Style Wars

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95%
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Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,214

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AUDIENCE SCORE

95%
Average Rating: 4.3/5

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Movie Info

Calisthenic breakdancing and big, bold graffiti art were in top form and popularity in the U.S. in the early and mid-'80s, and this documentary extols the spirit and the talents of a variety of New York youngsters who were expert in either one or both of these challenging pastimes. Public reactions are wildly varied. On the one hand, the youth brave a police crackdown on graffiti and face barbed-wire fences and guard dogs in the railroad yards where they spray paint subway cars with oversized lettering. On the other hand, their art is shown in a municipal gallery and analyzed with the same seriousness as a Rembrandt or a Renoir. Whether viewers judge the graffiti an "eyesore" or a bit of post-modern expressionism, it is true that both the art and the dancing are incisively presented in this hour-long exploration.

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Critic Reviews for Style Wars

All Critics (4)

  • With a soundtrack of old-school hip-hop like Grandmaster Flash, the film is a fantastic origin story of a culture that still continues to exist to this day.

    Aug 17, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Yes, there were Style Wars back in the day. But they weren't just battling over graffiti design. The war was over which way the cultural landscape would swing.

    Aug 22, 2005 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • ...provides a glimpse into the artistic process (with its beautiful, criminal, and competitive aspects) and preserves a chunk of public art from a NYC that no longer exists.

    Jan 24, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Style Wars

An original, and simultaneously THE original, documentary on graffiti culture, and by extension and to a lesser degree, Hip-Hop culture in general. The 1980's of New York may be long gone, but they are captured here not with beauty or compassion, but with a detached emphasis on humanity. Well shot, well interviewed, and to a certain extent unbiased. At times it reads like a 60-minutes special, but at its best it provides a genuine, if sometimes too restricted and short, view into a world that has since evolved into something far more pervasive and different.

Daniel Hetteix
Daniel Hetteix

Super Reviewer

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