Woodstock serves as an important documentary as well as concert film. It tells the story of a festival that starts quite small with an estimated number of 50,000 visitors per day, a wooden stage, little security and almost no parking spots. But the festival is soon overrun by a huge crowd of peace-loving youth who come to party, listen to music and get stoned.
What makes this film so special is the blend of great music with scenes of people from the crowd. One sees people bathing, eating and sleeping. Little children are running around, teenagers are far from their homes and adults are enjoying the simple things of life as if they were children again.
At the Academy Awards in 1971 the movie received an Oscar for best documentary. It was also nominated for best film editing and best sound. In 1996 the movie was introduced to the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Of course, there was much more material recorded than shown in the movie. Unedited material is probably still kept under lock and key. Some black/white videos (i.e. Richie Havens, Sweetwater, The Incredible String Band) and short, incomplete cuts of performances (i.e. The Grateful Dead) are making the rounds under collectors.
The bigger part of outtakes was officially released and are a nice companion to the Woodstock movie. These are:
The original version was 184 minutes in length. It was premiered in the U.S. cinemas on March 26th 1970. During the summer of 1970 the film was released in European countries and Japan.
Director's Cut (25th Anniversary version)
In July / August 1994 the director's cut version was released. It extended the running length to 228 minutes (more than 3 ¾ hours!) and added the following performances:
- Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young): "Find the Cost of Freedom" (no video of stage performance)
- Jefferson Airplane: "Won't You Try / Saturday Afternoon" and "Uncle Sam's Blues"
- Janis Joplin: "Work Me, Lord"
- Jimi Hendrix: "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and "Woodstock Improvisation"
- Canned Heat: "Leavin' This Town"
Ultimate Collector's Edition (40th Anniversary version)
The movie itself was not extended but upgraded to today's standards. This means high definition video with better picture and audio quality (many costumers complained about the bad picture quality of the Director's Cut DVD edition). It was released on June 9, 2009 in North America and a few days later in Europe.
There's plenty of bonus material included:
- 24 additional performances
- Joan Baez: "I Live One Day at a Time"
- Country Joe McDonald: "Flying High"
- Country Joe & The Fish: "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine"
- Santana: "Evil Ways"
- Canned Heat: "I'm Her Man", "Woodstock Boogie" and "On the Road Again"
- Mountain: "Beside the Sea" and "Southbound Train"
- The Grateful Dead: "Turn On Your Lovelight" and "Mama Tried"
- Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Born on the Bayou", "I Put a Spell on You" and "Keep on Chooglin'"
- The Who: "We're Not Gonna Take It", "Sparks" and "My Generation"
- Jefferson Airplane: "3/5 of a Mile In 10 Seconds" and "Volunteers"
- Joe Cocker: "Something's Coming On"
- Johnny Winter: "Mean Town Blues"
- Paul Butterfield Blues Band: "Morning Sunrise"
- Sha Na Na: "Teen Angel"
- Jimi Hendrix: "Spanish Castle Magic"
- A documentary: "The Museum at Bethel Woods: The Story of the Sixties & Woodstock"
- Interviews with Michael Wadleigh (director of the original movie), Hugh Hefner, Eddie Kramer (sound engineer of Woodstock as well as Jimi Hendrix) and others
Artists by Appearance
This is the running order of the Woodstock movie Director's Cut:
|1.||"Long Time Gone" (no video of stage performance)||Crosby, Stills & Nash|
|2.||"Going Up the Country" (no video of stage performance)||Canned Heat|
|3.||"Wooden Ships" (no video of stage performance)||Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young|
|4.||"Handsome Johnny"||Richie Havens|
|6.||"A Change Is Gonna Come" (director's cut only)||Canned Heat|
|7.||"Joe Hill"||Joan Baez|
|8.||"Swing Low Sweet Chariot"||Joan Baez|
|9.||"We're Not Gonna Take It > See Me, Feel Me"||The Who|
|10.||"Summertime Blues"||The Who|
|11.||"At the Hop"||Sha Na Na|
|12.||"With a Little Help from My Friends"||Joe Cocker|
|13.||"crowd rain chant" (the audience tries to "stop" the rain)||audience|
|14.||"Rock and Soul Music"||Country Joe & The Fish|
|15.||"Coming Into Los Angeles"||Arlo Guthrie|
|16.||"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"||Crosby, Stills & Nash|
|17.||"I'm Going Home"||Ten Years After|
|18.||"Saturday Afternoon / Won't You Try" (director's cut only)||Jefferson Airplane|
|19.||"Uncle Sam's Blues" (director's cut only)||Jefferson Airplane|
|20.||"Younger Generation"||John B. Sebastian|
|21.||""Fish" Cheer > I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag"||Country Joe McDonald|
|23.||"Dance To The Music > I Want To Take You Higher"||Sly & The Family Stone|
|24.||"Work Me, Lord" (director's cut only)||Janis Joplin|
|25.||"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (director's cut only)||Jimi Hendrix|
|26.||"Star Spangled Banner"||Jimi Hendrix|
|27.||"Purple Haze"||Jimi Hendrix|
|28.||"Woodstock Improvisation" (director's cut only)||Jimi Hendrix|
|29.||"Villanova Junction"||Jimi Hendrix|
|30.||"Woodstock > Find the Cost of Freedom" (director's cut only, no video of stage performance)||Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young)|
The song "Woodstock" was recorded in the studio by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It was written by Joni Mitchell who didn't perform at Woodstock. "Long Time Gone" by Crosby, Stills & Nash at the beginning of the movie is the studio version from their first LP.