7.6/10
3,060
31 user 29 critic

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History, Music | 1983 (Italy)
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.

Director:

Penelope Spheeris

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ALL
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Documentary showcase, what life was like for the music artists living during the Los Angeles Heavy Metal scene in the mid and late 1980s.

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Stars: Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, Gene Simmons
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Decline of Western Civilization III is a 1998 documentary film that follows the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers.

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Stars: Stephen Chambers, Flea, Gary Fredo
Suburbia (1983)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When household tensions and a sense of worthlessness overcome Evan, he finds escape when he clings with the orphans of a throw-away society.

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Stars: Chris Pedersen, Bill Coyne, Jennifer Clay
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on punk rock.

Directors: Adam Small, Peter Stuart
Stars: M. Otis Beard, Dennis Danell, Brent Liles
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986

Director: Paul Rachman
Stars: Greg Ginn, Ian MacKaye, James Drescher
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of the punk rock band The Ramones.

Directors: Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia
Stars: Rick Rubin, Tommy Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A feature-length documentary chronicling early 80's punk rock band the Minutemen, from their beginnings in San Pedro, California, to their demise after the death of singer D. Boon in 1985.

Director: Tim Irwin
Stars: Milo Aukerman, Joe Baiza, Kevin Barrett
Dudes (1987)
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Two punks from the big city, traveling across the country in a Volkswagen bug, embrace the western ethos when they must take revenge against a group of rednecks for killing their friend in ... See full summary »

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Stars: Jon Cryer, Daniel Roebuck, Flea
D.O.A. (1980)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Documentary chronicaling the rise and fall of the punk movement with rare interview footage of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. Also concert and news footage.

Director: Lech Kowalski
Stars: Stiv Bators, Terry Chimes, The Clash
Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols "documentary", told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Malcolm McLaren, Sid Vicious, Steve Jones
Salad Days (2014)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

"Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)" examines the early DIY punk scene in the Nation's Capital. It was a decade when seminal bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, ... See full summary »

Director: Scott Crawford
Stars: Fred Armisen, Brendan Canty, Dave Grohl
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
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
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alice Bag ... Herself - Alice Bag Band (Vocals)
Claude Bessy Claude Bessy ... Himself - Catholic Discipline (Vocals)
Bob Biggs Bob Biggs ... Himself - Publisher - Slash Magazine (as Robert Biggs)
Don Bolles ... Himself - Germs (Drums)
D.J. Bonebrake D.J. Bonebrake ... Himself - X (Drums)
Rick Brodey Rick Brodey ... Himself - Catholic Discipline (Bass) (as Rick Jaffe)
Dinah Cancer ... Herself - Light Bulb Kid (as Mary)
Exene Cervenka ... Herself - X (Vocals) (as Exene)
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1983 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Падение западной цивилизации See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Spheeris Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Both this film and its followups, The Decline Of Western Civilization Pt. II and Pt. III, were for numerous years unavailable on DVD/Bluray, due to a combination of licensing issues, and the director's own reluctance to revisit them. Spheeris had said that she didn't need the money, but-- since she felt that would most likely be remembered for these films over her more commercial/family-friendly efforts like Wayne's World, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Little Rascals-- that she wanted to take her time and made sure that any digital release did them justice. Prior to their much-anticipated DVD/Bluray release in June of 2015, they had only been available by paying for pricey VHS copies on eBay or as bootlegs. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Totally F***ed Up (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Beef Balogna
(uncredited)
Written by Lee Ving
Performed by Fear
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A good documentary
12 September 2003 | by one4now4See all my reviews

Here is a great movie. Now, first of all, I would like to say that I was born in the early 1980s. I really never knew, up-close and personal, what true punk rock was. Watching this film was like a history lesson of sorts. The music was great, good vintage rock n' roll from bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, X, etc. It seemed to me that with this film, Penelope Spheeris was trying to show people that these weren't all just stupid kids who were out to do drugs and kill people. Some of these punks really had some philosophies that they were working at behind their music. This seems most evident in the interview with Black Flag. I understand myself how a lot of people might view these bands' philosophies as under-developed and simple, but one must take into account that these were some pretty young people. Nowadays, as young as I still am, I find it refreshing to run into someone my age who understands in any way philosophical thinking. In this movie, the young people may seem a little half-baked in their philosophies, but you might keep in mind that most kids don't even get that far. I've met many full-grown adults who have not progressed as far with deep thought contexts as some of the punk musicians in "Decline". Another thing I loved about this movie was how funny it got at times. Some of these kids were total idiots, while the story about the dead painter was devilishly humorous. Fear's performance at the end topped it all. Even if punk is dead, it was once very alive. All flaws aside, "The Decline of Western Civilization" was made for people who can tell the difference between some suburban wimp with a mohawk and the truly intelligent individuals who were genuinely upset and picked up music instruments as weapons against the forces of the corporate.


26 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 31 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed