The Last Waltz


On Thanksgiving Day, 1976, The Band threw their goodbye concert/Thanksgiving celebration at San Francisco’s famed Winterland and invited a few of their friends – including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, and a whole lot more – to play along. And, of course, Martin Scorsese filmed it all, producing one of the best, most gloriously cinematic rock concert films ever made.
The legendary Last Waltz concert featuring The Band was a true milestone in rock and roll history – at once a show featuring some of the greatest rock performers of their generation and a bittersweet look back at a musical era that was just beginning to fade. As the brilliant young Scorsese (hot off the heels of his cinematic Molotov cocktail Taxi Driver) guides the group through intimate, revealing interviews discussing their 15 years together, these relatively young men (including the charismatic Robbie Robertson and the blazingly talented Levon Helm) sound like battle-weary survivors. But The Band were in top form for this show, and their all-star musical guests pulled out all the stops, especially Muddy Waters, whose “Mannish Boy” is so powerful that critics commented it nearly burned a hole in the screen; Van Morrison, with a rousing performance of “Caravan;” and Bob Dylan, whose “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” displays all the brilliant cockiness of his barnstorming days with this band. The stellar camera crew and superb stereo sound mix create what is considered to be one of the best-looking and sounding rock films ever … as the opening credit says, “Play This Movie Loud!” (Dir. by Martin Scorsese, 1978, USA, 117 mins., Rated PG) Digital