Style Wars (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes

Style Wars (1983)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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.

August 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.

August 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.

January 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

Style Wars Quotes

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