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Anvil! The Story of Anvil

At fourteen, they made a pact to rock together forever. They meant it. 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Sacha Gervasi 
Starring: Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow, Robb Reiner, Lemmy, Glenn Gyorffy  
An image from Anvil! The Story of Anvil

This documentary opens with Anvil playing at the Super Rock Festival, Japan 1984, to a vast crowd of screaming fans. Interviews with members of Thin Lizzy and Metallica explains the impact of Anvil, the inspiration they provided, their talent and unique sound. Cut to 2006 and things are very different: Lips, the band’s front man, is driving to work at Choice Children’s Caterers in snowy Toronto. He narrates about the history of the band as he stacks plastic crates onto trolleys. Co-founder of Anvil and Lip’s closest friend, Rob Reiner, lives in the same town. They stand by the house where Lips first heard Rob drumming in the garage, where they decided to form a band and become rockstars. That was 30 years ago.

What follows is a journey with Anvil as they continue to chase their dream. A brief tour of Europe sees them play gigs to groups of 50 people in dingy bars - their typical scene since the eighties. Back to Toronto and Lips is pushing plastic boxes again. He decides that Anvil need an album with the right production work so he sends a demo tape to CT, the man who produced their most successful album, Metal on Metal. CT likes the material; he’ll do it. Now they just need to find $13,000.

It doesn’t matter if you like long-haired rockers, whether you get the music or don’t: everyone can relate to chasing a dream. It’s not just about the dream either, there’s the 30-year-old friendship between Lips and Rob. The camera is privy to their fights and their tears. You begin to realise that these guys need each other, not just for the band but for themselves. Most friendships don’t last 30 years, let alone most bands. You can’t help but root for them, yearning for some small piece of fortune to come their way as even their loved ones suggest it’s time to stop.

Life is not a Disney film, life is family, lovers and drudgery. Even with a lot of hard work and commitment, can dreams ever really come true?

Watch Anvil and find out.

Rebecca Brett

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Autumn Term (35mm)