Rockin the Wall
“Rockin’ the Wall” is the story of rock music’s part in bringing down the Iron Curtain. Weaving the history of rock-and-roll with the history of the Cold War, the film includes interviews with members of 1960s/70s rock bands such as the Doors, Quiet Riot, Toto, Vanilla Fudge, Mother’s Finest, the Yellowjackets, and many others who were popular behind the Iron Curtain. It also features interviews with legendary producer Shadow Morton (who died just after filming this interview), Joseph Morris of Voice of America, and several historians, as well as many witnesses from behind the Wall.
Shot in layered, rapid-fire style, the film has an excellent Christian conversation/testimony toward the end by a Ukrainian woman who heard “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Rock “grew up” with the Cold War, and the Berlin Wall was a fixture as well as a symbol of that era. Through Voice of America/Radio Free Europe, rock music was penetrating that barrier, inspiring people while showing them through the very style and structure of the music what freedom meant. The rockers tell essentially the same story, including Leslie Mandoki, a Hungarian drummer/activist who escaped: rock music “was fundamental” to bringing down the Iron Curtain—a story he heard personally from no less that Mikhail Gorbachev, whom Leslie befriended after the Wall fell.
This documentary does a good job showing archival footage and the mindset of the era when there was demand for the Iron Curtain to come down. The documentary focuses on the music of the time and various rock groups’ attempts at being a voice for the removal of the Berlin Wall. We see how people’s homes were bugged, and one woman shares that she dared not say anything on her phone about the government in Berlin and the surrounding Communist governments. One lady shares that she was shocked to learn a friend of hers was spying on her.
Of course most people who lived during this time have heard the famous President Reagan speech in which he says, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” But this particular documentary focuses more on rock bands such as the Doors, Vanilla Fudge, and Quiet Riot and their songs about the need for freedom, as being an integral part of the eventual tearing down of the wall.
There is a scene that features one of four screens and archived drug use is shown in an historical sense, a man briefly using a needle. However, this historical documentary shows the historic events of the time and we are pleased to award it our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages twelve plus.