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Anvil: The Story of Anvil

100 customer reviews

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(Oct 06, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

At 14, Toronto school friends Steve Lips Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. They meant it. Their band, Anvil, went on the become the 'demigods of Canadian Metal, ' releasing one of the heaviest albums in Metal history, 1982's Metal on Metal. The album influenced a musical generation, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, that went on to sell millions of records. But Anvil's career took a different path... straight to obscurity. Director Sacha Gervasi has concocted a wonderful and often hilarious account of Anvil's last-ditch quest for elusive fame and fortune. His ingenious filmmaking may first lead you to think this is a mockumentary, but it isn't. It's fascinating to see the reality of their day-to-day lives as they struggle to make ends meet, take a misguided European tour, and engage in antics on the road-which is not always lined with fans.

Is Anvil the real Spinal Tap? That's a label that could be applied to any number of hapless hard rock bands, but there's enough evidence in Anvil: The Story of Anvil to suggest that these guys may have, uh, tapped into the motherlode. The parallels are many, including getting lost on the way to a gig, playing before 174 people in a 10,000 capacity venue (in Transylvania, yet), inept management, ridiculous songs (even Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins couldn't match "Thumb Hang," an Anvil tune about the Spanish Inquisition)… heck, they even visit (the real) Stonehenge. But dig deeper and you'll find some real heart in this 2007 documentary. Two hearts, actually--the ones belonging to singer-guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner (remove one "b" and you've got the director of This Is Spinal Tap). These two were there when the Canadian metal band formed in the early '80s and went on to share festival stages with the likes of Bon Jovi and Whitesnake. Now, a quarter century later (a new bassist and guitarist joined in the '90s), Reiner and Kudlow are in their fifties, living in Toronto with wives, kids, and menial jobs. But they still haven't given up their undying belief that with a new album (their thirteenth) and couple of breaks, they will be rock stars.

It doesn't happen on a mostly disastrous European tour organized by a well-meaning but inexperienced fan. It doesn't happen when they reunite with British producer Chris Tsangarides (Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy) but find little interest in the new recording. But Kudlow, despite some bleak moments, is remarkably resilient (of the tour, he says, "Things went drastically wrong. But at least there was a tour for them to go wrong on"). And while it's a sad truth that Anvil just isn't that good--they're nowhere near the level of some of the bands they inspired, like Anthrax and Metallica--only the hardest of heart will resist rooting for them. Bonus material includes deleted scenes and commentary by director (and former roadie) Sacha Gervasi. --Sam Graham

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Robb Reiner, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Tiziana Arrigoni, Scott Ian, Lemmy
  • Directors: Sacha Gervasi
  • Producers: Sacha Gervasi, Christopher Soos, Dana Sano, Lauren McClard, Rebecca Yeldham
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French Canadian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: VH1 Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B002DLB1IO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,495 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Anvil: The Story of Anvil" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Daniel A. Modell on January 5, 2010
Format: DVD
Anvil: the Story of Anvil chronicles the journey of the band from near fame to near obscurity and back again in the unyielding pursuit of a dream. The band battles through a series of uproariously funny events, maddeningly frustrating encounters, and, finally, agonizingly poignant exchanges. Their story, expressed in the crunch of distorted guitars, the abandon of the stage and the rebelliousness of leather and long hair will excite a very pleasant nostalgia for those steeped in the ethos of 80's metal music. But the incomparable glory of this documentary is that, in the deepest sense, it is not about music at all. Music is simply the means through which deeper themes are voiced. In the end, The Story of Anvil is about loyalty, friendship and perseverence: the single-minded perseverance to follow your deepest aspirations, unbowed, in the teeth of any and all opposition.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jym Cherry on October 4, 2009
Format: DVD
The Story of Anvil is a Rock 'n' Roll cautionary tale for those of us living out our Rock 'n' Roll dreams. You can be an innovative band, have the respect of your peers, and have the same access to fans but still not make it into big time Rock 'n' Roll. The story of Anvil is also a story of hope, friendship and following your artistic vision to create something that not only do you like but will be there after you're gone.

