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Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2009)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 134
Fresh: 131 | Rotten: 3

A touching, uplifting and inspirational rockumentary about an aging metal band, both hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure.

97

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 1

A touching, uplifting and inspirational rockumentary about an aging metal band, both hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 8,776

My Rating

Movie Info

About the Canadian metal band Anvil. At 14, Toronto school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, went on to become the "demigods of Canadian metal," releasing one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982's "Metal on Metal." It went on to sell millions of records, but Anvil's career didn't flourish afterwards. Instead, they went straight to obscurity.

Oct 6, 2009

$0.5M

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Latest News on Anvil! The Story of Anvil

November 21, 2012:
Five Favorite Films with Hitchcock Director Sacha Gervasi
Arguably the most famous director in cinema history (and the auteur behind the recently crowned...
March 30, 2012:
Anvil Plans Sequel to Anvil! The Story of Anvil
The Canadian heavy metal legends will return in "Anvil 2: The Quest for World Peace."

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All Critics (134) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (131) | Rotten (3) | DVD (4)

While it's undoubtedly comical and touching, a pall of middle-aged gloom hovers over the antics of Canada's longest surviving death metal band.

September 11, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National | Comments (4)
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A winning and surprisingly moving documentary about -- wait for it -- a struggling Canadian heavy metal band that apparently influenced a generation of hard-rockers including Metallica, Anthrax and Guns N' Roses.

July 10, 2009
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cute if predictable.

May 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Now THIS is Spinal Tap.

May 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's an affectionate portrait of performers starving for applause, achingly funny as only real life can be.

May 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The new documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil succeeds every which way, as '80s metal nostalgia, as a twisted sort of reality-show attempt at a comeback, as an unexpectedly touching portrait of a friendship.

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A winning way to thrash out an evening's entertainment.

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

It's worth seeing because it's as dramatic as movies come, and the characters are more real than anything you'll see in a work of fiction.

June 26, 2011 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Anvil! es ante todo el retrato de una amistad verdadera, la de dos compañeros de ruta que a pesar del paso del tiempo y de los fracasos (...) todavía siguen persiguiendo el mismo sueño loco de cuando eran adolescentes.

April 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Anvil is an inspirational documentary which provides witness to the power of the human spirit, played to a heavy metal soundtrack.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Transcends thrash metal culture and becomes a working class tale of doing what you love at all costs.

January 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

One of the most uplifting and inspirational movies of the year.

December 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The journey of Anvil in the film is one suffused with love and passion...they are the poster-band for passion, and their story is worth checking out.

December 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinerina

What's so refreshing about 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil' is that it focuses on a Toronto band named Anvil who have been playing for 30 years despite having no commercial success to show for it.

December 6, 2009 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

I found more real-life poetry about aspiration and failure in a fictional effort such as The Wrestler.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm | Comment (1)
LarsenOnFilm

This is one of those movies that makes you want to find out what happens next, and those are the best kind.

December 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

You'll learn nothing new here about chasing the dream, but this non-fiction story may convince you to make room in your heart to appreciate the combination of earnestness and doggedness that some people maintain.

November 24, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Its touching human interest story about survival hit me in the gut.

November 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Well, the best movie of 2009 is a documentary about aging heavy metal musicians making a last-ditch effort at fame and fortune.

November 14, 2009 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Anvil! goes all the way to 11.

November 10, 2009 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

Let's be honest: Anvil is not metal's missing link, and "Anvil!" has been awfully overpraised. However, it's worth watching for the frequent moments of warm, humane heavy-metal comedy and the antagonistic push-and-pull of Canadian creative cousins.

October 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Suite101.com | Comment (1)
Suite101.com

Two musical wannabes in a perpetual reach for the brass ring. But where it will lead remains unanswered by anything more than what they've always had in great quantity. Hope.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Anvil is rock solid entertainment. Whether you're mad for metal or not, you'll find the band's talent, spirit, humor--and mettle--a real rush.

