Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (Bowie '73 with the Spiders from Mars)
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Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (Bowie '73 with the Spiders from Mars)
The July 3, 1973 concert by David Bowie at London's Hammersmith Odeon Theatre is the subject of this documentary by director D.A. Pennebaker, best known for the earlier rock films Don't Look Back and Monterey Pop. Framed by a smattering of behind-the-scenes footage, the bulk of the film concerns the actual concert, notable as the final time that Bowie would perform under the Ziggy Stardust persona -- an announcement that, at the time, led many fans to mistakenly believe Bowie was retiring altogether. This "final" performance features numerous songs from Ziggy Stardust, Hunky… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Freed of the unflattering contemporary distractions offered by This Is Spinal Tap, Pennebaker's Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars captures Bowie at perhaps his purest, punkiest rock 'n' roll peak."
‑ Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star
"Pennebaker doesn't break any ground here, in what is essentially a linear concert film. But he doesn't need to. Bowie's brilliant -- and, by today's stadium-size standards, intimate -- performance does that for him."
‑ Jonathan Perry, Boston Globe
"While "Ziggy" is obviously more of interest to hardcore Bowie fans than anyone else (some critics have trashed it for that reason), it should be required viewing for rockers-in-training who really want to learn about good showmanship."
‑ Bryan Reesman, Citysearch
"what truly awes in the realization of Bowie's completely mature command of both his voice and the stage so early in his career"
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"A mediocre and muddy 'digitally remastered' print. Bowie does little more...than absent-mindedly pace the stage song after song."
‑ Rob Blackwelder, SPLICEDWire
"The concert remains more of an historical curiosity than a must-see rock film."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"An excellent example of its genre, with Pennebaker capturing the excitement of what was a very special, emotion-charged occasion."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Certainly of interest, if only for its vintage. But the film is drab and slight."
‑ Shawn Levy, Oregonian
"Despite the silly costumes, poor stage presence and the rest of it, the songs have not aged."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The best available film of one of this master showman's several creative peaks -- a peep-show into the past."
‑ Gregory Weinkauf, New Times
"A colorful snapshot of an early chapter in the story of an accomplished performer."
‑ Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News
"Somehow poor pacing and this lack of visual variety manage to make a great show seem boring -- which is, I suppose, an achievement of sorts."
‑ John Patterson, L.A. Weekly
"Even the non-Bowie fans...will be entertained with this finale perf as the alien-like Ziggy [Stardust]."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"The sound is muddy and so is the picture, but, nevertheless, Bowie and company glitter -- occasionally like fool's gold, but more often like diamonds."
‑ Pam Grady, Reel.com
"As a document of the ever-mutable musician's signature persona, a wraithlike androgyne with a head full of apocalyptic dreams, it's fascinating."
‑ Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide's Movie Guide