Film Review: The Rainbow

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“This should be a protected building. The history of rock-n-roll is in here!” – Lemmy Kilmister

Rock music is dirty, sleazy, and everything you were told not to be, but everything you wished you were. And where did the coolest of the cool hang out? The Rainbow Bar and Grill on Hollywood’s famed Sunset Strip!

This film brings you close enough to understanding the many reasons why The Rainbow mattered so much to rock music’s biggest stars in the 1970’s and 80’s, but it keeps it’s cards close to its chest and never fully reveals everything – purposely protecting the mystique.

The story is told over an hour and eleven minutes by the 3 generations of Maglieri’s who have owned and operated the club for the better part of nearly 5 decades, and all the musicians that it matters to most: Ozzy, Slash, Lemmy, Gene Simmons, Lita Ford, and more!

As an extension of the famed Whiskey a Go Go, also owned by the Maglieri family, The Rainbow quickly became the home of the stars and the hub where Hollywood and music’s elite mingled transparently with one another.

Plenty is mentioned about the parties, what went on behind closed doors, and the business end of things that happened there, from inking record deals to writing songs. However, all the stories always seem circle back to Mario Maglieri, the family patriarch, and that’s where we discover the true heart of the Rainbow. So many of the musicians talk lovingly about how much Mario took care of them and how he was like a father figure to the struggling artist.

But sadly, as with even our own backyard of Nashville, this film winds to a close by showing how everything is always changing in the name of progress. Old history is getting bought up, torn down, and replaced with worthless new hotels, office buildings, or tall and skinny houses. Famed areas are losing their local flavor, but triumphantly The Rainbow hasn’t changed even as the strip around it has!

This film does a really great job at explaining the importance of The Rainbow through the words of those who lived and breathed it, but as with so many of the iconic places like this, there’s no way that words can ever truly do it justice – it’s just something you can’t even begin to fully understand unless you’re lucky enough to experience it firsthand! 

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