Metal: A Headbanger's Journey - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 23, 2010
As a diehard metalhead, I was astounded at how much care that Sam Dunn has given to the genre. He truly gives the respect the genre deserves. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey takes a closer look to the metal genre. In the documentary, Sam Dunn tries to answer one question, "Why is metal so controversial, yet so loved?" The film features terrific interviews done by the legends that forged this incredible genre. Dunn is able to provide solid evidence as to why Metal is dismissed by the mainstream. As a diehard fan of the genre, I was very happy to see my question answered. For over ten years have I asked the same question that Dunn did. After viewing this documentary, I thought to myself, well this genre is an elitist genre, the people who listen to it don't conform to the standards of trendy music of today, thus it makes loving metal that much cooler. Just the fact the the trendy MTV crowd misunderstands this epic genre makes me love metal even more. Dunn presents valid arguments to his points and that also shows that him being a metalhead doesn't necessarily make him stupid as the mainstream crowd presents us metalheads to be. Dunn asks intelligent questions, and despite that he's surrounded by his idols, he is extremely professional. One interview kinda pissed me off, the one with Mayhem, the guy was being a really douchbag with the director. Dunn asked him a buinch of questions, and the guy from Mayhem just kept telling him to fuck off. The interview after that was with Ronnie James Dio. Dio as always is kindhearted and he was very kind to the crew. that was one of my favorite interviews. Dio was the man, and always will be. Dunn has done a terrific with assembling a collection of great interviews, one of the best is Dee Snider talking about the PMRC censorship of metal bands. Snider proved that metal musicians are intelligent, and not some stupid uneducated people. Other worthy interviews are with Alice Cooper, Tom Araya, Kerry King and Tony Iommi. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is terrific music documentary, it answers many questions and gives true respect to this misunderstood genre of music. One of the reasons that this documentary works so well is that it was made by fans for fans. One phenomenal Journey for metal fans everywhere. The appeal of Metal music has lasted longer than many careers of pop stars of today, in many ways the genre is still young, as it continues to reinvent itself and be relevant with today's times. Watch out Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, METAL IS HERE TO STAY!!!
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2008
This is one of my favorite documentaries, not only because I'm a metalhead myself, but because it gives true insight into a large global cultural movement. That this movie was helmed by an anthropologist metalhead increased this full perspective of its subjects. Sam Dunn asks intelligent questions of the "heroes and gods of metal" so that even diehard fans will gain some insight on the art form. Dunn's talent at interviewing also creates some very compelling and full portraits of a spectrum of metal fans themselves. Dunn is also incredibly tactful when dealing with the "bad boys" of metal who just want to curse and fling beer at the camera, or especially the Satanic black metal musicians in Northern Europe (mostly Norway) who advocate violence and have prior committed or advocated terrorist acts of political natures. Overall, Dunn creates a fantastic and extremely informative doc, thorough, and one of the better music docs I have ever seen. This doc works for people completely oblivious to the metal scene as well as the seasoned headbanger. The DVD 2 disc edition is also required to get the best out of this doc. While what had the edited feature stands perfectly on its own and will be enough for some viewers, the extended interviews with metal's legends and revolutionary contemporaries are must-watch for rock fans or musicians.

