July 19th, 2011
Pearl Jam Twenty
About the Documentary Film

American Masters continues its 25th anniversary season with Pearl Jam Twenty, premiering nationally Friday, October 21 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on PBS (check local listings). Academy Award®-winning director and music journalist Cameron Crowe creates a definitive portrait of the seminal band carved from over 1,200 hours of rarely and never-before-seen footage, plus over 24 hours of recent band interviews and concert footage. The captivating, two-hour documentary gives viewers and fans an intimate first glimpse into Pearl Jam’s journey in honor of the band’s 20th anniversary. American Masters Pearl Jam Twenty is part of the first PBS Arts Fall Festival, a multi-platform event anchored by nine films that highlight artists and performances from around the country. The DVD is available for purchase on the online Shop PBS.

Watch the trailer:

Told in big themes and bold colors with blistering sound, Pearl Jam Twenty chronicles the years leading up to the band’s formation, the chaos that ensued soon-after being catapulted into superstardom, their step back from the spotlight with the instinct of self-preservation, and the creation of a trusted circle that would surround them — giving way to a work culture that would sustain them. Part concert film, part insider hang, part testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists, the film celebrates the freedom that allows Pearl Jam to make music without losing themselves, their fans, or the music lovers they’ve always been. Pearl Jam Twenty features new interviews with original band members Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder, drummer Matt Cameron, and friend and Soundgarden singer/guitarist Chris Cornell, as well as archival performance and interview footage of Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Kurt Cobain, and Neil Young.

Complex and relevant after two decades, Pearl Jam remains a giant musical force and one of the biggest and most magnetic touring acts in the world. With over 60 million albums sold worldwide, they continue to create and perform all on their own terms. Known for their passionate expression, intense and philosophical lyrics, and amazing relationship with fans, Pearl Jam is not known for their media or personal exposure, making the revelations in Pearl Jam Twenty all the more special.

“When I set out to make this film, my mission was to assemble the best-of-the-best from Pearl Jam’s past and present and give audiences a visceral feeling of what it is to love music and to feel it deeply — to be inside the journey of a band that has carved their own path,” says Cameron Crowe. “There is only one band of their generation for which a film like this could even be made, and I’m honored to be the one given the opportunity to make it.”

Crowe was among the band’s inner circle when they formed and has maintained a close friendship with the band since his days as a reporter for Rolling Stone in Seattle. Almost 20 years after the band’s inception, Eddie, Jeff, Stone, and Mike gave their longtime friend the okay to raid the vault and assemble the story no one but those closest to them ever knew. Audiences will become intimate with the Seattle musicians whose sound and social consciousness were revolutionary — Pearl Jam stood up to both the prevailing social politic and the oppressive music industry.

“We are delighted to be presenting Pearl Jam’s 20th on American Masters 25th — a truly perfect anniversary celebration. We continue the tradition of matching world-class filmmakers with subjects like this band, who revolutionized our culture with their music and their exemplary social consciousness,” says Susan Lacy, series creator and executive producer of American Masters, a seven-time winner of the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series. The series is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET New York Public Media. WNET is the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentary and other programs to the New York community.

As part of their year-long “PJ20” celebration, Pearl Jam will release the Pearl Jam Twenty soundtrack and book in September. The soundtrack from Columbia Records/Sony Music is comprised of tracks selected by Cameron Crowe, making the album a true companion piece to the film. Published by Simon & Schuster in the U.S. and Atlantic Books in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the book is an aesthetically stunning chronicle of Pearl Jam’s past two decades, compiled and written by veteran music writer Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson, and featuring a foreword by Cameron Crowe and material from all his own band interviews. Also this September: Pearl Jam’s Alpine Valley Labor Day anniversary weekend concert and 10-date Canadian tour, followed by the film’s theatrical release. The DVD will be available in October after the PBS broadcast premiere.

Pearl Jam Twenty is produced by Vinyl Films in association with Tremolo Productions for Monkeywrench Films and in association with THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET. Susan Lacy is the series creator and executive producer of American Masters.