October 4, 2009 Full Review Source: About.com
About.com

The music, heard in economical proportions, is secondary to the unexpectedly deep bond between its creators. Their story is an underdog's triumph that's difficult to deny.

September 11, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

See Anvil! if you love heavy metal, because these guys are legends. See Anvil! if you don't love heavy metal because this story is legendary.

September 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Audience Reviews for Anvil! The Story of Anvil

This band's story is a hopeful and endearing rock fable that touches the heart of many, even non metal fans like myself. Robb and Lips are two dedicated artists who never had the recognition they deserved.
May 26, 2013
pier007

Super Reviewer

A lot of the metal bands that started in the early 1980s are still relevant today, some are even more popular than ever. This is the true story of one band that started out with them but never made it anywhere. The documentary follows the two founding members Lips and Robb, from their day jobs to a catastrophic European tour, from new hope with another record to the search for a label. That's as disenchanting as it is charming and funny. The two musicians never gave up on their dream and still refuse to do so. To see them try and fail over and over is both embarrassing and touching at the same time. This would not be a great underdog story if it wasn't for the ray of hope in the final act. Every viewer of this film will certainly check wikipedia afterwards to find out where their road took them recently. And it'll leave a smile on their face.
June 18, 2012
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

You don't need to love metal, you just need to love honest artists. In the early going, you can't help but compare it to This Is Spinal Tap, and start to wonder how much of it is put on, but you quickly realize that this story is too common and too pure to be faked. There are hundreds of bands out there who almost made it... and next to none of them can say they've been together 30 years, like Anvil has.

When Anvil was unable to follow up their shot - the final slot on a tour of Japan that also featured Scorpions and Bon Jovi - they wound up doing everything themselves. The Story of Anvil is a touching documentary that can bring you to tears in some places - Lips and Robb never quite lose that fanboy joy, no matter how badly things go, or which members of which big bands don't remember them - and it can make you laug out loud in others. Typical line: "The tour went wrong. Everything went disastrously wrong. But at least there was a tour for things to go wrong on. I don't regret a minute of it." Talk about an optimist! At its core, this film is about two regular guys who just love what they do, and who keep doing it, for themselves and for each other. As every struggling artist knows, you have to imagine that Sisyphus is happy. Excellent documentary, a wonderful surprise.
December 29, 2011
danperry17

Super Reviewer

"At fourteen, they made a pact to rock together forever. They meant it."

At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the "demi-gods of Canadian metal, " influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams.

REVIEW
"Anvil! The Story of Anvil" is a rock documentary that focuses on an extremely influential, yet now totally obscure, Canadian speed trash metal band. That's the story of Steve "Lips" Kudlow who teamed up with his high school buddy Robb Reiner in 1973. By the early 1980s they recorded their seminal album "Metal on Metal" and toured along with Scorpions, Whitesnake and Bon Jovi in Japan. They were to become famous like their peers, yet something didn't work out as Lemmy of Motorhead aptly put it: "sometimes, you have to be in the right place at the right time". 25 years later the two band members live like ordinary people providing for their families through hard work. Director Sacha Gervasi is a long-time fan of the band who has crafted a motion picture that goes from funny (the archival footage of the band) to realistically sincere and poignant (the band's constant struggle with elements out of their control). The movie rings true throughout depicting the band dealing with numerous challenging situations which include: the organizational problems on their European tour, the discord between Kudlow and Reiner while recording their 13th album and the lack of the proper record label which would release their CD. At this point, the movie gets far more universal as it deals with the situation of numerous under-appreciated outfits in the cruel music business. Gervasi never lets things go too dark though retaining the joyous, almost celebral tone of the movie. In a nutshell, "Anvil!" is about never giving up one's dreams no matter what. Gervasi's love letter to the band is surprisingly tender, yet far from glorifying.
September 1, 2011
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Anvil! Die Geschichte einer Freundschaft (DE)
  • Anvil ! (FR)
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