American Hardcore
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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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© Sony Pictures Classics

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"... an enjoyable if incomplete nostalgia trip."
‑ Michael Senft, Arizona Republic
"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."
‑ Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle
"For a documentary ostensibly about the history of the hardcore punk music movement that reigned in America during the '80s, director Paul Rachman and writer Steven Blush indefensibly omit the genre's most talented and high-profile band (The Dead Kennedys)"
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Rachman's chronicle suffers not from a shortage of authentic footage of ready-made hardcore shows, complete with (completely necessary) subtitled lyrics, or doughy, balding, talking heads still bragging about the thrown punches and peed-on chicks of yeste"
‑ Michelle Orange, Reeler
"While this documentary features rare performance footage of hard-core punk-rock bands Black Flag and Bad Brains, it's not exactly the best-assembled or deepest cinematic exploration of the subject."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"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."
‑ Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer
"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."
‑ Michael Booth, Denver Post
"Struggles under the weight of its own ambition."
‑ Matthew Smith, Film Journal International
"A film for the fans, especially if you were one of those sonic youths venting steam at a guerrilla show in someone's basement, a VFW hall or club that condescended to present a hardcore show. For once-upon-a-time kids now irrevocably middle-aged, the kick"
‑ John Wirt, Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
"Rachman's concert footage confirms that the music was unique: bruising, chaotic and blisteringly electric."
‑ Paul Kosidowski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"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."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"Leaves little doubt that this truly was one of the wildest eras in rock."
‑ Chris Riemenschneider, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The hit-and-run effect sometimes suggests a documentary equivalent to slam dancing, but without the bruises."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"AmericanHardcore ! Aboutboredstupidyouth! Didn'tliketheNewWave ! Gomoshin'fortruth ! Can'tfindtruth ! Can'tfindgrace ! SettleforHenryRollins! Punchin'dudesintheface !"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
""American Hardcore" harkens back to the time when punk rockers were actual punks, not whining, prefabricated MTV pretty boys."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
More reviews for American Hardcore on Rotten Tomatoes