33 user 31 critic

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History, Music | 1983 (Italy)
A look into the Los Angeles punk rock scene, that was largely ignored by the rock music press of the time.


Penelope Spheeris
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Eugene Tatu Eugene Tatu ... Self - Light Bulb Kid (as Eugene)
Alice Bag Band Alice Bag Band ... Themselves
Black Flag ... Themselves
Catholic Discipline Catholic Discipline ... Themselves
Circle Jerks Circle Jerks ... Themselves
Fear Fear ... Themselves
The Germs The Germs ... Themselves (as Germs)
X X ... Themselves
Wayne Mayotte Wayne Mayotte ... Self - Owner - Club 88
Brendan Mullen Brendan Mullen ... Self - Owner - Masque
Greg Ginn Greg Ginn ... Self - Black Flag (Guitar)
Chuck Dukowski Chuck Dukowski ... Self - Black Flag (Bass) (as Gary McDaniel)
Robo Robo ... Self - Black Flag (Drums)
Ron Reyes ... Self - Black Flag (Vocals)
Nicole Panter Nicole Panter ... Self - Germs' Manager (as Nicole)


The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X. Written by Rich Swenson <swenson@haas.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See it in a theater.... where you can't get hurt. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to director Penelope Spheeris this film was financed by two businessmen who originally wanted to finance a porn film. See more »


The Circle Jerks member: And at the bottom it says "Thank you." And you can tell 'em to fuck off.
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References McDonaldland (1963) See more »


Let's Have a War
Performed by Fear
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User Reviews

As Good As It Gets
25 June 2004 | by DBPVISee all my reviews

When it comes to films on the L.A. hardcore scene of the late 70s/early 80s this is as good as it gets! It's very rare that cameras are around during the genesis of a music movement, and I will be forever grateful that Ms Sheeris was there to capture the beginnings of the LA hardcore scene that was growing out of the ideals and influences of the dying New York & London punk scenes. I was living on the East Coast at the time this film came out, and back then the only way to see some of these bands, without going to L.A., was to see this film. It was a rare event when one of these bands would pile into a van and head east on a tour, so to fulfill our love for the L.A. hardcore scene my friends and I would go see this film every few weeks. This is a great document of that time in music history. For people who liked this era of punk/hardcore music, here's a few other very similar documentary films you might want to check out...

THE BLANK GENERATION - (70s New York punk - Johnny Thunders, Richard Hell, Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, etc...)

THE PUNK ROCK MOVIE - (70s British punk - Sex Pistols, The Clash, X-Ray Spex, Eater, etc...)

PUNK IN LONDON - (70s British punk - The Clash, The Adverts, The Lurkers, Subway Sect, etc...)

D.O.A. - (70s American & British punk - Dead Boys, Generation X, Sham 69, Iggy Pop, etc... *contains a priceless interview with Sid & Nancy*)

UK/DK - (80s British hardcore - The Addicts, The Exploited, The Business, UK Subs, etc...)

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Release Date:

1983 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Decline of Western Civilization See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Spheeris Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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