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American Hot Wax (1978)

This is the story loosely based on Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, who introduced rock'n'roll to teenage American radio audiences in the 1950's. Freed was a source of great controversy: ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim McIntire ...
Carl Weaver ...
Member of The Chesterfields (as Carl Earl Weaver)
Sam Harkness ...
Arnold McCuller ...
Moosie Drier ...
John Lehne ...
Jack Edward Ellis ...
Richard Forbes ...
Stephen Pearlman ...


This is the story loosely based on Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, who introduced rock'n'roll to teenage American radio audiences in the 1950's. Freed was a source of great controversy: criticized by conservatives for corrupting youth with the "devil's music"; hated by racists for promoting African American music for white consumption; persecuted by law enforcement officials and finally brought down by the "payola" scandals. Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


1959. New York City. The battleground was Rock and Roll. It was the beginning of an era. You shoulda been there.


Drama | History | Music


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 March 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Hot Wax - kuumaa vahaa  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Screamin' Jay Hawkins all guest star in the movie in special stage performances. The three singers figured prominently in the birth of rock 'n' roll during the 1950s. See more »


Artie Moress is the young president of the Buddy Holly fan club. He supposedly started his Buddy Holly fan club after hearing that Buddy Holly died in a plane a crash. However, the movie depicting the life of Alan Freed, which ends with the infamous Rock n' Roll riot that took place in Boston in 58 Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper didn't die in their plane crash until Feb. 3rd 1959. See more »


Teenage Louise: My life was nothing until I found the music.
See more »


Referenced in Cotton Candy (1978) See more »


Do You Want to Dance
Written and performed by Bobby Freeman
Courtesy of Platinum-Chess
See more »

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User Reviews

You can't stop rock 'n' roll.
9 September 2000 | by (Muskogee OK) – See all my reviews

This movie is based very loosely on the career of Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed and his contribution to the development of rock 'n' roll. I thought the acting was way over the top. I do appreciate Tim McIntire's portrayal of Freed. He put the point across that Freed lived and breathed rock 'n' roll and introduced a score of hit makers to the world. But remember he was also trying his best to better his own career.

My favorite part of the movie is the finale where wild man Jerry Lee Lewis stands singing on top of a piano in the middle of a riot. Chuck Berry helped make the move legit. And Screamin' Jay Hawkins brought the house down.

I hate to say that I thought the whole movie was pretty much self serving, but very fun to watch. If you were a teen or near teen as I was when the real thing was happening, you will certainly start having flashbacks.

Also in the cast are a very young Jay Leno and Fran Drescher. There is also Laraine Newman and Melanie Chartoff way before they made careers in comedy. You also might notice Hamilton Camp, Moosie Drier and Brenda Russell.

Watch this again and don't be afraid to let the good times roll.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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