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Woodstock - 3 Days of Peace & Music Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Jeff Shannon

The three-day Woodstock music festival in 1969 was the pivotal event of the 1960s peace movement, and this landmark concert film is the definitive record of that milestone of rock & roll history. It's more than a chronicle of the hippie movement, however; this is a film of genuine historical and social importance, capturing the spirit of America in transition, when the Vietnam War was at its peak and antiwar protest was fully expressed through the liberating music of the time. With a brilliant crew at his disposal (including a young editor named Martin Scorsese), director Michael Wadleigh worked with over 300 hours of footage to create his original 225-minute director's cut, which was cut by 40 minutes for the film's release in 1970. Eight previously edited segments were restored in 1994, and the original director's cut of Woodstock is now the version most commonly available on videotape and DVD.

The film deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and it's still a stunning achievement. Abundant footage taken among the massive crowd ("half a million strong") expresses the human heart of the event, from skinny-dipping hippies to accidental overdoses, to unpredictable weather, midconcert childbirth, and the thoughtful (or just plain rambling) reflections of the festive participants. Then, of course, there is the music--a nonstop parade of rock & roll from the greatest performers of the period, including Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Canned Heat, The Who, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Ten Years After, Sly & The Family Stone, Santana, and many more. Watching this ambitious film, as the saying goes, is the next best thing to being there--it's a time-travel journey to that once-in-a-lifetime event.

Academy Awards

Woodstock - 3 Days of Peace & Music received an Academy Award for Documentary (Features; Bob Maurice - Producer). Woodstock - 3 Days of Peace & Music also received Academy Awards nominations for Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker) and Sound (Dan Wallin, Larry Johnson).

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Your Memories Shared!

"My husband to be tried to hitch hike to Woodstock but only made it as far as Georgia. He had hair to his waist and was NOT a big hit in Georgia. Not many rides going up "north". It is still a great story for himů He's a lawyer now, go figure!"

--prplhz

"Scorcese was not an editor, he was AD to Wadleigh and when Wadleigh was thrown off the picture by Warner Bros, Scorcese came in to recut it, screwing Wadleigh, who gave him his first break on a feature. [Editors' note: Hmmm... Sounds like he was an editor to me.] Scorcese then recut the Great Medicine Ball Caravan, took up with the daughter of Warner's Exec VP, which is how he got to make Mean Streets and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. [Editor's note: Well, thank goodness for that. Otherwise he'd never have made all those great Super70s movies.]"

--Beezeel (Still photographer on the film)

 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Michael Wadleigh

Stars: Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Roger Daltrey, Joe Cocker, Country Joe McDonald, Arlo Guthrie, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix

Released: March 26, 1970

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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