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Woodstock (1970)

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The film chronicle of the legendary 1969 music festival.

Director:

Michael Wadleigh
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Richie Havens Richie Havens ... Himself
Joan Baez ... Herself
The Who ... Themselves
Sha-Na-Na ... Themselves (as Sha Na Na)
Joe Cocker ... Himself
Country Joe and the Fish ... Themselves
Arlo Guthrie ... Himself
Crosby Stills & Nash ... Themselves (as Crosby Stills and Nash)
Ten Years After Ten Years After ... Themselves
John Sebastian ... Himself
Santana ... Themselves
Sly and the Family Stone ... Themselves (as Sly & the Family Stone)
Jimi Hendrix ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Canned Heat ... Themselves
Bob Davis Bob Davis ... Himself
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Storyline

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 <dhartung@mcs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Film of History's Biggest Happening! 3 hours of giant screen sensations in multiple-image Technicolor See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Barnes Ltd.

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 March 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Woodstock: 25th Anniversary Edition See more »

Filming Locations:

Bethel, New York, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$50,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wadleigh-Maurice See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1970) | (1994) | (director's cut) | (director's cut) | (DVD) | (Director's Cut w/ additional & exclusive footage)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (re-release)| Mono (RCA Sound System)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| 4-Track Stereo (original release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Among the artists who appeared at the festival but not in the movie were Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mountain, The Band and Tim Hardin. Clips of Hardin's and The Band's performances were released several years later on the outtakes video. Also, Hardin was in the film, but he wasn't performing--he was filmed making a rather bizarre speech on Japanese technology. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Interviewer: Okay. Go ahead.
Sidney Westerfield, Local merchant: My name is Sidney Westerfield. I'm the owner of this antique tavern, Mongaup Valley, New York State. I was here when this crowd really came. We expected 50,000 a day and there must have been a million. I, myself, was hungry for two days because I couldn't get any food! I couldn't go out to buy any food.
[laughs]
Sidney Westerfield, Local merchant: I was eatin' cornflakes for two days. And the kids were wonderful. I had no kick. It was, "Sir, this" and "Sir, that" and "Thank you, this" and "Thank you, ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

THANKS TO AT WOODSTOCK: Vinnie of the Silverspur, The Hog Farm, The Merry Pranksters AT HOME: Pete, Gloria and Herman; Norbert and Vic; Dulcinda See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut ended with a shot of a version of the Vietnam War memorial with the names of several influential persons of the 1960's and the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "Find the Cost of Freedom Playing" over the scene. See more »


Soundtracks

Coming Into Los Angeles
Written and Performed by Arlo Guthrie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Forget the peace & love baloney--just rock out
9 July 2004 | by eht5ySee all my reviews

This 'defining moment of a generation' has been over-romanticized to the point of parody. Woodstock changed nothing about American life or culture--the mythos surrounding it is just a nostalgia trip for aging hippies and guilty yuppies longing for the days before mandatory drug-testing. The notion that getting stoned and balling in the mud at a rock concert could qualify as a form of social or political activism is so ridiculous that it's almost contemptible.

Nevertheless, 'Woodstock' the movie is a gem for its numerous moments of brilliance on stage and the relatively innovative use of multiple sound-tracks and camera angles that paved the way first for similarly brilliant concert films like Scorsese's 'The Last Waltz.'

This film was largely responsible for the explosion in popularity of The Who's 'Tommy,' and it's easy to see why. Their renditions of the rock opera's high points, culminating with 'See Me Feel Me/Listening to You' in the early morning hours, are simply breathtaking. Ironically, the Who frequently slagged their performance at Woodstock and the hippie movement in general, and Townshend famously clobbered anti-establishment activist Abbie Hoffman with a blow to the head from his guitar after Hoffman tried to take the mike during their set (sadly, this legendary bit of rock lore was missed entirely by the film crew, who were changing reels between songs at the time). Their set's most serendipitous aspect--the sun breaking over the horizon during the instrumental climax of their final number--was a consequence of the group's holding up their performance for several hours, demanding to be paid in advance. They were also quite angry about having been unwittingly dosed with LSD, which had been added to basically every form of beverage--including ice-cubes--in the backstage area. They translate their frustration and anger into a manic energy unrivalled in the history of live rock.

Also perilously high on LSD was Santana, whose performance of 'Soul Sacrifice' became a defining moment for that incarnation of the group. Though Carlos Santana's guitar was always the focus of Santana, the film's sound editing and camera work dwell more on drummer Michael Shreve, a drop-dead brilliant jazz-trained percussionist who joined Santana while still in his teens. One could easily be persuaded that Shreve was the real genius of Santana from this performance.

Other star-making turns are here to be found: the first public appearance of Crosby, Stills, & Nash, delivering a stripped-down performance of 'Suite: Judy Blue-Eyes' supported only by Still's acoustic guitar and their legendary three-part harmonies, Joe Cocker refashioning the Beatles' 'With a Little Help From My Friends' from psychedelic pop into gut-wrenching soul, and the hugely underrated Richie Havens' acoustic folk introspection.

The snippets of dialogue and interviews date poorly, with the exception of a humorous turn by Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who gives a quick running commentary as he rolls and displays a fat marijuana joint for the camera (the Dead refused permission to have their performance featured in the film).

Perhaps the most celebrated moment of the film is Jimi Hendrix's set with his new group, the Band of Gypsies, which features his virtuosic take on the 'Star-Spangled Banner.' Though the hippie rhetoric about the glorious counter-culture revolution of the sixties is tiresome (I find it somewhat telling that, due to weather, Hendrix's set was pushed back to the morning of the last day, and was missed by the majority of the filthy, soaked, and hung-over crowd), Hendrix (who, unbeknownst to many, was an Army paratrooper before he became a rock god) captures the confusion and fear aroused by the Vietnam War and the rift it inspired between American youth and the so-called establishment with stunning clarity. He also proves quite convincingly why he will never be equaled as a rock guitarist or an icon of cool.

Forget the hippie nonsense and get off on some of the highest-quality recordings and concert footage of the golden age of rock.


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