Before watching Tom DiCillo‘s documentary When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors, I was too into The Beatles and Bob Dylan to ever notice just how poetic and talented The Doors really were. DiCillo’s documentary is an eye-opener. He takes you on the road with this quartet of marvelous drunken buffoons and leaves you wanting more. Why, you ask?

Find out below…

The Players:

  • Director: Tom DiCillo
  • Writer: Tom Dicillo
  • Narrator: Johnny Depp

The Plot:

When You’re Strange chronicles the early beginnings of The Doors, Jim Morrison and the era that drove everyone crazy, the 60s (and 70s). From the time Ray Manzarek and Morrison met at UCLA to the incident in Miami, DiCillo’s documentary of the rock quartet includes never before seen footage. It also integrates the times with the rise of the band.

The Good:

  • The Music: After the movie was over I wanted to run to Amoeba and buy all of The Doors’ albums. The flow of the images and the music was so inspiring and entertaining. It made you remember just how poetic these rock stars were and why they were (are) so worshiped.
  • The Footage: The film felt more like a biopic than a documentary. It seemed like DiCillo had been filming a reality-based film all the while. There’s a clip from when The Who opened for The Doors; you have Morrison walking among his fans at the arena and you see girls curling their fingers around Morrison’s hair. Very impressive footage.
  • Johnny Depp: He was funny. He was sexy. DiCillo couldn’t have chosen anyone better to narrate.
  • The Concept: Documentaries that involve the 60s era always have powerful messages (most likely because the times were changing drastically). When You’re Strange is no different. It captured the drug abuse, violence, war, music and overall time period flawlessly — and for the record it did include the bomb on Hiroshima like every other 60s documentary.

The Bad:

  • The only bad thing is that it wasn’t longer.


As producer Dick Wolf put it, “This movie is the story of the band but it is also an insight into a moment in time that will never be repeated.” When You’re Strange will be released on April 9 in select markets, so I suggest you hunt down the theater showing it because this documentary is definitely worth watching; it’s a work of art.

Rating: 10/10


Will you go see When You’re Strange?