Totally Awesome 7: Great Films of the 1980s
July 6–September 14
This year's edition of AFI Silver's popular summertime series showcases the '80s in all their awesomeness—blockbuster hits and retro-tastic rarities; influential originals whose remakes pale in comparison; and underground legends demanding to be seen by today's audiences. These are the kinds of films they just don't make like they used to, and films they just can't make like they used to! Don't miss this year's lineup of '80s-era summer fun on the big screen!
AFI Member passes accepted.
"Long live the new flesh!" Is TV bad for you? In this case, very. Sleazy cable TV head James Woods catches a pirate broadcast of an ultra-violent show called VIDEODROME and thinks he's found the edgiest new program for his station. Girlfriend Deborah Harry likes it so much she wants to audition. But the show's origins are masked in secrecy, and the producers vaguely cult-like. And the more Woods watches, the more hallucinatory side effects kick in.
DIR/SCR/PROD David Cronenberg. Canada, 1983, color, 87 min, 35mm. RATED R
STAR WARS: EPISODE VI—RETURN OF THE JEDI
Sat, Jul 6, 11:30; Mon, Jul 8, 9:15*; Thu, Jul 11, 9:45
*Monday Night Special! Tickets half-price.
The cliffhangers and conflicts of STAR WARS: EPISODE V–THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK are resolved in a most satisfying fashion in the climactic finale to the original STAR WARS saga. Han Solo–frozen in a carbonite coffin! Princess Leia–taken prisoner by Jabba the Hutt, and forced into that Mata Hari-on-Mars metal bikini! Luke Skywalker–the force grows stronger in him, the new hand works fine, his rematch with Darth Vader looms! Ewoks!
DIR Richard Marquand; SCR Lawrence Kasdan, George Lucas; PROD Howard Kazanjian, Rick McCallum. US, 1983/1997, color, 135 min, 35mm. RATED PG
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
Sat, Jul 13, 8:00; Sun, Jul 14, 8:45
"The good news is your dates are here. The bad news is...they're dead." Barely seen upon release, Fred Dekker's (THE MONSTER SQUAD) alien/zombie horror-comedy has become a deserved cult classic over time, and one with a clear influence on today’s best genre mashups. Corman University freshman Chris Romero, hoping to impress lovely sorority girl Cindy Cronenberg, decides he needs to join a frat. But a pledge stunt involving a cadaver from the university lab unleashes an infestation of alien slugs, now invading, killing and re-animating the student body.
DIR/SCR Fred Dekker; PROD Charles Gordon. US, 1986, color, 88 min, 35mm. RATED R
Sat, Jul 20, 10:00; Wed, Jul 24, 9:40; Thu, Jul 25, 9:00
A recently deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) struggle to adjust to their new afterlives, not to mention the invasion of their beloved New England home, after a brash New York couple (Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones) and their teenage goth daughter (Winona Ryder) move in. Too nice to be effective at haunting their own house and scaring away the interlopers, the ghost couple turn to the ghoulish Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a freelance "bio-exorcist" whose aggressive tactics and overreaching create an even bigger mess. Michael Keaton is brilliant as the madcap and frightful Beetlejuice; director Tim Burton established himself as a quirky box office force with this left-field comedy hit.
DIR Tim Burton; SCR Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren, from the story by McDowell and Larry Wilson; PROD Michael Bender, Richard Hashimoto, Larry Wilson. US, 1988, color, 92 min, 35mm. RATED PG
Sun, Jul 21, 5:45; Mon, Jul 22, 9:20*; Tue, Jul 23, 5:15; Thu, Jul 25, 7:00
*Monday Night Special! Tickets half-price.
Set ten years after the original PHANTASM (showing July 27! Click here for info), a grown-up Mike Pearson (James Le Gros) is released after a decade-long stint in a mental institution, finally pronounced compos mentis but secretly planning to seek revenge on the Tall Man (the creepily iconic Angus Scrimm) and his little killer sphere. Reuniting with his buddy Reggie (Reggie Banister), the two hatch a plan to put an end to the Tall Man’s grave-robbing habits in this delightfully deranged, action-packed sequel to the 1979 original.
