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Pump up the Volume (1990)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 35,150

My Rating

Movie Info

Teenage angst finds a new voice in this drama. By day, Mark Hunter (Christian Slater) is a quiet, studious student at an ordinary suburban high school in Arizona. But at night, Mark creeps down into his basement, fires up his pirate radio transmitter, and broadcasts to the community as Hard Harry, a sexually obsessed social commentator who passes along angry philosophy about the state of teenage life when not blasting punk rock or gangsta rap cuts. Hard Harry's sworn nemesis is high school



Allan Moyle

Dec 21, 1999

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Latest News on Pump up the Volume

March 2, 2006:
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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (7) | DVD (8)

The perfectly cast Slater effectively propels the film, his intensity and dry delivery giving it a definite edge, as does a soundtrack which includes Ice T, Concrete Blonde and the Cowboy Junkies.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a howl from the heart, a relentlessly involving movie that gives a kid every reason to believe that he or she can come of age.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sharply uneven, this teen-angst feature begins exgremely well with some relevant social commentary; it also put on the map Christian Slater as a talent to watch.

January 8, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Slater is Moyle's generator, powering the film through some sludgy melodramatics, and while his separation of Mark and Hard Harry is practically Kabuki theater, the effort is just wonderful.

August 30, 2010 Full Review Source:

Much more than a teen experience, and one you'll never forget. TURN IT UP LOUD!

March 3, 2006

Fast paced with a satisfyingly unhappy ending.

November 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A teen anthem and guilty pleasure.

September 21, 2004 Full Review Source:


June 12, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Few films understand the fantasies of the would-be outsider-turned-icon quite as well, while remaining in a realistic setting.

May 22, 2004
New Times

Pump Up the Volume is the kind of movie that hits home. It touches on real emotions and is a reminder of just how darn awkward it is to be a young adult.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Powerful teen rebellion movie

July 14, 2003

Entertaining teen rebellion story

January 12, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

A surprisingly solid celebration of teen angst and rebellion. Soundtrack was quite choice, as well.

November 11, 2002

Pump Up the Volume is one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Pump Up The Volume is well worth a look.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Unlike most teen movies, it's honest in portraying teen years as less than idyllic.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The only real reason to see this film is Slater's knockout performance.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Pump up the Volume

Rewatched this for the first time in years. I think my last viewing may have actually been on VHS. Really enjoyed it, was actually better than I remembered it.
Excellent 1990 teen film with the usual themes of alienation. Very well done with good soundtrack and interesting spin with the anonymous pirate radio show.
November 24, 2012

Super Reviewer

Slater does it again, this catapults straight into my top 10 alongside 'Heathers' another Slater movie that I watche and while back and have been repeatedly watching since. This movie really speaks to me and I think what it has to say about youth still stands today: We're not ourselves, we live by other peoles standards, can't we just be free?
July 7, 2012
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

Slater is so hot in this movie! This rebellious teen drama is full of both angst and celebration of being a teenager at the turn of the decade. I really loved it when I was a teen, and I highly recommend it.
April 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Murdock: Creswood's a maggot pusswad.
    – Submitted by Kelly E (19 months ago)
    1. Mark Hunter: I like the idea that a voice can just go somewhere, uninvited, and just kinda hang out like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind. Maybe a though is like a virus, you know, it can... it can... kill all the healthy thoughts and just take over. That would be serious.
    – Submitted by Kelly E (19 months ago)
    1. Mark Hunter: Ok, this is really me now. No more hiding. Listen, we're all worried, we're all in pain. That just comes with having eyes and with having ears. But just remember one thing, it can't get any worse, it can only get better. I mean High School is the bottom. Being a teenager sucks! But that's the point, surviving it is the whole point! Quitting is not going to make you strong, living will. So just hang on and hang in there. You know, I know all about the hating and the sneering. I'm a member of the "why bother" generation myself. But why did I bother to come out here tonight, and why did you? I mean, It's time. It's begins with us, not with politicians, the experts or the teachers but with us. With you and with me. The ones who need it most. I gotta believe, with everything in me, the whole world is longing for healing. Even the trees, the earth itself are crying out for it. You can hear it everywhere. Same kinda healing I desperately needed and I finally feel has begun, with you.
    – Submitted by Kelly E (19 months ago)
    1. Nora Diniro: I'm the "Eat me, beat me" lady.
    – Submitted by Kelly E (19 months ago)
    1. Mark Hunter: You see I didn't plan it like this. My dumb dad got me this shortwave radio set so I could just talk to my buddies back east. But I couldn't reach anybody. So I just imagined I was talking to nobody, I imagined nobody listening. Maybe I imagined there would be one person out there. And then one day I woke up, and I realized I was never going to be normal, so I said, "Fuck it". I said, "So be it". And Happy Harry Hard-On was born. But I never meant to hurt anyone. I never meant to hurt anyone. I'm sorry Malcolm. I never said, "Don't do it".
    – Submitted by Kelly E (19 months ago)
    1. Mark Hunter: I know that all of my horny listeners would love it if I would call up the "eat me, beat me" lady. But no! Because she never encloses her number.
    2. Nora Diniro: Tough luck, creepoid.
    3. Mark Hunter: Always the same red paper, the same beautiful black writing. She's probably a lot like me, a legend in her own mind. But you know what, I bet in real life she's probably not that wild. I bet she's kind of shy like so many of us briskly walking the halls, pretending to be late for some class, pretending to be distracted. Hey, poetry lady, are you really this cool? Are you out there? Are you listening?
    – Submitted by Kelly E (19 months ago)
View all quotes (31)

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