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on 21 September 2016
Gimme Shelter reflects on the dark period of the 1969 Free Altamont Concert, When 18 year old Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by member of the Hell's Angels (Since he was holding a Gun). Sure there was other deaths that day ? Bad Time, But concert should have never happened. The Rolling Stones definitely seen the birth of the Sixties along with The Beatles, But definitely the band seen the death of the sixties in December 1969. The documentry from David & Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin captures everything , Even young George Lucas (Star Wars Creator) was one of the cameramen at Altamont. Worth a watch in my opinion.
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on 25 November 2012
Any one with even a passing interest in 60s culture should own this movie. I'm not a Stones fan as such, but I do have a love of the music of that decade, and it was simply a fascinating period. This film is riveting. From the outset, it keeps you interested - you're enthralled and appalled in equal measure. So much of pop culture is represented in this film, it's hard to know where to start. Not only the Stones, a quintesentially British band embraced by the US and one of the 20th Century's enduring cultural icons, but a counter-culture in decline, a society being strafed by civil unrest and looming oil crises - the Vietnam war was in full swing when this movie was made - and above all the end of the dream - the idea that peace love and understanding would conquer all - the moment it all came crashing down is captured on film, accidentally, and right at the end of the decade - it's a lesson in human behaviour we should all heed.

The free concert at Altamont was a bad idea from the start. It was a mess in conception and a total disaster in execution. What I didn't expect was the footage of the lawyer on the phone to the various people involved in organising this hippie nightmare. It's a salutory reminder that for all the talk of free love and flower power, nothing really shifted in the real world. John Lennon said as much when he said that the lawyers kept laywering, the politicans kept politicking (I'm parapharasing here) but 'we all just dressed up'. No clearer proof is given than in this documentary. The unfeasibly long line of cars parked along the route to the concert (there was nowhere near enough parking space at the venue), the simmering anarchy of the doped up, half naked crowds, the cold stares of the Hell's Angels hired to provide security, all captured on film and all juxtaposed with the louche faux-bohemian professionalism of the Stones themselves - it's a fascinating mix. Then, after a long hot day of trying to listen to Jefferson Airplane or whoever else was unlucky enough to be performing to a sea of bad tempered, dehydrated pot-heads, the Stones came on, in the dark, to a stage so small it could have been a room above a pub, and attempted a set without much success. (Here's the spoiler, in case you don't know what happens) Fighting breaks out, ending with a fatal stabbing that sent shockwaves round the world, and effectively marked the end of the sixties. It's an extraordinary moment, and Mick Jagger's face as he watches the footage in an edit suite says it all. The end had been coming for some time, but this just tipped it all over the edge. Unmissable.
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on 12 January 2014
I remember watching the Woodstock movie on BBC3 a while ago and thinking it would be a far better film if they focused more on the festival-goers and less on the music which, with the exception of The Who and Parliament, is bloody awful. And for the first thirty minutes, it seemed Gimmie Shelter was heading the same way.
The movie starts with a gig in Madison Square Gardens and in truth the band are terrible. Jumping Jack Flash is cringe-inducing with Jagger not even attempting to sing the melody. And it doesn't get better as each song in turn just seems to splutter to an uncomfortable halt. I was disappointed alright.
I was wrong.
At Altamont, the Stones are magnificent. Sympathy for the Devil and Under My Thumb simply must be seen/ heard to be believed. The gig should have been their career performance. If it wasn't for the crowd.
The crowd. To be honest, i find i can't lay the blame for the chaos entirely at the feet of The Hells Angels. They were handed a responability which was so far beyond their capabilities it's no wonder they cracked under the strain of it. And the man they murdered did have a gun in his hand. That said, a few of them were genuinely psychotic (there's a bit when, i swear, one of them actually seems to be turning into a werewolf!)
So, Gimmie Shelter is worth a watch whether your a fan or not. Just keep an open mind, man!
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VINE VOICEon 1 April 2010
For some Stones fans (including, it has to be said, me) this would be worth the money just for the shot of Keith Richard tapping his snakeskin boots in the Muscle Shoals mixing room.

There is of course much more substance to a film charting the self-styled greatest rock'n'roll band in the world both approaching their peak musically and getting caught up in the inevitable failure of the hippy dream. I've known for forty years what happened at Altamont, but seeing it played out is still a shocking and depressing thing.

What was good to see - apart from the music - is the sheer joy that the Stones (or at least the ones featured; Bill Wyman is notably absent except when on stage) take in the music the are recording. There is lovely bit where Mick Jagger can't contain his pride as they play back Brown Sugar to members of their management team. And one does come away with great sympathy for Jagger who seems genuinely to have being trying to do something positive by giving a free concert and to have been appalled by the way things turned out.
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on 15 August 2013
I first saw this film in a small cinema in Soho (London W1) back in the early 70's. The atmosphere building during the film, peaks at the concert with the band pleading for order, threatening to call off the performance. Then there's the ruckus near the stage, a young fellow in a blue suit is stabbed by an 'Angel', ostensibly because he was pointing a gun up at the stage...
This has it all, with the band members watching footage, trying to figure ot what was going on. Trouble is, in the dark things are a clear as mud. We've all got our own ideas.
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on 21 July 2013
Always a favourite of mine, it was great to see it released on DVD again. What makes this such a great film, is that it features the Stones in what many consider their peak. The 1969 US tour was exciting, seeing they hadn't toured for years, and with a new guitarist in Mick Taylor, expectation was high.
Gimme Shelter has great behind the scenes footage from the tour and the build up to the infamous Altamont concert. For anybody who has read the highly regarded book "The True Adventures of The Rolling Stones" by Stanley Booth, much of the books commentary can be seen in the film. Once we get to the Altamont gig, we see music history captured for the ages. A chaotic concert, the build up shows us why, and in this day and age, it is hard to believe it was able to take place.
Great footage of Ike & Tina Turner, Jefferson Airplane and the Hell's Angels letting loose, is gold. Once the Stones take the stage, one can feel the negative feelings through the footage. To actually see Merideth Hunter stabbed on film, is haunting and a unique moment captured for the ages.
I consider this to be one of the most important rock documentaries from one of the great bands. A must see for a true fan and something of enormous interest for the casual observer.
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on 23 December 2016
For me, this DVD was ok for the first part but I suppose I was expecting to see more of The Stones reaction to the events which unfolded later, it seemed cut short.
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on 29 June 2016
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on 11 March 2018
Just fab
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on 18 June 2013
This film, whatever may have been the intentions of those who commissioned it, is not a conventional collection of concert footage put together to promote the Rolling Stones but is instead a documentary about fantasy meeting reality. Uncomfortable viewing at times certainly but also horribly compelling.
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