CBGB (2013)

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CBGB follows the story of Hilly Kristal's New York club from its conceit as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues (CBGB) to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock 'n roll and punk. When Kristal had difficulty booking country bands in his club on the Bowery he opened his doors to other kinds of rock music. Kristal had one demand of the acts he booked; they could only play original music. No top 40's, no covers. It was the credo he lived by, support the artist at whatever the cost. Hilly Kristal ironically became known as the godfather of punk giving a chance to such bands as Blondie, Television, Ramones, Talking Heads, Dead Boys and The Police.
Alan Rickman as Hilly Kristal
Estelle Harris as Bertha Kristal
Malin Akerman as Debbie Harry
Ashley Greene as Lisa Kristal
Stana Katic as Genya Ravan
Justin Bartha as Stiv Bators
Joel Moore as Joey Ramone
Johnny Galecki as Terry Ork
Donal Logue as Merv Ferguson
Freddy Rodríguez as Idaho
Kyle Gallner as Lou Reed
Bradley Whitford as Nicky Gant
Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome
Ryan Hurst as Mad Mountain
Richard de Klerk as Taxi
Ahna O'Reilly as Mary Harron
Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop
Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith
Full cast
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Video Size
640x272 px
File Size
700 Mb
Video Codec
Video Bitrate
954 Kbps
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Video Size
640x272 px
File Size
700 Mb
Video Codec
Video Bitrate
954 Kbps
File Format
Download(4 Mb)
screenshots (20)

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It's a movie, not a documentary. So not everything is exactly the way it really happened, but it does capture the grittiness of the club and the bathrooms and the craziness of the performances. For instance, the band Television didn't do "Marquee Moon" until two or three years after their CBGB debut. But it was still funny as hell to see Tom Verlaine almost get electrocuted while playing it. I hope some day there's a six-part Ken Burns series on what really happened at CBGB in the 70s. This movie isn't it. But it sure is good entertainment.


CBGB was a wonderful movie reflecting the passion of Hilly Kristal. Hilly would do anything to help a musician and was truly a legend in his own time. No wonder the New York Times put his obituary of page one.


Many of the reviewers have complained because it didn't reflect the punk movement the way they felt it should. Save that criticism for Sid and Nancy or some of the numerous other lousy movies about the punk era. In fact, if you want an accurate reflection, just watch one of the many documentaries that have real footage of all the sensationalist punker stunts that the mainstream media loved to cover (stage diving, mosh pits, masochistic and lewd acts). This movie is about a middle-aged Jewish club owner who thought art and originality were more important than money. He also thought it was important to listen to the younger generation. If it wasn't cool enough for you millenials and gen-xers whining about not enough grittiness, then you should at least encourage your parents to see it if you want them to understand you. And maybe you need to think about what the movie is really about instead of what you thought it was about. The performances and music were outstanding.


I'm not a fan of punk, but the music was great, especially in surround sound. Acting great, untold story of Hilly nice to see. Telling all my friends to go. I saw Gravity last weekend and even though entertaining, the moviegoers last night really got involved in the CBGB story. Lot of laughing out loud. Seemed to be a better time for fans at CBGB than Gravity. Like going to a private concert.


2 1/2 stars. Points for recreating the atmosphere of late 1970's NYC. Unfortunately not enough story line to make it a really great movie. Anyone who fondly remembers the club and the city during the late 70's will enjoy it. A trip down Punk memory lane.

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