13 user 28 critic

Style Wars (1983)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | TV Movie 1983
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.


Tony Silver
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Demon Demon ... Self
Kase 2 Kase 2 ... Self (as Kase)
Eric Haze Eric Haze ... Self (as SE 3)
D. 5 D. 5 ... Self (as D-5)
Spank Spank ... Self
Trap Trap ... Self
Kay Slay Kay Slay ... Self (as Dez)
Butch Butch ... Self
Skeme Skeme ... Self
Zone Zone ... Self
Ces157 Ces157 ... Self (as CES 157)
Kid167 Kid167 ... Self (as Kid 167)
Min One Min One ... Self (as Min)
Cap Cap ... Self
Michael Martin Michael Martin ... Self (as Iz the Wiz)


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 | Plot Synopsis


Documentary | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Cap originally wanted to hide his face by wearing a ski mask. The producers reluctantly agreed. But Cap showed up to filming without the mask and decided to let his face be seen. See more »


Skeme's Mother: What you got is a whole miserable subculture.
See more »


Featured in Beautiful Losers (2008) See more »


Feel The Heartbeat
Performed by Treacherous Three
See more »

User Reviews

The 'King' of Graffiti cinema.
12 March 2002 | by rokshok183See 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.

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Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Graffiti-háború See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Public Art Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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