ⓘ Woodstock (film)


ⓘ Woodstock (film)

Woodstock is a 1970 documentary film of the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival which took place in August 1969 near Bethel, New York. Entertainment Weekly called this film the benchmark of concert movies and one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made.

The film was directed by Michael Wadleigh. Seven editors are credited, including Thelma Schoonmaker, Martin Scorsese, and Wadleigh. Woodstock was a great commercial and critical success. It received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Schoonmaker was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing, a rare distinction for a documentary. Dan Wallin and L. A. Johnson were nominated for the Oscar for Best Sound. The film was screened at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, but was not entered into the main competition.

The 1970 theatrical release of the film ran 185 minutes. A directors cut spanning 224 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 they appeared on stage; 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.


1. Reception

Woodstock received universal acclaim from newspaper and magazine critics in 1970. It was also an enormous box office smash. The edition of May 20, 1970 of Variety reported it was doing well in its third week in Chicago and San Francisco. In each of those metropolitan areas the movie played at only one cinema during that week, but many thousands showed up. 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, 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 based on 22 reviews, with a weighted average of 8.58/10.

In his original 1970 review, Roger Ebert rated the movie 4 stars out of 4 and described it as "maybe the best documentary ever made in America", adding "The remarkable thing about Wadleighs film is that it succeeds so completely in making us feel how it must have been to be there". In 2005 Ebert added Woodstock to his "Great Movies" list and wrote a retrospective review that stated, Woodstock is a beautiful, moving, ultimately great film.Now that the period is described as a far-ago time like "the 1920s" or "the 1930s," how touching it is in this film to see the full flower of its moment, of its youth and hope."

In a 2009 review, Noel Murray of The A.V. Club graded the DVD release A-, stating, "Wadleigh crafted a film with a thoughtful flow; it tells the full story of the event, from the paranoia and eventual acceptance of the locals to the helpful attitudes and eventual paranoia of the throng. Woodstock runs for more than 20 minutes before Wadleigh even gets to any of the performances, and throughout the film, he cuts away to interviews and montages that map out the scope of the mini-community formed at Woodstock, in all its glories and sadness."

In a 2019 review, Danielle Solzman described it as "a film that everybody ought to watch at least once in their life", adding "If theres a better concert documentary out there than Woodstock, I haven’t seen it."


2.1. Subsequent editions 25th Anniversary Directors Cut 1994

Upon the festivals 25th anniversary, in 1994, a 224 minutes directors cut of the film - subtitled 3 Days of Peace & Music and annotated 40th anniversary revisited – the directors cut - was theatrically released in cinemas and later July 29, 2014 on DVD. It added over 40 minutes and included additional performances by Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrixs 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 & Youngs "Find the Cost of Freedom" - 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:


2.2. Subsequent editions 40th Anniversary edition 2009

On June 9, 2009 a 40th-anniversary edition was released in two-disc sets on Blu-ray and DVD, available as both a "Special Edition" and an "Ultimate Collectors Edition". The latter included copious memorabilia. The directors cut was newly remastered in high definition with a 2K scan of the original elements, and provided a new 5.1 audio mix. Among the special features are 18 never-before-seen performances from artists such as Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat and Joe Cocker; five of the artists included - Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter and Mountain - played at Woodstock but had never appeared in any film version.

The bonus songs, a 143-minute collection of 18 performances presented in standard definition, are entitled "Untold Stories":

  • Jefferson Airplane: "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds" 5:40
  • Canned Heat: "On the Road Again" 10.49
  • Santana: "Evil Ways" 3:56
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Ive Put a Spell On You" 4:10
  • The Who: "My Generation" 7:36
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Keep on Chooglin" 9:25
  • The Grateful Dead: "Turn on Your Love Light" 37:44
  • Sha Na Na: "Teen Angel" 3:21
  • Canned Heat: "Im Her Man" 5.33
  • Paul Butterfield: "Morning Sunrise" 8:26
  • Country Joe McDonald: "Flying High" 2:21
  • Joan Baez: "{I Live} One Day at a Time" 4:17
  • Mountain: "Beside the Sea" 3:38
  • Joe Cocker: "Somethings Coming On" 4:14
  • Johnny Winter: "Mean Town Blues" 10:52
  • The Who: "Were Not Going to Take It" 9:07
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Born on the Bayou" 5:12
  • Mountain: "Southbound Train" 6:17

Bonus featurettes, also in standard definition, last 77 minutes. Entitled "Woodstock: From Festival to Feature," they cover the festival itself, the challenges of making the film, its reception and legacy, and other topics:

