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 <email@example.com>
"Woodstock" was meant as a documentary about the famous 3-day 1969 New York rock festival of the same name, but it's really more valuable as a record of 1960's hippy culture. This is unquestionably the best film to capture the spirit of the 60's. Between musical acts, the camera meanders through the audience and the enormous outlying crowds to interview spectators, or just eves-drop on the scene. This is the most interesting, entertaining, and eye-opening aspect of the film.
Several of the musical performances are memorable and deserve mention: Richie Havens' awesome concert opener is a classic--you could watch it a hundred times and still get goose bumps--pure magic. Jimi Hendrix comes pretty close to magic also with the final musical number. His frenzied rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" is incredible, and a fitting closer. Country Joe and the Fish and Joe Cocker are also memorable. A few of the musical acts don't seem to fit: Sha-Na-Na comes across as a weird oddity--(a throwback to the fifties), and Alvin Lee's "Ten Years After" is just too long and boring. Most of the other performances are so-so, but worth watching.
Overall, the film captures the mood, spirit, and music of the times better than any other. I would also venture to say that this may be one of the very best documentaries ever filmed on any subject. The depth of coverage is spectacular -- fitting for such a historical event. A great movie!
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