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The Dirt: The Unbelievable Story of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band - Mötley Crüe, (also known simply as The Dirt) is a 2019 American biographical musical comedy-drama film directed by Jeff Tremaine from a screenplay by Rich Wilkes, about glam metal band Mötley Crüe. It was released on Netflix on March 22, 2019.[1] The film's Hollywood premiere took place on March 18, 2019.

The Dirt:
The Unbelievable Story of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band -
Mötley Crüe
The Dirt Movie Poster.jpg
Directed byJeff Tremaine
Produced by
Written by
Screenplay byRich Wilkes
Based on
CinematographyToby Oliver
Edited byMelissa Kent
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • March 18, 2019 (2019-03-18) (Hollywood premiere)
  • March 22, 2019 (2019-03-22) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States



In 1973, Frank Carlton Feranna Jr. walks away from his drunk mother Deana after years of abusive stepfathers and moves from Seattle to Los Angeles in 1978. After a failed attempt to connect with his biological father, Frank legally changes his name to Nikki Sixx in 1980. A year later, after a falling out with members of London at the Whisky a Go Go, Nikki befriends drummer Tommy Lee and reveals to him that he is forming a new band. Joining the band is guitarist Mick Mars, who suffers from ankylosing spondylitis. The trio then recruit lead vocalist Vince Neil from the cover band Rock Candy, and after some brainstorming, the quartet name themselves Mötley Crüe.

Despite being involved in a fight with some crowd members, Mötley Crüe's first gig becomes well-received, and they progressively sell out all over L.A.'s night clubs until rookie producer Tom Zutaut of Elektra Records approaches them with a five-album deal and they sign Doc McGhee as their manager. During their first national tour, the band is given advice by Ozzy Osbourne to know the limits of their partying before he snorts some ants and licks his and Nikki's urine on the pool floor. Before long, the band's albums go platinum and they each spend millions of dollars as fast as they earn them. Vince marries mud wrestler Sharise Ruddell, while Tommy announces his engagement to a woman named Roxie, but after his mother calls her a groupie, they get into a heated argument with Tommy punching her in the face.

On December 8, 1984, during a party at Vince's home in Redondo Beach, California, Tommy meets Heather Locklear. Vince and Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle drive out to buy some extra drinks when they get into a car accident that kills Razzle and has Vince sentenced to 30 days in jail for vehicular manslaughter, which is subsequently reduced to 19 days. Meanwhile, Nikki becomes addicted to heroin and starts to display his destructive behavior towards his band mates. One day, Nikki fires McGhee for bringing Deana over to visit him. On December 23, 1987, shortly after Tommy and Heather's wedding, Nikki overdoses on heroin and is initially declared dead, but a paramedic brings him back to life with several shots of adrenaline. Following his near-death experience, Nikki has the band go on rehab. A sober Mötley Crüe rebounds in 1989 with Dr. Feelgood, which becomes their first number one album on the Billboard 200, followed by a lengthy world tour. The months of touring and staying sober take their toll on Vince and Tommy, who resort back to drinking after being away from their families for too long.

Following the tour, Vince discovers that Sharise and their daughter Skylar have left him, causing him to miss several rehearsals and eventually part ways with the band in 1992. The band then hires John Corabi as his replacement. In 1995, Skylar dies of stomach cancer at the age of four. Heather divorces Tommy after he is caught having an affair with a porn star. Seeing the backlash by fans over Vince's departure from the band, Nikki negotiates with Zutaut to give them back the rights to their songs in exchange for their release from Elektra Records. After visiting his father's grave, Nikki regroups with Tommy and Mick before they reconcile with Vince. Mötley Crüe would perform for another 20 years before playing their final show on New Year's Eve 2015.


  • Trace Masters and Vince Robert Mattis play eight-year-old and 14-year-old Frank Feranna Jr., respectively.
  • Iris D'Aquin and Lyra D'Aquin play two-year-old Skylar.
  • Courtney Dietz as Athena Lee, a musician and Tommy’s younger sister
  • Joe Chrest as David Lee, Tommy’s father
  • Elena Evangelo as Voula Lee, Tommy’s mother
  • Michael Hodson as Randy Feranna, Nikki's half-brother


In 2006, film adaptation rights to the autobiographical book The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band, authored by Neil Strauss with Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx, were bought by Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. At the time, Larry Charles was tapped to direct the film.[2] However, production on the film stalled and in 2008 Sixx spoke of his frustration in an interview stating:

"We're trying to get them out of the way to make this movie that should have been made a long time ago. MTV has become bogged down in its own way. It's a channel that used to be hip and has now actually become unhip. We signed with them because we believed they were right, but they haven't come to the table. We need to find the right partner. They are not the right partner."[3]

In November 2013, Jeff Tremaine signed on to helm The Dirt, with the film having been dropped by MTV Films and Paramount Pictures.[4] In January 2015, Focus Features picked up rights to the film.[5] However, production languished in development hell until March 2017, when Netflix bought worldwide rights to the film. At the time, Liam Hemsworth, Emory Cohen, and Douglas Booth were being eyed for lead roles in the film.[6] In November 2017, Booth officially signed on to star in the film.[7] In January 2018, Machine Gun Kelly, Iwan Rheon and Daniel Webber joined the cast.[8][9] In February 2018, Tony Cavalero joined the cast.[10] In March 2018, Rebekah Graf, Leven Rambin, and David Costabile joined the cast.[11][12][13]

