6.9/10
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80 user 44 critic

Basquiat (1996)

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 »

Director:

Writers:

(story) (as Lech J. Majewski), (short story) (as John F. Bowe) | 2 more credits »
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4,529 ( 653)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Build a Fort, Set It on Fire  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chris Rock was considered for the role of Basquiat. According to Rock, he was not interested in the role because, at the time, he did not know who Basquiat was. See more »

Goofs

When Jean Michel discovers that Andy Warhol has died (which occurs in the mid-'80s) there is the store X-Large in the background. X-Large, (created by Mike D from the Beastie Boys) did not open or have clothing until the early nineties. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Who Are You This Time
Performed by Tom Waits
Written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan
Published by JALMA Music
Courtesy of Island Records
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User Reviews

 
This movie is impressionist art on film. Julian Schnabel proves to be as talented behind the lens as he is "on canvas."
6 June 2000 | by (Tulsa, Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

If you love art, this movie is definitely for you. If character development and good writing are important elements in your movie selections, definitely add this one to your list of "must sees." However, if you typically only prefer major "blockbuster hits," you may want to forego it.

Intricately performed and written, this film is "art-house" & "independent" at it's very finest. David Bowie is perfection as Jean Michel Basquiat's friend and mentor, Andy Warhol. Michael Wincott sheds his usual grovel-voiced tough guy persona to play Basquiat's first flamboyantly feminine art dealer. Jeffrey Wright's brilliant performance as the complex Basquiat received a nomination for "Best Debut Performance," and Benecio Del Toro won "Best Supporting Male Performance" at the 1997 Independent Spirit Awards. Even the minor characters (Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Parker Posey, Willem Dafoe) add colorful performances to Julian Schnabel's first "canvas on film." --J.B.


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