Taking Woodstock


Taking Woodstock

Critics 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.



Reviews Counted: 182

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 252,438


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3/5

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Taking Woodstock Photos

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.

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Henry Goodman
as Jake Teichberg
Demetri Martin
as Elliot Teichberg
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
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
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
Dan Knobler
as Guitar Player
Jon Seale
as Congo Player
David Wilson Barnes
as News Reporter
James Hanlon
as State Trooper
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
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 (182) | Top Critics (53)

  • Some will call his Woodstock naive, but that's what he intends: the movie is a sweet, anecdotal, comic embrace, a gentle reminder that it was once possible to overcome the cynicism of the times and believe that "the flow" leads in a benign direction.

    Feb 6, 2018

    David Ansen

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

    Nov 13, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Too much of Taking Woodstock seems barely sketched out.

    Aug 28, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 28, 2009
  • 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.

    Aug 28, 2009 | Rating: 3/4
  • 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.

    Aug 28, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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


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
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

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