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American Hardcore (2006)

tomatometer

72

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 61
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 17

American Hardcore is an informative and highly entertaining look at the heyday of punk in the early 1980s.

86

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 3

American Hardcore is an informative and highly entertaining look at the heyday of punk in the early 1980s.

audience

77

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 34,795

My Rating

Movie Info

The lost subculture of America's rebellious, Reagan-era hardcore set is explored in filmmaker Paul Rachman's cinematic adaptation of Steven Blush's book. Disillusioned by politics, angered by greedy record labels, and bound together by a powerful antiestablishment sentiment, bands such as Minor Threat, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, and Bad Brains paved the way for such later bands as Nirvana and Pearl Jam by fearlessly questioning -- and frequently mocking -- the status quo, and proving that you

R,

Musical & Performing Arts, Documentary

Steven Blush

Feb 20, 2007

Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (17) | DVD (5)

... an enjoyable if incomplete nostalgia trip.

December 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

American Hardcore, Paul Rachman's impressively thorough documentary, tells of the second-generation punk rockers who learned from the Sex Pistols and Ramones and then did their DIY thing.

November 10, 2006
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

American Hardcore gets what most music lovers could not at the time: Sometimes, that noise in your head and that anger in your heart just has to get out, and there's always a guitar around somewhere.

November 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Instead of an insightful look at disaffected youths finding an outlet for angry energy in rock rages, American Hardcore is a slanted history lesson coming solely from its subjects.

November 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What's irritating about the movie is how much time it spends on empty nostalgia -- shouldn't real punks scorn reminiscing? -- and how little time it spends truly exploring the roots of America's punk prime in the early 1980s.

November 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Leaves little doubt that this truly was one of the wildest eras in rock.

October 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For a documentary ostensibly about the history of the hardcore punk music movement that reigned in America during the '80s, director Paul Rachman and writer Steven Blush indefensibly omit the genre's most talented and high-profile band (The Dead Kennedys)

April 26, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Struggles under the weight of its own ambition.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The hit-and-run effect sometimes suggests a documentary equivalent to slam dancing, but without the bruises.

February 9, 2007
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Rachman's chronicle suffers not from a shortage of authentic footage of ready-made hardcore shows, complete with (completely necessary) subtitled lyrics, or doughy, balding, talking heads still bragging about the thrown punches and peed-on chicks of yeste

January 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Reeler

A film for the fans, especially if you were one of those sonic youths venting steam at a guerrilla show in someone's basement, a VFW hall or club that condescended to present a hardcore show. For once-upon-a-time kids now irrevocably middle-aged, the kick

January 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

AmericanHardcore ! Aboutboredstupidyouth! Didn'tliketheNewWave ! Gomoshin'fortruth ! Can'tfindtruth ! Can'tfindgrace ! SettleforHenryRollins! Punchin'dudesintheface !

January 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Comment (1)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

While this documentary features rare performance footage of hard-core punk-rock bands Black Flag and Bad Brains, it's not exactly the best-assembled or deepest cinematic exploration of the subject.

December 29, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Rachman's concert footage confirms that the music was unique: bruising, chaotic and blisteringly electric.

November 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"American Hardcore" harkens back to the time when punk rockers were actual punks, not whining, prefabricated MTV pretty boys.

November 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

The movie preaches to the choir, and bores everyone else.

November 29, 2006 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

Crammed with grainy, shot-on-the-fly mid-Eighties video footage, recent interviews, and a genuine love for its subject, American Hardcore encapsulates a largely forgotten moment in maximum rock & roll history.

November 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

It's a great subject for a documentary, and director Paul Rachman does a good job of rounding up period footage and contemporary interviews. But for all its noise, his film is weirdly flabby.

November 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

If band names like Circle Jerks, D.O.A., Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat resonate with you, then this documentary celebrating their short-lived, pummeling breed of thrash-and-burn rock music will surely get your blood boiling all over again.

November 10, 2006
Philadelphia Daily News

For the record, Rachman's punk-rockology has its cracks. While he worships at the altar of Henry Rollins and Black Flag, he excludes such key West Coast bands as X and the Dead Kennedys.

November 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Hardcore could have done with a little more self-criticism instead of self-congratulation, a little more outside commentary as opposed to inner-circle ramblings.

November 2, 2006
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Audience Reviews for American Hardcore

How can a documentary about the rise of the fiercely energetic, riotously entertaining and badass hardcore offshoot of punk be so boring? The film is grossly unfocused, travels all over the place and never seems to find the right chord. Interviews with some of hardcore punk's most influential artists (including the inimitable Henry Rollins) have no logical thread, they are simply wrapped around some often great concert footage. The all-over-the-place schizofrenic nature of the film is not even an attempt to imitate what the hardcore punk movement consisted of because it absolutely lacks the manic, heedless energy that fueled it.

A great disappointment. Worth seeing (for punk fans) for the concert sequences, Henry Rollins and not much else.
March 17, 2007
Hellshocked
Eduardo C

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