8.1/10
10,570
54 user 37 critic

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005)

An examination of the heavy metal music subculture that tries to explain why, despite the longevity and popularity of the genre, fans are marginalized and ridiculed for their passion.

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Global Metal (2008)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A continued examination of the heavy metal subculture focusing on the adaptation and performance of heavy metal in various global communities, and how the increased import of Western cultural forms has impacted new global markets.

Directors: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen
Stars: Tom Araya, Ken Ayugai, Rafael Bittencourt
Metal Evolution (2011–2014)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Metal Evolution is broken down into episodes about a different piece of metal history. The series includes interviews with and about Alice Cooper, Slash, Lemmy, Rob Zombie, members of ... See full summary »

Stars: Sam Dunn, Scott Ian, Bruce Dickinson
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The GET THRASHED journey begins in the early 80s, where Metallica and several other bands laid the groundwork for what would become a lasting impression on the face of heavy metal music. ... See full summary »

Director: Rick Ernst
Stars: Death Angel, Tom Angelripper, Phil Anselmo
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A chronological account of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden's 2008 world tour through India, Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, Mexico and South America in a jet piloted by the band's front man, Bruce Dickinson. Features interviews with the musicians, their road crew and fans.

Directors: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen
Stars: Iron Maiden, Vinny Appice, Pat Cash
Lemmy (2010)
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on the life and career of revered heavy-metal musician Lemmy Kilmister.

Directors: Greg Olliver, Wes Orshoski
Stars: Lemmy, Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Interviews and news footage explore the rise of black metal music in Norway in the 1990s, including artists who were involved in suicide, murder and arson.

Directors: Aaron Aites, Audrey Ewell
Stars: Fenriz, Varg Vikernes, Euronymous
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary about the Norwegian black metal band, Mayhem.

Director: Stefan Rydehed
Stars: Attila Csihar, Stian Johansen, Kjetil Manheim
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Interviews with central members of early Norwegian black metal bands about Mayhem, the early black metal scene and the crimes they committed.

Directors: Pål Aasdal, Martin Ledang
Stars: Varg Vikernes, Kjetil Manheim, Necrobutcher
Satan Lives (2015)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

From Texas to the Vatican, Satan Lives meets with Satanists, exorcists, cult icons - believers and non-believers alike - to ask why in the age of reason the Devil remains so powerful and seductive.

Directors: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Linda Blair, Kenneth Anger, Gabriele Amorth
Metalhead (2013)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A girl is caught between the life that took her brother and her own inability to strike out on her own. In her grief, she finds solace in the dark music of Black Metal and dreams of becoming a rock star.

Director: Ragnar Bragason
Stars: Thora Bjorg Helga, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams.

Director: Sacha Gervasi
Stars: Robb Reiner, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Tiziana Arrigoni
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Ozzy Osbourne's four decade track record as a culturally relevant artist is unprecedented, but his personal struggles have been shrouded in secrecy, until now. Featuring never before seen ... See full summary »

Directors: Mike Fleiss, Mike Piscitelli
Stars: Blasko, Brandon Boyd, Mike Brodin
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 June 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Metal - A Headbanger's Journey  »

Filming Locations:


Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Tom Araya: Regardless of whatever fucking religion you believe in, whatever it is you feel is right, everybody knows what's wrong.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Global Metal (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Decency Defied
Performed by Cannibal Corpse
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
And what a journey!
9 November 2006 | by See all my reviews

I don't like heavy metal music; in fact I hate most heavy metal music. I loved Metal: A Headbanger's Journey. It had all the best components of a good documentary, one of the best released in a long time and a good companion piece on a par with Metallica – Some Kind of Monster.

Co-director Sam Dunn is both a metal aficionado and a student of anthropology. He knew how and where to delve into the culture with a healthy reverence for his subject matter, but with the objectivity to examine in a way that outsiders could glean appreciation. I found it fascinating.

In a systematic, well-structured manner, heavy metal's origins and history were examined, as was the disparity between its followers and detractors. Fans, band members and industry experts were interviewed. The questions and answers were intelligent. Historic file footage was used. The culture and its many sub-genres was analysed. The relationships between heavy metal and gender, sex, religion, Satanism and violence were all covered in a most interesting and enlightening manner.

It was shot on location, including at various concerts, across North America, UK and Europe. I found Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio of Dio (accredited as the inventor of the devil horn sign) the most compelling interviewees, though there were many others too numerous to mention. The sum of the whole turned out a rich result.

Unlike many documentaries of late, where the primary goal appears to be light entertainment using celebrity heads, this film is truly insightful, intelligent, balanced, educational, funny and entertaining! Whatever your taste in music, I highly recommend it.


20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 54 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page