The Last Waltz

( 19 )

Overview

Martin Scorsese's documentary of the 1976 final performance of the legendary Sixties rock group The Band is at once a show featuring some of the greatest rock performers of their generation and a bittersweet look back at an era that was just beginning to fade. As Scorsese guides the group through interview segments discussing their 15 years together, these relatively young men sound like battle-weary survivors. But The Band were in splendid form for this show, and their multiple guest stars pulled out all the ...
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Blu-ray (Wide Screen / Subtitled)
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Overview

Martin Scorsese's documentary of the 1976 final performance of the legendary Sixties rock group The Band is at once a show featuring some of the greatest rock performers of their generation and a bittersweet look back at an era that was just beginning to fade. As Scorsese guides the group through interview segments discussing their 15 years together, these relatively young men sound like battle-weary survivors. But The Band were in splendid form for this show, and their multiple guest stars pulled out all the stops, especially Muddy Waters, whose "Mannish Boy" is so powerful it nearly burns a hole in the screen; Van Morrison, with a rousing performance of "Caravan;" and Bob Dylan, whose "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" displays the brilliant cockiness of his barnstorming days with this band. The all-star camera crew and superb stereo sound mix create what is considered to be of the best-looking and sounding rock films ever as the opening credit says, play this movie loud!, and two studio-shot sequences with Emmylou Harris and The Staple Singers stand on their own.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Seamless menu navigation; Director's commentary with Martin Scorsese; Revisiting The Last Waltz
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Greg Fagan
Whether you subscribe to notion that The Last Waltz really was the last waltz -- a matches-flaming final encore for the American rock of the ‘60s -- or a farewell concert overfreighted by some fans with cultural import, there's no escaping its sheer brilliance as a film. Restored and sonically enhanced for its 25th anniversary and DVD debut, The Last Waltz is a searing musical party with soaring ambitions that rarely disappoints. At the time, director Martin Scorsese was in the middle of filming New York, New York, the much-anticipated follow-up to his one-two punch of Taxi Driver and Mean Streets. This groundbreaking concert film-cum-documentary afforded Scorsese -- who had served as an editor on Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock -- another chance to apply his craft to nonfiction; and together with Band frontman Robbie Robertson he crafted a film of mythic proportions. The premise was simple: The Band -- roots rockers long before roots rock became a Grammy-graced movement see Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and its concert spinoff, Down from the Mountain -- paid homage to significant influences and invited like-minded friends to join in. One by one, the group is joined by Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, and Neil Young. A satisfying, earthy vibe simmers throughout the evening, and the re-recorded sound makes everything percolate -- it's like comparing Mr. Coffee to Starbucks. The Last Waltz Special Edition is a wonderland of special features, including previously unseen jam footage, audio commentary with Scorsese and Robertson, and a new featurette, "Revisiting The Last Waltz." It’s one of the year's best DVDs, and we're especially glad MGM pulled this one out of the time capsule and dusted it off.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Scorsese begins his movie with the last song the Band performed that day because he is establishing that the subject of The Last Waltz is not primarily the Band or its members, but the songs themselves. By giving the emotional payoff for the players right at the top of the film, Scorsese allows the audience to concentrate on the music that fills the rest of the film. Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson each have memorable moments in front of the camera during Scorsese's informal interviews, but what emerges is less a document of a band breaking up than a tribute to the glorious music these men are capable of playing. The key to the film can be found in a short moment about 45 minutes into the film -- a backstage performance by Manuel (harmonica), Danko (fiddle and vocal), and Robertson (guitar and vocal) of the standard "Old Time Religion." As Danko and Robertson's voices intertwine, the guitar keeps the rhythm, and the fiddle makes a glorious sound. Yes, the Band certainly investigated American roots music like "Old Time Religion," but in this context the song takes on a broader meaning -- the religion is music. In this intimate performance Scorsese's camera illustrates both the passion the performers have for their religion, as well as the emotion the director himself has for it. The rest of the film's performances are dedicated to the Band performing for others, but this moment gives the audience a glimpse of these talented men in the equivalent of prayer. Scorsese's restless camera is a good match for the music. The Band often traded lead vocal duties within songs. Note how the camera movement during "The Weight" is both kinetic and precise, finding Mavis Staples, Rick Danko, and Pops Staples just as they begin their respective verses. An impressive marriage of visuals and sound, The Last Waltz is a glorious document of our recent musical past.
Village Voice
[Gathers] so much talent into one theater that the stage buckles and the subject drops out of sight.
Washington Post - Richard Harrington
Still sounds powerful, vibrant, imaginative and adventurous.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
A revealing document of a time.

