7.2/10
848
10 user 22 critic

Downtown 81 (1981)

New York Beat Movie (original title)
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:

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary but also delves into Basquiat as an iconoclast. His dense, bebop-influenced neoexpressionist work emerged while... See full summary »

Director: Tamra Davis
Stars: Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A portrait of New York artist Keith Haring.

Director: Christina Clausen
Stars: Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Julia Gruen
Wild Style (1983)
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
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
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
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
Style Wars (TV Movie 1983)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

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.

Director: Tony Silver
Stars: Demon, Kase 2, Eric Haze
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
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

This documentary follows the lives and careers of a collective group of Do-it-yourself artists and designers who inadvertently affected the art world.

Directors: Aaron Rose, Joshua Leonard
Stars: Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey, Jo Jackson
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Based on the true story of Valerie Solanas who was a 60s radical preaching hatred toward men in her "Scum" manifesto. She wrote a screenplay for a film that she wanted Andy Warhol to ... See full summary »

Director: Mary Harron
Stars: Lili Taylor, Jared Harris, Martha Plimpton
The Foreigner (1978)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 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
Unmade Beds (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

This is the story of Rico, a man who lives in New York in 1976 but who lives his own life in Paris during the time of the 'New Wave'. He is a photographer who thinks he's a gangster, a ... See full summary »

Director: Amos Poe
Stars: Baby Adams, Patti Astor, Lynnette Bean
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jean
Richard Weigand ...
Doctor
Cyndy Schneidau ...
Nurse
Millie Schneidau ...
Nurse
Steven Z. Soszynski ...
Grocer
Anna Schroeder ...
Béatrice
Giorgio Gomelsky ...
Landlord (as Giorgio Giomelsky)
Ted Bafaloukos ...
Junk Dealer
Bobby Grossman ...
East Village Junkie
Mickey Clean ...
Pot Dealer
Roberta Bayley ...
Street Girl
Dave Street ...
Musician
Tish Bellomo ...
Manic Panic Girl
Snooky Bellomo ...
Manic Panic Girl
Kool Kyle ...
Rapper
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

New Day
Written by Walter Steding
Performed by Walter Steding and The Dragon People
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?