Long live punk rock! There’s a line in Hulu’s series Gun on the Sex Pistols (which is based on the memoir of guitarist Steve Jones Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Gun) where Johnny Rotten thinks, “Actually, we’re not into music, we’re into chaos.” And what is punk rock if not the chaos that exists in a state of musical anarchy? The Sex Pistols were born out of a desire to rage against the “terribly boring” England of the late 1970s.
Punk rock as a genre emerged in the mid-1970s from a mix of 1960s-style garage rock when musicians of the era rejected the sounds of traditional soft rock that had taken over the airwaves. Specifically, punk rockers reacted to the excesses of the overproduced, slick music of the time. Punk rock songs are usually very short with fast lyrics often shouted into the microphone. It’s frenetic, full of energy and impossible to ignore. The genre was (and is) influenced by the Glam rock movement in the UK, such as T. Rex and The New York Dolls, and The Stooges and MC5 are also often cited as early inspirations for punk rock bands that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Over the years, a number of films have embraced the ethos of punk rock and offered viewers insight into the anachronistic lifestyles of punk rockers. While doing this, these movies also delivered some pretty amazing soundtracks. Let’s take a look at some of the best punk rock movie soundtracks and join us in singing the Sex Pistols song AnarchyUnited Kingdom, “Because I want to be anarchy, that’s the only way to be…”
8 Daughter of the Valley (1983)
“Like, oh-my-god, gag me with a spoon!” She is a valley girl in this 1983 classic that exposed both Nicolas Cage and the mall culture of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley to the world. Deborah Foreman is the titular shopaholic character and young Cage as a Hollywood punk with a sensitive side. While obviously not a punk film, it memorably confuses both that culture and the plastic materialism it opposes. Director Martha Coolidge showed her credibility with an excellent soundtrack, even though acts like The Clash didn’t make it into the film due to the difficulty (i.e. cost) of securing the rights. license for them. The official soundtrack includes songs from the Plimsouls, Josie Cotton, Bonnie Haynes with the Wild Combo, Felony, Modern English and Sparks.
seven SLC Punk (1998)
Matthew Lillard may have played Shaggy in scooby-doobut he’s completely different as punk rocker Stevo in SLC Punk. The film was written and directed by James Merendino, who grew up as a punk rocker in Salt Lake City, Utah; you know what they say, write what you know. The plot is certainly aided by an incredible soundtrack featuring Exploited, Fear, Suicide Machines, The Specials, The Stooges, Blondie, the Ramones, Fifi, Velvet Underground, the Dead Kennedys, Moondogg, the Adolescents and Generation X.
6 Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Spots (1982)
Ladies and gentlemen the fabulous spots was directed by legendary record producer Lou Adler. The film is about a third-rate, female-fronted punk band (Diane Lane in a sublime performance) finding success, and is peppered with cameos from actual punk rockers the Sex Pistols and the Clash. As directed by a record producer, the soundtrack offers a wide range of good and darker punk music, with songs from Lawnboy, The Metal Corpses, the Looters and, of course, the big fake band Fabulous Stains.
5 Repo Man (1984)
In the 1980s, Emilio Estevez was at the height of his fame, assuming The man from the depot seemed like an odd choice to him. He played Otto, a punk rocker looking for a cure for his perpetual boredom. He teams up with a repo man played by a brilliant Harry Dean Stanton, and finds himself in the middle of a government alien plot in this ridiculous ’80s cult classic from one of the most ‘punk’ directors out there, Alex Cox. . 1984 was a crazy year, y’all. The soundtrack of The man from the depot is phenomenal with songs from Iggy Pop, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Fear, Circle Jerks, Juicy Bananas, Burning Sensation and the Plugz.
4 Rock’n’Roll High School (1979)
Rock’n Roll High School was produced by Roger “The Pope of Pop Cinema” Corman and is a perfect example of a teen exploitation film. Based on the iconic Ramones song, the film featured Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky Ramone, who inspired high school students Vince Lombardi to stand up to authority. The soundtrack is amazing, featuring music from the Ramones, Devo, PJ Soles, Todd Rundgren, Brian Eno, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Brownsville Station, Nick Lowe and Alice Cooper.
3 Suburban (1983)
Suburb was directed by Penelope Spheeris, whose credits list reads like a rock n roll resume (her Decline of Western Civilization trilogy are probably the greatest rock documentaries ever made). Suburb takes a look at the dark world of aging hippies and their disillusioned children in California. Parents are offended by children’s Mohawks and safety pin earrings – totally forgetting their own time of rebellion. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers had a starring role in this film. The soundtrack features music from The Vandals, TSOL and Alex Gibson.
2 Sid and Nancy (1986)
Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen are the punk rock couple of all punk rock couples, and one of the most destructive couples in cinema. Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb were 28 and 30 when this movie was made, while Sid and Nancy were 21 and 20 when they died, but they do a fascinating and ingenious job of inhabiting the Sex Pistols frontman. and his girlfriend. The Alex Cox film follows the couple’s relationship through its explosive ups and downs until its tragic end. The soundtrack features music by Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Circle Jerks, Joe Strummer, Pray for Rain, The Pogues and John Cale.
1 Smithereens (1982)
Susan Berman played Wren, a spoiled, narcissistic girl from New Jersey who finds herself immersed in Manhattan’s East Village punk scene. Richard Hell (of legendary bands Television and the Voidoids) plays a fictionalized version of himself, giving this film some serious punk rock credibility. Parts also perfectly portrays the dirty punk atmosphere of the Lower East Side, home to the iconic and late CBGBs. The soundtrack to this film is a classic with music by The Feelies, The Nitecaps, Dave Weckerman, ESG, Raybeats and uncredited songs by Richard Hell.
Apart from the individual songs, the film’s score is composed by The Feelies themselves, and Susan Seidelman’s direction uses the music brilliantly. It was a landmark independent film before the huge wave of American indies in the 90s, and it was actually the very first American independent film to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.