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The Last Waltz
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The Last Waltz More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: pking04 from United States
29 July 2006

I always liked The Band but was not a huge fan, and I never got around to watching this movie until today, when it happened to come on TV. I wound up becoming so emotional watching this film, I cried. It was THAT good. Some of the finest legendary musicians to walk the planet were in that movie, and their performances were incredible. I just sat there, watching one legend after another come out on the stage, and I was overwhelmed with the memories and nostalgia and just how plain great their music was. They were all so poignantly young in this movie, which was made in 1976 I think. They were in their prime, all of them. EmmyLou Harris was like an angel, with that sweet, beautiful voice, wearing her long blue dress. Van Morrison made me cry....thats all I can say. Eric Clapton gave such an awesome performance, that I rewound it 4 times in all to re-watch it. He was just so....I can't think of the words to describe...he was so good, so focused, such a tight, excellent performance. Flawless. Muddy Waters---he gave a performance that just made you feel good, made you smile. I wanted to stand up, right there in my bedroom, and clap and cheer after every performance. And the Band....I gained a new respect for them. I always liked them, but watching them perform, and they were in synch with every musician that went on that stage...I realized I had underestimated them all these years. They were really, really talented. If you are a rock fan, this movie you can't miss. I can't believe it took me 30 years to get around to watching it!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Quintessential Rockumentary

Author: Bacchus-19 ( from U.S.V.I.
11 March 2006

This is the quintessential rockumentary of all time!! It stands as the finest example of how to present rock at its purest form, real,longing, intense, and still a tragic comedy. Never will a newcomer to the last waltz be less than amazed and forever a fan of The Band. The most special legacy about the Last Waltz is the special place it rests in the hearts and on the media shelves of the initiated. Whether they were The Hawks, Chocolate Subway, The Marshmallow Overcoats, The Crackers or The Honkies, there will never be any argument that they were not in fact THE BAND!!!! Thank you Rick and Richard for inviting us to the party.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Band & The Roots of Rock & Roll

Author: Brian Khorozian from Southern California
14 April 2005

In-depth interludes comprised of poignant reflections, comical observations and numerous sordid details from The Band's 16 years of life on the road intertwine with some of the most powerful live performances ever captured on film. This 1978 effort comes via Martin Scorsese, easily one of the most influential and imperatively directors of the 20th century. Scorsese, acting as the on-film interviewer captures very well the intimate details of The Bands' unpredictable, turbulent and exhausting everyday lives on tour. The on-stage portion of the film includes epic performances from The Band's "Last Waltz", during which they are joined by, among others Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison and Dr John. The combination of all-out musical energy combined with behind-the-scenes candidness from each individual of The Band creates an exhilarating 2-hour ride that always seems to end too soon. Even if you are not traditionally a fan of rock music, I still think this documentary has enough to keep you interested from the basic human-interest aspect alone. I would rate this film as excellent, being that I'm a fan of the music and a huge fan of Scorsese. If you're at all like-minded, you would being doing yourself a favor to give it a look.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

sublime music

Author: studiointhewoods from United States
10 April 2005

while viewing several films during an all night jag, i popped "the last waltz" in the DVD. what an experience! i've seen other music videos before, but this was cinema.

martin scorcese directed and his touch is all over this picture-- a documentary on the last performance of the seminal 60's band, "the band".

what you'll find fascinating, other than the array of famous singers brought in to jam with the band, is the way scorcese has mixed in a few studio-set pieces to go with the live-theater performance. these set pieces, especially the treatment of the famous 60's tune, "the weight", are beautifully lit, beautifully camera choreographed... and beautiful to watch.

someone else in these reviews mentioned this was a "ground breaking" concert documentary. i believe it!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A testament on how corporations have destroyed music

Author: Howard Marcy from Malaysia
10 June 2002

Here is a concert that took place over 20 years ago and the music is fresh and enjoyable as if was when it was new. Even more important here is a group of musicians who were on the road for years, working clubs and bars that had a chance to become a success due to their musical ability not what company they were with. Not one person in this concert could become a success today. Imagine any member of The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and any of the other players, on this special night, trying to make it in the business today. These people were not placed together to saturate a demographic. They were not assembled for a particular look to please the 12 to 15 year old female audiences. They were not a promotion by a record company or radio conglomerate to build up a profit base in a particular section of the country who haven't been buying enough records of a particular type in the last three months. These are a bunch of guys who got together to play music, get laid and party and are thrilled that you could come along for the ride. This is a look back on what was going on before music was a global business that completely controlled what was to be deemed talent.

I didn't mean to use the context of a movie review to spout off about what is going on today in the music business but the whole time I was watching I was plagued with the idea that the future generations would not have a Bob Dylan or Robbie Robertson to take inspiration from. Can the Backstreet Boys inspire you with their musical ability or Britney Spears, who can't even perform live, make you want to learn an instrument? I'm sure that there are many new talents, Alicia Keys and Creed come to mind, (both of whom were rejected by every major label) out there but will they get the exposure to effect the future as these people did; only time will tell.

