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A Band Called Death (2013)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 48
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 3

A Band Called Death is not only a fascinating portrait of a pioneering rock group, but also a tribute to family ties and perseverance in the face of hardship.

94

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 1

A Band Called Death is not only a fascinating portrait of a pioneering rock group, but also a tribute to family ties and perseverance in the face of hardship.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 4,841

My Rating

Movie Info

Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early '70s formed a band in their spare bedroom, began playing a few local gigs and even pressed a single in the hopes of getting signed. But this was the era of Motown and emerging disco. Record companies found Death's music - and band name - too intimidating, and the group were never given a fair shot, disbanding before they even completed one album.

Aug 13, 2013

$0.1M

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All Critics (48) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (3)

An especially pointed variation on one of music's most oft-told tales: A band formed ahead of its time sits in muffled obscurity while others reap the harvest of what it first planted.

August 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fortunately, Bobby and Dannis, the surviving brothers, prove genial company.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If the brothers seem a little drunk on their own myth, they're also genuinely humbled by the band's rediscovery and warmed by the fact that their kids have carried on the family tradition.

July 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Their story can feel almost too ready-made for the telling, but it's well worth a listen.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... a must-watch for fans of punk music, vinyl record wonks, or even those interested ... a visionary entertainment dream.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: MSN Movies
MSN Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[A] generous, spirited documentary [that captures] one of the strangest and most inspiring of all family stories of tragedy and triumph that this crazy country has produced.

June 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Death lives!

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

A slice of music history forgotten for too long, and, thanks to A Band Called Death, forgotten no longer.

November 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

It could have dug a little deeper, pursued more candid moments to capture on film. But it compensates by recanting the emotionally meaningful story of the Hackney family.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: MLive.com
MLive.com

An exceptional look at artistic integrity, musical innovation, and the power of family ties.

July 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Blu-ray.com
Blu-ray.com

A rock 'n' roll fairy tale, well-told.

July 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

It's a bittersweet story of the fringes of fame and of three brothers who belatedly deserve to share the spotlight.

July 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

A band call Death comes back to live in this hilarious and poignant peon to hard rock with a soft heart.

July 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

Directors Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett tell this part of A Band Called Death without much artifice, relying on the natural charm and sunny dispositions of the surviving Hackney brothers to draw us in.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Canada.com
Canada.com

It's a soul-stirring tribute to a man whose vision was too bold and revolutionary for his lifetime, or the convention-bound ways of the music industry, but was ultimately too powerful to be denied.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

An amazing story -- about the history of rock, about the capriciousness of fame and, perhaps most importantly, about the power of family.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Seven Days
Seven Days

Like 'Searching For Sugar Man,' 'A Band Called Death' takes its cue from the modesty and joyfulness of its subjects, letting the glory of their music speak for itself.

July 5, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

It's less about the rediscovery of genius than it is the value of obscurity, a sentiment that should give hope to every garage band out there.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Questions about what that reputation is worth today, and how the Hackney brothers struggled to find a foothold, give filmmakers Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett plenty of material to work with.

July 3, 2013 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

A Band Called Death shines the light on a previously unexplored corner of musical history and does it in an accessible, straightforward manner.

July 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com

A Band Called Death is a film that is all heart, as was the band it looks to explore.

July 2, 2013 Full Review Source: CraveOnline
CraveOnline

Death never got very far, and their story is a fascinating one, told beautifully by Jeff Howlett and Mark Christopher Covino.

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: RogerEbert.com
RogerEbert.com

Thanks to the new revelatory and inspiring documentary A Band Called Death, the truth behind the band's nearly simultaneous birth and death may yet find them their proper place in music history.

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

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