Runtime: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Director: Michael Wadleigh
Starring: Joan Baez,Richie Havens,Roger Daltrey
Genres: Music, Documentary
Studio: Warner Bros.
MPAA rating: R (Restricted)
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In 1969,over half a million people came together on a small farm inupstate New York to celebrate live,love and music in an event defined ageneration and forever changed the world.
Oscar-winning documentary on the 3 day long concert back in 1969.Despite more people showing up than was expected and running out offood, water and medical supplies and dealing with a torrential downpoureverything went fine. There was no rioting, no violence…just peoplehelping each other out. The film beautifully captures all this. Itcontains interviews with the kids attending the concert (their viewsare absolutely incredible), people in the surrounding town, the police,media…all viewpoints are presented. Everything that comes through istolerance, peace and love.
The musical acts are varied–you’ll love some and hate others. For methe definite highlights were Joan Baez; the Who; Sha-Na-Na; Joe Cocker;Crosby Stills & Nash; John Sebastian; Country Joe McDonald; Sly and theFamily Stone and Jimi Hendrix. Also the sound is great and there issuperb editing during the sequences with excellent use of multiplescreens.
I saw the directors cut with adds 40 minutes of music (bringing therunning time up to 3 hours and 40 minutes). They add Canned Heat,Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and another number by Hendrix. Exceptfor the Joplin footage none of it is really good or needed. Theoriginal 3 hour cut is fine.
Warning–there’s lots of swearing, nudity, sex and drug taking. Itdidn’t bother me, but it might bother others.
A great one of a kind movie. Don’t miss it!
Three days man! Three days.
What a great documentary this is with an event like Woodstock capturedso magnificently on film. I saw this in the theater during it’s initialrelease more than once and have seen it at least a dozen times since.This film won the Academy Award for 1970 as Best Documentary forMichael Wadliegh as he uses split screen imagery for many scenescapturing different events at the same time and different angles ofsame events. Wadleigh had done cinematography on a couple of notablebut forgotten films from 1967, the feature drama Who’s That Knocking OnMy Door, an early Martin Scorsesse film, (Scorsesse would help with theediting of Woodstock) and film maker Jim McBride’s David Holzman’sDiary. This had to be a monumental task to chronicle the three dayevent and reduce it to a single theatrical film. 30 acts provided about50 hours of music to the crowd of half a million in upstate New York inthe summer of 1969 and the film makers of Woodstock had to eliminateover half of the performers from their film but what they chronicledhere is captures the thrilling performances and the crowd, the rain andthe events that unfolded during that three day festival in an fastpaced, energetic and thoughtful documentation. It was nominated for andshould have won the Academy Award for it’s principal film editor ThelmaSchoonmaker who would go on to successful career editing such films asThe Color of Money, Good fellas, Cape Fear, The Kings of Comedy, Gangsof New york, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Aviator. This filmalso received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound and shouldhave won that too. It’s brown acid alerts, rain storm precautions,latrine maintenance, three days of peace and music and breakfast in bedfor 400,000 with Merry Prankster Wavy Gravy as your stage host starringJimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, CSN&Y, The Who, Santana, Sly & the FamilyStone, Country Joe & the fish, 10 Years After, Sha Na Na, Joan Baez,Arlo Guthrie and John Sebstian. I would give this a 10 and highlyrecommend it.
One of the Best Documentaries Ever made
Woodstock is a great documentary. It is edited very well and has greatspirit and music in the mix. For the generation of the time it was whatsymbolized them, and I think this is the perfect film for them. Editedveryfinely (by the director, Oscar Winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker and themanhimself, Martin Scorsese) with many parts of the movie in separate sidesingreat splendor. I think this film is the best movie in which a soundtrackwas made, and one of the best documentaries ever made (definitely the bestof the 70’s).
Stunning and true
When "Woodstock" occurred, I was a 15 y.o French teenager. Watching thefilm again, yesterday, I’ve been stunned by its quality, itsobjectivity and its strength. It’s much more than a "concert movie"(especially compared to the current ones, with their feverish cranesand cameramen moves). Michael Wadleigh and his crew really captured thespirit of the event, as it became obvious it was creating itself. Theyseem to be everywhere and give the spectator an incredible range offocuses and points of view. I’ve never been truly excited by themusical performances during the festival, but there are some great actsand the multi-screen editing set them perfectly off (funny to watch thecontrast between the blues-country-rock white bands and theglitter-dance-sexy background singer bound "Sly and the familyStone"!). Glad that Janis Joplin’s wonderful and sincere performancehas been added in the director’s cut… As someone else wrote here, oneof the main revelation in this movie is how the attendees are young.It’s really about American young people at a peculiar period in westernhistory, when the "baby boom" brought a new, numerous generation "onstage". When western countries were really young, with lot ofinnocence. One (swimming) girl in the film stresses that. She says "weare gathering in many cities in the world" "we come over". And that’strue : 3 days long, young people made Woodstock a unique event. Theyovercome global media hostility, long walk, crowded and muddy field,food shortage, etc (well, that’s what youth is for!). Thanks toWadleigh to have capture it (and thanks to the perfect re-mastering).PS : I’m sure that no full-of-money-movie-maker filming a musicalfestival these present days would make an interview ofthe-man-who-is-in-charge-of-the chemical-toilets (who has a son hereand another one piloting a chopper in Vietnam)! A true mark of the60’s-70’s era…
Do not be cynical – the spirit of Woodstock was a Teaching.
