ByRicardo Du Toit, writer at
Aspirant filmmaker and pop-culture geek! Follow me on Twitter @RicardoDuToit
Ricardo Du Toit

Being a fan of rock-documentaries, my dad told me to watch what was probably the origin of the genre. Admittedly, watching a 4 hour movie is something that requires time, but with "nothing" to watch, figured that I had nothing but time!

In 1969 a group of four friends and businessmen, Michael Lang, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman and Artie Kornfeld, decided to create what would end up being the landmark festival of Woodstock. As the film starts, we see the crew already putting up the stage and hearing Michael Lang telling a reporter how long it took to set everything up.

Credit: Michael Lang/Henry Diltz
Credit: Michael Lang/Henry Diltz

We're greeted with the point of view of the inhabitants of White Lake, New York, who were concerned by not being able to handle the influx of visitants for the three-day festival. Plot twist: Due to the overwhelming number of festival goers, the festival was now free and they were calling their friends on payphones to get them to come too. Over the three days of peace and music, there were 500,000 people there, ten times more than expected.

Credit: Michael Lang/Henry Diltz
Credit: Michael Lang/Henry Diltz

Then the music starts and it's nothing short of amazing. With acts like Canned Heat, The Who, Janis Joplin and ending with the memorable act of Jimi Hendrix, cut with whatever was happening during it's downtime, where love, peace, companionship and a dabble of drugs and trips, edited ever so beautifully by seven editors, including Michael Wadleigh, Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker and the direction of Wadleigh himself.

It's hard to find something wrong with this classic film, even so that it's imperfections only make it more genuine. But it's definitely for the ones who can spare an afternoon to get into it, but in the day and age of binge watching, four hours is a walk in a park.


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