Find yourself nostalgic for the days of old school hip hop, when 50 Cent was still in short trousers? Then you can't do better than Charlie Ahearn's seminal Wild Style; released in 1982, it was the first movie to bring the underground hip hop revolution to a wider audience. Legendary subway artist Lee Quinones stars as graffiti writer Zorro; but Wild Style's plot is really an excuse to see legends such as Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy in action.
Way before Diddy's yacht and Cristal champagne - even before Dr Dre and west coast gangster rap - hip hop was a micro youth culture played out in NYC basements. Wild Style takes you to the source of a street movement that conquered the world; it's a panoply of freestyle MCs, breakdancing, and graffiti sprayed subway trains. All that is interspersed with a half-hearted fictional plot, in which red hot graffiti artist Zorro struggles with his family's disapproval, and encounters uptown journalist Virginia (played by then Queen of the East Village, Patti Astor).
"A BONA FIDE PIECE OF CULTURAL HISTORY"
The acting is stilted - hardly a surprise seeing as Ahearn used the scene's genuine figures, instead of actors - and the story almost non-existent. But that isn't the point, Wild Style is a cult classic - indisputably the most important hip hop movie, ever - because it documents so vividly the origins of a street movement that became the dominant force in mainstream pop culture. You'll see Grandmaster Flash at the decks, Busy Bee on the mic, and breakdancers The Rock Steady Crew on the floor. It's a bona-fide piece of cultural history. If you love hip hop, this is unmissable.
Wild Style is out in the UK on 10th August 2007.