American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers. This PBS Arts Fall Festival presentation is in collaboration with PBS member station KCTS. Funding for the launch of PBS Arts has been provided by Anne Ray Charitable Trust, public television viewers and PBS.

  • epiphany


  • Chris Dalton

    Can’t wait!

  • Tom

    Can’t wait to take a deep look into the greatest band of all time it’s gonna be great

  • Betty Kuhlman

    This should be awesome! Definitely a band that is so worth profiling especially by Cameron Crowe. After being a fan for 20 years, I will be reliving some of my past!

  • Michelle

    Ive been a Pearl Jam fan for the past 18 years of my life. I first heard them when I was just 12 years old and Ive been hooked ever since. No band will ever compare to them and no other band will ever capture my heart like Pearl Jam has. I heard about this last month and Ive been dying to see it ever since. So happy about their 20th! Pearl Jam forever!!

  • Debby

    Wish I could see this film but it is only being shown in special theaters. I hope our local PBS station will carry it. As a last resort I will buy the DVD and if available the CD. I understand all theaters everywhere that are showing this are SOLD OUT. How do these people get these tickets so fast??? This is by far the top band as far as music lyrics and personalities. And they have Eddie Vedder whose baritone is out of this world, along with his musical expression and feeling. No one can match his presentation of a song. The band just cooks along and is a perfect fit.

  • Mike

    Got goosebumps when I saw the preview. Hate waiting another month until I see the film. They are revolutionary.

  • Chad

    I saw it tonight in Philly. DO NOT MISS IT!!!!

  • Sandi

    I really hope that the movie plays in more theaters. I love how they have teased us with the cd release in Sept then the Movie release in Oct. It doesn’t matter, I’ll make a road trip like I did in ‘92 to see them. Can’t wait

  • Carlos Machado

    I want to see in Venezuela please

  • NYC pearl jam fan

    Saw the movie on opening night in great neck NY. it was awesome can not wait to see it again Oct 31

  • Maria

    Pearl Jam is awesome!! Can’t wait to see it. It’s true follow your dreams one day it will come true.

  • stef

    I saw it in Paris 2 hours of a crazy moment !! So many souvenirs :) Thank’s !!

  • Robert

    I saw this movie last week In Scranton. If you are a true fan, you have to see this movie. Even a few clips of some concerts I was at including MSG towards the end, Better Man. Truly riveting. PJ you are the best and it was great to see where you started to where you are right now. Can’t wait to see it again. Thanks for showing this PBS.

  • dupa ya ya

    will this be censored or shown as it was in theaters?

  • Steve

    Appreciate the endowment to the arts that will help fund this program. If a Rep takes office the funding will be gone. PJ20!

  • Cynthia

    Anxiously waiting for this documentary to air on Friday. Have been hearing great things about it. I love, love PJ and EV and think they deserve the title “masters” or more apt would be mega-masters. Thank you PBS.

  • PJforever

    Saw this in Los Angeles. Absolutely amazing! Got chills and was on cloud nine the whole 90 min. Great film by a great director about an even greater band! You guys will love it! Gonna watch it on PBS and order the blu-ray. Epic!

  • RGD

    I saw this a couple weeks ago in the theater – AMAZING!!!

    I got chills numerous times…Cameron Crowe did such a great job with this film, he is obviously a huge fan of Pearl Jam and of music in general. It is so cool to see how they came together as a band and meshed so quickly together as who we have all come to know and love – PEARL JAM!!! I’ve seen PJ numerous times – starting with Lolla ‘92 and most recently at PJ20 Alpine Valley – and they NEVER disappoint. They are one of, if not THE, best bands around. It is so rare that a band puts on a different show every single night, which is one of the things that makes them so amazing. Through the years they have evolved (”It’s Evolution Baby!!!”) and morphed, but never changed, into a band that will no doubt be remembered forever as one of the greats!

    This will never leave my DVR…thanks to PBS for airing it.