Anvil is a Heavy Metal band created by childhood friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner. They've been together as a band for almost 30 years and while bassists have come and gone they still share a dream to make it to the big time. Their belief in themselves isn't unrealistic, as proved by interviews by such Heavy Metal luminaries as Lars Ullrich, Lemmy (from Motorhead), and Slash attest to. They credit Anvil with being Heavy Metal innovators not only in their music such as songs like Metal On Metal, which Ullrich says other bands used and borrowed without ever looking back, but in stage appearance such as Lips early penchant for wearing bondage outfits onstage, and using dildos as a guitar slide.

There is a pathos present too. As the band embarks on a European tour that was managed by an amateur promoter, they played bars where the band almost out number the patrons, or a bar owner that tries to rip them off. There's also the family and friends who are shown and they understand and support the dreams and ambitions of Reiner and Kudlow. A sister of Kudlow going so far as to front money for Anvil to record with Heavy Metal producer Chris Tsangarides (Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy).

Why didn't Anvil make it? The movie isn't about that, although, Lips and Robb wrestle with it a little.
Read more ›
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Hoskins on August 9, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie was great, my boyfriend is a big fan of theirs and he showed me a YouTube clip of the movie. The clip almost brought me to tears, these guys really are endearing, so we went to see the movie and it was GREAT! You see their high's and lows (mostly lows!), and you're rooting for them throughout the whole movie. The band was big in the 80s' when metal was real popular. Then once the metal craze died down things started going sour for them...they had to get "real" jobs but they still had thier dream of playing in front of huge crowds. The ending was great (and fairly predictable!) but you really do grow fond of the guys in the group because they are trying SO HARD to make it again in the music industy. The bond between Lips and Rob is a true testament to friendship and it's a huge part of the movie. Rock on Anvil! You've got a new fan!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By msmugler on October 17, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a metal head and documentary fanatic, I was worried that this movie would never live up to the "hype". I stand corrected. I was a teenager in the 80's and hung with many of the metal bands of the day. I had the chance to see Anvil, and loved the music and the show they put on (which was later copied by many of their contemporaries). I didn't keep up with them over the years, but in all fairness they were hardly a household name.

Now for the movie review...The direction of the movie was superb. You get a real sense that the band members have a genuine love for both the music and each other, despite the odds of crappy management and languishing in virtual obscurity for over 20 years working against them. In Lips, I found myself amazed by his tenacity, cock-eyed optimism, and love for his music and friends. The scene between he and Robb where he says he could "jump off a bridge, but that would be the easy way out" and Robb's subsequent reply made me tear up.

The most pleasant suprise is that AC/DC, who were NOT in any of the promos for the movie (hint..hint..Slash & Lemmy)actually took Anvil out on tour with them this summer. Its one thing to say "what a great band, what ever happened to them?" and another to put your money where your mouth is and give them a gig!

Whether you're a metal fan or not, this is a great movie that just may renew some of your faith in the human race. I'd like Lips to know that I am trying to use a little of his optimism in my own life!!!

Great luck to you guys!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By DJK 59 on October 7, 2009
Format: DVD
I absolutely love this movie. I've been an Anvil fan since 1982 and was a member of their fan club in 1983. Seeing that the band still have the same passion as well as the desire to make it to the big time is inspiring. I could write a hundred great things about what I love about this movie, but the thing I think the movie fails to do is really dive into the reason they initially lost their momentum early on. The movie should have mentioned that in 1984, their 4th album was a compilation that featured a few new songs, which was hardly a good move for them. Then, they had a three year absence before coming out with "Strength of Steel" in 1987. Three years out of the public eye was disastrous for them. By the time they released the outstanding "Pound for Pound" in 1988, most metal fans moved on to something else and Anvil drifted into obscurity. Most will say the point of the movie isn't about that and I agree, but a movie called "The Story of Anvil" shouldn't leave out vital information like that because anyone can tell that these factors probably played into it. I see they have a book out too, so I'll have to read this to see if they touch on this subject there. I still give the DVD five stars because it's an incredible movie and is extremely brave in the approach. It deserves a 6th star for Lars Ulrich's incredible interview in the DVD extras. As much as I've complained about him in the past, I can't say a bad thing about him anymore!
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