7.4/10
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37 user 41 critic

American Hardcore (2006)

Trailer
1:53 | Trailer
The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986

Director:

Paul Rachman

Writers:

Steven Blush (book), Steven Blush

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lucky Lehrer Lucky Lehrer ... Himself
Vic Bondi Vic Bondi ... Himself
Joe Keithley ... Himself (as Joey 'Shithead' Keithley)
Keith Morris ... Himself
Angie Sciarappa Angie Sciarappa ... Herself
Nancy Barile Nancy Barile ... Herself
Mike Watt Mike Watt ... Himself
David Markey David Markey ... Himself (as Dave Markey)
Jordan Schwartz Jordan Schwartz ... Himself
Howard Saunders Howard Saunders ... Himself
Perry Webb Perry Webb ... Himself
Ian MacKaye ... Himself
Bobby Steele Bobby Steele ... Himself
Greg Hetson ... Himself
Richard 'Crispy' Crammer Richard 'Crispy' Crammer ... Himself
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Storyline

Inspired by Steven Blush's book "American Hardcore: A tribal history" Paul Rachman's feature documentary debut is a chronicle of the underground hardcore punk years from 1979 to 1986. Interviews and rare live footage from artists such as Black Flag, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, SS Decontrol and the Dead Kennedys. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language including sex and drug references | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980 - 1986 See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,102, 24 September 2006

Gross USA:

$279,665

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$376,057
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite this movie talking about how Reagan's presidency gave inspiration to the whole hardcore punk scene, New York Hardcore Punk band Reagan Youth is nowhere to be heard in this documentary. See more »

Connections

References This Is Spinal Tap (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Enemy For Life
Written by Neil Perry and Michael Cole
Performed by YDI
© Parts Unknown (ASCAP) 1983
Used by Permission
See more »

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User Reviews

 
awesome footage, incomplete story
9 October 2006 | by tyroneyoSee all my reviews

OK, As you would expect the footage of the bands in their prime is absolutely incredible... made me want to stage dive in the theater. the interviews of some of hardcore's icons lived up to my expectations - Keith morris, Ian Mackaye and Henry Rollins always have memorable sound bites - but the director also made sure to include lesser known "musicians" like the dudes from heart attack, die Kreuzen and death piggy. HOWEVER, my biggest complaint was the lack of a fully descriptive storyline and the exclusion of "non-thrash" hardcore bands As with most punk documentaries the opening setting really drew me in by explaining the social, cultural and political backdrop that spawned the scene. Surprisingly, there is almost no footage of the 77-80 punk rock influences that shaped hardcore...no Ramones or pistols or even fear or the germs and other just Pre-hardcore bands. it jumps right into the thrash full throttle, but unfortunately tries to let said footage carry the documentary, which it does not always do.

Again, as with most punk documentaries, this one struggles to end. it builds up the scene, describes some of the regional tribes - affording WAY too much time to Boston and really skimping on Texas and the entire Midwest - and then realizes it's got to end somehow. The movie is a real jumble. It doesn't get into the "kids" that much (i can't think of any regular "fans" who were interviewed. everyone was either in a band or ran a label or was the girlfriend of a major player.) and does not detail just what kind of people were attracted to hardcore outside of the generic explanation of "angry outcasts" from the suburbs. (like what's the difference between a Misfits fan and your run of the mill Iron Maiden fan.) It doesn't really timeline the rise, peak and decline of the era. the interviewees just say how awesome and crazy and new it was, dude, the Bad Brains rule, and then Ian Mackaye realizes fighting is "uncool" (although fighting was totally awesome in '81) and then DYS and SSD really start to suck and it's all over by '86. Excessive intra-scene violence is mentioned, but except for Rollins pummeling a dude in a separate scene - no fighting footage is shown (there's got to be TONS of fight footage!). no mention of big labels coming in and trying to commodify the scene and no reference to metal bands incorporating hardcore beats to create thrash metal or how many of the HC participants led the college rock/indie movement of the late 80s into the 90s alternative explosion (although i'm glad they didn't end the film with Nirvana & Green Day). i realize the documentary is about HC, but the scene didn't just end, the music and the people just changed form. (on a side note, anyone involved in the hardcore scene after '86 will once again be frustrated by the blanket statement that the scene just ended one day and not the more sensible opinion that a new generation of kids have continually created new and different waves of HC scenes through the years...even if the newer scenes weren't as good it's a real slap in the face to suggest bands like YoT, Citizens Arrest, Integrity, Los Crudos, Tragedy and many more are not HC....MRR still publishes for Christsakes).

This leads me to my second point that the range of bands covered - except for flipper and the Nig heist - were only awesome thrash bands. (yes, i know it's a strange complaint.) no reference to husker Du or the Butthole surfers and how those bands pushed the musical boundaries of HC or footage of some funky big boys or minutemen songs which would spotlight how bands like the chili peppers/faith no more would tweak the HC sound and successfully sell it to millions. i know you can't show every band from the era, but if you added the aforementioned bands and subtracted some (admittedly Slammin') YDI and Scream footage it may have shown the broader impact of that original HC scene. i should note that a couple obvious bands had to be omitted for legal reasons and a couple of your favorites were probably cut out in editing... mine being the Descendents, red cross, naked Raygun, AOD and GG Allin and the jabbers. i really don't know how to end this review... the archival footage is amazing and i'm glad this era of punk rock has finally been given the documentary treatment, but if you're not a crazy hardcore punk fan such as myself, you may get kinda bored after 45 minutes...just ask my girlfriend.


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