40 Greatest Rock Documentaries

Burning guitars, big suits, meeting the Beatles — the concert films and rockumentaries that stand head and shoulders above the rest

38

'American Hardcore' (2006)

Machine-gun drumming, warp-speed guitar strumming, screamed lyrics about politics, punk ethics and personal alienation — this is hardcore, and Paul Rachman's doc traces the underground movement's ebbs and flows in places like D.C., L.A. and N.Y.C. throughout the Eighties. More than just a musical idea of stripping rock down to its bare necessities and brutalizing what was left, hardcore midwifed positive lifestyle templates (see straight-edge), a strong sense of community and an alpha-thug notion that violence was an inherent part of the show/scene; to his credit, Rachman looks at the good, the bad and the ugly of it all, as well as getting major players (Ian MacKaye, Keith Morris, Greg Ginn) to weigh in. It's worth its weight in old Xeroxed gig flyers. DF

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