Headspins, flips, fresh kicks, cardboard, and boomboxes might come to mind when most people imagine a movie about breaking. However, it might surprise anyone at how large and diverse the genre has become over the decades from musicals, and documentaries to dramas and educational films. Let’s go back in breaking time with a look at 10 of the most known breakdance movies.
1. Beat Street (Released June 1984)
Set in the birthplace of Hip Hop the South Bronx, Beat Street showcases all elements of the culture from Breaking and DJing to Graffiti and EmCeeing (rapping). Some of the greats such as Dj Kool Herc, Jazzy Jay, Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five portray themselves on the silver screen. Some legendary B-Boys & B-Girls such as Ken Swift, Babylove, Buck Four, and many more.
2. The Freshest Kids (Released October 2002)
The Freshest Kids a history of the B-Boy, the name says it all and the film covers the birth, death, and reemergence of B-Boys and the art of Breaking. Legendary rappers once again such as Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey, Fab 5 Freddy, and more. Of course, it wouldn’t be a B-Boy movie without B-Boys, Powerful Pecxter, Frosty Freeze, Ken Swift, and New York City Breakers are a few that make an appearance during the 1 hour 34 minute screen time.
3. Wild Style (Released March 1983)
An American Hip Hop film follows a teenage Bronx graffiti writer Zoro as he fights to remain true to the underground scene, while other writers and crews are painting for money and doing murals instead of train cars. As Hip Hop changes and becomes more mainstream, we see breakers like The RockSteady Crew, rappers like the Cold Crush Brothers, writers such as Lady Pink, and legendary Djs like Grandmaster Flash.
4. B-Boy Mercenaries presented by Second To None
A documentary about a South England-based Bboy crew “Second to None” helped keep breakin from disappearing through the highs and lows of breaking popularity throughout the 1980s & 1990s. Written, Edited & Directed by Charlie Marbles, this film features one of the most influential crews at the time and perhaps throughout Hip Hop history. Prominent B-Boys from all over the world are featured in battle, practice, and interview footage such as Storm, Swift Rock, Maurizio, and many more, and of course the entire Second to None crew.
5. Rubble Kings (Released June 2015)
A documentary directed by Shan Nicholson centered around the violence and gang activity of the South Bronx during the 1970s. In many ways this film is a window into the environment that created Hip Hop, a prequel to Hip Hop culture in a way, that would eventually go on to change the world. One of the film’s producers and legendary comedic actor Jim Carrey had this to say“The first time I saw the footage, I was completely blown away by this incredible thing that had happened, that no one knows about.”
6. Style Wars (Released 1983)
Another American documentary centered on Graffiti, while also featuring Bboying, rapping, and many historical moments of Hip Hop culture from the 1970s to the early 1980s.
7. Storm’s Footwork Fundamentals
An instructional Breaking DVD from Storm of Battle Squad in Germany, Storm’s Footwork Fundamental’s concepts and lessons are essential for any aspiring breaker new or seasoned. Covering subjects such as Atomic style, spacial awareness, rhythm, backbone basics, knee rocks, and so much more this DVD is a quality resource that everyone should be familiar with.
8. Ken Swift: The Epitome
One of the most historical figures around Ken Swift’s The Epitome is a 2 disc DVD set. Ken Swift aka Prince Kenny is considered by many to be the “Epitome” or the gold standard for B-Boys everywhere. Look at all the history, battles, and footage of Ken Swift.
9. All Out War
A B-Boy documentary following four world-renowned breakers Dyzee, Casper, Machine, and Alien Ness on their way to King of the Ring a breaking battle in Canada. Four different breakers with different perspectives and approaches to the dance and their journey before, during, and after this international event.
10. Breakin’ (Released May 1984)
Breakin’ also known as Breakdance or Break Street 84 in some parts of the globe is a breaking-themed musical film set in Los Angeles. A young dancer “Special K” is training in a studio in Venice California when she meets two street dancers Turbo & Ozone.