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Movie Review: Anvil! The Story of Anvil

4 December 2009 12 Comments

By: Darius

You can view the official trailer for the movie on YouTube.

Anvil is one of those bands that I have always heard about but never really paid much attention to, other than their highly detailed album artwork. As it turns out, I am very much in the majority of music enthusiasts who missed the boat on this longtime Canadian heavy metal band. Thanks to the recently released documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil, I will say that this band is officially on my radar and I am better for it. Anvil! The Story of Anvil is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I received a copy a few months ago and finally got around to watching it over Thanksgiving. Fantastic. Genius. Inspiring. It’s all of those things. This movie unequivocally destroys any other documentary I have ever seen.

<em>Anvil! The Story of Anvil</em>

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

I won’t pretend to know a lot about Anvil, as I am just not very familiar with the band’s catalog. But I’d like to point out that lead singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner began playing music together in Toronto in 1973. The duo created Anvil in 1978 and began playing shows and recording albums. More than 30 years later, they are still playing together and have gone largely unnoticed, despite having a major impact on many heavy metal bands. Metallica, Slayer, and Guns N’ Roses have all cited Anvil as influences. However, Anvil never really got a huge break, save for a small blip on the metal radar in the 1980’s, and were forced to continue to work the club circuit into obscurity. These guys played in empty bars and clubs, for literally decades, while working minimum wage jobs to pay the bills, and never gave up on the dream. Amazing.

The London Times called the Anvil documentary “The greatest movie ever made about Rock n’ Roll.” This is probably accurate. I am a sucker for rock n’ roll movies and books, and I have been thinking about other classics and it’s tough for me to remember one that resonates quite like Anvil. Upon completion of the film, I immediately watched all the bonus footage on the DVD. I was even able to stomach Lars Ulrich endlessly pontificating about Anvil for a good 20 minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore.

Well, thanks to this incredible documentary, Anvil is not playing in bars anymore as they are finally receiving their break. The band recently played Conan O’Brien to celebrate the U.S. release of the documentary and they won an opening slot on a recent AC/DC tour. Anvil begins an extensive U.S. tour on January 7 at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio and is hitting all the major markets. I will be in attendance at their LA stop on February 5th. I should probably also mention that I’m now listening to the tunes and am loving it.

Anvil Band Photo

Anvil Band Photo

I think Andrew would agree with me and give Anvil! The Story of Anvil the All Knowing Force stamp of approval. You do not have to be a heavy metal fan to enjoy it. You really don’t even have to love music, although it helps. It’s just a brilliant film, in every way. My brother, who watched the movie with me, actually thanked me for bringing it home afterward and he had never heard of Anvil and does not listen to a lot of metal. Even Michael Moore called it “the best documentary I’ve seen in years”. Do yourselves a favor and see the movie. While you’re at it, please check out Anvil’s MySpace page for music and tour dates.

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  • Andrew Bilach said:

    I would 100% agree with you, Darius, in that Anvil! The Story of Anvil gets All Knowing Force’s full approval. In my opinion, it tended to drag a bit in the middle, only for a short while. Other than that, it was flawless. This wasn’t just the best documentary I’ve seen in years…it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. It was an emotional rollercoaster and that’s what a piece of film is supposed to be, and in the end, the audience gets paid off – go see them on tour.

    Unlike Darius, I didn’t mind the Lars bonus footage at the end. I’m a fan of what he was saying, just his delivery is a bit bothersome – the sound he kept making with his mouth was driving me nuts. But for all of you that want to crap on Metallica, go see them live, and realize all these bands you know and love today wouldn’t be who they are if there wasn’t a Metallica.

    Great review, as always. Spot on.

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  • Andrew Bilach said:

    Note: I’m unsure why next to my name it says AUTHOR when I make comments on the site. This appears on my articles AND Darius’ articles. It’s not supposed to appear at all. I’ll work on getting this straightened out.

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  • Andrew Bilach said:

    Darius will be writing a review on the Black Crowes show this weekend – check. Remove (author) – check?

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  • Andrew Bilach said:

    (author) removed! If this has confused some of you, I’m sorry. Go out and grab this DVD.

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  • zebo said:


    I wish AKF was updated more often. I’ve visited this site since 2005. I may not have always agreed with Andrew but respect his opinions. Everything on the site is a fantastic listen and a fantastic read. I wish there was more of it. I see you’ve rid the site of those stupid avatars.

    This review actually made me go out and buy the Anvil movie – and I already saw it 4 times.

    Cheers fellas,


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  • Fred said:

    I agree about the Anvil movie.

    I was lucky enough to see Anvil open for Raven at the Birch Hill in NJ back in January 1995. It was my first time seeing both bands. Of course I was mainly there for our boys Raven, but Anvil blew the roof off the joint. I was a casual fan of their stuff prior to that show, but have been a fanboy ever since.

    The movie really seems to be doing great in terms of kick starting interest in the band, maybe they should contact Raven about being in the sequel?

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  • Carla said:

    This piece of cinema is FLAWLESS. I never listened to Anvil or heard much about them prior to seeing the film. You don’t even have to be a music fan to be inspired.

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  • 1942 said:

    Was anyone at AC/DC at Giants Stadium? How was Anvil received there?

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  • Metallicat said:

    The Anvil Movie is awesome… Definitely go see it and support those guys..(I want to say buy one of their 13 Albums..you’ll understand after seeing the movie..) They are awesome!! If you like old school rock music.. Look up Anvil, two brothas from other muthas been rock’n for 30years. They haven’t changed.. An inspiring movie to say the least. Peep the trailer.

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  • yiggernes said:

    THE! GREATEST! ROCK DOC! E V E R ! ! ! ! ! !

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  • SAKF said:

    do you knows i cant not see this in my countries!!!!!

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  • Andrew Bilach said:

    I second 1942’s question, and have actually been checking this thread for a response. Anyone of you guys go to that show?

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