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The Last Waltz (1978)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 1

Among one of, if not the best rock movie ever made, The Last Waltz is a revealing, electrifying view of the classic band at their height.

92

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 1

Among one of, if not the best rock movie ever made, The Last Waltz is a revealing, electrifying view of the classic band at their height.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 13,217

My Rating

Movie Info

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

May 7, 2002

MGM

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (1) | DVD (22)

It's arguably the most beautiful of rock movies, while the musical highlights - 'The Weight' with the Staples Singers, Van Morrison's firebolt 'Caravan', every Levon Helm vocal - still astound.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is a dazzling array of talent on display here, and the film surely has its memorable moments. But it articulates so little of the end-of-an-era feeling it hints at.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (3)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The greatest rock concert movie ever made -- and maybe the best rock movie, period.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Last Waltz is our best insight to a moment when the giants of the previous decade raged against time, in the shadow of an age that changed them all inalterably.

June 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is one of the great movie experiences.

April 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Seeing The Last Waltz again after many years is like revisiting an old passion and realizing the heat is still there.

April 21, 2002 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It might be the best concert film of all time.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This 1978 labour of love, one of the most immaculately filmed rock concerts, preserves for posterity the final appearance of the Band, the great group led by Robbie Robertson that had been on the road (often with Bob Dylan) for 16 years.

December 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

A heady time capsule.

December 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

An essential document of American music at its unbeatable best.

April 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The filmmaking is superbly controlled yet spontaneously alive.

May 8, 2010 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

With all the powder that's said to have been tooted at the Band's 1976 "farewell" show, filmed by Martin Scorsese in his goodfella-against-the-helicopters period, you could make a line from Oak Street Cinema all the way to the mayor's office.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Overlong but enjoyable documentary...

March 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The rock documentary by which all others are measured

April 16, 2004
Lawrence Journal-World

For all the superstars who appear on stage in this landmark rock-umentary, it is the offstage interviews that really star. The camera is a fly on the wall.... Each time we return to the stage after hearing what The Band members have to say, Scorsese wants t

January 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

A brilliant DVD does justice to the greatest rock-and-roll film of all time.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

Scorsese actually scripted and storyboarded the film... Remarkably, the performances show no signs of being reined in or rehearsed. In fact, as Scorsese's cameras swirl around the musicians, all we see is joy and high spirits.

July 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Martin Scorsese's giddiest, most euphoric film.

June 5, 2002
Philadelphia Weekly

This classic is one of the most well realized and musically satisfying rock movies ever made.

May 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

...Exposes the spuriousness of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous once and for all.

May 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The result is one of the best concert films in rock music history.

May 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

...no mere loud rock concert. It's a work of art. ...a celebration rather than a farewell, and Scorsese's direction always puts the music first.

April 29, 2002
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for The Last Waltz

Just saw this on the big screen for the first time in 2013. What an amazing lot of talent on one stage at one time. I saw it as a series at a local art house and there was a film professor from Local U pontificating before the film about how this movie made him hate Martin Scorsese--said he was a big egomaniac--so I was interested to see what that was all about and all I can say is I'm glad I didn't become a film major if all film profs are such jackasses. Scorsese was basically invisible--he was just the guy the Band members were talking to, in fact he seemed a little nervous--the cinematography was beautiful and the music was out of this world. I had never heard Joni Mitchell sing Coyote. Wow. It was a real story, too, about why the band was breaking up after 16 years on the road. Probably the best documentary about a band I've seen.
April 16, 2013
Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

Thursday November 25th, 1976: Thanksgiving Day. On that night, one of the most momentous events in music history took place. For on that night, The Band decided to call it a day as a group and have a farewell concert at the Winterland in San Francisco to mark the occasion. They brought along with them some of their friends, influences, and collaborators. Martin Scorsese was brought along to document the occasion. This film, released two years later is the result.

Well, not to diminish the impact, but it's only part of the result. All in all, the full uncut concert was five hours long. Man, I'd kill to see all of it. Too bad I'll probably never get the chance. Anyway, let's get on with it shall we. The guests musicians who all show up for varying lengths to jam include, among others: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton. Even poets like Michael McClure and Lawrence Ferlinghetti show up to perform. I think it's pretty fair and obvious to say that obviously Robbie and Co. were familiar with the phrase "if you're gonna go out, go out with a bang".

Not only is this an epic and brilliant concert, it's just a wonderful celebration of an interesting period of music during an even more interesting time for both music and society. The mid 70s were a curious time, and this film really helps capture the essence. All of these people onstage love msuic, but you can just tell they're all weary and burnt out, and in need of revitilization. If you only jsut listen to this great music, you can't tell it, but seeing it being performed, you can just tell that there's a lot of pain, frustration, and bitterness going on.Interspersed between the footage are typical interview/documentary type footage with help provide further insight into the msuic, the people, and the times, and it too, like the stage stuff, though great, is very bittersweet.

You'd think that because I am a huge fan of Scorsese, a fan of 60s and 70s rock music (thus a fan of most people that are featured here), and have both a scholarly and general interest in the 70s that I probably would have already seen this movie lke 100 times by now. Surprisingly no. For whatever reason, I didn't get around to this until now. Obviously I'm happy I finally did it, but still, I can't help but feel like I'm less complete for having waited so long.

Don't be like me and make that mistake. Go out and see this film as soon as you can. It's got great music, is fascinating to watch, and is shot and directed superbly. It easily earns all the acclaim it gets about being one of (if not the) finest concert film ever made.
December 9, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A great document of a great band.
October 28, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Martin Scorsese directs this part interview, part live show with members of ?The Band? on their last gig together after 18 years on the road.

An impressive musical line up offers performances from Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Van Morrison etc etc.

For those who enjoy this era of music and the atmosphere of live singers who are some of the best musicians of our time, this footage really is a treat to see. The quality of performances are exceptional and I?ve no doubt that this will be one to play over and over.
November 23, 2010
76Majikat

Super Reviewer

    1. Neil Diamond: You'll have a tough time following that.
    2. Bob Dylan: What do I have to do, fall asleep?
    – Submitted by Jake R (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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