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      Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

      R 2005 1 hr. 36 min. Documentary List
      90% 29 Reviews Tomatometer 91% 5,000+ Ratings Audience Score Filmmaker and anthropologist Sam Dunn investigates the origins and subculture surrounding heavy metal, tracing the genre's roots from 1970s post-industrial England to its 1980s pop crossover to its modern-day variants in Norwegian black metal. Told from the perspective of a devoted fan, Dunn balances his insider's view with interviews with some of metal's most influential artists -- including Alice Cooper, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Zombie -- as well as enthusiastic acolytes. Read More Read Less
      Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

      What to Know

      Critics Consensus

      Made by a metalhead, this documentary of the musical genre both informs and entertains with its range of interviewees.

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      Audience Reviews

      View All (898) audience reviews
      Audience Member One of my all time favorite documentaries. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/10/19 Full Review Audience Member It doesn't really offer a lot of new info for the initiated or the scientifically in-depth anthropological analysis it seems to think it does, yet remains an interesting film boosted by great talking heads such as Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider, Rob Zombie, Geddy Lee and Alice Cooper. It's their reflections on topics such as artistic expression, metal music, audience-artist connection, entertainment, heavy metal culture, censorship and more that stand out from the narrative. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review paul s To me, Sam Dunn is the unofficial king of Heavy Metal documentaries. I suspect that this was put together from extra footage from his Metal Evolution series which is also very good. As a metal fan, I can't get enough of Sam's movies and work. I can't state enough about how much I enjoy the quality of this work. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member A definitive look into the Heavy Metal Tribe. Features cool interviews with bands, fans, and insiders. The critics who take issue with this movie do so because they can't fathom a documentary made by people who actually like their subject matter. If you like heavy metal, this is a must see. If you're interested in heavy metal, this is where you should start. Should be viewed in conjunction with Banger's "Metal Evolution". Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/09/23 Full Review Audience Member Being a lifelong heavy metal fan, obviously this documentary was going to be right up my alley. This is THE film I would show someone who does not understand the music of heavy metal or the culture that supports it. It is almost as if you were going to teach a class on heavy metal this is what you would use for your course outline. But by no means is this a boring academic study of metal music. This is for my money, the best music documentary that I have seen. There is not one part of this entire movie that I do not enjoy, and I have watched it numerous times from start to finish, and it never gets old or boring. It is a real fresh look at heavy metal music and culture. Sam Dunn really focuses on the culture of the metal scene, and why fans are so drawn to it. But he also gets into detail about how this music came about, its origins and how its been changed throughout the years. Going through subgenres of metal, which there are many, and really explaining what the difference is, and why they are different. But like I said, it is not a boring teaching lesson at all, it is spectacular, and to the non metal fan this would be a perfect place to start if you were trying to understand this music, and why people love it so much. He has great interviews with all the key players in just about every sub genre of heavy metal. And they each deliver with their unique perspective on the music and culture. From Lemmy of Motorhead to Lamb of God this documentary really includes everyone. Dunn even gets in a segment on Norwegian Black Metal, as he travels around the world he makes a stop in the home of satanic black metal to interview some of the key figures in the sub genre. Maybe the best and most disturbing interview of the entire movie comes from Ghal of Gorgortoh. You can feel the tension and awkwardness through the interview as Dunn asks him about black metal and his love for Satan, its outstanding journalism. As a metal fan I know how huge of a following the music has, but you can come away from this movie really seeing that this is not just a bunch of crazy teenagers listening to people screaming on stage. This music is beautiful and filled with emotion. And the people who are involved with it, live and die with heavy metal music. This documentary is refreshing because its not the same old played out answers that most artists give to the media. They know Sam Dunn is a true metal head and you can tell they respect him for it and are going to be honest with him, he gets the most out of them. You can feel the passion for the subject he is covering. A great documentary, I highly recommend it not just to metal fans, but to fans of all music. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/14/23 Full Review Audience Member Being a lifelong heavy metal fan, obviously this documentary was going to be right up my alley. This is THE film I would show someone who does not understand the music of heavy metal or the culture that supports it. It is almost as if you were going to teach a class on heavy metal this is what you would use for your course outline. But by no means is this a boring academic study of metal music. This is for my money, the best music documentary that I have seen. There is not one part of this entire movie that I do not enjoy, and I have watched it numerous times from start to finish, and it never gets old or boring. It is a real fresh look at heavy metal music and culture. Sam Dunn really focuses on the culture of the metal scene, and why fans are so drawn to it. But he also gets into detail about how this music came about, its origins and how its been changed throughout the years. Going through subgenres of metal, which there are many, and really explaining what the difference is, and why they are different. But like I said, it is not a boring teaching lesson at all, it is spectacular, and to the non metal fan this would be a perfect place to start if you were trying to understand this music, and why people love it so much. He has great interviews with all the key players in just about every sub genre of heavy metal. And they each deliver with their unique perspective on the music and culture. From Lemmy of Motorhead to Lamb of God this documentary really includes everyone. Dunn even gets in a segment on Norwegian Black Metal, as he travels around the world he makes a stop in the home of satanic black metal to interview some of the key figures in the sub genre. Maybe the best and most disturbing interview of the entire movie comes from Ghal of Gorgortoh. You can feel the tension and awkwardness through the interview as Dunn asks him about black metal and his love for Satan, its outstanding journalism. As a metal fan I know how huge of a following the music has, but you can come away from this movie really seeing that this is not just a bunch of crazy teenagers listening to people screaming on stage. This music is beautiful and filled with emotion. And the people who are involved with it, live and die with heavy metal music. This documentary is refreshing because its not the same old played out answers that most artists give to the media. They know Sam Dunn is a true metal head and you can tell they respect him for it and are going to be honest with him, he gets the most out of them. You can feel the passion for the subject he is covering. A great documentary, I highly recommend it not just to metal fans, but to fans of all music. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/03/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Critics Reviews

