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The Agony And Ecstacy Of Phil Spector

Directed by Vikram Jayanti

The Agony And Ecstacy Of Phil Spector still

US/UK, 2008, 102 min

Legendary pop music genius, record producer Phil Spector created the “wall of sound” behind some of the greatest hits of the ’60s: Be My Baby, He’s a Rebel, Da Doo Ron Ron, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, to name just a few. Today he is imprisoned serving 19 years to- life for the murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson.


Prepare to be dazzled.

David Fear, Time Out NY

The creator of rock's fabled ‘Wall of Sound,' the Svengali of the ‘60s girl groups and the producer of the Beatles' ‘Let It Be'… a man who for 50 years has avoided the news media like the plague.

John Anderson, The New York Times

The great songwriter and record producer, the sonic auteur of the shoop-shoop era… This documentary by Vikram Jayanti has the great virtue of delving deeply into Spector's artistic legacy, through well-chosen video and sound clips, incisive and analytical supertitles by Spector's biographer Mick Brown, and, most of all by Spector's own recollections… (discussing) his classic work in illuminating detail.

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Lives up to its grandiose title. A scoop. A Top 40 opera. Spector's discourse and observations…are interwoven with his greatest hits, often played in their glorious entirety. Spector didn't invent adolescent emo, but he dignified it with Wagnerian pow.

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Illuminating and entertaining. It's mesmerizing.

Creepily riveting! A rock ‘n' roll Napoleon in exile, caught in a time warp.

Stephen Holden, The New York Times

A landmark documentary. (It's) most fascinating when Spector… talks about his years as a record producer.'

V.A. Musetto, New York Post

Fascinating, intimate portrait. Essential viewing for any pop-music fan and any student of celebrity pathology.

Kevin Lally, The Hollywood Reporter

An eloquent raconteur. The interview is so juicy.

Steve Dollar, Wall St. Journal

At its most intense moments, the movie creates a gripping harmony of sound and images. A rise-and-fall tale fitting of one of the greatest producers of all time.

Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone

If you love pop music, you must see this movie! Riveting. Electrifying, one-of-a-kind, crime-meets-tragedy documentary. Like Napoleon with borderline personality disorder. Mesmerizing to behold. He's got terrific stories. When Scorsese chose Be My Baby to open MEAN STREETS (arguably the single greatest use of a pop song in Hollywood history)…he was echoing the juxtaposition pop music and movies that Kenneth Anger had invented... From Anger to Scorsese to BLUE VELVET to SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, that synergy of movies and pop music has always had a special operatic power – it's like a conduit to the unconscious – but until THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF PHIL SPECTOR, I'd never seen that same aesthetic employed in a documentary. The movie isn't simply the record of the trial – it's the story of a haunting nightmare… a ghoulish rhapsody of sin.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

A dark, gripping, revelatory and at times hilarious portrait. Spector himself is utterly captivating. Unmissable.

Andrew Male, Mojo (Uk)

4 stars! [...] Extraordinary.

The Daily Mail (Uk)

One the Best Documentaries of the Year!

Time Out (London)

Engrossing! [...] fascinating controversial views on stardom, the music industry, the American justice system and his unusual, reclusive life.

Neil Rosen, NY1

Not only a hell of an exclusive but a work of art itself, a synthesis of a psychological profile, a critical history and a candid, surprising interview.An overwhelming experience.

Andrew Billen, The Times (London)