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Showing 1-10 of 88 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 224 reviews
on April 24, 2015
Still an extremely powerful film after all these years. There are some fantastic musical moments, some incredible historical moments, "hey, the Hell's Angels just punched our bass player in the face, man" (poor Marty, never could catch a break), and some genuinely scary moments. It all adds up to a must-see documentary showing the darker side of the '60's revolution. Hired to be Security by The Rolling Stones, (NOT the Grateful Dead as has been rumored, they suggested the Angels but did not hire them, that's on Mick and the lawyers), hordes of Hell's Angels hopped up on cheap red wine, lousy speed and bad LSD prowl thru the show- what could possibly go wrong....
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on March 5, 2010
If you haven't seen THE ROLLING STONES: GIMME SHELTER (CRITERION COLLECTION BLU-RAY) it's an iconic documentary filmed by famed movie-maker brothers David and Albert Maysles (The Beatles - The First U.S. Visit,Grey Gardens / The Beales of Grey Gardens - Criterion Collection (2-disc set)) that was supposed to feature "The Rolling Stones" in concert at Altamount Speedway in Northern California.

What was going to be the West Coast's answer to Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music Director's Cut (40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition with Amazon Exclusive Bonus Disc) ended up being something far more sinister as people experienced bad acid trips and the Hell's Angels roughed up audience members and performers. It eventually ends with a stabbing death that's caught on film in this documentary.

GIMME SHELTER not only shows the Rolling Stones in concert at various venues before heading into Altamont, but it also shows the wheeling and dealing that went on behind-the-scenes to get the concert off the ground. And it films the reaction of the Stones, particularly Mick Jagger, to the stabbing death as the footage is presented to the group after the incident.

The documentary is riveting and the event itself has since been touted as the "defining" moment that brought an end to the Hippie's "Peace & Love" idealism and what could happen without rules and order.

Picture resolution is excellent, but don't expect it to be razor sharp like something that was filmed recently.


*** KSAN'S RADIO ALTAMONT--(01-hour and 29-minutes)--Indexed & "Play All"
* This is audio only, over a static image, of excerpts from the KSAN radio broadcast that followed the next day after Altamont. DJ Stefan Ponek describes what the content of the radio show was and what you're about to hear, sometime in 2000? before his death, but it can get confusing because you don't know who is talking. Basically Ponek and other guests discuss what happened at the event and have people calling in.

*** OUT TAKES--(18:28-minutes)--Indexed & "Play All"
* Stones on stage
* Mixing
* Backstage with Ike and Tina Turner and the Ikettes

* Color and Black & White images by photographers Bill Owens and Beth Sunflower


Anyway, I recommend this to documentary and history buffs and 60s Rock fans.
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VINE VOICEon May 21, 2010
Of all the films devoted to popular music, only a handful rise to the top in my opinion: "Woodstock", "Monterey Pop", "The Song Remains the Same" and "Gimme Shelter". All of these films feature the cream of the rock music world and three of them focus on the now outdated fad of music festivals. However, it is "Gimme Shelter" that separates itself from the rest as it is the only film that depicts the more sinister side of rock and roll ... by displaying the greed and general contempt the upper echelon of rock music displays towards its mass of followers. "Gimme Shelter" is a one-of-a-kind film that is part concert film, part documentary and part drama/mystery/action/thriller. It has all the ingredients necessary to keep most viewers glued from start to finish ... great music, hedonistic rock stars, crazy people and murder. It is shocking, insightful and downright haunting ... even to this day.

A simplified summary of "Gimme Shelter" is that it documents the Rolling Stones on their 1969 American Tour that culminates with a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in California. The film starts with Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts (the Rolling Stones drummer) viewing the footage of the free concert; this is followed by a series of radio interviews of those involved with the free concert. Right from the start, you realize that something horribly wrong must have occurred at this free concert. But, just like a good book, the film immediately returns the beginning of the story, the optimistic and exciting start of the Stones' '69 tour ... forcing the viewer to see everything that leads-up to the impending drama.

As "Gimme Shelter" proceeds, we are treated with some excellent concert performances of that '69 tour (including Tina Turner's stirring, soulful and sexually-charged version of "I've Been Loving You Too Long"). The Rolling Stones appear to be in top form as they appear before sold out venues, complete with adoring fans jumping on the stage to get a piece of the superstar, Mick Jagger. Between the concert footage of the Rolling Stones tour, the viewer is given a "behind-the-scenes" view of the colossal effort involved in organizing the grand finale ... the free concert in California ... "Woodstock West". Additional footage of the band offstage and in-between venues displays the cool, arrogant nature of Jagger, as well as an incoherent and apparently drugged Keith Richards. It appears very clear that the Rolling Stones are only expected to show up for this scheduled free concert ... as they casually discuss this pending event, we see the organizers frantically trying to make the event a reality ... you immediately sense that it could be a disaster.

