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Basquiat (1996)

Jeffrey Wright , Michael Wincott , Julian Schnabel  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott, Benicio Del Toro, Claire Forlani, David Bowie
  • Directors: Julian Schnabel
  • Writers: Julian Schnabel, Lech Majewski, John Bowe, Michael Holman
  • Producers: Jon Kilik, Joseph Allen, Lech Majewski
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: September 3, 2002
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000065V3Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Basquiat" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

BASQUIAT chronicles the meteoric rise to fame of the gifted and charismatic young New York artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, as he emerged from the streets of the East Village to become an internationally renowned sensation.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep movie about a shallow art scene. July 9, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Basquiat (Julian Schnabel, 1996)

Schnabel has made two films in five years. I'm still wondering why the man hasn't yet been immortalized. Less talented directors have gotten stars on the Walk of Fame for less accomplishment than Schnabel showed with his second film, Before Night Falls, alone. His first, Basquiat, is damned close to being as good, and yet it fell almost completely below the radar of American cinema upon its release, despite a stable of talent so broad it's almost ludicrous.

Schnabel (played in the film by Gary Oldman, incidentally-- and Schnabel's real-life family plays Oldman's family in the film. heh.) gives us the story of Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of the brightest lights of New York's avant-garde art movement in the seventies and eighties before his 1988 overdose. Basquiat himself is played by the always-engaging Jeffrey Wright (recently seen giving Sam Jackson trouble in _Shaft_), and while the film never fails to center on Basquiat himself, Wright's brilliantly low-key performance seems almost a backdrop for a slew of A-list actors in minor roles (Willem Dafoe, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Tatum O'Neal, etc.) and up-and-coming stars who have since gone on to eclipse even Wright (Benecio del Toro, Courtney Love, Vincent Gallo, Linda Larkin, Caire Forlani, Michael Badalucco, et al.). But the show is truly stolen by David Bowie as (a believable, believe it or not) Andy Warhol. Bowie doesn't do a whole lot of acting, but when he does, he's usually wonderful at it (viz. The Hunger, Christiane F., etc.). He takes it to new heights here, and Bowie and Wright give a sense of the friendship between Warhol and Basquiat that does far more in far less screen time than most buddy movies could dream about.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surfing through Warhol's '80s October 18, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Painter Julian Schnabel made his film directing debut with his impressionistic biography of his late friend and fellow '80s Warhol hanger-on, Jean-Michel Basquiat. A charismatic, young heroin addict, Basquiat started out as a graffiti artist who called himself SAMO (as in samo bulls--t) and, depending on where your aesthetic tastes fall, his success represented either a great rebirth of artistic orgininality OR yet another sign that the American art scene was becoming a victim of trendiness. The same, of course, was said of Schnabel at the same time. Luckily for myself as a viewer of this film, I'm in the former camp. For the latter group or the growing number of people who see, "I don't know nothing about art but I like what I see," as the height of critical thinking, this film probably isn't for them.
Told in a freeform fashion, Schnabel's vision of Basquiat's life is rather uneven. The story is occasionally rather muddled (Basquiat's rise from homeless drug addict to prodigal Warhol son seems to come out of nowhere) and plotwise, Schnabel is rather conventional in his structure -- Basquiat reaches the heights of fame and forgets all of his former friends before being redeemed at the end. (His own eventual death of a heroin overdose isn't shown beyond a title card at the end credits -- though the film strongly hints it was related to his own depression concerning the death of Andy Warhol.) However, the film is also blessed with occasional flashes of genius that make this a film that is worth watching. Not surprisingly, Schnabel has a strong visual sense and he uses his limited budget to his advantage, capturing a strange sort of grimy fantasy world. Some of his enigmatic images are haunting.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite films of all time. March 8, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Basquiat is a mesmerizing, intelligent, compassionate, and stunningly beautiful movie. Jeffrey Wright and David Bowie should both have been nominated for Academy Awards (and if they gave Academy Awards for bit parts, Christopher Walken would deserve one!!). I hadn't heard of Jean-Michel Basquiat before seeing the movie, but now I'm dying to see more of his art, and also to learn more about Andy Warhol's life. Even if you aren't a fan of Basquiat's or Warhol's art (I'm not sure yet whether I am or not), if you have an open mind you will almost certainly be touched by the beauty in this film. Basquiat is one of the few films I have really MISSED from the moment it ended. I can't wait to see it again, so that I can absorb Basquiat's art better, and experience David Bowie's entirely believable, lovable, and *funny* portrayal of Warhol again. One viewing is definitely not enough. DVD, where are you??
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review from someone who was there. January 15, 2006
I went to the School of Visual Arts from 1977 - 1981, during the time that Basquiat "attended" school there, or it would be more accurate to say during the time that Jean Michel hung out at SVA's lounge and painting classes while never actually paying to attend class. Either way, the film perfectly captures both sides of the NYC art scene of that time -- the struggling, aspiring artist and the world of Soho's elite. The film has a great musical score that includes music of the day and other art school favorites. There are also some wonderfully accurate character portraits like David Bowie's Andy Warhol, Parker Posey's Mary Boone and the more obscure, but right on target: Benicio Del Toro's accurate portrayal of your average NYC (SVA, Parsons The New School) art student. The film also does an affective job of capturing the atmosphere of the late night 80s East Village parties and Soho openings and the way Warhol stepped in and out of the scene mingling with the young talent all too eager to mingle back with him. Jeffrey Wright plays Basquiat with a more Mickey Mouse-like flair than Jean Michel really had. I remember him as a loner, a little dark and more brooding, if not angst ridden at times. (My guess is this is how Wright choose to make Jean more presentable to a motion picture audience.) Anyway, the film as a whole is a heartfelt portrait from a colleague and friend Julian Schnabel, an 80's fine art painter known for his paintings involving broken dinner plates. Schnabel later became a motion picture director and directs this portrait of his friend Basquiat. If you're looking for a love letter to Jean, then this film is for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Basquiat
I absolutely love this film.
Published 2 days ago by Martina Finley
2.0 out of 5 stars In Need Of A New Director!?!
Sorry folks, this is not Jean Michel Basquiat. This is Julian Schnabel's personal revenge on the great 80's artist who by the shear newness of his art had managed to de-throne... Read more
Published 9 days ago by RJ Nuzzi
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not my thing. Very dramatic but did not ...
Just not my thing. Very dramatic but did not hit the mark with me.
Published 25 days ago by Judd Arlen Brynes
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant film! Great acting by an ensemble cast of ...
Brilliant film! Great acting by an ensemble cast of well-known actors. A fascinating story of a NYC graffiti artist who grew up become rich and famous. Recommended!
Published 27 days ago by Anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, great story and acting.
Great story, well told and great acting on behalf of amazing cast.
Published 1 month ago by Camille
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great and intriguing movie to watch!
Published 1 month ago by Annette Verity
4.0 out of 5 stars There once was a prince...
Absolutely love this film. The DVD may not offer much in the way of extras but at the very least, presents the film in good quality in terms of both sound and picture. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Terrence A.
5.0 out of 5 stars tenderness
here's an account that flows from the fertile mind of people who knew the artist and the fishbowl he lived within. Read more
Published 3 months ago by will crow
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT
I love this movie Julian did a great job and all the actors in it are phenomenal the movie came in like 3 days I was watching it I've seen it like 7 times. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nicholas
4.0 out of 5 stars An Artist
My husband loves this movie. If you know the story, its a bit sad. But non the less, my husband is an artist and can appreciate the beauty in it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mary D. Thompson
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is it a dvd or vhs?
Mar 19, 2014 by mike |  See all 2 posts
dvd or vhs Be the first to reply
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