Principal production commenced in February 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.[9]


On March 11, 2018, a crew member suffered an electric shock while de-rigging a set during the New Orleans shoot. He was rushed to a hospital and recovered from the accident.[14]



The trailer was released on February 19, 2019 and featured glimpses of some of the stories including the infamous hotel TV throwing incident, Vince Neil's vehicular manslaughter charges in 1984, and Nikki Sixx's drug overdose in 1987.[15]

Critical receptionEdit

The film was met with mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a Tomatometer rating of 42%, based on 36 reviews.[16] Metacritic gave the film a score of 34 out of 100, based on seven reviews.[17]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety called the film "a thinly written, generically staged VH1-style sketchbook of a movie — which is to say, it’s a Netflix film, with zero atmosphere, overly blunt lighting, and a threadbare post-psychological telegraphed quality that gives you nothing to read between the lines."[18] Brian Tallerico of gave the film one out of four stars, saying that "You could listen to Dr. Feelgood two full times during the run time of The Dirt and learn just about as much about the band as you do in this R-rated Wikipedia article of a movie. And you’d have way more fun."[19]

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B, saying that "This movie won’t win any awards. Nor should it. But for two hours it’s a nostalgic blast to sit back and revel in the idiocy of these glorious, big-haired jackasses."[20]


The Dirt Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 22, 2019
ProducerDave Donnelly
Mötley Crüe chronology
Greatest Hits
The Dirt Soundtrack

On February 22, 2019, Mötley Crüe and Machine Gun Kelly (who plays Tommy Lee in the film) released the music video for their song "The Dirt (Est. 1981)" on their YouTube channel. The band also announced that aside from the aforementioned song, the film's soundtrack will feature three new recordings: "Ride with the Devil," "Crash and Burn," and a cover of the Madonna song "Like a Virgin."[21][22][23]

Track listingEdit

1."The Dirt (Est. 1981)" (featuring Machine Gun Kelly)3:52
2."Red Hot"3:21
3."On with the Show"4:03
4."Live Wire"3:14
6."Take Me to the Top"3:43
7."Piece of Your Action"4:39
8."Shout at the Devil"3:14
9."Looks That Kill"4:07
10."Too Young to Fall in Love"3:32
11."Home Sweet Home"3:58
12."Girls, Girls, Girls"4:30
13."Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)"4:13
14."Kickstart My Heart"4:42
15."Dr. Feelgood"4:50
16."Ride with the Devil"3:41
17."Crash and Burn"4:13
18."Like a Virgin" (Madonna cover)3:08


  1. ^ "MÖTLEY CRÜE Biopic 'The Dirt' To Arrive In March". December 2, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  2. ^ Gardner, Dave McNary,Chris (28 April 2006). "Crue chief for Par pic".
  3. ^ "Motley Crue slam MTV over 'Dirt'". 20 June 2008.
  4. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (1 November 2013). "'Bad Grandpa's Jeff Tremaine On Directing Motley Crue Movie, Growing Up 'Jackass' And Axing A Spike Jonze Drag Performance".
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (16 January 2015). "Motley Crue Movie 'The Dirt' Revived at Focus Features".
  6. ^ "Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt' Landing at Netflix (Exclusive)".
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (17 November 2017). "Douglas Booth In Talks To Play Nikki Sixx In Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'".
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (19 January 2018). "Machine Gun Kelly to Play Tommy Lee in Netflix's Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'".
  9. ^ a b "Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt' Finds Its Vince Neil, Mick Mars (Exclusive)".
  10. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (28 February 2018). "Tony Cavalero To Play Ozzy Osbourne In Netflix's Mötley Crüe Biopic 'The Dirt'".
  11. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (6 March 2018). "Rebekah Graf Cast In Netflix's 'The Dirt'; Brittany Allen Joins Nicholas McCarthy's Untitled Horror Film".
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (9 March 2018). "Leven Rambin Joins Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'".
  13. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (24 March 2018). "'Billions' Actor David Costabile To Play Doc McGhee In 'The Dirt'".
  14. ^ Haring, Bruce (March 11, 2018). "Motley Crue Biopic Crew Member Suffers Electric Shock, Expected To Recover". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  15. ^ brownypaul (2019-02-19). "The trailer was released for Mötley Crüe's bio-movie The Dirt and…". Wall Of Sound. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  16. ^ "The Dirt". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  17. ^ "The Dirt Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  18. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (March 22, 2019). "The Dirt: A Mötley Crüe biopic revels in their bad-boy antics". Variety. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  19. ^ Tallerico, Brian (March 22, 2019). "The Dirt". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  20. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (March 22, 2019). "Netflix's The Dirt is the biopic Mötley Crüe deserves — ridiculous, dumb fun: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  21. ^ Kreps, Daniel (February 22, 2019). "Motley Crue Drop 'The Dirt (Est. 1981)' Video, Detail Biopic's Soundtrack". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "Mötley Crüe to release The Dirt soundtrack". Mötley Crüe. February 22, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  23. ^ brownypaul (2019-02-22). "Mötley Crüe announce soundtrack for The Dirt movie with Four New Songs!". Wall Of Sound. Retrieved 2019-02-24.

External linksEdit