Style Wars
Style Wars

Directed by

Tony Silver

Produced by

Tony Chalfant and Henry Chalfant



Music by


Distributed by

Public Art Films, Plexifilm

Release dates

1983 (on television), 1984 (in theatres)

Running time

70 minutes (original version), 111 minutes (Director's Cut)


United States



Style Wars is a 1983 documentary on hip hop culture, directed by Terry Silver and produced in collaboration with Henry Chalfant. The film has an emphasis on graffiti, although b-boying and rapping are covered to a lesser extent.

The film debuted in 1983 on PBS television, and was subsequently shown in several film festivals to much acclaim, including the Vancouver Film Festival. It also won the Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.



Frosty Freeze, Ken Swift, Friend and Kippy Dee of Rock Steady Crew at Style Wars film shoot

The documentary follows the young artists of New York City struggling to express themselves through their art, and their points of view on the subject of graffiti, as well as the views of then-New York City Mayor Ed Kock, one-armed graffiti artist Kase2, graffiti artist Skeme and his mother, graffiti "villain" Cap, Dondi, Seen, Iz the Wiz, graffiti documentarian Henry Chalfant, breakdancer Crazy Legs of Rock Steady Crew, police officers, art critics, subway maintenance workers, and several "people on the street".


Henry Chalfant, co-producer of the film, had been taking photos of graffiti in New York City for several years. Director Tony Silver was interested in what Chalfant was doing with his photography and realised that it was a major part of New York history, and turned to Chalfant to help with the film.

Shooting for the film commenced in the spring of 1981, with the first scene being the b-boy battle between the Rock Steady Crew and the Dynamic Rockers. After a few more scenes were shot, the creators of the film ran into financial troubles and shooting was stopped. When the funds were raised, the rest of the film was shot in three weeks in August 1982.[1]

Featured graffiti artistsEdit

Featured b-boysEdit

Featured songsEdit


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