Once it the free concert is finalized ... at the Altamont Speedway ... the remainder of the film is devoted exclusively to that concert. Serving as a documentary of the times, the viewer is treated to seeing the migration of some 300,000 concert-goers to the Altamont Speedway ... a graphic and thoroughly entertaining display of drugs, outrageous attire, uncontrollable body movements and general lunacy. Then, the mood of the film becomes darker as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club literally takes over ... the crowd and the film. As the opening acts of the concert perform, the violence begins as bikers begin beating concert-goers, as well as the Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin. By the time the Rolling Stones appear, it is night-time and obvious that it is the Hells Angels who are in control. As the Stones play their music, the crowd's vocal reaction to the violence drowns out the music and there are points where the band is forced to stop playing in order to try and calm the situation. Finally, when things appear calmer and the band begins playing "Under My Thumb", violence suddenly erupts again and tragedy strikes. At this point, we realize what the beginning of the movie was all about. The ending of the film clearly depicts the Rolling Stones fleeing the disaster of their free concert by cramming into a helicopter ... leaving their fans to fend for themselves in a sea of Hells Angel-infested waters ... an eerie and lasting impression.

"Gimme Shelter" is a must-see for any fan of rock music, the Rolling Stones or popular American culture. The footage is raw and entertaining ... it grabs a hold of the viewer and digs in. The Criterion Collection version of this film has greatly improved the visual quality of the original footage and offers a few extras that were not included in the original video release.
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on February 27, 2010
Having recently and reluctantly given a negative review to the overpackaged and underwhelming new issue of "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out", I am pleased to report that the "Gimme Shelter" Blu Ray exceeds my expectations. A huge Stones fan since my high school days in the early 1980s, I've watched this film many times. It's never looked and sounded better. Yes, the source material is very grainy and (for some reason) in 4:3 aspect ratio. Nevertheless, the blu ray offers visual details unseen in various previous releases. But the sound is where this disc shines. Large stadium shows usually disappoint, especially 40-year old shows; but this release makes excellent use of the surrounds to add depth and realism. The rear speakers are not reserved for crowd noise, as is frequently true; they also reveal musical detail I've never heard, including more of Keith and the criminally underrated Mick Taylor. The disc exposes an awful lot of squeaky feedback and other flaws but to me, that only adds to the immersive texture of the disc.

For the uninitiated, "Gimme Shelter" isn't simply a concert film. Live tracks from late 1969 are interspersed with documentary footage about the logistics of setting up a massive free concert; later scenes in the film show various goings-on among the crowd and onstage, culminating in the graphic killing of an armed audience member. I especially enjoyed the oily antics of lawyer Melvin Belli, whom the Stones hired to con the property owners to agree to an invasion by a zillion hippies. The hippies themselves are shown to be a lot more violent and malevolent than today's Baby Boomer filmmakers would have you believe. There's a dark and ominous tone throughout the film. A fan punches Jagger upon his arrival at the show; concertgoers fight over parking near the site, many others rush onto the stage impatiently demanding the Stones to hurry up and play (a few particularly unattractive ones do so naked), while others engage in all kinds of antisocial behavior. The PA is constantly imploring fans to move back and get off the stage and scaffolding, while begging for doctors and bandages to come forth to treat the sick and injured. If you didn't already know how it all turns out, you'd be expecting some kind of disaster to occur. The Stones repeatedly halt mid-song to push back the crowd and implore everyone against beating the crap out of one another. Somehow (and this had to be a "lucky" break for the filmmakers), a camera catches the seminal moment of the event, a killing in the crowd.

If you only want to see some great live Stones, there are other choices (my favorite is the hard-to-find "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones"), though the actual performance footage shown in "Gimme Shelter" is excellent (I would have loved to attend any other show on this tour). The movie also has brief live snippets from Tina Turner, Jefferson Airplane and others, but the Stones are clearly the main event. But this is more documentary than concert movie. With a warts-and-all approach by the filmmakers, it's a fascinating look at an overly-romanticized period in American social history. And it's never looked or sounded better.
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on August 2, 2017
. . . about the mythic significance of Woodstock and the saintly who-ha that brought the event to pass then this is your antidote. The East Coast ran up the karmic tab. The West Coast had to pay the bill.
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on June 27, 2008
I have always heard that it is difficult to make a rock and roll film, let alone one that is also a documentary. Gimme Shelter is both- a filmed concert experience but one that also documents those events that take place behind the scenes.