      View All (29) Critics Reviews
      Erin Meister Boston Globe The metal scene emerges throughout the documentary as the recruitment center of an army of misfits, where the outcasts of the world can seek each other out based on their love of the angsty, eardrum-destroying tunes their parents warned them about. Rated: 2.5/4 May 12, 2006 Full Review Matt McNally BBC.com Enjoyable whether you're a fan of the music or not. Rated: 3/5 May 6, 2006 Full Review Will Lawrence Empire Magazine A documentary that preaches to the converted if ever there was one, but Dunn's enthusiasm for the subject and the range of pretension and humour of his interviewees makes for fun viewing. Rated: 3/5 May 6, 2006 Full Review Rob Gonsalves Rob's Movie Vault Brings on a variety of eloquent voices from both the fanbase and the gods of metal themselves. Rated: B Oct 20, 2007 Full Review Christopher Null Filmcritic.com Rated: 3.5/5 Jun 20, 2007 Full Review Urban Cinefile Critics Urban Cinefile The success of Dunn's film in support of heavy metal music might be the result of not offering the audience too much music Nov 10, 2006 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Filmmaker and anthropologist Sam Dunn investigates the origins and subculture surrounding heavy metal, tracing the genre's roots from 1970s post-industrial England to its 1980s pop crossover to its modern-day variants in Norwegian black metal. Told from the perspective of a devoted fan, Dunn balances his insider's view with interviews with some of metal's most influential artists -- including Alice Cooper, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Zombie -- as well as enthusiastic acolytes.
      Director
      Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise
      Executive Producer
      David Reckziegel, John Hamilton, Sam Feldman, Noah Segal
      Screenwriter
      Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise
      Rating
      R (Some Nudity|Sexual Content|Language|Violent Images)
      Genre
      Documentary
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Aug 25, 2017
      Sound Mix
      Dolby SR