Johnny Cash: The Last Great American

Johnny Cash: The Last Great American

Ratings: 8.55/10 from 55 users.

Johnny Cash: The Last Great AmericanDocumentary profiling the life of legendary country music star Johnny Cash, who died in 2003 shortly after completing the retrospective Unearthed, a five-CD set of the acoustic performances with which he resurrected his career in the last decade of his life, and after losing his wife, June Carter Cash.

This first major retrospective of Cash's life, times and music features contributions from his daughter Rosanne Cash and son John Carter Cash, his longtime manager Lou Robin and fellow musicians including Little Richard, Cowboy Jack Clement, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Elvis Costello.

Cash was the son of a poor sharecropper from Kingsland, Arkansas, who sang folk, spiritual and country songs to himself while picking cotton in the fields. In the 50s he signed to Sam Phillips' Sun Records, scored his first hits and was part of the 'Million Dollar Quartet' with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

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51 Comments / User Reviews

  1. cless

    So many memories , my father would sing some of his songs, so sad, so real... cool defines this man in black.

  2. james

    Brilliant Doc thank you...Johnny you is the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Nicholas Hewlett

    saw him at glastonbury! i only went to see him! He proofed me right. Great man, shame thier are not more like him, cliche but true!

  4. Colleen Heffernan

    This was a thoughtful and comprehensive look at Johnny. I liked that it was by BBC Four and commented from a 'neutral' position as opposed to many American commentators who would tend to have more personal views on elements of the controversy that Johnny Cash provoked.

  5. andy

    We love you john, may your songs always be sung.

  6. James Robert Edwards

    Brought tears 2 my eyes because my wonderful step-dad used 2 play Johnny's albums when I was growing up and sing to them for us and he sounded great and we loved the words,

  7. Timmy Suckmeister

    What a powerful video. I could see John on Mount Rushmore.

    1. Nicholas Hewlett

      ame here!!

  8. Glen Hale

    All of USA has No Cash now only Obama

  9. crazypt

    saw the movie walk the line good flick, this was also very intersting, the man was a legend, he made a life on his own from dirt to gold dust, all the outlaw cowboys truely invented the true country that is worth listening to, the country of today is pure crap as i am concerned LIVE ON JOHNNY

  10. ProudinUS

    Ol' Johny was purebred American soul!


    cash, the only country i listen to.
    but "last great american"?

  12. dmxi

    bloody-shite-law-abiding-germerman(niece of the infamous ethel merman) copy-right-infringement-sucking-arseholeness's-son-of-a-granny-humpin'-twat
    decides that gema(german copyright thingamajig) has the right to allow that this pixled versioned bio/documentary is not for souls residing in the land of merkel's finest?i feel betrayed of a cooperate misled regime that paints their flags with freedom!
    in short:can't watch it 'ere in the good 'ole DDR !
    ps:this is a LOL comment,not a political manifesto!an urge of distress if you will!

  13. potluckpotatoes

    It's an okay doc but it does not go into very much detail at all... kind of just skims the surface of his life missing major events like the death of his brother as a child. This heavily influenced his life and music becuse he felt responsible for his death.

  14. Eric Edwards

    This film is a great piece of work, I really enjoyed it. I was impressed by the depth of the content and accuracy of the storyline.

  15. Imightberiding

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Thanks Vlatko. Two songs that Johhny recorded late in life transcend all kinds of genres, hills, valleys,& generations. The obvious being his version of Nine Inch Nail's "Hurt" & the second a little lesser known from his posthumous album American V is his recording of Gordon Lighfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind". When I hear the original artists perform either of these songs I would say that they have a haunting feel & I actually get goose bumps listening to both songs after all these years for different reasons.
    When I listen to the recordings of these amazing songs by Johhny Cash it is literally soul crushing. I actually feel an empty physical ache in my chest on top of the goose bumps. One of the coolest men & at the same time real artists ever to walk this planet.
    I had the pleasure & privilege of meeting the great "Man in black" in the early 80's as an extra in a film he was staring in. Later front row at one of his concerts. Yes, as @cls44l stated earlier in the comments; his view of Johhny Cash was forever changed due to a chance meeting with him, well so was mine only opposite to his experience.

