Woodstock

"The remarkable thing about Wadleigh's film is that it succeeds so completely in making us feel how it must have been to be there." - Roger Ebert

Part of our Rock in Cinema series

“There’s a transcendent moment near the beginning of Woodstock that has nothing to do with rock-concert footage. As Canned Heat’s serenely propulsive “Going Up the Country” floods the soundtrack, we see images of Max Yasgur’s upstate New York farm, a tide of hippies quietly gathering on the fields. The setting suggests an Eden about to be invaded. Then, as the song winds into its idyllic flute-and-guitar finale, the film cuts to something incongruously beautiful: shots of men and women, in looming silhouette, dancing wildly against an electric-blue twilight sky. For a moment, we catch the ’60s in all their deliquescent glory.

“Describing Woodstock as a concert movie is a little like calling Notre Dame a house of worship. In its scope and grandeur, its feel for the paradoxical nature of an event in which half a million middle-class bohemians created their own scruffy, surging community — a metropolis of mud — Woodstock remains the one true rock-concert spectacle.

“Director Michael Wadleigh sent his cameras everywhere, and the extraordinarily dynamic split-screen imagery fuses perspectives in a way that keeps your mind reacting right along with your senses.” - Entertainment Weekly
 

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