"Don't Take Our Word For It!" Your Favorite Commentary Tracks (That's Not from the Usual Gang)

Ever since the advent of Laserdiscs, which permitted multiple audio tracks, commentary tracks have been a sought after feature for cinephiles and fans of television. Why simply wonder what filmmakers were thinking when they made their films when they could tell us as we’re watching the films or tv shows? Of course, everyone’s favorite “commentary tracks” are those of the MST3K variety, but this time we’d like to know the ones you like that came with the discs. List your favorite commentary tracks from Laserdiscs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, or any other format that lets you find out what was really going on inside the heads of these filmmakers!


My favorite commentary tracks are the ones included on every season of The Simpsons DVDs seasons 1 through 19. The commentaries are so insightful and packed full of various people involved in the show, including some of the actors, guest actors, and even once a contest winner who seemed to be so uninterested in the show he’d rather get up and walk around. Some episodes will even have multiple tracks. They’ve been so good, I’ve continued buying seasons long past the time I stopped watching the show on a regular basis, because even the bad seasons have interesting stories behind them.


The commentary tracks on classic Doctor Who are usually quite good.


I believe that the DVD is out of print, but there was a release of Blood Simple that had a commentary track provided by Kenneth Loring, a fictional film historian from a fictional film restoration organization.

And it was the damn goofiest thing ever, just absurdly hilarious. You had this guy who was providing patently inaccurate information about the movie and its behind-the-scenes stories, all in this dry and stuffy manner.

For instance, he mentions at one point how a rainy driving scene was acted out in reverse and upside-down to synch the headlights of the passing cars with the dialogue. AND THERE WAS AN ENTIRE COMMENTARY TRACK OF THIS.


Now I need to go dig my DVD out of wherever it’s stored and see if I have that.


It’ll be this one, the old school Universal disc.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, they haven’t ported that commentary track to other printings of the movie… but God, is it a keeper.


Fav commentaries?

John Carpenter and Kurt Russell on Escape From New York (1981) and The Thing (1982). Their friendship and longstanding relationship comes through.

Any Michael Mann commentary. Thief (1981) with James Caan, Manhunter (1986), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), Heat (1995), Ali (2001) [DVD only] Collateral (2004), Miami Vice (2006), Public Enemies (2009). His encyclopedic knowledge and awareness astounds you.

Any Oliver Stone commentary. Salvador (1986), Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), JFK (1991), Nixon (1995), Any Given Sunday (1999), World Trade Center (2006). He floors you with the rest of the story. Highly Recommended.

Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens on the Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2004) and Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens on Extended Editions of The Hobbit Trilogy (2012-2014). Personable, intimate, informative, and like you’re actually there.

Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz on Superman II: The Richard Dinner Cut (2006). Donner savages the Salkinds and Warner Brothers for removing him from Superman II and is moved to finally be able to finish it. A must listen.


I have two favorites.
The Criterion edition of Spinal Tap (not the later non-Criterion release) has a commentary by Guest, Shearer and McKean that I really enjoyed. The later release has a commentary by the actors in-character that I don’t enjoy nearly as much.
Citizen Kane has a commentary by Roger Ebert that I love listening to. For people who know all about cinematography, lighting and editing it might not be that illuminating (no pun intended), but for me it was like taking a Filmmaking 101 class, and it made me appreciate what an achievement the movie is so much more.


Big Trouble in Little China is another great track from these two. It is probably my all-time favorites, the Lord of the Rings commentary tracks are really good as well.



His Dark City commentary track is something special, too.


Yeah, This is Spinal Tap, for pure entertainment value

Roger Ebert’s commentaries on Dark City

Steven Rebello on Psycho

Tim Lucas’s track on Kino’s release of Last Year at Marienbad

Criterion’s commentaries and essays have really opened up several films for me (the bonus material on Mizoguchi’s Story of the Last Chrysanthemum was very illuminating) but I’m having difficulty pinpointing one over the other - I recall David Desser’s Tokyo Story as a stand-out

Wes Anderson and Steven Soderbergh’s are all pretty good.


Equal parts hilarious and informative are the Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell commentary tracks for Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn and Army of Darkness.

A pity that they’re separated for the original Evil Dead commentary tracks.


Warwick Davis’ commentary for Willow.



Another unfortunately out-of-print DVD is this edition of The Quiet Man.

What makes it special? That Maureen O’Hara commentary track. Just magical.

It feels like a sin that that commentary track wasn’t ported over to the Blu-ray release.


It’s not commentary, but I’d like to nominate the Thermian audio track on the Galaxy Quest DVD for honorable mention at least.


The Criterion edition of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” includes a commentary track with Hunter S. Thompson. It goes … about the way you’d expect.


That is seriously Coen Bros.

It’s no longer available, but I love this Joe Bob Briggs’ Samurai Cop commentary where he rapidly changes his opinion of “cat and mouse”.

Edit: IDK, maybe that needs a “Buffalo Shot” warning? It doesn’t go very far–not as far as, say, Cabot would, but this still-store shows the worst of it.


If Blood Simple’s IMDB trivia section is to be believed, the Coens actually scripted that commentary track.

Honestly? I could believe that.


I assumed it. They have a real allergy to having the movie be anything but the movie. I respect that a lot.


I don’t remember which episode or which season but there is an episode of Stargate SG-1 with a commentary track from Amanda Tapping and Teryl Rothery. I don’t think they commented on the episode they were watching at all. They were having so much fun and just goofing around and talking about memories and talking about all the good times they had. It was awesome.

My other favorite commentary track is from director Robert Wise on the Star Trek: TMP director’s cut.