Crash 'n' Burn (1977 film)

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Crash 'n' Burn
Directed by Ross McLaren
Starring The Boyfriends
Dead Boys
Teenage Head
Stiv Bators
Cheetah Chrome
Music by The Boyfriends
Dead Boys
Teenage Head
Distributed by The Film-Makers' Cooperative United States
Canadian Filmmakers' Distribution Centre Canada
Release date
Canada 1977
Running time
27.5 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

Crash 'n' Burn is an experimental film shot in and named after Toronto, Ontario, Canada's first punk club by Canadian filmmaker Ross McLaren in 1977. The film, shot on 16mm black-and-white stock, features punk rock performances by the Dead Boys, Teenage Head, The Boyfriends, and the Diodes.

Critical response[edit]

Village Voice critic Ed Halter called the film a "self-destructive document of Toronto's eponymous punk club."[1]

The film's most frequently-quoted review, written almost one year after the initial screening, was published in Creem magazine in 1978. Creem hailed McLaren's work for "doing everything in its flickering power to self-destruct," and deemed the film a living testament that not all Canadians "bored their beef to death."[2]


McLaren's original work emphasized the cacophony and riotousness of the punk scene in 1977 Toronto. In 2004, he debuted a karaoke-style version of the film – complete with syncopated subtitles corresponding to the bands' song lyrics – to a test audience at the Millennium Film Workshop in New York City.


16mm prints of McLaren's film are exclusively distributed by The Film-Makers' Cooperative in the United States, and the Canadian Filmmakers' Distribution Centre in Canada.

Crash 'n' Burn has never been officially released on either VHS or DVD, though several bootleg VHS versions are rumoured to have been shown publicly since the 1990s, without official authorization from the filmmaker or his distributors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guttenplan, Howard. "Ross McLaren: One Person Program," Millennium Film Workshop Upcoming Screenings. New York: Millennium Film Workshop, 2004.
  2. ^ Springer. "Creemedia," Creem, Vol. 10, No. 4, Sept. 1978.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kelly, B. "Punk at the Movies," Graffiti No. 2, vol.#4, 1986.
  • O'Connor, Alan. "Local Scenes and Dangerous Crossroads: Punk and Theories of Cultural Hybridity,” Popular Music Vol. 21/2, Cambridge University Press, London: 225-36, 2002.
  • Wlaschin, K. "Rock Movies in the 70's," British Film Institute: London, 1978.