Study Guide

Almost Famous Summary

Almost Famous Summary

It's 1969. Man is walking on the moon. Nearly a half million young Americans are congregating in upstate New York for Woodstock. Jennifer Lopez is born. 

And William Miller is an eleven-year-old kid growing up in San Diego. 

He lives with his mother, Elaine, a college professor, and his older sister, Anita. He's precocious—he even skipped two grades—but he has difficulty fitting in. His world is changed, however, when Anita leaves home, entrusting her record collection to young William.

Fast-forward four years. 

It's now 1973, and William is a senior in high school. An aspiring rock journalist, William has the opportunity to meet legendary rock critic Lester Bangs, who offers him an assignment covering Black Sabbath. At the concert, William befriends the mysterious Penny Lane, a groupie (ahem, Band Aid), as well as the members of Stillwater, the opening band. 


Rolling Stone magazine offers William an assignment to go on the road with Stillwater, which he gladly accepts. Completing the story, however, proves to be more difficult than he has anticipated. The band's enigmatic guitarist and biggest talent, Russell Hammond, repeatedly defers William's request for an interview. Meanwhile, William's growing feelings for Penny are complicated by Russell's romantic relationship with the Band Aid.

Things change in a hurry when Russell permits the sale of Penny to another band in a poker game. A heartbroken Penny follows the band to New York, only to wind up overdosing on Quaaludes. Fortunately, William is there to save the day. After a heart to heart, William escorts Penny to the airport, where she leaves for home.

Following a near-death experience aboard the Stillwater airplane, William finally leaves the tour, heading to the Rolling Stone offices in San Francisco to finish the article. At the suggestion of Lester Bangs, William's completed piece is "honest and unmerciful." Stillwater, however, with Russell at the helm, denies the truth of the story. 

Embarrassed, dejected, and alone, William serendipitously runs into Anita, now a flight attendant, in the airport. The two return home together.

Meanwhile, Russell tries to get in contact with Penny. After speaking on the phone, Penny gives Russell what he thinks is her address—but it's actually William's. Russell arrives at William's house, thinking it's Penny's, but he quickly discovers where he is and realizes why Penny sent him there. He tells Rolling Stone the truth and reconciles with William. 

Then and there, he finally gives the young journalist the honest, heartfelt interview they both deserve—which ends up making the cover of Rolling Stone.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    Opening Credits

    • Almost Famous begins with an homage to another classic film: To Kill a Mockingbird.
    • The camera sifts through a plethora of rock-and-roll memorabilia: photographs, vinyl records, ticket stubs, concert posters, pens from famous hotels, and more. In To Kill a Mockingbird, these artifacts are the marbles, crayons, and other miscellaneous objects that Boo Radley hides in the hollow of the tree.
    • Meanwhile, the opening credits are scrawled by hand in pencil on a notepad.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)"

    • The year is 1969, and it's Christmastime in San Diego. As Alvin and the Chipmunks play, we watch as people spend time in the sunshine, walking, jogging, and even surfing. Santa is sporting his seasonal swim trunks. (Is this not how Christmas looks everywhere?)
    • Young William Miller and his mother Elaine walk down the sidewalk, having just finished watching To Kill a Mockingbird in the theater.
    • William and Elaine discuss the movie in question. As Elaine questions her son about his take on the movie, it becomes clear that young William is quite precocious, while his mother has no shortage of strong opinions.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    "The Poetry of Drugs and Promiscuous Sex"

    • Back at home, Elaine is cooking up some "soy cutlets" for the family. William doesn't exactly look ecstatic. But, really—who wouldn't be ecstatic about some good ol' soy cutlets?
    • At this moment, William's sister Anita appears at the door. Anita and her mother share a tense dialogue, and we discover that Anita was trying to sneak in a record. The record in question is Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel.
    • Elaine has banned rock music in the household because she views it to be a corrupting force.
    • "Simon and Garfunkel are poetry," Anita protests.
    • "The poetry of drugs and promiscuous sex," Elaine responds.
    • The argument reaches a tipping point, and Anita storms off in a huff. "This is a house of lies!" she declares. William does his best to keep out of the middle of the conflict.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    "Oogum Boogum"

