Taking Woodstock (2009)



Critic Consensus: Featuring numerous 60s-era clichés, but little of the musical magic that highlighted the famous festival, Taking Woodstock is a breezy but underwhelming portrayal.

Movie Info

It's 1969, and Elliot Tiber, a down-on-his-luck interior designer in Greenwich Village, New York, has to move back upstate to help his parents run their dilapidated Catskills motel, The El Monaco. The bank's about to foreclose; his father wants to burn the place down, but hasn't paid the insurance; and Elliot is still figuring how to come out to his parents. When Elliot hears that a neighboring town has pulled the permit on a hippie music festival, he calls the producers, thinking he could drum … More

Rating: R (for graphic nudity, some sexual content, drug use and language)
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: James Schamus
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 15, 2009
Box Office: $7.4M
Focus Features - Official Site


as Jake Teichberg

as Elliot Teichberg

as Michael Lang

as Max Yasgur

as Sonia Teichberg

as Jackson Spiers

as Jackson Spiers

as Margaret

as Artie Kornfeld

as John Roberts

as Joel Rosenman

as Hippie Girl

as John Morris

as Chip Monck

as Steve Cohen

as Wes Pomeroy

as Reverend Don

as Woodstock Ventures P...

as Charlie

as VW Guy

as VW Girl

as Interviewer

as British Gentleman

as George the Doorman

as Town Clerk

as Inspector

as Inspector

as Assistant

as Hippie in Line

as Young Woman

as Journalist

as Journalist

as Young Man #1

as Young Guy at Phone

as Young Girl at Phone

as Guitar Player

as Congo Player

as News Reporter

as State Trooper

as Bra Burner

as Bra Burner

as St. Paul Lady

as Worker

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Earthlight Player

as Angry Dinner Patron

as Angry Dinner Patron

as Angry Dinner Patron

as Hairy Pretzel

as Hairy Pretzel

as Hairy Pretzel

as Hairy Pretzel
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Taking Woodstock

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Critic Reviews for Taking Woodstock

All Critics (179) | Top Critics (48)

This may be a minor movie, but it displays the hallmarks of a major talent.

Full Review… | November 13, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

At no point did I feel like I was at Woodstock and surely that was the whole point.

Full Review… | October 21, 2014

Some colorful character turns cannot make up for the charisma void at the center that is Martin.

Full Review… | January 25, 2014

Does a great job of recreating the time, place and people that came together to make something magical in the middle of the summer of 1969.

Full Review… | September 29, 2011
American Profile

A valentine to America.

Full Review… | August 29, 2011
East Bay Express

A ham-handed attempt to indicate the oncoming tragedy of Altamont ends the film with a touch of contrivance, but it's the only sour note in an otherwise flawless film.

Full Review… | February 1, 2011

Audience Reviews for Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock start interesting, but went the film begings to show the festival, Woodstock stay disagreeably sweet and presents a not so good screenplay, featuring some cliches. Don't focus really on the festival, showing just the making off. Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock is disappointing. Rotten.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock is based on the true story of Elliot Teichberg, one of the organizers of the Woodstock festival. Considering the legendary festival in music history, you'd expect something great right. The result is a good film that could have been done better. The film is entertaining with a good cast of varied talent and it's actually quite awesome to see such an iconic moment in music history come to life. This is a stunning look at what went behind the scenes about how Teichberg organized this incredible festival. I really loved the film, and though it's far from perfect, it's a must see movie for those who enjoy a fine comedy drama film that is based on real events. The story is good and the film has spirit and manages to overcome its imperfections by its good cast, its story and effective directing from Ang Lee. Lee manages to convey a good experience with this outing, and it is an entertaining drama that relies on a true story to captivate the viewer. At times though, the film does become a bit too preachy and tiresome. Luckily it does pick up in a few areas and there are plenty of good comedy bits with the drama and the film gives us a taste of what it was like during that time. Taking Woodstock is a film that could have been done better, but it nonetheless is a memorable comedic drama that relies on a good story and effective cast to overcome its shortcomings. Ang Lee, who I'm not too much of a fan, give the film soul and it ends up being a fun experience.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


I'm starting to lose count on the amount of times director Ang Lee has tackled a new genre. He's done martial arts; comic-book; thriller; romance; family drama; westerns and literary adaptation. Now? Well now, he's tackles the story of how the legendary music festival "Woodstock" came to be.
Elliot Teichberg (Demetri Martin) discovers that a music festival near his family's motel has lost its licence. Trying to save his parents' business, he calls Woodstock Ventures and offers to help them stage the gig at a farm in White Lake. What happens after that, has now went down in history as a legendary free-spirited musical weekend.
Anyone trying to craft a film worthy of the magic of Woodstock would have their work cut out for them, so wisely Ang Lee focuses on the outskirts of the infamous hippie festival of the 60's. Instead of focusing on the bands or what was happening on stage, we experience the effect this time had on the people off stage, through several characters - mainly Elliot and his right of passage. It's a light-hearted little film that is very slow to get going and definitely overlong. The talky first half is all about the organisation and chance encounter with promotors. This threatens to kill this whole film but when the festival gets underway, the second half is a lot stronger as the characters begin to loosen up. It sheds a bit of light on the effect this time and place had, but really there isn't a lot else happening. Maybe it would have been better had the focus been on stage. What I found most interesting was the depiction of Elliot when high on acid. Speaking from personal experience, it's the most realistic depiction of hallucinating I've seen on screen. It's not overdone but shows more the vibrancy of colours as they move and bleed into one another and the almost ocean like movement of a large crowd of people when dancing together. Wow, It took me back man.
You would think with this depicting a defining moment in the whole 60's 'movement', it would have something more than a very lesuirely pace. However, when the drugs and music start to flow, the film flows with them. Disappointing but it has it's moments.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

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