The Decline of Western... (1998)

# 16358 IMDb R 

The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (1998

Director: Penelope Spheeris

Stars: Flea, Stephen Chambers, Ron Martinez, Michael Orr, Rick Wilder

Documentary, Music (1h 26min)


Rated 7.1 after 911 votes, 77% postive reviews on 19-Sep-19.

2 wins & 1 nomination


The Decline of Western Civilization III is a 1998 documentary film that follows the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers.


Penelope Spheeris (director) Flea Gary Fredo Keith Morris Angela Torrez Parker Guy J. Louthan (producer)

Stephen Chambers (Himself), Flea (Himself), Gary Fredo (Himself (LAPD)), Ron Martinez (Himself - Final Conflict), Keith Morris (Himself), Michael Orr (Pinwheel), Angela Torrez Parker (Herself), Rick Wilder (Himself (The Mau-Maus)), Shawn Azad (Uncredited (uncredited)), Sacha Dunable (Uncredited (uncredited)), Allen Yelent (uncredited)

From the same director

Produced by

Ross Albert (co-producer), Guy J. Louthan (producer), Scott Wilder (producer)



It's a small but significant crime that this didnt receive diddly squat in distribution at the time it was made; I shouldve been able to rent this from my local Blockbuster like 40 times in high school (or at least as with Decline 2 get it on eBay - the first one I got through bootleg from I can't remember where). I just dont see why an indie distributor wouldn't take this as seriously as any other documentary about marginalized people (yes, including the final title card that all profits will go to the homeless and childhood abuse victims).

This could be criticized as not as organized as the first Decline, like there are a few points where it comes close to a home movie (albeit, what a home, or lack thereof), and it may be repetitive in its points and I may have liked to have seen a few more people from the "old days" (Flea and the former lead singer of Black Flag make appearances). But I dont care. It's a Decline doc!

It's an essential document of young people, often genuinely abused and neglected since, well, they're not living on the streets just for kicks, and some talk about being force fed alcohol as babies and being beaten and neglected - and a sadness covers a lot of this. I don't think Spheeris intended that necessarily, but she also doesn't try for anything for effect inasmuch that her approach to camera and cutting or how she asks questions sensationalizes these kids. It creates empathy because, hey, this could have been me or you or anyone else. The humanity is unvarnished, exciting, and distressing. A particularly eerie highlight, so to speak, are parts of an interview she has with a junkie who is... What that looks like.

"Where are you going to be five years from now?" "Drunk!"

PS: look for a Dudes movie poster on one of the walls at the party scene.


The film was originally to be titled 'The Decline In Eastern Civilization' and was to cover the Japanese heavy metal music scene.

3 total 


2 wins & 1 nomination 
Chicago Underground Film Festival • Sundance Film Festival

Other titles

The Decline of Western Civilization Part III ((original title)) • Падение западной цивилизации 3 (Russia)



United Kingdom:15 / United States:R



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