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Gimme Shelter (1970)

R  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  6 December 1970 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 7,596 users   Metascore: 80/100
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A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

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Credited cast:
Himself (as Keith Richard)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marty Balin ...
Himself (as Jefferson Airplane)
Sonny Barger ...
Dick Carter ...
Jack Casady ...
Himself (as Jefferson Airplane)
Mike Clarke ...
Himself (as The Flying Burrito Brothers)
Sam Cutler ...
Spencer Dryden ...
Himself (as Jefferson Airplane)
Chris Hillman ...
Himself (as The Flying Burrito Brothers)


In December of 1969, four months after Woodstock, the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane gave a free concert in Northern California, east of Oakland at Altamont Speedway. About 300,000 people came, and the organizers put Hell's Angels in charge of security around the stage. Armed with pool cues and knifes, Angels spent the concert beating up spectators, killing at least one. The film intercuts performances, violence, Grace Slick and Mick Jagger's attempts to cool things down, close-ups of young listeners (dancing, drugged, or suffering Angel shock), and a look at the Stones later as they watch concert footage and reflect on what happened. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The music that thrilled the world ... and the killing that stunned it!


Documentary | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

6 December 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los Rolling Stones (Gimme Shelter)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$18,576 (USA) (11 August 2000)


$252,570 (USA) (17 November 2000)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The concert originally was originally going to be held at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, but the city wouldn't give a permit after hearing that The Rolling Stones would be on the bill and feared a huge crowd. The concert was then moved to Sears Point (now Infineon) Raceway in Sonoma, but after a dispute with the track's owner, the stage and all the sound equipment was moved to Altamont within 24 hours before the concert was to take place. See more »


Hell's Angel: They told me, if I could sit on the stage so nobody climbed over me, I could drink beer till the show was over.
See more »


Featured in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »


Jumpin' Jack Flash
Written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

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1 August 2006 | by (Illinois) – See all my reviews

This sort of "artistic documentary" marks a milestone in our culture and it's really a must-see for people interested in history. The DVD version contains important additional features such as excerpts from a long KSAN call-in show the next day. Some of the callers were principals in this event and their commentary is valuable. In addition, there are some incredible still photo collections on the DVD that go even further to capture the climate at this event.

There is a lot of talk about "Hells Angels" this and that in the reviews here. The Hells Angels were not the primary problem - it was a terrible combination of sloppy organization, third parties who reneged on deals and contributed to the problem, and the concert-goers themselves. As some callers to the KSAN show commented, "I was at Woodstock, and Altamont was completely different. Nobody came together. We had no spirit of community. The whole thing was hurried and stayed tense throughout." So imagine 300,000 people working hard to get their groove on quickly - since the concert was only confirmed a day or two prior - using whatever they could roll up in a paper, stir into their cheap wine, or drop on a sugar cube. Then their heroes come up onto the 20'x20'x3'-high stage and viola, you have a massive problem on your hands whether security was Superman, Sgt. Joe Friday and his partner Bill Gannon, Acme Security out of Walla Walla, or the Hells Angels. There was going to be violence. It certainly didn't help that the organizers told the HA to park their bikes right next to the stage. With the crowd as it was, that was guaranteed disaster for a few people.

What a way to end the '60s flower power era.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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