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American Hardcore

American Hardcore

4.5 2
Director: Paul Rachman

Cast: Bad Brains, Black Flag, The Circle Jerks

The lost subculture of America's rebellious, Reagan-era hardcore set is explored in filmmaker Paul Rachman's cinematic adaptation of Steven Blush's book. Disillusioned by politics, angered by greedy record labels, and bound together by a powerful antiestablishment sentiment, bands such


The lost subculture of America's rebellious, Reagan-era hardcore set is explored in filmmaker Paul Rachman's cinematic adaptation of Steven Blush's book. Disillusioned by politics, angered by greedy record labels, and bound together by a powerful antiestablishment sentiment, bands such as Minor Threat, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, and Bad Brains paved the way for such later bands as Nirvana and Pearl Jam by fearlessly questioning -- and frequently mocking -- the status quo, and proving that you don't need radio play to reach an audience. Whether working for a real change or simply attempting to shake things up in the music scene, these bands gave a voice to the legions of youthful fans who felt their opinions had been neglected in mainstream society. In this documentary, concert footage combines with interviews to offer a comprehensive look at the musical revolution that defined an era.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
American Hardcore joins a spate of loosely concurrent '80s U.S. independent music histories written by the fans who lived it, like Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life. Similar to the same name book by Steven Blush, who also produced and wrote the screenplay, the prime attraction of this documentary is the collection of rare artifacts and memorabilia from the early hardcore era: posters, flyers, cassette-tape art, cable-access shows, and concert footage from everything from house parties to clubs. Director Paul Rachman succeeds in capturing the vibe of the era, of corporate label consolidation before the Internet and a well-connected underground, when bands had to painfully build themselves up from scratch and D.I.Y. was more means of survival than quaint attitude. Rachman loosely follows the chronology of hardcore's development by following the isolated scenes that cropped up around major U.S. cities and how relentless touring-by-van cross-pollinated and connected the bands to a larger whole. Lucid commentary by well-known participants like Henry Rollins, Gregg Ginn, and Ian MacKaye capture the general flow of events and anti-Reagan, testosterone-heavy flavor. While paying tribute to the music and the lifestyle, Rachman addresses many of the stickier issues at the hardcore scene's edges, including violence, racism, and misogyny, and how the movement frayed when fans started celebrating that which the musicians were attacking. The geographical shifts can get confusing at times and the intense concentration on the first generation doesn't give the events a lot of context and leaves dangling historical ends. Rachman may have been caught in a bind, between educating neophytes and satisfying the almost doomed-to-disappoint, intense, and obsessive hardcore fan base. Engrossing, if at times disjointed, American Hardcore is still an important chronicle and persuasive paean to North America's second punk wave.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Audio commentary with filmmakers; Deleted scenes; Bonus musical performances; "In the Pit"; Photo gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bad Brains Actor
Black Flag Actor
Circle Jerks Actor
D.O.A. Actor
Flea Participant
Nancy Barile Participant
Mike Watt Participant
Jerry's Kids Actor
M.D.C. Participant
Minor Threat Actor
Poison Idea Participant
7 Seconds Participant
SS Decontrol Participant
Bobby Steele Participant
Zero Boys Participant
Richard "Crispy" Cranmer Participant
Ken Inouye Participant
Jesse Malin Participant
Henry Rollins Participant
Jeff Atta Participant
Mike Patton Participant
Chris Foley Participant
Dave "Springa" Springs Participant
Dicky Barrett Participant
Dave Dictor Participant
Christopher Doherty Participant
Brett Gurewitz Participant
Gregg Ginn Participant
Moby Participant
Sean Taggert Participant
Jack Grisham Participant
Paul Mahern Participant
Dan Kubinski Participant
Kimm Gardner Participant
Paul "H.R." Hudson Participant
Brian Baker Participant
Chuck Treece Participant
Gary "Dr. Know" Miller Participant
Youth Brigade Participant
Steve Soto Participant
Frank Agnew Participant
Casey Royer Participant
Curtis Casella Participant
Tony Cadena Participant
Harley Flanagan Participant
Jerry Williams Participant
Dave Brockie Participant
Alec MacKaye Participant
Dante Ferrando Participant
Dez Cadena Participant
Phil Anselmo Participant
Hank Williams Participant
Duff McKagan Participant
Kira Roessler Participant
George Anthony Participant
Jack Rabid Participant
Hank Pierce Participant
Dave Smalley Participant
Kevin Seconds Participant
Al Barile Participant
Jamie Serappa Participant
Christine McCarthy Participant
Alec Peters Participant
Jon Anastas Participant
Jimmy Gestapo Participant
Vinnie Stigma Participant
Alvin Robertson Participant
John Joseph Participant
Todd Youth Participant
Matthew Barney Participant
Tommy Stinson Participant
Reed Mullin Participant
Steve DePace Participant
Bruce Loose Participant
Ted Falconi Participant
Mike Dean Participant
McRad Participant
Steve "Mugger" Corbin Participant
Greta Brinkman Participant
Brandon Cruz Participant
D.I.Y. Video Corp. Participant
Alex Gonzales Participant
Edward Colver Participant
Sean Stern Participant
Mark Stern Participant
Sal Canzonieri Participant
Cro-Mags Participant
Faith No More Participant
Suicidal Tendencies Actor
Bill Dysart Participant
Wasted Youth Actor
Bad Religion Participant
Big Boys Participant
Adolescents Participant
Epp Participant
Bob Freeze Participant

Technical Credits
Paul Rachman Director,Camera Operator,Cinematographer,Editor,Producer
Steven Blush Producer,Screenwriter
Anthony Countey Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert Fernandez Sound Editor
Karin Hayes Associate Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- American Hardcore
1. Early 80's [7:59]
2. Punk Rockers [7:45]
3. DIY [4:22]
4. Spreading the Scene [7:03]
5. DC Hardcore [6:43]
6. Sending a Message [9:42]
7. Straight Edge Scene [13:20]
8. When the Bad Brains Came to Town [7:55]
9. Southern Hospitality [8:47]
10. Hardcore Females [4:32]
11. Police Interference [4:38]
12. Baby Has Grown Ugly [17:22]


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American Hardcore 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago