American Hardcore

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
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  1. BlancoA.
    Sep 30, 2006
    9
    A movie like this restores your faith that good music exists somewhere, at some point in time. This film brought me back to 1984, driving into downtown LA for private school in the backseat of a car driven by a couple of sophomore punks who blared Bad Brains, Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, and Minor Threat. I was scared sh.t.ess that Sam Picture and Matt Artukavich were gonna crash the A movie like this restores your faith that good music exists somewhere, at some point in time. This film brought me back to 1984, driving into downtown LA for private school in the backseat of a car driven by a couple of sophomore punks who blared Bad Brains, Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, and Minor Threat. I was scared sh.t.ess that Sam Picture and Matt Artukavich were gonna crash the car they were going so ballistic in the front seat of that crappy little Honda Civic. I had no idea what it was all about as a freaked out freshman, but the stuff grew on me and it was the antidote to the early-80s, Reagan, preppy, button-down cluture. I have a new respect for the influence of Bad Brains after seeing this film. It was great seeing Greg Ginn & Ian McKaye explaining how the nerve centers of the movements in the South Bay and D.C. spawned pockets throughout the country. I always thought that the hardcore movement was pretty abbreviated, and this film really drives it home. By 1985, the thing just STOPPED. Whenever I get too depressed by the state of music today, I pull out the old reliable Black Flag album to make things right. Hopefully one day, a similar visceral movement will resurface, but as they say in the movie, it'll never be Hardcore. I loved the film. The footage is incredible. I just went online and bought the first Bad Brains album to replace my old warped, riddled-with-sand cassette. "X" "X" Straight edge....M.T. Expand
  2. caporegime
    Jun 10, 2009
    10
    Perfectly explained and documented.
  3. Alana
    Aug 25, 2007
    7
    I wasn't particularly blown away by this documentary, more specifically after the first 45 minutes I was relatively disappointed. It's been mentioned that the misogynist message of hardcore was brought up... just barely. Roessler actually accuses black flag for hating women and this is never investigated further.. As for the criticism regarding white supremacy, yeah there was a I wasn't particularly blown away by this documentary, more specifically after the first 45 minutes I was relatively disappointed. It's been mentioned that the misogynist message of hardcore was brought up... just barely. Roessler actually accuses black flag for hating women and this is never investigated further.. As for the criticism regarding white supremacy, yeah there was a lot of mix up of white skin head supremacists in the punk scene.. but the documentary seemed to draw a very fine line between the skin heads and the punks. I just felt like it should have dug in to punk culture a lot more.. it was a very superficial film, although it did improve towards the end. Yeah you got the shit kicked out of you at bad brains show in the early eighties, what difference does it make if henry rollins tells us about it or some misfit kid who broke his arm in the pit. I was anticipating more. Expand
  4. E.S.
    Dec 2, 2006
    7
    Decent documentary, perhaps a little wanting at some points, but it did successfully tell the story of a musical movement with some interesting historical context. I'm mainly posting this in response to the TV Guide review, however: I can't believe how misguided the reviewer, Ken Fox, is when he refers to this music as having a racist legacy. As Ian MacKaye points out in his Decent documentary, perhaps a little wanting at some points, but it did successfully tell the story of a musical movement with some interesting historical context. I'm mainly posting this in response to the TV Guide review, however: I can't believe how misguided the reviewer, Ken Fox, is when he refers to this music as having a racist legacy. As Ian MacKaye points out in his interview, that's not what he meant his songs to become, and it's terribly off-base considering the diverse nature of many of the bands, particularly Bad Brains, but quite a few others. The misogynist message of hardcore, particularly in relation to Black Flag, is brought up in the movie as well and not in a particularly positive light. It seems to me that Mr. Fox was in a different movie from the rest of us. Expand
  5. [Anonymous]
    Nov 9, 2006
    7
    All I can say is that everyone who did a review, including all the critics and journalists, are completeley out of touch. Sure this movie covers the start up of the scene in 1980 but it certainly doesn't even touch on it's coninuity into the scene today. Do all of these middle aged dinosaurs really think that punk and hardcore was just a flash in a pan? a backlash to the reagan All I can say is that everyone who did a review, including all the critics and journalists, are completeley out of touch. Sure this movie covers the start up of the scene in 1980 but it certainly doesn't even touch on it's coninuity into the scene today. Do all of these middle aged dinosaurs really think that punk and hardcore was just a flash in a pan? a backlash to the reagan years and disco? did everyone just turn up their rollingstones albums in the 90's or turn off their stereo's all together? the 90's were the birth of a new breed of hardcore. what about Earth Crisis, Gorilla Biscuits, Strife, Judge, Tear it Up, Christ on a Crutch, MDC, the list goes on well into the new millenium. for everyone that thinks hardcore died in 1986 you obviously never went to a show in the 90's. so just sit back, scratch your hemroids, and rock back and forth in your chair remembering the good old days. and as for ken fox who did the review in TV guide saying it's the soundtrack to extreme white supremacist groups, that's the biggest load if ignorant crap i've ever heard. hardcore speaks against that racist garbage and oppression of all types. Expand
  6. JesseO.
    Nov 26, 2007
    9
    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.
  7. GeorgeW.
    Mar 18, 2007
    9
    Though it dragged in spots, this was a helluva documentary for my wife and myself as we lived the SF hardcore scene in the early eighties. I kept expecting to see myself or her thrashing about or hanging in the audience. If there had been more from SF, this may have happened. I could forgive the lack of SF coverage as the main protaginists, the DKs are now at each other's throats. Though it dragged in spots, this was a helluva documentary for my wife and myself as we lived the SF hardcore scene in the early eighties. I kept expecting to see myself or her thrashing about or hanging in the audience. If there had been more from SF, this may have happened. I could forgive the lack of SF coverage as the main protaginists, the DKs are now at each other's throats. All in all an important work that I always wondered if anyone would make. Expand
  8. ChadS.
    Apr 3, 2008
    7
    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 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. Expand
  9. RemiS.
    Nov 14, 2007
    4
    Lacks focus. They don't even try to explain "hardcore" let alone "american hardcore". Movie should have been titled "My life in the 80s". You are presented a loose collection of a narrow recollection of a select few of the "punk" music scene of the early 80s. No analysis, no introspection- just anecdotes.
  10. KeithM.
    Oct 16, 2007
    7
    I cant believe how out of touch some of the big media reviewers are.. This was first wave hardcore after punk hit the US. This film just scratched the surface on what many people consider an important part of their lives today or yesteryear.. Its interesting how few judgments were made.. either about sexist & rapist remarkst. Things were just stated and that was it. For better or for I cant believe how out of touch some of the big media reviewers are.. This was first wave hardcore after punk hit the US. This film just scratched the surface on what many people consider an important part of their lives today or yesteryear.. Its interesting how few judgments were made.. either about sexist & rapist remarkst. Things were just stated and that was it. For better or for worse its an after math of decline of western civilization part 1.. Just not quite as psychoanalytic (unfortunately). I for one would've liked some more explanation of why people were so overtly violent.. "We were just f* ups" seems to be lacking. And who said the skinhead thing had anything to do with racists? Theres more variety in race of skinheads than their are white power skins.. but thats a whole other movie. Expand
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Sally Foster
    70
    Not only documents a fascinating part of American history, but also leaves us wondering how (and if) this era's youth will manage to find a voice of their own.
  2. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    90
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    80
    The story of American punk rock (1980–1986) isn't a lot easier to summarize than that of any other major war, but it's quite a bit funnier, as this belated documentary overview--based on Steven Blush's like-titled tome--proves in each of its 90 exuberantly irritable minutes.