American Hardcore

Rated NR

This is an excellent documentary about American hardcore punk in the early ’80s. Director Paul Rachman rapidly cuts together a series of interviews and concert scenes that capture the insane energy of the Yankees who took British punk and made it real. Nicely, Rachman doesn’t downplay the nasty side of hardcore, but he effectively captures the raw power of one of the most influential and uncompromisingly underground music scenes of the last century. He does seem to give a little too much credit to the Bad Brains, and doesn’t spend any time on The Dead Kennedys or Husker Du, but that’s probably a result of who would agree to be interviewed. Rachman wisely covers hardcore as an America-wide phenomenon, bringing in bands from the Los Angeles, Boston, D.C. and New York scenes. He also creates a narrative thrust by showing the rise and fall of hardcore as it spread across the nation. Despite its minor flaws, this now stands as the definitive document of the best and most truly independent music of the ’80s.

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