Woodstock – The Movie

As if you don’t already know, Woodstock is a 1970 documentary on the Woodstock Musci Festival that took place in August 1969 at the town of Bethel, New York. Of course if you are under 40 you might not be aware of the movie.

The couple from the movie

Peace and Love... in the mud!

But if you were a Baby Boomer in the 60’s then it was probably a big part of your memories of the era. Next to actually being there, the movie is the closest you can get to experiencing what Woodstock was actually like.

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. It received the Academy Award for Documentary Feature, as well as a nomination for Best Sound.

The film was also screened at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, but wasn’t entered into the main competition.

The Official Director’s Cut, expanded with new scenes and 41 minutes longer than the original, was released in 1994.

There is also a solo DVD release of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock and VH1 Classic occasionally airs the Director’s Cut version of the documentary.

An expanded edition of Woodstock, the movie, 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 Credence Clearwater Revival and others.

Rolling Stone gave this new video 5 Stars and had this to say of the new version…

“It’s not just the sight of 400,000 freaks in one field that makes this 1970 Oscar-winning doc so far-out. Mirroring the festival’s communal sprawl, Michael Wadleigh’s 224 minute director’s cut flows like a monumental rock symphony: If Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin don’t blow your mind, the spilt-screen cinematography and acid-intense colors of the new edition will.”

The 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors Edition

» Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace And Music (Director’s Cut 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

On June 9th, 2009 a remastered 40th Anniversary edition was released on both Blu-Ray and DVD.

The 40th Anniversary edition is available as both a 2 disc “Special Edition” and a 3 disc “Ultimate Collector’s Edition”. The film was newly remastered and provided a new 5.1 audio mix. Two extra hours of rare performance footage, features 18 new performances as 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.

A third hour of bonus material appears on the 3 disc “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” including a featurette gallery showcasing interviews with Martin Scorsese, producer Michael Lang, director Michael Wadleigh, Hugh Hefner, Eddie Kramer (the concert’s original chief on-site engineer and producer-engineer for Jimi Hendrix) and others who chronicle the making of the festival and the film.

Included are such segments as 3 Days in a Truck, No Rain! No Rain! and Living Up To Idealism.

Additionally, exclusive to the Blu-ray format, a Customize Your Own Woodstock Playlist from the 18 bonus performances and other special features like Media Center, My WB Commentary and Live Community Screening.

The “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is packaged in a hippie-fringed giftbox (see above), numbered as part of a limited run with an array of collectibles that include:

Click on picture for larger view

Click on picture for larger view

  • A 60+ page reprint of a Life magazine commemorative issue
  • A lucite lenticular display of vintage festival photos
  • Festival memorabilia and an iron-on patch with the classic dove and guitar Woodstock emblem
  • Replicas of notes sent to the stage and read by Chip Monk the M.C.
  • Robert Klein’s documentary The ’60s and the Woodstock Generation will be among the extra features.

The previous DVD edition was released in 1997, with reviewers on Amazon complaining of its VHS-like quality.

I’ve been going through all the DVDs and looking at the bonus material and I’ve got to admit it’s really cool. There are some amazing “behind the scenes” stories that I had never heard and just listening to Director Michael Wadleigh’s interview on the bonus disc is super interesting. I’ll be highlighting my impressions of all that’s included in the blog so check that out here.

What’s On The Special Ultimate Collectors Edition

Disc One

  • Film (Director’s Cut), Part 1 (128:38 min)
  • The Museum at BethelWoods: The Story of the Sixties & Woodstock

Disc Two

  • Film (Director’s Cut), Part 2 (95:34 min)

Disc three (“Ultimate Collector’s Edition” only)

  • Woodstock: Untold Stories 18 Performances as never before seen
  • Joan Baez “One Day at a Time”
  • Country Joe McDonald “Flying High”
  • Santana “Evil Ways”
  • Canned Heat “I’m Her Man” and “On the Road Again”
  • Mountain “Beside the Sea” and “Southbound Train”
  • Grateful Dead “Turn On Your Love Light”
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival “Born on the Bayou”, “I’ve Put a Spell on You” and “Keep on Chooglin'”
  • The Who “We’re Not Going To Take It” and “My Generation”
  • Jefferson Airplane “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds”
  • Joe Cocker “Something’s Coming On”
  • Johnny Winter “Mean Town Blues”
  • Paul Butterfield “Morning Sunrise”
  • Sha Na Na “Teen Angel”
  • Woodstock: From Festival to Feature Interviews of the sights and sounds of the 3 day event, from concert goers, promoters, crew and musicians

Amazon.com and Target both provide additional material exclusive to their respective editions.

Amazon exclusives:

  • Grateful Dead – Mama Tried
  • Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers
  • Country Joe and the Fish – Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
  • “Technical Difficulties”, the obstacles to a smoothly run festival posed by nature and technology.
  • “Woodstock: A Turning Point”, When organizers realized a concert became a statement about peace.
  • “Food, Lodging, and First Aid”, Making adequate provisions for a musical multitude.

Target exclusives:

  • Jimi Hendrix – Spanish Castle Magic
  • The Who – Sparks
  • Canned Heat – Woodstock Boogie
  • Reflections of an Era: Director Michael Wadleigh on Two Signature 1969 Events – Woodstock and the Moon Landing
  • A Farm in Bethel: Reflections on Landholder Max Yasgur’s Legacy
  • Cinematic Revolution: The Origins of the Film’s 3-Panel Look
  • Woodstock Generation: Sons and Daughters of the 1960s Share Their Memories