This DVD release came out when there is a `revival' of the older 70's and 80's bands so it is actually timely. The reason of course for this revival of `oldies' is because there is so little in the way of creative music going on now and the copyrights have run out on the songs so for the most part the cooperations rake in all or most of the revenues from these greatest hits copulations.

The movie itself was a great mixture of interviews and the concert itself. The interviews were some single and some group but all very short glimpses into the character of each of these persons as part of the band. There were two songs that were done in the studio that really emphasized the roots that this music came from, Gospel (Staples) and Country (Harris) but both of these went with the flow. This is a concert of `imperfect' music with a sound from ordinary folks playing songs that most anybody with some guitar training could master quickly. This was a celebration of music, like Dave Mathews is now and the Grateful Dead were for so long. This was an affirmation that this band, as a total, was certainly greater that each of its parts. A great way to spend an evening with a six-pack, a pizza and your system turned up loud.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The film that set the bar for concert films.

Author: dvdtrkr from United States
24 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

or what Martin Scorsese did on his Thanksgiving weekend.

It might strike some people as funny that Scorsese, known more for films like "Goodfellas", "Taxi Driver" and "Gangs of New York" to also be the director of a concert film, but he's also had roots in concert projects, 2 of which were "Elvis On Tour" and "Woodstock".

What's amazing is that he was able to throw this together in a short period of time, but was also able to plan far ahead enough to be able to have everything set up.

He keeps most of the focus on the stage with very little audience shots which would've dated the film significantly. All the performances are great, but the highlights are Joni singing backup for Neil Young, Van Morrison putting in a spirited performance, The Band and the Staples Singers doing an incredible "The Weight" and Bob Dylan coming out near the end to "bring it all back home". Their original mentor Ronnie Hawkins shows up to do a song with them, Dr. John gives his 'Nawlins flavor, Muddy Waters puts in a great performance, Ferlinghetti and McClure round it out with their poetry. A Beatle and a Stone also show up for the party...

In between some of the songs, The Band is interviewed by Scorsese about life on the road and why they decided to call it quits at that time.

The music is also available in a CD box set.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Cinema Verite- Scorsese style that will appease fans and non-fans

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
24 July 2000

Martin Scorsee shows here that he can do a documentary with vigor, observance in the eye, and by letting the performers speak for themselves more than anything. By showing the final concert of the band called The Band, he ends up going further with funny and insightful interviews, not to mention a riveting bit of business on a sound stage. Very intriguing, especially as I have become more familiar with the songs and performers. Note the photography- this type of style used two years later in the boxing sequences in Raging Bull (staying with the stage, practically not cutting to the audience). Great talent includes Van Morrison, Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters (perhaps the best), Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. Only minor liability is that the performances may seem to slug for some, but this is more of a subjective thing, depending on how much you think the performers are putting in. It's definitely a bang worth the buck. A+

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A piece of history... music gold

Author: Adrian from Australia
7 January 2016

If you had a time-machine and could choose any concert in history to be present at and witness, what would it be? Neil Diamond, Hot August Night? The final Beatles concert on the roof top of the Apple Studio?? Woodstock??? The Band, The Last Waltz, is my pick. What a collection of artists, performing in their prime, superbly captured by Martin Scorsese. This amazing show reminds us that you don't need sex or expensive musical production sets to show off real talent and captivate an audience. It's not all roses though, the many years of constant touring is evident and on display for all to see in the faces and stories of each band member. All I can say to you good music people is, "do yourself a favour", turn it up, pour a drink, and enjoy the show…

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The greatest ever concert movie

Author: grantss from Sydney, Australia
19 December 2015

The greatest ever concert movie.

The Band - Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson - were Bob Dylan's backing band in the 1960s before releasing their first album, Music from Big Pink, in 1968. In November 1976 they gave their last concert and decided to invite a few fiends to perform at it. What friends they were! Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Hawkins, Paul Butterfield, Dr John, The Staple Sisters, Ron Wood, Muddy Waters.

Incredible music, performed by extremely talented artists.

To make things even better, the movie is directed by Martin Scorsese. He doesn't just include music, but also interviews with The Band. From this you understand their history, their motivations and why they stopped touring.


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Your "attitude" during the initial viewing may greatly biased your overall impression but after over 50 years of music, it is in my top 5 music documentaries.

Author: chrisrocco from United States
12 December 2015

I have not read all of them but I have read many of the negative reviews and try (really hard) to understand the reviewer's point of view. Yes, Martin Scorsese has done much better work and yes, "tiresome" comes to mind when watching some of the less-than-stellar performances but, if you were born in the 7 years from 1948 to 1955, this film is an irreplaceable cinematic classic of that era. The setting was unique, the cast was the era's finest of that genre and the technical value was up to date for when it was made. Sure, if the Band had decided to "retire" 10 years later, we would have seen a completely different film. But they didn't and this is what we got.

I saw The Band, live, at Sunday Break II @ the Steiner Ranch outside of Austin, Texas in the late 70s. They were "dots on the horizon" and their music entertaining but, every time I watch this film (I have seen it 4 or 5 times) I find another gem. Whether it is from a recently departed blues man or a band member himself, the film brings back an age that is long gone but, because of films like this one, not forgotten.

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