The Decline of Western Civilization

Watch The Decline of Western Civilization

"See it in a theater.... where you can't get hurt."
  • NR
  • 1981
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 7.5  (4,783)
  • 93

The Decline of Western Civilization is a documentary film that looks at the punk rock scene in Los Angeles, California in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was directed by Penelope Spheeris, who would go on to direct the sequels to this film, as well as Wayne's World and other Hollywood movies. The film is essentially a series of interviews with people involved in the punk movement in LA, including band members, fans, and scenesters. There are also some live performance clips interspersed throughout the film, featuring bands such as Black Flag, X, and the Germs.

One of the primary themes of the movie is the idea of punk as a form of rebellion against mainstream society. Interview subjects discuss how punk is a rejection of the corporate, consumerist culture that dominates American life. They see punk as a way of expressing themselves authentically, without compromising their values or selling out to the system.

Another important theme is the DIY ethos of punk. Many of the bands featured in the film started out by putting on their own shows, making their own merchandise, and recording their own music. They saw punk as a way of taking control of their own creative output, rather than relying on record labels or other gatekeepers.

There are also some darker elements to the film, as it touches on the drug use and violence that were sometimes associated with the punk scene in LA. Several interview subjects discuss how they've been beaten up or harassed by police for dressing or acting in a punk manner. There are also scenes of people shooting up heroin or slamming beers at a party.

Overall, The Decline of Western Civilization is a raw, unvarnished look at a subculture that many people at the time saw as dangerous or threatening. It's a film that gives voice to a group of people who felt marginalized by society, and who saw punk as a way of expressing their frustration and anger. It's not always an easy watch, but it's an important document of a time and a place that has largely been forgotten by mainstream culture.

The Decline of Western Civilization is a 1981 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 93.

The Decline of Western Civilization
Where to Watch The Decline of Western Civilization
The Decline of Western Civilization is available to watch free on Plex, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Vudu Free, Kanopy and Popcornflix. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, FuboTV, Philo, Fandor, Apple TV, Amazon and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent The Decline of Western Civilization for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (4,783)
  • Metascore