  • Endless Mike

    You nailed it RGD! I was lucky to see this too in the theater. I was even more lucky to attend both PJ20 concerts in East Troy, which happened to be 15 min from my house. All you folks are gonna love this movie. “I really think this band is only just beginning…” one of the last lines in the movie. Cheers and thanks PBS!

  • tyger

    is this available online?

  • joe owens

    Reflecting on the music of that era, I wrote a small piece I’d like to share with my fellow fans. I hope you all enjoy it.


  • Kreig

    I can’t wait!!! Thank you PJ, Cameron Crowe, and PBS!!

  • colin fitzpatrick

    Because of rights restrictions, we are only able to stream this film starting may 21st, 2012 for a 30 day period. We will be sure to promote this streaming option when it comes around seven months from now.

  • rmh7069

    Watched it twice on PPV since the limited theater run didn’t make it to my city. A must see for any music fan and especially PJ fans.

    90 minutes goes by too quickly and I can’t wait for the extra footage in the Ten Club DVD.

    Nice job by Cameron Crowe and props to PBS for this series. It is only fitting that PJ20 airs on Public Television.

  • David Marr

    Pearl Jam has provided the soundtrack to my life. I eagerly await every record, DVD or whatever. I am so glad that they have reached a stage where they can be proud of their achievements as a band. Watching this band perform is like watching lightning strike the same place for (literally) 3 hours straight. “Grunge” was a fashion term, “Alternative” just means beyond definition in this context. You cannot label this band and you cannot predict what they will do next. You can only wait, without expectation and they deliver again and again. On to the Hall of Fame Boys!!!!

  • Cindy Jones

    I am spool anxious to see this. Its 8:45 and I can’t wait. You should air this multiple times. I promise your ratings will soar. Pearl Jam fans would watch this multiple times. The film hasn’t started and I am already screaming for an oncor. Thanks PBS!

  • Chris Knudsvig

    YES! Break out the popcorn! : D

  • Linda

    Why is this not on my PBS channel. It’s listed to be showing but is not on…

  • Jon Furer

    Bottom line…Cameron Crowe does it again….awesome documentary!

  • kristi

    Loved it! Pearl Jam has always meant so much to me. They’ve never let me down..the music, Eddie’s voice…man, I just can’t even describe how awesome it was to hear them talk about the music and explain their story. I still get tears every time I listen to Release and it was nice to hear Eddie actually talk about it. That was my one question I would ask him if I ever got to meet him. Guess I’ll have to come up with a new one. Wonderful documentary. Yes! Yes! Just ecstatic right now!

  • Greg

    Keep on rockin in the free world Pearl Jam! Happy 20th and thank you PBS!

  • brownie

    I was graduating HS when ten came out. I had never heard of grunge in the small texas town I lived in. But I knew ten was very different from what I had been listening to. Van halen, Poison, etc. was fun music but it didn’t speak to me the way ten did. Ten was much more personal. For the next 20 years, PJ has always been with me at all of the great moments in my life. Loves, losses, great moments of passion or despair, PJ has always been there. Now I have a 1 year old daughter and I hope she will some day enjoy listening to PJ with me. This is a great piece of documentary work about PJ. Takes me back. Thanks Cameron Crowe.

  • Charles in San Diego


    Such adulation for a kinda boring band. Sorry, but they weren’t particularly interesting to me in the 80’s, and they have become yawn-inducing. Pearl Jam is a group of very talented people producing safe music for people who like the thrill of pretending to be ‘dangerous’.

    Cameron: yer old. Admit it.

    -Charles, who saw Eddie back in the day in San Diego.

  • Jon M Kunz

    Just watch PJ20 on CH. 7 in Spokane, WA. I have been a PJ fan back to Mother Love Bone days!!!… I’ve seen PJ several times all over, my favorite was Blind Melon/Peral Jam/Neil Young at the George, WA. PJ20 makes me want to go back 1990 all over again!!! Those were the best of times!!!…………..

