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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 1,529 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 13 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:

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Release Date:

1 July 1981 (USA)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
 »

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Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the film was screened in Los Angeles, punk music fans got into so many fights and caused so much trouble that then-L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates wrote the filmmakers a letter asking them not to screen the film again. See more »

Connections

Featured in Prey for Rock & Roll (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Beef Balogna
(uncredited)
Performed by Fear
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant, funny, scary...but selective.
6 June 2004 | by (Alabama) – See all my reviews

Everyone who's seen "Decline" knows how great it is. My favorite segments are those featuring Black Flag and Fear, because they're the funniest and the most visceral. Still, all the bands that actually STARTED the Los Angeles punk scene, apart from the Germs, are missing from this film. Where are the Weirdos, the Screamers, the Dils, and the Zeros? The Alice Bag Band is here, but they were better when they were simply the Bags. The Germs' segment is depressing. The very brief glimpses of Catholic Discipline were fascinating and made me wish that this band had at least recorded some demos. As a documentary, "Decline" is flawed...but it's indispensable, too. To find out about the bands this film didn't cover, read "We Got the Neutron Bomb" by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen. And to see what was going on in San Francisco right around the same time, get the much shorter (but equally brilliant) documentary "Louder Faster Shorter", directed by Mindaugis Bagdon. This twenty-minute burst of pure punk actually *does* feature the Dils--along with UXA, the Avengers, the Sleepers, and the Mutants.


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