Run time: 117 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 26th April 1978
Box Office Worldwide: $322 thousand
Distributed by: MGM
Production compaines: FM Productions, Last Waltz Inc.
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 1
IMDB: 8.2 / 10
Director: Martin Scorsese
Producer: Robbie Robertson
Starring: Robbie Robertson as Himself, Rick Danko as Himself, Levon Helm as Himself, Richard Manuel as Himself, Garth Hudson as Himself, Eric Clapton as Himself, Neil Diamond as Himself, Bob Dylan as Himself, Neil Young as Himself, Joni Mitchell as Herself, Emmylou Harris as Herself, Ringo Starr as Himself, Paul Butterfield as Himself, Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr. as Himself, Van Morrison as Himself, Ronnie Hawkins as Himself, Mavis Staples as Herself, Roebuck 'Pops' Staples as Himself, Muddy Waters as Himself, Ronnie Wood as Himself, Michael McClure as Himself, Lawrence Ferlinghetti as Himself, Martin Scorsese as Himself, Jim Gordon as Himself, Howard Johnson as Himself, Tom Malone as Himself, Richard Cooper as Himself, Jerry Hey as Himself, Charlie Keagle as Himself, Larry Packer as Himself
Unfortunately, the Band's music didn't have much influence on the way future music would develop. But The Last Waltz, a concert film of the Band's 1976 farewell performance, remains an essential artwork. The film is a reminder that while they lasted, the Band (guitarist Robbie Robertson, drummer Levon Helm, keyboardists Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel, and bassist Rick Danko) was as good as any group in rock history.
The Band got famous by backing up Bob Dylan during the mid-'60s, and Dylan plays a set in The Last Waltz. Other geniuses of '70s rock also perform in the film, including Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, and Neil Young, along with a one-song cameo from blues legend Muddy Waters (doing "Mannish Boy"), one of his last recorded performances.
Martin Scorsese mostly keeps the camera on the music, except for interludes of interviews with the Band members, mostly Robertson. The anecdotes and Robertson's myth-making commentary are entertaining and respectful. The result is one of the best concert films in rock music history.
When the music's over, extinguish the bong.