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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

Gross USA:

$3,011,195

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,011,195
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

Benicio Del Toro wanted to appear in the movie so much, he did the movie for scale, but offered the producers the chance to not pay him for his role. See more »

Goofs

When Basquiat goes to look at the basement studio, he leaves the house in his pajamas and robe. When he arrives at the studio he is wearing a different shirt under the robe. 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

Features Downtown 81 (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Girlfriend
Performed by The Modern Lovers
Written by Jonathan Richman
Published by Modern Love Songs
Courtesy of Beserkley Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Shame on the critic...
16 June 2002 | by x111b3825See all my reviews

Why is it whenever a work comes out about an artist of a modern slant, there arrives the masses claiming their dogs might paint better...and how about the simple complaint that "they didn't show us what was going on in his mind..."

Hogwash. Art will always be in the eye of the beholder, and unless you hear it from the horse's mouth, nobody knows what is going on in the head of anyone else. Take a look at Julian Schnabel's most recent work "Before Night Falls," and subject it to the same analysis. The only reason we might know more about Reinaldo Arenas is because he wrote it down...the motives are not always as clear as we might hope to believe we have grasp of...

How about Jackson Pollack? How many of us know that the "Wizard of Oz," an apparently simple, innocent childhood fable, was actually a political statement of the author (and this is from the "horse's mouth")?

Take the film for what it is and don't spend your time looking for the boom mic to peek into shots or read Basquiat's mind and you might find it enjoyable. For the art critics out there, let us not pretend to understand the process unless you are somewhat of an artist yourself, okay. Because you cannot understand the motive does not change the fact it may exist on some other plane than we perceive. Okay, off of my soap box!


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