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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 ... 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:

(with a little help from our friends.) 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:

$126,562

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$320,610
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

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 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

In the directors cut the opening credits have the rating credits being burned and exploded. It had Jimmy Hendrix' version of the "Star-Spangled-Banner" played in the background. 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

I Want to Take You Higher
Written by Sly Stone
Performed by Sly and the Family Stone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The good, the bad and the ugly of hippie culture -- and all entertaining
22 December 2013 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

I was too young for Woodstock, but I heard of it spoken in reverent tones over the years. I also heard great things about Michael Wadleigh's 1970 documentary-concert. Despite this, I put off seeing the film. Maybe because I thought it was going to be some roll-your-eyes groovy experience, man. I don't know, but I didn't get around to viewing it until the late 90s and I was blown away. I've seen it three or four more times since then and it always has the same awe-inspiring effect.

The concert took place over 3.5 days in mid-August, 1969, at the height of the Vietnam fiasco and the counterculture movement. Twice as many people attended than expected and it was the biggest gathering of people in one place in history, about 400,000, only beat by the infamous Isle of Wight concert in England a year later.

The film shows the good and bad of the hippie culture. Generally speaking, the movement was a reaction against the Vietnam war and the sterile legalism that America and similar countries had devolved into by the early-mid 60s. The youth wanted freedom, peace and love and you can see this in the movie. It was a good thing. Yet you can also see the bad -- like the bad acid situation ("Hey, it's your trip, man..."). Both Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix appear at Woodstock, and they're great, but they'll be dead in a little over a year, both only 27 years-old. Jim Morrison and the Doors didn't play because they declined at the last moment and later regretted it. Jim died shortly after the other two, also only 27. Interestingly, Jethro Tull declined because Ian Anderson didn't like hippies and was concerned about things like inappropriate nudity (?!).

But I don't mean to put a downer on Woodstock because it was an amazing event, never to be repeated. They tried to repeat it at Altamont Speedway in California, less than four months after Woodstock, and also at Isle of Wight, but both festivals turned out badly and put the the kibosh on the movement's noble ideals, even though it was pretty much inevitable since freedom without wise parameters naturally devolves into chaos and self-destruction.

Regardless, as a snapshot in time, "Woodstock" is fascinating and supremely entertaining. Half of the appeal is the incredible magnitude of the event itself and the footage of the people -- the hippies who came and the adults who lived there and tried to help or, in a couple cases, complained. This includes the fun and sometimes outrageous escapades of the festival. A good example would be the skinny dipping or, in many cases, semi-skinny dipping. Although this may have been a cool experiment at the event it never caught-on in the culture at large. Why? Probably because few people want to see someone else's Captain Winky and, unless a female has the body of a starlet, who wants to see it? (lol).

But what can explain the mass appeal of Woodstock? What made the hippies come out en masse? Was it just the music? The filmmakers ask this very question of a guy at the festival who looks about 16-17 years old. He says it wasn't just the music, at least not for him. The hippies crawled out of the woodwork, so to speak, like zombies seeking some kind of solace, a sense of community, a reason to... live. And Woodstock met that need.

The other half of the appeal is, of course, the performances and music. What's amazing is how diversified the styles of music were and how non-heavy. Don't get me wrong, many of the performances are seriously energetic, but they're light compared to what rock/metal evolved into in the 70s to the present. There was acoustic folk, Caribbean, blues, rock, gospel, pop, 50s, Latin rock, jazz fusion and psychedelic rock. Some of it I like and some of it I don't much care for, but they're all entertaining in one way or another. Since I'm into metal, my favorites are Santana, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, but I also enjoy a lot of the lighter stuff, like Joan Baez ("Swing Low Sweet Chariot") and Arlo Guthrie ("Coming into Los Angeles"). And then there are the acts that come out of left field, like Sly and the Family Stone and Sha Na Na, even Ritchie Havens.

What's amazing is how brief the classic hippie era was. It started around '65 and its apex was Woodstock in August '69, a mere four years later. From there it was all downhill with Altamont, Isle of Wight and the deaths of the movement's principal musical icons. As such, it only lasted some eight years.

Thankfully, we have this film to see the good aspects of the period -- some bad, some eye-rolling -- but mostly good, and definitely entertaining.

The film was shot in White Lake, New York, and runs 184 minutes while the 1994 Director's Cut runs 225 minutes. I've only seen the latter.

GRADE: A


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