The Grateful Dead’s first official career-spanning documentary, Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story Of The Grateful Dead, will make its DVD and Blu-ray debuts this fall. In addition, a new Deluxe Edition featuring unreleased bonus content will be available exclusively from Dead.net. Both versions arrive more than a year after the acclaimed four-hour documentary premiered at Sundance, followed by its exclusive release on Amazon Prime.
Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev (“Happy Valley,” “The Tillman Story”) with Martin Scorsese serving as executive producer, Long Strange Trip brings together never-before-seen performance footage, vintage interviews, and other candid moments unearthed from the Grateful Dead’s vast vaults. The film also includes newly captured conversations with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, as well as many other characters and pranksters from the Dead universe.
Long Strange Trip was nominated for the “Best Music Film” Grammy® Award and was also one of 15 films shortlisted for the Academy Awards® “Best Documentary Feature.” The film was widely praised by fans and the critics alike, including the Los Angeles Times, which called it: “One of the most engrossing rock docs ever made.”
LONG STRANGE TRIP: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD will be available on November 16 as a double-DVD ($24.98) and single Blu-ray ($27.98). The Deluxe Edition will be available the same day exclusively from Dead.net on three DVDs ($26.98) and two Blu-rays ($30.98). Production of the Deluxe Edition is limited to 6,500 copies each on DVD and Blu-ray.
All versions include the original documentary in stereo, as well as a 5.1 surround mix. They also feature a new commentary track with director Bar-Lev and editor John Walter. The Deluxe Edition boasts previously unreleased footage from the band’s first show overseas, recorded on May 24, 1970 in England at the Hollywood Festival, including six full songs along with backstage footage and other behind the scenes moments from the band’s first trip over the pond. The Deluxe Edition also includes two live performances from 1989 (“Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”). Snippets of all the bonus content were used in the film, but this marks the first time they will be released in their entirety.
“Around 2003, while winding through the 16mm film outtakes for The Grateful Dead Movie in preparation for its DVD release, I came across a couple of unlabeled cans of 16mm film. I loaded the first reel onto the Steenbeck film viewing/editing table and was amazed by what I saw,” says band archivist David Lemieux. “Not only rare, exceptional quality material from the performance at the Hollywood Festival, but loads of other terrific footage, showing the band at a Warner Bros. Records party in London (Pigpen surrounded by suits!), at a photo shoot (‘that’s one uncooperative bunch of musicians!’), at a rehearsal hall performing ‘Candyman’ vocal harmonies and, most exciting of all, backstage at the festival. This is truly some of the most remarkable, candid, and interesting footage in existence of the Grateful Dead and we’re thrilled to be releasing the entirety of this wonderful historical document.”
Long Strange Trip was directed by Amir Bar-Lev and financed by Alex Blavatnik through his AOMA Sunshine Films. Eric Eisner (“Hamlet 2”), Ken Dornstein, Nicholas Koskoff, and Justin Kreutzmann served as producers. In addition to Scorsese, the film’s other executive producers are: Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, Rick Yorn, Alicia Sams, Thomas Mangan, Bernie Cahill, Trixie Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. Longtime Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux served as the film’s music supervisor. Production entities partnering on the project are Double E Pictures, Axis Films, and Sikelia Productions, Inc.