    • "Oogum Boogum" by Brenton Wood plays, as we pan down from two teenaged students in the school bathroom grooming their facial hair to a much younger-looking William, who combs his hair.
    • We cut to William in the back seat of the family car; Elaine drives, and Anita sits shotgun. William makes a comment about how young he looks compared to the other kids in his class.
    • Note the camerawork in this scene: at certain points, the shot is filmed in the 1st-person from the perspective of William. Pay attention to the moments when Elaine and Anita each look directly into the camera—that is, directly into William's eyes.
    • Elaine reveals that William is not 12 and a year behind his class like he has grown up believing. He's actually 11, and he skipped two grades.
    • Elaine reminds William that he will have extra time when he graduates to explore the world. "Follow your dream," she tells him. "You will still be the youngest lawyer in the country." It becomes clear, however, that this is Elaine's dream for William, not his own.
    • "What about me," Anita asks, after Elaine explains that William is a gifted child. "You are rebellious and ungrateful of my love," her mother tells her.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5


    • In the living room of the Miller residence, Anita puts a record on the turntable. "This song explains why I'm leaving home to become a stewardess," she tells a seated Elaine and William.
    • The song is "America" by Simon and Garfunkel, which appears on the album Bookends. No offense to Elaine Miller, but it really is a fantastic song. We encourage you to give it a listen yourself.
    • As the song plays, we cut to Anita as she loads her belongings into her boyfriend Darryl's car. As William looks on, Anita approaches.
    • Putting her hands on his shoulders and looking into William's eyes (that is, directly into the camera), Anita provides one of the film's most classic lines. "One day you'll be cool," she tells him.
    • "Look under your bed," Anita continues. "It will set you free."
    • We cut to William in his bedroom, pulling out a case from under the bed. We discover that it contains Anita's record collection. Flipping through albums by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and more, he discovers a message tucked into Tommy by The Who.
    • "Listen to Tommy with a candle burning," the note reads. "You will see your entire future."
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6


    • "Sparks" by The Who (from Tommy) plays, and we fast-forward four years to 1973.
    • William is now a senior in high school. After class one day, he heads down to a local radio station where Lester Bangs, the famous rock critic and editor of Creem Magazine, is doing an in-studio interview.
    • William looks on excitedly as Lester bounces around the room waxing poetic about rock and roll. He requests "Search and Destroy" by Iggy Pop & the Stooges and proceeds to display some impeccable dancing skills.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    "Honest and Unmerciful"

    • We cut to William and Lester walking together outside. We learn that Lester has been receiving pieces of music writing from William, who has become an aspiring rock journalist.
    • Lester informs William that his writing is good but that rock and roll is over. "Over?" William asks. "You got here just in time for the last death rattle," Lester explains. "The last gasp. The last grope." "Well at least I'm here for that," William says.
    • We cut to a café, where William and Lester sit and chat. Lester tells William what to expect on the road as a touring rock journalist.
    • "These people are not your friends," Lester warns of the rock stars. "These are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of rock stars, and they will ruin rock and roll and strangle everything we love about it."
    • Lester advises William to get out while he still can and "go be a lawyer or something." William smiles. It's clear he's not going to do that.
    • Lester eventually offers William an assignment: 1,000 words on Black Sabbath.
    • "You have to make your reputation on being honest and unmerciful," Lester explains, as William scribbles this information down. Lester offers his help going forward, and the two end their conversation on a positive note.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8


    • "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath plays as Elaine drives William to the concert.
    • "Look at this," Elaine says, eyeing the motley crowd of concertgoers. "An entire generation of Cinderellas, and there's no slipper."
    • "Don't take drugs!" Elaine yells as William exits the car. Our friends over at Shmoop History tell us that moms were pretty much never not completely embarrassing.
    • We cut to William as he tries to get into the back entrance of the venue. He is continually denied by the large, not very friendly-looking bouncer manning the door.
    • After his rejection, William meets a group of several young women who have begun to congregate outside. Here he has a brief exchange with Estrella Starr, one of these women, whom he calls a groupie.
    • Enter Penny Lane, an alluring and mysterious woman, dressed in her iconic garb: a fur coat and sunglasses at night.
    • Penny explains to William that she and her friends are not, in fact, groupies. "Groupies sleep with rock stars because they want to be near someone famous," she tells him. "We are here because of the music. We are Band Aids."
    • Soon another Band Aid, Sapphire, appears at the door with passes for everyone. Penny tells William that she will try to find him one.
    • Still outside, William watches as a rather downtrodden-looking bus rolls to a stop. A bunch of scraggly dudes jump out and wander toward the entrance. It takes a moment for William to recognize these individuals as the band Stillwater.
    • William introduces himself as a rock journalist. "Ah, 'the enemy,'" lead singer Jeff Bebe remarks. "We play for the fans, not the critics," guitarist Russell Hammond says.
    • William pauses for a moment, then addresses the entire band by name, complimenting them and their music, as a fan would do. "And Russell, Russell, the guitar sound is in-sind-iary," William explains. "Incendiary."
    • Won over, the band invites William in.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    "And the Chicks Are Great"

