Stop Making Sense

Director Jonathan Demme
United States / 89 min. / 1984 / English

Remember the iconography? Yep. It’s David Byrne’s giant suit, but also one of the greatest rock films every made. Jonathan Demme captures the 1984 Talking Heads tour (on digital), in all its visual and rhythmic glory. The rest is history.   


Remember the iconography? It’s David Byrne’s giant suit, but its also one of the greatest rock movies ever. Jonathan Demme captured Talking Heads (in digital) with all their visual and rhythmic attributes. At the risk of mild overstatement, one can affirm that if you’re gonna form a band, it should be like Talking Heads; and if this band has to play for life, they should do it like the three concerts of the 1984 “Speaking in Tongues” tour, and if one really must film it, the result should be like Stop Making Sense. Everything is carefully thought out, and yet it all appears to be spontaneous: artifice and naturalness go hand in hand. The band members join in with Byrne one by one (he starts with a spartan “Psycho Killer”) until they arrive at the full line-up, which doesn’t just include members of the quartet, but also a choral, keyboard and funk arrangements by various ex-Funkadelic/Parliament members. The sum of all these factors, which Demme captures in all their vivacity and glory – without close-ups or shots of the audience; just the band and the staging – is a complete celebration of life. And of the power of great pop music.



Film web

Showing format


in festivals

The Talking Heads

Jonathan Demme, Talking Heads

Lisa Day

Jordan Cronenweth

Gary Goetzman

Film company
Talking Heads Films

Film distributor
Talking Heads Films

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