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Style Wars (1983)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  1983 (USA)
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A documentary that exposes the rich growing subculture of hip-hop that was developing in New York City in the late '70s and early '80s, specifically focusing on graffiti art and breakdancing.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Demon ...
Kase 2 ...
Himself (as Kase)
Eric Haze ...
Himself (as SE 3)
Spank ...
Trap ...
Kay Slay ...
Himself (as Dez)
Skeme ...
Zone ...
Min One ...
Himself (as Min)
Cap ...
Michael Martin ...
Himself (as Iz the Wiz)
Quik ...
Mare ...
Li'l Seen ...


A documentary that exposes the rich growing subculture of hip-hop that was developing in New York City in the late '70s and early '80s, specifically focusing on graffiti art and breakdancing.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Graffiti-háború  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Brad Pitt, James Franco, and Flea have made donations to help the film get restored. See more »


Cap: Dust started pulling some shit with me, and I'm telling you, he's lucky we didn't catch him by that wall, because if he would of been, -even if you were shooting the movie, it would of just been boom boom boom and that's the way it woulda went.
Cap: that was a beautiful wall, I really liked that, people like that, they deserve getting everything they got crossed out, forevea."
See more »


Referenced in Vandals (2014) See more »


Siegfried's Funeral March from The Ring
by Richard Wagner
See more »

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User Reviews

The 'King' of Graffiti cinema.
12 March 2002 | by (Bristol, England.) – See all my reviews

I've just been browsing the comments of the Old skool hip hop classics like Beat Street, Wildstyle etc when I thought I would take a look at this one. Which is by far the best. I was surprised at the lack of comments as this really is a great in depth look at New York, at a time when the city was an exciting bubbling cauldron of sub culture. All before it was turned into a mass marketed commercial fabrication cashed in on by various corporations.

The likes of Seen, Skeme, IztheWiz, kase2 amongst others give memorable dialogue and insights to their experiences. All of which very well pitched up against Mayor Koch and various Subway transit authority representatives pitching their political and social prerogatives against the Graffiti writers exploits. The cornerstone to this documentary ever being made was Henry Chalfant whom befriended and sympathetically documented the writer's work for many years. I recall that the documentary actually won an award of some description but looking over the box sleeve I can't find the details of this. Also worth noting is that the recent release contains an extra 10 minutes of previously unseen footage.

I noticed that there are no links on this site to purchase it but it is easily acquired. I recommend a trip to a local comic shop or the like and pick up one of many Graffiti art magazine publications. You will find it for sale in any one of those. If you are particularly keen on this subject matter you might also want to hunt down a book by 'Craig Castleman' called 'Getting up' for a more in depth if not visual account. The fourth coming release of Downtown '81 might also be worth a look for the real fans of this genre.

Through various publications I have read of many of the featured writers in Style Wars, still around and making their mark in the world of Graffiti. The one writer that I haven't personally heard about since' is Skeme. For me his contribution to the documentary invoked a lot of admiration, due to his blunt honesty and purist ethics. I have read that Henry Chalfont has no intentions to make any follow up documentary on the basis that home grown publications and videos are already achieving this. Personally and i am sure many agree with me, this is a story that many would like to see continued and whom better to tell it than Henry himself.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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