Best feel good movie ever – please bring back the spirit of Woodstock -come back to heaven.You never get tired of it. We may age – the spiritof Woodstock will not. It was /is the best rights of passagemovie/event ever. Everything came together – it was meant to be. Magicwas in the air. People were more Spiritual. Call us naive – but atleast we could smile at you – and you understood. Can you do thattoday? This is what life is/was without our current mood of doubt andcynicism. People were open to spirituality. They knew the good Guru’s -the one’s you could trust. Where is our guidance today? I could swimnude with your girlfriend and it would be happy,fun,natural and nonthreatening. Woodstock showed us for a brief moment what life reallyalways already is – before the decline of Altamont. This movement setin motion something that will return – when we are truly pure enough tolive co – operatively.In peace and tolerance. Co-operation + tolerance= peace. That’s what Woodstock was showing us….
I’ll never watch the ‘edited’ version of this movie again!
The reason I chose this title for my review is so that others don’tmake the same mistake I did years ago and miss-out on about 2 hours ofthis movie. "American Movie Classics"…not quite! Any self-proclaimed"classic" channel that censors an American Classic is hypocritical.Kinda-like the Nazis burning books – ‘you can read and see this…but,not this!?!?’
Back in the summer of 2000, I was so excited that "Woodstock" was goingto be shown on the American Movie Classics (AMC) channel thatafternoon.
I hadn’t seen this movie for many years before that and planned onmaking a VHS recording of it.
Anyhow…I watched that recording many times over the next fifteenyears until I saw "Woodstock" on the IndiePlex channel this month(September 2015).
I’ll never watch the ‘edited’ version of this movie again! I never evenrealized that I’d recorded a watered-down version of this since Ihadn’t seen the unedited version in decades (around 1976, Ibelieve!?!?).
To say the very least…the unedited version is excellent! This movie(Rockumentary) isn’t just about the music or the musicians, it’s aboutan entire generational subculture of people who were, for the mostpart, on their way out in many ways…some good, some bad. For many ofthem, it was their last hoorah before the 1960s ended…and, what ahoorah it was!
I’ve always loved concerts. I’ve been to many in my youth, and, havemany on VHS and DVD. However, to me, "Woodstock" (1969) is by far thebest because it’s not ‘only’ a concert…it’s a major event thatdefined much of the 1960s!
In retrospect…imagine if ‘everyone’ invited to perform at "Woodstock"actually showed up (The Beatles; The Rolling Stones; The Doors; LedZeppelin; Jethro Tull; Iron Butterfly; The Moody Blues; Chicago; and,so many more)!?!? They could have made it into a mini-series!
The Granddaddy of all Music Documentaries
Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace And Music to me, is morethen just an ordinary run of the mill music documentary, it was arecord of the hippie culture of 1969, the youth of America trying tomake a difference, a spectacular experience of one of America’sgreatest rock festivals before the days of the original MTV (MusicTelevision) & VH1 before they became sleezy reality TV networks. It wasmore about the kids, It marked the turning point careers of the futureAcademy Award Winning team of Director Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull,The Departed) & Editor Thelma Schoonmaker. It was definitely achallenge filming into a feature length film, real provocativedocumenting from beginning to end, with outstanding performances fromJoan Baez, Janis Joplin, The Who, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, Crosby,Stills & Nash, Sly And The Family Stone, Ten Years After, Sha Na Na,Canned Heat, Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe McDonald & TheFish, John Sebastian, Arlo Guthrie, Jefferson Airplane, Santana andmany others as well as interviews with Producer & Woodstock FounderMichael Lang, many of the locals in & out of the festival. The onlymusic documentary of it’s kind to win the 1971 Academy Award for BestDocumentary Feature. There will never be a Woodstock like this again,Woodstock 1999 destroyed that tradition & to finally see this film onthe 40th Anniversary Director’s Cut DVD in all it’s widescreen glory isa special treat. If you are into Classic Music or Music Documentaries,this is one of them, along with No Direction Home: Bob Dylan & GimmeShelter.
Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace And Music is Rated R for Drug Content,Nudity & Language.
A movie out of time.
This Movie is a piece of musical and youth history, it shows the age ofmusical and personal discovery that the youth of the time embraced asthey threw off the yoke of their parents morals and duty to country.
As they found they had a voice that mattered. much of it is voiced inthe music of that era as it too was new and so very fresh.
no one played a guitar the way Hendrix or Alvin Lee did with Ten YearsAfter. Just wait till you see Alvin Lee’s stage presence, it’s magical.The movie shows a time that opened the door for all the ‘Pop,RockBlues’ music we all know. The movie is an example of a formative timewe almost lost.
The Stars Align
Michael Wadleigh’s stunning documentary couldn’t have had better timing,being, as it was, in the right place and the right time (a defining,culture-changing moment in the Sixties). That’s it’s an expertly executedpiece of filmmaking further indicates the stars must have somehow beenaligned. Wadleigh shows a deep empathy for the men and women in charge ofthe festival (although you can still take him to task for his dishonorabletreatment of some of the foot soldiers, most notably the Port-O-San man) aswell as the townsfolk of Woodstock, New York; and he shows just as muchpassion for the music. The camera seems to be everywhere important andWadleigh’s use of split-screen photography has perhaps never been equaled;the editing (some of which is done by Martin Scorsese and his future editorand wife, Thelma Schoonmaker) is tight with nothing wasteful making it tothe screen. Some of it’s a little dated (can you remember Joan Baez’husband’s last name?) and some of the music is exposed for the sham itreally is (i.e. Jefferson Airplane) but if it were released in its currentform originally Canned Heat would be today regarded as cultural icons andnot merely a pop memory. Oh and Ten Years After stands alone. The nearlyfour hour film just flies by.
A great movie that captures the Woodstock event
This Woodstock movie is labeled as a docuemtary and I love it. I love it whenthey interview the people in this movie since it’s a trip listening to them.Plus they show live performances of some the best musicians on earth. Afterwatching this movie you will get a good feel for what it was like beingthere yourself.