Basquiat (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Basquiat (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Jeffrey Wright is superb in this biopic as Jean-Michel Basquiat, the artist who rose from homelessness to fame and fortune, only to die of a drug overdose at age 27. Writer-director Julian Schnabel, who is also an artist, vividly re-creates the 1980s New York art scene from firsthand experience.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: John Bowe, Julian Schnabel
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 3, 2002
Miramax - Official Site


Jeffrey Wright
as Jean-Michel Basquiat
David Bowie
as Andy Warhol
Dennis Hopper
as Bruno Bischofberger
Gary Oldman
as Albert Milo
Michael Wincott
as Rene Ricard
Claire Forlani
as Gina Cardinale
Benicio Del Toro
as Benny Dalmau
Courtney Love
as Big Pink
Christopher Walken
as The Interviewer
Willem Dafoe
as The Electrician
Parker Posey
as Mary Boone
Elina Löwensohn
as Annina Nosei
Paul Bartel
as Henry Geldzahler
Chuck Preiffer
as Tom Kruger
Tatum O'Neal
as Cynthia Kruger
Chuck Pfeifer
as Tom Kruger
Esther G. Schnabel
as Esther Milo
Jack Schnabel
as Jack Milo
Lola Schnabel
as Jacqueline Milo
Michael Chow
as Himself
Steven Randazzo
as Maitre d' at Ballato...
Michael Badalucco
as Counterman At Deli
Joseph R. Gannascoli
as Guard At Hospital
Hope Clarke
as Matilde
Brian Wright
as Young Jean Michel
Denise Burse
as Mary On TV
as Nemo
Leonard Jackson
as Jean Michel's Father
Vladamir Parenago
as Medieval Villager
Dave Shelley
as Photographer
William Seymour
as Mr. Chow's Maître D'
Richard Butler
as Medieval Villager
Joe Glasco
as Medieval Villager
Steven Parenago
as Medieval Villager
Jose Luis Ferrer
as Medieval Villager
Irene Kiss
as Medieval Villager
Richard the Ox
as Medieval Villager
Steve Randazzo
as Maître D At Ballato'...
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News & Interviews for Basquiat

Critic Reviews for Basquiat

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (14)

There isn't a boring shot anywhere, and writer-director Schnabel is clearly enjoying himself as he plays with expressionist sound, neo-Eisensteinian edits, and all sorts of other filmic ideas.

Full Review… | March 31, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Modest effort to illuminate the turbulent life of the New York artist.

Full Review… | May 5, 2011

Schnabel made his film about Basquiat, which carries its own validation. He's also made something of a work of art in its own right.

Full Review… | September 30, 2009
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Basquiat


Modern artist Jean-Michel Basquiat rises to fame with the help of Andy Warhol.
This film bolsters its indie kudos by including cameos from about every actor on the indie scene at the time, including Christopher Walken, Tatum O'Neal, Courtney Love, and Parker Posey. However, though the names in the cast are as good as they get, the film is not. There are so many unanswered questions, like what is it that makes Basquiat's art unique. We see many people praising his work, but the work doesn't speak for itself, like Jackson Pollock for example, and there aren't any moments that allow us to see what cultural or artistic vein Basquiat has tapped into. Thus, his insouciance toward the artistic process reminds me of Thierry Guetta from Exit through the Gift Shop, who emerges from that film looking like a first-class douche. Also, what could a beautiful, seemingly intelligent woman like Gina see in Basquiat? Their courtship and the end of their relationships are glossed over, and it seems like the brilliant Claire Forlani is under-used simply to fill the role of the supportive girlfriend that all films like this are required to have.
David Bowie's performance as Andy Warhol is a tired caricature; I longed to see the musician tapped out by Guy Pearce -- let a real actor take the part.
Overall, I liked the beginning, the first ten minutes or so, but the rest of the film leaves me knowing nothing new about Basquiat or why I should care.
Post-Script: the design of the Diet Pepsi can in the film didn't come out until after the film's events took place.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


To most people Basquiat was a man who painted and shit. To me, he was just some guy who went to college for a few weeks and learned that its fun to fuck up his current girlfriend's life by painting his important art on their not important purses, dresses, and even sometimes on a canvas like other more typical artists tend to paint on. in conclusion, may basquait be remembered as the tolerable artist he was, as a man who was in a band with Vincent Gallo for six days, and a man with no respect for the countless banks, restaurants, and record stores that he loved to spraypaint his trademark "Fuck off, corporations!" message on as he "shot himself up" into fame's dirty veins.

Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

Thi s Movie was about Jean Michel Basquiat who was a black artist who became friends with the famous Andy Warhol. Jean died at 27 from a herion overdose, this movie shows where he came from and the sucess he achived. Jean like Andy was way out there, but being way out there isn't bad, it's to bad more of us are not way out there. Most will not enjoy this movie, but I sure did. The music tracks were faboulus. Andy Warhol was played by David Bowie. Its a great movie give it a try.

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Basquiat Quotes

Rene Ricard: 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 unrecognized genius slaving away in a garot is 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 contribution to Van Gogh's neglect. No one wants to be part of a generation that ignores another like Van Gogh. In this town, one is at the mercy of the recognition factor. One's public appearance is absolute. Part of the artist's job is to get the work where I will see it. I consider myself a metaphor on the public.
– Submitted by Davide S (9 months ago)

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