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Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005)

R  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  21 June 2006 (USA)
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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 »

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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 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 - Uma Jornada pelo Mundo do Heavy Metal  »

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?


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Robert Walser: Classical music is associated with university; with learning. Bach didn't go to college. Mozart didn't go to college. The virtuosic performers who were known as improvisers; that describes Bach as well as it describes Eddie Van Halen.
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Followed by Global Metal (2008) See more »


We're Not Gonna Take It
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User Reviews

Highly recommended. Well-wrought documentary.
22 January 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I agree with the previous comment.

I saw this movie at an outdoor summer screening in a local park, and it was brilliant to hear the sounds of the metal we know and love pounding out through the park on a Sunday night.

The film was a considered, thoughtful journey through some of the questions that plague the minds of those who aren't part of the metal community. Such as what the fans are like, how they get into metal, why they stay with metal and rarely stray from the various genres that it has. Others include sexuality, girls in metal, and so on.

Each aspect of the documentary was soundly explored, rationally argued, and balanced. For instance, on the one hand you get the perspective of groupies, and then of groupies from bands. You get differing opinions.

In fact, the documentary is a boon for both the metal community and the non-metal community alike. On the one hand, the mettles can revel in the exploration of their community and genres; on the other, the wider community can gain some real insight into the workings of the community.

I must admit that some of the humour that our (predominantly metal) audience felt at the posturing of the Norwegian Black Metal scene, and other parts, the rest of the audience didn't necessarily get. The humour is often something which you must be part of the community to understand, which is why it all appears so serious to the rest of society: they don't get the humour.

All in all, a well-wrought, skillfully crafted, and well argued documentary. Of course there were subgenres and things missing, but you get that with all docos - there just isn't the time to do it. Given the limitations, Metal: a headbanger's journey, makes the most of it and does it well.

Highly recommended viewing.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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