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The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)

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


Penelope Spheeris




Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Tyler ... Self
Joe Perry ... Self
Alice Cooper ... Self
Gene Simmons ... Self
Paul Stanley ... Self
Lemmy ... Self
Ozzy Osbourne ... Self
Bobby Dall Bobby Dall ... Self (Poison bassist)
Bret Michaels ... Self (Poison vocalist)
Rikki Rockett ... Self (Poison drummer)
Joey Scott Harges Joey Scott Harges ... Self
Gene Allen Gene Allen ... Self
Mychal Davis Mychal Davis ... Self
J. Holmes J. Holmes ... Self
Mark Michals Mark Michals ... Self
Learn more

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's more than music...it's a way of life.


Documentary | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


In a 1999 interview, director Penelope Spheeris confessed that Ozzy Osbourne's orange juice pouring scene was faked, as some viewers suspected. The particular scene of the orange juice missing the glass was filmed at a different time and inserted into the clip. See more »


Megadeth drummer Chuck Behler's last name is misspelled as "Beehler" in the end credits. This is not corrected on the DVD/Blu-ray release. See more »


Lemmy: It's fast and it's aggressive and it's rebellious and their parents hate it, which has always been the mark of good rock and roll. If your parents don't like it, it's good.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A clip of Bill Gazzarri appears after the credits, with a dance contest winner nowhere to be found. See more »


Edited into The Greatest: 100 Most Metal Moments (2004) See more »


Cradle to the Grave
Written by Lemmy (as Kilmister), Würzel (as Burston), Phil Campbell (as Campbell) and Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor (as Taylor)
Performed by Phil Campbell
Motor Music LTD (LEOSONG)
Produced by GUY BIGMEAD and Motörhead
MOTORHEAD appears Courtesy of GWR Records
See more »

User Reviews

Interesting, but it's a big joke
28 September 2010 | by stevenfallonnycSee all my reviews

I'm giving this a "7" rating because "The Metal Years" film is an interesting one. Interesting, in that almost all the bands showcased are so bad, and the "musicians" so horrid, that you can't take your eyes off them.

You get a bunch of big guns, like Ozzy, Alice, Kiss, Poison, Lemmy and a few more. But mostly the movie is made of lesser metal heads, and it's not a pretty sight. It's like a Saturday Night Live skit that is 90 minutes long, all making fun of rock and roll, trying to make rock look as silly and ridiculous as possible. Only thing is, this film is dead serious.

"The Delusional Years" would have been a decent title for this movie, when it comes to the unsigned bands they speak to - ALL of them are sure they are going to be rich, wealthy, legendary rock and rollers. It's downright sad (almost), as in one incredible sequence, where the narrator asks a bunch of musicians what will happen to them if they don't "make it." All of them pretty much say they will make it. Now, positivity is a good attitude, but there were so many cookie-cutter hair metal bands back then, how can they all seriously think this.

One band, Odin, is especially pathetic. Odin is one of the absolute worst bands you will ever hear, or see. The singer defines "unlistenable." But there they are, in a hot tub with sluts, all sure they will make it. One of them admits to almost killing himself at times, dampening the festive chicks-in-hot-tub mood. Odin what you see in this movie, is exactly what you'd see today if comics made fun of the era. They are BAD.

But not to single them out, so are a bunch of the others. Truthfully though, you really don't get a sense of the inside of rock with this movie. It's kind of cookie-cutter, just like the bands - a typical documentary that really could have been about many genres of music.

The saddest part of course is the Chris Holmes sequence, with him drunk in a swimming pool while his mom watches. The saddest thing here really isn't Chris - it's his mom, for just sitting there like a rock while her son drinks himself to death on a raft in a pool. Good going, mom.

If you want to laugh for 90 minutes and think to yourself that some people out there actually took this (for the most part) horrible music seriously, this is the movie for you.

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Official Sites:

Official Site





Release Date:

24 August 1989 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,008, 5 June 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

I.R.S. World Media See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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