Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Dave Hoekstra
    Oct 3, 2013
    Do not leave the film until the last credit rolls by.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Oct 17, 2013
    A mesmerizing documentary.
  3. Reviewed by: Dan DeLuca
    Oct 11, 2013
    Muscle Shoals isn't perfect. Neither Bono nor Alicia Keyes has any business being in the movie, though Bono does wax poetic about the genius of the music recorded there, and Keyes teams with the Swampers for a strong performance of Dylan's "Pressing On."
  4. 88
    To fans who know the tunes by heart, hearing their history is never less than thrilling. And if you’ve heard that line about “Swampers” and never new who they were, you should. They have been known to pick a song or two.
  5. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Sep 27, 2013
    Only the genre's most studious followers will be able to watch Muscle Shoals without being regularly astonished: Even if it sometimes gets lost in its byways, Greg "Freddy" Camalier's documentary tells an extraordinary story.
  6. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Aug 13, 2013
    While Muscle Shoals and its presentation doesn't reinvent the wheel—this is your standard talking heads documentary—the treasure trove of stills and found footage makes for a compelling and effortlessly watchable film that even the casual music fan should find themselves totally engrossed in.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Michael
    Oct 24, 2013
    A stubborn charmer whose life was a magnet for tragedy, Hall is the emotional centre not only of the Muscle Shoals sound but of this film.
  8. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 24, 2013
    The movie is more a collection of cool people telling great stories than it is a structured documentary (despite Camalier’s attempts in that direction). But in this case, that’s enough.
  9. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Oct 22, 2013
    Occasionally baggy, always sincere, this is an essential document of a defining era when ‘soul’ really meant something.
  10. Reviewed by: Phil de Semlyen
    Oct 21, 2013
    A stomping good documentary.
  11. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Oct 10, 2013
    Director Greg "Freddy" Camalier skillfully, unhurriedly unfurls a wealth of classic music-biz tales as told by a who's who of R&B, soul and rock 'n' roll royalty and various other players and purveyors.
  12. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Sep 27, 2013
    A trove of great stills and movie footage accompanies the colorful anecdotes, but the film's most consistent pleasure is the way interviewees recall the moments before the tape rolled on an immortal recording.
  13. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Sep 24, 2013
    Greg "Freddy" Camalier's engaging new doc Muscle Shoals stands as a winning tribute to the coastal Alabama studio, musicians, and engineers who laid down some of the greatest pop tracks of the late '60s and early '70s.
  14. Reviewed by: David Gritten
    Aug 13, 2013
    Overall, it’s joyous, uplifting – and as funky as the music at its heart.
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 24, 2013
    After we hear the hit parade that poured from rural Alabama and meet the men who led it to the top of the charts, we realize that Muscle Shoals could call itself Hitsville, USA.
  16. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Oct 10, 2013
    The hits just keep on coming in Muscle Shoals, a hugely entertaining, perhaps overlong, documentary about the renowned recording studios in the small Alabama town of the film's title. It's mandatory viewing for fans of the classic rock, soul and rhythm and blues of the 1960s and '70s.
  17. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Oct 10, 2013
    Maybe the biggest problem with Muscle Shoals is that it doesn’t dig deeper into something even more miraculous than the music.
  18. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Sep 27, 2013
    With such great music coming, one hit after after another, it's always a joy to watch.
  19. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Sep 25, 2013
    Muscle Shoals’ story has needed telling, and Camalier packs that telling with memorable stories and music—though the film sometimes substitutes admiration for investigation, paving over conflicts and moving on to the next amazing piece of music to get recorded in town.
  20. Reviewed by: Steve Davis
    Oct 16, 2013
    Muscle Shoals may not appeal to every generation’s musical tastes, but for those of you who love that sweet soul music and crave that ol’ time rock & roll, believe me: It’s just the ticket.
  21. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Sep 25, 2013
    Although the intriguingly named first-time director Greg “Freddy” Camalier makes the twice-told tales of the film’s second hour watchable, they end up paling in comparison to its essayistic first half.
  22. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Sep 24, 2013
    The film manages to span from feisty Wilson Pickett to Confederate-flag-flaunting Lynyrd Skynyrd, but if ever a music doc needed insight from the fans who went along for the ride and forgot their troubles, it’s this one.
  23. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Sep 26, 2013
    At once overstuffed with interviews and intellectually underdeveloped, the movie charts the area’s music industry and what is lyrically if elusively called the Muscle Shoals sound.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Mar 7, 2014
    This is a fantastic & beautifully filmed documentary. It really captures the magic that went into all the music made at that legendary recording studio. I would love to own a copy of the soundtrack. Full Review »
  2. Nov 21, 2013
    A small town in Alabama became the birth[place of some of the great classic soul hits in the 60s. That was only the beginning for a group of mostly-white men, who created two studios in Muscle Shoals. Later, numerous big names from the Stones to Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded there. This doc outlines 50 years thru interviews with the founders and some of the stars. Great music and a fascinating history. NOTE: Stay thru the credits for one final quote. Full Review »