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.

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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 up some much-needed business for the motel. Three weeks later, half a million people are on their way to his neighbor's farm in White Lake, N.Y., and Elliot finds himself swept up in a generation-defining experience that would change his life, and American culture, forever. The film features a standout ensemble cast and songs from a score of '60s musical icons, including The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe and the Fish -- plus a new recording of "Freedom" from Richie Havens.
R (for graphic nudity, some sexual content, drug use and language)
Comedy , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Henry Goodman
as Jake Teichberg
Demetri Martin
as Elliot Teichberg
Dan Fogler
as Devon
Jonathan Groff
as Michael Lang
Eugene Levy
as Max Yasgur
Imelda Staunton
as Sonia Teichberg
Kevin Chamberlain
as Jackson Spiers
Kevin Chamberlin
as Jackson Spiers
Sondra James
as Margaret
Adam Pally
as Artie Kornfeld
Skylar Astin
as John Roberts
Daniel Eric Gold
as Joel Rosenman
Louisa Krause
as Hippie Girl
Spadaque Volcimus
as Hippie Guy
Michael Izquierdo
as John Morris
Will Janowitz
as Chip Monck
Jeremy Shamos
as Steve Cohen
Malachy Cleary
as Wes Pomeroy
Richard Thomas
as Reverend Don
Garrett Ross
as Woodstock Ventures PA
Patrick Cupo
as Charlie
Paul Dano
as VW Guy
Kelli Garner
as VW Girl
Kyle Plante
as Interviewer
Edward Hibbert
as British Gentleman
Takeo Lee Wong
as George the Doorman
Gail Martino
as Town Clerk
Bill Coelius
as Inspector
Nick Taylor
as Inspector
Sebastian Beacon
as Assistant
Kelly Klein
as Assistant
Andrew Katz
as Hippie in Line
Caitlin Fitzgerald
as Young Woman
Michael J. Burg
as Journalist
David Lavine
as Journalist
Michael Zegen
as Young Man #1
Harry Zittel
as Young Guy at Phone
Alyssa May Gold
as Young Girl at Phone
Gaston Jean-Baptiste
as Bongo Player
Dan Knobler
as Guitar Player
Jon Seale
as Congo Player
David Wilson Barnes
as News Reporter
James Hanlon
as State Trooper
Stefano Steven Da Fre
as Young Man #2
Don Puglisi
as Dealer
Kirsten Bach
as Bra Burner
Rachel Morral
as Bra Burner
Margorie Austrian
as St. Paul Lady
Lew Zucker
as Worker
Carmel Amit
as Earthlight Player
Zachary Booth
as Earthlight Player
Jennifer Merrill
as Earthlight Player
Ivan Sandomire
as Earthlight Player
Matthew Shear
as Earthlight Player
Darcy Bledsoe
as Earthlight Player
Halley Cianfarini
as Earthlight Player
Jesse Kile
as Earthlight Player
Ashley Middlebrook
as Earthlight Player
Bec Stupak
as Earthlight Player
Leonard Berdick
as Angry Dinner Patron
Sharon J. Giroux
as Angry Dinner Patron
William B. Ward Jr.
as Angry Dinner Patron
Angus Hamilton
as Hairy Pretzel
Christopher Meier
as Hairy Pretzel
Richard Phelan McGreal
as Hairy Pretzel
Casson Rugen
as Hairy Pretzel
Joseph Ulmer
as Hairy Pretzel
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News & Interviews for Taking Woodstock

Critic Reviews for Taking Woodstock

All Critics (179) | Top Critics (50)

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

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

Too much of Taking Woodstock seems barely sketched out.

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

It's harmless enough as a snapshot of a young man's awakening to the grand possibilities of adult life, but not particularly effective at capturing the spirit, the thrill or even the mud of this culturally monumental event.

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
Top Critic

This is very light material, and, unusually for a Lee picture, not everybody in the ensemble appears to be acting in the same universe, let alone the same story. On the other hand: It's fun.

August 28, 2009
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Taking Woodstock has the appeal of an inside story told from an especially good angle. But beyond that, the movie is a celebration of the way this event has gone into memory and of the meaning it has acquired.

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's great that Taking Woodstock doesn't trample on anything sacred, but it also never arrives anywhere interesting.

Full Review… | August 28, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Taking Woodstock

Lee's film manages to capture the groovy vibe of the famous festival, although it doesn't quite develop the protagonist very well and isn't that revealing about the magic of Woodstock itself. The result is enjoyable yet definitely underwhelming.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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