Woodstock (film)

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Woodstock
WoodstockFilmPoster.jpg
Directed by Michael Wadleigh
Produced by Bob Maurice
Edited by Michael Wadleigh
Martin Scorsese
Stan Warnow
Yeu-Bun Yee
Jere Huggins
Thelma Schoonmaker
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s)
  • March 26, 1970 (1970-03-26)
Running time 184 minutes
225 minutes (1994)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $600,000
Box office $50 million[1]

Woodstock is a 1970 American documentary of the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival that took place in August 1969 at Bethel in New York. Entertainment Weekly called this film the benchmark of concert movies and one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made.[2] The film was directed by Michael Wadleigh and was edited by (amongst others) Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker; Schoonmaker was nominated for an Academy Award for Film Editing.

Woodstock was a massive commercial and critical success. It received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, as well as a nomination for Best Sound (Dan Wallin, L. A. Johnson).[3][4] The film was also screened at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, but wasn't entered into the main competition.[5] The Official Director's Cut, spanning 225 minutes, was released in 1994.

Both cuts take liberties with the timeline of the festival. However, the opening and closing acts are the same in the film as in real life, i.e., Richie Havens opens the show and Jimi Hendrix closes it.

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock was also released separately on DVD and Blu-ray.

In 1996, Woodstock was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". An expanded 40th Anniversary Edition of Woodstock, released on June 9, 2009 in Blu-ray and DVD formats, features additional performances not before seen in the film, and also includes lengthened versions of existing performances featuring Creedence Clearwater Revival and others.[6]

Artists[edit]

Artists by appearance[edit]

No. Group / Singers Title
1.* Crosby, Stills & Nash "Long Time Gone"
2.* Canned Heat "Going Up the Country"
3.* Crosby, Stills & Nash "Wooden Ships"
4. Richie Havens "Handsome Johnny"
5. "Freedom" / "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child"
6. Canned Heat "A Change Is Gonna Come" **
7. Joan Baez "Joe Hill"
8. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot"
9. The Who "We're Not Gonna Take It" / "See Me, Feel Me"
10. "Summertime Blues"
11. Sha-Na-Na "At the Hop"
12. Joe Cocker and the Grease Band "With a Little Help from My Friends"
13. Audience "Crowd Rain Chant"
14. Country Joe and the Fish "Rock and Soul Music"
15. Arlo Guthrie "Coming Into Los Angeles"
16. Crosby, Stills & Nash "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"
17. Ten Years After "I'm Going Home"
18. Jefferson Airplane "Saturday Afternoon" / "Won't You Try" **
19. "Uncle Sam's Blues" **
20. John Sebastian "Younger Generation"
21. Country Joe McDonald "FISH Cheer / Feel-Like-I'm-Fixing-to-Die-Rag"
22. Santana "Soul Sacrifice"
23. Sly and the Family Stone "Dance to the Music" / "I Want to Take You Higher"
24. Janis Joplin "Work Me, Lord" **
25. Jimi Hendrix "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (credited as "Voodoo Chile" in the film) **
26. "The Star-Spangled Banner"
27. "Purple Haze"
28. "Woodstock Improvisation" **
29. "Villanova Junction"
30.* Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young "Woodstock" / "Find the Cost of Freedom" **

* studio recording from an album by the artist
** director's cut only, not in the original theatrical release

Artists omitted[edit]

Reception[edit]

Woodstock received universal acclaim from newspaper and magazine critics in 1970. It was also an enormous box office smash. The May 20, 1970 edition of Variety reported it was doing well in its third week in Chicago and San Francisco.[7] (The trade paper used the insider term "lap" to mean "week" in the headline that cited Woodstock's $52,000 profit in Chicago.)[7] In each of those metropolitan areas the movie played at only one cinema during that week, but many thousands showed up.[8] Eventually, after it branched out to more cinemas including more than one per metropolitan area, it grossed $50 million in the United States. The budget for its production was just $600,000,[1] making it not only the sixth highest grossing film of 1970 but one of the most profitable movies of that year as well.

Decades after its initial release, the film earned a 100% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[9]

Subsequent editions[edit]

25th Anniversary "Director's Cut" (1994)[edit]

Woodstock Generation
19**–20**
R.I.P.
it up
Tear it up
have a Ball
Woodstock (director's cut) closing credits

Upon the festival's 25th anniversary, in 1994, a director's cut of the film — subtitled 3 Days of Peace & Music — was released. It added over 40 minutes and included additional performances by Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrix's set at the end of the film was also extended with two additional numbers. Some of the crowd scenes in the original film were replaced by previously unseen footage.

After the closing credits — featuring Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Find the Cost of Freedom"[10] — a list of prominent people from the "Woodstock Generation" who had died is shown, including John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mama Cass Elliot, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Max Yasgur, Roy Orbison, Abbie Hoffman, Paul Butterfield, Keith Moon, Bob Hite, Richard Manuel, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. It ends with the epitaph to the right:

40th Anniversary edition (2009)[edit]

On June 9, 2009 a remastered 40th Anniversary edition was released on both Blu-ray and DVD. The 40th Anniversary edition is available as both a two-disc "Special Edition" and a three-disc "Ultimate Collector’s Edition". The film was newly remastered and provided a new 5.1 audio mix. Among the Special Features two extra hours of rare performance footage feature 18 performances never before seen (from 13 groups including Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker) and five (Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter and Mountain) who played at Woodstock but never appeared in any film version.[11]

Cultural references[edit]

In the science fiction thriller The Omega Man (1971), Colonel Robert Neville (played by Charlton Heston) is seen traveling to a movie theatre in Los Angeles to screen the film for himself alone. Woodstock had been the most recent film debuting prior to the onslaught of biological warfare, and Neville darkly remarks the film is so popular it was "held over for the third straight year". As he repeats some of the dialogue verbatim, it is clear that Neville has repeated the ritual many times during the two years that he has believed himself to be the last man alive on Earth.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]