Archives / 2013 Sundance Film Festival

History of the Eagles Part One

Film Still

Director: Alison Ellwood

Institute History

Description

Alison Ellwood’s intimate, meticulously crafted patchwork of rare archival material, concert footage, and unseen home movies explores the evolution and enduring popularity of one of America’s truly defining bands.

Inspired by the vibrant Los Angeles music scene, Glenn Frey and Don Henley left Linda Ronstadt’s backup band to team with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner and form the Eagles in 1971. While personal stories from band members (later including Don Felder, Joe Walsh, and Timothy Schmit), managers, and music-industry luminaries frame the narrative, it’s the unexpected moments—recording sessions, backstage interactions, and even a whimsical sequence from the Desperado cover shoot—that convey the inexplicable rapport linking artists, music, and the times (an era when country-tinged rock and pristine harmonies spoke to a nation still reeling from unrest).

But the band was not impervious to its own unrest, and its conflicts prompted several departures and ultimately led to its demise (or long vacation). This History of the Eagles Part One skips neither a beat nor a hit song, and we’re reminded why the band’s Their Greatest Hits collection remains one of the best-selling albums in U.S. history.

— J. N.

Screening Details

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