DIR/SCR Don Coscarelli; PROD Roberto A. Quezada. US, 1988, color, 97 min, 35mm. RATED R
A FISH CALLED WANDA
#21 on AFI’s 100 Years...100 Laughs
Sat, Jul 27, 10:30; Tue, Jul 30, 9:45; Wed, Jul 31, 9:45
Kevin Kline gives an over-the-top, Oscar-winning performance as insanely jealous jewel thief Otto West, thrown over by partner Wanda Gershwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis) for defense attorney Archie Leach (MONTY PYTHON'S John Cleese). Nimbly directed by Ealing Comedy stalwart Charles Crichton from a script by Cleese, the cast includes Stephen Fry and fellow Python alum Michael Palin.
DIR Charles Crichton; SCR John Cleese, from the story by Cleese and Charles Crichton; PROD Michael Shamberg. US/UK, 1988, color, 108 min, 35mm. RATED R
I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA
Sat, Aug 3, 7:15; Sun, Aug 4, 4:15; Thu, Aug 8, 5:15
Keenen Ivory Wayans and siblings established themselves with this uproariously clever spoof of '70s-centric blaxploitation films. Jack Spade (writer/director/star Keenen Ivory Wayans) returns to the ‘hood from the army following the death of his younger brother Junebug from an OG—"overgold"—too many gold chains. Spade resolves to take down the man responsible for pushing this poison, Mr. Big (John Vernon), and enlists an army of veteran ass-kickers to help: John Slade (Bernie Casey), Hammer (Isaac Hayes), Slammer (Jim Brown), Flyguy (Antonio Fargas) and Kung Fu Joe (Steve James). The supporting cast includes Wayans siblings Damon and Kim (plus teenagers Marlon and Shawn as extras), David Alan Grier, Ja'net DuBois, Kadeem Hardison and Chris Rock.
DIR/SCR Keenen Ivory Wayans; PROD Carl Craig, Peter McCarthy. US, 1988, color, 88 min, 35mm. RATED R
AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON
Sat, Aug 3, 11:45; Wed, Aug 7, 9:40; Thu, Aug 8, 9:40
The success of THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (also directed by John Landis) helped launch a wave of sketch comedic omnibuses and movie spoofs. For fans of the genre, this is a treasured, underappreciated gem. Replicating the experience of watching a Z-grade film on late-night TV (remember that?), the titular film-within-a-film is periodically interrupted by other programming due to "technical difficulties" at Channel 8. The enormous ensemble cast includes Bryan Cranston, David Alan Grier, B. B. King, Rosanna Arquette, Ralph Bellamy, Griffin Dunne, Carrie Fisher, Steve Guttenberg, Michelle Pfeiffer, Arsenio Hall, Joe Pantoliano, Sybil Danning, Paul Bartel, Andrew Dice Clay and horror/fantasy/sci-fi icon Forrest J. Ackerman.
DIR Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, John Landis, Robert K. Weiss; SCR Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland; PROD Robert K. Weiss. US, color/b&w, 1987, 85 min, 35mm. RATED R
Sun, Aug 4, 6:30; Mon, Aug 5, 9:30*
*Monday Night Special! Tickets half-price.
Rescued after 25 years of obscurity by Drafthouse Films, this is a raucously goofy martial arts film that more than lives up to its "so bad, it's good" reputation. With a gang of motorcycle ninjas wreaking havoc across Orlando, Florida, Mark (writer/director and Tae Kwan Do master Y. K. Kim) and his rock band Dragon Sound decide to fight back. Roundhouse-kicking their way to justice, the band still finds time to chase beach bunnies and perform their hit song, "Against the Ninja." Deliriously vibrant with day-glo '80s hues and synthy sounds, this unearthed cult classic calls back to a simpler time of cocaine, bad hair and ninjas. Lots of ninjas.
DIR/SCR Y. K. Kim, Park Woo-sang; SCR Joseph Diamand. US/Hong Kong, 1987, color, 87 min, 35mm. RATED R
Fri, Aug 9, 12 midnight; Sat, Aug 10, 12 midnight; Mon, Aug 12, 9:45*;
Wed, Aug 14, 9:30
*Monday Night Special! Tickets half-price.
"Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold." Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of the beloved S. E. Hinton novel, centered on a gang of troubled teens in 1960s Tulsa, Oklahoma, launched its young cast of relative unknowns to '80s stardom: Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Diane Lane and Tom Cruise.
DIR Francis Ford Coppola; SCR Kathleen Rowell, from the novel by S. E. Hinton; PROD Gray Frederickson, Fred Roos. US, 1983, color, 91 min, 35mm. RATED PG-13
THE NAVIGATOR: A MEDIEVAL ODYSSEY
Sat, Aug 10, 5:15; Tue, Aug 13, 5:15; Thu, Aug 15, 5:15
England's Lake District, 1348. Fearing the black plague may be imminent, a young psychic named Griffin believes he can rescue his fellow villagers from impending doom. Leading them into an abandoned mine, they begin digging toward the center of the earth, only to emerge upon a bustling New Zealand city street in 1988. A time-traveling cult classic from maverick fantasy director Vincent Ward (WHAT DREAMS MAY COME).
DIR/SCR Vincent Ward; SCR Geoff Chapple, Kely Lyons; PROD John Maynard. Australia/New Zealand, 1988, b&w/color, 90 min, 35mm. RATED PG
Sat, Aug 10, 11:05 a.m., 11:30; Sun, Aug 11, 7:35; Mon, Aug 12, 5:15;
Tue, Aug 13, 10:00; Wed, Aug 14, 5:15
One of the touchstone teen sex comedies of the 1980s, this critical and commercial smash hit established Tom Cruise—just 21 at the time of release—as a box office force for decades to come. High-schooler Joel Goodsen (Cruise), resident of a leafy Chicago suburb, is under intense pressure to ace his finals and college boards to please his Princeton-or-bust parents. So naturally he calls a sex line the moment his parents go on vacation. Unlike most high school boys' exploration of their sexual curiosity, Joel's call will lead to a Tangerine Dream-scored encounter with sultry, shrewd hooker Rebecca De Mornay on a train; a feud with her pimp Guido (Joe Pantoliano); the theft of his mother's precious Steuben egg and the submersion of his father's prized Porsche at the bottom of Lake Michigan. But as his friend Miles says, "Sometimes you just got to say, 'what the fuck?'"
DIR/SCR Paul Brickman; PROD Jon Avnet, Steve Tisch. US, 1983, color, 98 min, 35mm. RATED R
THE LAST UNICORN
In person: author Peter S. Beagle at both August 12 shows!
Sat, Aug 10, 7:15*; Thu, Aug 15, 9:20
*Screening sponsored by Car2Go
Based on Peter S. Beagle's beloved book, this sophisticated fairy tale was produced by animation innovators Rankin Bass (RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, 1977's THE HOBBIT). Fearing she's the last of her kind, unicorn Amalthea (voiced by Mia Farrow) travels to the realm of King Haggard (Christopher Lee) in hopes of finding her lost brethren. But after being transformed into a beautiful young woman by her friend, the bumbling wizard Schmendrick (Alan Arkin), Amalthea catches the eye of the king’s son, Prince Lir (Jeff Bridges). Music by soft rock greats America!
DIR/PROD Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin, Jr.; SCR Peter S. Beagle, from his novel. US/UK/Japan/Germany, 1982, color, 92 min, 35mm. RATED G
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Mon, Aug 12, 4:00, 7:15--SOLD OUT; Sat, Aug 17, 11:05 a.m.
The much-ballyhooed collaboration between STAR WARS' George Lucas and wunderkind Steven Spielberg resulted in one of the biggest blockbusters of the early 1980s, launched an enduring and much-loved franchise and established Harrison Ford as an A-list leading man. The inspired script by Lawrence Kasdan distills the tradition of boyish adventures in exotic lands found in GUNGA DIN and Hergé's Tintin comics, two-fisted pulp fiction heroes like Doc Savage and Allan Quatermain, and the cliffhanger-heavy serials of old Hollywood into a rip-roaring, action-packed yarn that breathlessly careens from steamy South American jungle to snowy Nepalese mountaintop to dusty Egyptian desert—with Ford's intrepid and wily adventurer/archaeologist Indiana Jones battling ruthless Nazis to be the first to discover an ancient and possibly magical relic.