    As his daughter Roseanne said: (forgive my paraphrase) "He was always cool. He defined it. Everyone else finally caught up or found out."

  16. AndyA121

    One of my favorite songs by Cash is "A boy named Sue.

  17. blahblahbob

    Johnny Cash is like the gateway drug of country music.... before you know it your on to merle and buck owens and the hard stuff! Lol!

  18. lakhotason

    Memphis sh@t. Hell yes.

  19. Guest

    Going to do a Razor and cut to the chase, Happy new Year all, xxx :)

    1. Guest

      Same for me: HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!

  20. wald0

    I feel for anyone that has to battle addiction, it is much more complicated than most people understand. This is because we all seem to expect logical behavior from one another, even though we never act logically ourselves. Humans do not act and react in logical fashion most of the time, they are driven by compulsions, prejudices, self image, etc. Yet when we see people do illogical things we all scratch our heads and say, " Why would he do that?" Johnny was in pursuit of raw, honest feeling and experience, which he then attempted to explore and relate via his music. I think toward the end of his life he really learned how to do that, and not just through what he said but how he said it. If you just listen to Hurt you will never get the full meaning, you have to see him perfom it in the video to truly understand the depth of desperation, the haunting hollow lonliness that the song is expressing. I have played music all my life, most of my family is envolved in the music industry, so I have met a lot of so called artists, but this guy is the real deal, authenic, true artist. Hats off Mr. Cash, you are sorely missed.

    1. Guest

      Cash is the only Country artist I ever took to, for whatever all reasons there may be. I've never really analyzed it, but I've always liked him, whereas most Country just strikes me as way too maudlin. I do love the velocity and technical aptitude inherent in genuine Bluegrass an awful lot, however. For example, every time The Darlings are on the old Andy Griffith Show, I'm right dere in it, lol.

    2. lakhotason

      Don't mistake this New Country garbage for country music. It is neither new or country.

    3. Guest

      I don't... A whole lotta that is Garth Brooks' fault, I guess. And I forgot to mention Hank Williams Sr., who I also appreciate a lot as the genuine item.

    4. dmxi

      very well phrased,sir !an addict is always on the run from him/herself!that said ,like an epiphany,i'm tying my shoes & quietly hush to the nearest exit.......

  21. Guest

    This should be my last comment until next year...if the plane takes off...wish i had some Johnny in my labtop...a few of his songs would be good flying music.
    Instead i'll watch Why Reading Matters.
    @Py i'll have to pick up A Beautiful Mind again, had to return it to the library unfinished.

    1. Guest

      Is this a permanent move for you, so far as you know?
      edit- And did the cabdriver have a fishbowl perched on top of the passenger seat? lol.

    2. Guest

      not sure...i packed everything at home...and will be caretaking a house for the month of Feb near jumping between family members...and i do have 78 cousins in the Gaspe it could be a long trip.
      Not sure if i get the fishbowl joke...perhaps my french? I didn't see any fishbowl but he seemed to be fishing for attention....i didn't like the worm, so didn't bite.

    3. Guest

      Musicians are notorious in some parts for putting an empty fishbowl nearby for tips! I used to do it years ago, when I played (piano) Sunday afternoons at a little local coffee-house for fun. Doubt Cash ever had to do it, but it's certainly implied in his name, lol.

    4. Guest

      Happy journey Az and happy new year :)

  22. lakhotason

    I don't think it is even possible to get better than Johnny Cash.

  23. Guest

    Apparently the cab driver that took me from the bus station to the airport this morning is the most famous cab driver singer in Canada (or he says) that short 30 minutes i heard 3 songs, and a big part of his love life...what a way to get a 5$ tip...musicians always find a way!
    I watched this doc on the bus last night...made me think of all the bus rides Johnny used to be on with his band...a little more comfort than Greyhound though!