  • Brad Cousins

    Excellent job Cameron Crow!! That was one of the best “rockumentaries” I’ve ever seen. You captured the total truth, essence, and feeling of Pearl Jam. I am a HUGE Pearl Jam fan. I loved every moment. Thank you PBS for running this, in HD none the less. Growing up in the grunge era, living in Seattle, I was ready to critisize any crappy sensationalism. But including the segment with clips of Kurt Even showing the little memorial Pearl Jam did the day he died during one of their shows brought tears to my eyes. We will never forget you Kurt RIP!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for creating this show! I have always adored Pearl Jam and looking at the journey of this band over the last twenty years, brought back so many memories and renewed my excitement for this band.

  • WA Tom

    While I am more of a soundgarden fan, I still appreciate the talent involved in PJ and do like some of their music. It was awesome to see one of my favorite directors do justice to PJ’s history. Being a Seattle native who having just hit my 20’s in the early 90’s this was part of my personal history too.

  • shelly in Darien GA

    I am sooooo UPSET with GPB, and whoever made the decision to NOT show the American Masters Pearl JAm on Friday Night. Why were we getting a football game for COWETA and not the PEARL JAM Documentary? Do you really think we care about Coweta here in Darien, sorry no.When did the channel that is supposed to promote CULTURE and ARTS start bowing down to the local goverments to show their local High School football team team? I love football but I love culture and music too. AWFUL DECISION by whoever decided to go this route for funding – really scraping the bottom of the barrell.
    Very disappointed, WHAT happened ?

  • Darien Boss

    Missed the first airing. When will this be on again (if at all?)

  • Sherry

    Will this show be aired again on MPBN in Maine again? I only caught part of it last night and really wish I’d known about it sooner so that I could have seen the whole thing.

  • Ray Sewell

    Saw the show Friday and was so enthralled the whole 90mins. PEARL JAM is one of my ALL TIME favorite bands and to get the story behind the band was beyond AWESOME!!! Thanks PJ and PBS AM for the GREAT DOC-you guys ROCK!!!!! Keep’m Come’n I can take all you do!

  • Cindy

    Amazing PBS….I learned so much more than I knew and so well done. Another well done project by gifted people .

  • Lessie

    Great film. The legal case reminded me of how some figures are not familiar with grunge culture and may not entertain it. I liked seeing how the leaders and members of grunge groups looked in their early years and growing-beautiful!
    Vedder’s PBS drawing/circle was cool.

    I was surprised how the album 10 was in dedication to the jersey# of basketball player Mookie Blaylock, whom they first wanted to use as a band name. Another connection to another industry.

    Through it all, I see the rockers who spoke as friendly, deep, talents who soothe, pioneer, and have their fun. I watched in awe and became excited about further research and writing.

  • Andrew

    This film was incredible. What a wonderful way to spend a night on the weekend, watching the backstory behind a fascinating, and truly gifted band that has been with me all the way through adolescense, through my early professional career, and into my family years.
    Cameron Crowe turns a documentary into a feature film with his very capable hands.

  • Mike

    Having even seen PJ several times in concert, and considering myself a fairly loyal fan (I sing ‘Elderly Woman’ to my son every night before bedtime), what occurred to me – as I was watching PJ20 – was how little I knew of a band that was so instrument in my life. I loved the footage of Stone and Eddie writing ‘Daughter’ on the tour bus, and the 2nd performance on stage two months into their journey together as a band. The little snippets of 5 guys creating and building a musical legacy I was never privy to as a fan.

    My only critique (a minor one at that) is that I wish C. Crow would have spent more time diving into the back story of more songs, i.e. moments such as when Eddie was describing the genesis of the song ‘Release’. There’s a lot to cover in 90 min., for 20+ years of greatness, but I particularly enjoyed those moments.

  • ron thompson

    Will PJ20 be airing again anytime soon? Baltimore MD

  • Karly

    Hi! This was a fabulous show – well done! When will it be available for purchase?

