ReMastered: Who Shot the Sheriff?

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
ReMastered: Who Shot the Sheriff? Movie Poster Image
Excellent docu on attempted shooting of reggae icon.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 53 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The power of music can bring about positive social and political change. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Documentary shows how Bob Marley tried to bring peace to Jamaica through his music and the One Love Concert, where he brought together rival political factions in the hopes of beginning a cease fire to the hostilities that were tearing the country apart in the 1970s. 

Violence

Archival news footage of civil unrest in Jamaica in the 1970s. Gunshots, blood, riots. Talk of the assassination attempt on Bob Marley, with some pictures of the room where it happened, and of an injured Bob Marley, blood on his clothes. 

Sex
Language

"F--k" used twice. "S--t" used once. 

Consumerism

Some mention of Bob Marley albums. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some scenes of Rastafarians (and Marley) smoking marijuana. Men hold bottles of beer in the air during a political rally. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that ReMastered: Who Shot the Sheriff is a 2018 documentary on the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley. There's archival news footage of the political and social unrest that plagued Jamaica in the 1970s -- gunshots, blood, rioting. Discussion of the Marley assassination attempt, pictures of Marley with blood on his clothes. Footage of Rastafarians, as well as Marley himself, smoking marijuana. Men hold bottles of beer in the air during a political rally. "F--k" used twice, "s--t" once. The documentary places Marley against the backdrop of the times, and how he used his music to express his desires for peace not only for Jamaica, but for all mankind, and the liberation of the poor around the world from oppression and exploitation. 

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What's the story?

REMASTERED: WHO SHOT THE SHERIFF stars in the 1970s, as Bob Marley's music career was taking off, and his Jamaican homeland was on the verge of falling apart due to the violence between rival political factions. As the left wing and right wings of the country played out the Cold War battles also happening throughout the world, Marley tried to remain above the fray, making music intended to be a healing force for the peace and justice of the oppressed. His home had become a neutral ground for rival politicians and the street gangs they funded. But on December 3rd, 1976, seven men raided Marley's home while Marley and his band were taking a break from rehearsing. Marley's wife Rita was shot in the head, his manager was shot in the legs and torso, and Marley was grazed in the chest and hit in the arm. Miraculously, no one was killed. This documentary examines the social and political backdrop of Jamaica at the time, the suspects and guilty parties behind the shooting, and how it led to Marley's exile in London and his triumphant return in the legendary One Love Concert in 1978. 

Is it any good?

This documentary is a short, concise, and informative documentary that's about the immense power Bob Marley's music had on so many. This power scared those who were in official power, and the power Marley held as the face of reggae wasn't something he allowed to be used by one side or the other. At the height of the Cold War and in the midst of intense unrest in Jamaica, this documentary shows how it became impossible for Marley to remain above the fray and still live in his country.

Using archival news footage and contemporary interviews, ReMastered: Who Shot the Sheriff? shows the events that led up to the assassination attempt on Marley's life, how his subsequent exile in London coincided with his ascendance as an international superstar and icon of reggae, and how Marley attempted to bring peace to the island by bringing the rival factions together on stage at his triumphant return during the legendary One Love Concert in 1978. Through all of this, besides the factual accounts and the history, the story that really emerges here is how, especially for Marley, music is, in the immortal words of free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler, "the healing force of the universe." 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about music documentaries. How does ReMastered: Who Shot the Sheriff compare to other music documentaries you've seen? 

  • What are some other examples of documentaries that choose to focus on an extraordinary moment in someone's life? 

  • How did the movie use contemporary interviews and archival news footage to show the Jamaica that was Bob Marley's home and the inspiration for his music? 

  • Where can you learn more about Marley's life?

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