Basquiat (1996)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  9 August 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 15,063 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 74 user | 38 critic | 20 from

Basquiat tells the story of the meteoric rise of youthful artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Starting out as a street artist, living in Thompkins Square Park in a cardboard box, Jean-Michel is "... See full summary »



(story) (as Lech J. Majewski) , (short story) (as John F. Bowe) , 2 more credits »
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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Claude La Marre ...
Shenge (as Jean Claude LaMarre)
Elina Löwensohn ...
Annina Nosei
Cynthia Kruger


Basquiat tells the story of the meteoric rise of youthful artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Starting out as a street artist, living in Thompkins Square Park in a cardboard box, Jean-Michel is "discovered" by Andy Warhol's art world and becomes a star. But success has a high price, and Basquiat pays with friendship, love, and eventually, his life. Written by Martin Lewison <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1981, A Nineteen-Year-Old Unknown Graffiti Writer Took The New York Art World By Storm. The Rest Is Art History.


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use and strong language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Build a Fort, Set It on Fire  »

Box Office


$3,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$83,863 (USA) (9 August 1996)


ITL 780,048,000 (Italy) (6 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film has 3 Academy Award-winning actors (Benicio Del Toro, Tatum O'Neal, Christopher Walken) and 3 Academy Award-nominees (Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Willem Dafoe) in its cast. See more »


When Basquiat is painting on the floor in his studio, part of the painting in the upper-left hand corner disappears and reappears. See more »


[first lines]
Rene: Everybody wants to get on the Van Gogh boat. There's no trip so horrible that someone won't take it. The idea of the unrecognised genius slaving away in a garret is a deliciously foolish one. We must credit the life of Vincent Van Gogh for really sending this myth into orbit. I mean, how many pictures did he sell, one? He couldn't give them away. He has to be the most modern artist, but everybody hated him. He was so ashamed of his life that the rest of our history will be ...
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Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits, a short clip showing a surfer riding on a wave is displayed. It's very similar to the surfing/wave shots that Basquiat keeps seeing whenever he looks up to the sky during the movie, but it's in full color instead of being blue-tinted. See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.79 (2009) See more »


Performed by The Modern Lovers
Written by Jonathan Richman
Published by Modern Love Songs
Courtesy of Beserkley Records
See more »

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User Reviews

One of my favorite movies
20 February 2003 | by (Aarhus, Denmark) – See all my reviews

Basquiat is one of the most beautiful and spiritual yet honest and unpretentious movies I have ever come across... I have watched it many times and it has never failed to move me and give me a surge of both melancholy and creativity!

24 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
He's an *beep* and not a very good artist. kriderthewriter
why did Basquiat pay for the guys laughing at him? dinokashani
Incredible cast. EsWarEinmal
The misinterpretation.. Onetokeover
piano music help maxusII
HELP Basquiat song needed.. LaunchpadMcQuack
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