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Pump Up the Volume (1990)

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Mark runs a pirate radio station and causes an uproar when he speaks his mind and enthralls fellow teens.



3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm Kaiser
Keith Stuart Thayer ...
Luis Chavez
Cheryl Pollak ...
Mr. Woodward
Cheryl Biggs
Annie Rusoff ...
Alex (as Alex Enberg)


Mark is an intelligent but shy teenager who has just moved to Arizona from the East Coast. His parents give him a short-wave radio so he can talk to his pals, but instead he sets up shop as pirate deejay Hard Harry, who becomes a hero to his peers while inspiring the wrath of the local high school principal. When one of Harry's listeners commits suicide and Harry- inspired chaos breaks out at the school, the authorities are called in to put a stop to Harry's broadcasts. Written by Denise P. Meyer <dpm1@cornell.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Steal the Air. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 August 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adj rá kakaót!  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,601,489, 26 August 1990, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The name of the local newspaper was "The Paradise Hills Press". See more »


Hunter plays "If It Be Your Will" from Leonard Cohen's "Various Positions" on the Passport record label the night following the suicide of Malcolm, but when interrupting the song, the needle is taken off of an album with a Motown label. See more »


[first lines]
Mark: Do you ever get the feeling that everything in America is completely fucked up?
See more »


Referenced in Mr. Robot: eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd (2016) See more »


Kick Out The Jams
Written by Rob Tyner, Fred 'Sonic' Smith, Wayne Kramer (as Wayne Kambes), Dennis Thompson (as Dennis Tomich) and Michael Davis
Performed by Bad Brains with Henry Rollins
Published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI)
Produced by Ron Saint Germain
Bad Brains courtesy of Caroline Records, Inc.
Henry Rollins Courtesy of 2-13-61
See more »

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User Reviews

great portrayal of postmodern angst & media issues
13 July 2003 | by See all my reviews

This movie really captured not only the disillusionment and pain of adolescence but also the general malaise of our postmodern society. Also brought out the tension between media "for the people" and free speech vs. media polluting the people and issues of censorship. While the film clearly made the latter out to be the "bad guy," a mature person might look beyond the pointed message and see the important issues on both sides --> Does media come from culture and speak truth, having the responsibility to honestly represent "reality," or does media influence culture and thus should it responsibly rise above mediocrity, challenging people to something higher in life? Tough issues in media studies. How to bring the two concerns together is the challenge, in a completely corporate-driven media culture that really stands for neither.

ummmm.... Christian Slater was also great in the lead performance.

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