The 50 Best New York City Movies

32. Wild Style (1983)

Director: Charlie Ahearn
Leading Actors: Lee Quinones, Easy A.D., Almighty K.G., Grandmaster Caz
NYC Neighborhoods Featured: Morris Heights, the Bronx; Lower East Side

Charlie Ahearn, the director of Wild Style, didn't come from a feature film background. An artist trained at the Whitney, he'd made one narrative feature before helming the 1983 hip-hop classic, and it shows. Wild Style is, technically speaking, not a good movie. It isn't well made. The editing isn't smooth, and neither are the performances. Of course, that makes sense, because the leads didn't have acting backgrounds. Ahearn's stars were the rising stars of graffiti, b-boying, DJing, and rapping. In 1983, just letting the camera roll on people like "Lee" George Quinones, the Rock Steady Crew, Grandmaster Flash, the Cold Crush Brothers, and Fab 5 Freddy was enough. Thus, Wild Style, full of amazing shots of the bombed-out Bronx, is an important document of a by-gone era, capturing the early days of hip-hop culture. It's also fun, assuming you can dig the camp. —RS

boroughOuter Borough"Gritty Realism"

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