[Gathers] so much talent into one theater that the stage buckles and the subject drops out of sight.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/25/2006
  • UPC: 027616150240
  • Original Release: 1978
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Searchlight
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:57:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 11,766

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bob Dylan Himself
Joni Mitchell Herself
Neil Diamond Himself
Emmylou Harris Herself
Van Morrison Himself
Eric Clapton Himself
Ringo Starr Himself
Neil Young Himself
Ron Wood Himself
Muddy Waters Himself
The Staple Singers Themselves
Dr. John Himself
Ronnie Hawkins Himself
Paul Butterfield Himself
The Band Themselves
Rick Danko
Levon Helm
Garth Hudson
Richard Manuel
Robbie Robertson
Roebuck "Pops" Staples Himself
Technical Credits
Martin Scorsese Director
Bobby Byrne Cinematographer
Michael Chapman Cinematographer
Jerry Grandey Asst. Director
Laszlo Kovacs Cinematographer
Boris Leven Production Designer
Frank Marshall Producer
Steve Maslow Sound/Sound Designer
Anthony Mondello Set Decoration/Design
David Myers Cinematographer
Hiro Narita Cinematographer
Steven Prince Associate Producer
James Quinn Asst. Director
Robbie Robertson Producer
Jonathan Taplin Executive Producer
John Toll Camera Operator
Michael W. Watkins Cinematographer
Vilmos Zsigmond Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Old Time Rock 'n Roll

    An excellent trip back in time to classic rock 'n roll. The farewell concert by ''The Band'' in 1976 is a house-shaking, roof-raising rock 'n roll revival. Before the glitz and glitter of slick made-for-MTV pre-packaged pop, this concert is pure, raw, unadultered rock, the way it was meant to be! Many rock legends jammed with The Band in this movie/concert - Dylan, Clapton, Young, Diamond, in their youth, if not their prime. If you grew up or listened to music in this era, this movie is a trip down memory lane. If you were wheened on MTV and VH-1, then take a glimpse into the roots and history of rock 'n roll. You will be moved by the music!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of the Great filmed concerts

    There are only a few filmed concerts that can be rightly called great. This is one of those films. If you love Rock N Roll you ought to own this one.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Did you grow up in the 60's and 70's?

    The Band wrote some of the great songs of that time, and the rest of the cast of performers..... Magnificent. At the beginning of the film they tell you it should be played LOUD. So true. Enjoy the Show!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great DVD Extras

    Those wanting to see THE LAST WALTZ can't go wrong watching the DVD. There are two commentary tracks. One features Martin Scorcese and Robbie Robertson (not together, but one or the other, throughout) and the other features various participants. The effect of the second one is almost that of a Ken Burns narrative, with different voices in succession. Some of the great rock critics comment as well. Altogether, this is a well-restored movie, with great sound. The stories told in the commentaries are fascinating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best of the Best

    After getting cable channels and a Moxi recording box, I saw this and kept it on my box to watch almost every night. Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell, the greatest! I had to change out my box and now have to buy the DVD, but the price is minor compared to the content! Robbie Robertson a genius! Van Morrison, best male vocals ever! Joni Mitchell, what can you say, she has been the best for more than 4 decades! Evangaline, the sweetest cajun song ever. Something for every boomer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Wonderful Band A Wonderful DVD and CD

    Own and love it. Was never really aware of the group. Hopefully more of the present generation will become aware. Great classic rock.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    RENTED IT FIRST AND WILL OWN IT NOW!!!

    Rented this film tribute to the Band from Netflix and was so impressed we are buying the video here at Barnes and Noble. If you like a variety of rock n roll then you must get this. Extremly entertaining, you won't be disappointed. Too many great artist pay tribute to the Band and the Band itself is just super.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The last Waltz

    Just recently I viewed the last waltz. After viewing this tenthralling documentary, the dulcet tones resonate through my sole to this very day. If you have any appreciation for music, this film is an integral part of yuor musical library. Filled with cameo appearences of the greatest contemporary musicians, the nastalgic musical arrangments nearly bring tears to my eyes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    this reminds me of why I love music the way I do

    The last waltz is about a group of guys who's main LOVE is their MUSIC. THEY make you laugh and cry and remember a time when LIFE was much simpler. I cant wait to get THE other 3 albums about this great group. They play agreat mix of classic rock,soul,jazz,soft country& make the mix GREAT

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This Film Should Be Played Loud! The Best Rock Movie Ever

    The world's greatest director, Martin Scorsese, takes on the Band and some of the best musical artists ever, how could it be bad? That's right, it can't! This is perfection for rock movies and some of the most enjoyable performances ever. A wonderful film that all music lovers should see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Simple, Raucous and Elegant

    ''The Last Waltz'' is not so much a retrospective as it is a musical link between the roots of American blues and the future of rock and roll. Alone, The Band was an awesome combination of talent and guts-the guts to mold the music as they heard it into a new form. When you combine the dazzling array of performers, all of whom have links with The Band, the result is music and history. It's easy to forget that such great music is a true craft honed on the road. (Imagine Brittany Spears and/or any boy band/''American Idol'' being ''on the road'' for 8 years before their first album, and 8 years thereafter. You can't and neither can I!) It is truly a joy to listen to Robbie Roberson's reason for joining the band (actually Ronnie Hawkins' and not repeatable here) as well as the others'--all showing a love of making music. It comes across loud and clear in the movie. If you have any notion that ''the good old days'' weren't what they were cracked up to be, watch the Movie and disabuse yourself. 100 years from now, The Last Waltz will be shown at what's left of the Smithsonian-the movie is (ironically) an American treasure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

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    Posted July 24, 2010

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    Posted January 21, 2011

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    Posted August 8, 2010

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    Posted November 8, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2010

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