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Last Waltz, The (1978)

Original Title : The Last Waltz
Director : Martin Scorsese
Genre : Documentary
Music
Country : USA
Language : English
Photography : Michael Chapman
IMDB ID : 0077838
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poster for "Last Waltz, The" by Martin Scorsese (1978)
Last Waltz, The (1978) - Martin Scorsese
 

Starring

Rick Danko Himself (Bass, Violin & Vocal)
Levon Helm Himself (Drums, Mandolin & Vocal)
Garth Hudson Himself (Organ, Accordion, Saxophone & Synthesizers)
Richard Manuel Himself (Piano, Keyboards, Drums & Vocal)
Robbie Robertson Himself (Lead Guitar & Vocal)
The Band Themselves
Paul Butterfield Himself
Eric Clapton Himself
Neil Diamond Himself
Dr. John Himself
Bob Dylan Himself
Lawrence Ferlinghetti Himself (performer [poetry])
Emmylou Harris Herself
Ronnie Hawkins Himself
Howard Johnson Himself (leading horn section)
Michael McClure Himself (performer [poetry])
Joni Mitchell Herself
Van Morrison Himself
Pinetop Perkins Himself - Plays piano with Muddy Waters
Carl Radle Himself
Martin Scorsese Himself (interviewer)
Mavis Staples Herself
Roebuck 'Pops' Staples Himself
Ringo Starr Himself
Muddy Waters Himself
Ron Wood Himself
Neil Young Himself
 

Plot

Thanksgiving, 1976, San Francisco's Winterland: the Band performs its last concert after 16 years on the road. Some numbers they do alone, some songs include guest artists from Ronnie Hawkins (their first boss, when they were the Hawks) to Bob Dylan (their last, when as his backup and as a solo group, they came into their own). Scorsese's camera explores the interactions onstage in the making of music. Offstage, he interviews the Band's five members, focusing on the nature of life on the road. The friendships, the harmonies, the hijinks, and the wear and tear add up to a last waltz. Concert film of The Band's last concert, with a "few friends" and a full brass band showing up to help them out. Concert footage is interspersed with a few studio sessions (Emmylou Harris, The Staples) and candid interviews of Band members by a series of hopelessly-inarticulate reporters. Muddy Waters plays a full-grown, natural-born lover's man, Neil Young plays a helpless (and legless) dope fiend, Robbie Robertson plays a cocky upstart who challenges Eric Clapton for guitar bragging rights (no spoilers here - you'll have to watch to see who won).
 

Comments

You don't have to be a die-hard fan of The Band to appreciate this concert film. Martin Scorsese turns this farewell performance into a lasting tribute to one of the greatest bands of all time, and to many of their contemporaries as well. The guest performer list for this show reads like a veritable who's who of Rock and Roll history, with performances by Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, to name but a few. Even if you weren't born yet, or were too young to remember these artists in their heyday, this film will educate you as to what all the fuss was about. And believe me, the fuss was well deserved.