Throughout 2016, London is celebrating its punk heritage with a series of exhibitions, gigs and events looking at the impact of punk rock on music, art, fashion, culture and politics.
We’ve been hosting our very own tribute to punk at TeamRock too, by highlighting some of the best documentaries ever made…
THE GREAT ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SWINDLE
(1980, 103 mins)
Julien Temple’s directorial debut is a fictional account of the Sex Pistols’ career, told from the perspective of their entertainingly maverick former manager Malcolm McLaren. It’s less a documentary than an acid trip revision of the quartet’s brief, turbulent and incandescent time together, so it’s little wonder Johnny Rotten wanted nothing to do with the project. Still, The Great Rock ’N’ Roll Swindle is worth watching for the songs and music videos alone. Where else can you see Sid Vicious stagger through My Way?
FILMAGE: THE STORY OF DESCENDENTS/ALL
(2013, 90 mins)
Matt Riggle and Deedle LaCaour’s film celebrates Descendents’ 30-year career as well as that of their offshoot band All. Dave Grohl, Mark Hoppus, Tim McIlrath, Mike Watt and Joey Cape explain how the godfathers of pop-punk impacted their lives, while a wealth of band interviews offer a detailed, inspiring overview of the two highly influential, caffeine-fuelled acts.
PUNK’S NOT DEAD
(2007, 97 mins)
In Punk’s Not Dead, filmmaker Susan Dynner asks whether the true spirit of punk can be alive after crossing over into the mainstream. Spoiler alert, the clue is in the title. Whatever your view, you’ll want to hear Dynner’s argument, not least because of the credible cast of characters she’s assembled to back up her claim, among them Johnny and Marky Ramone, Tim Armstrong, Keith Morris, Wayne Kramer, Henry Rollins, Fat Mike and Billie Joe Armstrong.
BAD BRAINS: A BAND IN DC
(2012, 104 mins)
Combining rare footage with comic illustrations, Mandy Stein and Ben Logan’s brilliant documentary tells the story of how four black kids from Washington, DC became one of the world’s most important bands. Their reggae-fuelled punk and frenetic live shows inspired and influenced the likes of the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt and the entire early ‘80s DC scene, but Stein and Logan’s unfliching film also offers insight into the self-destructive impulses which ensured that the four-piece were never able to fully realise the success they inarguably deserved.
JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN
(2007, 124 mins)
If any one figure in punk history deserves their own documentary, then it’s Joe Strummer. Julien Temple – him again – mixes rare footage with the recollections of the former Clash frontman’s closest companions and collaborators (Martin Scorsese, Johnny Depp, Don Letts and Bono all feature) to paint a portrait of a true punk icon.
Catch up on the first three weeks of The Punk Rock Doc Club below…