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.
Sujit R. Varma
14 March 2001 (France)
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Opening Weekend USA: $11,436,
15 July 2001, Limited Release
Gross USA: $100,293, 28 October 2001
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Aspect Ratio: 1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?
In 1981, financial problems prevented the post-production and release of the film. Subsequently, parts of the film became lost over the years. After much searching, the missing materials were located in 1998. Finally, post production began in 1999 and the film was released in 2000. See more
Jean Michel Basquiat
I'm an artist. When you tell people that they usually say, 'what's your medium?' I usually say, 'extra large.'
In the 2001 version, Downtown 81, Saul Williams does the voiceover for Jean-Michel Basquiat's character. See more
Followed by Face Addict
Written by Hartley, MgGuire, Principato, and Young
Performed by Liquid Liquid
Published by Liquid Liquid Publishing (BMI) See more