The Best Punk Films Of All Time: The Definitive Ranking

Original Ramones Videos

Martin Scorsese recently announced that he has his heart set on making a Ramones biopic. To me, this is fabulous news. Not only because I love the Ramones, but also because it’s been a while since we’ve seen Leonardo DiCaprio wearing a leather jacket. I’ve been needing some new masturbation material. Anyway, here on Filmdrunk you all know me as a woman. However, I am more than a woman. I am also punk as f*ck. Apologies for not being able to fully spell out the ‘f’ word. The corporation that is letting me write this believes in censoring foul language, and I must conform to these rules. This might not sound very punk to you, but if you think about it, nothing is more punk than selling out.

In honor of a future Ramones biopic, I decided to do something I have wanted to do for a long time: make a list of my favorite punk films. I’m talkin’ movies made by punks, about punks, for punks. [Editor’s Note: When Alison asked me if she could write this feature, I said of course, FilmDrunk is the punkest movie site on the web. We celebrated by spitting on each other for an hour and I cut myself with a bottle. -Vince]

I narrowed the list down to five, but there are of course way more than five great punk films. To make things easier, I did not include documentaries into my decision process. This obviously leaves out a lot of great films, most notably The Decline of Western Civilisation. If you’re butt-hurt about this then too bad, bucko (this is a prime example of my punk rage).  I also chose not to include Repo Man, which I know I will get crap for. Here’s the thing though, Repo Man sucks. Same goes for SLC Punk.  I also left out Sid & Nancy because it’s too goddamn obvious. Let’s begin.


#5: Suburbia

 Suburbia is the quintessential punk movie. It takes place in the special place where punk thrives, and will never die–a  mostly white, middle-class neighborhood. Made in 1984, the film stars a bunch of young punks who were barely even actors. This includes Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist and current shirtless funk-rock God, Flea. The film centers on a group of lost souls who call themselves “The Rejected”. They each moved away from home for various reasons, and live together in an abandoned tract home. Bands such as TSOL and the Vandals are also seen in the film, performing songs like “Darker My Love” and “The Legend of Pat Brown”.

Suburbia in many ways flipped the script on what it meant to be a punk. It showed these kids as more than rowdy, violent, miscreants. It brought depth to a subculture that at the time was largely demonized. Director Penelope Spheeris (who later directed Wayne’s World) kind of did what Francis Ford Coppola did to mobsters with The Godfather, but with more moshing. These kids looked out for one another, and made each other family. It showed the punk movement as a safe haven for people who had nowhere else to go.


#4: Class of Nuke ‘Em High

Bastard Cinema

A lot of camp horror and monster films use punks and punk rock aesthetics. Especially in the ‘80s. The most popular possibly being Return of the Living Dead. However, I wanted to put on my list the classic Troma film, Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Here, the punks are evil which is totally fine by me because they look cool as hell. The film centers around a high school, which is located next to a nuclear power plant. The evil punks known as The Cretins, sell marijuana to students that is picked from the plant. The radioactive weed changes people at the school, making them either really violent or pregnant with a monster baby.