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The climactic concert of the seventh annual Watts Summer Festival, commemorating the 1965 riots, and featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Luther Ingram, Richard Pryor, and many more.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The restored rerelease is a time capsule of Afros, anger and attitude."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"A candid, colorful and deeply meaningful sociocultural time capsule."
‑ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"Whether or not you call it "blaxploitation," there was something like a riot goin' on in the American cinema of 1973."
‑ Rob Nelson, City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"Hardcore fans of the music of the times will get a kick out of seeing their old idols in their former glory, and footage of the city of Watts is fascinating."
‑ Tiffany Maleshefski, San Francisco Examiner
"Wattstax was more than just an elaborate musical gathering of gifted energetic artists out to corral a spirited mood-it was an undeniably ultimate black lyrical experience...this stylish funky forum is infectious."
‑ Frank Ochieng, Movie Eye
"A time when not only a single record company could put together a day like this, but could then give every dollar made to charity."
‑ Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger
"A recording of a historic moment, Wattstax has considerable value."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"Soul providers light up the stage."
‑ Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal
"Pure old school."
‑ Marshall Fine, Journal News (Westchester, NY)
"This gem of a concert documentary makes you realize how much of America's pop culture has been lost, ignored or left to rot since soul music's golden era three decades ago."
‑ Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News
"It just has the air of something too carefully laid out in advance. It's so busy being glossy and optimistic that it doesn't even allow its performers time to create on screen a measure of the excitement they might have created in person."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"A disorienting and ironic moviegoing experience."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Even Richard Pryor's tired old rant gets more screen time than any of the musicians"
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"As Richard Pryor says, it's 'a soulful expression of the black experience'..."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"Commentary from shockingly outspoken Watts residents on topics ranging from revolution to infidelity are a vital part of the documentary, as are the several Richard Pryor monologues upon which the film is structured."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
More reviews for Wattstax on Rotten Tomatoes