Originally filmed in December 1968, "The Rock and Roll Circus" was originally intended to be released as a television special. The special was filmed over two nights and featured not only ... See full summary »
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
After viewing footage of the stabbing of Meredith Hunter police identified Alan Passaro, a local Hell's Angel, as the man who did the stabbing, arrested him and charged him with murder. At his trial, however, closer examination of the footage showed that Hunter had pulled a gun before Passaro pulled his knife. Passaro was acquitted on grounds of self-defense. See more »
You don't hassle with anybody in particular. You gotta keep your bodies off each other unless you intend love. People get weird, and you need people like the Angels to keep people in line. But the Angels also - you know, you don't bust people in the head for nothing. So both sides are fucking up temporarily; let's not keep FUCKING UP!
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I've never seen a concert documentary that concerned itself more with building a feeling of dread and suspense than showing the hits. Even if you don't know the events surrounding Altamont, you get a sense that the end of this concert won't be a rousing finale, but death. I've never seen a stranger concert film, but ultimately it is an unforgettable experience, with an absolutely horrifying capture of a murder in front of the stage.
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