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Steve Kudlow
Robb Reiner.
Sacha Gervasi.
Running Time
80 minutes

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Anvil! The Story Of Anvil
For those who very nearly rocked — we salute you...

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Canadian rockers Anvil played a key role in the birth of speed metal, inspiring the likes of Metallica, Anthrax and Guns N’ Roses, yet have themselves been cruelly overlooked by fame for more than 30 years. But, while working day jobs and entering their fifties, founding members Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and Robb Reiner have continued to rock...

Anvil! The Story Of Anvil
Like that toweringly famous mockumentary, The Story Of Anvil contains a disastrous trans-continental tour (managed by a band girlfriend, no less). Both films culminate with a gig in . Hell, the drummer’s name is Robb Reiner. It’s all some elaborate, viral-marketed hoax, right? Wrong. Anvil are the real deal, and that you haven’t heard of them is exactly the point. Fame and fortune have eluded long-time bandmates, guitarist and vocalist Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow, and drummer Reiner (despite impressive testimonials here from the likes of Metallica and Motörhead), but amid the drudgery of day jobs and the disappointment of setbacks they never gave up.

So far, so typical documentary about wishfulfilment and ‘living the dream’, which you’d expect from the guy who wrote The Terminal, but Sacha Gervasi has found something more, and he mines a very rich vein for all it’s worth. How far would you go — and we’re talking about the harsh, real world here, not Hollywood hypothetical — to achieve your life goals? How much time and money would you spend? How much rejection could you take? What would you put your family through? The Story Of Anvil observes it all with excruciating (and often hilarious) honesty: the ramshackle European tour, getting their 13th album recorded, infighting, humiliation, outright extortion. But they keep clinging to hope, always believing that the breakthrough is just around the next corner.

It certainly helps that Gervasi is himself a hardcore fan (he roadied for the band in the mid-’80s). His devotion allows us access to Anvil’s most private and often painful moments, but it also ensures that his film rises above mere cinematic rubbernecking to tell an amazing story about optimism, limits and the underside of the rock ’n’ roll dream. Much more than a rockumentary, this will have you questioning whether anyone should ever abandon their dreams. Like life, it isn’t all laughs — but it mostly is, and it makes for a hell of a movie. Yes, this is Spinal Tap — and then some.

The lyrics to AC/DC’s Long Way To The Top were never more appropriate. Anvil! is exactly what’s needed to slap the recent rash of doomsayer documentaries in the face — preferably with a studded, fingerless leather glove.

Reviewed by Sam Toy

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Average user rating for Anvil! The Story Of Anvil
Empire Star Rating

Absolutely fantastic documentary. Watch it!! You don't even have to be a fan of heavy metal to appreciate just how good this documentary is. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PureAinmhi at 11:20, 13 August 2009 | Report This Post


One of my favourite films of 2009 and one of the best documentaries i've seen. I'm glad the band are now getting some level of success after 20 years. Long Live ANVIL!!!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PaulJohn at 23:08, 12 July 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Worth seeking out

The Story of Anvil Gervasi 9/10 I have no interest in heavy metal music but this film was in equal parts hilarious and touchingly sad. Featuring Lips and the impossibly named drummer, Robb Reiner, this film charts the attempts of Anvil to live the dream as rock gods.  It works because the director genuinely cares about the characters in this rockumentary and isn't there to take cheap shots or sarcastic laughs.  As a result, the laughs feel funnier and the emotions run deeper.&nb... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Groovy Mule at 00:33, 27 February 2009 | Report This Post

Worth seeking out

Saw this last night in London, and it really is a fantastic and moving film. I thought it would more about the laughs, but actually it is in places very sad, and conveys the strength of human spirit. Yes, it does have many laugh out loud moments, but I was also close to tears a couple of times, and felt a real part of the bands life. Even if you are not a fan of 80's metal, this film is a must for anyone who loves a solid human tale. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Fella at 21:19, 26 February 2009 | Report This Post

how can we see it??

right this movie has had loads of press and quite a few adverts in empire but WHY is it only showing in only 4 cinemas across the uk.was really looking forward to seeing it too. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by biglad72 at 15:37, 25 February 2009 | Report This Post

4 star/5 star?

Haven't seen this yet but did notice the poster has Empire giving it 4 stars. Why does it happen so often that the reviews here are different to posters and trailers? It can't be that difficult to get right. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by boriordan at 20:32, 09 February 2009 | Report This Post

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