Beat Street (1984)

PG | 106 mins | Drama | 8 June 1984

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HISTORY

       A 25 Mar 1984 LAT article reported that Beat Street was based on a five-page treatment by Village Voice journalist Steve Hager, who wrote articles on hip-hop culture.
       A 10 Nov 1983 HR news brief stated that veteran producer Max E. Youngstein was hired as a consultant. However, he does not appear in onscreen credits.
       HR production charts on 27 Dec 1983 stated that principal photography began 12 Dec 1983 in New York City. An 8 Nov 1983 HR news item announced that Andrew Davis had been hired to direct the film. However, a 13 Jan 1984 HR article reported that Stan Lathan replaced Davis as director as of 16 Jan 1984, due to “creative differences.” Perhaps referring to the fact that Davis was not African American, Lathan told the 8 Jun 1984 NYT that, “[The producers] didn’t want it to be an unrealistic, Hollywood kind of film, and they didn’t want the kids to be alienated by someone who didn’t understand their culture.” Director of photography Tak Fujimoto was asked by producers to remain with the production, but declined, and was replaced by Tom Priestley, Jr.
       Local dance groups, the Rock Steady Crew and the New York City Breakers, who appear in the film as the Beat City Breakers and the Bronx Rockers, respectively, remained on opposite sides of the set during filming to preserve their antagonism. The 19 Jun 1984 Village Voice review noted the dance-off between the crews was shot in the 57th Street Independent Subway System (IND) station in New York ... More Less

