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 »
An intimate look at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival held in Bethel, NY in 1969, from preparation through cleanup, with historic access to insiders, blistering concert footage, and portraits of the concertgoers; negative and positive aspects are shown, from drug use by performers to naked fans sliding in the mud, from the collapse of the fences by the unexpected hordes to the surreal arrival of National Guard helicopters with food and medical assistance for the impromptu city of 500,000. Written by
Dan Hartung <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What a great documentary this is with an event like Woodstock captured so magnificently on film. I saw this in the theater during it's initial release more than once and have seen it at least a dozen times since. This film won the Academy Award for 1970 as Best Documentary for Michael Wadliegh as he uses split screen imagery for many scenes capturing different events at the same time and different angles of same events. Wadleigh had done cinematography on a couple of notable but forgotten films from 1967, the feature drama Who's That Knocking On My Door, an early Martin Scorsesse film, (Scorsesse would help with the editing of Woodstock) and film maker Jim McBride's David Holzman's Diary. This had to be a monumental task to chronicle the three day event and reduce it to a single theatrical film. 30 acts provided about 50 hours of music to the crowd of half a million in upstate New York in the summer of 1969 and the film makers of Woodstock had to eliminate over half of the performers from their film but what they chronicled here is captures the thrilling performances and the crowd, the rain and the events that unfolded during that three day festival in an fast paced, energetic and thoughtful documentation. It was nominated for and should have won the Academy Award for it's principal film editor Thelma Schoonmaker who would go on to successful career editing such films as The Color of Money, Good fellas, Cape Fear, The Kings of Comedy, Gangs of New york, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Aviator. This film also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound and should have won that too. It's brown acid alerts, rain storm precautions, latrine maintenance, three days of peace and music and breakfast in bed for 400,000 with Merry Prankster Wavy Gravy as your stage host starring Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, CSN&Y, The Who, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone, Country Joe & the fish, 10 Years After, Sha Na Na, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and John Sebstian. I would give this a 10 and highly recommend it.
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