Meet the masters of resilience.
80’s metal trailblazers: Anvil.
For those of you who bristle at the thought of heavy metal, set aside that resistance. Give this one a shot with an open mind and heart. And thank me later—because the story of Anvil—and the filmmaker who captured their tale—is nothing short of remarkable.
At 14, Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. In 1982 they birthed a highly influential album that would inspire the likes of Anthrax and Metallica—and then proceeded to drop off the map, toiling in obscurity for decades while the bands they impacted rose to superstardom.
Then, in 2006, filmmaker (and former Anvil roadie) Sacha Gervasi set out to find out what happened, discovering to his astonishment that 25 years later the band was still making music and remained steadfastly committed to the most impossible of dreams: making it big.
Now this is a story, he thought.
So Sacha grabbed a small camera crew and proceeded to follow the band as they persevered through obstacles, navigated a botched European tour, and recorded a thirteenth album. Despite rejection that would devastate the strongest among us, Anvil refused to give up on their dream—and never lost hope.
The result is Sacha’s brainchild and documentary, Anvil! The Story of Anvil. This self-financed indie roc doc—much like the band it portrays—was almost never seen by anybody. But against all odds, this “real life Spinal Tap” became a cult classic, scoring a rare 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is now lauded as one of the greatest rock ‘n roll documentaries of all time.
In the end, the movie gifted Anvil the break they’d been longing for.
Today we tell this surprisingly touching and remarkably inspirational story.
“If you’re a real artist, you’re doing what you love until you’re pushing up daisies.”
– STEVE 'LIPS' KUDLOW
And now, 50 years since the band debuted and 13 years after the rockumentary first premiered in 2008, the film is being re-released in 200 theaters across the US this week and later in theatres across Europe and beyond—a response to a new generation of enthusiastic young people who discovered and fell in love with the movie during Covid.
Again, even if you have zero interest in metal, you will love this film. Furthermore, you will love this conversation, which marks Sacha’s 3rd appearance on the show—his first being with David De Rothschild on episode #249, and this second with actor Jamie Dornan, star of Sacha’s HBO film My Dinner With Hervé, back on episode #398.
Sacha is a very entertaining and gifted storyteller, and his Anvil protagonists, Lips and Robb, are incredibly endearing, earnest, and chock full of grit. And dare I go so far as to say that Lips just might be the self-help guru you never knew you needed.
Lips and Robb hold an unwavering conviction and extraordinary amount of courage that is nothing short of superhuman. They are inspiring examples of perseverance in the face of adversity, and I’m delighted to share their story. I hope you find it as touching and compelling as I did.
Peace + Plants,
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- Connect with Anvil: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
- IMDb: Anvil! The Story of Anvil
- IMDb: Sacha Gervasi
- The Guardian: The 20 best music documentaries–ranked!
- Vulture: The 50 Best Music Documentaries Ever
- Newsweek: 20 Highest Rated Documentaries of All Time, According to Rotten Tomatoes
- Decider: A Decade On, ‘Anvil: The Story of Anvil’ Ascends To Rock Doc Valhalla
- NME: The 50 best music documentaries of all time
- Variety: ‘The Story of Anvil’: Beloved (but Oscar-Snubbed) Rock Doc Gets Theatrical Re-Release
- Deadline: ‘Anvil! The Story Of Anvil’ Rock Doc Goes Wide With Theatrical Re-Release From Utopia & Abramorama
- YouTube: Anvil Performs at the 25th Spirit Awards
- YouTube: Anvil! The Story of Anvil – Theatrical Trailer
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