  • Heidi

    Awesome have watched it twice and told a number of friends. In all honesty I’m not the biggest Pearl Jam fan but the documentary captured an important period of time and a musical movement, wonderfully done

  • Pat

    After waiting for weeks for the show to air, apparently my cable company lost the PBS (Nashville) feed on the night of October 21. The only other listed air time was @ 2:00 am Tuesday morning. Since I had to work the next day, that was not an option. Will PJ20 being airing again on NPT?

  • Mike

    If you missed it or it didn’t air on 10-21, then go to your pbs station online and search the listings for Pearl Jam. They finally aired the episode on Tuesday in GA after showing high school football on Friday night instead.
    Amazing documentary. Brilliantly done and informative.

  • Deborah

    I really enjoyed Pearl Jam 20. The band holds a special place in my heart as their music ear marks events of my life. I get so excited listening to them!!! Pearl Jam!!!!*****

  • cmyers

    What a great movie. I already knew the history behind the band and how they came together. I especially liked the footage of the guys playing baseball on the side of the road. We all like them as a band and we easily forget that they are just people. I like the realness of who they are and how grounded they are to their roots.

    I have seen the band several times and the first time was the most memorable. Lollapalooza 1992 at the Shoreline in Mt View. I was standing next to Jeff Ament and didn’t even realize until after he walked away. My buddy said, “did you know who that was standing next to you?…That was Jeff Ament, the bassist for Pearl Jam.”

    Oh to be yound and nieve again. I later saw Three Fish in Santa Cruz in the early 2000’s and talked breifly with Jeff after the show. Funny how life is…

  • detroit5039

    When will they rebroadcast it on wkar East Lansing Mich

  • Denise

    Well done, Mr. Crowe! Where have you been and when can we see more from you?

    Thank you for reminding me why I used to love this band and bringing that love back to me. A very intimate and revealing film about a band who maintains their integrity to this day. Eddie Vedder’s shy intensity still stirs something in me every time I watch him. I’m amazed how completely unaware I was at how underrated Mike McCready was and is. Amazing musicians all of them and to me Stone and Jeff were never just background players. To this day I still remember the first time I saw a concert video of Pearl Jam performing “Alive” on a little known show called Buzz on MTV in 1990. I was working at a record store and living in Southern California. I had never heard of them but was completely blown away! I couldn’t get enough I made it my mission to tell everyone I knew about them. We all became fans instantly because this was a band not to be forgotten.

    Mr. Crowe you are a master story teller with an obvious love for music that is conveyed by the feelings that your films invoke in the watcher. The music is never an afterthought with you it’s an integral part, as it is in life, I believe. Please make more films!

    Also, thank you so much to PBS for airing such a passionate and thoughtful film. I would expect nothing less from your amazing programming. Please don’t ever change and keep up the great work.

  • Shelly

    was excited to see this when I turned PBS on in the wee hours of the morning. I love Pearl Jam. This is a fantastic documentary

  • Guthrie Govan

    PJ has aged like a vine wine….unGodly talented and genuine. Eddie Vedder has come out of the grunge era a more confident and versatile musician. Basic but has so much soul that you forget it’s simply ‘cowboy chords’.
    I saw this docu one Sat a/m around 3 and stayed up to watch it. You wont be disappointed at all.

    ‘I seem to recognize your face…haunting familliar yet cant seem to place it’ Sheer brilliance!
    Little know fact-PJ’s TEN was released BEFORE Nevermind

  • Chris hansen

    Who is Andy i wonder what was his influence i missed that part of the video?

  • Chris

    Any details about streaming? Because of rights restrictions, we are only able to stream this film starting may 21st, 2012 for a 30 day period. We will be sure to promote this streaming option when it comes around seven months from now.

  • john guerrero 2nd,,

    I didn’t truly discover (as still get choked up ) Pearl jam til 92′ as I listen while I write this, there was a time when a didn’t appreciate their glorious bond of strength. Oh the lifes I’ve lived since then with them mmm. My appreciation grows ever stronger today as I enjoy this beautiful picture, yes please give me more there is never Jam on my bread. Thank you my friends. JG


Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2015 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.