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Breakin' (also known as Breakdance in the United Kingdom and Break Street '84 in other regions[4]) is a 1984 American breakdancing-themed comedy-drama film directed by Joel Silberg, written by Charles Parker and Allen DeBevoise, based on a story by Parker, DeBevoise and Gerald Scaife.

Breakin'
Breakin' movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoel Silberg
Produced by
  • Allen DeBevoise
  • David Zito
Screenplay by
  • Charles Parker
  • Allen DeBevoise
Story by
  • Charles Parker
  • Allen DeBevoise
  • Gerald Scaife
Starring
Music by
  • Michael Boyd
  • Gary Remal
CinematographyHanania Baer
Edited by
  • Larry Bock
  • Gib Jaffe
  • Vincent Sklena
Production
companies
Distributed byMGM/UA Entertainment Company
Release date
  • May 4, 1984 (1984-05-04)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$1.2 million[2]
Box office$38.7 million[2][3]

The film's setting was inspired by a 1983 German documentary titled Breakin' 'n' Enterin', set in the multi-racial hip hop club Radio-Tron, based out of MacArthur Park in Los Angeles.[5] Many of the artists and dancers from said documentary, including Ice-T (who makes his film debut as a club MC), and Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, went straight from Breakin' 'n' Enterin' to star in Breakin'.

The musical score featured the hits, "Breakin'... There's No Stopping Us" by Ollie & Jerry and "Freakshow on the Dance Floor" by The Bar-Kays.

Breakin' was the final Cannon film production released by MGM/UA. After release, MGM and Cannon dissolved their distribution deal, reportedly over the potentially X-rated content in John Derek's film Bolero and MGM's then-policy of not theatrically releasing X-rated material, forcing Cannon to become an in-house distribution company once again. Because of this, Breakin' is considered to be the final financially profitable film released by Cannon.

Breakin' was followed by a sequel entitled Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, released later in 1984.

PlotEdit

Protagonist Kelly Bennett (Lucinda Dickey) is a young dancer training under the supervision of a traditionalist choreographer, Franco (Ben Lokey). Through her friend Adam, Kelly is introduced to two street dancers, Ozone (Adolfo 'Shabba Doo' Quiñones) and Turbo (Michael 'Boogaloo Shrimp' Chambers) on the boardwalk at Venice Beach. Kelly becomes enamored with their dancing and becomes friendly with the men, dancing and talking with them. Eventually, after dancing together the three form a team. Kelly eventually leaves her studio as her choreographer does not respect breakdancing and makes unwanted advances towards her. Later, Kelly attends a dance audition and is shut down by harsh directors. Kelly then wanders to a breakdancing event where she finds Ozone and Turbo in the midst of a dance battle that they eventually lose against rivals "Electro Rock". Ozone is very defeated and is consoled by Kelly and she convinces him and Turbo to enter a dance competition. Kelly's agent friend James (Christopher McDonald), sees what the group can do and agrees to back them. However, the group is technically not allowed to perform in the dance audition because they only want "respected" forms of dance. Kelly and the crew dress up in black tie clothes to fool the judges and then start their audition. When the judges see their breakdancing they are initially shocked and disapproving. However, the three eventually win over the judges and are chosen from the audition. The group goes on to be popular, remain friends, and dance in the community.[6]

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

According to the 2014 documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, Menahem Golan of Cannon Films was inspired to create this film after his daughter saw a breakdancer perform in Venice Beach, California. Golan pressured the production crew to complete the film before Orion Pictures released their breakdancing film Beat Street.

SoundtrackEdit

 
Breakin' Soundtrack by Polydor Records

The soundtrack of the film was released by Polydor Records in 1984.[8] The album contains the first performance on an album by rapper Ice-T (who had previously released some 12" singles), produced by DJ Chris "The Glove" Taylor & David Storrs.[9]

Track listingEdit

[10]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)ArtistLength
1."Breakin'... There's No Stopping Us"Ollie E. Brown / Jerry KnightOllie & Jerry4:34
2."Freakshow on the Dance Floor"The Bar-Kays / Allen A. JonesThe Bar-Kays4:42
3."Body Work"Curtis HudsonHot Streak4:22
4."99 ½"John Fottman / Maxi AndersonCarol Lynn Townes4:02
5."Showdown"Ollie E. Brown / Joe CurialeOllie & Jerry3:57
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)ArtistLength
1."Heart of the Beat"Dan Hartman / Charlie Midnight3V4:18
2."Street People"Ollie E. Brown / Jerry KnightFire Fox3:23
3."Cut It"Paul FishmanRe-Flex3:11
4."Ain't Nobody"Hawk WolinksiRufus and Chaka Khan4:45
5."Reckless" (Rap by Ice-T)Chris "The Glove" TaylorChris "The Glove" Taylor & David Storrs3:57

