Ah, the summer of 1984. It was a peaceful time. Kids could play outside without a care in the world and the word pandemic was something you only read about in history books.
Okay, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that great of a year. Except for, of course, it was the year the Apple Macintosh was released. But, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to talk about two movies that helped make break dancing a household activity.
Alright, again I’m reaching. Break dancing might not have been a household activity, but it did gain popularity thanks to two movies that ended up being big hits that summer. Breakin’ and Beat Street.
Both of these movies were inspired by three indie films that came out the year before named Wild Style, Style Wars, and Breakin’ And Enterin’. Movie studios saw the response to these films in the festival circuit and decided to try to capitalize on their popularity.
So, Canon Films, a Los Angeles-based studio, rushed to have Breakin’ created for a 1984 summer release. They didn’t have much of a budget and the cast was a collection of unfamiliar faces.
Meanwhile, the masterminds over at Orion Pictures were working on a similar film set in New York called Beat Street. This film had all the potential to be the best of the two films. You had renowned producer Arthur Baker handling the music, and Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier backing it as producers. There were also a slew of hip-hop and rap artists contributing to the soundtrack in hopes to make this film a big hit.
Unfortunately, in the end, Breakin’, with its cheesy storyline and bad acting, ended up becoming the more popular of the two films. For some reason unbeknownst to me, this corny, cringeworthy film gained traction in theaters while Beat Street barely scraped by during its theatrical release.
However, there was one saving grace for Beat Street. Thanks to the VCR and VHS tapes, Beat Street became a top video rental for several weeks helping it become the cult classic that it is today. I’d like to think that I helped contribute to that success.
In the end, for me, Beat Street is a WAY better film. It had good acting, a great storyline and a far better cast and crew.
What are you thoughts on these two break dancing phenomenons of 1984? Watch the trailers now and let us know what you think in the comments below. Cheers, everybody!
The story of a struggling young jazz dancer who meets up with two break-dancers. Together they become the sensation of the street crowds.
The story of an aspiring DJ, from the South Bronx, and his best friend, a promoter, trying to get into show business by exposing people to hip-hop music and culture.