Study Guide

Almost Famous Art and Culture

Art and Culture

Cameron Crowe has described Almost Famous as his "love letter to rock and roll."

Crowe, like his young protagonist William, lives and breathes rock and roll, and the heart and soul of the movie, fittingly, is the music itself. In 1973, however, rock and roll was at a crossroads. The movie, in part, is a commentary on the infiltration of big business interests into the music and on the commercialization of an art form that had been built on rebelliousness, uninhibited expression, and anti-establishment sentiment.

Think of it this way: a lot of people in 1973 were afraid that the freewheeling spirit of rock and roll was being tainted by moneygrubbers who just wanted to exploit the music for some moolah. Almost Famous celebrates the true essence of rock and roll: the purity, integrity, beauty, and inspirational quality it can have at its best, according to its fans.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Do you see the conflict between commercialism and artistry as illustrated in Almost Famous playing out in the current music scene? If yes, how so?
  2. Is Lester Bangs right? Is "the war" really over? If so, at what cost?
  3. In the "uncool" scene, Lester says: "Real art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love." Is he on to something? Why or why not?

Chew on This

When Stillwater struggles most, it is because the members have lost touch with their passion and love for the music.

William ends up doing the best thing a rock journalist could do for a struggling band: he helps them rekindle their passion for the music.

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