A Band Called Death - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Band Called Death Reviews

Page 1 of 8
½ July 9, 2018
A trio of African American brothers from Detroit formed the band "Death" in the early 70's. They are a loud, stripped down hard rock band with a bit of a political edge, which was far from typical for an African American band in those days (hell, it ain't typical in these days). The fact that they fit no clean genre mold compounded by resistance to their name caused them to fade into obscurity after one self-released single in 1995. When they were rediscovered in the 2000's, the album of tracks they had recorded was released to much acclaim. This is a cool story, and to some degree I like the film. I'm not a big fan of the band. Their fine, but the notion that they were some kind of punk rock pioneers is wildly overstated. The film really over hypes this angle, seeming to forget that bands like the MC5 exist, were from the same state as "Death" and released an album 7 years before this band recorded anything. I think it's fascinating to hear a band that steps this far out of their expected niche, but this film goes way over the top.
½ December 23, 2017
"A Band Called Death" is a very different type of rockumentary. It's a film about close family ties, belief in God, staying true to oneself regardless if this determination leads to missed opportunities, and finally a redemption of sorts. It also IS about death (of the lead guitarist, bandleader, and songwriter) and concentrates on that more than anything else. The film celebrates the band's writing and sound, but there is not that much of their music included. Was "Death" musically way ahead of their time? To an extent yes. But a band named "The Stooges" came before them.
½ August 18, 2017
"This Band Was Punk Before Punk Was Punk" - The New York Times. Death was an all-brother, all-brother (see what I did there? All blood siblings, and African Americans) Punk Rock band that predates even The Ramones. Historically speaking, they were the first punk rock band in history. We just didn't know it, not until some 35 years later. The leader of the group, David, provided some mystifying insight into what was to come for this group of brothers many years down the road, and many years after his own death. The remaining brothers and nephews pay incredible respect and homage to David by bringing Death to life and continuing his vision and his dream. Their music was very good, so much so, I'll be looking for a copy of some of their music. Hope it's since been converted to CD (yes, I still prefer CD's, you high tech nerds you). But let's get back on track, the documentary was amazing to watch, very emotional, very soothing, very inspiring. Death just made a fan in me. Must watch doc.
½ June 2, 2017
For a few reasons, this isn't as uplifting as 'Searching For Sugarman' - a doc which is extremely similar thematically.
½ February 15, 2017
If Punk is your genre of music, this is the very first punk band, and most people don't even know it.
December 21, 2016
A stellar Documentary about the bond of Brothers and what they will do for each other. Great Band, Great Music, Great Story
August 13, 2016
holy shit this was awesome.
how have I only seen this NOW?!
½ January 11, 2016
If you love music, watch this movie.
December 23, 2015
an awesome documentary! shows some interesting things about the record business in the 70s
November 14, 2015
Great documentary about this band joined by three brothers, colored people, that played punk before it was called punk, and its rediscovery and delayed success.
February 5, 2015
This was SOOO GREAT!
January 13, 2015
I really liked the documentary, especially the first half, but I have some critiques. Death was not the only proto-punk garage band in the Detroit area around that time. There was also Iggy Pop and MC5, and the film never discusses these other groups and their possible influence on Death. Not to say that the band's music was not original, but music is not created in a void, but in a social and musical context. In order to highlight the originality of the band, interviewers never asked questions about how other early punk bands may have influenced them, or their reaction to other Afro-punk bands such as Bad Brains, even if Bad Brains may have formed a few years later. It is a compelling story and it is strikingly similar to the story told about the artist Rodriguez, also from Detroit, in the film "Waiting for Sugar Man".
½ August 13, 2014
Decent movie on this music genre!
½ July 27, 2014
Amazing true story of three musicians / blood brothers and long journey to recognition. one brothers dream and vision realized through the family loyalty love and music of his younger brothers and nephews. You know the typical punk rock story :-)
July 9, 2014
One of the best documentaries ive ever seen! Hands Down
July 5, 2014
I've been digging their music since it resurfaced, and finally watched the doc. Really engaging.
½ June 30, 2014
Or A Film Called Death...

How appropriate for this film about the near-forgotten punk rock band, Death, that the entire film is haunted by death. It was something I wasn't really expecting. I was expecting a pretty straight forward music documentary about a band that time nearly forgot, like Searching for Sugarman or Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, but what I got out of a Band Called Death is a movie about death and spirituality. And the result is a film that is better than either of the other films mentioned.

It starts off like Big Star, a film about a band that's future looked incredibly promising, but how its success was tragically short-lived. The third act is similar to Searching for Sugarman, a film about how the songs of this band resurfaced years after their inception. But what sets this film apart is the middle section about the death of one of the founding members of the band, who was also the brother to the other two members.

It becomes this tragic story about how when dreams die, it slowly kills a part of a person. And how despair can only exist when hope is alive. The film spends a lot of time on pondering these issues through the story of David, and I found myself incredibly moved by this story. It really gives the film an edge that typical music documentaries don't have.

If you're a fan of 70s rock, you need to see this film, and even if you're not, do yourself a favor and see this movie. Even if you have to get through the first 30 minutes (which I love, but you may not), the middle section of the film is emotionally powerful.
½ June 21, 2014
An excellent documentary with a fascinating story to tell.
½ June 21, 2014
If you like Anvil, then this is your movie...
½ June 16, 2014
It's a documentary about the forgotten punk rock band 'Death', but I dug how it also told the story a close nit family & their long & intimate relationship with music
Page 1 of 8