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Basquiat (1996)

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The brief life of Jean Michel Basquiat, a world renowned New York street artist struggling with fame, drugs and his identity.

Director:

Julian Schnabel

Writers:

Lech Majewski (story) (as Lech J. Majewski), John Bowe (short story) (as John F. Bowe) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeffrey Wright ... Jean Michel Basquiat
Michael Wincott ... Rene Ricard
Benicio Del Toro ... Benny Dalmau
Claire Forlani ... Gina Cardinale
David Bowie ... Andy Warhol
Dennis Hopper ... Bruno Bischofberger
Gary Oldman ... Albert Milo
Christopher Walken ... The Interviewer
Willem Dafoe ... The Electrician
Jean-Claude La Marre Jean-Claude La Marre ... Shenge (as Jean Claude LaMarre)
Parker Posey ... Mary Boone
Elina Löwensohn ... Annina Nosei
Paul Bartel ... Henry Geldzahler
Courtney Love ... Big Pink
Tatum O'Neal ... Cynthia Kruger
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Storyline

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, Basquiat becomes a star and a part of Andy Warhol's art world circle. But success has a price, and Basquiat pays with friendships, love, and eventually, his life. Written by Martin Lewison <lewison+@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1981, A Nineteen-Year-Old Unknown Graffiti Writer Took The New York Art World By Storm. The Rest Is Art History.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use and strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Build a Fort, Set It on Fire See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$83,863, 11 August 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,961,991, 24 November 1996
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near the end of the movie, Albert Milo (Gary Oldman) shows Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright) one of his paintings and tells him that he painted it for a friend who died. "JMB AUG 12" appears in white letters in the upper right corner. Those are Jean Michel Basquiat's initials and the date of his death. See more »

Goofs

The closing credits states that Basquiat died on October 12, 1988. The real date is August 12, 1988. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Rene: Everybody wants to get on the Van Gogh boat. There's no trip so horrible that someone won't take it. The idea of the unrecognised genius slaving away in a garret is a deliciously foolish one. We must credit the life of Vincent Van Gogh for really sending this myth into orbit. I mean, how many pictures did he sell, one? He couldn't give them away. He has to be the most modern artist, but everybody hated him. He was so ashamed of his life that the rest of our history will be ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits, a short clip showing a surfer riding on a wave is displayed. It's very similar to the surfing/wave shots that Basquiat keeps seeing whenever he looks up to the sky during the movie, but it's in full color instead of being blue-tinted. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dennis Hopper: Uneasy Rider (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Beast of Burden
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Used by Permission of Colgems-EMI Music Inc.
Courtesy of Promotone B.V.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This movie is impressionist art on film. Julian Schnabel proves to be as talented behind the lens as he is "on canvas."
6 June 2000 | by JB-145See all my reviews

If you love art, this movie is definitely for you. If character development and good writing are important elements in your movie selections, definitely add this one to your list of "must sees." However, if you typically only prefer major "blockbuster hits," you may want to forego it.

Intricately performed and written, this film is "art-house" & "independent" at it's very finest. David Bowie is perfection as Jean Michel Basquiat's friend and mentor, Andy Warhol. Michael Wincott sheds his usual grovel-voiced tough guy persona to play Basquiat's first flamboyantly feminine art dealer. Jeffrey Wright's brilliant performance as the complex Basquiat received a nomination for "Best Debut Performance," and Benecio Del Toro won "Best Supporting Male Performance" at the 1997 Independent Spirit Awards. Even the minor characters (Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Parker Posey, Willem Dafoe) add colorful performances to Julian Schnabel's first "canvas on film." --J.B.


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