American Hardcore (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

American Hardcore2006

American Hardcore (2006)



Critic Consensus: American Hardcore is an informative and highly entertaining look at the heyday of punk in the early 1980s.

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Movie Info

Generally unheralded at the time, the early-80s Hardcore Punk Rock scene gave birth to much of the rock music and culture that followed. There would be no Nirvana, Beastie Boys or Red Hot Chili Peppers were it not for hardcore pioneers such as Black Flag, Bad Brains and Minor Threat. Hardcore was more than music -- it was a social movement created by Reagan-era misfit kids. The participants constituted a tribe unto themselves -- some finding a voice, others an escape in the hard-edged music; some sought a better world, others were just angry and wanted to raise hell.

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Critic Reviews for American Hardcore

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (26)

... an enjoyable if incomplete nostalgia trip.

December 7, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Crammed with grainy, shot-on-the-fly mid-Eighties video footage, recent interviews, and a genuine love for its subject, American Hardcore encapsulates a largely forgotten moment in maximum rock & roll history.

November 17, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

American Hardcore, Paul Rachman's impressively thorough documentary, tells of the second-generation punk rockers who learned from the Sex Pistols and Ramones and then did their DIY thing.

November 10, 2006 | Rating: 3/4

American Hardcore gets what most music lovers could not at the time: Sometimes, that noise in your head and that anger in your heart just has to get out, and there's always a guitar around somewhere.

November 10, 2006 | Rating: 3/4

Instead of an insightful look at disaffected youths finding an outlet for angry energy in rock rages, American Hardcore is a slanted history lesson coming solely from its subjects.

November 3, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

What's irritating about the movie is how much time it spends on empty nostalgia -- shouldn't real punks scorn reminiscing? -- and how little time it spends truly exploring the roots of America's punk prime in the early 1980s.

November 3, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Hardcore


This was good in that it was bolstered by testimonials from the hardcore scene's biggest names, generally, but its scope was simply too broad. There is a lot of new information served up in a short period of time, for the uninitiated, and without the proper context and analysis a lot of it is rendered ineffectual. It provides a distillation of the movement that one could approximate without the two-hour investment and only sweetens the pot by throwing in a few band names and old clips. The most interesting part might be just seeing these punk rockers all middle-aged, sitting in front of children's jungle gyms.

Nate Harris
Nate Harris

Super Reviewer

How can a documentary about the rise of the fiercely energetic, riotously entertaining and badass hardcore offshoot of punk be so boring? The film is grossly unfocused, travels all over the place and never seems to find the right chord. Interviews with some of hardcore punk's most influential artists (including the inimitable Henry Rollins) have no logical thread, they are simply wrapped around some often great concert footage. The all-over-the-place schizofrenic nature of the film is not even an attempt to imitate what the hardcore punk movement consisted of because it absolutely lacks the manic, heedless energy that fueled it. A great disappointment. Worth seeing (for punk fans) for the concert sequences, Henry Rollins and not much else.

Eduardo C
Eduardo C

Super Reviewer

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