Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Excellent documentary American Hardcore chronicles the short-lived but influential musical moment when a defiantly anti-commercial underground put a distinctive U.S. stamp on the hitherto Brit-driven punk movement.
  2. 83
    The triumph of American Hardcore is that it convinces general audiences that there were vast underground reservoirs of angst and anguish to be tapped.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. caporegime
    Jun 10, 2009
    Perfectly explained and documented.
  2. ChadS.
    Apr 3, 2008
    Punk rock never quite made it to Hawaii. We had Frank Orrall, whose first band was called Hat Makes the Man. Orrall, of course, is the Punk rock never quite made it to Hawaii. We had Frank Orrall, whose first band was called Hat Makes the Man. Orrall, of course, is the brainchild behind Poi Dog Pondering, Hawaii's sole contribution to the "alternative" music scene during college radio's heyday. What Blue Oyster Cult did for the cowbell("Don't Fear the Reaper"), Poi Dog Pondering did for the tin whistle("Living with the Dreaming Body"). Needless to say, I was listening to Gary Numan at the start of the hardcore movement("Here in my car, I feel safest of all"), and moved on to China Crisis("Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms" is underrated, man!) when Black Flag called it quits. "American Hardcore" is only as good as the music they're covering, and since this documentary insists on being a comprehensive one, the film drags a bit when the film shines the spotlight on the midwest. Things pick up again when the film covers the advent of SST Records, because Henry Rollins and Ian McKaye are brought back as testifiers to this, yes, ancedotal, but entertaining oral history. On IFC, Rollins talks about his renewed love for ELO, and all things classic rock, but his contemporaries are diehards, apparently, still ragging on those dinosaur acts like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. Foghat? Why pick on Foghat? I'd love to hear Vic Bondi(Articles of Faith) comment about Jack Johnson. According to the British, hardcore never existed. After The Sex Pistols disbanded, the era between 1978-1984 is commonly labeled as post-punk. You can probably play "Holiday in the Sun" to a mixed audience with a minimal amount of agitation from the MOR-jetset, but that's not the case with Bad Brains' "Pay to Cum". So, is punk rock dead? Don't tell that to Les Savy Fav, who kicked everybody's ass on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" during the writers' strike. I've lived in Hawaii my entire life and I had no idea Dan Inouye's son played in Marginal Man. Full Review »
  3. JesseO.
    Nov 26, 2007
    One of the best films of the 80's true punk evolution really liked the interviews of some of those most resposible for it all.