This one gives the viewer virtually unlimited access to the Rolling Stones for their 1969 tour of America. We see the Stones as they perform at Madison Square Garden, working in the studio, and checking into hotel rooms. For Stones historians, there are brief glimpses of Ian Stewart- founding member and so called "sixth Stone", including one of him at the Altamont concert, asking for a doctor to please come to the front of the stage.

Some of the most fascinating scenes do not even have the Stones in them. These are the meetings that would take place in the office of famed attorney Mel Belli. Here is where the ill-fated Altamont show would be planned.

Last of course, is the Altamont concert. It was here that peace & love would collide with extreme violence with fatal results. Was it the end of an era? Did Altamont somehow symbolize the dawning of a new age in America- one in which Flower Power was replaced by death and destruction illustrated by the war in Vietnam?

Perhaps so but at its heart, Gimme Shelter was never intended to be a comment on the sixties nor was it supposed to make some sort of political statement. Gimme Shelter started out as a concert film about the Rolling Stones and it just happened to record something that went very, very wrong.
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on July 5, 2013
Watching "Gimme Shelter" is akin to witnessing a court deposition with the Rolling Stones i.e. Mick Jagger testifying to their culpability in the wake of the Altamont free concert disaster. The first half of the film is predominately live footage of the Stones Thanksgiving 1969 show at Madison Square Garden and mixing "Wild Horses" at Muscle Shoals studios. These events go swimmingly because there is an element of control that wasn't present at Altamont. The second half concentrates on the doomed concert. Poor planning, change of venue at the last minute, audience that were either off their meds or self medicating, and band tardiness. Throw in some pool cue wielding Hell's Angels acting as security and you toss the lit match at the proverbial gas tank. Something you will never see is an obviously petrified Mick Jagger who is probably wondering how he got into this mess. As a Stones fan I'm led to wonder how they allowed this damning film see the light of day yet they held back the release of "The Rolling Stones Rock 'N' Roll Circus" and "Charlie is My Darling" for years. My best guess is the film serves as damage control, sympathy for the devil so to speak. You never feel the communion between the artists and the audience that exists in Michael Wadleigh's "Woodstock". The Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin do a terrific job capturing the atmosphere of the event. That said there were 300,000 stories at Altamont and you feel that somehow this film is incomplete.
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on June 25, 2017
Excellent quality and price! If your into the Stones, the Hell's Angels, or into the Classic Music Festivals (this one followed Woodstock a few months later), this is a Must See!
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on August 1, 2017
This is a must for any fan of the Stones or any music fan ! This is the best rock & roll documentary ever done ! Period !
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on April 30, 2005
The body of this remarkable film has been fairly well covered by others. I wish to speak of the music.

Michael Phillip Jagger takes the stage at Madison Square Garden. There is no large, flashy, stage setup. He wears black with a Greek letter on it, an elegant flowing scarf and a red, white and blue top hat. He puts his hands on the mike stand and says "Welcome to the breakfast show".

The band explodes into "Jumpin' Jack Flash". This brilliant, searing, blistering performance has defined the intensity of what Rock and Roll truly is at its heart for decades. There is nothing to equal it. Watch it. The sound on this DVD is immense, clear, and crushing as befits this band. The audience is mesmerized and some faint and the rest scream in hysterical adulation that is really more of a sort of trance. I know, I was there, twelve feet from Mick Jagger, and as transfixed as the rest. I have never forgotten this and am stunned by how well filmmakers Maysles and director Charlotte Zwerin have captured these once and only moments.

"I Can't Get No Satisfaction" follows and is yet another benchmark performance by the Rolling Stones. These two performances alone are worth the price of this DVD.

Guests Ike and Tina Turner perform the classic "I've Been Lovin' You Too Long." Tina sizzles and you come away wishing you were a microphone.

Also there are some amazing performances in the Outtakes part of the special features on this fine DVD. On "Little Queenie" Jagger prances and ROCKS and the audience his his. You also see guitarist Mick Taylor laying down a steady and driving rythym, looking at his guitar in great concentration. Bill Wyman, who is unseen for the entire song is certainly not unheard as he provides a soaring bass that is solid in this tune. It is also the only piece of film in existance that really showcases the remarkably adept drummer Charlie Watts as he closes his eyes and plays like a demon possesed while Richards advances to a position facing him and they execute a rock solid turnaround. If you love music, and you pay attention to this song, you get your money's worth right here.

Also watch "Prodigal Son" a haunting version by the 1960 Mississipi Blues Man Reverend Robert Wilkin's, which in turn was based on his own "That's No Way to Get Along" circa 1929.

Last but not least is the very interesting backstage film of Mick Jagger sitting on a bench with Ike and Tina Turner. Jagger borrows Ike's guitar and launches into a raunchy Robert Johnson Style of Blues guitar. He gets Tina's attention. Poor Ike, didn't even notice.

If you watch this film, it will get your attention too.
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