Big Fun in the Big Town
Big Fun in the Big Town is a Dutch music documentary made by the VPRO in 1986. It was directed by Bram van Splunteren and presented by Belgian TV presenter Marcel Vanthilt. The documentary was shot on location in New York City and consisted of two parts, one about rock singer Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the other about the American hip hop scene. The latter turned out to have a much bigger impact on the Dutch music scene and enjoys a cult classic status among hiphop fans.
|Big Fun in the Big Town|
|Created by||Marcel Vanthilt|
|Directed by||Bram van Splunteren|
LL Cool J
Doug E. Fresh
The Last Poets
|Country of origin||The Netherlands|
Dutch (introduction & host narration)
|No. of episodes||1 (two-parter)|
|Running time||40 minutes|
|Original release||November 30, 1986|
The documentary was made in September 1986 in eight days time and filmed in the streets of New York City. Vanthilt and his four Dutch colleagues had hired some body guards for protection from local street gangs. They managed to interview several important pioneers of early hip hop, including Run–D.M.C., LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Flash, Roxanne Shante, Biz Markie, MC Shan, Russell Simmons, Mr. Magic, Schoolly D and The Last Poets. Grandmaster Flash showed his talents in scratching and DJing, Doug E. Fresh did beatboxing on a busy street corner in Harlem, New York and LL Cool J still lived with his grandmother at time of recording. The documentary crew literally arrived a turning point for hiphop. Run–D.M.C. had just released the single Walk This Way, their duet with the rock band Aerosmith, which would cause mainstream acceptance of the genre by a major white audience. Because of this element Big Fun in the Big Town still provides a unique time capsule.
Big Fun in the Big Town was broadcast on Sunday night, 30 November 1986 at 8:10 p.m on Nederland 2, receiving a lot of praise afterwards. The documentary has been rebroadcast several times since, and was given credit by an entire generation of Dutch rappers and hip hop artists as an important inspiration; including Osdorp Posse, The Opposites, Kraantje Pappie, Gers Pardoel, De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, Brainpower and Def P. among others.
The documentary became available on DVD in 2012. USA Today, The New York Times and Rolling Stone praised it in their reviews. The Guardian ranked it at number 10 in their list of the ten best music documentaries of all time.
A soundtrack album was also made available in 2012.
- "South Bronx" – Boogie Down Productions (5:10)
- "9mm Goes Bang" – Boogie Down Productions (4:19)
- "Cold Getting Dumb" – Just-Ice (4:32)
- "Latoya" – Just-Ice (4:11)
- "Breaking Bells" – T La Rock (5:24)
- "Back to Burn" – T La Rock (3:35)
- "Jockbox" – Skinny Boys (4:33)
- "Leave It to the Drums" – Tricky Tee (4:40)
- "Bassline" – Mantronix (5:27)
- "Ladies" – Mantronix (6:54)
- VANTHILT, Marcel, "Marcel 55", Lido, 2012, page 107-111.
- "Laatste nieuws, sportnieuws, vacatures, uitgaan Almere - dichtbij.nl". dichtbij.nl. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Hiphopdocu Big Fun In The Big Town na 25 jaar op dvd". 3voor12.
- "'Big Fun in the Big Town': '80s cult fave comes to DVD". USATODAY.COM.
- On DVD, ‘Big Fun in the Big Town’ and Diana Ross in Concert - The New York Times
- "Bram van Splunteren". bramvansplunteren.nl.
- Michael Hann. "The 10 best music documentaries". the Guardian.
- Purple Revolver. "Big Fun In The Big Town DVD and soundtrack re-issue unleashed". purplerevolver.com.
- Various - Music That Inspired The Cult Film "Big Fun In The Big Town" (CD) at Discogs