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The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, History, Music  |  1 July 1981 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,560 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 15 critic

The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Alice Bag Band ...
Themselves
Alice Bag ...
Lead Singer, The Alice Bag Band
Claude Bessey ...
Catholic Discipline / Vocalist
Black Flag ...
Themselves
Don Bolles ...
Drummer, The Germs
Dinah Cancer ...
Herself
...
'X' - vocals
Circle Jerks ...
Themselves
Philo Cramer ...
Fear Guitar
Darby Crash ...
Lead Singer, The Germs
...
'X' - vocals, bassist
Lorna Doom ...
Bassist, The Germs
Fear ...
Themselves
Frank Gargani ...
Appears as Himself
Bill Gazzarri ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X. Written by Rich Swenson <swenson@haas.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 1981 (USA)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director Penelope Spheeris this film was financed by two businessmen who originally wanted to finance a porn film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Totally F***ed Up (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Manimal
(Crash / Smear)
Performed by The Germs
See more »

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User Reviews

A good documentary
12 September 2003 | by (Ft. Worth, TX, USA) – See all my reviews

Here is a great movie. Now, first of all, I would like to say that I was born in the early 1980s. I really never knew, up-close and personal, what true punk rock was. Watching this film was like a history lesson of sorts. The music was great, good vintage rock n' roll from bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, X, etc. It seemed to me that with this film, Penelope Spheeris was trying to show people that these weren't all just stupid kids who were out to do drugs and kill people. Some of these punks really had some philosophies that they were working at behind their music. This seems most evident in the interview with Black Flag. I understand myself how a lot of people might view these bands' philosophies as under-developed and simple, but one must take into account that these were some pretty young people. Nowadays, as young as I still am, I find it refreshing to run into someone my age who understands in any way philosophical thinking. In this movie, the young people may seem a little half-baked in their philosophies, but you might keep in mind that most kids don't even get that far. I've met many full-grown adults who have not progressed as far with deep thought contexts as some of the punk musicians in "Decline". Another thing I loved about this movie was how funny it got at times. Some of these kids were total idiots, while the story about the dead painter was devilishly humorous. Fear's performance at the end topped it all. Even if punk is dead, it was once very alive. All flaws aside, "The Decline of Western Civilization" was made for people who can tell the difference between some suburban wimp with a mohawk and the truly intelligent individuals who were genuinely upset and picked up music instruments as weapons against the forces of the corporate.


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