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Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005)

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Sam Dunn is a 30-year old anthropologist who wrote his graduate thesis on the plight of Guatemalan refugees. Recenly he has decided to study the plight of a different culture, one he has ... See full summary »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Araya ...
Gavin Baddeley ...
Blasphemer ...
Joe Bottiglieri ...
Eric Bryan ...
Jackie Chambers ...
Monte Conner ...
Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour ...
Malcolm Dome ...
Rose Dyson ...


Sam Dunn is a 30-year old anthropologist who wrote his graduate thesis on the plight of Guatemalan refugees. Recenly he has decided to study the plight of a different culture, one he has been a part of since he was a 12-year old: the culture of heavy metal. Sam sets out on a global journey to find out why this music has been consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned and yet is loved so passionately by its millions of fans. Along the way, Sam explores metals' obsession with some of life's most provacative subjects - sexuality, religion, violence and death - and discovers some things about the culture that even he can't defend. Shot on location in the UK, Germany, Norway, Canada and the US, this documentary is the first of its kind. It is both a defense of a long-misunderstood art form and a window for the outsider into the spectacle that is heavy metal. Written by Scot McFadyen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Film That Will Take You Into the Heart of the Beast.


Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, violent images, some nudity and sexual content | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 June 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Metal - A Headbanger's Journey  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The 21 year sentence in Norway is called "life sentence", so the life sentence in Norway is 21 years. See more »


Dunn also mentions the "Filthy 15", a list of artists with lyrics considered obscene in one of a number of ways. Sam mentions that, of the 15, 8 are metal bands- he has miscounted. Upon reviewing the list, Danish black metal band Mercyful Fate make the list but bump the count to 9 bands. They are also not highlighted like the other metal bands sharing spots on the list. See more »


Sam Dunn: What is the primary ideologies or primary ideas that fuel Gorgoroth's music?
Gaahl: [long dramatic pause] SATAN...
[drinks from wine glass]
See more »


Features Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986) See more »


Written by Max Cavalera/Cavalera/Kisser/Pinto
Performed by Sepultura
Licensed courtesy of Roadrunner Records
See more »

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User Reviews

An insightful and respectful tour of metal's wide landscape
23 September 2005 | by (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) – See all my reviews

I saw this film on September 22 at the Atlantic Film Festival. I was with some people who had never heard anything heavier than KISS and wouldn't know Black Sabbath from the Black Label Society. It's a mark of this film's excellence that they really enjoyed it and felt they had gained an understanding of the metal scene.

This is no gushing fan-tribute. Well, it is in part, but I couldn't stay objective either were I given the chance to sit down with Bruce Dickinson at the Hammersmith Odeon. Seriously, it rises far above the fulfillment of a metal fan's dreams to explore many different elements of what makes metal both an enduring artform and one that remains on the fringes.

The structure of the film follows distinct topics - Gender, Censorship, Death & Violence, and more. Each area is thoughtfully explored with comments from many musicians and some outside observers. From the calm commentary of Rob Zombie to the wry humour of Dio to the laughable minimalist interviews with Norwegian black-metal players, there's a broad range of experiences and opinions.

This is an excellent documentary in every way.

I knew it was going to be great when I got my first glimpse of the big chart of metal bands that correctly put KISS far away from the actual musicians. Ronnie James Dio further obliged with a running commentary on Gene Simmon's preference for money over music.

You'll get to see and hear a lot of great bands, from the standard warhorses like Maiden, Metallica, Motorhead and Slayer to the less-mainstream stuff like Voivod.

46 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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