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Gimme Shelter More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a mix of good music and a crumbling decade

Author: mr_doright11 from Gresham, OR
21 November 2002

I liked this movie more for the music (I love the stones) than the actual movie part; but it was a very good documentary. I suppose what got me was that I had never heard of it, so I was just expecting an old stones concert with some good music. Well, that was maybe 10% of the movie. The music was more of a haunting overtone for all of the violence and confusion that went on.

Needless to say, I was a little disappointed at first, but that last shot of Mick's face. He knew that he deserved some of the blame for that kid getting killed. You could just see it in his eyes. He looked so hurt and saddened. By the kid getting stabbed, but also I think he felt betrayed. He wasn't able to truly see what was happening at Altamont during the concert, because there was so much confusion and chaos; but when he got up from watching that movie, he felt betrayed by his own decade.

All of the things that made the sixties what it was had betrayed him. I think that's why people say the sixties ended there. That look in his eyes said it all.

The music was good, though. I was a little disappointed with 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', but as I have come to see, after three concert videos and attending a concert myself, 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' usually isn't very good live. I really thought that 'Gimme Shelter' was a fitting end (it was obvious that that would be the end credits music). I liked the live version of that song.

Well, this was a pretty good movie, and a very good documentary. As far as who gets the blame, it is both the Angels and the hippies fault. The hippies knew how unstable the Angels were, and they screwed with them and their bikes (that's a no-no) anyway, and the angels are just psychotic in this movie (not all Hell's Angels are, because I have a friend who's dad used to be an Angel). The movie part I would give a 7/10, but the music I give a 10/10, so I'll meet somewhere in the middle. 8/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A top-notch record of the 60s end

Author: James L. from Somewhere in New Jersey
25 August 2000

A very sad filmic recording of the end of the 60's. Edited as a series of visuals which represent the 60's , backstage talk, documentary pieces, and musical numbers, all great. All the tensions erupt here at the end. Great music by the Stones, the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Tina Turner. It's amazing that one of the best rock films comes out of Altamont, the most disastrous concert. Recommended.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Stones before they became Jaded

Author: bhoover247
27 May 2000

This is a great documentary, not concert film. The sights and sounds of this disaterous concert are presented just the way they happened. The Stones appear to have their most gritty sound ever. After watching this film, I remembered why I never liked live outdoor concerts, especially free ones. You even get to see a stray dog wander in front of Mick Jagger as he begins to strut, the dog that is not Jagger. Any rock music fan should not miss this movie.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

brothers and sisters please!

Author: Sarah Cunningham ( from nowhere near altamont
19 August 1999

the downfall of civilization. hard to watch at times. it is well done and the stones are GREAT. i found it interesting to see their impression of what went on. it is amazing when you think of it. hell's angels beating the concert goers with pool cues and it just being allowed much to the horror of the bands and the crowd. i mean jeez! it shows what can happen when stuff isn't planned. did the woodstock 99 dudes watch this? personally, i liked the way mickey tried to calm things down. i don't think that happened at woodstock 99 and i found it to be a very responsible thing to do.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The 60's end here

Author: J.E.C. from Upstate NY
23 January 1999

One-of-a-kind musical documentary. Not only do you get to see the Stones at their drugged-out peak, but you also get to witness an apocalyptic battle between the hippies and the Hell's Angels! Not to be missed!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Meredith Hunter Was Hardly Innocent!

Author: tjlisson from St. Paul, U.S.A.
30 August 2010

Contrary to the apparent tone of a rambling previous review, Meredith Hunter was hardly innocent. If he was merely attempting to stand up to the Angels because of their (hardly surprising) thuggery, how is it, then, that he presumably already had a gun with him when he came to the show? Either that, or he knew where to go looking for one when he got there, which still shows premeditation and a strong possibility of already having had connections to the person or group that was the source of the gun. Oh, and by the way, most of the violence in the audience was caused by the audience members themselves, most of which were well removed from the area of the stage, where the Angels were primarily set up.

No, amidst this sea of stupidity on all levels, stupidest of all was Meredith Hunter, and I can hardly believe some people still don't understand that waving a gun at the stage in a drugged- up rage will always look like someone is intending to do some serious harm to any number of people (many agree it was actually the Stones themselves who were the likely target, not any of the Angels). But then, I can believe it after all, because lots of people today aren't any smarter.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The end of the 1960's comes crashing down.

Author: BlackJack_B
26 August 2005

In 1969, the Rolling Stones made a triumphant return to touring after a two-year absence. Despite the firing and subsequent death of Stones founder Brian Jones, the band found a superb replacement for him in Mick Taylor. To celebrate their successes, the Stones planned to headline a free concert in San Francisco. Unfortunately, what they hoped would be the biggest moment yet for the group turned out to be one of the darkest nights in the history of rock 'n roll.