       A 25 Mar 1984 LAT article reported that Beat Street was based on a five-page treatment by Village Voice journalist Steve Hager, who wrote articles on hip-hop culture.
       A 10 Nov 1983 HR news brief stated that veteran producer Max E. Youngstein was hired as a consultant. However, he does not appear in onscreen credits.
       HR production charts on 27 Dec 1983 stated that principal photography began 12 Dec 1983 in New York City. An 8 Nov 1983 HR news item announced that Andrew Davis had been hired to direct the film. However, a 13 Jan 1984 HR article reported that Stan Lathan replaced Davis as director as of 16 Jan 1984, due to “creative differences.” Perhaps referring to the fact that Davis was not African American, Lathan told the 8 Jun 1984 NYT that, “[The producers] didn’t want it to be an unrealistic, Hollywood kind of film, and they didn’t want the kids to be alienated by someone who didn’t understand their culture.” Director of photography Tak Fujimoto was asked by producers to remain with the production, but declined, and was replaced by Tom Priestley, Jr.
       Local dance groups, the Rock Steady Crew and the New York City Breakers, who appear in the film as the Beat City Breakers and the Bronx Rockers, respectively, remained on opposite sides of the set during filming to preserve their antagonism. The 19 Jun 1984 Village Voice review noted the dance-off between the crews was shot in the 57th Street Independent Subway System (IND) station in New York City. A 25 Mar 1984 LAT article reported the production’s budget increased from $7.5 million to $9.5 million during filming.
       A 26 Apr 1984 HR brief stated the film earned a PG-rating on appeal from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) after initially receiving an “R.”
       The 23 May 1984 Var review called Beat Street “an impressively produced, music-loaded panorama of ghetto-derived contempo culture.”
       The film marked the feature debut of Guy Davis, the son of actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
      End credits include the following statements: “The producers extend a very special thank you to all of the people of the South Bronx and the members of the Zulu Nation without whose cooperation this film could not have been made;” “The producers gratefully acknowledge the research provided by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant, Producers of ‘Style Wars’”; and, “The Producer wishes to gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: Dean Virginia Red, Aaron Cohen, and the students of City College of New York; Joyce Saffir and Beverly Sammartino of the New York City’s Mayor Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting; The New York City Movie and T.V. Unit of the Tactical Police Force; Dennis wendling and the New York Transit Authority; Puma USA, Inc., Magnavox Corp., New England Digital Corp for Synclavier II®.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Aug 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Nov 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1984
p. 4.
LAHExam
13 Jun 1984
Section D, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
25 Mar 1984
Section L, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
8 Jun 1984
p. 11.
Motion Picture Production Digest
4 Jul 1984.
---
New York Times
8 Jun 1984.
---
New York Times
8 Jun 1984
p. 10.
Variety
23 May 1984
p. 26.
Village Voice
19 Jun 1984.
---
WSJ
7 Jun 1984.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
and introducing
and also starring, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force + Shango:
Grand Master Melle Mel and the Furious Five:
Magnificent Force:
New York City Breakers:
[and]
Rock Steady Crew:
and
and
The System:
[and]
The Treacherous Three:
Us Girls:
[and]
(Clive Campbell)
Dancers at CCNY:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Oron Pictures release
Harry Belafonte & David V. Picker present
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Cam trainee
Still photog
Still photog
Addl still photog
Steadicam op
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
2d grip
Addl grip
Addl grip
Lighting dir
Multimedia photog
Still unit coord
Bronx documentary footage
Lighting and grip equip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dept prod asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Co-editor
Spec video ed
Addl ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Addl prop person
Scenic artist chargeman
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Const foreman
Head const grip
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Const grip
Const grip
Shop mgr
COSTUMES
Cost des
Addl cost
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus prod
Mus prod
Supv mus ed
Orig dramatic score
Mus ed
1st asst mus ed
Asst mus ed
Asst mus ed
Asst mus ed
Asst mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus contractor
Mus rec eng
Motion picture music eng
Motion picture music eng
Mus assoc
Mus consultant
Music Loft mgr
Mus prod asst
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR asst ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec eng
Re-rec mixer
Audio tech
Dolby consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opening montage & titles des
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
Dance studio mgr
New York City Breakers dances staged by
Magnificent Force dances staged by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod assoc
Scr supv
Prof office coord
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Post-prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Post-prod supv
Post-prod consultant
Multimedia tech supv
Mutimedia des
Asst des
Multimedia prod coord
Multimedia programming des
Multimedia projectionist
Asst to Mr. Lathan
Secy to Mr. Belafonte
Rock Steady crew managed by
Rock Steady crew managed by
Dialog coach
Extra casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Transportation capt
Foreign pub
Graffiti consultant
Graffiti consultant
(Lonny Wood)
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Post prod facilities
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt police officer
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Frantic Situation" and D.J. Mixes, courtesy of Tommy Boy Records
"Beat Street Breakdown" and "Santa's Rap," courtesy of Sugar Hill Records
D.J. Mixes, courtesy of Streetwise Records.
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 June 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 8 June 1984
Production Date:
12 December 1983--late-March 1984 in New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
25 June 1984
Copyright Number:
PA214572
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Lenses
Camera and lenses by General Camera
Prints
DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27332
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the South Bronx, New York, hip-hop disc jockey Kenny “Double K” Kirkland heads out for the night with his friends, Ramon and Chollie, leaving behind his younger brother, Lee Kirkland. On the way to the house party they are hosting at an abandoned building, Ramon, and another graffiti artist, Luis, photograph the subway cars they tagged the previous night. The party draws a crowd, including the uninvited Lee and his dance crew, the Beat Street Breakers. However, Lee wins over the audience with his dance moves. Kenny spins records and introduces a trio from the neighborhood, called Us Girls. When Kenny, Ramon, and Chollie hear an odd noise, they discover a young man named Henry playing percussion on the buildings pipes in the building basement. Henry is looking for a conga player named Tito, but the boys tell him Tito left years earlier when the landlord burned the building for insurance. Later, Lee’s crew scuffles with a rival group, the Bronx Rockers, but Henry diffuses the situation. The next day, while Kenny and Lee’s mother, Cora Kirkland, cooks breakfast, she begs Kenny not to stay out so late because she already lost one son who was killed. Chollie arrives and informs Kenny that he has complimentary tickets to the Roxy, one of Manhattan’s most popular nightclubs. Meanwhile, Ramon’s father, Domingo, wants his son to stop desecrating subway cars, get a job, and marry Carmen, the young mother of his illegitimate baby. That night, at the Roxy, the Breakers and the Rockers square off on the dance floor. A pretty college student named Tracy catches Kenny’s eye, but she is most impressed by Lee’s dancing and she invites Lee ... +


