8.1/10
10,417
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 (TV Series 2011)
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 | 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
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 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, Øystein Aarseth
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
    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 7.1/10 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, Zeena Schreck, Gabriele Amorth
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Super Duper Alice Cooper is the twisted tale of a teenage Dr Jekyll whose rock n roll Mr Hyde almost kills him. It is the story of Vincent Furnier, preacher's son, who struck fear into the ... See full summary »

Directors: Sam Dunn, Reginald Harkema, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Alice Cooper, Sheryl Cooper, Jack Curtis
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 | 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
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  

Live concert on the back of 'Brave New World' album, showing why they're one of the greats, performing many hits from their long career, a band at its peak.

Director: Dean Karr
Stars: Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, Dave Murray
Edit

Cast

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


Box Office

Budget:

$1,300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed 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

Alice Cooper: I love going to Norway and Denmark, because I love picking up the black metal magazines. It's so 'Spinal Tap',
[laughs]
Alice Cooper: 'cause each band is trying to be more wicked and evil than any other band, you know. And I can't turn the page without going; "Look at this one, here are these guys and they're..."
[mimicking the pose and look of black metal photoshoots]
Alice Cooper: You know, and they're... And you know these guys, when you meet them in the mall they are;
[lightens his voice]
Alice Cooper: "Hello, Mr. Cooper. How are you?...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Run to the Hills
Written by Steve Harris (as Stephen Harris)
Performed by Iron Maiden
Licensed courtesy of EMI Music/Sanctuary Records Group Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
a good subjective approach to the many strands and off-shoots of an under-looked genre of music
28 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Actually, to say that heavy-metal music is just a genre of music is almost insulting in some circles. As someone who's too eclectic to really be solely a metal-head, but has been in the realm of the metal world to see how it goes, I can empathize with Sam Dunn's main intention with the documentary; this music should not be seen as just some goofy, crude, offensive, or dangerous off-shoot of old-time rock n roll (not that the last one doesn't apply in one or two cases). It's to show how personal this music, and how this 'way of life' can be for a person, and how it affects personality but not necessarily in the perceived negative light. Dunn, of course, has his head totally together, which is how he can go head-to-head with metal legends &/or notorious sorts like Tony Iommi, Bruce Dickinson, Lemmy, Alice Cooper, Dee Snider, Dio and Rob Zombie (Geddy Lee is also among the big known interviewees, though it's strange to see him here when he's not really 'metal', at least in league with these guys).

But through him and his collaborators, he is able to get inside not just the off-shoots and specifics of the world of heavy-metal. The look, the style, the attitude, the controversies both domestic (i.e. Dee Snider's battle with Tipper Gore) and foreign (a superlatively done look at the Norwegian black-metal scene, which is both tense and hilarious), the women bands in the world, and how it helps some people really get better on with life either to hear it or play it or, of course, both. Dunn's look is good if, by necessity perhaps too, too brief, as he at one point lists a kind of heavy-metal family tree of sorts- all too quickly to really see every single one- and barely scratches the surface in the 96 minute running time. Maybe there is only so much that can be covered in a feature-length film, but the subject matter serves to be even more looked into; VH1 had also done a heavy-metal documentary, and it lasted four hours. On the other hand, Dunn and his people actually do get some material here that is more precious, and more enlightening. The juxtaposition of the 'true believers' and horrors in Norways black-death-metal scene with a band like Slayer, who are bad to the bone and have fans who go toe limit, is interesting.

It's the kind of documentary that really does work for that it's worth, but not enough of a good thing is explored for fans. Non-fans may get just enough that they can handle, a mix of the basic facts and key points (i.e. the coining of the term 'metal', the roots in the blues, the devil horns, and a look at outrageous album covers). It's good subjective film-making, though edging a little much on trying to get enough history along with the personal history.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page