From civil rights to the anti-war movement to the scandals of Watergate, protest singer Phil Ochs wrote songs that engaged his audiences in the issues of the 1960s and 70s. In this biographical documentary, veteran director Kenneth Bowser shows how Phil’s fascinating life story and music were intertwined with the history-making events that defined a generation. Even as his contemporaries moved into folk-rock and pop music, Phil followed his own vision, challenging himself and his listeners. Not one to pull punches, Ochs never achieved commercial success de desperately desired. But his music remains relevant, reaching new audiences in a generation that finds his themes all too familiar.
Bowser did a decent job on this one, and while there's a few things I wish would have been touched on (his troubled marriage, the Woody Guthrie memorial concert, his long overdue appearance on TV [Midnight Special]), I felt it as good a biopic on Phil as anyone could do. Not a lot of new information to someone who knows Ochs, but I'm glad it was made. Van Ronk doing "He was a Friend of Mine" brought a tear to my eye.