Lemmy premiered in March 2010 at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas. It was then screened at film festivals in Canada, Australia, Mexico, South Korea, Greece, Chile, Brazil, Spain, France, and elsewhere. The film was released theatrically in the UK in December 2010, and in the U.S. in January and February 2011. It was released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download in the U.S. in March 2011. The U.S. version of the film is considered the definitive version, as the Blu-ray version includes more than 4 hours of extra footage, and the double-DVD release features more than three hours of bonus features, including more than 30 minutes of Lemmy jamming with Metallica . Lemmy was first screened in the UK at the London Film Festival on 23 October 2010. Entertainment One released the DVD on 24 January 2011 in the UK.
The film currently holds an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. NME’s Hamish MacBain gave Lemmy a positive review (8 out of 10) and noted that “[h] earing him roar the words to ‘Rock It’ alone is reason enough to watch this movie”. The review by The Hollywood Reporter found the film’s content “entertaining enough, to the subject’s appeal to convey beyond the metal crowd.” After the film’s world premiere, Wired magazine wrote that the film “mines pure gold” and Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle wrote, “What’s in a name? Lemmy, Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski’s portrait of Motorhead founder Lemmy Kilmister, is one of the most thorough and entertaining rock and roll documentaries since Ondi Timoner’s Dig! Like its subject, it’s by turns philosophical, brash, and thoroughly kickass. ” A review at CinemaFunk explains that the film is “relatively straight forward and does not have aesthetic choices beyond shooting the damn thing, portraying it, and moving on” and that there “is no better way to explain Lemmy’s own ideologies” .Reviewing the film for Twitchfilm.net, Brandon Tenold said that while it wasn’t an all-time classic like Woodstock or Gimme Shelter, it was still “an affectionate and fun snapshot of one of rock n ‘roll’s most distinctive and enduring figures”.
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