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Style Wars

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Style Wars
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2-Disc Version

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Style Wars + Wild Style 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition
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Product Details

  • Actors: Cap, Daze, Dondi, Frosty Freeze, Kase 2
  • Directors: Henry Chalfant, Tony Silver
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Public Art Films
  • DVD Release Date: August 23, 2005
  • Run Time: 69 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A7DVZO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,763 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Style Wars" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When director Tony Silver and co-producer Henry Chalfant delivered the broadcast version of their prize-winning film to PBS in 1983, the world received its first full immersion in the phenomenon that had taken over New York City. The urban landscape was

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 48 customer reviews
This is perhaps the greatest movie I've ever seen.
Who can forget images of dirty big cities with the trains riding along with huge works of graffiti art on them?
A. Ort
The film makers help document the art, the lives of graf writers and the struggle to control public spaces.
Matthew B. Altstiel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By -Paul E Kilianski--- on April 22, 2003
Format: DVD
I, like many, first saw Style Wars back in the early 80's on PBS as an impressionable youth who was just discovering Hip Hop in all it's forms. It has remained to this day, one of the best (certainly the most honest) accounts of Hip Hop in it's relative infancy. While the focus is squarely on the "writers" (graffiti artists for all you new jacks), we do get to see other aspects of Hip Hop culture in play (most notably b-boying with the Rock Steady Crew). Watching the film on dvd after so many years was literally like going back in time. It not only holds up, it has aged like fine wine. Every shot in the film reeks of NY & Hip Hop in the early 80's. A true, 100% bonafide classic in every sense of the word. The filmakers have succeeded beautifully in capturing the spirit of the time, the place, the people and the culture. This is a true time capsule if there ever was one.
Ok, enough with accolades. Now on to the disc. Dang. Talk about getting the deluxe treatment. Whereas the Wild Style DVD is incomplete (see my review), Style Wars is not only complete, uncut and un-altered, it is absolutely full to brim with fantastic extras...close to 4 HOURS worth. Highlights include art and interviews with many of the films participants. Most notable for me was MIN ONE. He's the tough little curly-haired, white kid who tries to get the rest of the writers to retaliate against Cap for "going over their burners". ("That's never forgive action"). All I can say is he looks like he's been through one hell of a lot in the last 20 years. Very sobering to say the least.
Other extras include outtakes, audio commentary by the filmakers, and (this is very cool) a 30 minute loop of "whole cars".
If you consider yourself a serious Hip Hop head, you have no excuse not to own this dvd.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Rodriguez on September 29, 2003
Format: DVD
It's as if Style Wars co-star (and graffiti pioneer) Iz The Wiz was predicting the outcome of this classic documentary when he emphatically yelled:"This is it...this is it!" in one of it's scenes. Some 20 years later, the world over is echoing Iz's exact same sentiments. With Style Wars, creators Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver assembled one of the best and historiaclly correct Hip Hop documentaries to date. Taking place around '81, '82 during the Koch administration, Style Wars delves mostly into NY's subway graffiti and B-boy culture. By far, two of the more illustrious facets in the cultural jewel known as Hip Hop. Style Wars captures graffiti and B-boy pioneers (most in their teens) doin' what they do best and ultimately shaping the course of Hip Hop culture. All the "true-school" legends are here (i.e., The Rocksteady Crew, Dondi, Seen, Dez a.k.a. DJ Kay Slay, etc.) equipped with a vintage NY backdrop and killa soundtrack. As "fresh" as it was back in '84 when PBS "broke" it, Style Wars works because it not only deals with the creative forces behind it's subject matter, but those effected by it as well. From the linoleum kitchen of famed graffiti artist Skeme to the B-boy battlegrounds of the U.S.A. skating rink, Style Wars is there. With unforgettable scenes like dopey Mayor Ed Koch screwing-up at a press conference to graffiti legend Duro mispronouncing the word "negotiate", Style Wars captures it all. Celebrating it's 20th anniversary, Style Wars' recent double DVD release only adds to it's greatness. Packed with 4 hours of nothing but flavor, this double delight doesn't dissappoint. It would've been great to have seen graffiti great Kase 2 (or Noc) make the DVD, but the revisiting of Skeme and Mom Barbara (minus the kitchen) definitely makes up for it. So, if you're thinking of spending your hard earned on anything boasting unadulterated Hip Hop, Style Wars is a sure-shot. In the immortal words of Iz The Wiz: "This is it!" --James "Koe" Rodriguez.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pork Chop on April 10, 2009
Format: DVD
Style Wars (1983) from directors Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver,
is a grass roots, street-level documentary that is easily
digested, as it's pleasing to the eyes.

It offers a glimpse of 10 to 16 year olds, in the inner cities of
Brooklyn, Bronx back in the 1970's and 1980's, who are surrounded
by high rises, who brainstormed for ideas back in the 1970's to
have fun and pass the time.

In this particular instance, it involves dance competitions, art
competitions, music competitions, expressed in various
recreational halls through the break-dance styles, DJ-ing and
rapping, free-styling with rhymes as well as by using up 15 to 20
canisters per subway train in color painting them.

This subculture, comprising the "personal lives" of dozens of
youths (in contrast to school, or professional endeavors) is
specialized to the point that various youths' aliases become
"stars" in their own right, with verbal histories or accounts
being told and passed down to other joining this movement, who
are pigeon holed in this ghetto.

The psych of those taking part, is underpinned by a sense of peer
pressure in the group for the best art, dance moves and ability
to rhyme, coupled with a sense of ego gratification by somehow
having become world-class, as their assigned names or tags are
seen on trains crossing the city. Perhaps a sensitive point for
the undertrodden in the inner cities, housing projects,
accustomed to poverty, yet crossing all background and cultural

The images taken are numerous, well chosen, and the narrative
well planned, the testimonies frequent, the educational aspects
to the masses very understandable.
Read more ›
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