    • Inside the greenroom of the venue, Jeff Bebe spouts nonsense into William's tape recorder about the meaning and importance of rock and roll. "And the chicks are great," he reminds William.
    • Russell Hammond starts playing guitar nearby, and William points the tape recorder in his direction. Russell refuses to speak. It's clear who the real prize interview subject is.
    • Penny finds William furiously scribbling notes on a pad—he is already quite taken with her. They have a conversation, and Penny discovers innocent little William's true age: 15.
    • Then Russell appears, and it becomes immediately clear that he and Penny already know each other quite well.
    • Notice the soundtrack choice here: "River" by Joni Mitchell, from her album Blue.
    • The boys of Stillwater pull William into their pre-show huddle and go onstage to play their hit song "Fever Dog."
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    "If You Never Take It Seriously, You Never Get Hurt"

    • Backstage after the concert, Russell invites William up to Los Angeles to finish the interview. He also tells him to bring Penny Lane.
    • William and Penny share a conversation after everyone has left.
    • To the tune of Nancy Wilson's score, Penny tells William that she plans to go to Morocco for a year. William is completely enamored with Penny.
    • We cut to William back home typing up the transcript of his interview with Jeff.
    • Next, we watch as William says goodbye to his mother, who thinks he's only going to a dance. He leaves the house and jumps into a car with Penny Lane.
    • "I always tell the girls, never take it seriously," Penny explains to William. "If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt; if you never get hurt, you always have fun; and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends."
    • William and Penny arrive at the Hyatt House hotel in L.A. and make their way through a flurry of rock stars, groupies, superfans, and misfits.
    • William and Penny make it to Stillwater's room just in time for the party.
    • Polexia narrates as Penny and Russell eye each other from across the room. Eventually, Penny and Russell leave together, and William looks on jealously. "We gotta stop them," he says. "Stop them?" Polexia responds. "You were her excuse for coming here."
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    "Swill Merchants"

    • Back home, William receives a phone call from Ben Fong-Torres of Rolling Stone magazine. He is offered $1,000 for a 3,000-word story on Stillwater. William puts on his grown man voice and ecstatically accepts.
    • William calls up Lester Bangs for advice. The veteran journalist warns the young writer about the dangers of the big business mentality of a publication like Rolling Stone. "Don't let those swill merchants rewrite you," he tells William.
    • Elaine begrudgingly allows William to go on the road, as long as he doesn't miss more than one test and is back before graduation.
    • We cut to the Stillwater bus, where William rides with the band. William approaches Russell for an interview, and Russell tells him that they'll do it later. "Just enjoy the ride," he says.
    • Jeff and Russell discuss William's presence on tour with them. "He's the enemy," Jeff reminds Russell. "He writes what he sees. Although it would be cool to be on the cover."
    • In the hotel, William finds Russell shut in his room. Again, he is unable to do the interview.
    • Elaine calls the hotel in Tempe, and Sapphire picks up. "Is this Maryanne with the pot?" Sapphire asks. Elaine informs her that it's William's mother. "I know what's going on," she says.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    "Just Make Us Look Cool"

    • Down by the hotel pool, William pulls out his tape recorder and prepares to interview Russell. "Shut that thing off for a second and I'll tell you the truth," he tells William. "Just make us look cool."
    • Russell continues, later: "Some of the stuff that happens is good for a few people to know about, instead of, you know, a million people."
    • Russell confesses that he has outgrown the band as a musician. But he feels a responsibility to the rest of the band not to walk out. "But here I am, telling secrets to the one guy I'm not supposed to tell secrets to," he tells William.
    • William tells Russell that they can do the interview later.
    • We cut to the band on stage in Tempe, as Russell gets electrocuted by a microphone.
    • The band members are accosted by the venue's promoter, but they walk out, get on the bus, and drive away.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    "That's the Way"

