The Last Waltz (U)

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The Independent Culture

Scorsese shot this film of the The Band's farewell gig at the San Francisco Wonderland in 1976 while he was still working on New York, New York, a very different sort of musical.

Opening with the band's encore, the film intermingles high-intensity concert footage and lo-fi chats with the singer Robbie Robertson and the others, looking back over a 16-year career with fondness, disbelief and a somewhat dry-throated exhaustion (you can almost smell the weed in the room). It's a notable record, not just for the guest cameos – Dylan, Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, et al – but for the lurking presence of Scorsese himself, putting his camera right in the middle of the action and popping up in person during the interviews. Impossible to view now without strong stirrings of nostalgia.