Wattstax (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wattstax (2000)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The climactic concert of the seventh annual Watts Summer Festival, commemorating the 1965 riots, and featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Luther Ingram, Richard Pryor, and many more.more
Rating: R
Genre: Documentary, Musical & Performing Arts, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 7, 2004
Columbia Pictures

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News & Interviews for Wattstax

Critic Reviews for Wattstax

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (12)

The restored rerelease is a time capsule of Afros, anger and attitude.

Full Review… | September 5, 2003
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

A time when not only a single record company could put together a day like this, but could then give every dollar made to charity.

Full Review… | June 13, 2003
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

It just has the air of something too carefully laid out in advance. It's so busy being glossy and optimistic that it doesn't even allow its performers time to create on screen a measure of the excitement they might have created in person.

Full Review… | June 7, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A candid, colorful and deeply meaningful sociocultural time capsule.

June 6, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

A recording of a historic moment, Wattstax has considerable value.

June 6, 2003
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A disorienting and ironic moviegoing experience.

Full Review… | June 6, 2003
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Wattstax

Released in 1973,the classic documentary masterpiece was the Woodstock of Stax.
Directed by Mel Stuart(of Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)this was a grand event which the climatic concert of the seventh annual Watts Summer Festival that was held at the Los Angeles Coliseum before an estimated crowd of 70,000 in the summer of 1972. This was also commemorating the 1965 Watts riots that engulf South Central Los Angeles.

If you want to experience the Memphis sound that was Stax Records then you're in for a treat. Especially for those who saw this masterpiece concert film when it was in theatres in 1973. You have some of the biggest stars from Stax to perform on one awesome incredible show.
You have some of the biggest stars ever former Motown great Kim Weston(who sings the black national anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing")to some of the great performers ever to come out of Stax Records... You have on one incredible show "The Emotions","The Staple Singers", "The Soul Children", "The Dramatics", "Johnnie Taylor", "Carla Thomas", "The Bar-Kays", "Luther Ingram",and featuring acts from Rufus Thomas(doing the Funky Chicken in front huge crowd of folks),and the incredible Issac Hayes(in gold chains attire singing some of his greatest hits). Also onboard this too was some of the social commentary of the times with everyday people talking about the struggles of the streets not to mention seeing the Rev. Jesse Jackson at his prime,and the classic comedy stylings of the legendary Richard Pryor. A Must See for those who love classic black cinema.

Mister Caple

Super Reviewer


This is some of the best footage you'll ever see of Rufus Thomas doing the Chicken Strut in a hot pink leisure suit. f'in amazing performances by some of the most influential soul artists of the early 70s. And hilarious yet pithy dialog and narration by Richard Pryor gives the documentary the proper historical context it deserves.

Ping Chu

Super Reviewer

i bought this at the stax museum as a souvenir. not the greatest concert movie ever but an amazing time capsule centered around the "stax woodstock" in 1972. the visuals are amazing. jesse jackson in a dashiki. rufus thomas in a pink leisure suit (shorts not pants). isaac hayes in a vest of gold chains. the bar-kays' white afro guy. also, if you ever listened to public enemy, you'll know know the source for a TON of samples they appropriated. check it out.

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