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American Hardcore

The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986

A vivid and mind-bending look at the glory days of the American punk rock scene (you remember those times, when Henry Rollins had a neck and the Bad Brains were what it meant to be "black metal"). This is the 80s like you have never seen them, brilliantly brought back to life in this fascinating new film featuring interviews with the likes of Black Flag, SS Decontrol, and the Dead Kennedys. Of course the American punk scene was a relatively short-lived period in our musical history, actually co-existing with the Reagan era beginning around 1980. By '86 it was all over, only to be recaptured now 20 years later, as a fondly remembered footnote in an industry that now gets its rocks off on the latest American Idol winner. As this craftily made documentary demonstrates, these guys didn't compromise as their short shelf life attested. What's really remarkable is that director Paul Rachman was able to pull so much previously unseen footage out of the vaults and private collections and put it together in a coherent way that even makes Minor Threat make sense. Using the Reagan administration as its whipping boy, this alternative culture was born in the underground and emerged as a passionate answer to the neo-conservative tide in the country at the time. The actual music may be rough around the edges now, but this head trip back to the future is well worth the journey, if only to see some of these graying forgotten trendsetters waxing nostalgic about an era in the rock canon most people completely missed. If you lived through that era, you must see American Hardcore. If it's all just a "Purple Haze," then you really must see this film. Pete Hammond, Maxim
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Directed by: 
Paul Rachman
Running Time: 
Frank Agnew, Jonathan Anastas, Phil Anselmo, George Anthony
Screenplay by: 
Steven Blush

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