‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’ Doc Will Rock On at Sony Pictures Classics

The film is the first officially sanctioned project charting the band’s legendary legacy

Becoming Led Zeppelin
"Becoming Led Zeppelin" (Credit: Paradise Pictures)

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all rights in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia (excluding Japan) and Benelux to the documentary “Becoming Led Zeppelin,” the company announced on Wednesday.

Powered by awe-inspiring, psychedelic, never-before-seen footage, performances and music, Bernard MacMahon’s experiential cinematic odyssey explores Led Zeppelin’s creative, musical and personal origin story.

The film is told in Led Zeppelin’s own words and is the first officially sanctioned project charting their legendary legacy.  

The documentary is directed by the award-winning, Emmy and BAFTA-nominated Bernard MacMahon (“American Epic”), and written by MacMahon and BAFTA nominated producer Allison McGourty. It is produced by Paradise Pictures in association with Big Beach alongside executive producers Michael Clark, Alex Turtletaub, Duke Erikson, Cynthia Heusing, David Kistenbroker, Simon Moran and Ged Doherty.

Editing is by Dan Gitlin, rerecording mix is by Nick Bergh and sound restoration is by Grammy Award winner Peter Henderson. 

Highly anticipated since its announcement and subsequent work-in-progress screening at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, where it received a 10-minute standing ovation, the now completed film features a brand new sound mix, newly unearthed material from the archives of all four band members (including home movies and family photos) and exclusive interviews with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, as well as never-before-heard interviews with the late John Bonham.

In his review of the documentary, The Wrap’s Steve Pond wrote: “It offers glimpses of the band we’ve never seen before, but it also withholds a lot. And it’s entirely true to the spirit of the band, which was known for marathon concerts and never made an album without at least one song longer than six minutes. In other words, it’s potent as hell and as excessive as ‘Physical Graffiti,’ the 1975 album whose excess was pretty much inseparable from its power.”

The hybrid docu-concert film also unveils a huge amount of unseen Led Zeppelin performance footage, including The Fillmore West (January 1969), The Atlanta Pop Festival (July 1969) and The Texas Pop Festival (August 1969). The result is a visceral musical experience that will transport audiences into the concert halls of Led Zeppelin’s earliest tours, accompanied by intimate commentary from the famously private band. 

“When I saw the early cut of the film premiered, at the Venice Film Festival, it was amazing,” Page said in a statement. “The energy of the story, and the power of the music, is phenomenal.” 

MacMahon added: “We have spent years designing this film to be experienced on the big screen with the best possible sound.”

“We loved this film from the first moment we saw it,” Sony Pictures Classics said. “It has been nothing short of extraordinary to witness the organic process Bernard, Allison and their team have taken to sculpt what has turned out to be the definitive film on the origins of Led Zeppelin. We are honored to be working with such committed artists who have crafted a film that immediately transports you right into the energy and excitement of that time. It seamlessly weaves astonishing performances, archival footage and interviews through superb editing and impeccable sound design. This film is a grand theatrical experience and we are very proud to be bringing it to the world.” 

The deal was negotiated between Sony Pictures Classics, MacMahon and Altitude Film Sales.

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