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The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)

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Title: The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby Dall ...
Himself (Poison bassist)
Himself (Poison vocalist)
Rikki Rockett ...
Himself (Poison drummer)
Joey Scott Harges ...
Gene Allen ...
Mychal Davis ...
J. Holmes ...
Mark Michals ...


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It's more than's a way of life.


Documentary | Music


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 August 1989 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

O Declínio da Civilização do Ocidente - Os Anos do Metal  »

Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)


$373,743 (USA)

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Did You Know?


In a 1999 interview, director Penelope Spheeris confessed that Ozzy Osbourne's orange juice pouring scene was faked, as some viewers suspected. The particular scene of the orange juice missing the glass was filmed at a different time and inserted into the clip. See more »


Paul Stanley: Rock and roll holds the world together, because music is the common language.
See more »


Referenced in The Dream Team (1989) See more »


(Harrison, Orr, Scaccia, Corbitt)
Dirt Head Music
Produced by David Ogilvie (as DAVE OGILVIE)
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User Reviews

like its predecessor, it's about a certain cross-hair of a particular music scene at the time
4 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'll admit right off the bat that I didn't respond as strongly to the Decline of Western Civilization 2: the Metal Years as I did to Penelope Spheeris's first film and documentary, even as I know I did like this film. The former was a kind of fly-on-the-wall (as I recall, not as many direct interviews, more concert footage) look at this way of rock and roll life- of LA punks- that Spheeris knew intrinsically. In the Metal Years, she here isn't as much a fly on the wall in the sense of just getting the pure feeling of these people as she is getting answers to questions by a mix of highly popular and working-the-bottom bunch of Metal rockers.

It of course can't cover everything in such an amount of time, and one might be slightly disappointed to see Britain's metal scene is sort of overlooked in the course of the film (not that it isn't represented in interviews with Ozzy and Lemmy, but Maiden and Priest fans, among others, may wonder wtf). But if there is any single strength to this seemingly longer-than-90 minute film, with the interviews strung together in a interesting fashion alongside the concert footage, it's that this particular scene of American metal- particularly LA metal's scene- is captured very well.

And in this capturing of this time and place and the people all abound in it, it's of course of note to mention that everything the musicians say is not 100% reliable, and here and there it definitely has the feeling of bulls***ing with Spheeris's questions (however clever and funny). But there are enough true moments to really get the sense of these people at the time, that there is maybe at least some depth to the members of Poison (with really one good song in my opinion), or that Ozzy does have a very clear and honest view of what's gone on with him and the scene, or what rock means or drugs mean or sex.

If there isn't always a focus in the line of questioning, or if there doesn't seem to be much of a structure to the film, maybe it's part of the point. Here we have a mix of rockers either trying to make it (Odin, who I think made it bigger since, are featured prominently, as well as London), or have made it (Aerosmith, Kiss, Megadeth and Alice Cooper among a couple others), and be it that a scene or two is staged or set up at a location for a desired effect, there aren't many punches pulled with the answers to the fairly straightforward questions. And some of them, when not all about "rock and roll is my life" does show the dark side quite accurately, especially considering the time period. One interview with the drunk in the pool gives the most to try and shake off, even as the manipulation of the filmmaker kind of kicks in with having his mother right there watching him in his over-drunk state.

But, it is at the end of the day an entertaining documentary, if only as being a fan of the sub-fold of music myself. Some of the concert footage is less than great, even as London and of course Megadeth give quality performances. There was, like with other good documentaries, enough talk coming out of people to really chew on, and it shows Spheeris in a sort of different direction than in the other look at life in underground rock and roll. It's not great, but for the fans of the bands &/or those interviewed, it is near essential viewing, and also with an anthropological side to it through the stories and Q&A's that work for those not as into the music.

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