DIR Steven Spielberg; SCR Lawrence Kasdan, from the story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman; PROD Frank Marshall. US, 1981, color, 115 min, 35mm. RATED PG
Fri, Aug 16, 8:15; Sat, Aug 17, 11:30 a.m., 7:00
Nature vs. nurture is given a cynical test by the Duke brothers, Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche), snobby Wall Street one-percenters who engineer an outrageous change of fortune—framing their star broker Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) for crimes, while giving a plum position to street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy)—to settle a bet. Crisply directed by John Landis, the excellent cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis as a financially savvy streetwalker and Denholm Elliott as a put-upon butler, give top-of-their game performances, led by the hilariously inventive Murphy. With Frank Oz, Bo Diddley and Al Franken.
DIR John Landis; SCR Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod; PROD Aaron Russo. US, 1983, color, 116 min, 35mm. RATED R
Tue, Aug 20, 9:20; Thu, Aug 22, 9:00
Manhattan publishing exec Peter Loew (Nicolas Cage in one of his zaniest, most over-the-top performances) leads a life of excess: non-stop nightlife and one meaningless one-night stand after another. But he can't shake his most recent liaison, Rachel (Jennifer Beals, FLASHDANCE), whom he believes to be a vampire who, having seduced him and sucked his blood, has sealed his fate as a creature of the night like her. He lacks convincing evidence for this theory, and his long-suffering secretary (Maria Conchita Alonso) and his therapist (Elizabeth Ashley) think this overstretched neurotic has finally lost his marbles.
DIR Robert Bierman; SCR Joseph Minion; PROD John Daly, Derek Gibson, Barry Shils, Barbara Zitwer. US, 1988, color, 103 min, 35mm. RATED R
THE LAST DRAGON
Sat, Aug 24, 11:30; Mon, Aug 26, 9:40*
*Monday Night Special! Tickets half-price.
"Kiss my Converse!" Leroy Green (karate pro Taimak) is a kung-fu loving teen, obsessed with Bruce Lee and old martial arts films. He dreams of attaining "The Glow," a mystical energy that only a true master can possess. In order to achieve his dreams, he’ll have to overcome villains in his path, including the crooked arcade owner Eddie Arkadian (Chris Murney) and the evil Sho’nuff (Julius Carry), the "Shogun of Harlem" ("Now, when I say, 'Who's da mastah?' you say, 'Sho'nuff!'"), from whom he must protect his brother and sister (Leo O'Brien and Keshia Knight Pulliam) and new love interest, beautiful VJ Laura Charles (Vanity).
DIR Michael Schultz; SCR Louis Venosta; PROD Rupert Hitzig. US, 1985, color, 109 min, 35mm. RATED PG-13.
BEVERLY HILLS COP
Sat, Aug 24, 9:00, 11:20; Wed, Aug 28, 5:00;
Thu, Aug 29, 9:20–note new time!
The top-grossing film of 1984 is an exhilarating action-comedy that crowned Eddie Murphy as an A-list star and box-office champ. Maverick cop Axel Foley (Murphy) leaves frigid Detroit for balmy Beverly Hills to investigate the mysterious death of a childhood friend. Foley's nosing around, plus his rusting Chevy Nova and wild style, don't endear him to the citizens of the tony suburb. But Foley's charm, guile and crime-solving street smarts inspire bored detectives Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton) to join forces with him and crack the case. The soundtrack's synth instrumental "Axel F," by Giorgio Moroder protégé Harold Faltermeyer, became a chart-topping, decade-defining hit.
DIR Martin Brest; SCR Daniel Petrie, Jr., from a story by Petrie, Jr., and Danilo Bach; PROD Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson. US, 1984, color, 105 min, 35mm. RATED R
Sun, Aug 25, 6:20*; Tue, Aug 27, 5:00; Thu, Aug 29, 5:00
*Screening sponsored by Car2Go
The definitive punxploitation film of the 1980s. Fleeing poverty, prejudice, and broken homes, a bunch of disenfranchised punks take up residence in a condemned bungalow in the LA suburbs, forming their own de facto family called “The Rejected.” But the Citizens Against Crime, a vigilante group of rednecks, take offense at their new neighbors. With a ragtag non-professional cast including both real-life street punks and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, Penelope Spheeris (WAYNE'S WORLD) made her narrative feature debut, hired by legendary filmmaker/talent scout Roger Corman on the heels of her acclaimed documentary on the west coast punk scene, THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION.
