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

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 703 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 »

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Title: Downtown 81 (1981)

Downtown 81 (1981) on IMDb 7.2/10

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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
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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


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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  »
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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

Featured in Basquiat (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Cavern
Written by Hartley, MgGuire, Principato, and Young
Performed by Liquid Liquid
Published by Liquid Liquid Publishing (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bad narrative film...Great Performance Film
13 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Has some really good music and performances; Kid Creole and the Coconuts, James White and the Blacks, DNA, Tuxedo Moon, the Plastics, Melle Mel, Vincent Gallo, Lydia Lunch...etc, but aside from this there isn't much more to it. The dialog, especially the narration(by Saul Williams), is actually pretty good, but the performances are all pretty bland or outright bad, no matter how many hipsters are thrown in; Debbie Harry and Jean Micheal Basquit(the latter being the leading role) both still don't have enough cultural cred to keep this film from being a novelty item. It goes for the a Jack Kerouac style roving spontaneity, but doesn't have the insight to keep it moving along, which is where the band performances come in. I guess its pretty balanced in that regard between great music and bad acting, and I did enjoy it, but I just expected more. Though it does have a fairy tale ending.


2 of 3 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
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