The Last Waltz
Martin Scorsese’s documentary of the 1976 final performance of the legendary Sixties rock group The Band is at once a show featuring some of the greatest rock performers of their generation and a bittersweet look back at an era that was just beginning to fade. As Scorsese guides the group through interview segments discussing their 15 years together, these relatively young men sound like battle-weary survivors. But The Band were in splendid form for this show, and their multiple guest stars pulled out all the stops, especially Muddy Waters, whose “Mannish Boy” is so powerful it nearly burns a hole in the screen; Van Morrison, with a rousing performance of “Caravan;” and Bob Dylan, whose “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” displays the brilliant cockiness of his barnstorming days with this band. The all-star camera crew and superb stereo sound mix create what is considered to be of the best-looking and sounding rock films ever (as the opening credit says, play this movie loud!), and two studio-shot sequences with Emmylou Harris and The Staple Singers stand on their own.