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CBGB Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    CBGB's biggest problem is that it's taken such electrifying source material and done absolutely zilch with it.

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  • 30

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Robert Abele

    In its stylistically flailing stab at authenticity, CBGB ends up merely a mess of caricatures.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Alan Rickman's lead performance highlights a sincere but insubstantial rock pic.

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  • See all CBGB reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Weak drama but great rock-'n'-roll (plus sex and drugs).

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that CBGB tells the gritty story of the famous nightclub in New York City, which was the launching point of many great bands. The club setting includes fighting, stabbing, and some blood, and a dead body. There's strong language throughout including "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and "p---y." There's some brief nudity (one female breast and a few male butts), plus brief images of oral sex, and some innuendo. Characters smoke cigarettes and drink throughout the movie, and there are brief images of characters snorting cocaine. One character is said to be a junkie, though he's never shown taking drugs. The music of Talking Heads, Television, Blondie, the Ramones, the Dead Boys, etc. may be ancient history to today's teens, but those with a curiosity about music history may find this interesting.

  • Families can talk about the history of rock 'n' roll music. Do these bands still sound relevant today? Is their music still edgy, or has it become mainstream?
  • Does the music seem violent or dangerous? How can music influence behavior? Are certain types of music associated with dangerous behavior?
  • How much does the smoking and drinking impact the story? Does it seem realistic or is the behavior romanticized?
  • Despite all his bad qualities, Hilly helps a lot of people and makes a lot of people happy. Do you like him? Is he a good role model?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The movie has a vague, semi-buried message about helping people, even if one doesn't have great means. But mostly this is a story about being in the right place at the right time.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The main character is a shambling mess, bad with money, careless, and sometimes rude. But he has a certain appeal due to his cool, casual attitude, and he tends to try to help people, even if he wants to appear that he's not doing so.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Some Hell's Angels beat up some debt collectors in one scene. A band crashes a big truck on the freeway. There's a fight in a convenience store with stabbing and blood (one band member is sent to the hospital). The lead singer of the Dead Boys pretends to choke himself with the microphone cord (and seems to be actually doing it). A dead body shows up in front of the door to the club. The music sometimes has violent themes. Finally, in a prologue, a baby escapes from its crib and runs out the front door and into the woods; the sequence can be harrowing for parents, but the baby comes out fine.

  • sex false3

    Sex: One female breast is shown, and a few male butts. Minor characters are shown making out and participating in oral sex in the club's bathroom. These scenes are shown very quickly in fast-motion montages. A musician makes a reference to masturbating.

  • language false3

    Language: Language is strong, but without much variety. It includes multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "motherf--ker," "p---y," "c--k," and "ass."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: The main character likes to drink Fresca and references it at least twice.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The movie takes place at a nightclub/bar, and the liquor flows freely throughout. Characters also smoke cigarettes throughout. One supporting character is shown to be a junkie, though he's never seen taking drugs. (He just appears sleepy and confused.) Minor characters are shown snorting cocaine. The main character swigs from a bottle of vodka, and then pours it in the gas tank of his truck.