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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 »
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)
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)


$2,961,991 (USA) (22 November 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Actors Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken and Gary Oldman all appeared in True Romance (1993) before. See more »


Several cars in the background are from the '90s when the date of the activity is early-'80s. 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 ...
See more »

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 »


Features Metropolis (1927) See more »


Is That All There Is?
Performed by Peggy Lee
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Published by Jerry Leiber Music/Mike Stoller Music
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under License from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

everyone with a brain should see this movie
1 April 2001 | by (istanbull, turkey) – See all my reviews

I cannot believe that Basquiat isn't high in the top 250; it is easily the best movie I have ever seen. No matter whether or not you like/liked Basquiat's art, this movie is amazing. In fact, you'll probably enjoy the movie more if you don't like his art. Basquiat was a crackhead who chose to live on the street. None of his art demonstrated amazing artistic technique, yet with the help of some exorbitantly rich, twisted and influential people in the art world, he rose from the gutter and gained international stardom. Whether he deserved his fame, wealth and glory is addressed throughout the film, but the movie is more about how his self-destructive tendencies managed to get the better of him and lead him to an early death. The movie is very depressing, but also inspiring. The acting is fantastic overall, although Dennis Hopper was awful as Bruno and I wish that Courtney Love were not cast as Big Pink. The film itself is even a work of art. Don't see it if you're only into mystery, horror, suspense, or action films, but if you like art or are at all intellectual, see it see it see it see it see it!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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