People forget that Iron Maiden was arguably the most popular heavy metal band in the world in the 1980s. (Metallica really didn't start to explode until the late 1980s and early 1990s.) Iron Maiden was enormously successful at home in the United Kingdom and in the rest of Europe as well. The documentary Behind the Iron Curtain chronicles the Eastern European leg of the Powerslave tour in August 1984. It was filmed primarily in Poland and Hungary and featured songs include "Aces High," "Hallowed Be Thy Name," "2 Minutes to Midnight," and "Run to the Hills." ("Aces High" -- which contains footage from World War II newsreels shot at the Battle of Britain -- and "2 Minutes to Midnight" are primarily the original music videos.) "Hallowed Be Thy Name" includes clips of the legendary battle scenes from the classic 1938 black and white Russian film Alexander Nevsky directed by Sergei Eisenstein and scored by Sergei Prokofiev. Fans are shown mobbing Iron Maiden at hotels and talking about the lack of heavy metal groups in their countries. The band pops into a few clubs during the trek. One funny moment shows a young fan telling vocalist Bruce Dickinson that he would like to play heavy metal using synthesizers; Dickinson politely insists that that is impossible. Iron Maiden loves to play soccer, and a friendly match against Polish musicians and rock journalists is highlighted. Insightful segments reveal the boring monotony of life on "the road" as well as the perks of travel as rock-star VIPs. Behind the Iron Curtain is an interesting -- and thankfully dated -- examination of how rock & roll helped break down cultural barriers between the East and West near the end of the Cold War.
AllMusic Review by Bret Adams