  • Documenting History
  • 3 Days in a Truck
  • Hugh Hefner and Michael Wadleigh The Woodstock Connection
  • Shooting Stage
  • Announcements
  • The Lineup
  • 365.000 Feet of Film
  • Production
  • Worlds Longest Optical
  • Suits vs. Longhairs
  • The Hog Farm Commune Courtesy of The Museum at Bethel Woods
  • The Crowd
  • Living Up to Idealism
  • Pre-Production
  • The Camera
  • Critical Acclaim
  • The Woodstock Effect
  • Holding the Negative Hostage
  • Synchronization
  • No Rain! No Rain!
  • Woodstock: The Journey


2.3. Subsequent editions Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music – The Directors Cut, 40th Anniversary Revisited 2014

This edition contains the same Blu-ray version of the film released in 2009 along with the second Blu-ray disc of bonus features, but the latter are now presented in high definition. The set also adds a third Blu-ray disc with "Untold Stories Revisited," sixteen previously unreleased performances and eight more featurettes.

The sixteen performances that run 73 minutes are:

  • Melanie: "Mr. Tambourine Man/Tuning My Guitar" 6:18
  • Jefferson Airplane: "Come Back Baby" 5:56
  • Canned Heat: "Woodstock Boogie" 8:38
  • The Grateful Dead: "Mama Tried" 2:53
  • Sha Na Na: "Book of Love" 2:07
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash: "Helplessly Hoping" 2:27
  • Jefferson Airplane: "Volunteers" 2:53
  • Joan Baez: "Oh Happy Day" 3:59
  • Country Joe and the Fish: "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" 4:23
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash: "Marrakesh Express" 2:55
  • Jimi Hendrix: "Spanish Castle Magic" 7:09
  • The Who: "Sparks" 5:25
  • Santana: "Persuasion" 2:55
  • The Who: "Pinball Wizard" 2:51
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band: "Everythings Gonna Be Alright" 8:53
  • Joan Baez: "I Shall Be Released" 3:38

The eight featurettes are entitled "Woodstock: From Festival to Feature Revisited." They run a total of 32 minutes in length and cover the festival behind the scenes, its history and legacy, and the restoration of the film:

  • The Woodstock Generation
  • Reflections of an Era
  • Food, Lodging & First Aid
  • Technical Difficulties
  • Restoration
  • A Cinematic Revolution
  • Woodstock: A Turning Point
  • Woodstock: A Farm in Bethel

3. Cultural references

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 a recent film debuting prior to release of The Omega Man, and had been held over continuously run in some theaters for months. 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.


4. Bibliography

  • Kato, M. T. 2007. From Kung Fu to Hip Hop: Globalization, Revolution, and Popular Culture. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-6991-3. Cf. pp.82-onward & various.
  • Bell, Dale, ed. 1999. Woodstock An Inside Look at the Movie that Shook Up the World and Defined a Generation. Studio City: Michael Wiese Productions. ISBN 0-941188-71-X.
  • Saunders, Dave 2007. Direct Cinema: Observational Documentary and the Politics of the Sixties. London: Wallflower Press. ISBN 1-905674-16-3.

  • The Woodstock Film Festival is an American film festival that was launched in 2000 by filmmakers Meira Blaustein and Laurent Rejto with the goal to bring
  • farm Woodstock was a music festival held August 15 18, 1969, on Max Yasgur s dairy farm in Bethel, New York, 40 miles 65 km southwest of Woodstock Billed
  • Woodstock was a 1969 music festival in Bethel, New York, U.S. Woodstock may also refer to: Woodstock New South Wales Woodstock Queensland Woodstock
  • Woodstock is a city in and the county seat of McHenry County, Illinois, United States, located 51 miles 82 km northwest of Chicago. The population was
  • Woodstock Revisited is a film by David McDonald that tells the story of how the countercultural movement associated most closely with The Woodstock Festival
  • Rome Rome Woodstock 99 also called Woodstock 1999 held July 22 25, 1999, was the second large - scale music festival after Woodstock 94 that attempted
  • Saugerties Saugerties Woodstock 94 was an American music festival held in 1994 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival of 1969
  • Woodstock is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 5, 884 at the 2010 census, down from 6, 241 at the 2000 census. Woodstock
  • Woodstock is the shire town county seat of Windsor County, Vermont. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 3, 048. It includes the villages of
  • material such as a Blu - ray copy of the director s cut of the Woodstock documentary film a hardcover book written by concert promoter Michael Lang, and