The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (1998)

Documentary, Music
Stephen Chambers, Flea, Gary Fredo, Ron Martinez
The Decline of Western Civilization III is a 1998 documentary film that follows the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers.
  • Spheeris Films Company:
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  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 13 Nov 1998 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
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  • N/A Writer:
  • Penelope Spheeris Director:
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From the Ashes Of the first wave of Punk Comes a New Generation Of Discarded Youth in LA. this Movie is humorous,exciting,sad,real, and absolutely brilliant. A must for fans of Punk or fans of Penelope Spheeris, and if you like this movie also see Suburbia,Dudes, and of Course The Decline of Western Civilization 1. The New Breed Of Punk will make you laugh,cry, and most of all think. Also Containing Live Performances From Final Conflict, Naked Aggression, Litmus Green, And The Resistance. Penelope Spheeris delves into the lives, mindsets, and culture of these youths, and is also there for various highs and lows which shows a terrific commitment to this terrific document.
Can't teach an old dog old tricks...7/10
I remember seeing the theatrical trailer for this film in the theaters around seven years ago. It probably only lasted in the theaters out here for about a week and then the film disappeared entirely. I even recall finding an interview with Penelopy Spheres in a magazine somewhere around that time too. I guess I was pretty eager to see the film, but missed it. Anyhow after seeing the film for the first time today, I must say I was a bit disappointed. It seemed as if everything that was weak about the first film (namely the lame outsider questions) was all that remained in the third. How could the same film maker who made Suburbia and the first Decline be so far out of touch? I mean, she made it look like the only group doing shows in '97 was Naked Aggression. At one point in the movie she asks a kid what speed is, and then she turns around asks the same dude if his mom used to smoke it or shoot it. Whaaat? I thought you didn't even know what a tweaker was. Bascialy the the movie goes on like this, "Where are your parents? Do they like your hair? What's that in your ear? Let's interview a cop. Where do you see your self in 5 years? What's tweak? Doesn't that make you sad? Why don't you get a job?" It looked a lot like the only thing the director was really attracted to was the appearance of her subject, and in the end, even though the people in this film are are real, you kind of have to wonder how accurate this movie really is.
Sad, sobering10/10

The first film "Decline..." showed the birth of punk. This film shows almost 20 years later, what's happened to it. Basically the film is about homeless teenagers who are into punk, living off the streets of LA. It's harrowing to watch and hear what these kids go through each day. Also scary is when they're asked where they'll be 5 years from now, they all answer "dead". Despite what the former poster here said, the director is totally on the sides of the kids. She does not exploit them or ridicule them. She just basically interviews them--where they came from, how they survive, what about the future, etc. She's showing a small portion of society you never really see portrayed in films. Worth watching, but very sad.

This movie is an accurate description of a small sect of the punk scene. Since the 80s it has grown so much and has so many parts, and this is just about a few squatters from L.A., most of whom i know. And it is good as a documentary about them but don't pretend that this is at all a documentary about hte punk scene of today
Death of Punk?7/10

Before seeing this movie, i heard a bit of hype that it was the bell tolling the end of Punk. Now, i wouldn't attribute it with that kind of importance, but in defense of that statement, the music of the bands depicted in this installment of the "Decline of Western Civilization" series, pales in comparison to the music of the bands featured in the first of the series, (i.e. the Germs, the Circle Jerks). But, it must be said that this movie is more about the lives of a handful of homeless punks in LA. It is a touching film, despite Penelope Spheeris' constantly embarrassing and exploitive interviewing techniques. The punks in the film are too interesting to be exploited to the point of their own embarrassment, however, but i couldn't help but want to see their lives documented by a better, more trustworthy director.