Despite not being included on the official soundtrack, the film also features the previously released songs "Boogie Down" by Al Jarreau, "Tour de France" by Kraftwerk, "Beatbox" by Art of Noise and "Tibetan Jam" by Chris "The Glove" Taylor.

ReleaseEdit

Box officeEdit

Breakin' opened in 1,069 venues on May 4, 1984 and outgrossed Sixteen Candles, which had more screens (1,240). The film ranked number one in the box office, earning $6,047,686.[11] By the end of its run, the film grossed $38,682,707 in the domestic box office[3], making it the eighteenth top-grossing film of 1984.[12]

Critical receptionEdit

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 43% of seven critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4.29/10.[13]

Roger Ebert, who reviewed the film while it was in theatres, gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4, stating that the movie was, "a stiff and awkward story, interrupted by dance sequences of astonishing grace and power."[14] Ebert praised the dancing and the chemistry of the stars but slammed the movie's screenplay, script, and supporting characters.

User generated film-information site IMDb reported "5,384 IMDb users have given a weighted average vote of 5.8 / 10" for the film.[15]

Home mediaEdit

On August 5, 2003, MGM Home Entertainment released Breakin' on DVD. On April 21, 2015, Shout! Factory released Breakin, along with its sequel, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, as a double feature Blu-ray.

In popular cultureEdit

Several months prior to the film's release, Shabba Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp, Pop n' Taco, Popin' Pete, DJ Chris "The Glove" Taylor and Lollipop were all prominently featured in the music video for Chaka Khan's remake of the 1979 Prince song, "I Feel for You".

Ice-T, who had a small role in both Breakin' and its sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo and was prominently featured on the soundtrack to both films (helping introduce his music to a worldwide audience), was quoted as saying he considers the film and his own performance in it to be "wack".[16]

Breakin' and its sequel have had a resurgence in popular media as people have begun to remember, mock, and praise the film over 20 years later, with the sequel's subtitle in particular becoming a snowclone pejorative nickname to denote an archetypical sequel.[17][18]

In 2019, the documentary Boogaloo Shrimp by Taylor Golonka was released on Amazon Prime. It focuses on the creative talents of Michael Chambers, who played Turbo in Breakin'. According to filmmaker Taylor Golonka, "Michael Chambers will go down in history as being one of the iconic innovators of the b-boy and breakdancing culture."[19]

"Breakin'" was referenced in the first episode of "Mixed-ish" on 9-24-19.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "BREAKDANCE (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. May 4, 1984. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Yule, Hollywood a Go-Go: The True Story of the Cannon Film Empire, Sphere Books, 1987 p47
  3. ^ a b "Breakin' (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  4. ^ Silberg, Joel (April 6, 2009), Breakdance - The Movie, Second Sight Films Ltd., retrieved October 28, 2017
  5. ^ "Breakin' N Enterin' Documentary (Video)". Ambrosia For Heads. August 10, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Breakin' Movie Review & Film Summary (1984) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  7. ^ "Jean-Claude van Damme". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  8. ^ Breakin', Get On Down, November 22, 2011, retrieved October 28, 2017
  9. ^ "Breakin'". Allmusic.
  10. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Various-Breakin-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack/release/125777
  11. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for May 4-6, 1984". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. May 7, 1984. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "1984 Yearly Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  13. ^ "Breakin'". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Breakin' Movie Review & Film Summary (1984) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  15. ^ Breakin' (1984) - User ratings, retrieved July 9, 2019
  16. ^ Ice T; Sigmund, Heidi (1994). The Ice Opinion. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-312-10486-3.
  17. ^ "Beyond Boogaloo: The Weird, Wild and Wonderful World of Cannon's 'Breakin' Movies". Esquire. May 29, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  18. ^ Patches, Matt (December 22, 2014). "How 'Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo' Became a Movie and Then a Meme". Grantland. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  19. ^ "About – Boogaloo Shrimp Documentary". Retrieved March 26, 2019.

External linksEdit