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?


The National Film Preservation Board chose the film for preservation in 2016 due to its artistic and cultural significance. See more »


[first lines]
Self - Light Bulb Kid: [Eugene] That's stupid. Punk rock. I don't - you know - I just think of it as rock-n-roll; because, that's what it is, you know.
Self - Interviewer: What do you like about it?
Self - Light Bulb Kid: Well, I like that it's like - it's something new and it's just reviving like old rock-n-roll and it's like rare again and it's for real. And it's fun and, you know, it's like - it's not bull shit. There's no rock stars now, you know.
See more »


Referenced in The Boys Next Door (1985) See more »


Performed by Alice Bag Band
See more »

User Reviews

16 May 2004 | by FemmeFatalitySee all my reviews

Today it is hard to understand the subcultural magnificence of punk. But watching this film makes me feel if only for a moment what punk really is. I wasn't even born when this documentary was made and only saw it about a yr ago. I had been detached from the punk scene and after seeing Penelope's Speeris's masterpiece I got that same rush I get when watching one of my favorite 70's punk bands do a set in the run down old attic club I used to frequent in my early teens. Those of you who choose to look down on the punk world, do not understand it. Not everything has to make perfect sense to everyone but this documentary deserves the respect it has earned for portraying an overlooked generation so perfectly.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 33 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official Site





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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Spheeris Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed