Style Wars

( 2 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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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Special Features

Style Wars; Over 23 minutes of original outtake footage; Feature commentary by director-producer Tony Silver and producer Henry Chalfant; Interview with Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant; Interview with Style Wars editors Victor Kanefsky and Sam Pollard; English subtitles for the hearing impaired; Digitally remastered 5.1 Dolby soundtrack featuring classic tracs from Grandmaster Flash, The Treacherous Three, Trouble Funk, The Fearless Four, Rammellzee vs. K-Rob and more; 32 artist galleries including new interviews, trains and rare photos of Blade, Cap, Cey, Crash, Crazy Legs, Daze, Dez, Dondi, Doze, Duro, Duster, Frosty Freeze, Iz the Wiz, Kase 2, Kel First, Ken Swift, Lee, Mare139, Min One, Noc 167, Paze (Erni), Pink, Quik, Rammellzee, Revolt, Sach, Seen TC5, Seen UA, Shy 147, Skeme, Tracy 168, and Zephyr; Tributes to Dondi and Shy 147; Guest interviews of Fab 5 Freddy, Goldi, Guru, DJ Red Alert, and photographer Martha Cooper; "Destroy All Lines" 30 minute loop of over 200 whole cars and burners; Featuring music from Def Jux recording artists El-P, RJD2, and Aesop Rock, plus Mr. Wiggle Kimson "Angola-Red" Albert, and Darryl Jenifer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Shot between 1981 and 1983 and aired on PBS, Style Wars is remarkable as a relatively early filmed document of hip-hop culture at its source and an intelligent defense of an oft-maligned and misunderstood art form, graffiti. It is constructed as an investigative news piece with stentorian narrator Sam Schacht, presenting an equally weighed back and forth debate over whether graffiti is art or vandalism. But from an opening scene, when a young writer pouts while his mom harangues him over his hobby, it's clear where directors Henry Chalfant andTony Silver's sympathies lie. Cameraman Burleigh Wartes captures subway train murals at opportune locations, where the car-length paintings majestically unfurl for maximum impact. Editors Sam Pollard, Victor Kanefsky, and Mary Alfieri edit these sequences to the 4/4 beat of early rap music, one of the first attempts to develop a hip-hop-influenced cutting technique. Though not addressed directly, the documentary also helps refute a common myth about graffiti culture -- that it had an integral connection with break dancing and rapping and was mostly carried out by black and Hispanic kids. Some of the most interesting footage tracks writers on tagging runs -- jumping fences into train yards and navigating the city's underground tunnels. Though the passion and thrill of artistic discovery is palpable, one is left with the feeling that graffiti was, for the most part, a movement that flowered during a unique situation in New York's history. Style Wars captures this movement as it is just starting to wane, when mayor Ed Koch's crackdowns started having a serious effect and a general overall increase in New York City's quality of life demanded more effective cleanups. The growing media saturation is typified by the clueless and somewhat exploitative attention given by the Soho galleries crowd. Of further note are appearances by writers Dondi, Daze, and Cap One, and a performance by the Rock Steady Crew.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/23/2005
  • UPC: 804791000412
  • Original Release: 1983
  • Rating:

  • Source: Passion River
  • Region Code: 0
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:10:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 6,416

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Wayne Frost Participant
Sam Schacht Voice Only
Technical Credits
Tony Silver Director, Producer
Mary Alfieri Editor
Henry Chalfant Producer
Victor Kanefsky Editor
Richard Patterson Sound/Sound Designer
Sam Pollard Editor
Larry Scharf Sound/Sound Designer
Burleigh Wartes Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Film/The Filmmakers
1. Detective Bernie Jacobs [:31]
2. Kase, Butch, Dee5 & Dez [3:01]
3. Skeme & Barbara [1:14]
4. Dondi, Duro & Marisol [4:41]
5. Iz the Wiz [1:27]
6. Rock Steady [2:54]
7. Lady Pink & Cap [1:03]
8. Detective Hickey, Crash & Shy 147 [2:15]
9. Seen [4:28]
1. New York 1982 [2:12]
2. It's Called Bombing [1:20]
3. The Bench [1:02]
4. Going All City [2:43]
5. It Started in the Bronx & Harlem [1:40]
6. Under the City [2:10]
7. Dondi [:57]
8. Death Penalty [1:04]
9. A Beautiful Wall [4:03]
10. Doodling [1:42]
11. A Whole Miserable Subculture [1:57]
12. Getting Up: The Pioneers [3:44]
13. Vicious Style [3:11]
14. Fresh Extrateless Brothers [3:11]
15. Throwdown at USA [4:54]
16. How Big, How High [1:53]
17. The Buff [2:53]
18. People Are Amazed [1:57]
19. Blood Wars [6:39]
20. A New Movement [3:27]
21. The Professionals [1:48]
22. Negotiations [3:01]
23. Holding Back the Enemy [4:43]
24. When There Were Kings [3:22]
25. Rock You Out (End Credits) [:12]
Disc #2 -- Hall of Fame
1. Chapter 1 [:10]
2. Chapter 2 [:10]
3. Chapter 3 [:10]
4. Chapter 4 [:10]
5. Chapter 5 [:10]
6. Chapter 6 [:10]
7. Chapter 7 [:10]
8. Chapter 8 [:10]
9. Chapter 9 [:10]
10. Chapter 10 [:10]
11. Chapter 11 [:10]
12. Chapter 12 [:10]
13. Chapter 13 [:10]
14. Chapter 14 [:10]
15. Chapter 15 [:10]
16. Chapter 16 [:10]
17. Chapter 17 [:10]
18. Chapter 18 [:10]
19. Chapter 19 [:10]
20. Chapter 20 [:10]
21. Chapter 21 [:10]
22. Chapter 22 [:10]
23. Chapter 23 [:10]
24. Chapter 24 [:10]
25. Chapter 25 [:10]
26. Chapter 26 [:10]
27. Chapter 27 [:10]
28. Chapter 28 [:10]
29. Chapter 29 [:10]
30. Chapter 30 [:10]
31. Chapter 31 [:10]
32. Chapter 32 [:10]
33. Chapter 33 [:10]
34. Chapter 34 [:10]
35. Chapter 35 [:10]
36. Chapter 36 [:10]
37. Chapter 37 [:10]
38. Chapter 38 [:10]
39. Chapter 39 [:10]
40. Chapter 40 [:10]
41. Chapter 41 [:10]
42. Chapter 42 [:10]
43. Chapter 43 [:10]
44. Chapter 44 [:10]
45. Chapter 45 [:10]
46. Chapter 46 [:10]
47. Chapter 47 [:10]
48. Chapter 48 [:10]
49. Chapter 49 [:10]
50. Chapter 50 [:10]
51. Chapter 51 [:10]
52. Chapter 52 [:10]
53. Chapter 53 [:10]
54. Chapter 54 [:10]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Film/The Filmmakers
   Play
   Outtakes
      Play All
   Filmmakers
      Tony Silver & Henry Chalfant 5/20/02
      Film Editors 6/22/02
   Chapters
   Audio
      5.1 Surround Sound
      2.0 Stereo
      Filmmakers Commentary
      English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired On/Off
Disc #2 -- Hall of Fame
   Artists
      Cap
         Cap Interview 6/21/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
      Cey
         1
         2
         3
      Crash
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Crazy Legs
         Crazy Legs Interview 6/22/02
         1
         2
         3
      Daze
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Dez
         Dez (KaySlay) Interview 6/20/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Dondi
         Dondi Memorial
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Doze
         Doze Interview 6/21/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Duro
         Duro Interview 6/22/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Duster
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Frosty Freeze
         Frosty Freeze Interview 6/18/02
         1
         2
         3
      Iz the Wiz
         Iz the Wiz Interview 7/14/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
      Kase 2
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Ken Swift
         Ken Swift Interview 6/21/02
         1
      Mare 139
         Mare 139 Interview 6/18/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Min One
         Min Interview 6/18/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Noc 167
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Paze
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Pink
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Quik
         Quik Interview 7/14/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Rammellzee
         Rammellzee Interview 6/20/02
         1
         2
      Revolt
         Revolt Interview 7/08/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Sach
         1
         2
         3
         4
      Seen TC5
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Seen UA
         Seen UA Interview 6/18/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Shy 147
         Shy Memorial
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Skeme
         Skeme Interview 4/11/00
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Zephyr
         Zephyr Interview 7/08/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Blade
         Blade Interview 5/12/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Lee
         Lee Interview 6/21/02
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Kel First
         1
         2
         3
         4
         5
         6
      Tracy 168
         1
         2
         3
         4
      Fab 5 Freddy
      Goldie
      Guru
      DJ Red Alert
      Martha Cooper
   Archive
   Stylewars.com
   Destroy All Lines
   Audio Setup
      English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired On/Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A must see for hip hop heads

    This is one of the absolute staples for foundational knowledge of the art form of hip hop. The heart of the story line follows the ongoing battle between graffiti writers and NYC's mass transit authority, but the film provides context for the hip hop movement as a whole by incorporating break dancers, musicians and others who helped shape the early days of hip hop before it became a global, multi-billion dollar industry. Not only that, but the film also does an excellent job of including some elements of the socio-economic conditions that were present in NYC at the time, but does so without letting them overpower the films narrative. If you call yourself a fan of hip hop and have never seen this film, you are lacking in some of the most basic levels of understanding where the genre came from, and why the elements matter to the art form as a whole.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Way We See It

    The music was perfect, the shots were natural and the quotes became classic. I immdiately knew Style Wars was different. Interviews, photos, paintings, sketches everything fit just right. All elements of hip-hop are properly introduced and presented here.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews