MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 2,386 this week

Downtown 81 (1981)
"New York Beat Movie" (original title)

7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 641 users   Metascore: 52/100
Reviews: 10 user | 22 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

The film is a day in the life of a young artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, who needs to raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. He wanders the downtown streets ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 22 titles
created 19 Nov 2011
 
a list of 6 titles
created 05 Apr 2013
 
a list of 125 titles
created 8 months ago
 
X:
a list of 440 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Downtown 81" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Downtown 81 (1981)

Downtown 81 (1981) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Downtown 81.
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Union City (1980)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A man is so obsessed with finding the person responsible for stealing his milk bottles that he ignores his beautiful young wife, who has other ideas on her mind.

Director: Marcus Reichert
Stars: Dennis Lipscomb, Deborah Harry, Sam McMurray
Forever, Lulu (1987)
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A beautiful novelist gets involved with the violent underworld crime elements in New York City and becomes a target. Alec Baldwin plays the cop who pursues her killers.

Director: Amos Kollek
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Deborah Harry, Alec Baldwin
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The cream of New York new wave/punk filmed live at CBGB's when the scene was just beginning. Includes performances by Patti Smith, Blondie, Television, the Ramones, Talking Heads, the ... See full summary »

Director: Ivan Král
Stars: Blondie, David Byrne, Jayne County
TV Party (Video 2005)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

From 1978 to 1982 Glenn O'Brien hosted an insane punk rock New York City cable TV show called TV Party. Co-hosted by Chris Stein, from Blondie, and directed by filmmaker Amos Poe, the hour ... See full summary »

Director: Danny Vinik
Stars: Robert Aaron, Babs, Jean Michel Basquiat
Basquiat (1996)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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: Julian Schnabel
Stars: Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott, Benicio Del Toro
Wild Style (1983)
Documentary | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Legendary New York graffiti artist Lee Quinones plays the part of Zoro, the city's hottest and most elusive graffiti writer. The actual story of the movie concerns the tension between ... See full summary »

Director: Charlie Ahearn
Stars: 'Lee' George Quinones, Lady Pink, Fab 5 Freddy
Blank City (2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

During the punk rock stage in the late '70s, downtown New York experienced a wave of "Do it yourself" independent filmmaking.

Director: Celine Danhier
Stars: Amos Poe, Ann Magnuson, Becky Johnston
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

A documentary on Brooklyn-born photographer Jamel Shabazz.

Director: Charlie Ahearn
Stars: Fab 5 Freddy, Bobbito Garcia, Aaron Goodstone
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Interviews with Christo, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Judith Malin, James Rosenquist and others help to illuminate the life and work of Warhol contemporary Ray Johnson.

Director: John W. Walter
Stars: Joseph Ialacci, Richard Feigen, Frances Beatty
Berlin (2007)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Lou Reed's 2006 live concert performance of his 1973 concept album "Berlin", filmed over five nights at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York.

Director: Julian Schnabel
Stars: Lou Reed, Fernando Saunders, Sharon Jones
The Way It Is (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Director: Eric Mitchell
Stars: Kai Eric, Boris Major, Vincent Gallo
Johnny 316 (1998)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The impossible love story between a preacher and a beautiful woman.

Director: Erick Ifergan
Stars: Vincent Gallo, Nina Brosh, Seymour Cassel
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Ted Bafaloukos ...
Junk Dealer
Tom Baker ...
Go-Go Bar Patron
...
Herself
...
Himself
Roberta Bayley ...
Street Girl
Snooky Bellomo ...
Manic Panic Girl
Tish Bellomo ...
Manic Panic Girl
Bemshi ...
Dancer
Victor Bockris ...
Conversationalist at Mudd Club
Byron Bowie ...
Himself
Joe Bowie ...
Himself - Trombonist, James White & The Blacks
Diane Brill ...
Kid Creole Announcer
Steven Brown ...
Himself
John Browner ...
Go-Go Bar Patron
Clem Burke ...
The Felons band member
Edit

Storyline

The film is a day in the life of a young artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, who needs to raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. He wanders the downtown streets carrying a painting he hopes to sell, encountering friends, whose lives (and performances) we peek into. He finally manages to sell his painting to a wealthy female admirer, but he's paid by check. Low on cash, he spends the evening wandering from club to club, looking for a beautiful girl he had met earlier, so he'll have a place to spend the night. Downtown 81 not only captures one of the most interesting and lively artists of the twentieth century as he is poised for fame, but it is a slice of life from one of the most exciting periods in American culture, with the emergence of new wave music, new painting, hip hop and graffiti. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 March 2001 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Downtown 81  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,436 (USA) (13 July 2001)

Gross:

$100,293 (USA) (26 October 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Unfortunately, the original soundtrack became destroyed over the years. The producers were able to get most of the original cast to re-dub their dialogue. But Jean Michel Basquiat died in 1988. So Saul Williams was hired to dub Basquiat's dialogue. See more »

Quotes

Jean Michel Basquiat: I'm an artist. When you tell people that they usually say, 'what's your medium?' I usually say, 'extra large.'
See more »

Connections

Followed by Face Addict (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Bob The Bob
Written by John Lurie
Performed by The Lounge Lizards
Used by permission of Lagarto Inc. (ASCAP) and Strange & Beautiful Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A snapshot of 1981 Post-Punk, New-Wave Manhattan
24 July 2006 | by (The Dutch Mountains) – See all my reviews

Usually referred to by its original title "DOWNTOWN 81", the film gives a snapshot of life in run-down Lower East Side Manhattan in the early '80s. Shot in 1981, the film portrays the day-to-day routine of Jean-Michel Basquiat, "graffiti"-artist, musician, or perhaps more accurately, artist in general, as he tries to survive amidst rappers, junkies, strippers, models and uptown art-lovers. Due to financial difficulties, the film apparently got lost, but part of the original material was recovered in 1998 and was finally released in the year 2000. The original soundtrack remained lost, so Basquiat's voice had to be dubbed.

It's an interesting time-capsule of Post-Punk, New-Wave New York, with a sometimes fascinating compilation of interesting vignettes from the scene, but as a movie, it's less rewarding. The story is practically non-existent and there is no acting really, as everybody play themselves. There's much resemblance to the experimental films Andy Warhol made about the New York art scene. It's a typical example of a "fiction" film with a very lose story line combined with mostly real-life characters from the period, like Deborah Harry, Fab Five Freddy, the music of Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Tuxemodoon, The Plastics, DNA, The Lounge Lizards and Basquiat himself with his own band, Gray. A long segment in the film is reserved for a live performance of Kid Creole and the Coconuts. If you're a fan, it's great fun.

In the end a mixed bag, a film mainly of interest for fans of Basquiat and the music of the era. So, if you like the period, it's definitely worth checking out.

Camera Obscura --- 7/10


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Downtown 81 vs Basquiat alejandroconvers
Saul Williams? lft_tackle
Song that opens film Cquacks77
Anyone else wonder where the cast are at this moment in time? wiretapyeti
street locations Jimk1287
Soundtrack YoBadAzizi84
Discuss Downtown 81 (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?