honest look at his life, right down to his rampant womanizing. He had 11 children by 7 women. . . The film is ably directed by Kevin Macdonald, who won an Oscar for best documentary for “One Day in September,’’ about the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Macdonald is a hardnosed filmmaker not given to sugarcoating. And there is none here, starting with graphic footage of Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, from which thousands of enslaved Africans were once shipped by boat to the New World. The film then cuts to Marley singing “Exodus’’ and its famous line “Let the captives free!’’ – Steve Morse


Philadelphia Inquirer

It isn't until the end of Kevin Macdonald's beautiful if sometimes jumbled Marley that the impact the dreadlocked reggae star had - and continues to have - on pop music is brought home. As the documentary's credits roll, cameras capture fans on the street in Japan, in Brazil, in India, in the United States, grinning and singing Bob Marley anthems. Everybody knows the words, everybody knows the moves. – Steven Rea


San Francisco Chronicle

"Marley" is a crash course in the work of a major musician, who also was an interesting man: Driven, devout and competitive, Marley lived according to his convictions. He gave away large chunks of his income to the poor and, at real personal risk, mediated between violent factions in his native Jamaica. But those are qualities of Marley the man, not "Marley," the documentary. . . The documentary, from director Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland"), is 144 minutes long and is like a big, doorstop biography that accumulates every known fact and serves each one up, in chronological order, unsorted and undigested. No anecdote about Marley is too trivial. . . There is no diverting from strict chronology, no point the documentary wants to make that requires moving forward and back through time. It just inches ahead, one year to another, sometimes one day to another. By the middle, each time a year changes, it's a relief. – Mick LaSalle



The Documentary: 8

Mick LaSalle has a point. I agree that Marley is not so much a documentary as a chronicle.  But it does let the audience consider the life and times of an influential artist as nothing until now has, or is likely to.  Marley is a curious fellow.  The influential artist he was to become seems as much an accident as an intentional effort.  I suppose something similar can be said for Rastafarianism, a religion that preaches peace to all and encourages the smoking of weed to help guarantee that outcome, yet believes that the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is a god - make that: the God incarnate.  On the other hand, Selassie survived Mussolini and claims to trace his ancestry back to Solomon, and for my money that’s close enough.



Image: variable

From concert footage that would make a ten year old cell phone blush to high definition interviews of those who knew Bob Marley, this film has probably the greatest variability of image quality of anything I’ve ever seen on Blu-ray.  This sort of thing is more or less expected for historical documentaries and is hardly the fault of the video producer.



Audio: 8~6/9

I own a couple of Marley records: “Babylon by Bus” on Island Records (what else!).  The sound is quite good, as it should be from the studio that gave us the brilliant and sought after Cat Stevens classics.  I can’t say as much for the soundtrack here, but neither was I expecting that level of quality to emerge from the background of am historical documentary.  That said, lyrics are clear enough, the interviews are crisp, though I’m grateful for the subtitles that transcribe Jamaican dialect English.  It may be a musical language, but I for one needed the help.  5.1 channeling is applied to some of the music and audience reactions.



Extras: 9

First up is the Audio Commentary with Director Kevin Macdonald & Ziggy Marley that fleshes out time, place, and personnel, making a second viewing something like a new movie experience. Three items function as extended outtakes: a 19-minute Interview with Bunny Wailer; Children’s Memories: more interviews with Stephen, Ziggy, Cedelia; and a tender bit of theatrics where the cast (separately) listens to and comments on a private recording of “I’m Loose”.  Two other segments round out the bonus features: a 2-minute clip originally broadcast on Sirius XM in February of this year where Ziggy Marley speaks with Jamaican legend Jimmy Cliff, and an 18-minute piece titled “Around the World” where we see some of the influence of Bob Marley on today’s youth - no smoking allowed.


I am giving the Extra Features an extra point because of the way the subtitles are handled:  All the problematic Jamaican English is subtitled as are all the lyrics - and, the subtitles remain active during the audio commentary, permitting that much more access while you are watching the movie in that mode.


Recommendation: 8

What is impressive about this movie, besides the bewildering lack of existing concert footage in anything like watchable condition, is the array of surviving witnesses, wife to brothers to colleagues and friends and children - and how differently they remember Bob and how different are their consciousness.  Fascinating!


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

July 31, 2012



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