Arlo Guthrie, son of folk-singing immortal Woody Guthrie, achieved some celebrity in the 1960s with his 18-minute song "The Alice's Restaurant Massacre," in which he tells the tale of his arrest and trial for littering, which led to his being rejected for the draft during the Vietnam War.
Director Arthur Penn used a lengthy and bitterly amusing re-creation of the events depicted in the song as the centerpiece for this exploration of the 60s counterculture. Ray Brock (James Broderick) is an aging hippie who buys a church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and with his wife, Alice (Pat
Quinn), shares the good life with a variety of societal drop-outs. Guthrie drops in long enough to run afoul of the local cop, Obie (William Obanheim, playing himself) and pays a visit to a New York hospital to see his father who is dying from Hodgkin's disease. To his credit, Penn refused to
romanticize his subjects, and the film stands as a fairly accurate chronicle of the times. The real Alice Brock has a small role as one of the hippies.