Be Here to Love Me

Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt is a 2004 documentary film directed by Margaret Brown which chronicles the often turbulent life of American singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt. The film includes interviews of Van Zandt's immediate family and contemporaries such as Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle and Guy Clark[1] along with "home movies, old TV performances and, especially, mid-Seventies footage originally filmed by James Szalapski for his outlaw country documentary Heartworn Highways."[2][3]

Be Here to Love Me
Be Here to Love Me poster
Directed byMargaret Brown
Produced by
CinematographyLee Daniel
Edited by
Music byJonathan McHugh
Distributed byPalm Pictures
Release dates
Running time
100 mins
CountryUnited States


Townes Van Zandt was a well-regarded and influential musician and songwriter.[4] The film follows his life as an artist, and documents the impressions he made on other musicians, his commitment to a mental facility, involvement in music, drugs and alcohol, departure from his family, several of his live performances, and general life on the road.[2]

The film covers some of Van Zandt's time spent in Houston, Texas, where he began his musical development,[5] though according to the film's DVD commentary, much was excluded from the early years, when he met many of his early influences and lifelong friends (Lightnin' Hopkins, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Mickey Newbury, etc.), and developed his musical skills in the city's folk and country scene in the late 60s and early 70s.[6]


Be Here to Love Me was first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2004. It first showed in the United States at the Wisconsin Film Festival, then to a limited run of theaters in 2005.[7] The film was released on DVD by Palm Pictures in 2006.[8]


The film maintains a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[9] The New York Times said, "Margaret Brown has directed a tender, impressionistic film biography about the Texan singer-songwriter," and The Village Voice called it "loving but frank."[9]

Be Here To Love Me was listed at #7 in a list of "50 Greatest Music Films Ever" in TimeOut Magazine.[10]


  1. ^ Palm Pictures: Be Here To Love Me Archived June 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Cohen, Jason (September 23, 2004). "Van Zandt's New 'Love'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2004-10-29. Retrieved 2010-07-10. alt archive
  3. ^ Linden, Sheri (July 6, 2005). "Be Here to Love Me (review)" [The Hollywood Reporter]. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  4. ^ Strauss, Neil (January 3, 1997). "Townes Van Zandt, Singer And Influential Songwriter, 52". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  5. ^ Lamble, David (February 9, 2006). "Downwardly mobile" East Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  6. ^ Brown, Margaret (director) (2004). Be Here to Love Me (DVD Commentary (DVD). RakeFilms.
  7. ^ Be Here to Love Me release details at IMDb
  8. ^ Be Here to Love Me DVD details at IMDb
  9. ^ a b Be Here to Love Me at Rotten Tomatoes
  10. ^ Calhoun, David et al. (October 4, 2007). "50 Greatest music films ever" Archived 2010-05-19 at the Wayback Machine; TimeOut Magazine. Retrieved 2010-06-01.

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