Lonely Boy is a 1962 cinéma vérité documentary about former teen sensation Paul Anka. The film takes its name from Anka's hit song, Lonely Boy, which he performs to screaming fans in the film. This short documentary is also unique for its use of hand-held cameras to record intimate backstage moments.
Co-directed by Roman Kroitor and Wolf Koenig, this National Film Board of Canada production won a Canadian Film Award as top film of the year and was nominated at the BAFTA Awards for its best short film prize.
Lonely Boy proved to be of substantial influence on the Peter Watkins film Privilege. Watkins had studied the documentary in preparation for filming. The latter film deals with the phenomenal popularity of a pop singer and its abuse for political motives. One scene showing the central character Steven Shorter at a table with a venue owner is virtually a one-to-one reproduction of a scene in Lonely Boy, even using the same name (“Uncle Julie”) for the like-mannered venue owner. The cinema verité style of Lonely Boy was also adopted, and one DVD release of Privilegeincluded Lonely Boy as well as an excerpt of an essay on that film as extra features.