As a script writer for hire and UK script consultant I try and write about and highlight films that have great scripts, or original ideas. Some of the films I’ve written about are undisputed masterpieces, some are not – they’re just films that I personally like, or see something in.
Beat Street (1984) isn’t really a very good film. Bit what it is, now, over 30 years after it was released, is a historical document – that captures a time and place, the music, the dance, the fashion, and the birth of movement (Hip Hop) which is still going strong today.
I saw this film, when I was about 11, it introduced me to the music of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, Afrikia Bambaata & the Soul Sonic Force. I started to breakdance (we all did).
The Bronx in New York was practically a bombsite at the time, and the film, while trying to stay optimistic, actually shows much of that. A lot of the poverty and toughness that Hip Hop came from features here.
I haven’t watched it in many years (but I own a copy) I do listen to the soundtrack a lot – I still adore Breakers Revenge (composed by the legendary Arthur Baker) and Melle Mel’s Beat Street Breakdown. Anybody listening to those two tracks (even today) can understand why Hip Hop and B Boy culture captured the kids of the 80s attention. Breakers Revenge to me still sounds amazing at high volume!
I’m 44 now, the last time I did some breakdancing (about two years ago) I broke a rib. These kids from the Bronx took old records, remixed and scratched them and added their own words. They ripped it up and started again – it’s still inspiring me today. This is proof that even not very good films, can become iconic.
So, while you might not want to watch the whole film – the highlight of Beat Street (for me is The Roxy Nightclub breakdance battle) – it’s below from YouTube for your viewing pleasure…
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on email@example.com or hire him on Peopleperhour