Muscle Shoals (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Muscle Shoals2013

Muscle Shoals (2013)



Critic Consensus: Essential for soul fans and entertaining for novices, Muscle Shoals offers a compelling, warts-and-all glimpse at one of the most fascinating stories in modern American music.

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Movie Info

MUSCLE SHOALS is a documentary about a place filled with magic and music, legend and folklore, where the river is inhabited by a Native American spirit who has lured some of the greatest Rock and Roll and Soul legends of all time, and drawn from them some of the most uplifting, defiant, and important music ever created. In Muscle Shoals, Alabama, music runs through the hills, the river, and the spirit of the people. It is a place where, even before the Civil Rights Movement really took shape, the color of your skin didn't matter inside the studio. (C) Magnolia

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Critic Reviews for Muscle Shoals

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (40)

It's fitting that the first track we hear in this celebratory but emotionally dappled documentary is Wilson Pickett's Land of 1000 Dances. The rich, elemental energy of the recording encapsulates what would become known as the Muscle Shoals sound.

February 12, 2020 | Full Review…

Even with its disappointments, Muscle Shoals can't help but make a hopeful sound.

August 28, 2019 | Full Review…

Hall's backstory, riddled with tragedy, gets the proper attention and respect here. But it's the music that won't let you stop watching.

April 21, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Camalier makes an excellent job of combining talking-head interviews with music, anecdotes and folklore.

December 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A galaxy of stars recall the magic of it all, although a little less boring Bono would have been a bonus.

October 28, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

And lo, the musical miscegenation was good.

October 25, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Muscle Shoals

Shortly after streaming this music documentary I also streamed The Wrecking Crew. I have rated this one a full star higher because every part of it is simply a step above that other rock doc. The studio session musicians at the center of this doc produced more essential tracks for more hit records and artists. The storytelling aspect is more interesting with great interview clips and archival materials. FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama was ambitiously, independently managed by Rick Hall. It is thrilling if you only know the big name singers/bands who recorded songs at FAME to get a behind the scenes peek and meet the work horse session musicians who are actually responsible for the sounds we know and love.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

There have been a tremendous amount of music documentaries created over the last five years and Muscle Shoals adds to that memorable list. Here deep in Alabama, a unique sound emerges causing all the big names in music to come, record and pay homage. This is also a homage to those individuals who stayed in the community and contributed to that greatness.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Documentary explaining how two studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama became hit factories, supplying us with number one singles from Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, and others. This goes deeper into the music business and its history than the more celebrated 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, and Anthony Arendt's unexpectedly great cinematography makes this tiny hamlet and its environs into a character every bit as intriguing as the rural music moguls.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

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