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|Index||107 reviews in total|
Since the dawn of DVD,I've waited and hoped for this title. The wait has been well worth it. Do not walk,RUN,and get your copy now of the greatest Rockumentary to date. Never ending thanks to Martin Scorcese and Robbie Robertson.
I remember seeing bits and pieces of this film on late night TV many years
ago, as a teenage beer-drinking house party was winding down. At the time
was a casual fan of The Band, but more a fan of that musical
I decided to see the re-released, re-mixed version on the big screen, even while mindful that the DVD was coming soon. And I'm glad I did, despite the fact that the theatre - the only one in town showing this limited release - was too small, with a poor sound system.
What a Band this was. I could do on and on about the skill of all these guys, but suffice to say that each member who is not Robbie Robertson was just as talented, if not more so, than Robbie Robertson.
Musical highlights: a majestic version of "The Weight" with the smooth Staples singers; Levon Helm 'Driving Dixie Down' with an emotional vocal performance; Bob Dylan, who I am not a fan of, reunited with his mates and clearly digging it.
Interview highlight: the late Rick Danko, at a loss for words when Scorcese asks what his post-Band future is like. The camera stays on Danko, who is clearly overcome, for a long period of uncomfortable silence.
I'd always heard: The Last Waltz is the greatest concert film ever made. I
never believed it, since I wasn't a fan of The Band apart from humming along
to The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down whenever it came on the radio.
After seeing the restored re-release of the movie on a very big screen I feel like I've been missing out on the best music ever produced on the North American continent.
The Last Waltz is really a moving, singing history of rock, soul, blues and country music, performed live on stage in front of a very, very lucky audience. You get everything from Emmylou Harris to Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton, and with The Band backing them up, all these important artists sound better than anywhere else you've ever heard them. There's a crazy, passionate energy to almost every performance that sends chills up and down your spine. You could literally write a book about this movie, because every 5 minutes of it evokes entire histories of popular, rootsy American music.
The key, I think, to the night's performances is that The Band is ultimately humble. When they are playing behind Dylan, or Joni Mitchell, or even Neil Diamond, they are content to support the guest artist and play the role of, well, "the band". It's like letting the guests take over the wedding, in a sense, and it works. Dylan sounds and looks better than I've ever seen him; Van Morrison practically spontaneously combusts with soulful energy; Muddy Waters brings the house down with his low-down blues. And still you get Levon Helm's aching performance of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", a definitive performance of "The Weight" aided by The Staples Singers, and...oh yes, I forgot to mention...it's all filmed by a young Martin Scorcese, who shows he knows a thing or two about making movies.
This might be one of the best uses of film I've ever seen. I've
shown it to dozens of friends and their comment is always
something like....."no,..... you didn't oversell it." If you want to know
more about the roots of rock and roll in North America you have to
see this movie. The Band could do it all and they do so in this film.
They back up some of the greatest musicians of all time and it's
seamless. Their own songs are perfection. Richard Manuel, Garth
Hudson, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm and Rick Danko are
Canadian (and American) treasures and you will find yourself
drawn to their music once it gets into your system. If I ever had the
pleasure of meeting Martin Scorcese, the first thing I would say to
him is, thank you for this masterpiece.
This is the film I was put here on earth to see. It captures the emotion, the madness, the mutual admiration and the danger of rock 'n' roll - it is a timeless energetic masterpiece. You realise that Robbie Robertson was born for the camera when you watch this... the way he moves, the way he plays his guitar and the way he talks - you just know, and you sit there in a wonderous state. Obviously, Scorsese had much to do with the technical beauty [ironic - but that's what it is] of the film, but it is the tightness of The Band that ensures the live spirit remains intact when transfered to a small glass screen. Finally, I have to point out that, though the whole film absolutely rocks, the set-recorded version of "The Weight" with The Staples as back-up is one of the most moving things you're ever likely to see or hear... only one other song has had the immediate effect of making me weep - that was "Pale Blue Eyes" by the Velvet Underground. Really, when you've seen this, you'll want to kick yourself for not having seen it sooner!
What can I say? I liked "Stop Making Sense". Great movie and great music. I did dig "Rattle and Hum". Who can beat U2 in concert? The simple answer is... THE BAND. Simplicity/complicity, cool and weird road stories, MEGA line-up of guest musicians, unforgettable cinematography, Scorcese, duelling guitars, brilliant music and... THE BAND. This is simply the ULTIMATE concert movie.
Martin Scorsese filmed one of the best concert documentaries ever, if not the best. While he intended to do it only as a side project while working on "New York, New York", he befriended The Band's guitarist Robbie Robertson, and worked with him for 18 months to make this incredible film.
I love The Band and I think they are so underrated in the history of
rock. I think this is a great movie by one of the truly great
directors. Of course I am not saying anything new, but I do agree with
This is the 2nd best rock document behind Woodstock, but not too far behind. Some people give the interview segments a hard time, but I like them. I like the fact that except for one case (Chest Fever) the interviews don't interrupt the songs. I had listened to The Band for years and really didn't really know anything about them personally until this movie. Some people are critical of the non live performances, but the segment with the Staple Singers is my favorite part. I love that version of "The Weight."
I do think this would have been slightly better had fewer people working in it and on it not been stoned most of the time (and it is obvious.) The Band seems a bit too goofy and aloof in the interviews, but it is a testament of the times, and of rock excesses. This has been well documented that Scorsese was really into coke during this time, it would be interesting to see what different choices for the film he would have made without use of chemicals.
I recommend this for anyone that loves great music by the great artists in the history of rock.
I'm 41 and grew up in the rock and roll days. The Band and some of the
other performers in the movie weren't the top bands in my day, but I had
always heard of the names. And today they are STILL playing their songs
the radio. So it was great to see the songs performed by the orignal
The movie is half-concert/half-discussions with the band. Both are interesting. But even more amazing is the list of famous people who show up to perform at the event. One after the other of stars that are historical rock and roll (and blues) figures.
It was a great film. Check it out!
If you have a DVD player, you can skip chapters to advance to the next song, which makes it easy to watch just what you like. The DVD also has a story about the movie revisited, which has some interesting reflections about how a "let's just document this" thing became a very cool movie.
In 1978, when this film was released, my head must have been in the clouds!
It completely passed me by. I was turned on to it by my neighbor, who
shouted to me one day not long ago as I was mowing the lawn, "I bought the
25-year anniversary edition DVD of "The Last Waltz" and I'll bring it over
for us to watch." Having no clue what he was talking about, I checked out
good-ol' IMDB and discovered that this was one critically acclaimed
And the critics had it right. This is a great story with FANTASTIC music. Not canned, techno-pop garbage, but real rock and roll - rock and roll with soul! I never dreamed The Band was such an accomplished group - just knew them for "The Weight" from "Easy Rider." In today's dearth of quality music, this was a refreshing find - food for a starving man. I can listen to new music for me that for everyone else is 25-30 years old.
Discovering The Last Waltz was a bittersweet experience for me though. No sooner do I fall in love with Rick Danko's performance and songs in The Last Waltz that I learn he died in 1999 - and that Richard Manuel committed suicide in 1986. Watching Danko perform Stage Fright from so long ago, and knowing I could never see him do it live, gave me that same empty feeling I got when John Lennon was killed. I saw the Beatles in '64 and '65 and though it was always a distant, remote possibility that they would ever get together again, December 1980 stole away all hope.
Anyway, if you're a baby boomer like me looking for new music and missed this like I did, you might check it out. It's a great find!
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