Robbie Robertson was only 33 in the fall of 1976, but he'd been on the road since he was a teenager. He wanted off. The other guys in the Band didn't totally agree, but they did agree to participate in a grand farewell show at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom on Thanksgiving Day. Martin Scorsese (who worked on the Woodstock movie before he became famous) agreed to direct a documentary about the gig. The biggest names in rock were brought in to guest, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell.
It's widely considered one of the greatest rock documentaries of all time, though Levon Helm hated it with a burning passion. "What was that movie?" he said to Rolling Stone in 2000. "Just a lot of self-serving tripe. Look who produced it – Martin Scorsese and Robbie Robertson. Well, I don't know about Scorsese, but Robertson had something to prove. He wanted to show that he was the leader of the Band, and that's what that movie's about: Robbie Robertson and the Band. Let me ask you this: How many shots of Richard Manuel are in that movie? If I'd had all the lawyers and accountants working for me then, I'd have been the star of that movie. But I'll tell you what, I'd have had some shots of Richard Manuel in it. Man, you should have seen what got pushed out of that movie to make room for Robbie taking credit for all the things he never done."
That's not even all he had to say on the matter. "You know what The Last Waltz is?" he said. "The Last Rip-off. I've never gotten a check for it in my life. It was Robertson and Scorsese and that fucking crowd of thieves that got paid, and they still get paid, I guess. I've never gotten a check for it in my life."