DIR/SCR Penelope Spheeris; PROD Bert L. Dragin, Roger Corman. US, 1983, color, 94 min, 35mm. RATED R
TANGO & CASH
Fri, Aug 30, 11:15; Tue, Sep 3, 9:30
It doesn't get more over-the-top than this gleefully ridiculous buddy cop action spectacle directed by Russian émigré Andrei Konchalovsky. Bespectacled Sylvester Stallone plays maverick narcotics detective Ray Tango; Kurt Russell is the even maverickier detective Gabriel Cash. The two are framed for murder, sent to prison, escape from prison, and go to all-out war with villainous drug baron Yves Perret (Jack Palance), as the movie leaves reality behind in favor of pure, cartoonish mayhem. Synth score by Harold Faltermeyer of BEVERLY HILLS COP fame.
DIR Andrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli; SCR Randy Feldman; PROD Peter Guber, Jon Peters, Peter MacDonald. US, 1989, color, 104 min, digital presentation. RATED R
BABY IT’S YOU
Sat, Aug 31, 9:45; Wed, Sep 4, 9:30
Trenton, New Jersey, 1966. Jill Rosen (Rosanna Arquette) is a nice Jewish girl from a good family, about to leave home to attend Sarah Lawrence College and study drama. Albert "Sheik" Capadilupo (Vincent Spano) is a macho Italian from the wrong side of the tracks, with hopes of becoming a singer like his idol, Frank Sinatra. John Sayles' distinctive take on first love uses its nostalgic setting purposefully, touching upon a sense of loss not only for that time and place but for the characters’ innocence, replaced by hard-earned experience. Look for a young Robert Downey, Jr. in one of his first big-screen roles.
DIR/SCR John Sayles; SCR/PROD Amy Robinson; PROD Griffin Dunne. US, 1983, color, 105 min, 35mm. RATED R
Sat, Aug 31, 11:05 a.m.; Mon, Sep 2, 11:00 a.m.;
Tue, Sep 3, 9:25--just added!
Jon Voight and Eric Roberts, recently escaped from maximum security prison in Alaska, hop a freight train to make their getaway. But when the engineer dies suddenly, the runaway locomotive speeds through the frozen wasteland on a collision course with disaster, and neither the two convicts nor surviving crew member Rebecca De Mornay are able to stop it. In The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised the film's "crude energy and bravado," and critic Michael Phillips has called the film the most underrated of the 1980s. Three Oscar nominations: Voight for Best Actor, Roberts for Best Supporting Actor and Henry Richardson's ace action editing. An Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986; the restored version was screened at the 2012 Cannes Classics section.
DIR Andrei Konchalovsky; SCR Djordje Milicevic, Paul Zindel, Edward Bunker, from a screenplay by Akira Kurosawa; PROD Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus. US/Israel, 1985, color, 111 min, 35mm. RATED R
THE RIGHT STUFF
Sat, Aug 31, 12 midnight; Thu, Sep 5, 9:30
The heroic epic of NASA's efforts to put a man in outer space, this film was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. The film rigorously chronicles every daring step, from the first flight to break the sound barrier to the seven pioneers of the Mercury space program; from the grueling training program to the ultimate adrenaline of space flight. Philip Kaufman directs a stellar cast featuring Sam Shepard, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Jeff Goldblum and Barbara Hershey.
DIR/SCR Philip Kaufman; SCR from the book by Tom Wolfe; PROD Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler. US, 1983, color, 193 min, 35mm. RATED R
Fri, Sep 6, 3:30; Sat, Sep 7, 1:45
Richard Gere gives a slyly magnetic performance as Julian Kay, a high-priced male escort in Los Angeles who services wealthy, lonely women in order to fund his high-living habits. But after he’s framed for a murder, Julian must confront the shallowness of his existence and the need for human relationships in his life, not just transactions. Paul Schrader's notoriously provocative film offers a uniquely subversive—and very '80s—take on smut and salvation redemption narratives. The Giorgio Moroder penned-and-produced soundtrack includes Blondie’s sardonic "Call Me," a #1 hit in both the U.S. and UK.