This movie also introduced me to tons of great metal bands I didn't know about and I've also gotten around to listening to legendary bands that have been on my "discographies to digest" list; Right now I am listening to: Hammerfall and Candlemass in the former category, and Rush and Iron Maiden in the latter. \m/,.\m/
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2006
The first ever documenatry about heavy metal culture, from the point of view of someone who is immersed in it himself. I saw this at the Toronto film festival when it came out and I still love it. It's one of my favorite documentaries, although some of his concluding points kind of came out of the blue.
Super Reviewer
½ January 17, 2008
Anthropologist Sam Dunn directs this documentary about an under appreciated music genre with love, and it shows. It's not everyday you watch a documentary and say, "Wow that movie was fun", but this one will please both die-hard fans and those who find metal an abysmal art form.
Super Reviewer
½ December 18, 2006
A thorough love letter to metal subculture, for fans, by one.
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2008
Interesting documentary, whether you like metal or not.
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2010
This would have been essential reading (ok, viewing) for the "School of Rock". To anyone who hates metal music, and doesn't know or doesn't want to know what it's all about, please watch this. In the end you come out of the experience knowing much more about the artists and what they represent to the eternal youth that needs to rebel, to find an outlet for anger, aggression and repressed emotions.
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2006
Cool doc on the history and culture of heavy metal.
Super Reviewer
½ May 6, 2007
Informative and entertaining, with many exciting performances and interviews with the best of the best metal legends. Ronnie James Dio & Dee Snyder are so damn outspoken. Dio started the 'devil horns' hand sign; Snyder defended glam rock's free speech movement politically. Makes me sad to see Emo punk kids use prior generations' hand gestures.
Super Reviewer
½ April 26, 2007
Interesting doc. I had rented a doc called "Black Metal" the night before because I was interested in Norwegian Black Metal (talk about wacky!) but it never worked in my DVD player, so I figured I'd downgrade to just "Metal". Though I don't think it helps those who find metal ridiculous to really see it's merits, it is good justification for those who like their music a bit angry and loud. Plus there was a section on Norwegian Black Metal!
July 31, 2011
Sam Dunn provides brilliant perspective on what Metal is and why it thrives in this documentary on the Metal scene.
½ June 17, 2011
Good: An exciting and educatinal journey through music with interviews
Bad: Nothing

Sam Dunn travels around the world to find out the facts about metal. It's roots, stereotypes, and reasoning. This is a very detailed showing of the metal genre, not just diviving into the history as a whole, but going into each subgenre from glam metal to death metal. This is definatly the best metal documentary I have ever, and most likely will have ever, seen. There are a multitude of interviews with many different bands such as Rob Zombie, Black Sabbath, and Cannibal Corpse. I found it exciting when a metal performer that I listen to would appear in the movie. The feel of the Wakken Metal Festival just had a good feel to watch. A people coming together under one love of their genre of music. Even though I do not listen to the death metal and grindcore genres I was still interested to learn of their past. Making it a good film for anyone just interested in the history of rock music. It dives into the political issues of lyrical lawsuits and sexuality, or even the burning of churchs in Norway. At many points the movie will be inserted with clips of concerts, or even have music play in the background to make your journey through metal more entertaining. Now I may have found this very exciting just because I am a fan of the music, but to anyone interested this film should be an experience that will be both fun to watch, and lets you learn.
February 7, 2010
a great documentary about one thing metal and it's ideal and how it has changed the world's influence by the genre metal
½ November 7, 2008
I would have gave it five but too much stuff about slip knot. Also what abouth finnish heavy metal, it seemed to be over looked. I gotta have more power metal. Still it has a verry powerfull ending.
May 8, 2007
Great concept, I would've liked to see him explore more of the many branches on the metal family tree, but he covered it pretty well.
½ August 21, 2008
tis really shoves the "fuck you" aspect of TRYING to show people metal is more than just noise down their freakin throats
½ July 3, 2008
An excellent documentary on metal. I only wish they had spent more time on Black Metal but that would be a whole film itself.
December 1, 2007
This was an amazing documentary, if only for the fact that you get to see that Dio is not only one of the most rocking fuckers alive, he also is the smallest and nerdiest looking too!!!! Its a great rock-doc though. Check it out if you are into music in general or metal in particular.
½ June 28, 2007
great documentary that goes about the history of metal, its controversies, its beliefs and the different forms....many interviews of metal gods and others.....just a lot of stuff happens and its hard to explain but its great and i think everyone should see might give u a different perspective about Metal!
June 2, 2007
Definitely a well-done documentary...covers the important aspects of each sub-genre, as well as getting into the details.

Also, the fact that it was done by a person who was actually INTO the genre, as opposed to some fuckwit who had heard "Enter Sandman" on the radio one time, was definitely a plus.
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