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Basquiat (1996)

Jeffrey Wright , Michael Wincott , Julian Schnabel  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 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 (130 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000065V3Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,535 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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A WANNA BE WHO BECAME... June 9, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Artist Julian Schnabel in his directorial debut captures the essence of the avant garde art world of the late nineteen seventies through the eighties. His screenplay focuses on Jean- Michel Basquiat, a street person who started his career as an artist known for his memorable graffiti. Basquiat later catapulted to fame as the first African American artist to break out into the lily white New York art world, becoming pals with the likes of Andy Warhol. His struggle for acceptance and his inner demons ultimately proved to be too much for him, however, and at twenty eight, the world of Basquiat came to a stunning conclusion from an overdose of heroin.
The role of Basquiat is deliciously and memorably played by Jeffrey Wright who portrays Basquiat as a fey sort of soul. His stunning portrayal of the artist is neatly counterbalanced by the earthy performance of a young Benicio Del Toro who plays Basquiat's friend. David Bowie is perfectly cast as an other worldly Andy Warhol. Dennis Hopper and Courtney Love also give compelling performances, as does Gary Oldham.
This is a quirky, surprisingly good film in the best indie tradition. It is quintessential New York in feel. Native New Yorkers will know what I mean. Others will simply have to take my word for it. Like the city, the film has something for everyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 28 days 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 1 month ago by will crow
2.0 out of 5 stars And...?
Viewed: 5/14
Rate: 4

5/14: Basquiat is one of those films that seem to say nothing much and is a portrayal of a very uninteresting person. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Austin Somlo
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 2 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 3 months ago by Mary D. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Art and Exile
The film Basquiat shows a great deal of Art and Exile and most importantly it shows when art goes wrong. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jesus Santos
5.0 out of 5 stars Basquiat video
This is great. A brand new video at great price. One of my favorites, just had to own it. Fast delivery too. Thanks
Published 4 months ago by Pamela B. Forbes
5.0 out of 5 stars Different
This movie let you know that there are black artist who were not professionally trained they just have natural talent. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Monica Brown
Jean-Michel Basquiat may well have been one of the 20th centuries most gifted artists. Unfortunately, as so often is the case, he was surrounded be those wanting to ride his star... Read more
Published 6 months ago by RedBeardNOLA
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
I love movies based on biographies! This one is no exception. Well acted and some great stars in it! If you like stories about tortured artists and their works, this is for you.
Published 6 months ago by Arbie
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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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