Ziggy Stardust: 50th Anniversary (1973)
Director: D. A. Pennebaker Run Time: 103 min. Rating: PG Release Year: 2023
Starring: David Bowie, Ken Fordham, Mick 'Woody' Woodmansey, Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder
Country: United Kingdom
About the film:
Experience one of the most iconic performances in the history of modern music! 50 years ago, David Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust, his most celebrated alter-ego, in front of 5,000 disbelieving fans on stage at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. The Film Center is thrilled to present the digitally restored 1973 concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture, featuring Bowie’s complete final performance with content never-before-seen on the big screen.
While Bowie’s decision to retire his beloved extra-terrestrial rockstar persona and to dissolve The Spiders From Mars was a shock to fans (and to the band as well!), it was a pivotal moment in securing his future. Moving past Ziggy was a crucial early step on Bowie’s journey to becoming the restless, inquisitive and shape-shifting artist that would have unparalleled influence on music, film, fashion and beyond. In addition to providing the template for ’70s glam rock, the impact of Ziggy Stardust’s brief existence remains widespread across popular culture, having inspired artistic and ideological freedoms that are still being enjoyed by musicians and the wider creative community today.
The band’s performance on July 3, 1973, was captured on film by award-winning director DA Pennebaker. This new version of the film celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of Bowie’s bravest and most celebrated moments, and features the complete set, including a performance by late guitarist Jeff Beck.
About the filmmaker:
D. A. Pennebaker was an American documentary master and one of the pioneers of direct cinema, the candid observational style that revolutionized documentary filmmaking using innovative sound and camera technology. With a focus on 1960s counterculture and urgent political issues, the Academy Award-nominated director helmed numerous influential films throughout his long career, including masterpieces like Monterey Pop (1968) capturing a seminal moment in rock history, The War Room (1993) documenting Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign – directed with frequent collaborator and partner Chris Hegedus – and the conceptual feature-length rock music video Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back (1967), arguably one of the greatest documentaries ever made. Pennebaker’s films screened at Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Berlin, and other major international festivals. In 2013, he received an honorary Academy Award for his contributions to cinema.See our upcoming films