“Marley” looks at the life of reggae’s patron saint

It’s been more than 30 years since the quintessential Jamaican singer/songwriter/musician Bob Marley died at the age of 36 from malignant melanoma. But in the intervening years, the beats he and the Wailers laid down have never seemed to fade. Generations of reggae and ska fans have been introduced to his work, and his star in the firmament of Jamaican music has never been eclipsed, nor is it likely to be. Yet in spite of this young talent’s astounding and tragically short career, his full story has never been told definitively on film. Finally, Marley takes on the challenge.

With the unprecedented support of the Marley family, Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) directs Marley, tracing the life of this extraordinary musician from his earliest days to his rise and breakthrough to international stardom. Along the way, he captures the man whose passion for his music and the Rastafarian way of life emanated from him and spread far beyond the limits of the Jamaican surf to touch the far corners of the Earth, even as his life hung in the balance.

The film naturally boasts an incredible soundtrack, but also offers an insightful and personal look at the man and his music through rare footage, archival photos, stunning performances and of course, interviews with those closest to him, including family, friends and bandmates. The finished result is a colorful portrait of an artist taken from us well before his time, and whose legendary stature — particularly in his home country — cannot be overestimated.

Marley is available starting Aug. 3 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.

Marley also premieres on VH1 as part of VH1 Rock Docs this Saturday, Aug. 4 at 9pm ET.