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American Hardcore - The History of Punk Rock 1980 - 1986

3.7 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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(Feb 20, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fueled by a ferocious soundtrack, director Paul Rachman's AMERICAN HARDCORE gives fans an all-access pass to the rise and fall of the U.S. punk scene, an explosive musical and cultural phenomenon that shaped everything from the grunge movement to the emo and pop/punk music currently riding the charts. Set against the conservative early '80s political landscape, AMERICAN HARDCORE chronicles the homegrown hardcore scene that was a swift kick in the head to corporate rock and mainstream complacency, as disaffected teens adopted the same collective credo - harder, faster, louder. From downtown warehouses to suburban bedrooms, the scene spread from city to city like wildfire, uniting bored, angry outcasts into an authentic underground revolution. A raw blast of politics, passion, and rage, AMERICAN HARDCORE features never-before-seen live footage from Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, MDC, SSD, DOA, DRI, The Adolescents, 7 Seconds and many more, plus exclusive interviews with punk ic


The history of hardcore punk--the tougher, faster, and more politically minded stepchild of the '70s punk movement that arose in the '80s--is examined in exuberant detail in Paul Rachman's documentary American Hardcore. Rachman's cameras careen across the landscape of the U.S. to trace the movement's beginnings in cities like Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York, and cherrypicks interviews with the musicians that helped shape its sound and impact, including Henry Rollins and Greg Ginn of Black Flag, H.R. (frontman for the highly influential, all-African American outfit Bad Brains), Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat (and now Fugazi), and many others. Hardcore's violent reaction against the Reagan administration and the complacent mindset of middle-class America is also detailed in countless performance footage clips and poster-art reproductions, which do much to dismiss the popular opinion of hardcore as nothing more than mindless hooliganism. Some fans may find the omission of certain bands a considerable oversight (San Francisco's lethally satirical Dead Kennedys are not mentioned only in passing), but for most punk devotees, American Hardcore will be vital and essential viewing. The DVD includes several deleted scenes and bonus performances, commentary by Rachman and writer Steven Blush (whose book of the same name provided the inspiration for the film), and a gallery of photos from photographer Edward Colver, who covered the hardcore scene in detail during its heyday. -- Paul Gaita

Stills from American Hardcore (click for larger image)

Special Features

  • Commentary with Director Paul Rachman and Writer Steven Blush
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Bonus Performances
  • Photo Gallery - The Photos of Edward Colver

Product Details

  • Actors: Lucky Lehrer, Vic Bondi, Joe Keithley
  • Directors: Paul Rachman
  • Writers: Steven Blush
  • Producers: Paul Rachman, Steven Blush
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LPR6FQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,035 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Hardcore - The History of Punk Rock 1980 - 1986" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark #1 HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 27, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
American Hardcore is not a definitive history of hardcore music or punk rock. It's a documentary about a connected group of hardcore music scenes in cities across the USA. The documentary isn't only about the music but more about the culture of hardcore and the world inside and outside of the scene.

While there are some shortcomings to American Hardcore, all of them fade away once you start making your way through the special features. I will list both positives and negatives as I see them. But overall I still feel this movie is an important historical work.

To me, I think the filmmakers chose select musicians based largely upon a subjective definition of "hardcore" as a smaller part of the punk scene. As such, it is true that some groups were excluded. Yet it should be noted that there are other movies on the much larger punk scene. Legal issues surrounding certain groups also played a part in some of them being excluded. I think the criticism about the missing or lightly covered bands, while valid, has been over-emphasized.

When you watch this movie from start to finish as a sociological documentary on the hard-core culture, you will come away with a very good feel for the many different and diverse sub-cultures within the scene. That in and of itself is a great accomplishment.

One of the things we learn is the role of gay and minority musicians within the scene. This helps to eliminate the misconceptions about who made this music and who it was against. Another thing is also clear from the groups profiled in this movie: musicianship ranged from really poor to exceptional, and at the very top of that hierarchy was Bad Brains.
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By nikita88 on February 16, 2007
Format: DVD
rejoice, oh, hardcore enthusiasts, here is as close as you will get to a definitive hardcore history as you are likely to find. i watched as paul and steve compiled this pup, and while i don't always agree with the focus (personally, being form the west coast i thought it was a bit boston centered) i recognize that the people that worked on this film- particulary paul and steve- have a true love for the music they documented, and a true respect- unbiased- for the subjects in the film. i was partuicularly impressed with vic bondi and ian mackay's points of view, as well as keith morris, paul mahern, and joey keithly's- and harley's descriptor of the 'big takeover' was so right on that i will never hear that song again without seeing his face in my mind's point of reference. the footage of hr chatting away while a quincinera takes place in the background- totally priceless- and the footage of bands like the zero boys and negative approach..... not to be missed. definitely worth your while; you will not find a more comprehensive overview of the american punk (hardcore) scene out there...... and, yes, i was there the whole time, and yes, it hits the nail on the head.
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Format: DVD
I am not a fan of Hardcore music, but this documentary sure makes me wish I was part of the club.
The general message is: the peak of Hardcore was a moment in time where suburban kids created a musical movement that can never be duplicated.
What's great to see is the camaraderie that existed between the bands and the underground nature of their followings.
The great juxtaposition is the violence of the music, up against the endearing feelings it created between the people involved.
The then and now look at the hardcore scene as presented through various interviews with different musicians is masterfully done.
Even if you don't like the music, give this one a watch.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This documentary does a laudable job surveying the impressive landscape of 'harcore' punk rock from the late '70s to the mid '80s. It contains some rare and exciting live clips and interviews--some contemporary, most present-day, that in themselves make the documentary worth watching. The narration takes viewers from scene to scene, coast to coast, showing how different bands influenced one another and the how the overall scene exploded against the backdrop of the ultraconservative Reagan era. While many important acts (the Dead Kennedys, JFA, Reagan Youth) are omitted, the filmmakers nevertheless do an excellent job of 'coverage;' that is, they acknowledge the breath of the scene and demonstrate its varied articulations on a regional basis, which is undoubtedly the movie's overall strength. The early footage of Poison Idea, Gang Green, and Bad Brains, for me (and I suspect many people from the era) made the film invaluably entertaining.
While the film does an excellent job discussing the origins and florescence of the hardcore scene, the interpretation of hardcore's demise suffers from a revisionist subtext that simply misrepresents the issue. Specifically, the authors downplay the role of moronic, violent, Nazi skinheads, whose fascist agenda--which largely attempted to define how punks ought to think and act--killed the 'anything goes' punk rock culture. They instead attribute punk rock's demise to the short attention span of fans and, when pressed to address the issue of violence, reference Circle One and other LA 'gangs.' Bringing attention to these largely Hispanic crews, in my opinion, is an awfully smug attempt to justify the neo-fascist skinhead violence of the era, which is barely mentioned.
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