MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 30,402 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 690 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...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 100 titles
created 28 Apr 2011
 
a list of 267 titles
created 02 Oct 2011
 
a list of 22 titles
created 19 Nov 2011
 
list image
a list of 39 titles
created 13 Aug 2013
 
a list of 27 titles
created 11 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.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A portrait of New York artist Keith Haring.

Director: Christina Clausen
Stars: Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Julia Gruen
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A look at the life, work, and impact of Andy Warhol (1928-1987), pop icon and artist, from his childhood in Pittsburgh to his death after a botched surgery. Warhol coined the word "... See full summary »

Director: Chuck Workman
Stars: Joan Agajanian Quinn, Jean Michel Basquiat, Irving Blum
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
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
Face Addict (2005)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Face Addict tells the story of a unique and unrepeatable experience, that of the artistic community in New York between the late '70s and early '80s known as the downtown scene. From this ... See full summary »

Director: Edo Bertoglio
Stars: Walter Steding, Glenn O'Brien, John Lurie
Con Artist (2009)
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A docu-comedy feature film about a once-famous millionaire "business artist" forced to confront his own legendary obnoxious behavior, while trying to find love through fame.

Director: Michael Sladek
Stars: Wilfredo Arias, Molly Barnes, Jean Michel Basquiat
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
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
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Profiles Milton Glaser (1929- ), America's foremost graphic designer: designer of the iconic "I [heart] N.Y." logo, teacher, and humanitarian. Interviews with Glaser are arranged to take ... See full summary »

Director: Wendy Keys
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 »

Directors: Ivan Král, Amos Poe
Stars: Blondie, David Byrne, Jayne County
Bomb It (2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Tells the story of contemporary graffiti, tracing its roots in ancient rock paintings through Picasso to its place in hip-hop culture in 1970's New York City.

Director: Jon Reiss
Stars: Cope 2, Kid Acne, Antonio
The Foreigner (1978)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

European secret agent Max Menace arrives in New York City, waiting for his contact to tell him his assignment. He becomes entangled with an assortment of odd characters and situations, but ... See full summary »

Director: Amos Poe
Stars: Eric Mitchell, Anya Phillips, Patti Astor
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

Featured in Basquiat (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Blonde Redhead
Written by Arto Lindsay, Ikue Mori, and Tim Wright
Performed by D.N.A.
Published by Firma LTD (BMI)
Administered by Bug Music Inc., TOhban Djan Publishing and Upside Publishing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A portrait of a lost time
1 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Your assessment of this movie depends completely on what you are looking for. If you come to this film without any knowledge of who and what and why, it will be disappointing. But if you approach the film not as a movie in the regular sense but as an historical document of a moment in time, then it becomes an entirely different experience. In this sense it helps to understand what is being documented and who these people are. Some working knowledge of the late 70s NYC downtown scene, the Mudd Club, T.V. Party, the lower east side art boom, the post-punk music world, etc. gives you a much greater sense of appreciation. Understood historically and not just as another film, whether the movie works as a traditional film, whether the plot is interesting or the characters well developed (a tricky proposition seeing that the original dialogue was lost and had to be re-dubbed) doesn't matter. What you are seeing is the last truly avant garde art and music scene in the US before AIDS, money, MTV and the rest destroyed it. And it focuses on someone right at the center of the storm, Basquiat before his rise to international fame. (Another commentator questioned Basquiat's cultural credibility, but I'm not sure what culture he is talking about). Beyond that the musical performances are exceptional and rare and are worth the price of admission by themselves. This is a portrait of something lost and timeless. It is a fascinating historical document and should be appreciated as such.


3 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
Discuss Downtown 81 (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?