    1. lakhotason

      Nothing wrong with a Greyhound. Just spent two weeks on one.

    2. Guest're back...we thought you dissapeared...I see you're starting with a new slate.
      Greyhound is fine, you just have to find a million ways to lay down...the advantage with the Nelson/Calgary is that most people end up with a full 2 seater.
      Happy New Year....
      where did you go explore?
      You like Johnny Cash? (got to stay on topic)

    3. lakhotason

      Remember the doc "Conquistadors"? Just went and followed de Vaca's route. Simply amazing. Plus it was warm and sunny. An excess of photos and videos. Johnny Cash would understand.

    4. Guest

      i am filled with "un ataque de celos".

    5. lakhotason

      Yeah I know. Too bad.

    6. Guest

      Hey traveler :)

    7. lakhotason

      Feels good just to sit my ass at home.

    8. Guest

      Only for a while though eh? Just until your feet itch or the light is good. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend time. Nice to have you back :)

  24. Susan Ernst

    So touching.
    My 21 year old daughter is a huge Cash fan.
    And he still remains a daily sound in our lives.
    I remember as a child.... being in a tavern, with my Mom and Dad, standing with my face pressed to the jute box, listening many times to "A BOY NAME SUE".
    My name IS "Sue"..... how do u do!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Jared Boyes

    Excellent documentary. Such a regular man that made himself larger than life. And CLS... Nobody is perfect. Whatever the situation may have been, you cannot deny the good things Mr. Cash did do in his life. His life was not an easy one, and he sure could have been much worse of a person had he wished.

  26. drinker69

    "Well I taught the weepin willow how to cry
    and showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky
    and the tears I cried for that woman
    are gonna flood you big river...."

  27. Luckin Fefty

    tragic - if it weren't for that one great missed record sale, he might have been hugely successful.

  28. cls44l

    If you had known him back in 1960's you would'n have thought him so great. I worked for the Air Force during that time in Osan, Korea, I arrived in Soul about 9PM after a very durty trip by train from Pusan. I went to the R&R house and ask the Sgt. for quarters for the night. He said they were full of a USO troup. Then I ask that the driver take me to a Korean Hotel. The Sgt. said use the General's quarters because he wouldn't be there after that hour of the night. The next morning I came out of the room and at the same time I saw the man who looked familiar but I went to the dining room, had breakfast and went to thre desk to pay my tab. The Sgt. told me he was in deep trouble for allowing me to use the General's quarters. Mr. Cash had raised "hell" with him and stated that as soon as he saw the General he'd have him "fired". I arrived at Osan and went to the General's Office and explained the situation to him and he stated "won't worry, When Mr. Cash makes his demands I'll tell him I'll give the Sgt. a severe repremand about the head & shoulders with a wet noodle". I never bought a Cash record.

    1. KT Tyler

      The man himself never spoke to you, yet you judge his entire life by this single moment? By what someone else told you? You should listen to his music and then forgive yourself for being so stupid. This story is about you, not Johnny Cash.

    2. Guest

      The events of life often influence our thoughts towards someone in good or bad, perhaps a family member or a good friend or a complete stranger.
      To let go is liberating...Johnny Cash may have been that someone to you but you have never been anything to him.
      ...and i must say often times stardom makes a person full of themself, in the eyes of most they are grander than reality.

    3. harry nutzack

      at that time, cash was fairly well hooked on speed and smack... also at the time, japan was probably one of the hardest places on the planet to find either... "jones-dread" tends to make folks a bit testy.. glad the general was cool about it, and good for you for boycotting, i always say voice your commercial displeasure with your dough...

    4. Guest

      I started to point that out, myself, about the drugs. I don't want to make excuses for him, but I can't imagine he was in a very good place mentally throughout the 60's. Even if he had access over there somehow, hard drugs'll make anyone pretty selfish.

  29. dmxi

    can't wait to watch this even though i've nearly seen every doc out there. probably nothing new but who cares!