Best Rock Concert & Festival Movies of the 1960s and 1970s

by CountrySunshine

Woodstock, Monterey Pop, Mad Dogs & Englishman, The Concert for Bangladesh, and the Rolling Stones: these are top 5 great concert & festival movies from the 1960s and 70s.

Growing up during the 1960s and 1970s, I had the opportunity to attend a number of rock & roll concerts and festivals. I feel lucky that I got to hear some of the legends of the time. The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Billy Preston, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top and Ravi Shankar were but just a few I saw live and in person.

If my friends & I were unable to attend a concert in person, we would go to the local theater to watch the midnight movies. These were all concert films, and gave us a chance to be a small part of the festival.

There were many great films from that time, and there are a few that are more recent. Following is my list of the Top 5 rock & roll concert and festival films. I have these films in my home DVD collection, and it's time you had them in yours!

#5 - Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

In 2012, the Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary as a band. When they first got together, they believed the band would last for a year or two. Their success is based on the chemistry the band has between their members, and the artistry of the musicians.

There have been many movies about the Rolling Stones over the years, yet Gimme Shelter is notably the best. A documentary about the Rolling Stones and their 1969 tour of the United States, Gimme Shelter is not only a concert film, but a look into the lives of the Rolling Stones. It also shows footage of their "Altamont" concert, which resulted in violence and murder.

#4 - Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Joe Cocker

The tour of all tours for Joe Cocker, and his friends & fellow artists Leon Russell and Rita Coolidge. Originally released in 1971, Mad Dogs & Englishmen showcases the young Joe Cocker at his finest.

This classic film offers some of Joe Cocker's classics as "The Letter", "Feelin Alright", "Delta Lady", "With A Little Help From My Friends", "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" and "Honkey Tonk Woman"

#3 - Woodstock

Woodstock is one of the best concert movies of all times. The line-up of artists was incredible: Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Sly & The Family Stone, and many more.

One of the things that makes this movie great is the festival spectators. It was a time of free love, drugs and rock-n-roll. Scandalous at the time, it defined the generation.

If you were part of the Woodstock generation, you know the words to all the songs.

Such as "1-2-3 Who are we fighting for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn.. next stop is Vietnam!"
by Country Joe McDonald


"What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheel, got to go round...."

by Blood, Sweat & Tears

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock

The performance that made Woodstock so great was by Jimi Hendrix, when he performed the Star-Spangled Banner. To this day, this song brings me back to the world as it was in the 1960s.

#2 - Monterey Pop

The Monterey Pop Festival was held in 1967, a couple of years before Woodstock, so you get a different feel for the music in this movie. It is not as polished a film as Woodstock. Instead, you get to see and hear what the performers were like before they became more famous.

Monterey Pop had a great artist lineup, including The Mamas & Papas, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Eric Burdon and the Animals, and many more.

I like this movie a lot because it is more about the artists and the beginning of the "Love Generation", than the politics of the late 1960s.

#1 - Concert for Bangladesh

The Concert for Bangladesh was the first ever benefit concert of it's kind. Held in two separate concert sessions on August 1, 1971 in Madison Square Garden, over 40,000 people attended the two concerts, raising $250,000 for the refugees from Bangladesh.


This movie covers the highlights of both concerts, including performances by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, and Badfinger.

The Best Movies....And More

These are the best concert and festival movies that I have seen. Others include: "The Song Remains the Same" by Led Zeppelin; Pink Floyd: "The Wall"; and Eric Clapton's "Crossroads Guitar Festival - 2004".


Copyright L.C. Clifton / Country Sunshine.  All Rights Reserved
Originally published July 12, 2012 on Squidoo


Updated: 11/04/2015, CountrySunshine
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