Metascore
30

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 17
  2. Negative: 11 out of 17
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Kate Erbland
    Oct 8, 2013
    37
    The absolute antithesis to the pioneering punk spirit it tries to portray.
  2. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Oct 8, 2013
    30
    No doubt a decent movie could have been made about the behind-the-scenes life of CBGB, but CBGB isn’t it. It’s as flip about the club as it is about Kristal, the music, and the time and place that shaped it all.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Oct 3, 2013
    30
    In its stylistically flailing stab at authenticity, CBGB ends up merely a mess of caricatures.
  4. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Oct 11, 2013
    25
    CBGB ain't no party, it ain't no disco, it ain't no foolin' around. It also isn't authentic for a second, and it provides zero insight into the birth of the New York City punk scene in the 1970s.
  5. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Oct 10, 2013
    25
    The most distressing bad choice in CBGB, a movie entirely composed from them, is that those brilliant songs are repurposed studio recordings.
  6. Reviewed by: Charlie Schmidlin
    Oct 10, 2013
    25
    Director Randall Miller (“Bottle Shock”) could do worse than render the early-'70s punk scene as breezy broad comedy. He adopts that tactic and still falters though, deflating any energy or humor possible with his limp direction, sitcom consistency, and unfocused tone.
  7. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Oct 8, 2013
    25
    As the film moves from one musical performance to another, the result increasingly feels like a series of celebrity impersonations set to a best-of-punk compilation album.
  8. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Oct 15, 2013
    20
    Transforms the glory days of Hilly Kristal’s Bowery punk/No Wave club into exactly the sort of moldy sitcom one might expect from writer-director Randall Miller.
  9. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Oct 10, 2013
    20
    There is no story to speak of. Just a series of anecdotes that gain very little when acted out on screen.
  10. Reviewed by: Brian McManus
    Oct 8, 2013
    20
    CBGB's biggest problem is that it's taken such electrifying source material and done absolutely zilch with it.
  11. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Oct 8, 2013
    20
    The film strives to cinematically reanimate that shabby underground lair; instead, it proves to be the most bastardized souvenir bauble of all.
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 2 out of 5
  1. Jan 15, 2015
    9
    This is a very good movie portraying the birth of punk rock'n'roll. Are the music performances studio recordings? Yes, they are - so what?!This is a very good movie portraying the birth of punk rock'n'roll. Are the music performances studio recordings? Yes, they are - so what?! They show exactly what the bands sounded like when they debuted their singles.
    Actor performances are also above par, but above all, the movie told a story worth telling - and that is what I most value when watching a movie.
    Full Review »
  2. May 16, 2014
    0
    Oh my gosh! Just dreadful. CBGB is so bad it doesn't even deserve an OMG. It feels like it was made by a 12 year old that never left theOh my gosh! Just dreadful. CBGB is so bad it doesn't even deserve an OMG. It feels like it was made by a 12 year old that never left the suburbs during the 80s but dreamed about going to NYC and CBGBs. One after another some look alike actor comes out and lipsyncs a song. Then it ends. Full Review »
  3. Oct 25, 2013
    9
    I was entertained from start to finish by this high energy movie. The birth of punk music provides the backdrop for the story of HillyI was entertained from start to finish by this high energy movie. The birth of punk music provides the backdrop for the story of Hilly Kristal who has a vision for a club where musicians play original music. He starts out a ne'er do well and never really loses his messy, gritty persona while building CBGB. Alan Rickman is outstanding as are many of the familiar faces, and the unknown actors playing the rockers are spot on. Full Review »