Everything you need to know about the Motley Crue movie The Dirt

Motley Crue - The Dirt
(Image: © Netflix)

Having been talked about for almost 15 years now, Mötley Crüe movie The Dirt is now available cross the globe. Much like the book from which it takes its title, the film is a high-octane account of what it was like to be a member of one of the world's best-loved rock'n'roll bands at the height of their fame – one which, in the words of Mötley Crüe bassist and co-founder Nikki Sixx, doesn't "pull any punches". 

Here's everything we know about The Dirt.

Were any trailers for The Dirt released?

An official trailer for The Dirt was released by Netflix a month ahead of the film's debut, as well as some teasers circulated by Nikki Sixx on his social media accounts. Check out the full trailer below.

Will there be a DVD release of The Dirt?

There's no news of one yet. So watch this space. 

Who is in The Dirt?

Nikki Sixx is being played by Douglas Booth, a British actor who once also played Boy George in a BBC film about the singer's life.

Mick Mars is being played by Iwan Rheon, a Welsh actor who viewers will no doubt recognise from his turn as ultimate Game Of Thrones baddie Ramsay Bolton, as well as his stint as Simon Bellamy in Misfits.

Tommy Lee is being played by Machine Gun Kelly, an American rapper-turned-actor who has recently become part of the Netflix stable, having also performed in their hit movie Bird Box.

Vince Neil is being played by Daniel Webber, an Australian actor who's also part of the Netflix family following his turn as Lewis Wilson in their The Punisher TV series. 

“I gotta tell you, I don’t know how Douglas transformed into me,” Sixx told Classic Rock. “I mean, how they all did. Machine Gun Kelly is Tommy Lee. Me and Tommy were sitting in while they were rehearsing the music, and we were just like, ‘It’s us.”

Daniel Webber as Vince Neil in The Dirt

Daniel Webber as Vince Neil in The Dirt

(Image: © Netflix)

What's on The Dirt's soundtrack?

Mötley Crüe released The Dirt soundtrack on March 22 – the same day The Dirt hit Netflix. The soundtrack features a total of 18 songs, including four new tracks: Ride With The Devil, Crash And Burn, Mötley Crüe’s cover of Madonna’s Like A Virgin and the first single, title track The Dirt (Est. 1981), which has already been released. The title track features a guest appearance from Machine Gun Kelly, who stars as drummer Tommy Lee in the movie.

Bassist Nikki Sixx says: “During the filming of our movie we got excited and inspired to write new music. 

“Getting back in the studio with Bob Rock just fuelled the creative fires for us. To me, the music sounds like classic Motley. The lyrics were written for the movie and are a reflection of our life.”

The Dirt Soundtrack - Track Listing

1. The Dirt (Est. 1981) (feat. Machine Gun Kelly)  
2. Red Hot
3. On With The Show
4. Live Wire
5. Merry-Go-Round
6. Take Me To The Top
7. Piece Of Your Action
8. Shout At The Devil
9. Looks That Kill
10. Too Young To Fall In Love
11. Home Sweet Home
12. Girls, Girls, Girls
13. Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)
14. Kickstart My Heart
15. Dr. Feelgood
16. Ride With The Devil
17. Crash And Burn
18. Like A Virgin

The Dirt soundtrack is available to order now.

What is The Dirt about?

Based on the book of the same name, The Dirt is an autobiographical account from the minds of the Mötley Crüe members which follows the band from formation through to fame, fortune and everything that went along with it – good and bad. Hair-raising and toe-curling in equal measure, the book was praised for its unflinching honesty when appraising the highs and lows of the rock'n'roll lifestyle. 

The movie follows in the same no-holds-barred vein, with Sixx telling Classic Rock: "You just have to lay it out there: this is what we were like, this is what was happening. Some people had a hard time with some of the honesty that was in the book. We weren't really concerned with covering our asses then and it was important for us to do the movie the same way.

"It was really important for us not to whitewash anything over. We know that there were scenes in NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton that were deleted because they just didn't want to be portrayed that way... With us, it was important we didn’t pull any punches."

Does The Dirt mean Mötley Crüe are reuniting?

Mötley Crüe signed a high profile contract meaning they would be sued if they ever hit the road again back in 2014 – but does The Dirt mean they're considering getting the band back together? Well, they might have recorded new music for the movie soundtrack, But Sixx denies a reunion is on the cards, telling Classic Rock: "We haven't even had that talk. We've just been wrapped up in the movie. 

"Yeah, I miss the guys, and I miss playing with them, and playing that music, but everyone’s fairly busy with their own thing. That’s a whole conversation that we haven’t even had at that point. And I don’t know if we ever will.”

As for touring, Sixx tells Rolling Stone: “Sometimes I look out at my friends, like the guys in Aerosmith and Metallica, and I’m like, ‘God damn it, did we retire too soon? But there will be no one-offs in our future. Maybe we’ll just get together and jam in Mick Mars’ front room.”

Is The Dirt any good?

Reviews have been mixed, with the band complaining that while fans adore the movie, it's been less-well received by critics.  

