The Wrecking Crew (2008 film)

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For the article about these musicians, see The Wrecking Crew (music).
For the Thomas Frank book about the conservative movement, see The Wrecking Crew (book).
The Wrecking Crew
The Wrecking Crew (2008) Poster.jpg
2015 theatrical poster
Directed by Denny Tedesco
Produced by
  • Denny Tedesco
  • Chris Hope
  • Jon Leonoudakis
  • Mitchell Linden
  • Claire Scanlon
  • Damon Tedesco
  • Suzie Greene Tedesco
  • Rodney Taylor
  • Trish Govoni
Edited by Claire Scanlon
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures
Release date
  • March 11, 2008 (2008-03-11) (SXSW Film Festival)
  • March 13, 2015 (2015-03-13) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $801,606[1]

The Wrecking Crew is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Denny Tedesco. It covers the story of the Los Angeles-based group of session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, famed for having played on numerous hit recordings throughout the 1960s. The film premiered at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival.


Popular music of the 1960s was dominated by young bands like the Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas, Jan and Dean, and the Monkees. Listening to rock and roll on jukeboxes and car radios created devoted fans of these groups, whose music communicated the optimism and sorrow of a generation contending with strong countercultural forces.

Record companies happily supplied the public with new songs and musical groups, all packaged with artistic photographs and biographical profiles. Left out of the story was an important historical fact: the bands, in many cases, did not play the instruments heard on their records. Instead, the task of recording the perfect tempo, pitch, and timbre fell to a small group of accomplished session musicians.

The Wrecking Crew documents the work of studio players who recorded the tracks for such hits as "California Dreamin'", "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", "Be My Baby", "The Beat Goes On", and "Good Vibrations".[2] Interviews with producers, engineers, and session musicians reveal the warmth and humor that allowed their collective talents to turn a simple chord chart into an international phenomenon.



Production began in June 1996 and was completed in February 2008. The film played in film festivals in North America, and was the closing film at the Nashville Film Festival on April 24, 2008. A Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2013 raised over three hundred thousand dollars to cover music licensing and final production costs.[3] The film opened in theaters across the United States on March 13, 2015.[4]

Critical response[edit]

The Wrecking Crew has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "If the history of rock music means anything to you, you know the individuals in question could only be the Wrecking Crew, a legendary group of Los Angeles-based studio musicians, and though their story has taken decades to reach the screen, it has been worth the wait."[5] Mark Feeney of The Boston Globe commented, "Think of The Wrecking Crew as 20 Feet from Stardom (2013) for instrumentalists, or a West Coast version of Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002). There's a similar shared joy among the participants, a similar sense of discovery for the viewer, and, of course, a killer soundtrack."[6] Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 93% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 53 reviews with a "Certified Fresh" rating and an average score of 7.2/10.



External links[edit]