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The Last Waltz
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The Last Waltz More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

and The Band plays on

Author: MrCurler from Canada
26 April 2002

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 I was a casual fan of The Band, but more a fan of that musical era.

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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

a perfect 10

Author: tvspace from hiding under my seat
17 April 2002

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's all filmed by a young Martin Scorcese, who shows he knows a thing or two about making movies.


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not just the best rok dok....

Author: bill-461 from LA, CA
7 January 2002

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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Put the load right on them... Beautiful.

Author: Slos from England
16 March 2000

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!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

THE most brilliant concert movie ever made.

Author: Halli from Reykjavik, Iceland
19 February 1999

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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps the best concert documentary ever!

Author: Josh Steinberg ( from Long Island, NY
19 September 1998

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.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Master Filmmaker and a great band

Author: wadetaylor from Memphis
8 July 2005

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 statement.

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.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

See the people who made rock and roll history

Author: dwanders from Denver, CO
21 September 2002

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 on the radio. So it was great to see the songs performed by the orignal artists.

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.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Where Was I?

Author: WolfMan-21
24 August 2002

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 film.

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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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful documentary and a wonderful movie

Author: Baldrick44 from Brisbane, Australia
4 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is perhaps one of the best music documentaries ever made. It's an incredible tribute to these five musicians and their ability to not only play by themselves but also back up some of the biggest names in popular music, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. If it was merely a video about the concert, the movie would have good enough but the interviews taken a few days afterwards tell a story of their own which show the interesting story behind the Band. It is a shame though that the movie seems to focus so much on Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson in particular, as the shots with Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel seemed to tell a story that could only be half told as a result. One of the most touching moments in the interviews is when Danko is showing Scorsese around the studio and telling him how he's trying to "keep busy". It is easy to see from these sort of moments why Robertson says at the end of the film why the road is "a goddamn impossible way of life." This is a movie for any lover of good music as it shows the story behind one of the most influential groups of the time and the respect they had from their peers.

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