"It's surprisingly entertaining. And that probably shouldn't be a surprise, given that director Jeff Tremaine, who produced and directed the Jackass franchise, is the world's leading expert in portraying stupidity on the big screen. Some of it's in the casting: Machine Gun Kelly is perfect as gangly livewire dumbo Tommy Lee, and Douglas Booth does a convincing Nikki Sixx. Iwan Rheon steals the show as a sardonic Mick Mars, even if the wig makes him look more like Nigel Tufnell. But The Dirt is mostly entertaining because it does a really good job of making the audience feel like they're along for the ride." (Classic Rock

"This is rock bad-boy lore as a rocking bore, an endless parade of recreated afterparty ecstasy and emptiness that robs The Dirt of the vicarious thrill it had on the page — the sense that you shouldn’t be having this much of a second-hand high reading about musicians acting like horrible people but still seeming living-the-dream heroic." (Rolling Stone

"To everyone’s credit, the film does not shy away from the ugliness of the real-life exploits. Given all four band members are co-producers you might think this would be a vanity project. But they commendably include the harrowing sequences of vehicular manslaughter, child neglect, drug overdose and domestic violence that many would rather not remember." (The Guardian)

"The nonstop preening and partying of the first half is exhausting, but the comedown, in which Tremaine attempts to rearrange the film into a serious character drama, is downright painful. The filmmakers try desperately to have it both ways, flipping from cheerful hedonism to Reefer Madness-style moralising. The complexities of addiction seems out of their grasp." (New York Times)

"If you'll let me, I'd like to save you 100 minutes of your time. This weekend, when you think about watching The Dirt, the new Mötley Crüe biopic on Netflix, don't." (Esquire)

"The Dirt knows it’s working with dark stuff, but excuses it as part of the great adventure to rock bottom and back. By the end, with the reunited members performing Crüe’s final concert in 2015, the band’s survival is portrayed as a life-affirming triumph: the very point of the story." (The Atlantic)

"Overall, I give two big thumbs up to The Dirt movie. The film puts the glory days of ’80s heavy metal back in the spotlight and that is a wonderful thing in my eyes. It was a special crazy time that will likely never be duplicated and it was fun to take a trip once again on the ‘wild side’ via Mötley Crüe." (Sleaze Roxx)

Is Ozzy Osbourne in The Dirt?

Ozzy Osbourne is played by American actor and comedian Tony Cavalero in The Dirt. While his screen time is more fleeting than in the book, he still makes an impact.

And boy, what an impact. His scene portrays the infamous episode when Ozzy snorted a line of ants, before going on to lap up his own (ands Nikki Sixx's) urine. 

Did it really happen? Ozzy says he doesn't remember the incident, but then Ozzy doesn't remember a lot of the 80s, so who knows?  

Who else is portrayed in The Dirt?

Given Mötley Crüe's close proximity to celebrity over the years, it follows that a number of famous faces are portrayed in the movie. 

Rebekah Graf plays the actress Heather Locklear, who went on to marry (and eventually divorce) Tommy Lee. Leven Rambin plays Sharise Neil, Vince’s girlfriend (and eventually wife). 

David Costabile pops up as Doc McGhee, the longtime manager of Mötley Crüe, and SNL regular (and real-life ex of Ariana Grande) Pete Davidson plays Tom Zutaut, a Geffen Records executive and friend of the band. Elsewhere, Christian Gehring makes an appearance as Van Halen singer David Lee Roth.

Is The Dirt accurate? 

There are some parts of The Crue story which don't appear at all: there's no mention of Tommy Lee's relationship with Pamela Anderson, one of the 90's biggest ongoing tabloid stories. So there's no children, no sex tape, no hepatitis, no mention of the fact that he went to prison after assaulting her. 

And there's no mention of the story related in the book where Nikki Sixx admits to "pretty much” raping a woman. He's since gone on to claim that he has no memory of the event, nor any recollection of relating it to the book's author, Neil Strauss. 

Apart from these convenient omissions - perhaps an attempt to sanitise the unsanitisable - there are liberties taken with the timeline in order to ease the narrative along: so there's no mention of the band's first singer, O’Dean Peterson. Poor old John Corabi doesn't get a single line. And a whole raft of characters - Vince Neil, Heather Locklear, Doc McGhee - are introduced in circumstances that don't reflect the reality of events.  

Did Nikki Sixx really die?

Two days before Christmas in 1987, Sixx spent the evening with Ratt singer Robbin Crosby, Slash from Guns N’ Roses and members of Megadeth. He overdosed on heroin after returning home, and woke up in the back of an ambulance with two syringes protruding from his chest after paramedics injected him with adrenaline. He had been clinically dead for two minutes, and entered rehab the following month. 

"Dying hurts," Sixx told Classic Rock. "There’s stuff that you don’t really know if you saw it or didn’t see it. For me, there was a very transparent vision of seeing the whole moment – the ambulance, the gurney, a limo. It wasn’t possible, because I was under a sheet."

How did Razzle die?

Although Motley Crue and Swedish glam band Hanoi Rocks had never been the closest of friends, they did share an unhealthy appetite for cavalier self-destruction. So it came as little surprise, then, that as soon as the Hanoi Rocks touring machine arrived in LA, Mötley Crüe held an impromptu welcome party for them.

With Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe laid up in his hotel room with a fractured ankle, guitarist Andy McCoy, bassist Sam Yaffa, guitarist Nasty Suicide and drummer Razzle embarked on a mammoth drinking binge with the Crüe that was always destined to end in total, unmitigated disaster.

Sketchy memories from those in attendance suggest that three to four days into the party, on the evening of December 8, with supplies depleted, a trip to buy more booze was mooted. Vince Neil, heavily intoxicated but, inadvisably, keen to show off his orange-red 72 Ford Pantera sports car, set off for the liquor store with Razzle as his passenger. Almost an hour later McCoy became concerned that the pair still hadn’t returned and, along with the band’s road manager, set about retracing their steps. As they drove they passed a car wreck near Neil’s home in Redondo Beach. Seconds later, and with chilling realisation dawning, they returned to the scene to find Vince Neil in police custody and Razzle’s unconscious body being put into an ambulance

Apparently, shortly after setting off at 6.38pm, Neil lost control of his car in a wet spot while swerving around a stationary fire truck at 65mph in a 25mph zone. His Ford Pantera then careered into the path of oncoming traffic and was struck by two other cars. The driver of one of them, 18-year-old Lisa Hogan, was rushed in a critical condition to the intensive care unit of the Little Company of Mary Hospital, where she remained in a coma until the end of the month with a broken arm and two broken legs. Brain damage, meanwhile, left her liable to psychomotor seizures. Lisa Hogan’s passenger, 20-year-old Daniel Smithers, suffered a broken leg and some brain damage. The driver of the third vehicle was thankfully uninjured.

Vince Neil miraculously escaped serious injury (suffering only cracked ribs and minor facial cuts), but Razzle was pronounced dead on arrival at Redondo’s South Bay Hospital at 7.19pm. Vince Neil was taken to the police station at nearby Torrance where he was immediately arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter, but was subsequently released on $2,500 bail.

Eventually convicted in July 1985, the singer ultimately served just 20 days in jail, was ordered to pay $2.6 million in compensation to the injured parties, completed 200 hours of community service, and attended school and college lectures on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

How did Vince Neil's daughter Skylar die?

In April 1988, Vince Neil married mud wrestler and fashion model, Sharise Ruddell, who appeared as a dancer in the band's Girls, Girls, Girls video the previous year. In 1991 she gave birth to their daughter, Skylar. The couple divorced in 1993.

At just four years old, Skylar was diagnosed with what doctors thought was appendicitis, but during an operation to remove her appendix, surgeons found several tumours. She was then diagnosed with nephroblastoma – otherwise known as Wilm's tumour – the most common type of renal cancer in children. Skylar endured six operations and extensive courses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment over the next few months, but this failed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Skylar Neil passed away on 15 August, 1995. In the following years, Neil set up the Skylar Neil Foundation to raise funds for children with cancer. 

In 1999, Neil sued Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power, claiming that the company had dumped toxic waste in a property located next to his Simi Valley home, and that this had contributed to Skylar's illness. "I'm stunned to learn about the things Rocketdyne did," Neil wrote in a statement. "I am prepared to fight for my child since she no longer can." The case was dismissed the following year. 

"It took years [to get over Skylar's death]," Vince told Classic Rock. "I was in rehab eight times that first year. I went to Palm Springs in California and played golf by myself twice a day, every day. Then I checked myself into to Betty Ford, leaving all my clubs, clothes and stuff behind. Three days later I was back at the hotel, the rehab hadn’t worked but my golf was getting pretty good. I slept with her blanket for a year-and-a-half. Doing charity work, signing cheques, really helped to straighten me out."

Why did Mötley Crüe cover Madonna's Like A Virgin?

Mötley Crüe have included a cover of Madonna's 1984 hit Like A Virgin as part of The Dirt's soundtrack. Sixx tells Classic Rock that the cover was his idea. “I called Bob Rock, and he was, like, ‘Uh, I don’t think the guys are gonna go for it.’" says Sixx. "I demoed it up and went over to Tommy’s house. I said, ‘I have a song to play you but I’m going to go in the bathroom and hide cos I don’t want you to punch me in the face.

"It starts going and Tommy gets this huge smile on his face: ‘This is so fucking wrong.' And I talked to Mick and Vince, and they were, like, ‘Fuck it, let’s go.’ 

"I think it’s funny for Vince Neil to sing, ‘Like a virgin, touched for the very first time’ – the least virgin guy I know."

Is The Dirt the new Bohemian Rhapsody?

With Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody dominating box offices and awards ceremonies, it seems like 2019 is set to be the year of the rock biopic. Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, The Dirt tells the story of a band from gestation to chart-toppling fame, and both were made with close input from remaining band members – which promises at least an element of accuracy. While Bohemian Rhapsody was mildly criticised for presenting too squeaky clean an account of the band's past, The Dirt unturns plenty of grimy stones. 

"I don’t know if they sugar-coated anything in the Queen movie," Sixx tells Classic Rock. "With us, you've got four outrageous characters, and it was important we didn’t pull any punches."