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Anvil: The Story of Anvil

4.5 out of 5 stars 104 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, 1982s Metal on Metal. The album influenced a musical generation, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, that went on to sell millions of records. But Anvils career took a different path]straight to obscurity. Director Sacha Gervasi has concocted a wonderful and often hilarious account of Anvils last-ditch quest for elusive fame and fortune. His ingenious filmmaking may first lead you to think this is a mockumentary, but it isnt. Its 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:
    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 (104 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 can be shipped to over 75 destinations outside of the U.S. Learn More
  • ASIN: B002DLB1IO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,203 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Anvil: The Story of Anvil" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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.
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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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Format: DVD
Anvil! The Story of Anvil - I heard this movie was very very good - and the trailer certainly leads you to believe this would be so too - but I was still completely unprepared for the emotional roller coaster I was about to experience. Watching Lips and Robb travel the rocky road of life for 90 minutes was way more intimate than any other rock documentary that I've ever seen. I'm still a bit teary-eyed, nearly three hours after watching it. Hearing these mountains of praise for the band from band members of Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax as well as Slash was really something. "Everybody ripped them off and left them for dead," says Slash, voicing an idea which could have easily been the title of the film. Ultimately, the love and emotion between these guys for their cause, and their art, is unconquerable, even if you do get a major laugh at Robb's painting to "The Megalithic Anvil Monument", you can see that the spirit is just that huge (Robb's paintings are really very good, including the one of the drumkit, and the one that hangs at the top of his staircase, which will fetch millions on auction some day). On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie gets a 98% approval rating, which means that out of 123 reviews there cannot be more then two that are negative, making it just about the highest-ever rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is well deserved. I'd watch the movie again, but I don't know if I'm ready to have my heart put through the wringer again so soon.

After I watched the movie, I went and read everything I could find out about the band. The story about Sacha Gervasi, and how he had been their roadie at 16, went off and done all sorts of incredible things, and then re-entered their lives to make this movie, is amazing.
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