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Gimme Shelter (1970)

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Themselves
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Himself (as Keith Richard)
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Himself
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Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marty Balin ...
Himself (as Jefferson Airplane)
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Dick Carter ...
Himself
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)
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Storyline

A documentary on the Rolling Stones' 1969 US tour and the tragic events that concluded it. We see footage of their concerts and of them making the Sticky Fingers album in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. However, the main focus of the film is on one concert - Altamont Speedway, outside San Francisco, 6 December 1969. A free concert, it is the Stones' idea and it was meant to be the Woodstock of the West (Woodstock having occurred four months earlier). Other bands performing included Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and Santana. However, it is far from being the peace and love of Woodstock. Part of the problem is that the Stones hired the Hells Angels as security. The other problem was that a large portion of the crowd were high on drugs. Friction ensues. During the Stones' set, Meredith Hunter, high on methamphetamine and armed with a gun, makes a lunge for the stage and is stabbed to death by the Hells Angels. The peace and ... Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Rolling Stones gave a concert in Altamont, Calif. The Hell's Angels policed it. Four people died. This is the Actual Film Story. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

6 December 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los Rolling Stones (Gimme Shelter)  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$18,576 (USA) (13 August 2000)

Gross:

$252,570 (USA) (19 November 2000)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Albert Maysles (in 1999 while he visited UCLA), George Lucas was one of the cameramen for this shoot. Unfortunately his camera jammed after shooting about 100 feet of film that night. All of his footage was deemed unacceptable and wasn't used in any version of the final product. See more »

Quotes

Mick Jagger: Oh, babies. There's so many of you. Just be cool down in front and don't push around. Just keep still. Keep it together. Oh, yeah.
[singing]
Mick Jagger: Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste, I've been around for a long, long year, Stole many a man's soul to waste, And I was 'round when Jesus Christ, Had his moment of doubt and pain.
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Connections

Featured in The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Gimme Shelter
Written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Superb Rockumentary
12 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In November of 1969 I attended a Rolling Stone Concert at Boston Garden. The Stones were nearing the end of their fabulously successful 69 American tour and they were as good as I had ever heard or seen them. The sellout crowd was mesmerized and surged to the stages edge without violence and just rolled to the music. It was a brief period in rock history when such things were possible. The Peace and Love generation had settled into a groove with just tripping on the music and nothing more. Woodstock had been the prototype. A month after I saw them hypnotize Boston Garden the concert at Altamont put an end to the dream.

David and Albert Maysles recorded this nightmare in their brilliant documentary Gimme Shelter. The film opens with the Stones, flush with success planning a free concert for fans at Golden Gate Park. The venue is switched to a racetrack in Altamont and things slowly begin to deteriorate from there. The Stones naively hire Hell's Angels ("The Dead said they were cool") for security. When things become unruly the Angels respond harshly. As Jagger sings a man with a gun rushes the stage and is stabbed. The Maysles cameras are in the right place many times. The emphasis is not on Jagger as he and the band perform, instead it is the threatening and tripped out people near him on stage that fascinate.

The concert itself only takes up a small but gripping portion of the film which follows the Stones on a some of their tour and their reactions from watching the documentary's rough cut. Seldom do rock stars allow themselves to filmed in such compromising a position. The Maysles also capture the logistics side of the concert business with famed lawyer Melvin Belli and tour director Sam Cutler at task.

In less than half a year the Utopian dream of Woodstock lay in ruin at the Altamont Speedway. The Maysles provide much of the proof in Gimme Shelter.


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