Perhaps in keeping with the vibe of the festival — which, as everyone’s parents has by now told them, took place over three days in the summer of 1969 at a farm in upstate New York, attracting 400,000 people — director Michael Wadleigh managed to miss some of the event’s key performances, including sets by the Grateful Dead, the Incredible String Band and Ravi Shankar. But when he did train his cameras on the protagonists, some of them came up with stirring contributions: Sly and the Family Stone; Crosby, Stills and Nash; and Jimi Hendrix, whose guitar solo of the national anthem remains one of the most indelible moments of the decade. But of course, if you can remember it, you weren’t really there.
TIME’s take: “Purely as a piece of cinema, it is one of the finest documentaries ever made in the U.S.”
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