Gimme Shelter (named after a song from Let It Bleed) is about the before and after of the disaster at Altamont Speedway. The after is shown first, with the Rolling Stones looking with a dour look on their faces at monitors about the criticism and news the day after the concert. Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, and the others still have a look of shock after what had transpired.

Most of the movie talks about the troubles to get this concert off the ground beforehand. The original site was changed at the last second to the Altamont Speedway. Two people died the days before in the area as they awaited the concert. The stage, for some reason, was nearly at ground level so many people couldn't even see the stage. The biggest mistake was hiring The Hell's Angels for security. They were drugged out on LSD and drunk on beer and they certainly played a big part in what went wrong.

The documentary sees The Stones talking with renowned lawyer Melvin Belli about the concert as well as their preparations when they get to San Francisco. There is a hilarious segment where Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, and a few others are strutting to Brown Sugar. There is a lot of concert footage from the backing bands such as The Flying Burritos and Ike & Tina Turner. Also captured on film are Jefferson Airplane, whose co-lead singer Marty Balin was knocked out when he tried to break up a fight.

The film also captures TRS set. Mick is singing "Sympathy For The Devil" and he has to stop to calm the crowd down after a motorcycle blows up. Mick, however, is not the kind of guy who can calm down the crowd and force them to behave. He is unable to show a mean streak and needs someone else to tell the crowd to behave or they're pulling the plug. Amazingly, there is a funny scene here when the other Stones stop playing except for Keith Richards who is acting oblivious to the chaos and still wailing away until Mick tells him to stop.

Of course, we also see Meridith Hunter's murder caught on film. Hunter, 18, was brandishing a gun when the Angel's plunged a knife into his back and started beating him. He died DOA. We see his girlfriend in tears after she finds out he has died.

The Maysles Bros. deliver a superb documentary that shows the dark side of the 1960's perfectly. Honest, unflinching, and no-holds barred; it is certainly worth a look. Good concert footage, too.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A potent anti-drug message

Author: Ed Uthman ( from Houston, Texas
29 December 2000

The excellent documentary WOODSTOCK showed us fine musical performances onstage, and an innocent, funloving audience offstage. GIMME SHELTER is the flip side. This is certainly no concert film; all the acts, especially the Rolling Stones, sound atrocious on the poorly-mixed, near-monaural sountrack. The camera spends almost no time on any of the Stones other than Mick Jagger, and nearly all of the Altamont footage is shot from behind the band to feature the audience, which, as it turns out, is the stroke of genius that makes this movie so special.

The audience is the true "star" of the film. As opposed to the high-but-joyous Woodstock crowd, those who attended Altamont are wasted beyond comprehension, stressed to the max, and abjectly miserable. Forget the corny "this is your brain on drugs" shtick. GIMME SHELTER shows you what really happens when drug usage gets totally out of control--an onscreen textbook on poor judgement. If you really want to make an intelligent personal decision about the use of recreational drugs, just watch WOODSTOCK and GIMME SHELTER back-to-back.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: Miguel E. Rodriguez from Land O'Lakes, FL
31 August 2001

I am not a fan of the sixties or seventies. I am a child of Reagan and Walkmen. It is impossible for me to identify with flower power, hippies, and Timothy Leary. I do not like the Monkees or Jimi Hendrix. So it was with some misgivings that I sat down and popped in Criterion's new DVD release of "Gimme Shelter." The box promised I was about to see "the greatest rock film ever made." I figured, I've never seen a rock film at all in thirty-one years; why not start with the "greatest?"

I was totally unprepared for what I saw. I was riveted. Here was a clash of societies that I'd never seen before. On one hand is the logic of "If it doesn't hurt anyone, do it." On the other hand is the logic of "If I don't get hurt, I'm gonna do it." I don't know if that clearly explains what I saw, but I have to say I was riveted, disturbed, and amazed that something like this actually happened.

I am 31 years old and I had never heard of the Altamont concert until about a year ago. What's wrong with this picture? This is a cultural event as significant as Kennedy, Woodstock, or Vietnam. Find this DVD at your local store and get it if you want to see something that will really amaze you. I'm telling you. It's spellbinding.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"Everybody be cool now"

Author: Ali_Catterall from London, England
19 November 2009

It wasn't one of the Rolling Stones' smarter ideas to hire the Hells Angels as security for their Woodstock cash-in at San Francisco's Altamont Speedway Free Festival in 1969. Oh, and how do we pay them for services rendered? Hmm, let's see - $500 in beer ought to do it.

David and Albert Maysles' notorious documentary-cum-snuff movie captures the madness - and murder - that ensued, as a young, black Meredith Hunter is stabbed to death by the Angels live on camera, while the Stones' frontman whimpers from the stage: "Who's fighting and what for? Everybody be cool now."

Memo to Jagger: You're not some conduit for Satan, you're a mincing, top-hatted, former drop-out from the London School of Economics, and you're completely out of your depth.

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