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Gimme Shelter (1970)

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A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
The Rolling Stones ... Themselves
Mick Jagger ... Himself
Charlie Watts ... Himself
Keith Richards ... Himself (as Keith Richard)
Mick Taylor ... Himself
Bill Wyman ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marty Balin ... Himself (as Jefferson Airplane)
Sonny Barger ... Himself
Melvin Belli ... Himself
Dick Carter Dick Carter ... Himself
Jack Casady ... Himself (as Jefferson Airplane)
Mike Clarke Mike Clarke ... Himself (as The Flying Burrito Brothers)
Sam Cutler Sam Cutler ... Himself
Spencer Dryden ... Himself (as Jefferson Airplane)
Chris Hillman ... Himself (as The Flying Burrito Brothers)
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Storyline

A documentary on the Rolling Stones' 1969 US tour and the tragic events that concluded it. We see footage of their concerts and of them making the Sticky Fingers album in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. However, the main focus of the film is on one concert - Altamont Speedway, outside San Francisco, 6 December 1969. A free concert, it is the Stones' idea and it was meant to be the Woodstock of the West (Woodstock having occurred four months earlier). Other bands performing included Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and Santana. However, it is far from being the peace and love of Woodstock. Part of the problem is that the Stones hired the Hells Angels as security. The other problem was that a large portion of the crowd were high on drugs. Friction ensues. During the Stones' set, Meredith Hunter, high on methamphetamine and armed with a gun, makes a lunge for the stage and is stabbed to death by the Hells Angels. The peace and ... Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The music that thrilled the world ... and the killing that stunned it! See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Maysles Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 December 1970 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Gimme Shelter See more »

Filming Locations:

Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,576, 13 August 2000

Gross USA:

$252,570
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Maysles Films, Penforta See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Albert Maysles (in 1999 while he visited UCLA), George Lucas was one of the cameramen for this shoot. Unfortunately his camera jammed after shooting about 100 feet of film that night. All of his footage was deemed unacceptable and wasn't used in any version of the final product. However, according to Joel Selvin's extensively researched book Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day, one shot - a long pan of the dazed crowd from the distance - remains in the final cut. See more »

Quotes

Male Reporter: Is this going to be Woodstock West?
Michael Lang - Concert Organizer: Well, it's going to be San Francisco.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Re-released in 1992 with some uncensored dialog and some more brief nudity; this version is rated R. See more »


Soundtracks

I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
Written by Otis Redding & Jerry Butler
Performed by Ike & Tina Turner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Superb Rockumentary
12 August 2007 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

In November of 1969 I attended a Rolling Stone Concert at Boston Garden. The Stones were nearing the end of their fabulously successful 69 American tour and they were as good as I had ever heard or seen them. The sellout crowd was mesmerized and surged to the stages edge without violence and just rolled to the music. It was a brief period in rock history when such things were possible. The Peace and Love generation had settled into a groove with just tripping on the music and nothing more. Woodstock had been the prototype. A month after I saw them hypnotize Boston Garden the concert at Altamont put an end to the dream.

David and Albert Maysles recorded this nightmare in their brilliant documentary Gimme Shelter. The film opens with the Stones, flush with success planning a free concert for fans at Golden Gate Park. The venue is switched to a racetrack in Altamont and things slowly begin to deteriorate from there. The Stones naively hire Hell's Angels ("The Dead said they were cool") for security. When things become unruly the Angels respond harshly. As Jagger sings a man with a gun rushes the stage and is stabbed. The Maysles cameras are in the right place many times. The emphasis is not on Jagger as he and the band perform, instead it is the threatening and tripped out people near him on stage that fascinate.

The concert itself only takes up a small but gripping portion of the film which follows the Stones on a some of their tour and their reactions from watching the documentary's rough cut. Seldom do rock stars allow themselves to filmed in such compromising a position. The Maysles also capture the logistics side of the concert business with famed lawyer Melvin Belli and tour director Sam Cutler at task.

In less than half a year the Utopian dream of Woodstock lay in ruin at the Altamont Speedway. The Maysles provide much of the proof in Gimme Shelter.


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