In the South Bronx, New York, hip-hop disc jockey Kenny “Double K” Kirkland heads out for the night with his friends, Ramon and Chollie, leaving behind his younger brother, Lee Kirkland. On the way to the house party they are hosting at an abandoned building, Ramon, and another graffiti artist, Luis, photograph the subway cars they tagged the previous night. The party draws a crowd, including the uninvited Lee and his dance crew, the Beat Street Breakers. However, Lee wins over the audience with his dance moves. Kenny spins records and introduces a trio from the neighborhood, called Us Girls. When Kenny, Ramon, and Chollie hear an odd noise, they discover a young man named Henry playing percussion on the buildings pipes in the building basement. Henry is looking for a conga player named Tito, but the boys tell him Tito left years earlier when the landlord burned the building for insurance. Later, Lee’s crew scuffles with a rival group, the Bronx Rockers, but Henry diffuses the situation. The next day, while Kenny and Lee’s mother, Cora Kirkland, cooks breakfast, she begs Kenny not to stay out so late because she already lost one son who was killed. Chollie arrives and informs Kenny that he has complimentary tickets to the Roxy, one of Manhattan’s most popular nightclubs. Meanwhile, Ramon’s father, Domingo, wants his son to stop desecrating subway cars, get a job, and marry Carmen, the young mother of his illegitimate baby. That night, at the Roxy, the Breakers and the Rockers square off on the dance floor. A pretty college student named Tracy catches Kenny’s eye, but she is most impressed by Lee’s dancing and she invites Lee to her school. The next day, Ramon is upset because a rival artist, Spit, has painted over his artwork on a subway car. Kenny, Ramon, Chollie, and Henry join Lee as he visits Tracy at the City College of New York (CCNY), where she is contributing a dance composition to a television program. The group is disappointed upon discovering that Lee was not actually invited to perform in the show, and Kenny accuses Tracy and her teachers of being condescending toward his brother. Later, Ramon visits with Carmen and their baby. They are interrupted by Carmen’s mother, who accuses Ramon of shirking his responsibility. Carmen begs Ramon to take her and the baby away. Meanwhile, Tracy visits the Kirkland’s apartment to apologize. Kenny plays her some of his musical mixes and the two find common ground. Later, Kenny takes Tracy to the subway tunnels, where Ramon and Lee are spray-painting a wall. Ramon longingly watches a clean, white train pass, claiming it his dream canvas. Startled by a noise, the friends leave, as Spit tags a freshly painted wall. Kenny walks Tracy home and explains that his older brother, a gang member named Franklin, was killed. They kiss goodnight and Kenny arrives home at dawn. Chollie informs Kenny that he has a tryout that night at a club, the Burning Spear, run by Kool Herc. With Tracy at his side, Kenny spins records to the delight of the crowd, and Kool Herc hires him for the following weekend. The next day, Ramon asks his father, Domingo, if Carmen can live with them. Referring to his son as a criminal, Domingo refuses, then orders his son to marry Carmen and provide for his child. Later, Chollie takes Kenny to the Roxie, where the talent scout is auditioning performers. Chollie asks Kenny to wait outside and invites the scout to see Kenny deejay at club Burning Spear. Afterward, Kenny drops by CCNY to surprise Tracy and sees her in an intimate embrace with her professor, Robert. Meanwhile, Henry fixes up the basement of the abandoned building and moves in. Ramon tells his friends that he plans to move Carmen and the baby into an empty apartment upstairs. Ramon gets a job at a hardware store and his friends help him make the apartment habitable. They surprise Carmen with a small housewarming party. On Saturday night at the Burning Spear, Kenny impresses the talent scout, who invites him to deejay at the Roxie on New Year’s Eve. The next day, the Breakers and the Rockers engage in a dance-off in a subway station and Lee is arrested. Meanwhile, Tracy arranges for Kenny to use the college’s computerized studio, while she works with Robert at a nearby piano. Kenny accidentally deletes his work, and rejects Robert and Tracy’s attempts to help him. He tells Tracy they both may be too bust to continue seeing one another. Later, Cora picks Lee up at the police station and defends her son, telling the officer that there are worse things kids can do besides dancing. Meanwhile, at the college, Tracy conducts the premiere of her dance composition. Waiting for a train with Ramon, Kenny worries that he made a mistake with Tracy, and wonders if his talented friend is wasting his time on graffiti. Ramon explains he needed to take a job at the hardware store, but it interferes with his artwork. He sees an all-white train on the “A” line and realizes he can achieve his dream by painting it that night after work. Later, Kenny meets Ramon and helps him paint the train. Lurking nearby is Spit, who tags the train even before Ramon can finish the other side. Ramon chases Spit through a tunnel, they scuffle, and fall onto an electrified rail, killing them both. After Ramon’s funeral, Kenny is not sure about performing at the Roxie’s New Year’s Eve show. However, Tracy and Chollie help him assemble his idealized line-up of Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five, twenty-five break-dancers, the City College Dancers, and a Bronx gospel choir, and together, they produce a celebration of Ramon’s life. Domingo, Ramon’s father, is moved when he sees his son’s artwork on the wall of a tenement building. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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