    • The Stillwater bus drives through the Midwest, and Penny takes Polaroid photos of the band. "That's the Way" by Led Zeppelin plays.
    • Penny and William talk about Morocco and music. William asks for help getting the interview with Russell. He's "my last project," Penny explains. "All the guys are good, but he could be great." William asks about Penny's real name. She smiles mysteriously.
    • Elaine talks on the phone with William, who is now in Topeka. She wonders aloud what she did to drive her kids so far away. "Was I not fun?" she asks.
    • After Elaine and William say goodbye, we see a shot of Elaine looking dejected and alone in her house.
    • William sits down with Russell in the dressing room, and asks him a number of questions. "When did you get so professional?" Russell asks.
    • Before William can answer, Dick, the band manager, shows up with the first Stillwater T-shirts from the record company. Russell is out front, and everyone else is blurry in the background.
    • Jeff's insecurities come out, and the band finally has the confrontation that has been building all along. William looks around sheepishly as the argument runs its course.
    • Everyone leaves the room except for Russell, who calls William back. "Let's go find something real," he says.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    "I Am a Golden God!"

    • William and Russell leave the venue and talk about William's family life. They develop a connection. "But here I am, telling secrets to one guy you don't tell secrets to," William jokes, echoing Russell's earlier words.
    • Russell and William find themselves at a house party at the behest of a few "real Topeka people."
    • A skeptical William watches as Russell enjoys all that is "real." One thing leads to another, and Russell finds himself tripping on LSD on the rooftop and shouting, "I am a golden god." (In the words of Ron Burgundy, "That escalated quickly.")
    • An extremely intoxicated Russell continues: "And you can tell Rolling Stone magazine that my last words… were… I'm on drugs!" The crowd gathered around cheers emphatically.
    • "I think we should work on those last words," shouts William. "I dig music," Russell responds. The crowd offers a lukewarm response.
    • "I'm on drugs!" Russell yells, the crowd cheering loudly again. With that, Russell jumps into the pool.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    "Tiny Dancer"

    • The next morning, Dick is convincing an exceptionally woozy Russell to leave the house.
    • Russell then flips out on William: "How do we know he's not a cop!" he shouts. William is visibly shaken and implores Dick to help him get his interview—to no avail.
    • Russell boards the bus and is given the eye by everyone on board. The tension is severe.
    • As the bus drives away, "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John begins to play, marking the beginning of the film's most iconic scene.
    • Everyone on the bus begins to sing along to the music. Before long, even Russell is singing again, and everyone is feeling better.
    • "I have to go home," William tells Penny. "You are home," she responds.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    "A Think Piece"

    • We cut to Elaine teaching psychology at community college. She can't concentrate. "Rock stars have kidnapped my son," she tells her shocked class.
    • A desperate William is now in Greenville, calling Lester for advice. Ben Fong-Torres of Rolling Stone needs his article soon, and William has to return home for graduation.
    • "Tell him it's a think piece," Lester advises, "about a mid-level band struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom." He chuckles. "He'll wet himself."
    • William has an unconventional conversation with Penny in the bathroom, during which Penny convinces him to stay on tour longer.
    • The other Band Aids—Polexia, Sapphire, and Beth from Denver—decide to "deflower" William. He protests feebly; all he can see is Penny.
    • In the morning, Ben Fong-Torres calls. He reprimands William for not taking things seriously enough, and reminds him that his job is to interview and report.
    • William shares Lester's line about the think piece. Ben promptly offers William 1,000 more words and tells him that it's in consideration for the cover.
    • William, desperate to complete his story, storms off to find Russell. Unfortunately, the guitarist is locked in his room with Penny; William is denied an interview once again.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    "The Wind"

    • In Cleveland, the band parties in their hotel room. William sits alone in his room.
    • At the venue, William calls his mother while Russell watches. Before long, Russell takes over the phone. He is surprised when he receives a strong lecture from Elaine, complete with a Goethe quote.
    • "Your mom kinda freaked me out," Russell later says to William. "She means well," William responds, putting a hand on his shoulder.
    • The band celebrates post-gig, and William finally sits down to interview Russell… but he is quickly interrupted by Dick. The record label wants a big name manager to come in and manage the band, Dick says. The interview, again, is postponed.
    • Dennis Hope (played by a young Jimmy Fallon), the new manager, enters the room. The band is leery of his big-business mentality, but Hope convinces them that he can help them make money while they still can.
    • "If you think Mick Jagger will still be out there trying to be a rock star at age fifty," Dennis Hope explains, "then you are sadly, sadly mistaken." (Of course, Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones, is still out there with his band past the age of 70. Take that, Dennis Hope.)
    • As the camera lingers on William, we hear Lester Bangs's voice: "You're coming along at a very dangerous time for rock and roll," Lester says. "The war is over, they won. And they will ruin rock and roll, and strangle everything we love about it."
    • We cut to Penny dancing on the garbage-strewn floor of the Cleveland arena, as "The Wind" by Cat Stevens plays. This is Cameron Crowe's favorite scene in the entire film.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    "50 Bucks and a Case of Beer"

