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April 11, 2002 11:06 AM

Richard Gere, Kevin Bacon, Winona Ryder, R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe, “Saturday Night Live” star Jimmy Fallon and actress Carey Lowell were among the fans who turned out Wednesday night in Manhattan for a special 25th anniversary screening marking the re-release of the Martin Scorsese documentary “The Last Waltz,” reports PEOPLE. The film, a critical and commercial hit upon its first release, chronicles the historical night in which a dream lineup of rock superstars let it rip live for the 1976 farewell concert of The Band (Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson, who found watching the movie again “bittersweet”). Among the cast: Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison. Before entering the theater, Scorsese, 59, whose hair has gone white since he made the film (in which one can see the young director with a jet-black mane), told PEOPLE what the film means to him. “What strikes me now is the clarity I had at the time,” said the man who would go on to make “Raging Bull” in 1980 and “Goodfellas” in 1990. “It definitely led to ‘Raging Bull,’ ‘King of Comedy’ and a number of different films. There was a certain continuity of the people onstage and the way they were framed. I was trying to elicit a kind of intensity and simplicity within the frame.” Finally, Scorsese admitted, “This is the only film I really love, because it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the performers.”

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