“How does one review this picture? It’s like reviewing the footage of President Kennedy’s assassination or Lee Harvey Oswald’s murder. This movie is into complications and sleight-of-hand beyond Pirandello, since the filmed death at Altamont—although, of course, unexpected—was part of a cinema-verité spectacular. The free concert was staged and lighted to be photographed, and the 300,000 people who attended it were the unpaid cast of thousands. The violence and murder weren’t scheduled, but the Maysles brothers hit the cinema-verité jackpot.” (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker)
Four months after the peace and love of Woodstock, the Rolling Stones headlined a free concert at California’s Altamont Speedway featuring Tina Turner, Jefferson Airplane, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and others. Concerned about security, the Stones asked members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club to help maintain order. This notorious decision bred an atmosphere of fear and chaos that culminated in tragedy when an Angel stabbed a fan to death. The Maysles brothers’ disturbing and powerful record of this historic moment is required viewing.