DIR/SCR Paul Schrader; PROD Jerry Bruckheimer. US, 1980, color, 117 min, 35mm. RATED R
Fri, Sep 6, 7:15; Thu, Sep 12, 7:00
Bette Gordon's dark, controversial art-house film about a woman’s sexual experimentation and developing obsessions, based on a screenplay by literary provocateur Kathy Acker, makes for a fascinating time capsule of New York’s Times Square in the 1980s—then a notorious sleaze district, but soon to be cleaned up by the Giuliani administration and corporatization. Struggling to make ends meet as a journalist, Christine (Sandy McLeod) works as a ticket-taker at a Times Square porn theater. At first she ignores the entertainment, but soon finds herself drawn to it, as well as to one of the theater's regular customers. With Will Patton, Luis Guzmán, Spalding Gray, Nan Goldin and Mark Boone, Jr.; music by John Lurie.
DIR Bette Gordon; SCR Kathy Acker, Jerry Delamater, Peter Koper; PROD Renée Shafransky. UK/West Germany/US, 1983, color, 100 min, 35mm. NOT RATED
Sun, Sep 8, 9:20; Tue, Sep 10, 9:00
Inarguably a folly–a Hollywood remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave touchstone–Jim McBride's (DAVID HOLZMAN'S DIARY) interpretation is not without its charms, including Richard Gere at his charismatic, cavalier, casually nihilistic best. Gere plays fatally cool drifter Jesse Lujack, whose passions include Marvel's Silver Surfer comic books, Jerry Lee Lewis’ rock music and the French college student (Valérie Kaprisky) he meets in Las Vegas and follows back to Los Angeles, driving a stolen Porsche. But a highway mishap leads to an impulsive act, and Jesse's now a wanted cop killer, his image ever-more prominent in the media, his days ever-more numbered. Music by Jack Nitzsche.
DIR/SCR Jim McBride; SCR L. M. Kit Carson, from the screenplay "À bout de souffle" by Jean-Luc Godard and the story by Francois Truffaut; PROD Martin Erlichman. US, 1983, color, 100 min, 35mm. RATED R
DOWNTOWN 81 aka NEW YORK BEAT MOVIE
Sun, Sep 8, 7:00; Wed, Sep 11, 9:00
An astonishing time capsule from the early '80s' Manhattan hipster-artist demi-monde, set in a decrepit downtown to a soundtrack of No Wave cheek-by-jowl with early hip hop. Never completed in its own day, the film was finally edited and released some 20 years later. Legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat plays a thinly disguised version of himself, wandering from crash pad to crash pad, selling his art for food and rent money. A gritty urban fairy tale, featuring Deborah Harry as a bag lady-cum-fairy godmother; look for Fab 5 Freddy, John Lurie, Eszter Balint (STRANGER THAN PARADISE), Vincent Gallo, Debi Mazar, Kid Creole, Arto Lindsay and other scenesters at the Mudd Club.
DIR Edo Bertoglio; SCR Glenn O’Brien; PROD Maripol. US, 1981/2001, color, 72 min, 35mm. NOT RATED
Tracking the rise of subway scrawlers, this celebrated documentary on the late 1970s/early '80s-era NYC graffiti and hip hop street dance scene explores a burgeoning art form, one that would evolve from the streets to global influence—but first it had to elude the transit authorities.
DIR Henry Chalfont, Tony Silver. US, 1983, color/b&w, 69 min, digital presentation. NOT RATED
Upstart record exec Russell Walker (Blair Underwood) has signed all the hottest rappers to his Krush Groove record label, but when Run-D.M.C. scores a hit and he can’t press records fast enough to meet demand, he takes a shady loan from a street hustler. Needing to get the label out of hock, it's "let’s put on a show" time. The only somewhat fictionalized tale of Russell Simmons' Def Jam Recordings features the label's peak-era roster of talent performing and cutting up, including Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, Sheila E., the Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, New Edition, the Beastie Boys, Chaka Khan and producer Rick Rubin.
DIR/PROD Michael Schultz; SCR Ralph Farquhar; PROD Doug McHenry. US, 1985, color, 97 min, digital presentation. RATED R
Shooting on location in the South Bronx, filmmaker Charlie Ahearn captured the hip hop revolution as it was happening, creatively blending reality with his tale of tagger Zoro (real-life street artist Lee Quinones), who, struggling to find acceptance for his art, gets a big break when he’s hired to paint the stage for a giant rap concert. Featuring musical performances by Grandmaster Flash and Fab 5 Freddy and breakdancing by the Rock Steady Crew.
DIR/SCR/PROD Charlie Ahearn. US, 1983, color, 82 min, 35mm. RATED R