Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues 2004

Directed by Morgan Neville

This excellent documentary contains all known footage of country music's first superstar whose classic songs continue to inspire a thousand covers. “A vital piece of historical testimony.” — Variety

USA In English
81 minutes Beta-SP



Morgan Neville
Colin Escott


Jeff Steinborn


James Ford


Hank Williams
Hank Williams Jr
Hank Williams III
Merle Haggard
Goerge Jones
Ray Charles
Bob Dylan
Tony Bennett


London 2004


Hank Williams was the first country music superstar. A town-bred boy from Alabama, quite probably afflicted with spina bifida, he made himself the world’s greatest cowboy singer. Handsome, charming, a little dangerous, he wowed audiences, wooed women, and wrote some of the most enduring sad songs in the country repertoire – “Cold, Cold Heart”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “You Win Again” – and several of the most rockin’. This documentary collects all the known footage of Williams and recounts the story of his comet-like career through the reminiscences of band mates, friends, and family. They tell of a hell-raiser, a hard-living wild man who was too crazy for the staid Opry, too famous too fast for his own good and who drank himself to death on New Year’s Eve 1952, aged 29.

“A vital piece of historical testimony… Williams brought hillbilly music to the masses and where he couldn’t go, his songs would, as evidenced by footage of Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett and Norah Jones covering his work.” — Phil Gallo, Variety