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The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter [VHS]

4.5 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman
  • Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin
  • Producers: Porter Bibb, Ronald Schneider
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • VHS Release Date: November 21, 2000
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004YZFQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,104 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

To cite Gimme Shelter as the greatest rock documentary ever filmed is to damn it with faint praise. This 1970 release benefits from a horrifying serendipity in the timing of the shoot, which brought filmmakers Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin aboard as the Rolling Stones' tumultuous 1969 American tour neared its end. By following the band to the Altamont Speedway near San Francisco for a fatally mismanaged free concert, the Maysles and Zwerin wound up shooting what's been accurately dubbed rock's equivalent to the Zapruder film. The cameras caught the ominous undercurrents of violence palpable even before the first chords were strummed, and were still rolling when a concertgoer was stabbed to death by the Hell's Angels that served as the festival's pool cue-wielding security force.

By the time Gimme Shelter reached theater screens, Altamont was a fixed symbol for the death of the 1960s' spirit of optimism. The Maysles and Zwerin used that knowledge to shape their film: their chronicle begins in the editing room as they cut footage of the Stones' Madison Square Garden performance of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and from there moves toward Altamont with a kind of dreadful grace. The songs become prophecies and laments for broken faith ("Wild Horses"), misplaced devotion ("Love in Vain"), and social collapse ("Street Fighting Man" and, of course, "Sympathy for the Devil"). Along the way, we glimpse the folly of the machinations behind the festival, the insularity of life on the concert trail, and the superstars' own shell-shocked loss of innocence.

Gimme Shelter looks into an abyss, partly self-created, from which the Rolling Stones would retreat--but unlike its subject, the filmmakers don't blink. --Sam Sutherland

Additional Features

The first 10,000 VHS copies of Gimme Shelter will include a 20-page booklet entitled The Rolling Stones, Altamont & "Gimme Shelter", which includes essays by Amy Taubin, Stanley Booth, Georgia Bergman, Michael Lydon, Sonny Barger, and Godfrey Cheshire.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 14, 2004
Format: DVD
Many people identify this as the greatest rock documentary ever made. I'm not sure it quite deserves that label (my vote would go for the older T.A.M.I. film, which has not yet been made available on DVD), but it is certainly the most interesting and frightening. Clearly it started off as a documentary of the Stones 1969 tour of the United States (which I believe was their first U.S. tour following the death of Brian Jones and his being replaced by Mick Taylor), but everything changed once Altamount happened. The death of Meredith Hunter at the hands of a member of the Hell's Angels, who had been employed to maintain security at the free concert the Stones gave in San Francisco, takes over the film, changing it from a documentary about the Stones on tour to a murder that took place at a Stones concert.

Until about half way through the documentary, the film is still primarily a documentary about the Stones. But once the cameras get to Altamount, the crew (which included as a cameraman young filmmaker George Lucas, though none of Lucas's film was included in the film due to a camera jam) catches the increasingly nasty atmosphere at the concert, with fans ascending the stage, fighting with the Hell's Angels, fighting with each other. The Grateful Dead, scheduled to play, declined to do so when they heard that Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane had been beaten up onstage by the Angel's (we see a brief shot of Jerry Garcia reacting incredulously to the news of the violence). By the end of the film, the viewer is left with a completely sickened feeling of the stupidity of everything he or she has just seen.
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Format: DVD
"Gimme Shelter" is a lot of things. It's one of the greatest rock and roll films ever made. It's one of the greatest documentaries ever made. It's one of the best glimpses of a moment in time ever recorded, and it's a lasting crystallization of the point in time when the ideals and dreams of the 60's died and the hedonism and self-preservation of the 70's kicked in.
The Maysles Brothers and Charlotte Zwerin are famous for making documentaries about bible salesmen, old women in decaying mansions, and artists creating art. "Gimme Shelter" is doubly a shock because these somber and almost grim documentarians have been able to put across a rock and roll film that gives you a feeling of the power of music and the freshness of the spirit that the Stones brought to the table. In these moments, captured in 1969, you can see the point where the Stones make the step from rock stars to phenomena, and you see where the wall between artist and audience spawns from.
"Gimme Shelter" follows the Stones from touring and recording to their free concert at Altamont Speedway. The film breaks with documentary tradition and gives us a skewed timeline, interspersing concert footage and recording sessions with newscasts about the aftermath of Altamont, the Stones in the screening room watching footage of Altamont, and scenes of negotiating the final details before Altamont goes down. The Altamont concert itself is a marvel to behold, to witness what was captured by the gang of camera operators wandering through the crowd (including George Lucas). From drug dealers to painted hippies, Hells Angels to fathers and sons, from whimsy to terror.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie has been almost universally acclaimed as the best Rock and Roll documentary ever, but that is damning with faint praise. This is a great movie, period.
It documents the Rolling Stones during their landmark '69 tour, and in particular, the documentary maker's dream (and everyone else's nightmare) Altamont concert. At the time, the Stones truly were "the greatest Rock and Roll band in the world", perhaps the greatest of all time. Jagger's performance and charisma are at their peak, no trace of the almost self-parody he would later embrace. Keith Richards' playing is rough, raunchy and powerful, while the unheralded Mick Taylor's exquisite blues guitar leads contrast by their beauty.
The performances alone (including Tina Turner doing "I've Been Loving You Too Long") would be enough to make this a must have film, but Altamont is what makes it a truly great film. When we get to the Altamont concert, it gradually becomes more and more terrifying, reminiscent of the slow build of "The Shining". At first, Jagger thinks he can control the situation with peace and love rhetoric, "Brothers and sisters. If we are all one then let's show it!" At the end, the once confident rock star is reduced to a scared little boy pleading, "I pray that it's alright. I pray that it's alright," right before a man is stabbed to death a few feet away from him.
Highlights (besides the Stones and Tina Turner performances): Jagger watching a tape of himself (obviously stoned) giving glib and charming answers to reporters, then turning away from the tape, and almost blushing, saying, "Rubbish.
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