    • To the heavy guitar riffing of "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" by Jimi Hendrix, Stillwater leaves "Doris," the band bus behind, to board the airplane brought in by Dennis Hope.
    • In Boston, William walks into a poker game, which features the managers of the Who, the Eagles, and Humble Pie, as well as Dick and Russell.
    • Dick makes a bet that includes Penny Lane, which Russell says is fine. Reg from Humble Pie ends up winning Penny, in exchange for $50 and a case of beer.
    • Russell does not look thrilled, but he tells William that his wife is showing up in New York and that Penny has to leave, anyway.
    • We cut to William talking to Penny. He is noticeably upset, especially as the conversation turns to Russell.
    • Here William loses his temper for the first time. "You're too sweet for rock and roll," Penny tells him. "Sweet?" he asks. "Where do you get off? Where do you get sweet? I am dark and mysterious and pissed off, and I could be very dangerous to all of you… I am the enemy!"
    • After Penny shares that she might be in love with Russell, William finally reveals that Russell allowed Penny to be sold to Humble Pie for 50 bucks and a case of beer. "What kind of beer?" asks a visibly distraught Penny.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    "My Cherie Amour"

    • The band arrives in New York. Leslie, Russell's "ex-wife, current girlfriend thing" arrives.
    • William learns that Penny is in the city, staying at the Plaza Hotel.
    • William receives a call from Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone, who informs him the story will be a cover, and that he can tell the band. He should MOJO (an early fax machine) over what he has to be fact checked.
    • At a restaurant, William breaks the news to the band that they will be on the cover of Rolling Stone.
    • While the band celebrates, Russell spots Penny from across the room. So does Leslie. Dick goes over to check on her, but it isn't long before Penny leaves, clearly upset.
    • William tries unsuccessfully to follow Penny.
    • At the Plaza, William finally finds Penny overdosing on Quaaludes in her room. He calls for a doctor.
    • We cut from shots of Elaine at William's graduation (at which he is not present), back to William, who is trying to keep Penny conscious.
    • "Why doesn't he love me?" asks a fading Penny Lane.
    • "I love you," William confides. "Now I'm about to go where… many men have gone before."
    • William kisses Penny as the doctors arrive. They pump her stomach to the tune of "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder, the love-filled soundtrack of William's mind juxtaposing Penny's hardly flattering vomiting.
    • Later, Penny and William walk together through the park. She reveals her family history, and her real name—"Lady Goodman." "Now you now all my secrets," she tells him.
    • William accompanies Penny to the airport, where she takes off for home, while Nancy Wilson's introspective guitar and mandolin score plays.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    "Write What You Want"

    • We cut to William and Stillwater on board their plane, which before long starts shaking violently. Everyone freaks out accordingly.
    • Thinking the plane is about to crash and that they are about to die, Russell begins a series of final confessions. "Maybe I never said this enough, but I love all of you."
    • Dennis, Dick, Jeff, and Larry Fellows, the bass player, all contribute to the discussion. Everyone reveals that at one point, they had all pretty much slept with everyone else's significant other. Ah, the glamorous rock star life.
    • The band's frustrations with Russell then come out. "You act above us, and you always have," Jeff explains, revealing that he has always resented Russell for thinking he's better than the rest of them.
    • As the band continues to argue, William finally enters the conversation. He brings up Penny, explaining that he she had almost died the previous night, and that all they did was use her. "You guys always talk about the fans—she was your biggest fan… and I love her," William reveals.
    • Just then, Silent Ed Vallencourt, the drummer, utters his only line in the entire movie, ("F*** it, I'm gay"), and the turbulence stops. The captain celebrates, sharing the news that they are going to make it. Everyone looks around in shock.
    • Safely on the ground in Tupelo, the band, in a daze, silently walks up the ramp to the airport.
    • William lingers behind and offers a silent farewell to Russell. "Write what you want," the guitarist says, before turning and walking away.
  • Scene 21

    Scene 21


    • At the Rolling Stone offices in San Francisco, William finally meets Ben Fong-Torres.
    • Everyone criticizes William and his piece. "It sounds like you wrote what they wanted you to write," a Rolling Stone staffer exclaims.
    • William insists that it's not finished and promises that he will finish the story that evening.
    • Later that night, William flips through the Polaroids of the band, struggling to find the inspiration to complete the piece.
    • We cut to a delirious William on the phone to Lester. "It was fun," William tells Lester dejectedly. "Because they made you feel cool," Lester says knowingly. "Hey, I met you. And you are not cool."
    • Lester continues: "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone when you're uncool."
    • Lester leaves William with a final few words of advice: "Be honest and unmerciful."
    • The next day, the editors at Rolling Stone look over an exhausted William's piece. Hey, we all know what it's like to pull an all-nighter.
    • We cut to Stillwater on the road. A very irritated Jeff shares with the rest of the band that he had just spoken with Rolling Stone, who called to fact check William's story. "We come off like amateurs," he yells, "all jealous and fighting and breaking up."
    • "Maybe we don't see each other like we actually are," Russell suggests. He is then reminded of the "golden god" incident.
    • "Wait, I never said 'I'm a golden god,'" Russell says. "Or did I?'"
    • Back at Rolling Stone, everyone congratulates William on his honest and unmerciful story. However, the fact checker comes in and shares the news that Russell Hammond denied the whole story. "He's just some fan, what do you expect?" she says.
  • Scene 22

    Scene 22

    "Got a Pen?"

    • Later, we find William sitting dejectedly alone in the airport.
    • William's sister Anita spots him. She is now a flight attendant. "Let's go anywhere, together," she tells him. "Anywhere you want to go, anywhere in the world."
    • We cut to San Diego, where Elaine greets her William and Anita at the door. She hugs Anita, whom she hasn't seen in years. "I forgive you," Elaine says. "I didn't apologize," responds a laughing Anita.
    • Meanwhile, William falls at long last into his bed. "The Rain Song" by Led Zeppelin plays. We can see a poster of Abraham Lincoln on his wall peeking out from underneath layers of rock-and-roll posters and paraphernalia.
    • From there, we cut to Stillwater at the end of their tour. "I hate goodbyes," Sapphire tells Russell.
    • Russell asks if Penny is okay. Sapphire informs him that William saved her life. "We all know what you did to him," she says. "Even Penny Lane."
    • Later, Sapphire talks about what it means to be a genuine fan of the music: "To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts."
    • We cut to Russell calling Penny on the phone. "Let's get together to find some time to talk," he insists. He continues: "Let's say all the things I never said. Give me your address. I'm coming to you this time."
    • Penny consults her address book. "Got a pen?"
  • Scene 23

    Scene 23

    "To Begin with…"

    • Russell exits a cab and walks up to the front door of a house. "Hello, Penny," he rehearses under his breath.
    • Russell's surprised when it's Elaine Miller who greets him at the door.
    • Russell introduces himself. "So this is the famous Russell Hammond," Elaine says. "You know, when we spoke, I thought that we connected."
    • Elaine leads Russell to William's room, as Russell begins to figure out exactly where he is. He sees photos of William around the house and finally makes the connection.
    • "My son is very important to me, too, and I do agree you owe him an apology," Elaine tells him. "There's hope for you yet, Russell."
    • A reprise of "Tiny Dancer" plays as Russell enters William's room. "So this is where the enemy sleeps," he tells a very groggy William.
    • "You know, I think we both wanted to be with her," Russell explains of Penny. "I guess she wanted us to be together."
    • "You should give her a call," Russell continues. "That girl really cares about you. And I never even knew her real name."
    • Russell tells William that he called Rolling Stone and confirmed William's story.
    • William pulls out his tape recorder, and turns it on. "What do you love about music?" he asks Russell.
    • Russell smiles. "To begin with… everything."
  • Scene 24

    Scene 24


    • "Tangerine" by Led Zeppelin plays, marking the beginning of the film's final montage.
    • We cut to the Stillwater tour bus back on the road. The name placard reads "No More Airplanes Tour '74."
    • A number of brief shots follow, of Jeff and Russell hugging onstage, William's family enjoying dinner with one another, Stillwater on the cover of the Rolling Stone, Penny taking off for Morocco, Russell leaving William's house in the cab, and the band bus riding off into the sunset.
    • We cut to black as the song ends.
    • "Feel Flows" by the Beach Boys plays as the credits roll over Polaroid photos from the Stillwater tour.